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The Roswell Saga: Encounter
Author's note: I was finding it hard to come up with new short story ideas and then I decided to look on the net. There had been so many stories throughout the year, and this one about a man witnessing what he believed was an 'alien encounter' seemed like a good place to go. Along with the wickedest atlas known to man, I found Roswell (which also happened to be a place full of alien activity) and made it the place where all the events happened.
I noticed something bad was happening when the army trucks rolled into town. And you know how post-menopausal and postnatal women gossip (whether its about why your daughter or sister/brother was running down the street naked last night or why your mother doesn’t water her petunias.) The talk of the elderly townspeople of Roswell, New Mexico was that it was some sort of army experiment, you know, they thought it to be all about UFO’s and extraterrestrials and what-not. My mother called it gibberish. I called it old women who had watched too many reruns of the X-Files and then, went to bed. Well I watched all the trucks being hauled into town and the army men setting up their base at the edge of town. I counted at least thirty seven heavy duty army trucks. My mother almost had a stroke when the army General knocked on our door to inspect the land that our house sat on for any hazardous metals and ruins left by previous owners. She didn’t almost have a stroke because she was frightened by the General; on the contrary, apparently the house wasn’t in the cleanest condition and my mother was constantly on the flushing side. I found this to be quite humorous. And so in no longer than twenty five minutes I, Ella Chapman, found myself ingeniously staring at a padlocked and did I mention chained gate in the blistering heat of the afternoon sun. There was this one sign that stood out for me, it stated, “If you prefer to keep your two, irreplaceable legs, then DO NOT enter this vicinity for any reason unless on official business!” I was on official business – the gathering of information about what the hell was going on in Roswell. The guards were as stupid as I believed them to be. After much crawling and lots of hiding in certain truck-y objects, I was in the closed off base camp and I was using my ingenious ‘spyish’ skills to hide behind a Jumping Cholla cactus. To be honest, the cactus-hiding idea wasn’t that ingenious. In fact, it was the total opposite because as two men (presumably army-type) walked past talking about aliens, UFO’s and g-strings I was moving my weight from one leg to another in an attempt to be more comfortable and more ‘spyish’ and I accidentally (and I mean accidentally) got my leg caught on the spiky cacti’s defence mechanism and let out a piercing ‘ouch’. I honestly felt quite stupendous as the men gave me ‘you’re-in-deep-s**t’ looks when they discovered me cowering behind the green spiky xerophyte. Half of me was on adrenaline and the other on complete oblivion. Or so it seemed, anyway. That’s when I got my first and proper look at monsieur General Snotty (his nose was as big as the cacti I hid behind, and that thing was at least two metres tall – give or take). His eyes were like little black buttons and his mouth was, as it seemed, always in a tight grimace. What a grumpy ass. So what if a seventeen year old female with a sliced knee and not to mention braces sneaked her way into an army base camp. That just meant that these so called ‘protectors-of-the-nation’ were just as pathetic as my mother when she had a few too many vodka cruisers. And when he took me home to present himself as the one who found me to my mother, whatever Freddy Kruger personality was hiding inside of me was revealed in a few painful seconds. General ‘big-nosed-and-constantly-in-a-grump’ told my mother that I had been sneaking into the army base to eavesdrop on the goings-on of the, as he muttered it, “Very important government association!” The bastard even made my mother flush as he tucked in his shirt and gave her and me a little salute and marched out the door into the afternoon sunlight. As if his little warning of not going back to the base was going to stop me. I was a thorough spy, and I wasn’t going to stop until I found out what the hell these men were up to. Midnight seemed the only time that I could really feel spyish, and cold as ice. With the looks that were exchanged between my mother and General S**t-Head that afternoon, I felt as though it was marital time and they both were gonna leap at each other, say their vows and wait for me to announce mazel tov. I was outside the gate of the army base, watching, waiting, listening for anything out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until around three in the morning when things started to go from semi-normal to completely irrational. A sound, somewhat like a buzzing but with a loud ear splitting zing to it, was heard in the sky. And that’s when I saw it. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life. Well, there was that time when the eighth grade boy pulled down his pants and revealed his privates to the entire world. To be honest though, that was more gross than cool. In any case, this sight was questioning my sanity. It was round and, oh what the hell, the bloody thing looked like a UFO and it was hovering over the base camp! Where were the guards? I thought that with such a spectacle in the sky that there would surely be men guarding the camp and watching out for any weird and wacky things like exactly what I was seeing. But, alas, no-one came out. Lazy a-holes, they were probably sleeping away in their comfortable sleeping bags. Although, thinking about it, sleeping bags aren’t that comfortable. And will probably never be! So there I was, in the middle of a cold Roswell night, watching an alien craft hovering over my head. And it was gone in the split second that I decided to grab my camera to take a photograph of it. Why can’t UFO’s ever stay in one place for longer than at least a minute? It was unusual, my reaction that is, because in a matter of seconds I was over what I had seen and I was sweating, with this immense fear in the pit of my stomach. And for the first time in my life, I was actually dying of hunger and I was in need of a good, long shower. I stunk. And it wasn’t the type of stink I wanted to share with anyone! Tomorrow, I would come and investigate thoroughly, because Ella Chapman never gave up on weird spectacles; ever.
