Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Sometimes an unexplainable phenomenon can be the catalyst
for a good story. I decided today to move from the real to the surreal in my posting. The skies are clear and I always take a look at the stars when I venture out for the morning paper. I once saw an unexplained flying object with a young neighbor and it became the grist for the following story.


“Dispatch this is 2409, I’ll be out at my residence.”
“10 – 4, 09, I’ve got you out at 1715 hours.”
The October sky in east Texas was a dome of cloudless pale blue. The days were getting shorter, and the coolness of fall was in the air.
Stone Turner nosed his high-powered police car into the driveway of his new house. It was good to get home early for a change. Stone and his wife Linda both worked but still worried about making the payments on their recent purchase. The houses were late fifties vintage, but still in good shape. Linda taught school and he was a detective. Stone eased out of the front seat and started to gather his belongings.
“Hey Stone!” It was the familiar voice of Davy, his six year old neighbor. He stood there smiling, his face framed by a shock of blonde hair.
“What’s up with you?” Stone asked, as he adjusted his gun belt and turned to greet him.
“Oh nothing,” Davy replied.
Stone readied himself for the usual barrage of questions about crooks, police cars, arrests and shootings. However, today Davy just shifted from one foot to the other and looked at Stone.
“What’s on your mind, big guy?” Stone asked.
“Can I borrow your binoculars for a while?” Davy smiled, showing all his baby teeth.
“Why do you need my binoculars?” Stone smiled as he spoke.
“I want to look for UFOs.”
Davy’s dad had left home when the boy was a baby. He was still small for his age. Stone could hardly turn down his request. His mom, Janice, taught with Linda.
Stone opened the trunk of his car and took out the huge U. S. Navy surplus binoculars and handed them to his little friend.
Davy put the leather carrying strap around his neck. The binoculars hung almost to his ankles.
“You be careful with those. I’ll come down later and pick them up.” Stone chuckled as Davy headed toward his house with the binoculars bouncing off his thighs with each step.
The light was fading as Stone and Linda walked down the street to visit with Janice. Davy was in the front yard with the binoculars firmly pressed against his big blue eyes. He scanned the sky in all directions and didn’t notice as Stone and Linda entered his house.
“Hey, y’all come on in.” Janice said. She took a quick glance at Davy in the front yard. “I couldn’t even get him to come in for supper.”
Stone, Linda, and Janice were busy talking about work, friends, and family when the front door flew open. Davy ran into the house. The big binoculars still hung around his small neck.
His eyes were wild with fright and he was crying. “The UFOs are here! The UFOs are here!” He ran and snuggled up to Stone.
Stone put his arm around him and pulled him close. He had no children of his own, but he had grown very fond of Davy.
“Calm down, big guy. Let’s go see.”
Stone got up and held Davy’s hand as his little buddy reluctantly followed him into the front yard. It was dark now. Davy peered out from behind Stone’s leg. Stone was about to ask where the UFOs were when the saw the bright reddish pink glow moving slowly across the sky. The object was oblong, similar to a blimp, and appeared to be flying at about the same height as a blimp would fly. Stone took the binoculars from Davy and peered into the darkness at the mysterious apparition.
“I told you.” Davy croaked as he squeezed Stone’s leg tighter.
“Hey, girls!” Stone yelled. “Come outside and see this!”
Janice and Linda came outside and stood in the front yard looking up with mouths agape.
“What is it?” They spoke in unison.
The strange bright shape moved from south to north across the black sky. Stone could not see any wires or attached balloons. Other neighbors heard Stone yelling and came outside. All stood staring up at the strange craft.
The object moved slowly forward, stopped, and then moved forward again.
Stone gave the binoculars back to Davy and ran into Janice’s house to call the Sheriff’s Department. As he talked to the dispatcher, he could hear the radio traffic in the background as several deputy sheriffs called in to report the sighting.
Stone went back outside. It was quiet. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could still see the bright object moving toward the horizon. But, no one was there.
The neighbors were all gone. Linda, Janice, and Davy were no-where in sight. He called out, but there was no answer. On the ground he saw the binoculars. He picked them up and stared in disbelief at the empty yard. The scene made no sense at all. He had trouble making his mind track on what to do next, but he ran back into the house and called the police.
“This is Stone Turner – my wife and half of my neighbors have just disappeared. Get me a patrol unit out here now!” He knew when he said it that he sounded ridiculous, but what else could he say?
Before long two patrol units arrived in front of Janice’s house. Stone retold the entire story just as it had happened. The patrolmen had heard the radio traffic about the sighting, but this was unreal. Stone joined them as they checked the neighborhood.
When morning came Stone was still awake. News crews from all over the country arrived with their vans and telescoping antennas to cover the story. The reporters were disgustingly predictable as they hounded family members with inane questions.
Stone avoided them. There was nothing to do. All of his training was useless.
Day passed slowly into night, and back again into day. Stone was tired, and lonely. When night fell, he sat outside in a lawn chair with the old Navy binoculars in his lap.
It was late November, and Stone Turner once again took up his position on the front lawn after work. As darkness approached, he set up his lawn chair and got out his old Navy binoculars. A dark gray blanket of clouds rolled in from the north and the wind shifted. Tiny spits of rain gave a hint of things to come. He pulled up the collar of his surplus military jacket, stood up, and turned to face the cold wind. He wouldn’t be able to stay out tonight. The stars would not be visible. He had hoped the once successful incantation of the binoculars would somehow work again. But as he started into the house he knew they were nothing more than binoculars.