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Phantom Rescue by Andrew Finnigan

Neutrino Jam by Brad Smith

Project Redbook

Brad Smith

“JIM! Jim-bo! My man! Wazzup?” The string of annoyingly enthusiastic greetings erupted from the phone the moment Jim picked it up.

“Who is this?” he inquired suspiciously.

“It’s Marty!”

Jim mulled this over for a few seconds, and doubtfully said, “Oh.”

“You know, the producer,” Marty explained. Jim remained silent. “From the ‘Paranormal Universe’ show?”

“Oh, yeah! I remember now,” Jim replied at last. He was suddenly nervous, remembering the ruckus that he had caused as a debater on their ‘psychics’ episode. “Uh, yeah, about that …” Jim began, “I never got to apologize for what happened…”

“Don’t worry about that,” Marty said dismissively.

“I hope I didn’t cause you any trouble.”

“Actually, I got fired,” Marty said, with a hint of bitterness. “But that’s okay! I’ve got a new job now! That’s what I’m calling about.”

“New job?” Jim asked, unable to come up with anything better.

“Yeah! Now I’m working for ‘Unsolvable Mysteries.’ They’re doing an episode and they want a skeptic, so you’re the first person I called!”

“That’s great.” Jim still wasn’t sure what to think. “And who exactly are ‘they’?”

“You know, ‘them.’ The ones who wanted a skeptic.”


“So, anyway, the show’s about UFOs and they want to have a skeptic try to explain away what’s happening. You think you can handle that?”

“I don’t know, Marty...”

“C’mon, you’re a skeptical guy. You don’t believe all that alien nonsense, right?”

Jim thought about this for a moment, and replied, “I’m not really sure. I’ve watched a few documentaries, and the thing that always got me was the way these supposed aliens act. They refuse to actually communicate with us, like you would expect superior aliens to do, and instead they fly around at night mutilating cows –”

Marty interrupted, “That’s more skeptical than anyone else I’ve talked to. Are you in?”

“Well, I suppose I could spare –”

“And you’ll have to drive to Nevada.”


“They want you to be standing out there in the desert, with the UFOs in the background while you give your explanation.”

“So I’m supposed to sit there, with the UFOs buzzing around my head, and make myself look like an idiot by trying to tell everyone that UFOs don’t actually exist?”

“You got it.”

“Alright, sign me up.”

* * *

Jim’s silver convertible streaked across the lonely Nevada road, kicking up a massive cloud of dust like a jumbo jet’s contrail. He hadn’t seen any other cars since he pulled off the main highway and onto this gravel road. He was just beginning to think that he’d made a wrong turn when he saw the sign. It was badly weathered, but the words ‘Regional Road 8’ were still legible. That was the sign he had been looking for. He pulled his car over to the gravel shoulder and re-checked the map that he had drawn two nights before, based on Marty’s directions. As far as he could tell, this was the place.

Jim stepped out of the car and looked around. The road was deserted. That hardly surprised him, because there was simply nothing there. Jim was in the middle of the Nevada desert, just a few hours south of fabulous Las Vegas. The sun was only an hour or so above the horizon, but the heat was palpable. Even thought he had driven with the top down, Jim’s light Hawaiian shirt was still damp with sweat in places. Occasional drops would roll down his forehead and onto his aviator sunglasses, distorting his view. Sparse tufts of some sort of grass or fern were the only things that grew in the sandy soil. Not a single building or farm could be seen. The two intersecting roads were the only signs of civilization.

Jim walked around to the other side of the car and pulled a plastic shopping bag out of the passenger’s seat. He set the bag up on the hood of the car and then sat on the hood himself. He still stretched his legs and reclined against the windshield, before reaching into the bag beside him and pulling out a small cardboard box. He gave it a gentle shake, as though it were a Christmas present, before pulling it open. Inside, carefully entombed in Styrofoam, was Jim’s new miniature digital voice recorder.

After fitting in the batteries, he made a quick test recording and played it back. Satisfied, he dropped it into the breast pocket of his shirt.

Again, he reached over into the plastic bag and pulled out a second, larger box. It contained a pair of night-vision binoculars. Jim grinned broadly as he adjusted the controls experimentally. He had always wanted to buy something with night-vision, and was thrilled to finally have an excuse to buy it. Jim took off his sunglasses and took an tentative peek into the eyepieces.

