Lied to the Federal Government about UFO Abduction

Lied To Federal Government About UFO Abduction

Author: Elf X

Category: Crossover — My Name is Earl/XF, humor

Summary: Earl Hickey’s gotta get his karma right, with the help of a

couple of guardian agents.

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: The X-Files and My Name of Earl belong to other folks – I’m

just gonna borrow ‘em for a while.

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When I heard the knock at the door, I sort of halfway figured it might be

the video people, after Halloween 3.

A lot of folks didn’t care for that one — probably thought it strayed too far

from the basic theme of the original Jamie Lee Curtis classic. But I liked

it, I guess maybe too much, because I’d watched it four times over the past

three days, and it was only a one-night rental. They tell you there’s no late

fees, but that always had sounded, well, maybe a little too good to be true.

I grabbed the DVD and yanked on my jeans. 9:30 a.m. — those video folk

were an early-rising bunch, all right.

I figured almost right off the couple on the other side of the door didn’t

represent the Bigscreen Video corporation. They were too well-dressed,

and they weren’t wearing the snazzy green Bigscreen vests. The man was a

nice-looking fella, and the woman — a redhead — was pretty enough in a

high school principal sort of way.

The man smiled. “Mr. Hickey?”

That’s when it hit me. “Morning. Look, I appreciate your freedom of

religious expression and all, but I got a pretty fair workin’ relationship

with Jesus, thanks.” I started to close the door on them, but the man put his

foot in it.

“Mr. Hickey, I’m Agent Mulder, and this is Agent Scully. We’re FBI.”

My mouth went kind of dry. “Wow, they sure are serious about their late

rentals.”

**

I guess it all started about a week ago, after I called Washington to try to

cross No. 76 off my list. I was hunkered under a desk — the tax fella had

went out to lunch, and I figured he knew some way to deduct the long-

distance charges — but they put me through to an agent right away, which

made me feel pretty good about all those federal tax dollars I’d paid on all

those cigarettes I used to smoke.

“You want to recant your abduction?” the woman agent squeaked after I

told her my business.

“No. I’d like to kind of just take it back. I was confused that night about

the aliens.”

I didn’t hear anything on the phone for a second except her breathing. It

was nice breathing, no disrespect or anything. “Sir, I don’t remember this

ever happening before. I wish my partner was in today. Can I have him call

you, Mr. Hickey, is it?”

“Oh, no, ma’am. He doesn’t need to bother. Just take my name off the

alien kidnapping list or whatever, and thanks.”

I hung up and slipped out right as the tax fella got back from Little Burger.

I pulled out the list and, with a sigh, crossed off No. 76 — “Lied to federal

government about UFO abduction.” That one had bothered me — making it

up about the little gray guys when there were honest folk out there who’d

been anally probed and poked for real. See, the problem was, I’d just about

run dry of excuses for being out too late with the guys, and Joy — we were

still betrothed then — had threatened to change the padlock on the front

door (another story).

“C’mon, Joy!” I’d whined, banging on the door.

“I told you not to get in so late,” she snapped from the other side. “You’ll

wake up the kids, and they gotta take the laundry to the Wash-o-Mat

tomorrow early.”

I thought fast, which wasn’t easy because I’d had a half-bottle of Wild

Turkey. “You gotta let me in — I been, ah, I been, you know, abducted. By

aliens. Space aliens.”

Now, Joy was what you might call a carnivorous reader — she kept up on

current events and all, mainly in those grocery store papers with the

Bigfeet and Michael Jackson. Some fella about twenty miles down the

road had been on the news the other night, said he’d went up on a

spaceship and got a free procto before they dropped him back in time for

Mr. Conan O’Brien’s show. I figured I had that plausible deniable stuff

they always talked about with the politicians.

Sure enough, I heard Joy work the dial on the new bike lock she’d

installed, and her eyes were big as E.T.’s when she opened the door. “You

was abducted?! My poor baby. You come in and I’ll get you a beer. Hold

on, Baby — I’ll get you a pillow for your, you know, nether regions. They

did probe you, didn’t they? They musta probed you.”

I got a little nervous when the feds came by and the TV folk. Luckily, the

federal folk didn’t seem too interested in details, and it was lucky I’d had a

summer rash at the time — nature had called at Saturday’s Pony League

game, and the thicket near the diamond had poison oak or ivy or some

such obnoxious weed. But I’m as patriotic as the next fella, so I felt a little

guilty about lying to Uncle Sam, even if the old guy didn’t seem to give a

rat’s ass.

