It flashed through the sky and then was gone. There was no doubt, she was absolutely certain she had seen a UFO. She even suspected that the aliens were here to make contact. Maybe they would choose her, maybe she would get to see their ship and become the first diplomat between humanity and the greatest of unknowns. A thousand scenarios flashed through her head as she stepped out off the sidewalk and into Big Tom’s field for a better look. She viewed the evidence under the education of a hundred History Channel programs: Aliens. Period. The streak it had left in the sky was still there, fading slowly as she gazed up.
“Ope, another one, eh?” Came a voice deep and domesticated by years of farm work, Big Tom was just getting off his tractor and looking up.
“Oh? So you’ve seen them before Big Tom?”
“Oh yuh, tons a’ times.” He replied, “Used to take the telescope out as a kid to get a glimpse when I knew they were-a-coming.” As he looked up, his hat hung just behind his hairline. She now saw him in a whole new light. He was no longer just Big Tom, so named for his gruff, bear-like size. He had somehow been reduced, or expanded, into a human figure, a symbol of relevance.
“Wait, ‘when you knew they were coming’? I have so many questions now!” She was ecstatic just looking at the man, all those years of TV and yet here was an expert in her own back yard!
“Well yeah they come quite often, usually just like that one. Not always so bright though, must a’ been a big’un that.” He looked calm and collected, nodding as he spoke. Yet his words meant something else entirely, something you just can’t be calm about.
“What like, like a Mothership?” Her voice cracked at the word. Mothership, they come often! These thoughts were something she couldn’t contain. Big Tom was a prophet, their simple town of Madrid New York was some kind of travel hub, an interstellar gas station, or the home of some federation of united planets! What could it all mean?
“I s’pose you could call it that, I’d just call it a big’un, can’t get too far out there y’know.” He winked before returning his gaze to the sky, “yeah we hit them a lot in these skies.”
“So what do they say when they land?” She asked, trying not to jump up and down while talking to her newfound celebrity.
“Say when they land? Well, I’ve never known ’em to say much but boom when they hit the ground. Now those ones are usually small but to make it so far down, well y’know.” He spread his arms out to their furthest length. “Can dig ’em up if ya find ’em. Sucks when they get in the fields but shit happens, eh?”
“Dig them out? Don’t they have landing gear?”
“Landing gear? Honey just what on Earth do you think that was?”
“Well a UFO obviously, Aliens- you said it yourself.”
“Oh dear thems ain’t no aliens,” Big Tom was laughing so hard he held his belly, “I can Identify that for ya real easy. First it wasn’t doing any flying, it was falling. It’s a Damned Meteor, happen by ’em all the time at night, more common than Earthquakes really. Definitely ain’t no reason to call the History Channel up so they can turn more minds into turds. Ya see, space is mostly empty but our solar system is full of rocks and smaller bits of rocks. Hell we run into them more often than you see your own mother. Thems is rocks, hun.”
“Oh..” She said, was all she said, and went on home.
Big Tom’s Alien Stop-N-Go’s lesson is one I learned at about thirteen, or maybe fifteen. Back then there was a considerable explosion of Ancient Aliens and Hitler-UFO garbage that hit the History channel like a storm. TV was never quite the same after that, and it wasn’t long before the cable box became some vile creature dreamed up by middle-aged men looking for a payday to remove intelligence from entertainment completely. So when I saw the writing prompt for a story where some girl named Lucy was supposed to meet Aliens, I took the first line, and turned it into a sense of reality moment as best I could.