“Ack!” he exclaimed, and pulled the binoculars away. The light was quite a bit brighter than he had expected. He took the recorder from his pocket and dictated, “Personal note: for future reference, an ideal time to use night-vision binoculars might just be … the night!” Jim gently tossed the binoculars and the bag of packing materials back into the passengers seat and slid off the hood into a standing position.

In the time that he been stopped at the side of the road, not a single car had passed. He walked straight out into the middle of the road and stared into the distance. After admiring the landscape for several minutes, he took the recorder from his pocket and turned it on.

“Project Redbook investigation log, star date two-four-nine-oh-eight-one-seven point three,” he began. “I’m currently investigating a UFO claim for the documentary TV show called ‘Unsolvable Mysteries,’ a job set up by the producer of the show, Martin Holland. According to Marty, they’ve also hired a guide to take them out to a UFO hot-spot so they can get some footage. The UFO guide, Tex Greenwald, has guaranteed them some genuine UFOs. And as if guaranteed UFOs weren’t strange enough, Tex actually agreed that his payment would be solely contingent on the UFOs appearance.”

Jim paused for breath, and then continued, “That sets off little warning bells in my head right there. Anyway, it seems we’re not the only ones that he’s sold this to. A little research on the Internet revealed that our pal Tex runs a little business taking people out to the desert to see the aliens from Area 51. To be honest, it actually seems like a pretty good deal. I mean, real UFOs, a huge barbecue dinner, snacks, and a sci-fi film festival for $50! During tourist season, he takes groups out every other weekend. It’s amazing to think of how much Marty could learn if he would just figure out how to use a mouse.”

Jim walked back over to his convertible and leaned against it. “Actually, Marty probably still would have hired the guy. Either way, that about brings us to the present. Right now, I’m at the intersection of regional roads 12 and 8, which is where we’ve all been instructed to meet tomorrow evening at sunset, so that Tex can lead us on the last leg of the journey to his perfect UFO viewing spot. I decided to come out a day early, to confirm that there’s no real lights in the sky, thus giving me a bit more ammo on the documentary once I’ve seen the colored spotlights or whatever he’s got rigged up to be the UFOs.”

He thought for a minute about what else he could say, but he couldn’t come up with anything. “That’s about all there is to it,” he said eventually. “I guess I just wait until sunset, look around a bit and then drive back to the hotel … I can’t believe I spent a hundred and fifty bucks on this recorder.”

* * *

Jim spent the next hour either batting stones at the old sign with a sun-bleached two-by-four that he had found by the road, or listening to the radio while stretched out in the back seat. Before long, everything was pitch black and the weather was really starting to cool down. Jim dragged himself up and went to get his jacket out of the trunk. As he pulled the jacket on, he decided that it had been a waste of time for him to show up a day early, or at least for him to not have spent the day in Vegas.

He got into the driver’s seat and started sifting through his left pocket for the keys, hoping that he might be able to catch some kind of show to keep the trip from being a total waste.

Just then, he saw a flash of light out of the corner of his eye. He turned quickly to his left and scanned the skies intently. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Without taking his eyes off the dark sky, he took the voice recorder from his shirt pocket and flipped it on.

“Possible sighting,” he said. “Just a moment ago, there was a small flash of white light. By the time I turned my head, it was gone. I’m going to keep watching to see if it appears again.”

For several tense minutes, Jim stared unblinkingly at the sky. When nothing else appeared, he began to wonder if he had just imagined it. Jim decided to wait one more minute before calling it a night.

A white light pierced the darkness, and blinked out. The voice recorder was still rolling, but Jim had forgotten that he was even holding it.

“Now what do I do?” he asked himself. It took another minute of staring at the black sky before the obvious solution finally occurred to him.

“The binoculars!” he exclaimed. Jim pulled them from the bag in the passengers seat as quickly as he could, hoping not to miss another sighting. When he held them up to his eyes, the terrain was illuminated in eerie shades of green; the sky was jet black. It was all strangely beautiful, but he had no time to admire it. A tall mountain rose from the horizon in the distance. Jim used that as a reference point while scanning the sky for more UFOs. A third light appeared directly in front of the mountain. Jim stared intently as it drifted slowly to the right and faded into darkness. It was too small or too far away to see any detail, but it was certainly real.

“Okay,” Jim began, “the thing moved, so it can’t be a lighthouse. Well, that and the fact that I’m in the middle of the Nevada desert. It can’t be a shooting star, because I don’t think they move so slow, or appear so close to the horizon. Oh yeah, and I probably wouldn’t see one flying in front of a mountain either. I doubt that a small plane would have it’s lights blinking on and off like that...”

