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Mars Free State, October 12, 2067

On a recent trip to Mars, I dropped in on Jim Wedge. We spoke at Wedge’s suite in the Emperor Bezos Home for Cranky Earthlings.

“Gee, Hymie” said Wedge, as he sipped a Red Planet Lite, “You didn’t have to drag your ass to Mars. You could have used space-mail. But if you’re as good at technology as you were at playing a horn, maybe this is better.”

“Good to see you, too,” I replied with a note of sarcasm. That’s a funky rejuvenation unit you’re plugged into. It is an antique?”

“We can’t get the new ones up here,” he replied. “And, yes, I know that mine looks like a lawnmower.”


Depiction of vintage rejuvenation unit

Refurbished rejuvenation unit


Wedge decided to emigrate after coming into some wealth, when a deposit of geezeranium, the element that is used in prostate treatment, was found on a plot of land he owned in Chelsea. And now that people live indefinitely, he got sick of his home planet’s overcrowding.

“And if you still live on Earth, you know how things have turned out,” he said. “Electric cars that smell like burnt-out Christmas lights, Big Macs made with fake meat that’s really balsa wood derivative. The Kardashians’ great-grandchildren on every channel!”


traffic jam


An added impetus for Wedge’s decision to leave Mother Earth was the discovery of sentient beings living beneath the Martian surface. On several occasions he has gone on underground expeditions, equipped with iced coffee pills for his sustenance and bearing gifts of musical and color guard equipment, an apostle of drum corps activity.

“The first species my team and I found has six arms. They could play the drum solo from ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk’ or they could spin half a dozen rifles at a time. Some of them were drumming and spinning.”


Martian with six arms


“Any brass players?” I asked.

“No, they had no mouths,” Wedge replied. Another anomaly was that they had genetically engineered themselves to look like 20th Century Earthling TV comedians, with the males mostly resembling Henny Youngman or Rodney Dangerfield and the females looking like Joan Rivers or Totie Fields. They were telling me jokes telepathically, but the material was 200 years old, 300 in the case of Henny Youngman.”

“So, Martians have been monitoring our boob tube?”

“Yes,” said the old Scarecrow. “A couple of miles farther down we found these beings who could split like amoebae, join back together, and split again. They said they were a Martian drill team, and they showed us a routine they had worked out, but I saw immediately that it was a derivative.”

“Derivative?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Wedge. Most of the show was stolen from ‘Gumby and Pokey.’”

“Any luck finding horn players?”

“Yes,” Wedge replied. “After almost being run through with flag poles by a tribe of giant women, meeting a race of talking dogs with a worse flatulence problem than Spotty Bonfiglio, and other adventures, we finally found our horn section. They were bipedal and had perfect embouchures, although they had the heads of beef cattle.”

“Let me guess…”

“You got it,” smiled Wedge. I taught them the chart for ‘Rawhide.’”

Yes, Jim Wedge is still resourceful, cantankerous, and out of this world.

Jim Macri in 27th Lancers uniform

Jim Macri – back on planet Earth



*Featured Photo: “This is an artist’s concept of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft approaching Mars. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.” flickr photo by Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license