On July 20, 1969, human beings from the planet Earth first walked on the moon. When you think about it, that is quite an achievement even to this day. The Wonderful World of Longmire would like to pay tribute to the crew of Apollo 11 on the 30th anniversary of this great event. This is the scenario: after a four-day journey from Earth, two American astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, are preparing to land the Lunar Module "Eagle" while the third astronaut, Michael Collins, remains in lunar orbit in "Columbia," the Command Module.

Everyone knows the "popular" version of what happened on that historic day... but the following is what really happened. We join the crew of Apollo 11 as they start their descent to the lunar surface...

Apollo 11 crew

 

MISSION CONTROL (HOUSTON): Eagle, you are go for lunar landing.

EAGLE (ARMSTRONG): Roger, understand. Go for landing.

EAGLE (ALDRIN): Altitude 4200 feet.

HOUSTON: We copy you at 4200 feet.

ARMSTRONG: Manual auto attitude control is good.

HOUSTON: Roger, copy.

Where are we....?ARMSTRONG: (mumbling to himself) Let's see... hmm... "Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today"... no, that's no good...

HOUSTON: What was that, Eagle? Repeat. Over.

ARMSTRONG: Disregard, Houston. 4000 feet.

HOUSTON: Roger. 4000 feet.

ARMSTRONG: "As I take this first step, I am reminded of the great Abraham Lincoln who once said"... crap, that's no good either. Damn...

HOUSTON: Huh? Over.

ARMSTRONG: "Klaatu verada nekto..." Nope, been said already.

ALDRIN: Houston, we are go at 3800 feet.

HOUSTON: Roger, Eagle. Understand go at 3800 feet.

ALDRIN: Neil?

ARMSTRONG: "Wake me up before you go-go?"... no... hmmm...

ALDRIN: NEIL!

ARMSTRONG: Yeah? What? I'm kinda busy right now, Buzz.

ALDRIN: Remember what we were talking about yesterday?

ARMSTRONG: Huh?

ALDRIN: You know...

ARMSTRONG: Oh yeah... that... my answer hasn't changed.

ALDRIN: Oh, come on.

ARMSTRONG: No. I'm still going out first.

ALDRIN: But I want to be first.

ARMSTRONG: No.

ALDRIN: Please?

ARMSTRONG: I said no.

I wonder if they restocked the vending machine...HOUSTON: Eagle, what's going on up there?

ARMSTRONG: Nothing, Houston. Disregard. 3600 feet into the AGS. 47 degrees.

HOUSTON: Roger, Eagle.

ALDRIN: I'll give you my car...

ARMSTRONG: DAMMIT, BUZZ! I SAID NO AND I MEAN NO!

ALDRIN: I promise. It's a brand new Corvette.

ARMSTRONG: (silence)

ALDRIN: It's red...

ARMSTRONG: Has it got cup holders?

ALDRIN: Yes, and an eight-track tape deck.

ARMSTRONG: (silence)

ALDRIN: Well...?

ARMSTRONG: Uh... no... my answer's still no.

ALDRIN: Shit.

HOUSTON: Eagle, what's your status? Copy.

ALDRIN: Houston, Mr. Big Deal Commander says I can't go out first.

ARMSTRONG: Houston, disregard that. We're go at 3000 feet.

HOUSTON: Uh...right... Roger that, we copy, Eagle.

ARMSTRONG: Umm... "Call me Ishmael..." nah, no good..."I have a dream..." no...

Where's my wallet?COLLINS: Hey guys, this is Mike in the Command Module.

ALDRIN: We copy you, Mike. Go ahead.

COLLINS: How's it going?

ALDRIN: Well, pretty good except for...

ARMSTRONG: What do you need, Mike? I've kinda got my hands full here...

COLLINS: Oh yeah... have either of you guys seen my wallet?

HOUSTON: What the hell...?

COLLINS: I can't seem to find it anywhere.

ALDRIN: Neil took it.

COLLINS: He took my wallet?

ALDRIN: Yes, I saw him take it.

ARMSTRONG: (silence)

COLLINS: Neil, why the hell did you...

ARMSTRONG: (changing the subject) OK, Houston, we're looking good at 2400 feet. Hang tight, we're go.

HOUSTON: Roger, Eagle.

COLLINS: Man, I can't believe you'd take my wallet. I know you're the commander and all, but that doesn't give you the right to just take.... (garbled static)

HOUSTON: Eagle, Columbia has slipped behind the moon. Loss of radio contact with Columbia for 35 minutes.

