Incident at Bear Creek
Bear Creek is a winding little creek that curls through town. Its shoreline is a warren of traveled paths – with rusting pop cans and torn newspaper flyers stuck under fallen brambles. It’s easy to get lost - particularly in the dark. A misstep might give you a slimy foot-soaker or an attack of cougar claw-thorns.
Trouble was - using the Bear Creek paths was the fastest way across town when you were on foot and when you were late to take over the childcare. Denise, my wife, annoyed, was probably burning my underwear and my classic comic collection right now.
I rounded the corner with the big old dead tree and the wasp’s nest, started to smell the creosote from the old train trestle bridge and then saw a flash of pink-blue light, and heard a kind of a pop- balloon sound.
What the heck? My steel toed Red Wings slid on the gravel. What’s a kid with some crazy toy doing out here at this time? Scaring my innards into my throat.
I carried on around next bend and stopped up quick - my tool belt slapped into my beer-bloated bladder.
Under the bridge something was rolling around. Something metallic – it was flashing the strange light, I'd seen. It was popping. It was large. It was about the size of an oil drum – but more the shape of an onion. It had a lot of wires running across its surface, and some reflective indentations. This was some kind of toy! I looked around for an owner but no one was around. I was alone.
Could it be remote controlled?
I tried to think of Denise, pacing in the trailer, baby Jim wailing in the background, and just go around and ignore the thing, but it was taking up the whole path; you can’t step off a Bear Creek trail without consequences.
It was rotating in kind of a wobbly way – like Robbie back in the bar. Surely it was malfunctioning; something was stuck in its circuitry? It was globular and it reminded me of a picture in one of my comics – the one about the Alien Alliums Invading Planet Earth.
Okay. Gotta do something.
But before I could quite get a grip, the light stopped flashing and the thing stopped moving. Alright - so now the player would step out of the bushes to align it, or tweak it, or something and I could ask him where he bought such a cool toy and then get home and start saving my pocket change.
Then the top hissed open.
Pink steam came out.
And two long silvery antennae.
Okay. Take a big breath. Pull up the jeans. Assess the situation.
I sat down suddenly on the path. I didn’t mean to, it just happened, because next to emerge from the onion thing was a full-scale, real-life, extra terrestrial being. It had all the suction cups, breathing gills, six fingered hands, furrowed brow, oversized eyes and speckled skin that the comic book aliens have. Only difference was that he? Or she? Was short. Only a foot tall I would say. Kinda cute. And its form-fitting space-jumpsuit was baggy.
My breathing sort of resumed.
My next thought was - no – one’s gonna believe me, followed by, should I stand up? Followed by, my frigging wire strippers are sticking in my buttock.
The alien was making noises. Some were high and squeaky; others guttural, they were in a sort of a pattern and after a bit of this I could swear I started to recognize a few sounds that could ‘ave been words.
I hiccupped and I told him I also spoke Spanish – if that was any help.
He did want to communicate. With a jumbled mixture of some sort of language and a lot of arm waving plus my knowledge of comic-book-alien-ese it seemed like it was goin’ to work. So what was this first alien communication to the human race or at least to one boozed-up human being?
I can tell you what it wasn’t.
He didn’t say “Take me to your leader”.
And he didn’t say, “I come in peace”.
Heck he didn’t even say, “You will be assimilated”
He basically said he wanted to borrow a number 2 Robertson.
“Give it a rest Denise - I’ve got me a space-ship to repair!”
#Calgary Story # Calgary Writer