I love serials. Cliffhangers. The ones they played before a movie where the hero was always left in an impossible, precarious position with no way to escape, only to escape the next week. Batman, Tarzan, Captain Marvel, Zorro, even the great magician, Houdini, made serials. And I love serialized novels like The Green Mile, The Blackstone Chronicles, The Pickwick Papers. In fact, Sherlock Holmes was originally serialized for The Strand magazine.

So, for something a little different (or a lot different) on Wednesdays I will run my own serial: Captain Bubba – Space Ace.

Who is Captain Bubba? What is his mission? What is he doing at a hoochie koochie show? And what is a Trans-Neural Celestial Auxiliary Navigational unit?

That’s what we’re here to find out.

Will this be a serial novel? A serial shot story? That’s what I’m here to find out.

I will, however, give you a hint as to Captain Bubba’s origin. Remember Goober from The Andy Griffith Show? What if, in an emergency, Goober had to fly the Space Shuttle? Or what if it had been his cousin Gomer? Just a thought.

So…here we go. Thanks for coming along.

 

A Tale of Intergalactic Proportions

by

Thomas Smith

Prologue

Since the beginning of time there have been tales of great deeds performed by selfless heroes and heroines. Tales of lantern-jawed men and powerful women who carved their names into the bedrock of history as their exploits became legend. Tales of larger-than-life figures who quelled bloody uprisings, brought evildoers to justice, brokered truces in the baddest of the badlands, and brought peace to the most barbaric regions, all without breaking a sweat, mussing a single hair, or breaking a nail.

This is not one of those tales.

This is the story of Bubba “Junebug” Thompson. High school dropout, demolition derby driver, dump truck mechanic, and part-time oil change specialist from Moosephart Alabama.

In addition to his other achievements, Bubba is also the target of two particularly nasty loan sharks named Big Louie and Moe. Big Louie stands four foot eight, carries a Smith & Wesson Model 29 (the one Dirty Harry called “the most powerful handgun in the world”), and is given to wearing loud plaid jackets that would embarrass a rodeo clown. Moe on the other hand is average height. His real name is Farnsworth, but he goes by Moe because (1) he thinks Farnsworth is the kind of name you have if you sing show tunes and wear clean shirts even if you aren’t having company, and (2) because he is a dead ringer for the Stooge with the stylish bowl haircut.

Our story actually begins on a particularly sunny day in September when our hero (?) finds himself running from the two aforementioned gentlemen because of a disagreement over a loan of two hundred and fifty dollars. Even though it is a case of mistaken identity (at some point every demolition derby driver appears to be a “goofy lookin’ dude in a beat up jalopy”), the bullets Big Louie has promised to pump into Bubba if he doesn’t stop running, would kill him just as dead as they would the actual loan recipient.

So…on this particularly sunny day in September as Bubba does his impersonation of an Olympic sprinter (wearing size 13 brogans) Big Louie keeps his promise and sends the first bullet after Bubba. The slug barely misses him, but the whistle it makes as it passes his ear is enough to push Bubba into overdrive. He runs through the front entrance of the hoochie koochie show, bolts across the stage, averts his eyes from the ample charms of Scheherazade Jones (his mama would have a stroke if she knew where he was), and dives under the back of the tent.

Big Louie and Moe follow him through the front entrance of the hoochie koochie show, bolt across the stage, take a few seconds to admire at the ample charms of Scheherazade Jones (Bubba’s mama would give them a stern talking to if she caught them chasing her son through such a place), and eventually crawl under the back of the tent.

Not really being inclined to look back, Bubba runs for his life, big feet pounding the ground like leather clad concrete blocks. He heads out through the back gate of the county fairgrounds and toward the only place he might possibly be safe.

The old abandoned warehouse just over the hill.

Next Week: The Ship

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