Another light appeared, a bit further to the right. Like the one before, it moved slowly towards the right and faded out, just before hitting the far edge of the mountain’s outline.

“Maybe it’s a helicopter, buzzing around the mountain, looking for something,” Jim suggested, but he didn’t believe it. “A lost Medevac helicopter, trying to find the hospital where it was supposed to drop it’s dying patient? A traffic helicopter searching for some major highway to report on?” Jim’s imagination failed him; no other possibilities came to mind.

“Well it can’t just be a UFO,” he said, exasperated.

He tried to look at the situation from a different perspective. A trivial thought occurred to him: “That light is certainly a flying object, and I can’t identify it right now, so technically, it is a UFO.”

He rolled his eyes at his suggestion, and countered, “Yes, I suppose, but what I’m trying to say is: that light can’t be a bunch of little aliens flying around looking for people to do medical experiments on, right?”

Playing the devil’s advocate, Jim suggested to himself, “In the absence of evidence, one theory is just as plausible as any other. You can never be certain of anything.”

Jim replied to his suggestion, “But in the real world, there’s never a complete lack of evidence. I can say with certainty that I am sitting out in the Nevada dessert in a convertible. I am certain of that.”

Not to be outdone, Jim said, “For all you know, you could be in an alien space ship right now. This could all just be a big hallucination!”

Jim was unimpressed. “Just shut up,” he said.

“You shut up!” he shot back at himself. At this point, Jim decided that he should turn off the voice recorder before things got any sillier.

Another light appeared and blinked out. Instinct took over; he tossed the binoculars aside and started the engine. Before he could talk himself out of it, he took off down the road and turned hard at the intersection, heading roughly towards the UFOs.

He took out the voice recorder again and spoke while he drove, “I’m goin’ after them! Those aliens are flying around in front of the mountain, so they can’t be any further away than the mountain is. I don’t think the mountain’s any further than maybe four or five hours away, and I plan to cut that down to three. Now if only they’ll hang around that long -- Oh, wait a minute. I’ve got nothing to worry about there. That Greenwald guy has probably been taking people out here to see the UFOs for years. I guess the aliens are pretty patient. I can’t wait to find out what they are.” Jim stopped recording.

After another half-hour of driving, the initial shock had worn off and Jim was starting to fall asleep. He turned the radio on loud and tuned in something with a lot of drums. Jim continued to drive for three hours, periodically checking with his night vision binoculars. Whenever a street ended or swerved off course, he picked a new street that went in about the right direction. He had maps, but they weren’t much use on the small gravel roads. Still, the mountain crept closer and closer. Sometimes the lights would take a break for several minutes; other times, they appeared only seconds apart. Jim couldn’t discern any pattern.

Eventually, Jim hit a paved highway. He pulled over onto the shoulder when he found a sign. Apparently, Jim had found ‘Highway 78.’ Jim got out of the car with the Nevada Highway map and spread it out on the hood. The mountain that he had been driving towards now loomed over everything.

It took a few minutes of searching the map in the dim light for him to find the highway that he was on. The mountain itself was outlined on the map in light brown, but no name was given. Jim decided to check with the binoculars again. As if on queue, a white light appeared on the mountainside. It was tantalizingly close, but Jim still couldn’t quite see what it was. At times, when the light quickly blinked on and off, it seemed like it was moving behind the trees. Other times, Jim thought that it was turning away, but he couldn’t tell for sure; it was still a bit too far away. Jim looked back to the map and followed ‘Highway 78’ towards the mountain. The highway unfortunately swerved left without actually going up the mountain’s slope, but another road did branch off from it and make it’s winding way along the north face.

“I just have to follow that road up the mountain and ...” Jim trailed off, and his jaw dropped. “That’s it,” he muttered as he grabbed the map, crumpling it into a ball as he ran around to the driver’s side. Jim jumped into the car and took off down the highway at imprisonment-worthy speeds.

After twenty minutes of driving, he hadn’t once let off the gas pedal. The terrain around him was rising slowly as he approached the mountain’s foot. When he couldn’t stand to wait any longer, he pulled off the road once more. This time, he knelt beside the car and used the hood to stabilize the view through the binoculars. He waited patiently for another UFO, the last UFO he expected to see that night.