I had two options: 1) don’t laugh when the General gives you a funny ‘I’m-a-serious-man’ look and 2) if worst comes to worst – RUN! My mother sat me down one afternoon and started with telling me that she had a date with a certain General. And although my little walnut brain was telling me that I should have greatly disagreed to my mothers date with General ‘Leader-Of-The-Gay-People’, I held in my ‘universal’ disgust of the idea. And so there he was, General ‘Virgin’, staring at me from the other side of the table. I knew this was what I thought it was. The General insisted on another visit to our house to check on any weird noises, pipe rattling or just plain old UFO activity (or at least, I just thought it was UFO activity.) He kept insisting that I leave him alone and allow him to converse with my widowed mother. I really didn’t like that. It made me a little suspicious and brought on my gag reflex. So I just said to him that I preferred to keep them both company and I guess he couldn’t argue with that because, as we both knew, this was my house and I could do what I wished under its roof. He couldn’t. So, in a matter of seconds there began the flirting and goo-goo eye sharing between my mother and General Snotty-Noses. I instantly grabbed a framed photo of my father from two and a half years ago and stuck it under General Snotty-Noses er, nose. He gave it a blatant glance and proceeded in asking my mother for another cup of tea, and on a date. What. A. Fa**ot! So here is the truth about Generals (in short): A) They have the worst little moustaches. If Hitler had brothers, each General would be them; B) “Margaret, may I please have another cup of tea?” loosely translated means “I’m horny; my place, in the tent, ten pm!” C) The bald ones lost their hair fighting an immense case of nervosa (aka: fear of women); D) unlike spiky Cacti, they are vulnerable to wear and tear, and have a lack of ingenuity; and E) they wear G-Strings to reveal their blatantly pathetic taste in fashion (and lack of personal hygiene). To sum it all up, Generals are all idiots. Idiot in Spanish is idiota. Oh, how much I have learnt from the discovery channel. So I was unexpectedly (yeah right) blown away from the news that my mother was scheduled for a date with General Snotty-Noses, or from what got revealed to me by my clueless mother, that General Snotty’s real name (surprised he had one) was Steve Baker. What an unusually common name, Steve Baker. I guess he was the ‘common fool’. I was told to keep a reasonably close eye on Mellisa, my twelve year old sister, throughout the night. Ha, as if that was going to stop me sneaking out into the base camp to see what on earth was really going down during the dark hours. So, when General Baker (cringe) grabbed a tight hold of my mothers waist, waved a brief goodbye and left soon after with her glued to his arm like a leech, I was left to let out a deep breath, groan and tell my sister that it was past her bedtime. Luckily, as the older and more mature sister (cough) I was able to boss her around and she was made to listen to every thing I said, including potentially life threatening orders. When she fell asleep, I found it the perfect opportunity to sneak out the front door, jog down the street to the edge of town and hide sneakily in the bushes outside the gate. Because I was clever and lack of guards made it somewhat easier to crawl underneath the barbed fence, I was in the base camp in a matter of seconds and using my marvellous ‘spyish’ skills to eavesdrop on any close conversation. I was a sneaky chica. The first tent I came across was full of partying men. Whoa, whatever happened to ‘protecting-the-nation’? Each of them definitely looked like they had had too much to drink and not the water-type either. I guess when the boss is out on a date with a hot Roswellian woman (i.e.: my mother), then the army men dither. Or so it seemed, anyway. The next tent was thicker than the last. The canvas was almost like a wall and so it was slightly harder to get a peep in. It was a little dark. I realised that I had to pull out the hook at the bottom of the canvas to be able to sneak a peek. And I was a little worried about what could be inside. And I should have been. There, in the middle of the dark tent was a craft. And not just any plain-old-Joe aircraft, it was a space ship. An alien one. My heart jumped out of my chest, fell to the ground, began to crawl its way back to the fence and head home. Well, to be honest, that wasn’t entirely the truth. But if it could have done it then it would have. I was shocked. This wasn’t what you saw everyday. And neither was the craft that I may or may not have seen last night (I told myself that it had been a dream.) No one seemed to be around and so I squeezed my way inside. Oh, and what a squeeze it was. I had to suck in as much air as possible. No more donuts for me. As I made my way closer to the craft, it was obvious that it had been tampered with. What was that conniving, son-of-a-gun named Steve Baker up to? Hiding aliens in his basement? I was too scared to even think about it. In the next few seconds, my conspicuous clumsiness was proven when I tripped, tumbled and knocked myself out on the hull of the ridiculously big UFO. Stupid bloody spacecrafts!
