Astro-Gal writhed sinuously, struggling in vain against the syntho-carbonyx cables wrapped tightly around her body. She was bound inexorably to a solid slab of cold unyielding plasteel deep below the surface of the lost asteroid XY-67–in the secret lair of the Android Dictator.
The Dictator’s robotic laugh echoed through the chamber, echoing hollowly from the hollow, echoing walls. “Struggle in vain all you want, Space Scout Astro-Gal, there is no escape from my clutches! Soon you will tell me everything I need to know to end the puny threat of the Space Scouts forever!”
“Never!” cried Astro-Gal, continuing to wriggle and contort her supple form against the bounds. “No torture your twisted metal mind can devise will make me talk!”
“I have calculated all of the parameters of your disgusting organic flesh and I promise you that you will not be able to resist the torment of the Vibro-bots!”
With those words metal doors slid soundlessly up into metal grooves in the metal walls and the sound of clanking metal feet filled the chamber, joined by the ominous sound of fiendish buzzing–
We interrupt this episode of Astro-Gal’s Adventures In Deep, Deep Space to bring you this special announcement!
Astro-Gal is a creation of mine from back when I was blogging compulsively on LiveJournal. I was working as a locksmith on the road in those days, and very isolated from pretty much everyone. I would go into the shop in the morning and then be out on the road all day, seeing customers briefly and going on to the next.
In the evenings (when I wasn’t on call) I would stay home, alone, and play games, watch movies, and write. I had just ended a marriage that had left me feeling very vulnerable, and I was in therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder which was bringing up some really ugly memories from very long ago. I was a mess.
LiveJournal (back in the days before it was bought by the Russian mob) was pretty much my only human contact. I had started with a few people–well, really only one, a man I knew from a prior job. Then I started friending his friends, and then word spread as I commented on their journals and then on the journals of people who commented on the journals of friends of friends and… well, you know how it goes.
I was actually pretty successful on LiveJournal, at one time I had over a thousand people following my journal, almost none of whom I had actually met in person. But people like what I wrote. I had made a commitment, as part of my therapy, to write something every day, even if it was just “I’m still here.”
Anyway, one day I got a work order to “screw astragal against the door”. I wrote a little piece about misreading that as “screw astro-gal against the door” and went on to talk about envisioning have hot monkey sex with a space vixen up against the airlock door, and then being disappointed when I found out what the job really was.
(In case you don’t know, when you have a set of double doors and there’s a strip of metal that is attached to one of the doors to keep air from coming through the gap between the doors, that little strip is called an astragal.)
Anyway, people loved Astro-Gal. I wrote a number of posts regaling my readers with her adventures. (Evidently being a Space Scout involves being captured a lot, by all kinds of different revolting things that want to do all kinds of revolting things to you. Go figure.)
I loved her, too. I was able to get as schlocky as I wanted to, and people commented and told me they laughed and wanted more. And the odd thing, to me, was that I wrote my funniest stuff when I was hurting the worst. On days when I couldn’t think of a single reason to keep going and get up for work one more day, I would fire up the Space Scout Ship Insertor and get Astro-Gal captured by the Slime Amazons Of The Planet Mucus or something, and people would tell me they enjoyed it.
People out there in the world enjoyed something I did. Imagine that. There’s a reason to keep going.
So that’s what I cling to when the darkness falls and that cold wind blows from the dark side of the world–I can make people smile.
It’s not much, but, God willing, it’s enough.
We now return you to The Adventures Of Astro-Gal In Deep, Deep Space, already in progress:
“Are you ready to talk now?” thundered the robotic voice of the Android Dictator
“Oh, no,” gasped Astro-Gal, her heaving chest straining both the fabric of her space suit and the credulity of anyone familiar with mammalian anatomy, “not… quite… yet!”
“Continue the torture!” cried the sadistic metal overlord, over the buzzing of the Vibro-bots.
“Oooohhh,” cried Astro-Gal, “I’ll… never… talk, ooh, even if you torture me… all night!”
“Are you sure this is how to torture an Earth female?” asked ZZ-47-9, the dictator’s chief general.
“Silence!” roared the dictator, “Increase the vibration to maximum!”