ace keeps pace in space

a work of fiction by russell weiner
award winning kiss exclusive magazine - summer 1979

ace frehley's dream came true. he finally got to travel in space.
but he had a very close encounter with a green beast.
ace almost did'nt live to tell the tale. bet you can't wait
to find out what happened, so get to it.

there was a knock on the door. ace frehley was abruptly awakened from his sound sleep. kiss had given a concert the night before, and ace was dead tired. he was looking forward to sleeping late today. but now he would have to get up to answer the door.

ace arose, stumbling around, looking for his high, silver boots. rubbing his tired eyes, ace opened the door. the sight he saw before him brought a chuckle to his made-up face. it was a little old man.

he had silver hair and glasses. the man was wearing a rumpled raincoat and had a paper bag in his hands. ace asked him what he wanted. the little man seemed too scared to answer. but he summoned up his courage.

he said to ace, "i am professor hyman ziggyofsky and i came to help you." ace had a puzzled look of bewilderment on his face. he wondered how this elderly, sickly old man could possibly help him. after all, he was ace frehley, guitarist for the rock group to top all rock groups - kiss. he had everything he could want in life, or so he thought.

he was going to politely ask the man to leave, but the professor began speaking again. he said, "i know who you are, and i also know a lot about you. even though i may look old, i still love music, and kiss are my favorites. i especially like you.

"i know how much you are enraptured with science fiction and outer space. your stage personality is supposed to be a space traveller, but i can make you a real space traveller.

ace stood there, open mouthed, not knowing what to say or do. he figured the man was a kook, plain and simple. he even thought of calling the mental hospital. but a certain look of knowledge in the old man's eyes stopped ace from acting hastily. he could tell his unexpected visitor was ready to continue speaking.

the professor went on, "i know you must think i'm crazy, but i can assure you that i'm as sane as you are (that really made ace worried). i am a professor of astronomy who has made the study of outer space my life. i know more about the outer reaches of our galaxy than any man alive.

"i have found a way to travel to outer space. it's foolproof. but i need someone to test out my theory. i am too old to go myself. then i remembered you. you were the perfect choice. besides myself, you are the one person who wants to travel to space more than anything in life. i want to give you the chance to fulfill your dreams."

the more the elderly gent spoke, the more crazier ace thought him to be. but ace listened, for ace was too curious not to. he figured it could do him no harm to hear the old man out. he invited him to sit down and explain his plans in full.

the professor was only too happy to comply with ace's wishes. he told ace, "i have invented a machine which is capable of sending a man to outer space. all you would have to do is walk in it, and it would propel you to the planet of your choice. how about it? it's not dangerous, i promise you that."

ace did'nt know whether to laugh or run for cover. how could this man expect to be taken seriously? yet he seemed so convincing, so real in his speech. ace had always wanted desperately to really travel in space. but he always realized it was just a crazy, childhood dream. ace's appetite was really whetted by this man, and ace was in a quandary as to what to do.

then something the old professor said seemed to convince ace what to do. he stated, "i can see you still don't believe me. well, in this paper bag, i have a picture of my space machine. take a look at it."

ace took a look. it was weird. it was a square box with an antenna on top and lots of dials all around. it sure looked like it had to do with outer space, it sure was'nt like anything ace had ever seen before on this world.

the man continued, "come with me to my laboratory. you can see for yourself. i'll prove to you i'm not a deranged liar." ace figured he was already up, so he might as well go with the man, he might get a good laugh out of the whole thing or he might get to go to space.

ace and professor ziggyofsky arrived at the professor's lab. ace had never seen anything like it - even at a kiss show. there were instruments all around, with bottles of chemicals lying about. there were incredible-looking objects strewn about, and the whole place looked like something out of a bad science fiction movie.

the professor led ace to his space-travel machine. it looked exactly like it did in the picture. the professor beckoned ace to enter. but ace was'nt about to undertake any rash act. he shook his head. but the professor remained undaunted.

he told ace that he would guarantee his safety. he said, "i promise you that i can bring you back whenever you want. i'll give you a button to attach to your belt, and whenever you press it, i'll return you to earth. you can go to whatever planet you want. give it a try, you'll never regret it."

ace was quite tempted. he figured if he got in the box, it would'nt work anyway. he might as well humor the old guy, it was no makeup off his face. he consented to give it a try. he said he wanted to go to mars. the professor told him to step inside, and his wish was granted.

ace stepped into the box. he laughed, figuring he'd soon be coming out, still on earth. but he was wrong. the professor programmed his box for mars, and turned the dials. before ace could blink an eye, he felt his body becoming weightless, he was actually travelling in space. he could'nt believe it, ace thought it was a dream, but it was for real. the professor was no kook, he knew what he was doing.