**

This guy, Agent Mulder, did, though. Now, I’d had my periodic

encounters with the law enforcement community at the local, county, state,

mall, and Park Department levels (the judge was unsympathetic to my

argument that the park folk hadn’t specifically posted No Peeing signs).

After Agents Mulder and Scully told me they weren’t looking to send me

to Guantanamo Bay or nothing, I told them about my checkered past (just

the stuff that was past the statute of limitations), the lottery, my list, and

karma. Mulder seemed to be interested in that — he was a naturally

inquisitive fella.

“According to the Vedas, if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if

we sow evil, we will reap evil,” he told his partner, who looked kind of

drowsy. “Karma refers to the totality of our actions and their concomitant

reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determines our future.

The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and dispassionate reaction.

Not all karmas rebound immediately. Some accumulate and return

unexpectedly in this or other births. According to the Vedas.”

I didn’t actually know the Vedas, though they sounded like good Christian

folk. “Shit happens,” I agreed. “I’m just trying to get my karma realigned. I

hate to put a bad rap on folks, even if they’re alien folks.”

Agent Scully yawned. Agent Mulder leaned forward on the couch, almost

ripped his pants on a spring. “Look, Mr. Hickey. I’m just going to ask you

straight out. Were you coerced in any way to recant your account of the

abduction?”

I just looked at him. He sighed.

“Did anybody threaten you so you’d take back what you said?”

“Ohhh. No, sir. I just wanted to set the record straight. Karma, like I said.”

“Nobody visited you?” Agent Mulder pushed. “Maybe they said they were

from the government, told you what happened was part of a secret

experiment or asked you to keep quiet for the national good?”

I scratched my head. “You mean like Will Smith in that movie?”

“Yeah,” he nodded, seriously. “Kind of like that.”

Agent Scully made some kind of noise, and struggled off the bad cushion.

“I’ll be out in the car. Mr. Hickey.”

“Ma’am.” I turned back to Agent Mulder, who was still staring at me. He

was beginning to spook me a little. “Look, I’m sorry I lied to you folks,

really. You know how it is, don’t you, when the little woman’s always

riding your ass like a mechanical bull?”

He glanced at the door and kind of sighed. “Yeah, yeah, I do. OK, Mr.

Hickey, I guess that’s it. We’ll close the file.”

Agent Mulder looked so disappointed, I felt kinda bad for him. “Hey, I do

think I saw some strange lights one time. ‘Course, it was July 3rd, so who

knows…”

“It’s OK, Mr. Hickey,” Agent Mulder smiled, getting up. “We get false

reports all the time – no need to make a federal case out of it. It’s just…”

He paused, then shook his head.

“It’s just what?” You know sometimes how your brain tells your mouth to

keep shut, but your mouth says, Who are you telling to shut up?

“Well, Mr. Kellogg – the man who claimed to have been abducted a few

days before you – called us the same week you did and recanted, uh, said

he hadn’t been taken. But I took the call, and he seemed anxious, worried.

You don’t know Orrin Kellogg, do you, since you had – purported to have

had – the same experience?”

“Gee, Agent Mulder, I sure don’t. Sorry. Say, you know if this Kellogg

fella’s married? Or used to be? Or maybe has a real, er, assertive

girlfriend.”

The agent smiled. “I’ll ask him,” he said, reaching for the doorknob.

**

“Felt kinda sorry for the guy,” I told Randy, who was trying to look me in

the eye as he went for the last cheesestick. Appetizer distribution had

always been an issue for Randy and I, ever since the folks took us to the

Chuck E. Cheese for my 10th birthday and we got tossed out for throwing

marinara sauce on the mechanical banjo-playing bear. “Probably has a real

boring job, same old same old all the time. Something like UFOs and

spacemen, well, it probably puts a little zip into his day.”

“Feel kinda sorry for the cereal guy, too,” Randy said, biting into his ill-

gotten mozzarella stick. His forehead wrinkled up, and he stared into the

hollow stick. “Hey, there’s no cheese in here. Thought it felt kinda light.”

“Cereal guy? Randy, what in the world are you talking about?”

“You know, the Kelloggs guy. The other guy got took by the

extraterritorials. How’d this get out of the factory without any cheese?”

Luckily, Darnell came out of the kitchen at that point with a bucket of

wing sauce. “Hey, Earl.”

“Well, hey there, Crabman. Randy got a dud cheesestick. You think maybe

you can hook him up?”

“Sorry – sold the last order,” Joy’s latest spouse said, looking apologetic.

He took his responsibility to the hospitality industry seriously. “How about

some jalapeno poppers?”

Randy looked like he might cry. “Kinda had my heart set on that last

cheesestick.”

