You can hear the crunching?
Last Thursday I entered the Voyager’s Control Room to fly the morning field trip and found a Tupperware bowl containing dry cereal sitting next to a Tupperware canister holding milk.
“Megan,” I spat out a cloud of spittle mixed with little bits of breakfast bacon dislodged from in between my teeth. “Curse you!”
Megan Warner likes breakfast cereal any time of the day. Its a well known fact. But should she be eating it here at the Space Center? I’ve no problem with McDonalds or Wendy’s. I’m perfectly fine with Panda Express as long as the smell isn’t overpowering; but breakfast cereal? The line must be drawn somewhere. What will happen next if you let cereal pass for an acceptable workplace food? I see the unravelling of society one bite of Frosted Flakes at a time.
“Megan,” I shouted. She poked her head out from behind the wall. “Yes Sir?”
“What’s this,” I pointed to the small growing Tupperware collection under the Voyager’s Control Room counter, some still containing the crusted remains of dried milk and cereal left from weeks and months of “forgetting to take them home”.
“Sorry Sir.” Megan’s apology seemed half hearted. She disappeared back around the corner.
“That’s It. No More. Cereal is BANNED.” I put my foot down. I really did put my right foot down. I was holding it up to show fear that something crawling out from the overturned bowls would find my ankle and milky white hairy leg appealing.
“What!” She protested. “That’s not fair.”
“You want to make it an issue,” I shot back. “Milk is banned as well!”
“MILK? You are seriously going to ban milk?” Megan had a point. We served milk every Saturday morning to our Overnight Campers. I had backed myself into a corner but felt obliged to stick to my guns and principles.
“Yes! And , and....... and.........” I looked around the Control Room for something else to ban. I thought about banning volunteers, but realized that might be going too far. There was always soda, but without the life preserving properties of Diet Mt. Dew I would be exposing my body to all forms of degenerative diseases. After a moment's thought, I realized the answer was literally at my feet.
“Tupperware, Tupperware in all its insidious forms is hereby BANNED from the Space Center!”
There, I had spoken. It was the law. There was no going back.
Megan’s face reflected a growing rage boiling through her heart and mind. “You don’t want to do that. Believe me. You don’t want to do that.”
“It’s done, now be about your business before I do something more drastic.” I smiled realizing how much like a BOSS I was sounding. Everyone within hearing range had their cell phones out texting the news to everyone they knew. I knew my name was being vilified. I found it strangely exciting, on a primitive level.
I walked back to the bridge to check on the 6th graders still training at their stations. A few of them were reading something on their cell phones. Word of my tyranny was filtering down from the staff to the volunteers to the campers. Many of their eyes widened in disbelief. Others quickly shut their phones off, hoping not to motivate me to ban campers next.
I noticed two flickering lights through the reflecting glass screen separating the Bridge from the Projection Room. I left the Bridge to investigate. I entered the Control Room and walked toward the Projection Room. I heard a voice. It sounding something like Megan but more guttural. I poked my head around the corner. I saw Megan holding two lit candles. She was muttering something in what sounded like Latin. She heard me and turned. I stepped back in horror. Her face was contorted. Her eyes shot red. Her nostrils flared to bring in enough oxygen to fuel her rage.
“What are you?!” My voice shook as I asked the question.
“I am “M”. The Destroyer of Worlds,” she hissed. “You shouldn't of done it.” Megan blew the candles out and disappeared through the turning doorway to the Crew Quarters.
I found my way back to the Bridge and finished prepping the students for their mission. Megan walked up the stairs just before I finished. She looked like ‘normal Megan’. She smiled, stopped and spoke to a few students. She helped the Records Office with her Science Station. She was friendly and agreeable. Her demeanor was unsettling. Not a word was spoken between us about her strange behavior. I felt it wise not to push the issue. None of us really know what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
I thought the matter finished, until this morning.
I woke the staff at 6:45 A.M. and reminded them to join me in the Discovery Room for our early Saturday Morning meeting and donut feast. I walked into Discovery and found one of our 21 year old sturdy tables overturned and missing a leg. The leg appeared to have been ripped from his metal framing, taking bits of wood with it. I closely examined the underside of the table. The letter “M” was scratched into the wood, perhaps with a fingernail.
Shaken, I walked up to the computer at the front of the room to check the surveillance video. I reached for the cushioned stool to sit down. The bottom came off into my hand. I dropped it to the floor.
A shot of adrenalin raced through me. I would have tumbled to the floor if I had sat down. I could of broken something more serious than my ego.
I pulled up the video, looking for evidence. I was determined to find the culprit. Someone would pay.
There it was, recorded at 3:06 A.M. "M" The Destroyer of Worlds, taking her revenge for my reckless and heartless action against General Mills, Kellogg and Malt O Meal? She sees the camera. Is that a smile? Its as if she knew she'd be caught.
Now what? What else is she capable of doing? And was that Lemon Verbena mixed with a whiff of sulfur I smelt when I entered the room this morning? I knew that smell; Fortuna!
It is time for the Nuclear Option. Wish me luck. I'm going to the school's roof and uncovering the searchlight. I'm sending out the call for the Red Blemish. If there ever was a time for an Almost SuperHero, it is now. I hope he leaves his basement video game hide away long enough to notice the signal. It will take about ten minutes to jump into the shower and change into his superhero suit (its the closest thing he has to a phone booth). Getting here can take up to thirty minutes by scooter in the drizzle. His goggles fog and get splattered with rain. I'm hoping "M" leaves us be for at least a couple of hours!
Save us Red Blemish. Save us.
"M" The Destroyer of Worlds stuck again shortly after this article was posted. I left the office for twenty minutes to enjoy my lunch in the peace and quiet of the school's library. I got caught up reading a picture book on the Wonders of the World. I couldn't find the Space Center so I labeled the book "trash" and came back to my desk.
"What happened to the Odyssey's Replicator Hatch?" a young volunteer shrieked.
The hatch's door was ripped from its hinges. Black butcher paper covers the hole. A picture of her handy work is below. Destruction follows in her wake. Either the Red Blemish arrives shortly or I will have no option but to eat my words and welcome breakfast cereal back into the Space Center's Control Rooms.