A light appeared, bright white like all the others, but this time seeming more like a beam than a point source. Jim carefully trained his binoculars on the light and watched. For the first time, he began to see some of the structure of the craft; just hints of lines and angles which gave the impression of a solid object. As he suspected, the white light was actually two lights, placed side by side on the front of the UFO. Jim continued to follow the craft as it slowly worked it’s way across the mountain’s north face. For a second it was obscured as it moved behind a clump of trees. The UFO turned sharply; it’s two lights rotated away from Jim, but there appeared to be a second set of dimmer lights on the rear. Jim lowered the binoculars from his eyes just in time to catch a glimpse of the red light from the UFO’s tail, before it turned again and was obscured behind an outcropping of rock. The UFO was a pickup truck.

* * *

Despite his fatigue, Jim decided to keep driving up the mountain like he had originally planned. For some reason, the whole situation just seemed tremendously funny. When else would he get the opportunity to be a UFO? To pass the time, he pulled out the voice recorder.

“Well, my dedicated listeners, it’s been an interesting trip so far,” he began. “I guess you have to be really careful when searching for these kinds of answers. You never know what obvious explanation you may be missing while you search for something reasonable.”

The road up the mountain was steep and treacherously close to cliffs in some places. Occasionally Jim passed houses tucked away at the end of long driveways. He wondered if they knew about Tex Greenwald and his UFO tours.

“I should tell them about all this so they can get a cut of the profits!” Jim said.

Jim pulled his car into a convenient spot overlooking the desert far below. He admired the scenery for a while, and decided that it was about time to head back. With luck, he could find his way back to the hotel and get a three-hour nap before the show.

He took out the recorder again and dictated, “Well, I’ve solved the mystery, but nobody will ever know. I doubt that I’ll be able to drag the cast and crew up here tomorrow. They probably wouldn’t be too interested in looking like idiots. If only there were some way I could show them that these little lights were human in origin...”

Jim stood up in his seat and started yelling, “Hey everyone! It’s me! I’m a big, scary alien!” He reached down and began flipping the headlights on and off randomly, wondering if anyone was watching. That was when the idea came to him. It would certainly be difficult to arrange, and expensive too. It seemed doubtful that he would be able to get a hold of the right people on a Saturday morning. Then again, what did he have to lose by trying.

“I guess this means I’ll be skipping that nap,” he said.

* * *

The sun was unbearably bright and hot, as far as Jim was concerned. He was rather sleep-deprived due to his antics the night before, but was trying to make up for it with an extra-extra-large coffee. At that moment, his desire to avoid spilling the burning-hot liquid on his lap was all that kept him awake. It was about noon, and he was sitting on an old wooden bench outside of the store and workshop of Arnold. Arnold was sitting next to him, looking thoughtfully at the stores and buildings on the other side of the street.

“This was not what I was expecting when I came in today,” Arnold said. Arnold had planned on coming in to his shop that Saturday to work on some projects for the business that was also his hobby. Jim had been lucky enough to phone at just the right time to catch him.

“Opportunities always pop up when you least expect it. The trick is to grab them as soon as you see them,”Jim said with a wry smile.

“I still don’t know if I believe you,” Arnold said.

“C’mon Arnie! It’s just like I told you. Every word.”

“It’s just so strange...”

“You know what they say about truth being stranger than fiction. Do you really think that I could just make up such a bizzare story?”

“You’re actually serious.” Arnold looked as though he were expecting Jim to reach the punch-line at any minute.

“I’ll pay in advance.”

Arnold sighed loudly and leaned back against the bench. All of his common sense was telling him to forget the bogus deal and get back to his shop, but Jim seemed so earnest. “So you’ll only need one,” he said at last.

“A big one! But I’ll need it tonight, for the documentary,” Jim replied.

“Yeah, you explained that part.” Arnold scratched his chin thoughtfully.

“Think of it this way Arnie, you’ll have quite a story to tell after this.”

“Alright, I’ll do it!” Arnold laughed. “It’ll be a bit tricky, getting everything up in time. Don’t you worry about that, though. When I sign on to a job, it gets done!”

“That’s the spirit! I’ve just got one more question. This is legal, isn’t it?”



“But I don’t think there’ll be any problems, out in the middle of the desert.”

Jim shrugged. “Then we have a deal.” The two men shook hands. “This is turning out to an expensive trip.”