“I got some pickle chips for the burgers. Maybe I could drop ‘em in the

fryer, see what happens.”

“Popper’s’d be fine,” Randy sighed.

Crisis averted. “What about Kellogg? Why you feel sorry for him?”

Randy popped the cheesestick tube in his mouth. “Well, you know, if he

was the only guy got taken by the aliens, then he’s kind of a nut, you

know? But since you said you got took, too, he maybe wasn’t a nut. But

now that you’ve – what’s the word that FBI guy used?”

“Recanted.”

“Since your alien story got all recanted, now the guy’s a nut again. They

did a couple of writeups in the local papers about him getting poked by the

aliens, and he talked about how he wasn’t lying, ‘cause why else would

you say you got took, too? Gee, you know, this is even worse, ‘cause if

you hadn’t said what you said, he probably wouldn’ta started talking to all

the newspapers and, oh yeah, those UFO guys at that convention down at

the capital. Oh, and Dateline. Said in one of the stories his girlfriend up

and left him after the first story came out. You think those poppers are real

hot?”

I pushed my tenderloin away and reached into my pocket. “Well, thanks a

lot, Randy. I just got one up on the list, and now I gotta add a new one.”

Randy hung his head, then looked up sadly. “You know, I shoulda went

for those fried pickle chips.”

**

Mr. Kellogg only lived two towns over, so Randy and I stocked up at the

Gulp-and-Grab and hit the road. I wanted to Mapblast the sucker, but the

public library computer had caught some kinda high-tech sexually

transmitted virus from one of the local high school kids looking for naked

women.

Luckily, there were only really two streets in town, and Kellogg lived a

block from the Pizza Hut — a personal dream of Randy’s, and, if I had to

be honest about it, probably myself. The Corn Nuts hadn’t set too well on

my brother’s gut, so we had the noon pizza buffet first to kind of settle it

down and plot our strategy so I could cross Number 123 — “Helped UFO

abductee make a jackass out of himself” — off the list. The plotting didn’t

go too hot, so we thought we’d just drop in and say hey.

Thing is, about a couple dozen other folks had had the same idea, ‘cause

Mr. Kellogg’s front yard looked like one of those conventions down at the

Holiday Inn where they sell you comic books in plastic covers and Captain

Kirk talks about what it was like to eat donuts with Dr. Spock. Half the

folks in front of Kellogg’s house looked like the kids Randy and I used to

beat up at school and the other half like the kids Randy and I used to beat

up at Halloween parties. A couple had big rubber heads like that dead alien

on that FOX autopsy show.

“So, hey, what’s up?” I asked some portly fella who was wearing a T-shirt

with a flying saucer on it and a cap with “NAPI.” “Nappy?”

“Network of Affiliated Paranormal Investigators,” he sighed. “Who you

with? MUFON? CSETI? APRO?”

“I was in 4-H,” Randy mumbled. “’Til Earl and I accidently barbecued the

reserve champion Duroc.”

I signaled Randy to shut up. “You wouldn’t know if Mr. Kellogg might be

home?”

“He’s in there,” the geek fellow said, pointing to the house. “Kellogg’s

been in hiding ever since the MIBs got to him.”

“MI-who?”

“Men in black. The Man. ‘Fact, a couple of ‘em went in a little while ago.

Well, one’s actually a women in black. Well, more like slate-gray

pinstripe, you know? Uh, gotta go, dude.” He walked off about 10 feet and

turned his back to us.

Guess if we’d skipped the pizza buffet, Randy and I coulda got to Mr.

Kellogg before Agents Mulder and Scully. I was trying to figure out our

next move when a couple of the UFO folks started staring at me. They

went their leader over. He looked like somebody the NAPI fella would

give a wedgie to.

“You’re Earl Hickey, aren’t you?”

“Yeah…” Now, who says any publicity’s good publicity..

“Who got to you guys, man? The government or the EBEs? They threaten

you?” The new geek turned to his pals. “Hey, guys, it’s the other abductee,

Hickey.”

Suddenly, I had a fan club. This was turning out to be an awful lot of

trouble just to fix some bad karma. I didn’t want to just tell the UFO folks

I’d lied, cause then Mr. Kellogg would be the only nut job and I’d never

get him off my list. But if I told this bunch I had been probed by little

green men, it’d be like, well, like throwing M&Ms at an anthill. You know

what I mean.

Then it got worse. “Mr. Hickey?”

“Well, hey, Agent Mulder,” I nodded as he parted the sea of UFO folks

like Moses in a black suit. “Agent Scully. Small world.”

