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NOT for Moon Challenge: Lunar Eclipsed

If Ping was an astronaut, he’d be a cheeky SOB…

Sorry, but lately I haven't had much time to read or write, but I really wanted to contribute to this fun, member-initiated, non-SS sanctioned, Moon Challenge. I apologize that I'm woefully under the word count. Sadly, due to the apparent stringent word requirement, this story's short-comings and subsequent violation renders this story ineligible for the challenge. I shall then participate in spirit only. LOL.


Hate it.

Always have. Always will. Even on a day like today.

Yet, I’ve done what I’ve done to be able to do what I do, including what I’m about to. So why change now? Today’s no different. Kissing ass has always rubbed my rhubarb the wrong way, but I’m no joker. To billions, I’m a hero. To my CO, I’m a living stain on the tighty-whities of life. But that’s alright.

It’s all good because, in a few minutes, I’ll do something no human has done before. And it will be remembered by everyone from now to eternity.

Lieutenant Ping, this is Mission Control. You’ve come a long way. You are now cleared to go. Congratulations, Sir.

“Roger that, Mission Control. One moment please.”

Roger that, Lieutenant Ping. Let us know when you’re ready.

“Ping, bloody hell. Are you certain? Are you absolutely certain?”

“Neil, it’s fine. In fact, it’ll be my pleasure. I want you to be first. You deserve to be first.”

“But Mission Control? The President. Oh hell, Kendricks. He’ll tear you a new one.”

“Let me worry about that jealous piece of so-and-so.”

“Ping, I don’t know what to say. I hadn’t planned for this. We trained… I mean… I fully expected you to do all the talking.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’ll say the right thing.”

“Damn. I thought I was nervous before... “

“Neil, relax. Just say something about this being some giant leap for mankind or some other BS. People will eat it up.”

“You think?”


“Did Kendricks put you up to this?”

“Nah. Didn’t factor, but we both know he wanted you.”

“He is a dick, Ping. He never wanted you on this mission. He fought you every step of the way. He tried numerous times to ground you, so he could take your place. Even as late as last week.”

“I guess I shouldn’t have slept with his wife.”

“Roger that, you dumb ass. But she did it because you were going lunar and he wasn’t.”

“Roger that, my friend. Chicks do love an astronaut. But Neil, this is my decision. You’ve earned it, even if my brother-in-law wanted me out first for optics. He’s wrong. The President is not infallible. You’re the real hero. The decorated hero. It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve with you. You deserve this.”

“Likewise Ping, and so do you.”

“I appreciate that, but I’m certain I’ll have plenty to say once we’re out there.”

“Yes, WE certainly will. Last chance to change your mind.”

“Negative Lieutenant. You good to go?”

“I am.”

“Know what you’re going to say.”

“I think I do.”

“Excellent. Good luck my friend. We made it.”

“Roger that, good buddy.”

“Mission Control, This is Lieutenant Ping. Do you copy?”

Loud and clear, Ping. Is everything alright up there?

“We’re making a change. Neil’s going out first. I’ll follow.”

The hell you are! Ping, this is Colonel Kendricks. Proceed as previously planned. I repeat, proceed as previously planned, as ordered by me and The President of the United States.

“Negative, Sir. Armstrong first. Then me.”

Lieutenant Ping, are you disobeying a direct order - an order by me, your CO, and your Commander-in-Chief?


Colonel Kendricks, Lieutenant Armstrong has already exited the lunar module and is climbing down the ladder.

Ping, you son of a...

Colonel Kendricks, Sir. Lieutenant Armstrong has detached from the ladder. He is now on the...

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap… ”

Colonel, Lieutenant Ping is now exiting the landing module but appears to have stopped on the ladder. He’s not moving.

Ping, this is Kendricks. Quit screwing around. Get your ass on the surface or I’ll have it on a platter when you return.

“Why wait, Sir?”

Mission Control, what the hell did Ping just say? And what the hell is he doing now?

It’s hard to tell, Sir. It appears he’s squatting.


Yes, Sir. Squatting… on the ladder.

Jesus H. Christ! Ping, quit dickin’ around and plant the damn flag with Armstrong.

“Negative, Sir. Neil can handle that himself.”

Ping, you insubordinate bastard!

Colonel Kendricks, Sir, something’s not right with Lieutenant Ping’s space suit. The hatch appears to be open.

The hatch? What in the Sam Hill?

Lieutenant Ping, this is Mission Control. From our perspective, it appears that your suit has opened. Has it? Is it malfunctioning? Do you copy?

“Copy that, Mission Control. But that’s a negative. No malfunction. I’ve manually overridden and opened the hatch myself.”

Why, Lieutenant Ping? Is everything okay?

“Hunky Dory, Mission Control. Everything’s fine. Not to worry. I didn’t crap myself.”

Armstrong, this is Kendricks. Do you copy? See what the hell’s going on with Ping.

“Roger that, Colonel. One moment please.”

Ping, you smug SOB…

“Mission Control, do you copy?”

Loud and clear, Neil. It’s Kendricks. What the hell is Ping doing?

“It’s hard to explain, Sir.”

Hard to explain? Use your words, smart man.

“It might be better to just show you.”

Then bloody well show us!

“Roger that, Sir.”

Lieutenant Armstrong adjusted his space suit camera, the one feeding billions of earthlings live footage of the first steps on the moon. He directed it towards Lieutenant Ping squatting on the lunar module’s ladder. Armstrong didn’t hesitate. He zoomed in for all the world to see.

Even on his deathbed decades later, Neil Armstrong, the celebrated first person to walk on the moon, swore that he had heard the laughter from almost two hundred and forty thousand miles away.

Beamed back to earth, in glorious black and white, was what was written on Ping’s bare butt. On the left exposed cheek, it said, I’m here and you’re not...

And on the right, it said, Kiss My Ass, Kendricks.


This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Ping. All rights reserved. All stories and poems are written by, and the 'soul' property of, Ping, and he real life alter-ego. No portion, in whole or part, can be borrowed, linked, or reproduced without their expressed written consent. Please don't steal our stuff, just ask us if you want a copy. Thank you for your consideration.

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