Tom Hanks doesn’t just collect typewriters and make typewriting apps for fun; he uses them to write. Presumably the Oscar-winner tapped out his short story “Alan Bean Plus Four” on an old Underwood. The story appears in this week’s New Yorker. Vulture assesses the actor’s story–which concerns traveling around the moon, selfies, iPad apps, and a character MDash, “who’d shortened his long tribal name to rap-star length”–as “short, sweet, and pretty much perfect.”
“My contribution was the Command Module—a cramped, headlight-shaped spheroid that was cobbled together by a very rich pool-supply magnate who was hell-bent on getting into the private aerospace business to make him some big-time NASA cash,” writes the narrator of the story. “He died in his sleep just before his ninety-fourth birthday, and his (fourth) wife/widow agreed to sell me the capsule for a hundred bucks, provided I got it out of the garage by the weekend. I named the capsule the Alan Bean, in honor of the lunar-module pilot of Apollo 12, the fourth man to walk on the moon and the only one I ever met, in a Houston-area Mexican restaurant, in 1986. He was paying the cashier, as anonymous as a balding orthopedist, when I yelled out, “Holy cow! You’re Al Bean!” He gave me his autograph and drew a tiny astronaut above his name.” The New Yorker has included a recording of Hanks reading his story on its website.