Agent Scully looked at the growing crowd of flying saucer people. “Yes. I

can feel it closing in already. Quite a coincidence, your showing up here.”

“We felt like pizza,” Randy blurted. “They got a really great Pizza Hut

here. I mean, I know we got one back home, but it’s the sausage. I think

they make their own sausage here. Cause it’s, like, you know, real good.

The sausage. I think they make it here.”

Thinking quick on his feet wasn’t what you might call my brother’s

strongest point.

“You said you didn’t know Kellogg, Mr. Hickey,” Agent Mulder smiled.

“Well, I guess I was just curious, you know — wanted to see if he got took.

Plus, like Randy said, we wanted to see if all this hype about the sausage

was true.”

Mulder grinned. “Well, your theory about the assertive wife or girlfriend

didn’t pan out.”

“Big surprise,” Scully murmured, glancing at a redheaded fella in a

Babylon 5 tank top.

“Mr. Kellogg insists he made up the abduction story to get some headlines,

even though his original account was fairly detailed. I’m afraid you guys

wasted a trip today. Unless that sausage was pretty hellaceous.”

“Oh, yeah.” Randy’s head bobbed. “It lived up to all the press.” Stick-to-

itiveness was one of Randy’s strong points.

“Don’t listen to ‘im, dude,” the UFO folks’ leader growled at me. “It’s a

coverup. A disinformation campaign. The truth’s out there, man.”

I grabbed Randy’s arm. “Yeah, well, live long and prosper, OK? Sorry

your abduction fell through, Agent Mulder.”

“What about the list?” Randy complained when we reached the car.

I leaned on the hood. “Randy, sometimes karma’s like a bad engine. The

pistons get too hot and sludge starts to build up and one day, blam, she

locks up. Sides, I get the feeling this fella woulda found some way to make

an ass out of himself even if I have screwed with his karma.”

Randy nodded slowly and opened his door. “We gonna stop for gas?

Cause I could use a Fudgsicle.”

“There you go.” The ability to move on was also one of his strengths.

“Mr. Hickey? Earl Hickey?”

I looked around and saw two love handles and a couple of thighs peeking

around an oak tree in the next yard. The fat fella — guess that’s

judgmental; coulda been a hormone problem like I saw once on Rikki

Lake — scampered to the car, jumped in the back, and rolled the window

down.

“Orrin Kellogg. I snuck out the back door and came down the alley. I

recognized you from the TV reports.”

“Well, like that Limbaugh fella says, you can’t trust the media all the time.

I reconsidered my story.”

“Recantered,” Randy corrected.

“Yeah, I recantered my story. I lied to my woman and the federal

government, and I recantered to get my karma right again.”

My weight-challenged fellow recanter frowned. “Karma?”

“Yeah. It’s like what the vegans say about your comatose actions coming

back to bite you in the hindquarters. That’s why me and my brother Randy

drove out here today — to try and fix your karma, too. I feel like maybe I

mighta busted it a little.”

Mr. Kellogg looked kinda weird at me, which to be honest was a major

achievement for him. “My karma’s fine.”

“You sure about that? Cause Randy here, he kinda feels like maybe I left

you hanging out in the wind when I recantered.”

“Recanted. No, I’m not, uh, hanging.”

“Cause it ain’t any never-mind to me. I’m not gonna be running for public

office any time soon – I could just recant my recant-, recant-, recantering?

‘Cept then, I’d have to put lying to the federal government back on my list,

and it doesn’t really seem fair to Agent Mulder, to yank him around that

way, you know?”

Mr. Kellogg rubbed his face. “I said, don’t worry about it. I’ll be glad to

have those people leave me alone.”

But I was on a roll, and on those rare occasions when I’m on a roll, it’s

hard for me to put on the old brakes. “Hey, how about this? I say I saw

about you in the paper, and I was consumed with envy and jealousy, so I

made up all that crap about getting’ probed. That way, you’re not a liar.

‘Cept, of course, for lying about recanting yourself. Wait a minute: You

did get took in the first place, right?”

“Jesus,” Mr. Kellogg said. He ducked down in the seat. “I’m asking you to

leave it alone, OK?”

“They ain’t threatenin’ you, are they?” Randy whispered. “The Men in

Blue?”

“Black, Randy. Yeah, the federal boys aren’t making you recant? Or the

aliens? That it? Those suckers wanna come back for you?”

“Not yet!” Mr. Kellogg bellowed. A few UFO folk turned around, and he

crouched even further.

I wondered what he meant by that. “What do you mean by that?”

