THE CONUNDRUM ENIGMA: A Charlie "Doughnuts" Duncan Sexy Thriller
by Troy Cutcross
Attached by a Laurel and Hardy-shaped magnet to the door of the crew refrigerator––reminding him of the nickname those jerks back at the agency had for Tammi––was a note.
SORRY ABOUT ALL YOUR DEAD FRIENDS
He was a fiend, And now he had a head start to Europa! Who even knew what his plan was when he got there? A lesser man would have given up. But Colonel Charlie “Doughnuts” Duncan was not that lesser man.
The first order of business after fixing himself a nutritious snack of Tang and Space Food Sticks was to get rid of the astronauts’ corpses. This was because the heavier the ship was the more fuel it used, even though they were in zero gravity, and if they weren’t alive, they were just “dead weight.” “Doughnuts” suddenly realized that the phrase he had just used was full of terrible irony of the sort that made him known as a great wit. This time his wit was tragic and not funny, he reflected.
Standard protocol, or operating procedure, for removing cadavers, or dead bodies, from the International Space Station called for Duncan to wait until the Station passed over the dead astronaut’s home country and then shoving the former space hero out the hatch so that he or she would burn up in the atmosphere over his or her homeland. It so happened that just as he finished the last of his Tang he was passing over France.
“So long, Jacques,” he said as he dragged Major LaVie by his boots across the floor to the trash expulsion hatch. “You were anything but trash, in my opinion––from now on I’m going to call this the ‘trash and heroes expulsion hatch’!” He was sniffling a little as he shot his old friend into space and toward the earth, and he didn’t even have to pretend it was allergies since there was no one to see him. Or so he thought.
Next was a Captain Swierczinski, who came from Poland, which as near as Charlie could tell they would be passing over pretty soon. Not for the first time he wondered why the Poles, about whom jokes used to be told called Polack jokes which were anything but funny if you were one, used so many consonants in their names. Since he didn’t know the Captain he didn’t say anything, just stuck him into the hatch and blew it. There were two crew members from China, so he shot them down together, hoping that in life they’d been friends and that he wasn’t just making an assumption to save himself some time. Then there was a Korean Colonel, but since “Doughnuts” didn’t know for sure whether he was from North or South Korea he did his best to aim him toward the Demilitarized Zone between the two divided halves of the nation as a gesture toward international peace. As he watched the colonel burst into flames in contact with the earth’s atmosphere Charlie couldn’t help smiling at memories of the TV show M*A*S*H, which was set in Korea and always made him chuckle, even when there was a serious element as there often was in its best episodes, like the last one, “Goodbye Forever Amen.”
Next there was a Lieutenant Nummelin, and since he didn’t know what kind of name that was he dropped him over the Pacific. There was only one astronaut body left, that of a beautiful woman. When he looked at her nametag he was surprised by two things: One, she was Russian, and he’d already passed over Russia! He cursed the fact that he’d have to wait until the Station got all the way over to that side of the world before he could relax and do his zero gravity exercises, which he would perform by turning off the artificial gravity. The second thing that surprised him was the size of her bosoms, which were quite large by western standards. Almost without thinking he put his hand on the left one, which is when he got his third surprise: she let out a loud gasp and slapped him in the face!
“You’re alive,” he deduced.
She squinted as though she were trying to place his face. “And you’re Charlie ‘Doughnuts’ Duncan!” she exclaimed, surprising Charlie, because he had no idea how she knew that.
“How did you…” he began, intending to ask how she knew his face.
“I recognized you from the pictures Major Jacques LaVie kept showing us all the time,” she said. “You are as handsome in person as in your photos, but that doesn’t mean you get to ‘cop a feel’ without permission!”
“I’m very sorry. I thought you were dead.”
“No harm done,” she said, and extended her hand. “Svetlana Skikorskova,” she said. “Where are my crewmates?”
“All dead, I’m afraid.”
“Murdered by that villain Toborsky! He’s a disgrace to the Cosmonaut program,” she spat.
“I just got finished shooting them through the trash hatch toward their various native lands. I was going to do the same thing to you before I realized that you were alive.”
“It’s a good thing you decided to get ‘fresh’ with my corpse, or I might have burned up alive! You don’t suppose…” She hesitated.
“Nothing. I was just wondering if any of the others were just unconscious when you jettisoned, or shot, them out of the station.”
“Doughnuts” thought about it really hard. No, he was pretty sure they’d all been dead, and he said so.
“So,” she deduced. “Two questions: One, do you want a passenger on your trip to Europa, which Major LaVie told us all about?”
“I guess I could use some company. Especially a pretty girl who speaks the Cosmonaut’s native ‘lingo,’ or language! Just in case we have to use his ship to get back and the controls are all marked in Russian, like in that one Star Trek movie whose number I can’t remember. Now what’s the second question?”
She grabbed hold of her right bosom, the one Duncan hadn’t touched yet, and gave him a catlike smile of seduction. “Do you have a girlfriend?”