I looked at Ro; age and maybe even some worry, creased her face as she spooned her ice cream. We occupied a booth in a diner and watched an alien craft descend on the four flat screens above the bar.
(You should click here if you missed that. I’ll try not to do anything interesting while you’re gone.)
While the alien invasion began in downtown Manhattan, I engaged in ice cream therapy. For peace of mind and chocolate, I risked a stomach upset thanks to lactose intolerance. Assuming that an alien ship didn’t vaporize me and my ice cream before such intolerance could kick in. Thank heaven we had a window view. Through the winter-bare trees, I could see the Hudson River and a horizon bare of any fast-attack craft. There was just a barge making its lazy way down the river. It was in no hurry to reach the ports which were close to the alien action. Or inaction, since the ship lowering towards the UN building roof was taking its sweet time. We’d placed, received and half eaten our orders and it still hadn’t landed.
“I think it’s having commitment issues,” I said. My gaze dropped to my half eaten sundae and my stomach gurgled a warning. Perhaps I’d better develop some commitment issues of my own. I pushed my sundae at my neighbor.
Ro’s eyes stayed fixed on my laptop and that infernal countdown. Green numbers kept flipping over in an old-style animation. The webpage looked like it had fallen out of the nineties and given birth to our current nightmare. And that eerie poem squatted above the countdown like a spider waiting for prey. What dastardly mind had thrown this love child of creative writing and coding together? Truly only a deranged mind could have come up with it.
(Psst, your friendly narrator here, if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about raise your hands. Just kidding, hop over to here where we discover the countdown. Cue eerie music.)
I returned my gaze to the tv screen where things made a little more sense. Or they had until an orange beam lasered the alien craft in half. A second spear of energetic and unknown origin hit the right half and obliterated it. Then a hail of orange beams stabbed the UN building blasting the ship into smithereens. Yet they left the UN building as unattractive as it was before the strange light show.
Ro and I shared a look which was part horrified and part relieved but she spoke first. “What just happened?”
“Someone blew up their battleship?”
My retired neighbor raised an eyebrow at that. She held the I-am-not-impressed-with-your-geek-cred look for a full minute before cracking up.
“Oh come on, I’ve been dying to say that since that UFO thing first razed our apartment building.”
“Seriously though, what did we just see?”
“The military doing what we pay it to do?”
“Yeah but why did they wait so long to blow it up? That thing’s been descending for over an hour. And before that, it was sailing around the tri-state area.”
And causing conflagrations thanks to the hail of bullets my erstwhile neighbors had fired. Said fire had consumed our entire apartment complex and precipitated our hurried escape. Wild cheering erupted from the bar area and someone turned the sound back on. Just in time too, Vanda Cooper from CNN was doing her reporter thing. She even had her tough girl face on.
“We have just received confirmation that the unidentified aircraft was destroyed. We do not yet know who took part in this heroic act as no group has yet taken credit. I repeat…”
And that was when shit got critical but we didn’t know it as we sat there munching on french fries. We wouldn’t discover who or what had destroyed that spacecraft just yet. But it wasn’t done by any human agency. Ro was right about that. CNN had caught something red-handed, but it wasn’t anything from our universe.
to be continued…
This piece is dedicated to the fans of Aerials who requested its return. And yes, it’s back. Alien hijinx is up next.
Find out who done it in the next installment of Aerials. But don’t tell me okay? I like a little mystery in my tale. If you’d like to read up on the scenes that preceded this one, check out the Aerials TOC. It lists them in order for your convenience.
Aliens were caught red-handed for #BarAThon, day 4 of the 7-day challenge. Click here to join us.