[This bit of story gets its idea germ from today’s writing challenge, but is styled after the series How I Met Your Mother. This piece is just the beginning of the beginning. It will later be revealed that the kids to whom this bedtime story is being told are on a spaceship headed to a new world, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the scene:]
Kids, this is the story of how I met the Antarians.
It all started back in 1976. America’s Bicentennial Year, with Tall Ships sailing on the Hudson and President Ford hosting a fireworks extravaganza in Washington DC.
Of course, this story isn’t about any of those things, ‘cause I was just a teenager, growing up in Michigan, the Water Winter Wonderland.
Michigan in those days was a wonderfully bipolar state. The bottom part was ruled by The Big Three automakers, while the top two thirds was just a flat expanse of trees. I lived in Mt. Pleasant, which wasn’t either a mountain or pleasant, at least to a teenage boy infected with wanderlust.
My two best buddies, Greg and Bruce, were just as bored with high school as I was. My interest was the stars, while Greg was a lineman on the football team, and Bruce was … Bruce. We probably never would have been friends anyplace else, but since we lived on the same street in a dinky little midwestern town we were best buddies.
Anyway, it all started on March 5th, 1976. I know ‘cause I wrote it down. That was the day of the green meteor.
In those days I was crazy enough to get up before sunrise just so I could watch the stars. You know how tough it is getting you guys to go to bed? Well, I never had that problem, at least not in those days. Except for Friday nights when the football team was playing I was in bed by nine so I could be up by five. It’s amazing I had any friends at all!
On this particular morning I was up at five, as usual. It was early March, and in a brief flash of sanity I decided not to put on my snowmobile suit and freeze my butt off, but stayed in my room and watched through the window. It was a remarkably clear night, with only the occasional passing cloud to blot out the stars splashed across the sky. The meteor forecast called for five meteors an hour that night, and I was hoping I’d be lucky enough to see at least one through my window.
Then that blob appeared, a green orb that pulsed as it fell from the sky. This is what I wrote in my journal:
Comet West – March 5, 1976
There appeared at the top of the window a very brilliant light and in the instant that it took me to focus, right before me was a brilliantly glowing ball but of a hazy shape, greenish in color and indescribably bright. It seemed to wobble a little which must have been its revolutions and moved with a slightly downward curve then was suddenly gone.
I’ll tell you I was so excited that I barely got the note written down before I was racing to the bathroom so I didn’t wet my pants!
I was still excited when I got to the bus stop where Bruce and Greg were already waiting for the bus.
“Guys! You’ll never guess what I saw!”
Bruce glared at me with his sleep-deprived eyes. “It’s too early in the morning to have actually seen anything. Heck, I can’t even see the insides of my eyelids.”
“What did you see, Bob?” asked Greg.
“I think I saw a UFO!”
“Will you two guys shut up and let a guy sleep?”
“What do you mean, sleep?” I asked. “You’re standing at the bus stop!”
“I am like a horse. Not only am I hung like a horse, but I have the ability to lock my knees and sleep standing up.” Greg gave Bruce a little push that left him sprawling in the snow. “Hey! What’d you do that for?”
“You’re not a horse. You’re much to easy to tip.”
“Yeah, well you’re much too easy to get past. The only reason coach has you playing line is there’s no-one bigger than you on the team.”
Now kids, I should have kept my mouth shut, but I wasn’t nearly the social sophisticate I am today. “It’s senior year. We graduate in a few months. The only way Greg’s still on the team is if he flunks Geography.”
That little bit of prognostication would come back to haunt me.