A Trip to Mars
Written and Illustrated by Carmen Lambert
One day Josh was walking along and came across a strangely shaped bottle. It was carved out of wood. Josh wondered what you would put in a wooden bottle. Not drinks, that's for sure. He opened the bottle to look.
Josh jumped back in surprise. A big cloud of smoke came out and formed itself in the shape of an enormous man. ``I am the Genie of the bottle'' he announced.
``Great! Now I get three wishes!'' said Josh excitedly.
``Who told you that?'' asked the Genie impatiently. ``Why does everyone think they get three? One is all you get, so make it interesting.'' he commanded.
As Josh opened his mouth to speak, the Genie said rudely ``Oh, you don't have to tell me, I know what kids ask for. You want to go to Mars on a UFO, right?''
The Genie whipped his hands around and sung out ``Wahib, walib, wah!'' and a huge, glowing spaceship appeared.
Josh was amazed. He didn't know what to say.
The genie pushed him into the craft. ``Hurry up, hop aboard, we don't have all day''.
Josh climbed up into the craft and saw rows and rows of controls in front of him. ``Do you know how to use all those controls?'', he asked.
The genie answered, ``Of course not! They're just for kids to play around with. The UFO knows how to get to Mars all by itself.''
The ship started spinning and Josh fell into a soft, padded couch. Within seconds the craft was hurtling through space. Everywhere he looked there were thousands of bright stars. ``How many stars are there in the universe?'' he asked the Genie.
``Oh, no. I'm not doing that again. One child asked me that question about 4000 years ago, and I actually went up and tried to find out. It was hopeless though, because I kept losing count.''
Josh looked at him doubtfully. ``Well, you tell me the number that comes after Five billion, three hundred and sixty five million, four hundred and six. Go on!'' the Genie challenged.
Josh was about to try, when the UFO bumped into something enormous. ``What was that?'' asked Josh as He fell out of his chair.
``Mars, of course.'' said the Genie. Josh rushed to look outside. Where's the spacesuit?'' He asked. ``I want to go out and explore!"
The genie looked unhappy. ``You don't want to do that, do you? I've been here hundreds of times. I'm so sick of it!''
``But I've never been here before. Please, let me check it out, please?'' begged Josh.
``Fine'', said the Genie. ``You've got 12 minutes.''
``Twelve minutes!'' protested Josh. ``That's not long enough to see anything!''
``Eleven minutes and 50 seconds.'' replied the Genie.
Josh hurried into a spacesuit that was under his chair and fell out of the UFO. He then bounced up into the air. The gravity on Mars was much less than on earth. What He saw was incredible! There were buildings everywhere. And people in spacesuits just like his. ``Are they human?'' He asked the genie. ``Of course they're human, can't you smell them?''
Josh bounced up to a kid his own size. ``Hi! I just got here from Earth. I didn't know there were people living here!''
``Sure there are, my family came over from Italy a few years ago. But it's a secret. No one's supposed to know about us yet. Not until our colony is established. You won't tell anyone, will you?'' the space child asked.
Josh wasn't sure. On the other hand, who would believe him anyway? He promised not to tell, and bounced away to explore some more. There were spaceships of all kinds parked nearby and He wanted to get a closer look. He had just gotten to one of them, when the Genie came and dragged him back to his UFO and threw him to the ground. ``That's it, kid. Your time is up.''
When Josh got up, his space suit was gone, the UFO was gone, and He was back on earth, holding the wooden bottle.
``Now throw that bottle away, and you'll have good luck for a week!'' ordered the genie. Josh threw it as high and as far as He could. It vanished in thin air. The Genie laughed. ``You forgot to command me to go inside it! Now I'm free! free! free!'' He vanished too.
Josh ran home. his Mum was watching the news. Yet another Mars probe had stopped sending pictures back to earth. Josh knew why.