A CONVERSATION

“You don’t see Perseverance stacked up on bricks…”

Continuing the conversation between Tim and Steve. Catch up on the first six installments via Steve’s author page.

 “Have you seen the news from the States, Steve?”
 “I have.”
 “Incredible, isn’t it?”
 “Well, that’s climate change for you, mate.”
 “No.”
 “Oh, it is, Tim. Texas frozen over…”
 “No…”
 “And the irony of Ted Cruz…”
 “That wasn’t…”
 “Crossing the Mexican border…”
 “What…”
 “To find a better life for his family…”
 “I meant…”
 “After all he’s said…”
 “At all…”
 “It’s just too delicious, really.”
 “It is?”
 “If only there was a wall to stop that kind of thing, eh Tim?”
 “Very funny, Steve.”
 “I don’t think Texans are laughing, mate.”
 “Well…”
 “27 million of them…”
 “Maybe not…”
 “Busy not laughing…”
 “Right.”
 “Busy not flying to Cancun…”
 “I get your point.”
 “Busy not blaming it on their daughters…”
 “OK.”
 “When they get found out.”
 “Fascinating though I’m sure this is…”
 “Oh, it is…”
 “It isn’t what I wanted to talk about, Steve.”
 “Oh.”
 “If you don’t mind…”
 “Sorry, Tim.”
 “I’m thinking of something far more important.”
 “I see…”
 “You do?”
 “You mean the Perseverance, don’t you?”
 “The what?”
 “Perseverance. The robot.” 
 “What robot?”
 “NASA’s robot, Tim.”
 “Nooo…”
 “The one on Mars.”
 “Really?”
 “It’s got six wheels.”
 “So?”
 “I’m just saying…”
 “Yeah?”
 “You don’t see Perseverance stacked up on bricks…”
 “Right…”
 “To cut down friction…”
 “Hang on…”
 “Or increase speed…”
 “Listen…”
 “But then, was Spaffa involved?”
 “Wait a minute…”
 “No, Tim. He wasn’t.”
 “Thing is…”
 “And yet there it is, on Mars.”
 “So you say, Steve.”
 “Eh?”
 “You claim it’s on Mars…”
 “It is, Tim.”
 “But I’ve seen the footage…”
 “And?”
 “It’s instantly recognisable…” 
 “As the Red Planet, Tim. Exactly.”
 “As the set from Total Recall, Steve.”
 “What???!!”
 “A film, Steve…”
 “I know…”
 “Based on a Philip K Dick story…”
 “Yes…”
 “Starring bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role…”
 “Indeed…”
 “Released in 1990 after years in production…”
 “Right…”
 “To not inconsiderable critical acclaim.”
 “True.”
 “I believe you’ve seen it, Steve?”
 “I watched it with you, Tim.”
 “Then you must recognise this recent footage as…”
 “Mars?”
 “No, Steve.”
 “No?”
 “As a film set representing Hollywood’s interpretation…”
 “Oh boy.”
 “Of what Mars might look like…”
 “Give me strength.”
 “Based on 1990 production values.”
 “Let me get this right, Tim…”
 “That’ll be a minor miracle, Steve…”
 “You’re saying…”
 “But give it your best shot…”
 “That Perseverance isn’t on Mars…”
 “I’m ready to be surprised…”
 “But is actually on a film set…”
 “Go on…”
 “Somewhere in South Hollywood?”
 “Exactly!”
 “Wow.”
 “It’s a lot to take on, I grant you…”
 “You’re not kidding.”
 “But it makes perfect sense.”
 “I’m not sure that’s strictly true, Tim.”
 “Well, Steve, if you want to disbelieve the evidence…”
 “Evidence??”
 “Of your own eyes…”
 “What??”
 “Disregard history…”
 “You’ve lost me…”
 “The moon landings…”
 “Jesus…”
 “That’s all I need to say…”
 “You’re not claiming…”
 “Faked, Steve.”
 “Faked??”
 “Indisputably.”
 “Disputably, Tim. Very much disputably.”
 “But all this is a distraction, of course.”
 “It is?”
 “It is.”
 “A distraction from…?”
 “The acquittal of the innocent, Steve.”
 “I have no idea…”
 “The true president of the United States…”
 “Oh, Tim.”
 “Found innocent…”
 “Not exactly…”
 “Despite the best efforts of the deep state…”
 “This explains the buffalo horn costume…”
 “In league with Antifa…”
 “And the make-up…”
 “And Venezuelan sleeper cells…”
 “Have you been watching Fox News again, Tim?”
 “You’ll deny it of course…”
 “Damn right.”
 “But to an enquiring mind like mine…”
 “OK…”
 “The links are clear.”
 “If you say so.”
 “Toss the sheeple a bone…”
 “A bone?”
 “A fairytale about space travel…”
 “Bones AND fairytales…”
 “And rely on…”
 “A tolerance for mixed metaphors?” 
 “An absence of independent and critical thought, Steve.”
 “Like yours, Tim?”
 “Like mine.”
 “So humour me, then…”
 “If I must…”
 “Let’s say…”
 “Yes?”
 “That whether Perseverance is on Mars…”
 “It isn’t.”
 “Or in a Hollywood film studio…”
 “Which it is.”
 “It cost £2.7 billion to put it there.”
 “Go on…”
 “Know how much we’ve spent on track and trace?”
 “It’s…”
 “£22billion, Tim.” 
 “Right…”
 “£22 billion.”
 “Uh-huh…”
 “You know what that means, Tim?”
 “Well, I suppose one interpretation…”
 “Yes…”
 “Is that track and trace…”
 “Mmmmm…”
 “Being based in the furthest corners of our galaxy…”
 “Why did I ask?”
 “Has to factor in the higher costs…”
 “Right…”
 “Which are an inescapable part…”
 “You think?”
 “Of travel at light speed between solar systems.” 
 “Really???”
 “I’m saying it’s an interpretation, Steve…”
 “I see…”
 “Which an enquiring mind feels compelled to explore.”
 “Does it?”
 “Yes.”
 “Let me put it another way, Tim…”
 “If you must…”
 “It’s entirely possible…”
 “I’ll be the judge of that…”
 “That for a tenth of the cost of track and trace…”
 “Yes?”
 “We could have lowered Dido Harding…”
 “Right…”
 “Gently to the surface of Mars…”
 “Hmmmm…” 
 “With a small crane…”
 “I think you may be…”
 “And still had enough change…”
 “Simplifying a complex situation, Steve…”
 “To give nearly £300…”
 “Really?”
 “To every man, woman, and child in the country.”
 “All of them?”
 “Yes, Tim.”
 “£300?”
 “Absolutely.”
 “That’s a lot of money, Steve.”
 “It’s a lot of crisp butties, Tim.”
 “It is.”
 “Even at the prices Spaffa charges.”
 “I’m doing the sums here, Steve…”
 “OK…”
 “And it seems to me…”
 “Yes?”
 “If I’ve got this right…”
 “Go on…”
 “If we all chip in an extra £40…”
 “Uh-huh…”
 “Each…”
 “Yes?”
 “We could send Wotsisface Mogg to join her.”
 “Indeed we could, Tim.”
 “An idea not without merit, Steve.” 
 “Indeed.”
 “Independent and critical thought, you see.”
 “I do.”
 “Thirsty work, this thinking.”
 “Time for a beer, mate?”
 “Always time for a beer, Steve…” 
 “Good man.”
 “Always time for a beer.”

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