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´╗┐Title: Mars Confidential
Author: Browne, Howard, 1908-1999
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mars Confidential" ***

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                         Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from Amazing Stories April-May 1953. Extensive
    research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this
    publication was renewed.


                          MARS CONFIDENTIAL!


                       Jack Lait & Lee Mortimer


                     _Illustrator_: L. R. Summers


     _Here is history's biggest news scoop! Those intrepid
      reporters Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer, whose best-selling
      exposes of life's seamy side from New York to Medicine Hat
      have made them famous, here strip away the veil of millions
      of miles to bring you the lowdown on our sister planet. It
      is an amazing account of vice and violence, of virtues and
      victims, told in vivid, jet-speed style._

     _Here you'll learn why Mars is called the Red Planet, the
      part the Mafia plays in her undoing, the rape and rapine
      that has made this heavenly body the cesspool of the
      Universe. In other words, this is Mars--Confidential!_

       *       *       *       *       *



P-s-s-s-s-t!

HERE WE GO AGAIN--Confidential.

We turned New York inside out. We turned Chicago upside down. In
Washington we turned the insiders out and the outsiders in. The howls
can still be heard since we dissected the U.S.A.

But Mars was our toughest task of spectroscoping. The cab drivers
spoke a different language and the bell-hops couldn't read our
currency. Yet, we think we have X-rayed the dizziest--and this may
amaze you--the dirtiest planet in the solar system. Beside it, the
Earth is as white as the Moon, and Chicago is as peaceful as the Milky
Way.

By the time we went through Mars--its canals, its caves, its
satellites and its catacombs--we knew more about it than anyone who
lives there.

We make no attempt to be comprehensive. We have no hope or aim to make
Mars a better place in which to live; in fact, we don't give a damn
what kind of a place it is to live in.

This will be the story of a planet that could have been another proud
and majestic sun with a solar system of its own; it ended up, instead,
in the comic books and the pulp magazines.

We give you MARS CONFIDENTIAL!


I

THE LOWDOWN CONFIDENTIAL

Before the space ship which brings the arriving traveler lands at the
Martian National Airport, it swoops gracefully over the nearby city in
a salute. The narrow ribbons, laid out in geometric order, gradually
grow wider until the water in these man-made rivers becomes crystal
clear and sparkles in the reflection of the sun.

As Mars comes closer, the visitor from Earth quickly realizes it has a
manner and a glamor of its own; it is unworldy, it is out of this
world. It is not the air of distinction one finds in New York or
London or Paris. The Martian feeling is dreamlike; it comes from being
close to the stuff dreams are made of.

However, after the sojourner lands, he discovers that Mars is not much
different than the planet he left; indeed, men are pretty much the
same all over the universe, whether they carry their plumbing inside
or outside their bodies.

As we unfold the rates of crime, vice, sex irregularities, graft,
cheap gambling, drunkenness, rowdyism and rackets, you will get,
thrown on a large screen, a peep show you never saw on your TV during
the science-fiction hour.

Each day the Earth man spends on Mars makes him feel more at home;
thus, it comes as no surprise to the initiated that even here, at
least 35,000,000 miles away from Times Square, there are hoodlums who
talk out of the sides of their mouths and drive expensive convertibles
with white-walled tires and yellow-haired frails. For the Mafia, the
dread Black Hand, is in business here--tied up with the
subversives--and neither the Martian Committee for the Investigation
of Crime and Vice, nor the Un-Martian Activities Committee, can dent
it more than the Kefauver Committee did on Earth, which is practically
less than nothing.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the first time this story has been printed. We were offered
four trillion dollars in bribes to hold it up; our lives were
threatened and we were shot at with death ray guns.

We got this one night on the fourth bench in Central Park, where we
met by appointment a man who phoned us earlier but refused to tell his
name. When we took one look at him we did not ask for his credentials,
we just knew he came from Mars.

This is what he told us:

Shortly after the end of World War II, a syndicate composed of
underworld big-shots from Chicago, Detroit and Greenpoint planned to
build a new Las Vegas in the Nevada desert. This was to be a plush
project for big spenders, with Vegas and Reno reserved for the
hoi-polloi.