ace could feel himself in another dimension. it was a weird, unbelievable feeling. then, before he knew it, ace found himself landing on mars. there was no doubt about it, it was the red planet which ace had so often dreamed about. he was actually standing on mars, what an incredible, stupendous feeling.

the surface was soft, there was a great amount of gas and smoke in the air. ace had never seen anything like it in his life, not even in his dreams. it was a beautiful planet, just as ace imagined it, but more so. there were canals and bridges and even what looked to be some lakes with dried-up water in them.

ace was captivated by it all. he was so glad that he listened to the professor. his dream had come true, it was to good to be believe. ace wanted to enjoy the few precious hours he would have on mars. he began roaming the surface. ace wanted to take in all the sights. he thought he would have more fun than he ever did on earth.

but ace was in for a rude awakening. mars was not like the comic books pictured it. it was not the unchartered barren wasteland of a planet which the science books made it to be. there were creatures on it - ace would soon find that out for himself.

as he was slowly walking along, ace heard this loud, rambling noise. he could'nt imagine what it was. after all, who or what could be making the noise, he was alone on mars, was'nt he? no, he most certainly was'nt.

ace heard large footsteps behind him, he was getting sicker by the minute. he was too afraid to turn around, but was saved the effort when he felt a large paw on his shoulder. ace knew he was in trouble, big trouble. he looked at the clawed hand on his shoulder. it was hairy and large and ugly. ace then turned around to meet the body behind the claw.

he nearly fainted when he saw the creature. it was green, about seven-feet tall, had three eyes, two noses and a tail. even gene simmons was better looking. ace stood there petrified, shaking in his heels. what he do to save himself?

he shook loose from the paw of the green martian monster. but the beast grunted at him and kept on coming towards ace. he let out a loud yell and struck out at ace. ace was more startled than hurt by the blow. he tried to convey to the monster that he was friendly, but the martian did'nt understand english. he kept on pointing at ace's face and guitar and making a sound which resembled a human guffaw. it seemed as if he was amused by ace's makeup and kiss costume. it also seemed as if he was a bit terrified himself, especially of the guitar.

when an animal is frightened it attacks, and this one was no different. it lashed out at ace with a hairy foot. ace was knocked backwards. his body sagged as it hit the soft surface of mars. ace was afraid the monster would step on him and send him sinking into a crater, never to return to the surface of the planet. but ace was lucky. the beast backed away momentarily, letting ace pick himself up.

but ace's respite was brief.once again, the martian creature advanced towards him, this time swiping at him with his large paw. ace was sent sailing as the beast moved in for the kill. ace figured this would he curtains. but he still had one trick up his metal and diamond sleeve.

as the beast stood over ace, ready to crush him with one giant blow, ace picked up his trust guitar and struck out at the creature's feet, toppling him. but instead of hurting the space creature, the maneuver just served to anger him more. he rose and thumped his paws against his powerful chest. holding out his hands, the creature was readying his final attack. ace knew it looked hopeless. if his guitar could'nt help him, nothing would.

ace's whole life flashed before his eyes as the martian behemoth was about to bring his fists down against ace's skull. for a brief instant in time, ace relived all his former triumphs, he saw everything in his life. but the most important thing ace saw and remembered was professor ziggyofsky telling him to press the special button he gave him whenever he wanted to come home. ace did'nt know how he could have forgotten such an important thing, but in all the ensuing excitement he did.

it was still not too late. with the deadly blow of the beast micro inches away from his head, ace pressed the button for all he was worth. to his relief, he soon found himself being propelled away from mars and floating in space. he felt the same weird sensation he had when he was travelling to mars. only this time, he was overcome with happiness - his life had been saved.

in a few seconds, ace found himself back in the space box of the professor's. the door was opened, and the professor was standing outside, smiling from ear to ear. he asked ace if he had a nice time on mars. when ace told him the horrifying story of his encounter with the martian beast, the good professor was overcome with grief. he apologized to ace for sending him on such a dangerous trip.

but ace told the old man it was alright. his dream of a lifetime had been fulfilled and had had lived to tell the tale. he was a bit shaken but happy. ace was now a real space traveller, he would no longer only having to pretend to be such. he thanked the professor for the experience and left the lab. ace had been through quite a day, his whole life had been changed by the experience.

walking home, ace decided to stroll through the woods, he wanted the peace and quiet they would afford him. ace had a lot to think about. halfway home, ace heard a strange sound. he looked up in the sky. ace could'nt believe his eyes, he saw a flying ball of flaming fire in the sky. oh no, not again, ace could'nt face any more aliens. he turned tail and ran as fast as he could. one close encounter for the day was enough. from now on, ace frehley wanted to keep his feet planted on the ground. it may not have been as exciting as being a space man, but it sure was safer.

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