* * *

Once again, Jim was reclining on the hood of his car, looking up at the stars. It was parked on a nondescript patch of desert, next to a blue van full of camera equipment that the crew was busy unloading. Jim had followed the van and about fifty other cars from the meeting place out to Tex Greenwald’s prime viewing spot. Tex himself had driven a massive motor-home that he was setting up on the other side of the makeshift parking lot. Jim’s first impression of Tex was that he was a cowboy, or at least a cowboy wannabe, with his dusty blue-jeans and cowboy hat. He was about fifty, but for some reason, Jim thought that he would feel right at home at a Star Trek convention.

The other fifty cars were driven by people from the town where Tex lived. Tex must have ‘accidentally’ let it slip that he was going to be on TV. The spectators gave the shoot a carnival feeling. Nearly all of them had brought snacks and sparklers, and were walking around mingling with the other attendees, or dancing to music blaring out of someone’s car stereo. Some of them had even dressed up in elaborate, science-fiction themed costumes, carrying signs that said, “TAKE ME WITH YOU!”

It must be a very small town, Jim thought. Jim slipped off the hood and started working his way over towards where the crew was setting up. Nobody was allowed in front of the main camera, which was shooting a bit of time-lapse footage of the UFOs. A woman approached Jim and offered him a home-made brownie, which he gratefully accepted. Some of the costumed revelers were making a human pyramid, to the delight of the crowd.

Jim caught sight of Marty, having an impromptu strategy meeting with some of the camera crew. “So after we finish with the time-lapse, we’ll do a few artsie shots of the desert at night...” Jim heard him saying. Marty caught sight of Jim and called, “Jim, get over here!” Marty turned to the others and said, “That’s Jim. He’s going to be playing the skeptic.”

“Playing the skeptic?” Jim asked. “I thought this was a documentary, not a soap opera.”

“Jim, please,” Marty began, “Everything is a soap opera. Documentaries, news reports, political speeches ... even the weather. It’s all about the people. Every story has it’s heroes, villains, victims, leaders, followers ... you name it. That’s what the people pay for.”

“But what about objectivity?” Jim asked, bracing himself for another onslaught of patronizing show-biz metaphors.

“What about it? Seriously, though, objectivity doesn’t exist. Even if you managed to create something totally objective, anyone who watched it would see it from their own perspective anyway.”

“That’s actually a pretty good rationalization.”

“Well, whatever the philosophy, I’ve got to make stuff that sells. That’s business for you. I’m going to put you up first. They’ll be done shooting the desert in a few minutes.”

“How long do I have?”

“Talk as long as you want, we’ve got loads of tape. As for what we’ll actually put in the documentary ... probably about fifteen seconds.”

“Yeah, I figured that. I’m ready whenever you are.”

“We’ll let you know.”

Jim walked off and Marty continued his previous discussion. Most of the crowd was now gathering around the area where the camera crew was finishing up the atmospheric shots. The whole crowd seemed to sense that the main event was about to begin. Jim took his cell-phone from his pocket and dialed. The conversation was as cryptic to those listening as it was brief: “Hey, It’s Jim ... Yeah, sure ... That’s great ... Not long now ... About five minutes ... You bet ... Perfect ... Alright, bye.”

Marty began waving his arms to get Jim’s attention. Jim waved back and began making his way over to the camera, which was on a tripod facing away from the crowd to an unspoiled patch of desert and the UFOs beyond. When he got close, he had to pick his way through the spectators. They were sitting on picnic blankets and lawn-chairs mostly, with coolers of ice-cold drinks at the ready. Jim hadn’t been expecting a crowd like this. He was a bit nervous, but still thought that it could work to his advantage.

“You’re up!” Marty said, and pointed him over to the camera. Tex Greenwald was standing just behind, watching with a sardonic grin. Jim moved confidently into position.

“Hey everyone!” Jim yelled to the crowd. “You havin’ a good time?”

The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause and cries of “Yeah!”

“I mean, wow,” Jim continued, “Real UFOs!”

Again, the crowd cheered.

“They’re right over there, doing their thing. Can you believe it?”

The crowd applauded again.

“It really makes me wonder ... what are those things?”

“You just told everyone what they are,” Tex muttered, loud enough for everyone in the audience to hear. Jim looked at Marty expectantly, but Marty just shrugged his shoulders.

“And what did I tell everyone they are?” Jim asked Tex. Out of the corner of his eye, Jim noticed a cameraman had put down his beer and was now taping this new development.

“UFOs,” Tex replied. “You said they were UFOs.”

“Of course they’re UFOs. They’re unidentified, right? They do appear to be flying around. They’re objects. So they qualify as UFOs. But that doesn’t really tell us much. I want to know what they are. Not just that they’re unidentified and they can fly.”