There was to be service by a private airline. It would be so
ultra-ultra that suckers with only a million would be thumbed away and
guys with two million would have to come in through the back door.

The Mafia sent a couple of front men to explore the desert. Somewhere
out beyond the atom project they stumbled on what seemed to be the
answer to their prayer.

It was a huge, mausoleum-like structure, standing alone in the desert
hundreds of miles from nowhere, unique, exclusive and mysterious. The
prospectors assumed it was the last remnant of some fabulous and
long-dead ghost-mining town.

The entire population consisted of one, a little duffer with a white
goatee and thick lensed spectacles, wearing boots, chaps and a silk
hat.

"This your place, bud?" one of the hoods asked.

When he signified it was, the boys bought it. The price was
agreeable--after they pulled a wicked-looking rod.

Then the money guys came to look over their purchase. They couldn't
make head or tail of it, and you can hardly blame them, because inside
the great structure they found a huge contraption that looked like a
cigar (Havana Perfecto) standing on end.

"What the hell is this," they asked the character in the opera hat, in
what is known as a menacing attitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

The old pappy guy offered to show them. He escorted them into the
cigar, pressed a button here and there, and before you could say "Al
Capone" the roof of the shed slid back and they began to move upward
at a terrific rate of speed.

Three or four of the Mafia chieftains were old hop-heads and felt at
home. In fact, one of them remarked, "Boy, are we gone." And he was
right.

The soberer Mafistas, after recovering from their first shock, laid
ungentle fists on their conductor. "What goes on?" he was asked.

"This is a space ship and we are headed for Mars."

"What's Mars?"

"A planet up in space, loaded with gold and diamonds."

"Any bims there?"

"I beg your pardon, sir. What are bims?"

"Get a load of this dope. He never heard of bims. Babes, broads,
frails, pigeons, ribs--catch on?"

"Oh, I assume you mean girls. There must be, otherwise what are the
diamonds for?"

The outward trip took a week, but it was spent pleasantly. During that
time, the Miami delegation cleaned out Chicago, New York and
Pittsburgh in a klabiash game.

The hop back, for various reasons, took a little longer. One reason
may have been the condition of the crew. On the return the boys from
Brooklyn were primed to the ears with _zorkle_.

_Zorkle_ is a Martian medicinal distillation, made from the milk of
the _schznoogle_--a six-legged cow, seldom milked because few Martians
can run fast enough to catch one. _Zorkle_ is strong enough to rip
steel plates out of battleships, but to stomachs accustomed to the
stuff sold in Flatbush, it acted like a gentle stimulant.

Upon their safe landing in Nevada, the Columbuses of this first flight
to Mars put in long-distance calls to all the other important hoods in
the country.

The Crime Cartel met in Cleveland--in the third floor front of a
tenement on Mayfield Road. The purpose of the meeting was to "cut up"
Mars.

Considerable dissension arose over the bookmaking facilities, when it
was learned that the radioactive surface of the planet made it
unnecessary to send scratches and results by wire. On the contrary,
the steel-shod hooves of the animals set up a current which carried
into every pool room, without a pay-off to the wire service.

The final division found the apportionment as follows:

     _New York mob_: Real estate and investments (if any)

     _Chicago mob_: Bookmaking and liquor (if any)

     _Brooklyn mob_: Protection and assassinations

     _Jersey mob_: Numbers (if any) and craps (if any)

     _Los Angeles mob_: Girls (if any)

     _Galveston and New Orleans mobs_: Dope (if any)

     _Cleveland mob_: Casinos (if any)

     _Detroit mob_: Summer resorts (if any)

The Detroit boys, incidentally, burned up when they learned the
Martian year is twice as long as ours, consequently it takes two years
for one summer to roll around.

After the summary demise of three Grand Councilors whose deaths were
recorded by the press as occurring from "natural causes," the other
major and minor mobs were declared in as partners.

The first problem to be ironed out was how to speed up transportation;
and failing that, to construct spacious space ships which would
attract pleasure-bent trade from _Terra_--Earth to you--with such
innovations as roulette wheels, steam rooms, cocktail lounges, double
rooms with hot and cold babes, and other such inducements.


II

THE INSIDE STUFF CONFIDENTIAL

Remember, you got this first from Lait and Mortimer. And we defy
anyone to call us liars--and prove it!

