Daily Flash Fiction 9/30/21 W/C 259
|Featured in "Mystery Newsletter (October 13, 2021)"
The rocket sits on the launch pad. It’s been there all night.
“We’re at a critical juncture. It’s now or never. Someone needs to figure this out.”
“Colonel, we’ve tried everything. It’s a mystery. Nothing is working.”
Everyone in the control room waited for the Colonel’s directions. No one touched a dial. No one talked on the phone. No one touched a computer.
“Everything? You’ve tried everything? I doubt that. If you’ve tried everything the blasted thing would be in the air.” She paced the floor.
Suddenly a phone rang. Lieutenant Andersen answered, then passed the phone to Colonel Winchester.
“Yes, I see. Thank you.”
Colonel Winchester left the control room without a word. She made her way to the launch pad.
Standing on the pad was a maintenance man.
“So they tell me you know the answer to our problem,” said Colonel Winchester.
“Yes, Ma’am. It’s really quite easy. I’m surprised no one thought of it earlier. I think I solved the mystery.”
A few seconds passed. “Well, what is it?”
“Well, see, when the last budget was passed, there was some talk of cutting the space program. So, as a joke, someone in the office of space tourism put in this here box,” said the maintenance man. He indicated a small box with a coin slot.
“A coin box?”
“Yes, ma’am. You have to put in a quarter. Once you do that, the rocket will launch.” He smiled.
After a moment of disbelief, Colonel Winchester yelled. “Well, don’t everyone just stand around! Does anyone have a quarter?”