I always remember being an idiot as a child. It had never occurred to me that knocking myself out, in the base camp where I was already told never to go back into, would ever be so embarrassing. I was found by two knuckleheads by the names of Emmet Donald and Conrad Archibald. Even their names oozed knuckleheads. By no means was it cool to be discovered by two men, dragged into a SUV and driven all the way to the nearest hospital. It was depressing just thinking about it.
So there I was, in my little wading-pool of the hospital, a little room designed to intolerably give patients a hard and disciplinary time. I had never liked the whiteness of the walls or the hideous hospital gowns that were given out. Hospitals screamed out ‘horror’ (and a lack of fashion sense!). The nurses thought I was mad when I ‘accidentally’ leaked that there was a UFO being kept in the tent of the army base camp. They shook their heads and said, “You must have taken a bad fall, sweetheart. I think it’s time you went back to bed!” I wasn’t crazy. I was the only sane one in the hospital.
On the subject of sane and insane, Roswell had both. The lowdown of Roswell was that one portion of the populace (the elderly) was mostly retired crack junkies and ex-murderers. They were what we called ‘the critically insane’. Yeah, so on the surface the elderly population seemed kind, considerate and good at baking cakes, but underneath all that happiness and kindness was a mask of insane and murderous people. It kind of made you afraid of the streets in the dark…and Roswell itself. Seeing as we were around seventy four miles from another town, having murderers and insane people wasn’t the best thing. Carlsbad was the closest town. And the closest river was only six miles from our town. As children, most kids in the neighbourhoods of Roswell believed that dead bodies of the victims that were murdered by elderly serial killers were thrown into the river, Pecos. I found that funny now, because to tell you the truth, the elderly population were more insane than ex-murderers. I could imagine Ms Turnip, the town’s library head librarian as a serial killer. Her murderous glares when you talked too loud were enough to give you nightmares. Or just enough to give an old man a…never mind.
That afternoon I was visited by Doctor McInsane (no, his name was not McInsane, it was McDougall, but when you met him you’d know what I meant!) He gave me the ‘talk’. “No food and no water makes Jack a dull boy”, I mean, come on who says that, even these days? Psychotic Doctor Maniac was definitely a man with an urge to kill his patients with pathetic one-liners. But he also wanted me to leave the hospital because there was no use staying if all I had to have was a glass of water and something edible to eat.
When I got home, the old lady from across the street, whose name funnily enough seemed to be Roswella Lane waved at me as I made my way to the front door. She was always a little strange around the edges, but that aside she always believed me. Even at times when I came up with completely irrelevant ideas and my mother told me I was being crazy. Ms Roswella Lane always believed that the words I spoke were like words from a prophet that they were the truth and that ignoring them would be a really bad idea. Even though she was the crazy-er one, Roswella never put one foot out of line and greeted everyone with the sincere ‘hello’ each morning. She was the only one that I believed did not murder anyone in her past.
That afternoon, when I was about to take my newly scheduled nap a large heavy-duty army truck rolled into Ms Roswella Lane’s front drive. There were at least four men that hopped out of it, including General Snotty-Noses. He had his arms behind his back and walked like he was so up himself, which he was, but that wasn’t the point. He looked, like he usually did, like a grump. It would have made me laugh if not for the sudden exit of the army men from Roswella’s front door. They held her arms like she was about to be executed, or worse tortured. I felt sympathy in the pit of my stomach. What would General Pathetic want with the only person who didn’t believe I was crazy? And then I heard it; her wailing cry. It seemed as though she was begging the General not to hurt her, like she had done nothing wrong. I was gonna kill him.
The sun was shining down hard when I came out, around a few seconds after the General shoved Roswella into the truck. He opened the door and was about to hop in when I confronted him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing with Roswella, I mean, Ms Lane?”
“It’s none of your concern, Ella,”
“That’s Miss Ella Chapman, to you General,” I warned him. “What has she done to deserve being dragged off to God-knows where?”
“It’s none of your concern, Ella,” he repeated, his grimace as large as ever. “If you really must know, Miss Lane is being taken to the hospital for her health!”
“And the army are the ones to take her there? Isn’t that the hospitals job to arrange transport?”
“Look, Ella,” he started, giving me his worst sympathetic look. “This is, and will always be none of your business. Roswella’s health is in danger and we, er, that is to say, the hospital must take extra good care of her.” He hopped into the truck after giving me a larger grimace than before, a small salute and a pat on the shoulder.
