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Rated: E · Fiction · Comedy · #2259306
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?”

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