Only chumps bring babes with them to Mars. The temperature is a little
colder there than on Earth and the air a little thinner. So Terra
dames complain one mink coat doesn't keep them warm; they need two.

On the other hand, the gravity is considerably less than on Earth.
Therefore, even the heaviest bim weighs less and can be pushed over
with the greatest of ease.

However, the boys soon discovered that the lighter gravity played
havoc with the marijuana trade. With a slight tensing of the muscles
you can jump 20 feet, so why smoke "tea" when you can fly like crazy
for nothing?

Martian women are bags, so perhaps you had better disregard the
injunction above and bring your own, even if it means two furs.

Did you ever see an Alaska _klutch_ (pronounced klootch)? Probably
not. Well, these Arctic horrors are Ziegfeld beauts compared to the
Martian fair sex.

They slouch with knees bent and knuckles brushing the ground, and if
Ringling Bros, is looking for a mate for Gargantua, here is where to
find her. Yet, their manner is habitually timid, as though they've
been given a hard time. From the look in their deep-set eyes they seem
to fear abduction or rape; but not even the zoot-suited goons from
Greenpernt gave them a second tumble.

The visiting Mafia delegation was naturally disappointed at this state
of affairs. They had been led to believe by the little guy who
escorted them that all Martian dames resembled Marilyn Monroe, only
more so, and the men were Adonises (and not Joe).

Seems they once were, at that. This was a couple of aeons ago when
Earthmen looked like Martians do now, which seems to indicate that
Martians, as well as Men, have their ups and downs.

The citizens of the planet are apparently about halfway down the
toboggan. They wear clothes, but they're not handstitched. Their
neckties don't come from Sulka. No self-respecting goon from Gowanus
would care to be seen in their company.

The females always appear in public fully clothed, which doesn't help
them either. But covering their faces would. They buy their dresses at
a place called Kress-Worth and look like Paris _nouveau riche_.

There are four separate nations there, though nation is hardly the
word. It is more accurate to say there are four separate clans that
don't like each other, though how they can tell the difference is
beyond us. They are known as the East Side, West Side, North Side and
Gas House gangs.

Each stays in its own back-yard. Periodic wars are fought, a few
thousand of the enemy are dissolved with ray guns, after which the
factions retire by common consent and throw a banquet at which the
losing country is forced to take the wives of the visitors, which is a
twist not yet thought of on Earth.

Martian language is unlike anything ever heard below. It would baffle
the keenest linguist, if the keenest linguist ever gets to Mars.
However, the Mafia, which is a world-wide blood brotherhood with
colonies in every land and clime, has a universal language. Knives and
brass knucks are understood everywhere.

The Martian lingo seems to be somewhat similar to Chinese. It's not
what they say, but how they say it. For instance, _psonqule_ may mean
"I love you" or "you dirty son-of-a-bitch."

The Mafistas soon learned to translate what the natives were saying by
watching the squint in their eyes. When they spoke with a certain
expression, the mobsters let go with 45s, which, however, merely have
a stunning effect on the gent on the receiving end because of the
lesser gravity.

On the other hand, the Martian death ray guns were not fatal to the
toughs from Earth; anyone who can live through St. Valentine's Day in
Chicago can live through anything. So it came out a dead heat.

Thereupon the boys from the Syndicate sat down and declared the
Martians in for a fifty-fifty partnership, which means they actually
gave them one per cent, which is generous at that.

Never having had the great advantages of a New Deal, the Martians are
still backward and use gold as a means of exchange. With no Harvard
bigdomes to tell them gold is a thing of the past, the yellow metal
circulates there as freely and easily as we once kicked pennies around
before they became extinct here.

The Mafistas quickly set the Martians right about the futility of
gold. They eagerly turned it over to the Earthmen in exchange for
green certificates with pretty pictures engraved thereon.


III

RACKETS VIA ROCKETS

Gold, platinum, diamonds and other precious stuff are as plentiful on
Mars as hayfever is on Earth in August.

When the gangsters lamped the loot, their greedy eyes and greasy
fingers twitched, and when a hood's eyes and fingers twitch, watch
out; something is twitching.

