Monday, July 13, 2009

that evening when aliens attacked

My father was one of the plant managers at a refinery in El Dorado, Arkansas. He never cared much for imaginative stuff; rather, he was down-to-earth and practical-minded, his thought processes running along very rational mental conduits. Back in the mid-sixties, some new TV shows were sprouting on the air, like Star Trek, and these were not to his taste. Nor were books that drifted too far from the ordinary.

One evening at the dinner table, we were chowing down on my mother's delicious pancakes, drenched with warmed-up Log Cabin syrup. This was our Thursday night ritual: pancakes engulfed in the nick of time, so we didn't miss the beginning of Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker on our brand-new TV in amazing Living Color!

My father was sitting at the head of the table with, as usual, a thoughtful, pleasant expression on his face. Then it happened. And that expression took on a never-before-seen shading. See...aliens were attacking. And why they had chosen an obscure, south Arkansas town to do so most likely enhanced the uncanniness and perplexity of the occasion.

Up until that time, police sirens topping the hill to our west would wail forlornly, like a banshee having her hair slowly pulled. Rather pathetic sounding. You know the sound...remember those stupid warbling sirens from clunky squad cars, delivering the impassive Broderick Crawford to a crime scene on Highway Patrol?

Well...unbeknownst to us pancake lovers was the fact that new technology had landed smack dab on top of the El Dorado Police Department. New-fangled sirens had been installed. I suppose the idea was to paralyze bounding-away perpetrators into a stupefaction of fear and confusion.

This siren sound was from another galaxy...or from hell. way to fold one's associative aural memories into it...just wouldn't fit. Someone must have discovered the formula for this high-pitched, quivering, oscillating horror in the dusty archives of Nikola Tesla.

So that evening, our nice little family was assaulted by a sound that screamed: “We are not of earth, and we are coming to eat you with Log Cabin syrup on top.”

The fork was at my father's lips, and it froze there for a moment or two. Then, it slowly descended to settle on his plate. He looked at each of us, and it was a look of astonishment, souped-up with...what the hell? I'd never seen that expression on his face before, never saw it again. And that look was unmistakable: We Are Being Space Invaded. You can imagine the discombobulation that such a notion would effect in a civil engineer, someone whose mind was more attuned to blueprints than seven-toed footprints.

As I recall, we all dashed to the time to see a plain-jane patrol car blasting down the highway in front of our house. The collective sense of relief was palpable. Invasion postponed.

And maybe I've got a mean streak or maybe I just wanted Dad to know what it was like living inside my crazy head for a few minutes...but I sort of enjoyed that moment when he was opened up by some alien stress.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. OMG...aliens are zapping my comments. They don't want us to be thinking or reminiscing about this stuff!