Yeah, he was green, 'bout three foot tall, eyes looked like Brussels sprouts and he was from Mars. (They look like that, you know.) Junior later reported that he'd got tired of fixing fence down in the salt cedars and was siting down in the shade scratching some chigger bites and wishing he was in town at the snow cone stand. About that time this little feller came easing by and Junior got a good look at him. When we asked Junior why he withheld information about this so long, he acted all swole up and said he was afraid to say anything after the way folks made fun of him the time he claimed he'd killed a nine-foot rattler. According to that story, he'd hit a snake with a cedar stay, stretched it out on the ground to measure it and found out it was nine foot and a quarter of an inch long. He went to his pickup and put the tape measure (the one he won at the drawing at the co-op, y'all know? That's right; you was there) back in the toolbox and turned around just in time to see that snake disappear down a prairie dog hole.
Anyway, after Junior finally got up nerve enough to tell us he'd seen a green little man, the Guv-ment got in on it and wrote up a big report. This report stated that they knew the little man's assignment was to come to West Texas and land in a thicket so as to hide his flying saucer. Bubba and Bozo'n 'em said they'd take a paralyzed oath that they all saw something up 'bout high as a round-bale hay shed and going real fast. It looked like a cross between a fifteen-foot bat-wing shredder and a hydro-swing swather. Bozo said this description really puzzled the investigator from Washington, but after they'd hauled him around to see different shredders and swathers he acted like he wished he'd never asked about them.
It seems that after departing the spacecraft the Mars man was supposed to locate a remote farmhouse, find a milking stool and put it in the shrubs outside of a large living room window so he could observe and take notes, and write a report to take back to Mars. He'd completed this part of his mission and was making his way back across a cotton field on his way to the thicket when some coyotes started chasing him. A young lady who was checking boll-weevil traps saw him and reported, "I saw something green that looked like a frog, only bigger. I first thought it might be Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but he wouldn't be running from anything." After she realized that what she'd seen was a little man, she noticed that he'd dropped something on the turn now. She picked it up, and it eventually found its way to the government department that investigates strange doings. It was the little fellow's report on what he'd seen through the farmhouse window. He'd written of observing four beings, two older ones and two younger ones. The report went like this:
These beings call themselves a "family". They sit around somewhat mesmerized and stare at a box over in the corner of the room. This box appears to be a small version of someone else's family. While watching the box, the beings sometimes laugh and sometimes are sad; the one called the father usually goes to sleep. At times something may cause the box to show a different family and this may cause one or more of the real family to become upset. I did not determine why they are so interested in other families, as they are a family. Why are they not interested in one another?
The only thing that may interrupt the watching of the box is a two-part instrument on the wall. From time to time an alarming sound comes from this instrument, and this alarm is in an even sequence. I never did determine what triggers the alarm. It may come at a high frequency of instances or only occasionally, and sometimes for long periods not come at all. I did determine that the alarm is of utmost importance, as everyone is alerted--it even awakens the sleeping father. The two younger beings are obviously assigned to stop the alarm and take this responsibility seriously, as they immediately run to the instrument at the first sound. Sometimes they appear to fight over it, even. Strangest of all, there is absolutely no consistent pattern of behavior after they cause the alarm to stop--they may take to it; in fact, they may talk to it so long that the father becomes angry, stands up, and puts his hands on his hips. The young ones may then pass the instrument to someone else. They may give it to the mother, and she may talk to it at length and laugh. They may give it to the father who might look in a notebook and say some numbers, or, as ridiculous as it sounds, it may give him some numbers, because he may write in his notebook. Sometimes they all talk to it. Once in awhile one of the young ones gets angry because the other one is trying to hear what he is saying. Sometimes they talk to the instrument a minute and give it to the father, then he talks to is, puts his hand up on his head and looks stricken with grief. He puts it down and they all look sad and then go different ways in the house before coming out all being obviously upset. They they get in their vehicle and go away.
I did not and have not determined what this invading alarm is that seemingly can cause anything to happen in this family, from happiness to playful or angry scuffles or extreme sadness.
Stan Johnson lives and works in Nolan County. Comments about this column can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.