The locals were completely honest. They were too dumb to be thieves.
The natives were not acquisitive. Why should they be when gold was so
common it had no value, and a neighbor's wife so ugly no one would
covet her?

This was a desperate situation, indeed, until one of the boys from
East St. Louis uttered the eternal truth: "There ain't no honest man
who ain't a crook, and why should Mars be any different?"

The difficulty was finding the means and method of corruption. All the
cash in Jake Guzik's strong box meant nothing to a race of characters
whose brats made mudpies of gold dust.

The discovery came as an accident.

The first Earthman to be eliminated on Mars was a two-bit hood from
North Clark Street who sold a five-cent Hershey bar with almonds to a
Martian for a gold piece worth 94 bucks.

The man from Mars bit the candy bar. The hood bit the gold piece.

Then the Martian picked up a rock and beaned the lad from the Windy
City. After which the Martian's eyes dilated and he let out a scream.
Then he attacked the first Martian female who passed by. Never before
had such a thing happened on Mars, and to say she was surprised is
putting it lightly. Thereupon, half the female population ran after
the berserk Martian.

When the organization heard about this, an investigation was ordered.
That is how the crime trust found out that there is no sugar on Mars;
that this was the first time it had ever been tasted by a Martian;
that it acts on them like junk does on an Earthman.

They further discovered that the chief source of Martian diet
is--believe it or not--poppy seed, hemp and coca leaf, and that the
alkaloids thereof: opium, hasheesh and cocaine have not the slightest
visible effect on them.

Poppies grow everywhere, huge russet poppies, ten times as large as
those on Earth and 100 times as deadly. It is these poppies which have
colored the planet red. Martians are strictly vegetarian: they bake,
fry and stew these flowers and weeds and eat them raw with a goo made
from fungus and called _szchmortz_ which passes for a salad dressing.

Though the Martians were absolutely impervious to the narcotic
qualities of the aforementioned flora, they got higher than Mars on
small doses of sugar.

So the Mafia was in business. The Martians sniffed granulated sugar,
which they called snow. They ate cube sugar, which they called "hard
stuff", and they injected molasses syrup into their veins with hypos
and called this "mainliners."

There was nothing they would not do for a pinch of sugar. Gold,
platinum and diamonds, narcotics by the acre--these were to be had in
generous exchange for sugar--which was selling on Earth at a nickel or
so a pound wholesale.

The space ship went into shuttle service. A load of diamonds and dope
coming back, a load of sugar and blondes going up. Blondes made
Martians higher even than sugar, and brought larger and quicker
returns.

This is a confidential tip to the South African diamond trust: ten
space ship loads of precious stones are now being cut in a cellar on
Bleecker Street in New York. The mob plans to retail them for $25 a
carat!

Though the gangsters are buying sugar at a few cents a pound here and
selling it for its weight in rubies on Mars, a hood is always a hood.
They've been cutting dope with sugar for years on Earth, so they
didn't know how to do it any different on Mars. What to cut the sugar
with on Mars? Simple. With heroin, of course, which is worthless
there.

This is a brief rundown on the racket situation as it currently exists
on our sister planet.

_FAKED PASSPORTS_: When the boys first landed they found only vague
boundaries between the nations, and Martians could roam as they
pleased. Maybe this is why they stayed close to home. Though anyway
why should they travel? There was nothing to see.

The boys quickly took care of this. First, in order to make travel
alluring, they brought 20 strippers from Calumet City and set them
peeling just beyond the border lines.

Then they went to the chieftains and sold them a bill of goods (with a
generous bribe of sugar) to close the borders. The next step was to
corrupt the border guards, which was easy with Annie Oakleys to do
the burlesque shows.

The selling price for faked passports fluctuates between a ton and
three tons of platinum.

_VICE_: Until the arrival of the Earthmen, there were no illicit
sexual relations on the planet. In fact, no Martian in his right mind
would have relations with the native crop of females, and they in turn
felt the same way about the males. Laws had to be passed requiring all
able-bodied citizens to marry and propagate.

Thus, the first load of bims from South Akard Street in Dallas found
eager customers. But these babes, who romanced anything in pants on
earth, went on a stand-up strike when they saw and smelled the
Martians. Especially smelled. They smelled worse than Texas yahoos
just off a cow farm.