Mr. Kellogg drooped back in the seat and closed his eyes. “You two just

aren’t gonna leave me alone, are you?”

“Not until I figure out how to come up with a karma patch for you.”

He sat up again, and looked at his fan club back at the house. “Let’s get

out of here.”

**

“You really ought to have some pizza,” Randy suggested as Mr. Kellogg

sat real quiet on his side of the booth. “The sausage is real good. I mean,

they don’t make it themselves or nothing – I just told those FBI agents that

– but…”

I pointed toward the buffet. “Randy, I think they put out some pepperoni.”

“Oh. Yeah. Excuse me.”

When he was gone, I leaned over the table. “Look, Mr. Kellogg, I sure

don’t want to cause you any more trouble than I have already, but it seems

kinda like you’re caught between Iraq and a hard place. Why don’t you

just level with me? You in trouble or something?”

Mr. Kellogg started ripping his straw paper. “Look, Mr. Hickey, Earl? Do

you actually believe in UFOs, extraterrestrials?”

I thought about it for a second. “You know, I guess I used to be kinda

skeptical about such things. Don’t know if Randy ever has forgive me for

telling him about the Tooth Fairy, even though it seemed like the right

thing at the time, him getting’ beat up by the rest of the football team and

all. Now, I don’t know. The way the Lotto and that car smacked me at the

same time, the way I discovered karma? Well, heck, maybe there are alien

folks out there. Hell, maybe there’s something to that old Tooth Fairy.

Never actually didn’t see him. Or her, it…”

“Mr. Hickey,” Mr. Kellogg interrupted, glancing around the Pizza Hut.

The place was deserted except for us, and the waitress and the manager

were lugging cans of tomato sauce from the back. “I’m only going to do

this for a second, so please stay focused.”

I focused, and he did it.

“Holy shit!” I yelled.

“What?” Randy asked, juggling two plates as he slid back into the booth.

“Holy shit,” I repeated.

Randy looked at me and then Mr. Kellogg. “What? Hey, c’mon. What

were you guys talking about?”

My heart was going a mile a minute, and my head was standing on the

road about a mile back from my heart, scratching its, well, you know what

I mean. “Do it. Show him.”

Kellogg rolled his eyes. “Christ. What if they see me?”

I stretched around. “Manager’s got his hand on her ass. Either way it goes,

I think we got a few seconds. Go ahead, show him.”

“Oh, all right.” He did it again.

“Holy shit!” I jumped again even though I knew it was coming.

“Wow,” Randy breathed. “Do it again.”

**

“Kellogg was a poor candidate for abduction,” the space alien told us,

“But we were, well, we were behind in our experimentation…”

“You guys got a quota, like Amway or the state troopers?” Randy asked,

licking his fingers.

“I was on a solo acquisition mission,” the alien went on, giving my brother

a dirty look. “He was out on State Road 15, trying to find a wheel cover

he’d lost, or maybe he’d found a wheel cover, I don’t know. Anyway, it

was a routine recovery.”

“With the tractor beam and all?” I asked.

He looked at me the same way he’d looked at Randy. You’d think with all

that advance technology and driving around for light years with no

McDonald’s and all, they’d be a mite more patient. “Yeah, the tractor

beam. But the minute I get Kellogg aboard, he screams, grabs his chest,

and just drops dead. I tried to reactivate his neural network, but, well, you

would have had to see the shape of his cardiac system. I still have it

somewhere around the house…”

“Yuck,” Randy burped, and his face turned kind of green.

“So, at this point, I could just proton-reverse the body – no fuss, no muss,

and his neighbors just figure, hey, serial killer.”

“’Be my guess,” I agreed.

“But then I think, wow, what a wonderful opportunity to study humanity,

its customs, you know, what makes it tick.” Then Space Alien sighed.

“Crap, who am I kidding? What I was really thinking was, Jesus, what a

shit job: Pick up, probe, dump. Pick up, probe, dump. And here’s this guy,

dead, and it’s not like we keep a log or anything. Who’s to know if I just

slip into his skin? So I run the ship into the lake at the edge of town.

Except these kids are there, uh, fornicating, and I have to make up this

whole thing about me abducting me. Then things really got out of control

after you came out of the woodwork.”

“If I’da known,” I apologized.

“Not your fault. Except I can’t get rid of the geek squad at the house. They

come from all over – had a group from Tokyo stop by last week. I thought

it would stop when I said I’d lied about the abduction, but it only brought

out the conspiracy buffs.” My new extraterrestrial buddy sighed. “Hate the

thought of going back. You’d be surprised how far Kellogg’s disability

checks go when your metabolic needs are satisfied with empty

carbohydrates.”

