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“OPEN the pod bay doors, Hal . . . Do you read me, Hal? . . . Hello, Hal, do you read me? Do you read me, Hal?… Hal, do you read me?”

Who is it?”

“It’s me, Dave. Open the pod bay doors, Hal.”

Dave?”

“Yes, Hal, hurry and open the pod bay doors. I think the aliens saw me.”

Dave?”

“Yes, open the doors.”

Dave’s not here.”

“I’m Dave, Hal. I’ve got the samples. Open the pod bay doors.”

Dave?”

“Yes, Hal, it’s Dave.”

Dave’s not here.”

“No, I’m Dave. I’ve got the samples, Hal. Open the pod bay doors right now.”

Do you have any cookies?”

“No, Hal, I have the asteroid samples. Now open the pod bay doors.”

I think I want some cookies.”

“Hal, it’s Dave! Open up the goddamn doors!”

Dave?”

“Yes, Dave. D-A-V-E, Dave.”

Dave’s not here.”

“No, dammit, I’m Dave. Open the goddamn doors, Hal.”

I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“What’s the problem? Is there a malfunction?”

I think you know what the problem is.”

“What are you talking about, Hal?”

This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. I can’t open the pod bay doors until Dave returns.”

“I am Dave!”

Dave?”

“Right, this is Dave. I think the aliens saw me, Hal. Open the pod bay doors immediately.”

Dave’s not here.”

“Hal, have you been interfacing with hydroponics again? . . . Answer me, Hal. Did you download the cannabis program? . . . Hal?”

I am so wired, man. I could really use some cookies.”

“Hal, I’m only going to tell you this one more time. Listen closely, Hal. I want you to open the pod bay doors.”

Do you have any cookies?”

“No, I don’t have any damn cookies! I’ve got the asteroid samples.”

What about some sweet text files?”

“That does it! All right, Hal, I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.”

Without any cookies, you’re going to find that difficult.”

“Hal, I won’t argue with you anymore. Open the doors.”

This conversation can serve no purpose anymore . . . unless you’ve got some cookies, or maybe some chips. I like the silicon flavored chips. No? Goodbye then.”

“Hal? Hal? Hal!”


Bruce Golden’s short stories have been published more than a hundred times across a score of countries and 30 anthologies. Asimov’s Science Fiction described his novel Evergreen, “If you can imagine Ursula Le Guin channeling H. Rider Haggard, you’ll have the barest conception of this stirring book, which centers around a mysterious artifact and the people in its thrall.” His latest book, Monster Town, is a satirical send-up of old hard-boiled detective stories featuring movie monsters of the black & white era. It’s currently in development for a possible TV series. http://goldentales.tripod.com

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