Little Miss Baker: 99 Word Flash Fiction


courtesy wikipedia 

“Crate all the monkeys. ‘Cept her” Carrying her,cuddling her. 

At home Miss Baker learnt arithmetic and alphabet.  At work, anything, even in a tube wearing a rubber and chamois jacket and helmet,  providing she got cuddles. 

Hugging her,tears filled his eyes. John loved her yet capsulised her, attaching oxygen.

Countdown. “Please come back,” he whispered knowing none had survived reentry. 38 gs contorting the face he loved, her body  weightless.

“16 minutes, altitude 48o kms.”

” Distance 2,400 kms. Touch-down in Atlantic.”  John couldn’t watch. Excited screams. “She’s alive!”

On marrying Big George 2 years later she wished she was still a flying monkey.

Charli’s prompt this week immediately sent me back to childhood to a book I loved about Little Miss Baker. I think it was called Space Monkey. I had kept it until 3 months ago when I gave it to my 9 year old nephew. I don’t think he was too impressed but this book had me captivated. It was probably the first creative non fiction book I read. Miss Baker was a Peruvian squirrel monkey born 1957 in Peru and ending up in a pet shop in Miami. From there the navy purchased 25 of them and trained them up to be astronauts. 2 years later she and a Rhesus monkey were the first animals to successfully return to earth alive from the American space program. She went on to have two husbands, and a celebrity career finally dying from renal failure at the age of 27 in 1984. My book however did not make it this far into her life. This BOTS (I have no idea whether she had a John in her life and I’m sure that her 17 year marriage to Big George was one she enjoyed. So this is what I would consider a true BOTS. The facts are true, the filling is fiction. For the 25th anniversary of her space flight she was given a rubber duck and that brings to mind President John F Kennedy but that is another story.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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23 Responses to Little Miss Baker: 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, wow. Great BOTS! An I appreciate the clear explanation of based on facts but filling the gaps with fiction. It makes me think much of Rock Creek is BOTS. Interesting how this book made an impression upon you and that you’d one day be writing non-fiction, too. Your humor shows up with the transition to Miss Baker’s perspective on marriage! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes I’m sure a lot of Rock Creek is BOTS. I think the fine distinction between historical fiction and BOTS is that in historical fiction the made up story is (romance, crime, thriller whatever it is) just happens to be set in a particular time in history (with those historical facts being correct but of lesser importance than the story itself). BOTS the story is the history but told in a way that gives it life and its life is made up but the story is factual. I feel a bit guilty for putting those marriage thoughts in Miss Baker’s head. She was probably very happy with Big George.


  2. oh this is a lovely tale, Irene 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Norah says:

    Wow! I really enjoyed your story, Irene. How wonderful that Miss Baker made it home alive. If only she’d realised the importance of her role in the advancement of science understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Irene, this is a wonderful story, as well as the original story of Miss Baker. Well told, I practically held my breath.

    When I was a kid and the space program sent Ham into space, I wondered for years what happened to the chimp. I didn’t find out until I became an adult and have always grieved for the poor animal who gave his life for space exploration.

    Good to know that some of the monkeys survived their journeys.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Weekend Coffee Share 6th November 2016 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  6. julespaige says:

    Ah, here she is too:
    Looking up Miss Baker was interesting too.
    Amazing how many animals they’ve put up in space and when they started!

    Oh, I put a link in at my post at CR to see the Flying Monkeys of OZ (the first movie).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was not expecting a happy ending so thank you for that. 😉 Great, nostalgic entry for the prompt this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: When Monkeys Fly « Carrot Ranch Communications

  9. ellenbest24 says:

    A super take on the prompt and a sstory once half told… finished nicely. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Annecdotist says:

    Fascinating piece of history, Irene, I’m glad she made it back to Earth, as so many didn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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