“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.” —George Bailey, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 1946

George Bailey may still want to woo Mary Hatch with the moon, but he’ll have to skip the lasso. These days, a piece of the moon will require a trip to the Bailey family’s penny-ante Building and Loan for a withdrawal at the rate of $24.99 per lunar acre. Or was that per looney acre?

“Holy get a piece of the rock, Batman!”

Space, as USS Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk once famously noted, is the final frontier.

But space, it seems, already has its price.

As it turns out, Dennis M. Hope, owner of Rio Vista, Calif.-based Lunar Embassy Corp., has been selling land on the Moon and other extraterrestrial real estate since 1980 to millions of landowners here on Earth, having given active notice to the United States, United Nations and Russia of his claim of ownership, and providing, for a price, the opportunity for all humanity to obtain a fair equity personal property right position upon our solar system’s celestial bodies

Hope’s been selling everything from “all view property” moon acreage to other properties on Mercury, Venus, Mars and Io, the innermost of the four Galilean moons of the planet Jupiter. Pluto, sadly demoted to dwarf planet status in 2006, can be had in its entirety for a mere $250,000 on reduced-for-quick-sale closeout.

By far, Earth’s moon is Hope’s biggest seller, having sold more than 600,000,000 acres to date, followed by more than 325,000,000 Martian acres.

This guy’s a genius. 

Buying land on the moon or Mars, $24.99. Being able to tell people you’ve bought Uranus – Priceless. Where’s my MasterCard?

I’ll bet the inventor of the Pet Rock is just kicking himself right about now. I know I am.

I think I’ll get in on the action myself as a side hustle to my daytime column-writing gig. Okay, I own the sun. Y’all owe me for heat and light. Better yet, I’m selling the sun for $200 trillion – first come, first served. Bring your certified bank check. Please see my ad on Craigslist for more details and contact information.

But seriously, it’s reported that Hope’s biggest Lunar Embassy customers have been some 1,800 forward-thinking corporations that have signed up for a piece of the interstellar rock.

It won’t be long, I imagine, before some enterprising franchisee puts the first McDonald’s on the moon. 

“I’ll have one McAirtank, supersized please.”

The next thing you know there’ll be a Kwik Trip, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Subway, Walmart, Pizza Hut, Culver’s, Dollar General and Chinese buffet in the Hadley–Apennine Valley, along with a Stuckey’s selling pecan logs and a Flying J at the Mare Tranquillitatis interchange hawking RC cola and Moon Pies to passing lunar motorists. 

Already among Lunar Embassy’s corporate customers, it’s reported, are “two leading U.S. hotel chains.” 

With Jeff Bezos launching the space tourism industry with last week’s 11-minute flight of his Blue Origin rocket, I imagine the need for overnight galactic lodging bookings can’t be too far behind.

Perhaps my kids or grandkids will be booking a lunar vacation at the Best Western Sea of Tranquility or the Trump Oceanus Procellarum Resort, Spa and Casino, or maybe planning a Martian getaway at the Hilton Olympus Mons, with its breathtaking views of the solar system’s second-highest mountain.

Ah, but nothing beats the view of the blazing binary sunset from the asbestos-clad Ritz-Carlton on Alpha Centauri Bb.

The possibilities are endless.

As for me, I’m dropping some banana peels, egg shells and High Life dregs into the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor on “Finn,” my adventurous time-traveling Ford Escape. Destination: 1979. 

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

I’m gonna beat Hope at his own game.

The universe will be mine, mine, all mine. Bwahahaha!