ARMSTRONG: (sigh of relief) Roger, understand. We are at 2200 feet. Fuel is good.

HOUSTON: Roger that, Eagle. We copy fuel is looking good.

ARMSTRONG: "There once was a girl from Nantucket..." Damn! That's no good.

ALDRIN: You know, Neil, I already prepared some first words in case you changed your mind.

ARMSTRONG: Not now, Buzz... give me the readout on the... huh?...first words?.. really? What are they?

ALDRIN: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

ARMSTRONG: Hey, that's pretty good. Hmmm.

ALDRIN: Little good it does me now, though. (sniff)

HOUSTON: Eagle, how does your radar look? Over.

ALDRIN: Roger, Houston, radar is locked on at 1800 feet and looking A-OK.

HOUSTON: We copy A-OK on radar. Understand you are still go at 1800 feet.

ALDRIN: Roger, we are go for final descent maneuvers. Activating attitude control thrusters.

HOUSTON: We copy you, Eagle.

ARMSTRONG: (thinking to himself) (Wow, I'm gonna be the first man on the moon. Broads, booze, new clothes, big bonus, around-the-world tour, a Bob Hope Special, ticker tape para...)

ALDRIN: HOLY MOTHER OF... WATCH OUT, NEIL!!!!!

WHAM! THUD! Ching, ching, ching, ching......

Whoa....steady, boy...ARMSTRONG: TOMO EL DOS CONDRE LOS HOMBRES MUY SANCHOS!!!!

HOUSTON: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? YOUR TELEMETRY IS JUMPING OFF THE SCREEN DOWN HERE!!! EAGLE, DO YOU COPY?!!!!

ALDRIN: HOUSTON, NEIL JUST HIT THE RIM OF ONE BIG-ASSED CRATER! WE'VE GOT A 1201 ALARM. I REPEAT, WE'VE GOT A 1201 ALARM!

HOUSTON: ROGER. 1201 ALARM. EAGLE, WHAT IS YOUR SITUATION?!!!

ALDRIN: NEIL, SNAP OUT OF IT! NEIL! ....HOUSTON, THIS IS THE LUNAR MODULE PILOT. I"M TAKING CONTROL OF THE...

ARMSTRONG: HEY! GET OFFA ME! GET BACK OVER TO YOUR SIDE OF THE....

ALDRIN: YOU IDIOT! YOU'RE GONNA GET US KILLED! YOU STUPID SON OF A...

ARMSTRONG: BACK OFF! (Armstrong punches Aldrin in stomach)

ALDRIN: Oooof!

HOUSTON: NEIL, BUZZ! WHAT IN HELL'S NAME IS...

ARMSTRONG: (gulp) Uh.. um.. Houston... heh, heh, heh,... uh, yeah...1201 alarm dismissed. Control regained. All systems nominal. Proceeding with landing. 1000 feet.

HOUSTON: Uh... right... we copy that, Eagle. Do you copy, Buzz?

ALDRIN: (wheezing) Copy... Houston.... ouch.

 

A strange sound is heard and a constant shuddering is felt:

Budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

It's supposed to do this... right?ARMSTRONG: What's that noise?

ALDRIN: You must have damaged something, jerk! ....ow.

HOUSTON: Eagle, we are reading a malfunction in the aft cooling system. Do you notice or hear anything unusual? Over.

ALDRIN: I can hear a...

ARMSTRONG: Shut it, Buzz! Uh...Houston, everything is on the money. (Staring intensely at Buzz) Yeah, everything is fine.We're at 800 feet.

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

HOUSTON: Copy that, Eagle. You're go for touchdown.

ARMSTRONG: Roger, Houston, go for touchdown.

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

ALDRIN: It's getting hot in here... I smell smoke.

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

ARMSTRONG: Entering final descent phase.

HOUSTON: Roger, Eagle. Columbia has come round from behind the moon. Reestablishing radio contact...

COLLINS: (garbled static gradually clearing up)...is my wallet. You just don't take a man's wallet, you know? It's just not right. My father used to tell me, Mike, a man's wallet is his....

HOUSTON: Mike, let's hold off on that for a bit, shall we? Eagle, go ahead.