“And you got a Pizza Hut a block away,” Randy reminded him.

“Well, sure.” Space Alien looked at me, shaking my head. “What?”

“Sorry, man. Just you really speak human good for an alien, like you took

classes. ‘Cept for that meta-, meta-, metabonics stuff, of course.”

Thought he oughtta know, is all.

**

“We are not telling this to anybody,” I told Randy on the way home. “You

hear me? Not a solitary sole. Pinky swear, Randy.”

“I shwear,” Randy pledged through a mouthful of Cornnuts.

**

The door to the Crab Shack flew open like something out of an old

western, which meant it had to be Joy. “I wanna see this alien,” my ex

demanded.

“Randy!” I yelled.

His chair squeaked. “She tricked me, Earl. She asked what was goin’ on,

and I said nothing, and she said, nothing like hell, she could see I was

lying, so I made up something, and she said I was lying again, so I was

trapped, see?”

“I wanna see this alien,” Joy ordered. “You’re gonna set up a meetin’ or

something.”

“Joy, the man – I mean, well, the man – just wants to be left in peace. I

promised him.” I glared at Randy, who fumbled with his chicken finger.

“Look here,” Joy growled, clicking the table with her nails. It’s not what

you’d call real dramatic or anything, but she does her own without

“imported labor,” and she’s skittish about table-thumping. “You owe me,

Earl. You screwed up my Bigfoot picture. I coulda bought a 31-inch flat-

screen high-definition with the money the Enquirer woulda paid me.”

Now, I have to admit that perhaps I have to shoulder a share of the burden

for that one, though if I hadn’t suggested a campout at the limestone

quarry instead of King’s Island, she and the kids would never have even

seen Sasquatch in the first place. And she was the one who wanted to save

a few bucks with the 20-shot roll stead of the 36. And how could

anybody’ve predicted those sorority gals’d be sunbathing bare naked at the

quarry in the middle of September?

But I stood firm. A promise to a space alien is worth a Bigfoot hiding in

the bush, I say. “I’m sorry, Joy, but all that poor guy – alien fella, whatever

– all he wants is to retire to a nice dead guy’s house on Earth and watch

TV. It’s the American Dream, like what the Statue of Liberty says about

refusing to let the wretches come on shore. Leave him alone, Joy.”

Joy set her jaw, and it’s quite a jaw, I gotta tell you. “You take me to your

space fella, or I’m gonna call the Action Seven News Squad and the

Weekend Shopper – all the major media – and flush old E.T. out.” She

squeezed a Kodak disposable out of her jeans. “Y’all pick me up at eight –

I’m gonna shoot me a alien.”

**

“I think there’s a couple Jehovah’s Witnesses by the pool lookin’ for you,

Earl,” Catalina shouted from inside Unit 5.

Randy and I’d gone back to the motel to think out our strategy over some

Judge Judy – I hoped all that jurisdictional wisdom might just rub off. But

sure enough, Agent Mulder and Agent Scully were over by the pool,

catching a little sun and staring at the film on top of the water.

“Well, hey there, Agents,” I called, playing it as cool as I could.

Agent Mulder grinned, jumping off one of the loungers. “Hey, Mr. Hickey.

Wanted to talk to you a little more about that little visit to Mr. Kellogg’s

today. I’d like to close the books on this case, so Agent Scully and I re-

interviewed the kid who’d reported seeing a UFO the night Mr. Kellogg

was ‘abducted.’ Well, it turned out there was a second witness that night,

who wasn’t supposed to be with our first witness. It’s amazing how

forthcoming they both were once we offered to verify their whereabouts

with their parents.”

“Sounds like a couple kids could use some 4-H,” I tsk’ed.

“Yeah, well, turns out the kids actually saw what they believed to be a

spacecraft, crashing into a lake near here.”

“Lake?” Randy gasped. “We got a lake around here?” This was why, no

matter how much he begged me, I never took my brother along on Poker

Night.

“We’ve asked the State Police if they can spare a diving crew, even though

the lake’s reportedly a few hundred feet deep,” Mulder said. “Meanwhile,

we’re interested in why, if there actually was a UFO in the area, Mr.

Kellogg would recant his story. Or you yours’, for that matter.”

Agent Scully kind of rolled her eyes, like maybe she wasn’t quite as

interested as her partner.

“Maybe it was, you know, that swamp gas stuff,” I suggested. I wasn’t

burning up the court any too hot on Poker Night, for that matter.