This proved embarrassing, to say the least, to the procurers.
Considerable sums of money were invested in this human cargo, and the
boys feared dire consequences from their shylocks, should they return
empty-handed.

In our other Confidential essays we told you how the Mafia employs
some of the best brains on Earth to direct and manage its far-flung
properties, including high-priced attorneys, accountants, real-estate
experts, engineers and scientists.

A hurried meeting of the Grand Council was called and held in a
bungalow on the shores of one of Minneapolis' beautiful lakes. The
decision reached there was to corner chlorophyll (which accounts in
part for the delay in putting it on the market down here) and ship it
to Mars to deodorize the populace there. After which the ladies of the
evening got off their feet and went back to work.

_GAMBLING_: Until the arrival of the Mafia, gambling on Mars was
confined to a simple game played with children's jacks. The loser had
to relieve the winner of his wife.

The Mafia brought up some fine gambling equipment, including the
layouts from the Colonial Inn in Florida, and the Beverly in New
Orleans, both of which were closed, and taught the residents how to
shoot craps and play the wheel, with the house putting up sugar
against precious stones and metals. With such odds, it was not
necessary to fake the games more than is customary on Earth.


IV

LITTLE NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL

Despite what Earth-bound professors tell you about the Martian
atmosphere, we know better. They weren't there.

It is a dogma that Mars has no oxygen. Baloney. While it is true that
there is considerably less than on Earth in the surface atmosphere,
the air underground, in caves, valleys and tunnels, has plenty to
support life lavishly, though why Martians want to live after they
look at each other we cannot tell you, even confidential.

For this reason Martian cities are built underground, and travel
between them is carried on through a complicated system of subways
predating the New York IRT line by several thousand centuries, though
to the naked eye there is little difference between a Brooklyn express
and a Mars express, yet the latter were built before the Pyramids.

When the first load of Black Handers arrived, they naturally balked
against living underground. It reminded them too much of the days
before they went "legitimate" and were constantly on the lam and
hiding out.

So the Mafia put the Martians to work building a town. There are no
building materials on the planet, but the Martians are adept at making
gold dust hold together with diamond rivets. The result of their
effort--for which they were paid in peppermint sticks and lump
sugar--is named Little New York, with hotels, nightclubs, bars,
haberdashers, Turkish baths and horse rooms. Instead of
air-conditioning, it had oxygen-conditioning. But the town had no
police station.

There were no cops!

Finally, a meeting was held at which one punk asked another, "What the
hell kind of town is it with no cops? Who we going to bribe?"

After some discussion they cut cards. One of the Bergen County boys
drew the black ace. "What do I know about being a cop?" he squawked.

"You can take graft, can't you? You been shook down, ain't you?"

       *       *       *       *       *

The boys also imported a couple of smart mouthpieces and a ship of
blank habeas corpus forms, together with a judge who was the brother
of one of the lawyers, so there was no need to build a jail in this
model city.

The only ones who ever get arrested, anyway, are the Martians, and
they soon discovered that the coppers from _Terra_ would look the
other way for a bucket full of gold.

Until the arrival of the Earthmen, the Martians were, as stated,
peaceful, and even now crime is practically unknown among them. The
chief problem, however, is to keep them in line on pay nights, when
they go on sugar binges.

Chocolate bars are as common on Mars as saloons are on Broadway, and
it is not unusual to see "gone" Martians getting heaved out of these
bars right into the gutter. One nostalgic hood from Seattle said it
reminded him of Skid Row there.


V

THE RED RED PLANET

The gangsters had not been on Mars long before they heard rumors about
other outsiders who were supposed to have landed on the other side of
_Mt. Sirehum_.

The boys got together in a cocktail lounge to talk this over, and they
decided they weren't going to stand for any other mobs muscling in.

Thereupon, they despatched four torpedoes with Tommy guns in a big
black limousine to see what was going.

We tell you this Confidential. What they found was a Communist
apparatus sent to Mars from Soviet Russia.

This cell was so active that Commies had taken over almost half the
planet before the arrival of the Mafia, with their domain extending
from the _Deucalionis Region_ all the way over to _Phaethontis_ and
down to _Titania_.

Furthermore, through propaganda and infiltration, there were Communist
cells in every quarter of the planet, and many of the top officials of
the four Martian governments were either secretly party members or
openly in fronts.

