Prompt: Suddenly the mysterious light disappeared around the bend.
It was a warm evening in the summer of 1978. We had moved into a second floor apartment in Oakland, California six months earlier. I was 9, my sister was 8, and my brother was 7. We made fast friends with the other children in the complex.
Two siblings who lived two doors down came over that evening to play on our patio. The patio was off of the kitchen and faced the parking lot of a church. The sun was going down so we were keeping an eye out for the Goodyear Blimp that would often cruise the sunset sky. The blimp thrilled us because as it floated by, it would sometimes have a cartoon flickering on the side. We could never get enough of cartoons no matter the quality or form.
While we kept a look out for the blimp, we spent time teasing the Doberman Pinchers that lived in the backyard directly below us. We teased those lean brutes so much that they’d leap up the wall in an attempt to get us.
I envisioned the terror I’d feel if I ever fell down below, and the mess the pair would make of me if I was unfortunate enough to meet the fate of a fall. I decided to put a stop to the teasing, when we saw a round disk-like object in the sky with multi-colored lights flashing and rotating around the sphere.
The object didn’t move very fast but it kept getting closer. We realized that it wasn’t a blimp but didn’t quite know what it was. It began to pick up speed as it got closer to the church. Suddenly, it was moving so fast that we didn’t think it was going to stop. I tore open the patio door and we ran back into the kitchen. We hid behind the curtains and braced for impact but things were very quiet. I waited a moment before I pulled the curtain back enough to survey things and suddenly the mysterious lights disappeared around the bend.
It is now the summer of 2021 and 60 Minutes has just validated the claim of UFOs.
“You all think you know me!” Gildy yelled. “Well you don’t know me! You know nothing about me at all! He turned and looked each person in the room in the eye. His uncle Bertram turned away. His sister Phyllis, casted her eyes downward. The only one to hold his glare steady was Wilford, the family butler. He was the one who finally broke the silence.
Wilford cleared his throat and in the tone he’d used with Gildy from the time he was a little boy, said, “Master Gildy, you’re just tired. Let me get you some tea.”
“I don’t want any tea!” Gildy yelled.
“Tea always makes you feel better.” Wilford said while walking over to Gildy. He held his arm and guided him over to the sofa where Gildy collapsed and began to sob.
“There, there Master Gildy.” He soothed. “Those wicked Wickles will pay for what they’ve tried to do.”
As far as scandals go, Bright Johnson, 8th grader at Stacey Abrams Middle School, accomplished the greatest scandal anyone in the school could have ever imagined. This was her final year in the MESA program. MESA is where all of the smart kids and those kids whose parents dream of having smart kids come together to create scientific fetes such as prosthetic arms made from kitchen tongs and duct tape. She wanted to end her middle school career on a high note so coming in first place was a must. Her toughest competition was Audra St. Blume who lived a few houses down from Bright. They used to play together when they were in elementary school but middle school changed her. During their final friendly play date Audra said to Bright, “New school, new clothes, new me, new friends. Bye!” So Bright concocted a scheme to bring her down. It came to be known for years to come as the great sugar scandal of Stacey Abrams Middle School.
All of his life’s efforts came to this one moment. All of the hours alone with the light of his laptop transitioning to the light of the sun and back again. All of the sacrifices. A marriage that never stood a real chance, even though he found time, at least twice, to spend 15 minutes physically connecting. This was evident in the two children the coupling produced. Aside from DNA, there was no real connection to the children. Yet this is what his mind decided to ruminate on. How are David and Cassandra doing? The unexpected longing in his heart, an unfamiliar sensation, made him unseasonably salty considering the fact that he just hung up the phone on his agent and the news that he was now a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry.
Commit yourself to an unsubstantiated notion, a conspiracy theory, as it were. Allow it to grab hold of your heart in such a way that whenever your brain receives information that attacks the logic of the notion and begins to ruminate on it, you feel the cold hand of death grip your heart as if it were a hapless stress ball. Your fight or flight instincts begin to kick in. You desperately reach for your laptop, the door to your tribe, and navigate through the halls until you reach the social media room in the darkest corner of the web. You enter, and it’s as if the occupants have been awaiting your arrival. Your fingers relay the rhetoric of which, surprisingly or not, the occupants are all too familiar. Surprisingly or not, they are armed with the medicinal response that instantly dispels the grip. You can breath now. You can, certifiably now, go out into the world and be sensational again.