[This tale was specially commissioned by the 'Zoo Nation' science-fiction fanzine. Hitherto I have kept my tales of Roy in clingfilm strictly within the realms of plausibility but this scenario may be more fantastic than usual. Then again - who can say? - Ulli]

In this fantasy Roy Orbison and I are the pilots of a magnificent rocket ship powering through space.

'Adjust thrusters, Mr. Haarbürste,' says Roy tersely, his calm capable hands adjusting the controls, the stars reflected in his trademark dark glasses.

'At once, mein Kapitan!' The precision-engineered BMW engines send us zooming through the stratosphere and push us back into our upholstered flight-seats.

'Make your report, Lieutenant Jetta.'

The screen wired to the pod where Jetta nestles snugly flickers into life. 'WE ARE LEAVING EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE AND ON COURSE FOR SPACE' says the read-out.

'So?' says Roy. 'Capital.'

The age-old problem of how to navigate the vast distances of deep space had been solved when it was discovered that terrapins had a unique ability to encompass the manifold plications of space and time. I and my terrapin Jetta immediately volunteered for an exploratory voyage. But who was to command this historic mission? The world was unanimous. There was only one man qualified to be mankind's ambassador to the stars: Roy Orbison, icon and enigma. Or as we must now call him, Captain Roy Orbison of the Space Pioneers.

Suddenly Jetta's translator flashes urgently: 'LOOK OUT!'

It is too late. There is a metallic clang and the ship rocks violently.

Roy thumbs the communicator to Earth. 'Dusseldorf, we have a problem,' he says.

'We have been struck by an asteroid,' I report. 'One of the precision-engineered BMW engines has been knocked out of alignment. Unless it can be mended we will die.'

'Suit me up,' says Roy. 'I'm going out there.'

'Captain,' I say nervously, 'you are not going to like this. I am afraid we forgot to bring space-suits on this mission.'

'Ach!' says Roy. 'This is a grave disappointment.'

I clear my throat diffidently. 'There is one thing we might try. As you know I had the foresight to bring many rolls of clingfilm with us for emergencies just such as this.'

'I scoffed at the time but now I perceive you were wise. You will wrap me in cling-film at once.'

I retrieve some cling-film from the Clingfilm Stowage Compartment where several hundred of the translucent rolls of joy glint softly in the cabin lights.

Roy Orbison unbuckles from his seat and floats out into the middle of the cabin, his black clothing billowing about him in the zero gravity like the folds of some black cloth manta ray. 'Commence,' he says.

As I set to work I seem to hear the strains of Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz in my head. As I orbit him weightless it as if we are performing some graceful ballet together. The clingfilm unfurls in languid arcs in the zero gravity and then girdles him gently as I spiral around him. Soon, Captain Roy Orbison of the Space Pioneers is completely wrapped in clingfilm. In all the infinite galaxies there is not a man as happy as I. Tears of wordless joy leak from my ducts and float off like little jewels, crystallised moments of ecstasy, tiny universes of rapture, perfect unto themselves.

'You are completely wrapped in clingfilm, Captain.'

'Also. Let us see about this engine, then.'

I tether him to me with a long umbilicus of clingfilm and Roy floats out of the airlock into space, protected by his airtight cocoon. Quickly he makes the necessary adjustments and we are saved.

'Emergency averted,' says Roy on his return. 'Now, helmsman, take us to the stars.'

'Aye, aye, captain!' I muse for a second. 'Captain,' I say. 'The advanced civilizations we seek - what do you think they will be like?'

'I do not know,' says Roy. 'But one thing is for certain - they will know the value of clingfilm!'

And we laugh heartily and zoom off to infinity side by side.

But suddenly Jetta's screen comes to life again: 'LOOK OUT - TIME WARP!!'

Everything goes strange. It feels as though my internal organs are sucked out through my ears.

And then...

'I scoffed at the time but now I perceive you were wise. You will wrap me in cling-film at once.'

Roy unbuckles from his seat and floats out into the middle of the cabin. 'Commence,' he says.

We have gone back in time and I will have to wrap Roy all over again!

In space, no-one can hear you squeak with pleasure.


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