James Cameron Fakes the Moon Landing

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 31

Challenge #13: Write a story involving a character who is somewhere they shouldn’t be but doesn’t seem to mind. It must also include the following words: satchel, cookie, penguin, tuque, vixen, marbles, sunglasses.

There was a crackle of lightning. A ball of light appeared and slowly grew, vaporising part of a lighting rig and leaving the cut edges glowing molten orange. A figure appeared, kneeling, in the epicentre of the event.

Richard Nixon shielded his eyes, partly because of the fierce light and partly because—as expected—the figure was completely nude. He nodded for his aide to take the next step, and the aide nodded in response, sunglasses flashing in the studio spotlights.

The aide approached the figure and handed over a simple robe, which was gratefully accepted.

“James Cameron,” said the President. “Do you know where you are? And…when you are?”

“Oh, yeah!” The filmmaker looked around the sound stage in awe. “I remember watching this when I was fourteen! I had no idea it was faked, though. That’s some spectacular work! Who did it?”

“If all goes to plan,” said Richard Nixon, significantly, “you.”

He passed over the super secret satchel containing the plans for the conspiracy.

“Great!” said Cameron, casually leafing through them. “Is the rocket ready to go?”

Nixon stared at him like he’d lost his marbles. “What?”

“The moon rocket. Naturally I’ll have to go along.”

“What?” asked Nixon again.

“You know about Titanic, right?”

“Oh, my, yes.” Nixon, obviously, was aware of the scale of that tragedy.

“Well, to film that I actually made several dives down to the wreck. Or rather, I filmed that so I’d have a reason to make the dives. But in any case, authenticity is everything.”

The Vixen III temporal reconnaissance device had suggested with 77.6% certainty that this man was the creator of the most successful films within its 50-year visual range. It had given no indication that he was also some kind future version of that French diving guy. What’s-his-name. The one with the tuque.

“Let me get this straight,” said Nixon. “To fake the moon landing, you want to go to the moon?”

“Well, you’re only faking it for TV, right? To make it more of a spectacle? Obviously you’ve got some smart cookie at NASA working on all the real landers and rovers and laser reflectors and whatnot to actually go up there.”

“Come again?”

“I can definitely do the video for the five or six crewed moon landings or whatever—especially if I can pop back to the future to Avatar up some CGI for them—but I know about as much about actual space travel as a penguin knows about Scott of the Antarctic.”

“What is it with you and horrible things that happened specifically in 1912?” asked the aide.

“Long story short,” said Cameron, ignoring him, “I really have to insist on going up with the real astronauts if the fake ones are going to be at all believable.”

There was a pause.

“Also,” added Cameron, “just a heads-up that in the future we’ve got actual photos of the landing sites so whatever I put together really does have to be super accurate.”

Richard Nixon leaned over to confer with his aide. “Do we really have to do this? Do we really have to do a real moon landing even if we film a fake one?”

The aide thought for a moment. “If you’re desperate not to fund a real moon landing, we could always just announce we’ve beaten the Soviets to the invention of time travel.”

Nixon considered his options before turning back to Cameron: “Your services are no longer required.

There was another mini lightning storm as James Cameron was zapped unceremoniously back to the set of Avatar 2.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

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