An excerpt from Operation Sugarcube

by Alan J. Braithwaite. Originally published in 1972 by Pennypacker Books.

It is believed that Alan J. Braithwaite lived and worked on the outskirts of Rockford, Illinois. No one knows what he snacked on, but we imagine it was something out of this world.

Vessel F4917
Commander E. Dodd
Day 526
Earth Date: 10/06/2007


4:46: A piece of debris struck the exterior heat panels, which has obviously left Drive B at half capacity.

Sometimes I feel like all I do is eat, sleep, and recalibrate Drive B.

Drive B is such an idiot.


13:04: Drive B is back online and the ship is on course.

Not that it really matters. If I haven’t found a vaguely liveable planet in over 500 days, there’s not a lot of hope.


13:05: I think about Karen and how I wish she were up here with me. Even if she “loves me as a person but not as a partner anymore,” at least she could recalibrate Drive B once in a while.

Goddamnit, Karen, we didn’t have to die alone.

Well, it’s been a year and a half.

Maybe she won’t.


13:06: Fuck it, I’m eating snacks.

This will be the first time I’ve opened the snack cabinet. I guess I’ve been trying to stay in shape, look good for my return. The human race doesn’t want a flabby saviour.

Too bad, human race.

Before takeoff, the launch team said the agency did a great job on snack selection. The following is a full report of items consumed on Day 526.

Note: Sodium levels will spike in tonight’s workup. Do not notify Control.


REPORT: Day 526: Snacks

Doritos – Small bag

I remember now that I specifically requested Doritos. They gave me one of those small bags. The ones that were on the clip, not on the shelf. I’d assumed that they’d give me a shelf bag.

I really wish I had a shelf bag.

Every day in summer, I’d ride my BMX to 7-Eleven and buy one twenty ounce Coke and a bag of Doritos off the clip. It was like my job. I took it very seriously. I was paid in caffeine and cheese dust.

But now the caffeine comes in supplements. And the dust is just dusty. It doesn’t stick to my fingers anymore. It floats into every corner of the ship. Licking it off my fingers was the best part of the whole experience. It meant: “I’m done now.”

I want that closure.

I’ll be breathing cheese particles for days.


Sea Breezies: Psychotropical Sunrise Experience – 2 cubes

I guess I was only supposed to eat one cube.

I only saw the warning once the cubes were in my mouth. I guess it was supposed to make me feel like I was sitting on a beach at sunrise.

Instead, reality was kind of split in two for about twenty minutes. There was one beach and one sunrise in front of me, and another beach and sunrise in a plane perpendicular to that. The zero gravity wasn’t helping much either. I felt like you feel when you spin around in an office chair too many times.

And crabs were pinching my toes.

They tasted great, though. Piña Colada.


Texas Tommy’s Snack “Steaks” – 6 cylinders


Growing up, we always had Bessie Brand Imitation Meat Cylinders. My mom said they tasted more like real meat. I was two when the meat ban went into effect, so I could never tell the difference. My friends had Texas Tommy’s in their lunch bags every day. Sometimes they’d let me trade.

Salt and smoke flavor held together by wisps of vegetable protein.


Cows never tasted this good, I’d imagine.


Your Flavor Triscuits – A whole box

Gross. I’ve never had a good experience with these things. They’re supposed to be able to read your mind and give you a Triscuit flavor that reflects your personality.

For me, they’ve always tasted like fake banana or they’ve just been very, very bitter.

I think my personality tastes like roasted garlic.


Double State Pretzels

If I want to eat pretzels, I will eat pretzels. I don’t need my pretzels to convert from solid directly into gas as soon as I’ve consumed them.

I want my pretzels to stay in my stomach so I can feel bad about eating them.

This is supposed to be a shame spiral.



14:15: The snacks are gone. I ate all the snacks, and my sorrows don’t feel as drowned as I’d like them to.

A part of me wishes I hadn’t drunk all the AeroWhiskey in the first two weeks.

At least I can just sit here in silence and gaze out onto space. Become one with the emptiness. Wait in peace as my snacks and I return to the stars.

14:16: Malfunction in Drive B.