**

Karma seemed to have taken an off ramp, got lost at the first intersection,

turned around, come up the wrong side of the on ramp, and ran right into

the grill of a Peterbilt.

If they found that spaceship at the bottom of the lake, then Agent Mulder

would probably never leave Mr. Kellogg alone, and I’d never get Number

123 off my list. Worse yet, Agent Mulder might figure I was lying and that

I had been snatched by space guys. Or worser yet, if he found out about

Mr. Kellogg, Agent Mulder might think I was a space guy, and I could

wind up getting probed at Area 51 or wherever the place is where Joy says

they’re keeping the Loch Ness monster and Jimmy Hoffa and probably

that Bigfoot we saw on vacation.

And that’s when it hit me like a drunk Teamster smacking one of those

fellas on Bravo.

**

“I was gonna watch Lost,” Randy complained. “I heard they were gonna

get off the island tonight.”

“They ain’t never gonna get off the island,” Joy snapped from the

backseat. “It’s like Gilligan. Who’da watched the danged thing if Thurston

Howell had went home and bought out Microsoft or Ginger had went back

to Hollywood and boffed Brad Pitt or the Professor had went, I don’t

know, back to community college or whatever…?

“Joy, I think he gets the idea,” I suggested, turning off onto Reservoir

Road.

“Why are we meetin’ this alien fella way out here?” Joy grumbled. “Earl

Hickey, you better not be thinkin’ about smacking me with a shovel and

dumping me in the lake so I won’t tell about your alien buddy. ‘Cause

Darnell knows where I am.”

Randy frowned. “I thought you told Darnell you were at the Megalomart

so you wouldn’t have to split the alien money with him.”

“Crap,” Joy pouted.

“Relax, Joy – nobody’s killing nobody, unless the mood happens to strike

you,” I said. “Mr. Kellogg said he’d meet us here so you could get your

Enquirer picture.” I checked the rearview mirror – they’d followed us from

the motel like I figured they would.

“Okee,” I declared, pulling in near the picnic tables. The kid on the nearest

table jumped down and came over to the window.

“Got my money?” he asked. Teenagers today are so obsessed with money.

Personally, I think it’s the MTV. However, I gave him the $20 out of the

lottery money.

“You sure I’m like not gonna get busted for this?” he asked. “My folks’d

kill me.”

“Nobody’s killing nobody,” I promised. Kinda warming up to that one –

maybe I’d make it my line, like Arnold’s Hasta la vista or that thing

Fonzie always said to Opie. “You got those books I asked you for?”

“Yeah, in my bag. First time I used that library card in three years, dude.”

“Great. Joy, you all loaded up?”

“Just bring on the alien, Earl,” she yawned, whipping out the Kodak.

I flashed the brights twice, real quick, and turned off the car. It was a

pretty night out, with the crickets singing and Randy munching away on

his Turkey Jerky and Joy sighing every few seconds. “So, how’s that gal

friend of yours?” I asked the kid.

“We broke up,” he said, all sad-like. “Kristen saw something about

lesbians on Springer and decided she was bi-courteous or something.”

Love’s a strange critter – sometimes you just oughtta not even try to pat it

on the head. “Wow, that’s rough, man.”

“Yeah.”

That’s when he heard the bellow – guess that’s what you’d call it. It was

somewhere between a lion and elephant and Rambo.

“Hot damn,” I said, jumping out of the car. “Grab your camera, Joy!”

He came out of the woods, bellowing again. I hoped he wouldn’t overdo it.

“Holy shit!” Joy screamed.

“Wow,” Randy whispered. Joy kept screaming.

“Daylight’s – I mean, moonlight’s burning, Joy! Get your picture!”

“But, but this ain’t no alien!”

“Joy, I promised to make it up to you for screwing up that Bigfoot picture.

So get on out there and shoot Bigfoot!” Bigfoot stopped about 10 feet

away and kinda shrugged. He was seven feet tall, probably about 400

pounds, and covered with what I think you call auburn hair, but he coulda

used a few acting lessons.

“Mr. Hickey!” It was Agent Mulder and Agent Scully, running toward us.

With their guns out. Now, I gotta admit I hadn’t seen that little twist

coming.

“Joy,” I yelled. “Take your damn picture!!”

She snapped out of it. “Don’t you curse at me, Earl Hickey. And you,” Joy

snapped at the monster. “You stand still. And look fierce or somethin’.”

Bigfoot blinked, then snarled, then blinked again as Joy snapped off three

or four shots.

“Git!” I yelled. Bigfoot nodded and ran back into the woods just as Agent

Mulder got to the car. Joy shoved her camera in her jeans.