I was sure I was infected now with some sort of army General disease. If it was contagious then I was going to write a will. Who did he think he was, patting me on the shoulder? If that was his way of trying to get me to loosen up to his so-called ‘magic’ to get to my mother, well then it wasn’t working!
The old ones were talking, again. Gossip travelled like a contagious disease set for destruction of the entire world. Except, these were old people and they sort of forgot details and added their own - kind of like Chinese whispers, but five times worse. So originally, the talk of the old folk was that Roswella knew too much about the works of General Snot and his army of knuckleheads. I was not sure how she knew this, because I’m sure I knew more from my skulking and spy what-not-ness. So basically, the things that Roswella knew about the base camp happenings were enough to bring General ‘Gay-Lord’ and his men down. If only I could have got hold of that information. The certain ‘gay-lord’ came around to wish my mother a happy birthday. My gag reflex was back in action, and it was ready to let it blow at any second. He kissed her cheek when he entered the house and gave me another casually brief wave. He was so rude. My sister received a little gift of chocolate for her help in the discovery of an ancient artefact in the closest vicinity (i.e.: our backyard). Although it wasn’t much help in anything ‘extraterrestrial’, the General still went out of his way to buy her a gift for her effort. The sneaky, conniving b! I borrowed my mother’s car to drive to the hospital. I didn’t believe that the General had taken Roswella there. The lady in the reception at the hospital, however, refused to give me any information about whether Roswella was admitted or not because I was neither a child nor a family member. So I went to talk to Doctor McDougall (I’ll call him McInsane from now on). I knew that all the patients confidential information aside, that he would tell me the truth. And I was completely horrified, when after expecting to be told that she was here and her room number that McInsane refused to tell me anything. So that meant that she was here, or rather, a patient of the Roswell Medical Centre. I had to show the reception that I was leaving, so that it wouldn’t arouse suspicion and/or mean that guards would be taking me home again. It was an act, though, and I snuck in the back way, the way my mother snuck in last year to steal McInsane’s keys to his SUV, which proved later to be a bad, bad notion. She was arrested. And charged with theft, but she kept up her good appearance these days (except for the occasional theft of a fifty-cent chocolate bar at one of the Carlsbad gas stations.) Was my mother a thief by blood? The answer to that was no. Because if she was, then I too would be; but on the other hand I was a skilled spy and eavesdropper. Did that count as a criminal offence - surely not? I searched through every ward except the mental ward. That I thought would be the golden one. And it did turn out to be the golden one. The room only had one occupant, and it was Roswella Lane, lying on her large hospital bed. I waddled forward carefully. I didn’t want to wake Roswella up from her afternoon nap. But she was already awake and turned her head to glimpse me tripping over, again. She gave a little giggle and a cough as I managed to pull myself up from the cold, hospital floor. When I gave her bed a proper look, it seemed that she was hooked up to every known cable possible. What were they doing to her? She noticed my peering and muttered, “Stupid army men,” “What did they do to you, Ms Lane?” “No, no – call me Roswella,” “Alright…Roswella, what did they do to you?” I repeated. “It wasn’t too bad. All they did was question me and when I refused, they had a fit, tied me up and warned me not to keep such information to myself. And as you see, it landed me in here…” “The bastard,” I muttered under my breath. “Yes, you can say that! He is so determined to find out about the recent…alien activity,” she gave me a little eyebrow wiggle. “It’s driving him absolutely mad. If I wasn’t so busy trying to escape the clutches of his goons, then I would have laughed. And quite a lot actually,” “Oh, Roswella, it must have been hell for you!” “Close to it, yes. Look, Ella, I must tell you something. It’s about the recent alien activity. It’s important that you know this. Firstly, may I say that you are indeed a very bad spy,” she giggled. I joined her. “And that you’re skulking is close to pathetic, but you were doing it for the right reasons. They’re keeping things from the public, and I think I know what.” I leaned in closer to hear what she was going to whisper. “The army General and his men are keeping an alien spacecraft in one of their tents. It came down from the sky about a week ago, during the middle of the night, and it’s been under the tent ever since.” “I was there that night, that is, when the spacecraft crashed. Well, to be honest, I didn’t see it crash and neither did I believe what the hell was going on. I was a little, er, deprived of my sleep!” “That is acceptable. But there was also something else. The day I was walking Snookums,” her dog, “I saw General Baker taking a break. And on his break he carried a spacecraft into a truck with his men. I don’t know what he was doing with it or what it would mean for him, but something tells me that General Baker is not who he says he is. Heed my warning, Ella, don’t get on the wrong side of Baker; it could cost you your life!” The nurse walked in with a medicine tray and a grumpy, self-loving look on her face. She shooed me out after I said my farewell to Roswella and after her hundredth hug. She was so nice, but she was also cautious. And that warning kept ringing in my head “…but something tells me that General Baker is not who he says he is...” And I was sure of it now. The General was definitely a little odd.