Like you and me, Space Cabby eats food. But is it possible for food to be a threat to his very life? It is, and here’s how!
We open with the hack of the heavens moaning about how bad business has been lately. So when a fare asks for a ride, things are looking great. Yet…
Space Cabby ignores the potential fare and zips over to the space cafe where the smell is coming from. The aroma belongs to today’s special, “nectar soup” (25 cents a bowl!) Cabby orders some and hungrily gulps it down.
He goes through three bowls of the stuff before he’s tapped out, but the damage is done. He goes back to work, but it’s only so he can get some more sweet sweet space nectar. He picks up a few fares, but with one he makes the mistake of flying past a meteor diner advertising “HASH SEASONED WITH SPACE-NECTAR” and he can’t ignore the siren call. He slams on the atomic brakes, tells the fare to get lost, and bolts into the place to bolt down some delicious hash.
SC comes out full of nectar and low on cash, and realizes he’s got a problem. Just seeing the name of the stuff is enough to give them the shakes, so he tries flying blind to avoid all the billboards that aren’t on the space throughway he claimed to always travel on in the last story.
As you can imagine, this makes for poor flying, and before long he’s struck another space vehicle. He presses a special red button on his dashboard that opens up a direct radio line to Ippy and tries to come up with a better plan than flying around with his eyes closed.
Alas, at the intermission there is the familiar invitation to head on down to the lobby for some candy, popcorn, soda, and “Yummies”, which are flavored with that seasoning sensation, space nectar! In no time at all he’s going on another binge, waking up naked in a phone booth, covered with space nectar wrappers.
He’s got a serious problem, folks, which calls for a serious solution. He goes and sees a doctor, who tells him he has a rare gastronomical condition that there’s no cure for! He’s doomed to ride the nectar horse forever, unless he can completely avoid it, which is impossible!
Having cut himself off from sight, sound, and smell, he’s safe…until a street vendor pushes a free sample into his hand. It’s — you guessed it! — some kind of nectar-flavored biscuit, and within moments Space Cabby is greedily pounding down biscuit after biscuit, his special suit forgotten on the sidewalk.
So you’re probably wondering what this mysterious nectar is all about. Why is it suddenly showing up in every single food item he encounters, and why does it have this hold over him? I think you’re entitled to some answers!
But Otto Binder feels otherwise. He thinks it’s time for crooks!
Two guys he’s noticed trailing him hop into the cab and demand to be taken out to the slums of space, the asteroids! And sure enough, they’ve got a ray gun. Must be Tuesday!
But before he could tell his comrades exactly which fruit-tree-bearing asteroid he hid the loot on, he was picked up by Ippy. All he was able to transmit was that the asteroid had a space nectar tree on it. These guys have noticed that Space Cabby goes coo-coo for space nectar and figure he can lead them to the loot.
They head into the asteroids and start whispering sweet space nectar nothings in Space Cabby’s ears, hoping that this will somehow get his craving to pick out the right asteroid. This is a bizarre plan. How the heck is Space Cabby supposed to pick out a tree in the asteroid belt if he can’t see, smell, taste, or touch where it is? This is nuts!
As Space Cabby helplessly gorges on fruit the crooks take off in his cab, but he’s not worried. Sure enough, within a half hour Ippy comes back with the criminals captured and his space cab. How were they alerted? Simple! Space Cabby had surreptitiously pressed the “call Ippy” button on the dashboard, which let the Interplanetary Police listen in on the whole thing!
With the crooks captured and reward money in hand, now all Space Cabby has to do is figure out what he’s going to do about this harrowing addiction of his. How can he deal with this strange new food additive that is seemingly everywhere…in everything? We’ve seen him spend all his money, ignore his job, endanger others because of this mysterious space nectar, so how –
Oh. Well, okay, then.
Next week: Riddle of the Glowing Space-Cabby!
“Menace of the Space-Nectar!”
Mystery in Space #43 (April-May 1958)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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