ARMSTRONG: 750, coming down at 23. 700 feet, 21 down, 33 degrees, 600 feet, down at 19. 540 feet, down at 30, down at 15. 400 feet. down at 9. 8 forward. 350, down at 4. 330, 3 1/2 down. We're pegged on horizontal velocity. 300 feet, down 3 1/2. 47 forward. Got the shadow out there. Altitude velocity lights. 11 forward, coming down nicely...

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

ARMSTRONG: 200 feet, 160, things looking good... down a half. 6 forward.

HOUSTON: 30 seconds, Eagle.

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

ALDRIN: (starting to sing...) Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang...

ARMSTRONG: Lights on. Down 2/1/2. Picking up some dust... drifting to the right a little...

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

ALDRIN: High, low, everywhere we go, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I love you...

ARMSTRONG: Drifting right...

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...

 

ALDRIN: Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, my fine four-fendered friend...

ARMSTRONG: Contact light. OK, engine stop. Descent engine command overide, off. Engine arm, off...

ALDRIN: My... fine... four-fendered.... Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Bang Bang... YEAH!

 

...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...chonk...budabum...whooooossssssssh.

 

(silence)

 

HOUSTON: We copy you down, Eagle.

ARMSTRONG: Houston, Chitty Chitty... I mean... Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

HOUSTON: Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.

 

 

 

With the landing successful, Neil and Buzz prepare for their excursion onto the lunar surface. Buzz has resigned himself to fact that he will be the second, not the first, man on the moon. He is in a sullen mood, to say the least. Two to three hours after the landing, Neil Armstrong opens the forward egress hatch and starts descending to the surface...

 

HOUSTON: OK, Neil, we can see you coming down the ladder now.

ALDRIN: Yeah, big deal.

ARMSTRONG: OK, I just checked - getting back up to that first step, Buzz, it's not even collapsed too far, but it's adequate to get back up. (he looks back up at Buzz, who is peering through the open hatch, flipping a gloved middle finger at him.)

ALDRIN: Whatever... can we go now?

ARMSTRONG: (mumbling) That's one small step for a man... one giant leap... OK...yeah, I got it.

ALDRIN: (thinking to himself) That lousy bastard's gonna steal my line!

ARMSTRONG: I'm at the foot of the ladder. The LM foot pads are only depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches. Although the surface appears to be very, very fine grained, as you get close to it, it's almost like a powder.

I'm going to step off the LM now...

 

Well, here's goes nuttin'...(dramatic pause)

 

HOUSTON: Just a minute there, Neil.

ARMSTRONG: Huh? What? Now?!!!

HOUSTON: Uh... yeah... Neil, we've got a couple of police officers here with a warrant for your arrest... for the theft of a wallet belonging to a Mr. Michael Collins. I believe you know something about this....?

ALDRIN: HA!

ARMSTRONG: Hey, I'm on the friggin' moon here. Isn't this just a little bit out of their jurisdiction?

HOUSTON: Hang on, Neil. (muffled discussion) They say no, Neil.

ARMSTRONG: Can we deal with this later?

COLLINS: I'll drop the charges if you just give me my wallet back.

ARMSTRONG: OK, OK, I'll give you your damn wallet back. Jeez Louise.

HOUSTON: Wise choice, Neil.

ARMSTRONG: NOW, I'm going to step off the LM if it's OK with everybody.

HOUSTON: You're go with your foot, Neil.

ALDRIN: Good luck, Neil, just remember that the entire world is watching right now, so don't MESS UP.

ARMSTRONG: Uh... yeah...right. OK, well... here goes.

(Armstrong places his left foot onto the lunar surface, the dramatic culmination of America's blood, sweat, and tears for most of a decade, the victory of the space race, and the realization of mankind's dream for milleniums to travel to and touch this strange, alluring object in the sky.)

   You put you left foot in...

 

ARMSTRONG: "That's one small stain for a man, one giant teat for landmines."

 

(silence)

 

ALDRIN: HA! LOSER!

ARMSTRONG: AHHHH! DAMMIT!

 

 OK... now what?

And there you have it... the true story of man's first moon landing. We'd like to dedicate this little parody to Buzz Aldrin. Hey Buzz, it's OK to be number 2. Really. We love you, man.

In memory of Jim Irwin, Alan Shepard, and Pete Conrad, moonwalkers who have taken that last giant leap.

Special thanks go to Mark Sieger for some great ideas for this little story.

 

Copyright 1999 The Wonderful World of Longmire

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