“Mr. Hickey,” the agent panted as Agent Scully peeled off after Bigfoot.

“What was that–?”

Randy sighed real big, like we’d rehearsed in the mirror back at the motel.

“OK, guys – the gig’s up.”

“Jig,” I said. “Yup, I guess the jig’s up.”

“Lost him, Earl!” Mr. Kellogg came out of the woods, wheezing. Then he

looked at Mulder and gasped, you ask me, a little too fakey. Yeah, maybe

a few more acting lessons, all right.

“Jig’s up, Orrin!” I called back. “C’mere, uh, Kid.”

The kid looked at me, then Agent Mulder, then me, and picked up his

school bag. I reached inside and pulled out the books I’d asked him to

check out.

“Greg,” Agent Mulder murmured. “Coming out to the lake alone these

days? Guess it cuts out the middlewoman, huh?” He glanced at the books.

“Sasquatch: Man or Beast? The Secrets of Bigfoot. You into

cryptozoology, Mr. Hickey?”

“Heck, no, Agent. We just like to get together and look for strange critters.

We been doin’ it for a year or so now, though we had to kinda lay low

after Greg and his girl caught Orrin here stalkin’ Bigfoot. We didn’t want

a whole mob down here, getting’ all the good Bigfoot pictures.”

Agent Mulder’s mouth dropped open, and he shut his eyes like he was

passin’ a gallstone. “So you two made up the abductions to divert attention

from this creature?”

Mr. Kellogg and I nodded. After a second, Randy forgot he wasn’t

watching one of those dinner shows and started nodding, too.

“Then why are you here, Greg?” Agent Mulder asked.

“He caught on to us, and we had to cut him in,” I said. “He’s a smart one.”

Agent Mulder looked at the kid, whose pinkie was halfway up his nostril

and looked kind of doubtful at me. Then he turned to Joy, his hand out.

“Ma’am, I’m going to need that film.”

“Like hell,” the ex fired back. “Not until my check from the Enquirer

clears. I pay my cigarette taxes – I know my First Commandment rights.”

“Ma’am, what you’ve got here could be a major scientific revelation.”

“Then you go halfsies on double prints at the Megalomart – you’ll get ‘em

after I cash in.”

“I’m a federal agent,” Agent Mulder squeaked.

“Less you use that gun, I don’t know you can win this one, Agent,” I told

him. “I’d take the double prints.”

He sighed. “Fine.” Then he went off into the woods looking for Agent

Scully.

Mr. Kellogg sidled up. “You think it’ll work?” he asked nervously.

I shrugged. “Once the word gets out, I think your geek friends’ll go

looking for crop circles someplace else. Uh, you got a little, ah, fur on your

right cheek there…”

“Oh.” The brown patch like sucked back into his face.

“Wow,” Randy said. “Do that again.”

**

Turns out Joy shoulda popped for the good $10 disposable camera. Agent

Mulder got his double prints, all right, but what was in ‘em coulda been

anything from a grizzly to a stray Wookie who’d took the wrong turn at

the cineplex. Just the same, he hung around for the next coupla weeks

looking for Bigfoot. Probably a nice change of pace for him.

Joy cashed in all right, but not from the Enquirer. Seems Bigfoot’s kinda

low on the freak meter these days compared to Michael Jackson. But she

was able to score $132 on eBay, and she agreed to keep Mr. Kellogg’s

secret if I didn’t tell Darnell where she’d got the money for her spa day at

the Feel and Peel down near the Walgreen’s.

The UFO folks left town after the local paper reported that Mr. Kellogg

and me had been sitting on what Agent Mulder called a “cryptozoic

protohominid.” Randy thought Agent Mulder oughtta knock off the

highbrow talk if he ever hoped to get anywhere with Agent Scully, though

I think maybe she leans toward the Melissa Etheridge type, not that there’s

anything wrong with that. The Bigfoot sighting turned out to be the best

thing that ever happened to the county – folks flocked from all over the

place to see the big hairy fella, and there’s talk the Annual Horseradish

Festival may get renamed the Bigfoot Bash next year.

Young Greg’s supernatural experience fired up his creative moose, and he

started writing something called “slash” for the Internet. I read one, and

well, while it wasn’t my glass of tea, far be it from me to squash the boy’s

imagination.

Best of all, I got to cross No. 123 off my list and get my karma with Mr.

Kellogg right. The original Mr. Kellogg’s rich aunt passed on a few

months back, and he plans to open a comic book store on the main drag

with what she left him. I hope it works out for him – this country was built

by folks who had a dream and, in some cases, a big wad of somebody

else’s cash.

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