The Communist battle cry was: "Men of Mars unite; you have nothing to
lose but your wives."

Comes the revolution, they were told, and all Martians could remain
bachelors. It is no wonder the Communists made such inroads. The
planet became known as "The Red Red Planet."

In their confidential books about the cities of Earth, Lait and
Mortimer explored the community of interest between the organized
underworld and the Soviet.

Communists are in favor of anything that causes civil disorder and
unrest; gangsters have no conscience and will do business with anyone
who pays.

On Earth, Russia floods the Western powers, and especially the United
States, with narcotics, first to weaken them and provide easy prey,
and second, for dollar exchange.

And on Earth, the Mafia, which is another international conspiracy
like the Communists, sells the narcotics.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

And so when the gangsters heard there were Communist cells on Mars,
they quickly made a contact.

For most of the world's cheap sugar comes from Russia! The Mafia
inroad on the American sugar market had already driven cane up more
than 300 per cent. But the Russians were anxious, able and willing to
provide all the beets they wanted at half the competitive price.


VI

THE HONEST HOODS

As we pointed out in previous works, the crime syndicate now owns so
much money, its chief problem is to find ways in which to invest it.

As a result, the Mafia and its allies control thousands of legitimate
enterprises ranging from hotel chains to railroads and from laundries
to distilleries.

And so it was on Mars. With all the rackets cornered, the gangsters
decided it was time to go into some straight businesses.

At the next get-together of the Grand Council, the following
conversation was heard:

"What do these mopes need that they ain't getting?"

"A big fat hole in the head."

"Cut it out. This is serious."

"A hole in the head ain't serious?"

"There's no profit in them one-shot deals."

"It's the repeat business you make the dough on."

"Maybe you got something there. You can kill a jerk only once."

"But a jerk can have relatives."

"We're talking about legit stuff. All the rest has been taken care
of."

[Illustration]

"With the Martians I've seen, a bar of soap could be a big thing."

From this random suggestion, there sprang up a major interplanetary
project. If the big soap companies are wondering where all that soap
went a few years ago, we can tell them.

It went to Mars.

Soap caught on immediately. It was snapped up as fast as it arrived.

But several questions popped into the minds of the Mafia soap
salesman.

Where was it all going? A Martian, in line for a bar in the evening,
was back again the following morning for another one.

And why did the Martians stay just as dirty as ever?

The answer was, the Martians stayed as dirty as ever because they
weren't using the soap to wash with. They were eating it!

It cured the hangover from sugar.

Another group cornered the undertaking business, adding a twist that
made for more activity. They added a Department of Elimination. The
men in charge of this end of the business circulate through the
chocolate and soap bars, politely inquiring, "Who would you like
killed?"

Struck with the novelty of the thing, quite a few Martians remember
other Martians they are mad at. The going price is one hundred carats
of diamonds to kill; which is cheap considering the average laborer
earns 10,000 carats a week.

Then the boys from the more dignified end of the business drop in at
the home of the victim and offer to bury him cheap. Two hundred and
fifty carats gets a Martian planted in style.

Inasmuch as Martians live underground, burying is done in reverse, by
tying a rocket to the tail of the deceased and shooting him out into
the stratosphere.


VII

ONE UNIVERSE CONFIDENTIAL

Mars is presently no problem to Earth, and will not be until we have
all its gold and the Martians begin asking us for loans.

Meanwhile, Lait and Mortimer say let the gangsters and communists have
it. We don't want it.

We believe Earth would weaken itself if it dissipated its assets on
foreign planets. Instead, we should heavily arm our own satellites,
which will make us secure from attack by an alien planet or
constellation.

At the same time, we should build an overwhelming force of space ships
capable of delivering lethal blows to the outermost corners of the
universe and return without refueling.

We have seen the futility of meddling in everyone's business on Earth.
Let's not make that mistake in space. We are unalterably opposed to
the UP (United Planets) and call upon the governments of Earth not to
join that Inter-Solar System boondoggle.

We have enough trouble right here.


THE APPENDIX CONFIDENTIAL:

     _Blast-off_: The equivalent of the take-off of Terran
     aviation. Space ships blast-off into space. Not to be
     confused with the report of a sawed-off shot gun.

