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About the Author

David S. White has been a resident of New Orleans for a number of years. He will enjoy the money from this first publication of his short fiction, which he will either blow on booze and coffee or start a fund to produce his screenplay (which he, stupidly, plans to also direct). Occasionally, he promotes gothic/industrial bands, as that's what he's into. When not writing, he watches a lot of indie films and is currently trying to keep his new year's resolution to see 52 films, in the theater, this year. His website is HERE and HERE. If you wish to send him money (that he will use to make a movie) or hate mail please email him at dsw@cyberpenguin.org.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Outside In: Review by A.L. Sirois

The Adventures of Space Death, the Worst Band in the Galaxy

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"Hey, what's our situation?" Balstok, the lead vocalist, grumbled as he sat in front of a bunch of the ship's instruments, none of which he had the faintest understanding of.

Balstok looked more like a manager than what one would normally expect from a lead singer for an infamous rock act. He wore a cheap, galactic business suit, with various stains on a neo-artistic tie. He developed this somewhat unorthodox look while majoring in economics at the University of Fiscal Fidelity, located on the near spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. One night, while working out an equation for determining which combinations of plaids and pastels allowed for the maximum of phone numbers from females at the end of the night, he accidentally stumbled upon a theorem that would predict the effect of a large number of convenience stores on any planet's economy. Later, when he tried to publish his findings, his colleagues laughed him out of the school and the embarrassment kept him from finding work. Ten years later, when it was shown that his theorem could have effectively predicted the downfall of Mecka 5.6, Balstok had managed to leave the incident behind him and form the band Space Death after an especially heavy night of binge drinking.

"I'm not sure. Let me try and find the control panel that tells us those kind of things," Slugbait responded. He cruised across the cabin and started scraping off debris that was covering the readout.

Slugbait was the brains of the operation, i.e. manager. He arranged the tours, booked the shows and made sure that the instruments, which were carried in a different spaceship, arrived safely at their next performance. However, he liked to think that what made him truly indispensable were his little touches, which mainly consisted of yelling "encore" after each song with occasional calls for "Freebird."

"I'm not sure where we are. I can't seem to find the navigation computer," he stated a minute later.

"Less attention to that and more attention on the important focuses that are important to focus on," Balstok stumbled out. "I just hope we get there soon, I looked in the mini-fridge and we're down to our last six pack."

Slugbait continued his search for the navigation computer.

Seeing that this didn't have the desired effect of panic, Balstok tried to appeal to his sense of order, "So, where exactly are we supposed to be playing?"

"Mecka 5.6," Slugbait grunted as he lifted something heavy and slimy off one of the instrument panels.

"Oh yeah?" Balstok reminisced. "I once had a theorem that could have saved that planet from certain..."

*Flush*

"Guys," said the voice of Vladzal from the bridge's bathroom, immediately followed by the rest of Vladzal. "I don't think I want to play drums anymore. I was just thinking and I can no longer ignore the ethical, err, problems that it raises."

Balstok belched, "Good God, I forgot he was back there."

"Who was it last time?" Slugbait sighed.

"Don't you remember? That was the fascinating discussion about why we have to use deodorant despite its environmental dubiousness."

Slugbait rolled his eyes. "I think I was trying to block that from my memory," he said as he tried to remove various uneaten and now mutated foods from the navigation panel. "Okay. Vladzal, what kind of fish are you?"

"I'm a platzfish, which is equivalent to a space salmon," he said as if reading from a teleprompter.

"Which explains why you keep trying to swim upstream every time you take a bath," Balstok zinged.

Slugbait glared at Balstok and nearly got his hand taken off as one of the piles of mutated food lunged for it. After a quick check to make sure all his fingers were there, "Right. Well, it really boils down to Darwinism."

Vladzal stared in a confused silence.

"Your drums are made of Godian Beaver Shark, which is far less evolved than you are. So, by playing on them, you are merely enforcing the theory."

The confused silence didn't waver.

"In other words, it's only natural," Slugbait sighed.

Vladzal scratched his head. "Okay. I guess so. So, I can still play the drums then?"

"Yes," exclaimed Slugbait as he tried to pit one pile of mutated food against another pile of mutated space food in a battle to the death, and thereby free access to the navigation computer. "You don't see Balstok worrying about whether he's got harmony or not."

"HEY!" Balstok burped.

The battle of mutated food was over before it started, and the outcome had at last revealed the long sought navigation computer. When the victor looked up to receive what it considered a richly deserved laurel crown, it saw that the situation was hopeless and proceeded to sulkily ooze off.

Slugbait removed the loser from the console. "Computer!"

"Sigmund, the onboard navigator and psychologist, here. You know, I could tell you something about the significance of that sulking, partially eaten hot-dog that is currently crawling down my console. I think Freud said it best..."

"Shut up," Slugbait quipped.

"I strongly suggest that you and I have a discussion about anger management," continued Sigmund. "Do you feel that your parents never listened to you? Is that why you lash out?"

"Well, there was that one time... None of your damn business!" Slugbait yelled. "Just tell me where we are."

"We were about to get somewhere that is on no space chart. But, very well, I will comply," Sigmund sighed, if computers could sigh. "We are currently on course for Mecka 5.6 with a projected ETA of thirty minutes. However, I could call ahead and make an appointment with a colleague on nearby Mecka 5.61 if you don't feel as if you can talk to me because of our working relationship."

"Shut up or I'll tear you apart and use what's left to build a video game," Slugbait threatened.

Vladzal looked up expectantly.

Balstok shook his head.

"If you are quite through your psychotic fits," Sigmund said, while flashing lights and doing the general things that an onboard ship computer does, when it's doing something other than its immediate action. "We have a message coming in from Mecka 5.61. Shall I put it on the viewer?"

Slugbait glared at the Sigmund. "It better not be because of a call you made."

"No. This is unexpected."

"Well, put it up, you poor excuse for a radio," blurted Balstok.

The image of a thin, pasty-faced man with wild hair that stuck out at all angles appeared on the view screen. "Hello? You must be Space Death?"

Suddenly Diasion, the band's square player (incorporating the newly discovered, eighth note: K), stepped out from her sleeping quarters, followed closely by Chub, her new lover and band roadie. "Whoa, who's this guy then? He looks like he hasn't seen the sun in years. And you guys wonder why I'm a lesbian. To me, you all look like that."

"Shhh," sounded Slugbait. He turned his attention to the view screen, "That depends on who the hell you are and what you want."

The man answered, "Excuse me. I'm Ugop, the president of the planet that hired you."

"You don't look like any robot I've ever seen, mayonnaise face," Diasion shot.

Slugbait glared at Diasion and then back at Ugop, "I'm afraid she's right. Mecka 5.6 hired us."

(continued)

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