“Well then let me spell it out for you. Those are non-human, alien spacecraft from another planet.” At that, the spectators began muttering to each other. It was turning out to be an even better show than they expected.

Jim wasn’t fazed. “How do you know?” he asked.

“I knew you would ask that.”

“Great, then answer it.”

“What else could it be? A plane? A helicopter? There’s no airport over there. Just desert and mountains. Hey, maybe it’s a hot air balloon!” Some of the crowd chuckled heartily.

“I think that’s what they call an ‘argument from ignorance.’ Just because you can list a few things that those lights are not, doesn’t mean that they must be aliens.”

“Look, when I was a kid, my uncle took me out here to see the UFOs. And let me tell you, things were different then. They didn’t have traffic copters and ultra-light planes or any of that. Even if you could explain it today, could you explain these same lights happening back then?”

“Wait a second,” Jim said, suddenly realizing an obvious problem with Tex’s alien theory. “These UFOs have been buzzing around this same patch of desert since around … sometime in the sixties?”

“Ummm… There weren’t as many of them back then, but yes.”

Jim thought about this for a split second and muttered to himself, “That would make sense.” He soon remembered what he was doing and said to Tex, “What’s so interesting about that one bit of desert out there that they have to spend thirty years examining it? Or are they just a bit behind schedule on their mapping efforts? They don’t seem like intelligent behavior to me.”

“Their inscrutable purposes our beyond our comprehension. Just look at them; the way the lights move, piercing the dark night. Do you really think it’s some kind of natural phenomenon without any purpose? Don’t you think that they seem somehow … driven?”

Jim burst out laughing at Tex’s ironic choice of words. Everyone stared at him, trying to figure out what the joke was. Eventually, Jim managed to say, “You know Tex, I agree with you.”

“What?” Tex was flabbergasted.

“They really are driven … with a steering wheel and a gas pedal.”

“What are you talking about? What does –”

“Please, just give me a moment and I’ll tell you the whole story. Last night, I showed up at the meeting place just before sunset, hoping to get a glimpse of the aliens before the documentary was filmed … so that I’d have some time to prepare. I even bought a pair of night-vision binoculars for the occasion. After dark, the UFOs appeared just like they did tonight. Through the binoculars, I could see that they always flew around in front of a mountain on the horizon. You can’t really see the mountain in the dark, but it’s there. I hopped in my car and drove right towards the UFOs until I could see through the binoculars that they were just the headlights of cars driving along a mountain road.” Again, the crowd began murmuring, discussing this new revelation.

“That’s . . . that’s ridiculous!” Tex stammered.

“It’s the truth! As long as cars drive down that road, you’ll never run out of UFOs to show people on your bi-weekly UFO tours.” Again, there was some murmuring.

“I could understand if you suggested that the lights were helicopters or something … but cars? Are you nuts?”

“Think about it Tex, didn’t you ever notice how the UFOs always seem to go from left to right or right to left? Never up and down? They’re cars!”

“And do you have any proof of your ‘cars on a mountain’ theory? This is just totally …” Tex was cut short by a sudden flurry of excited gasps and shouts. Everyone was pointing at the mountain. Jim turned and saw one fixed light blinking on and off rhythmically. “Perfect timing,” he said under his breath.

Tex was at a loss for words, but only for a moment. “They’re communicating! They’ve finally decided to make contact!” he exclaimed. “How do you explain that?”

“Still haven’t figured it out, eh? Tex, those are not UFOs.” The blinking light vanished, and in it’s place, a brilliant white light shot straight up into the air at incredible speed. The audience cried out in astonishment with one voice.

Tex was frantic. “Look! Look! It’s moving vertically! It couldn’t be a car!” he cried.

“But maybe…”

“There’s no other possibility! Nothing will ever convince me that that light isn’t a spaceship!”

The ascent of the white light continued to slow down, until it reached it’s apex. It hung motionless in the air for a fraction of a second, before exploding in a tremendous burst of glittering ribbons of rainbow colored sparks. The tips of each of the ribbons exploded simultaneously in smaller bursts of white light. Arnold’s special firework was truly a wonder to behold. The crowd burst into laughter and cheers.

There was really only one thing to say about Tex’s spaceship. Mimicking a southern drawl, Jim looked at the camera and said, “Houston … we have a problem.”


©Copyright 2002
Brad Smith
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