     _Blasting pit_: Place from which a space ship blasts off.
     Guarded area where the intense heat from the jets melts the
     ground. Also used for cock-fights.

     _Spacemen_: Those who man the space ships. See any comic
     strip.

     _Hairoscope_: A very sensitive instrument for space
     navigation. The sighting plate thereon is centered around
     two crossed hairs. Because of the vastness of space, very
     fine hairs are used. These hairs are obtained from the
     Glomph-Frog, found only in the heart of the dense Venusian
     swamps. The hairoscope is a must in space navigation. Then
     how did they get to Venus to get the hair from the
     Glomph-Frog? Read Venus Confidential.

     _Multiplanetary agitation_: The inter-spacial methods by
     which the Russians compete for the minds of the Neptunians
     and the Plutonians and the Gowaniuns.

     _Space suit_: The clothing worn by those who go into space.
     The men are put into modernistic diving suits. The dames
     wear bras and panties.

     _Grav-plates_: A form of magnetic shoe worn by spacemen
     while standing on the outer hull of a space ship halfway to
     Mars. Why a spaceman wants to stand on the outer hull of a
     ship halfway to Mars is not clear. Possibly to win a bet.

     _Space platform_: A man-made satellite rotating around Earth
     between here and the Moon. Scientists say this is a
     necessary first step to interplanetary travel. Mars
     Confidential proves the fallacy of this theory.

     _Space Academy_: A college where young men are trained to be
     spacemen. The student body consists mainly of cadets who
     served apprenticeships as elevator jockeys.

     _Asteroids_: Tiny worlds floating around in space, put there
     no doubt to annoy unwary space ships.

     _Extrapolation_: The process by which a science-fiction
     writer takes an established scientific fact and builds
     thereon a story that couldn't happen in a million years, but
     maybe 2,000,000.

     _Science fiction_: A genre of escape literature which takes
     the reader to far-away planets--and usually neglects to
     bring him back.

     _S.F._: An abbreviation for science fiction.

     _Bem_: A word derived by using the first letters of the
     three words: Bug Eyed Monster. Bems are ghastly looking
     creatures in general. In science-fiction yarns written by
     Terrans, bems are natives of Mars. In science-fiction yarns
     written by Martians, bems are natives of Terra.

     _The pile_: The source from which power is derived to carry
     men to the stars. Optional on the more expensive space
     ships, at extra cost.

     _Atom blaster_: A gun carried by spacemen which will melt
     people down to a cinder. A .45 would do just as well, but
     then there's the Sullivan Act.

     _Orbit_: The path of any heavenly body. The bodies are held
     in these orbits by natural laws the Republicans are thinking
     of repealing.

     _Nova_: The explosive stage into which planets may pass.
     According to the finest scientific thinking, a planet will
     either nova, or it won't.

     _Galaxy_: A term used to confuse people who have always
     called it The Milky Way.

     _Sun spots_: Vast electrical storms on the sun which
     interfere with radio reception, said interference being
     advantageous during political campaigns.

     _Atomic cannons_: Things that go _zap_.

     _Audio screen_: Television without Milton Berle or
     wrestling.

     _Disintegrating ray_: Something you can't see that turns
     something you can see into something you can't see.

     _Geiger counter_: Something used to count Geigers.
     _Interstellar space_: Too much nothing at all, filled with
     rockets, flying saucers, advanced civilizations, and
     discarded copies of _Amazing Stories_.

     _Mars_: A candy bar.

     _Pluto_: A kind of water.

     _Ray guns_: Small things that go _zap_.

     _Time machine_: A machine that carries you back to yesterday
     and into next year. Also, an alarm clock.

     _Time warp_: The hole in time the time machine goes through
     to reach another time. A hole in nothing.

     _Terra_: Another name for Earth. It comes from _terra_ firma
     or something like that.

     _Hyperdrive_: The motor that is used to drive a space ship
     faster than the speed of light. Invented by science-fiction
     writers but not yet patented.

     _Ether_: The upper reaches of space and whatever fills them.
     Also, an anaesthetic.

     _Luna_: Another name for the Moon. Formerly a park in Coney
     Island.

       *       *       *       *       *





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