The original, 1-page short story version
Copyright © 1975 by Roger M. Wilcox. All rights reserved.
(writing on this story began 19-September-1975)
The original draft was written by hand in pencil, as a generative writing
assignment in 5th grade (yes, fifth grade). It was inspired by a
pre-video-game arcade game I played on the Santa Monica pier.
All spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, ridiculous aerodyamics,
etc. are as in the original.
You have been warned.
One day, I walked down to the pier, & went into the F-114 machine. Then I
thought, "If I imagined hard enough, I would be in a real F-114!"
So I imagined hard, & I was in a real F-114! Then a voice from the speaker
said, "Start all engines."
So I started them up, & then the same voice said "Take off."
So I reved up the engines, & took off! But then, there was a fleet of enemy
aircrafts in front of me, so I started fighting them. I fought them all off.
But then, I started going up, & went out of the Earths atmosphere & gravity
field! Then the air intakes for the jets closed, & the F-114 ran entirely on
rocket fuel. Now the jet was a rocket, & fortunately I had my seat belt on. So
then I thought, "If I imagine hard enough, I would be back on the pier!"
So I imagined real hard, & I was back on the pier again.
Author's notes from 2014:
- F-114 was a real arcade game, distributed by Centuri. It consisted of a
swivelling chair facing a projection screen, and a joystick with a "fire"
button on it. The screen displayed the image of a blue sky, with a white
crosshairs projected where the player's "machine guns" were currently pointing.
At random points on the screen, distant enemy aircraft would be projected; I
remember these targets resembled the F-80 Shooting Star. If you pointed the
crosshairs at them while the fire button was pressed, the aircraft picture
would be replaced by an explosion picture and you'd earn a point. The game was
timed and ended after about a minute.
- There was no aircraft called F-114 in real life, however. The highest the
F numbers got up to was the F-111, before they started over with the F-4 and
the F-5. (The exception was the Stealth Fighter, which came into the public eye
over a decade after the arcade game. It was called the F-117. I have no idea
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