A tall blond man in a Cleveland Browns sweater walked into Jules Crabtree’s liquor store. He was muttering to himself. Jules recognized him as Roger Cluck, the editor of the local paper. He looked like he hadn’t slept in awhile. He’d also never seen him in the store before. “Can I help you find anything?” Jules asked. Roger grinned, “No, I know what I’m getting.” He grabbed a bottle of whiskey and stepped towards the counter. Jules rang him up. “Tough night?”
“Yeah, trying to figure it all out.” Roger dug in his pocket for change.
“Figuring what out?” Jules wondered, he’d met Roger a couple times before, he was usually pretty straightforward.
“The sequences, apparently you have to know the proper sequences if you’re gonna get where you need to go.”
Jules just stood there, confused.
“Never mind, I’ll figure it out, just need more time. I shouldn’t have said anything. They’re still looking for it, you know.”
Jules thought about calling someone, roger was clearly losing it. “What are they looking for, roger?”
“I don’t know exactly what it is, I just have an idea of what it does. I think I need a vehicle of some kind. I can go back for a little while, but only in the same spot.” He chuckled, “But then again, I’m not a scientist. Right now, I think I’m just gonna go get drunk.”
Roger thanked Jules and went on his way.
Roger stood on a stepladder next to the far wall in his bedroom, scrawling equations on the wall with the nub of an orange crayon. The walls were covered with them, when he’d run out of one color, he went to another. Gretchen watched him grunt, tossing the nub away and picking another crayon out of the box. The thing he’d gotten from the crash site lay on their bed. Roger hopped down and picked it up, leaning over it intently, he brought up a hand to stroke it when he saw Gretchen standing in the doorway. He looked at her with a grin, “I think I have it figured out.” he said. “There must be some kind of voicebox or something built in here, because I’ve been hearing messages for the last couple days, when I touch the knobs a certain way. Nothing I can understand though, different languages. I think it’s some kind of instruction manual.” Gretchen just nodded. “I think you need to put that thing away for awhile,” Roger looked shocked. He went back up on his ladder, crayon in hand. “Can’t dear, not when I’m this close.”
1980. Curtis Dogwood drove his police cruiser up to the compound, watching the FBI car follow him inside through the rear-view mirror. He got out to open the gate, motioning the two agents inside to stay where they were as he talked to a bald guy in a white robe. After they were done discussing whatever it was they were discussing, he turned back and waved them in as he got back into his car. Agent Donaldson chuckled. “Ah, Sam, these cults are gonna kill me.” He adjusted his mirrored aviator sunglasses. Agent Sam Richardson nodded. “Why do these UFO conspiracy freaks always congregate way out in the middle of the damned desert?” He ran a hand through his short black hair. “It’s too hot out here for this crap.” They followed the Sheriff’s car through a labyrinth of dusty mobile homes, every so often a figure in a long white robe would come out to look at them as they passed. Agent Donaldson noted that none of them seemed to be armed. They followed Sherriff Dogwood to a large barn, when he got out and walked to their driver’s side window. “Let me go in first, my dad is part of this thing, and he still listens to me sometimes. I’m gonna see if they won’t let you just come in and talk to them.” he walked off into the barn. The wind blew little clouds of dust past their car. Agent Richardson unbuttoned his suit jacket. “It’s too freaking hot.” he said, as he started to take it off. Agent Donaldson looked at him disapprovingly. “For god’s sake man, try to look like a professional.” Richardson shook his head, “Not when it’s a hundred and ten degrees, my friend.” Sheriff Dogwood came back out to the car, “All right, they’ll let you in, but only if you leave your weapons here.” he said, leaning against Donaldson’s window. Dogwood had a way of leaning towards you when he talked that just plain made Agent Donaldson a little uncomfortable. His breath always smelled like he’d been eating crap for lunch. The two FBI men tried to persuade the Sherriff that they needed to keep their sidearms, but to no avail. Shrugging, they took off their holsters and followed Curtis into the barn.
The barn was much cooler than it was outside. Agent Richardson had to wait for his eyes to adjust to the darker background to see several white robed individuals loading things onto an old yellow schoolbus. Sherriff Dogwood’s father came shuffling up to meet them. He was a short older man, he looked somewhat like a Buddhist in his white robe and shaved head. He warmly shook each agent’s hand, saying “I hope you understand about your guns, we can never be too careful,” as he led them towards the dusty yellow bus. He introduced them to the man in the driver’s seat, then went and calmly took a seat himself. Roger Cluck smiled as he rubbed his bald head. “Welcome aboard,” he said. Agent Donaldson scratched his wrist, “Mr. Cluck, we’ve had reports from families who are, concerned about your business out here. They don’t like the idea of their loved ones coming out here to live in your, ah, compound, you understand?”
Roger looked amused, “Nobody’s making them stay.” he turned away for a moment to mess with the silver thing he’d duct taped to the dashboard. “Besides, we just needed help getting everything together.”
Agent Donaldson put his hands on his hips as more white robed people squeezed past him and sat down calmly on the bus. “Getting what together, exactly?”
Roger gestured around him, “This, obviously. We needed a vehicle, and when we got together, well, obviously some of them wanted to come along.” Roger shook his head, “I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.”
Agent Richardson spoke up, “these families are concerned that what you have here is a cult, Mr. Cluck.” He crossed his arms. “They think you’re brainwashing these people.”
Roger looked at him blankly. “No, no, no, you’ve got it wrong. We have something that shouldn’t be found. We have to get it away from here, before the beings looking for it get to our planet. I couldn’t do it alone, that’s why I started enlisting help from my friends here.”
Agent Donaldson took his turn, “Mr. Cluck, you have to understand...”
Roger shook his head, “No, we can’t go on about this any longer. Please get off the bus and let us do what we have to do.”
Another bald man gently shooed them out the door. They stood frustrated as the bus started and made it’s way out of the barn, the passengers calmly looking forward. Richardson swore. Sherriff Dogwood stood next to them, watching the bus create a cloud of dust as it went down a rocky trail. Agent Richardson took off running and shouting after it, not caring about the futility of his actions. As the bus got smaller, a ripple went through the air, and the bus vanished into thin air. Richardson stumbling to a stop before gazing stupidly at the spot where the bus had been. Donaldson’s mouth dropped open. Sherriff Dogwood just shook his head and chuckled. “Well, what do you know...” he said as he started walking back towards his car. Agent Richardson turned to Donaldson, spreading his arms in a question, Donaldson shrugged back. They both looked back at where the bus used to be, before turning back to their car as well.
It's not what happens to you in life that matters, it's what you do about it that counts...
Posted 23 December 2003 - 07:42 AM
Yes Snuffy...more please, more, MORE,MORE, MORE!
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!