Homemade Spaceship – Mickey Collins

We had some empty cardboard boxes from moving. We wanted to build something: a spaceship we decided. My brother got to choose, he wasn’t older but he was in charge. I looked up to him. That’s how we worked. He planned it all out, and I taped up the edges with packing tape where he said to. He stood above me and pointed with clean fingers. He was to be ground control and Buzz Aldrin and the rest of them all put together. My hands were splotchy red from tiny cardboard cuts and black from the permanent marker used to draw the buttons.

Through our hard work, it came together. We had a cockpit, which we didn’t laugh at then, we were too young. You had to crawl through a box that once held a couch to get to the engine room. Another area served as the crew quarters, but we couldn’t make bunk beds work so we just laid next to each other and talked as if he was above me. And our ship had four V-shaped wings. We even got to use the adult scissors, since NASA didn’t use little kid scissors how could we. 

It was cold in there too, which added to the believability. It was an unfinished room, concrete floors and when we closed the double doors it was dark. It was our personal outer space. 

We visited Pluto, Uranus, the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and met with all sorts of aliens–action figures stood in for the real things. We could communicate with them when we had our translator, until our sister made us give her back her hairbrush. Then we would have to learn the language quickly or else cause an intergalactic war.

We were in that spaceship from the time after breakfast until lunch time. And then after lunch we played outside, while the spaceship stayed in the basement. Mom said we needed sunshine, we were too pale. Mom didn’t even know that the sun was a star which was composed of hydrogen and helium and other gasses and the heat that we felt was radiation. All the while we thought of going back into that spaceship and my brother planned out our next adventure in chalk.

Every other weekend he spent with his dad. On those days the spaceship would sit idly by, floating in space. I didn’t dare fly the ship without its captain.

And then one day, we had to retire our spaceship. The unfinished basement was to be finished and the “cardboard mess” was in the way, my dad said. My brother might have been the captain, but my dad was the admiral. Summer was ending soon anyways. We never did build another one, there was no place to put it.

My wife and I just moved into a new house. As I broke down a cardboard box to fit into the recycling bin, there it was. The two sides extended out like wings, and the front flap, that was the cockpit, and the flap in the back was the engines. I decided to call my brother. How long had it been?




Mickey rights wrongs. Mickey wrongs rites. Mickey writes words, sometimes
wrong words but he tries to get it write.

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