"Houston, we have your answer."
The speaker on the radio sizzled and snapped for a few seconds. Sanders and I sat and waited for the faint signal to make the round-trip journey from the lunar surface.
"Go ahead, Harris. What did you find at the lunar mining site?"
Sanders just sat there, trying his best to cover his face with his hands. "I'm glad I'm not the commander of this mission."
"Thanks a lot, schmuck." I keyed the radio to give the unbelievable report to the eggheads at mission control. "Bob, it's true. After you dig down two or three feet, it's all cheese. Judging by the consistency, I'd say we hit a vein of brie."
I unkeyed the mike. Perhaps it was best to let this news go out in drips and drabs. Sanders still had fits of silent giggles.
The static swelled for a moment, followed by the faint reply. "We're gonna want you to mine a bit of it for the scientists to analyze. Perhaps you two should drill a few more test holes, just to see if there are different types of cheese."
Sanders fell off of his chair, his back spasming as he tried his best to not burst out laughing. Always the professional ... at least to the brass at NASA.
"Way ahead of you, Houston. We've been boring holes all over the place. We've found eight or nine varieties of cheese. None of the deposits are as big or well done as the brie, but there's definitely a lot of cheeses up here. I've got Sanders here too, in case you have any questions."
Sanders bit his lower lip and sat up, his face ruddy from holding in his laughter.
"Sanders,” said the speaker, “we're relying on you to identify the cheeses, estimate the sizes of the deposits, and to sample all of them for the scientists to test."
Sanders snorted, and then reigned in his laughter. "That's gouda you to say that, Sir. You can count on me!"
I had to groan at that one, and I snatched the microphone away from my colleague. "Sorry about that, Houston. `Edam well better get his act together, or he'll be feeling bleu."
Sanders couldn't take it any more, and began to howl with laughter. I keyed the mike again. "Houston, I think Sanders is utterly crackered. He's cowering in the corner. I think he's trying to milk this for all it's worth. I wouldn't steer you wrong."
He rolled on the floor of the tiny cabin, beating his fists on the aluminum deck. "He's beginning to wine a bit. Should I restrain him, or let him brie?"
"Your cheese puns are really grating to us, Harris. We swiss you would stop. Go collect more of the brie cheese." I stared at the mike. Holy cow, Houston had a sense of humor!
"We've already got two loads of brie, Houston. Should we go and dig at some other site, or are you just stringing us along?"
"We want you to go get some more of that brie, Harris. Stop hamming it up, you cheesehead."
Sanders was useless at this point, so I ignored his convulsions. "Houston, I think we've got enough brie. If we mined all of it, environmentalists would think we were munsters. I'd rather get hit with a brick than go against them."
"Harris," replied the radio, "we all really swiss you'd stop. Looks like if we continue, the mission commander will get our goat."
"I agree, ricotta get going, but I don't want to get another load of brie. We already have two!"
Someone was arguing in my favor, because it took twice as long to get the reply. "No, the head cheese says you can wedge some more in the ship."
I didn't want to go out again. Digging on the lunar surface was a tough job, and it would be twice as hard with Sanders out of commission.
"No, Houston, I don't want to do it. I'm thinking as an environmentalist. Besides, have you ever seen such a site in your life as brie mined thrice?"
That got them, I thought. No way to top that one.
"OK, we agree. We'll see you after splashdown, Jack."
Edam those guys. Too smart for me ... they got the last one in. I guess that's why they're cheese-whizzes.