The aircraft man, p.1
The Aircraft Man by Alex R. Encomienda
Formations; a stealth like triangular aircraft going 5mph at a very high altitude, silent and seemingly weightless.
Triads of the air and sky; an orange orbing light passes through the windstorms and makes no sound and then shoots up into space while alerted ones below stare in astonishment.
A man in his twenties named Larry sits aloft with a can of beer in his hand; the good kind- and he looks into the sky. He hopes for better luck in seeing a falling star tonight than yesterday and he hopes for a better understanding of who is in charge of those falling stars.
Last night’s newscaster reported there being a meteor shower two days from now. He already bought the best set of binoculars on the market so tonight he wants to lay arrest and switch back from drinking beers and listening to music; the rebel against society, classic rock type.
Last June, he created this model alien ship in his backyard and told a few teenagers in the neighborhood to go around spreading word of a spaceship crash landing. When he finished the crash, he invited a few people over to check it out and they took pictures and told him what an amazing job he did with it.
Nobody fell for the old UFO crash landing hokey pokey. Not like the way he fell for the ones others made, and he knows how good they can get. People in the desert can get pretty tricky when it comes to faking a UFO. Especially the ones faked by the government, those are tricky and clever. Not to mention impractical.
He doesn’t know who the governor of New Mexico is but all he can imagine is some man with an alien head for some reason.
“Hey Marty, come here boy.” He says with a mouth full of potato chips. He gives his fat dog, Marty enough food to give him a heart attack and walks out the front door of his trailer. Larry hates it there because he feels poor. He only works as a janitor for a computer software building and recently he switched from 3rd shift to 2nd shift only because he needs his free sky time.
“Hey, Officer!” he shouts to a passing police car.
“Oh, crap. Larry… what kind of nonsense are you doing today?” asks the officer inside. He knows Larry well because he’s the one that always spots him past midnight walking to the store to get more bags of chips and more beers, sodas and candies. Nothing but the best.
“Ah, not much. Just stuff, you know.” He says as he pulled up his baggy pants.
“Alright, well be safe, man. And don’t have a heat stroke; I heard it’s going to reach 110 degrees this afternoon.” He chuckles. Larry hisses, “With weather like that, I’m surprised they haven’t evacuated this dump and sunk it into the pacific.”
The officer nods, “Yeup. Well I gotta do my rounds. Take care.” Larry waves and whistles to himself as he leaves a trail of dirt behind him. Fridays and Saturdays were just his days and Mondays and Wednesday were his worse. Tuesdays would be bad as well but he watches Destruction X on the experimental channel. He needs a girlfriend but he doesn’t look well enough.
The last girlfriend he had was also his first and he sponged off of her education for about a month until she had enough of it and told him all the things that was wrong in his life. He honestly didn’t mind because that night, he made a Chinese lantern out of her dresses that she left behind.
He walks to work every day at this time and since it was Friday, he knew his intake on energy drinks would rise high. The convenience store clerk smiles at him as he leaves with his 12 oz energy drink and his bag of chocolate candies. The two go hand in hand. If one doesn’t stop his heart, the other will.
Tonight, Larry sits on the roof of his trailer because the drinks and candies wore off. He settles in a state of wild imagery while he gazes at the infinite sky. He sees a triangle of stars, some brighter than others. He sees the big dipper, a few white dwarfs, the little dipper and some more trails of stars crossing paths with stars in other shapes. Somewhere out there, he thinks, there is something of much greater powers beyond the stars.
He awakens to screams and shouts of angst and rage. Something in a different language all together. Interruptions, more screams over others and he realizes the border is only but a mile away and a group of illegal immigrants are being confronted by the patrolmen. The angry shouts feel threatening but he keeps his face to the pillows and the hot breeze doesn’t fade. It blows in his ears and against his clothes like a heater of some kind. He then closes his eyes to again feel nothing but vulnerable paralysis.
An old man with a huge ugly beard and sunglasses comes up to Larry the following morning. He calls himself Adventure Bob, the adventurer that never ceases to amaze. The wrinkles on his face are ugly but he somehow looks friendly.
“Good morning, Larry.” He says. Larry sits up and sees that the man is standing on a ladder, the very same ladder he used to get on the roof. He stares at the ladder and back at Bob.
“I heard your radio thing last night. I live about a mile and a half away from this dump. What is the range on it?” he asks. Larry, scrubbing his eyes, says, “It has a ten mile range. What did you hear on it?”
“Well, I heard you mumbling about aliens. You gave out your address and asked if anyone out there wanted to help you find one.” He says.
“One as in what?”
“Aliens.” Bob replies.
Larry laughs for a moment and climbs down the ladder to meet Bob, who is fatter but taller than he is. “My name’s Adventure Bob Cane.” He says. “I hear from your walky talky that you’re an avid alien fan.”
“No, just UFO’s in general. We don’t know if aliens are behind it, if any exist anyways. I’m just interested in whoever or whatever happens to be controlling them.” Larry explains. “Ah, so you’re looking for answers, I see. Curious about the government?” he asks. “No, I’m curious about the aircrafts the government conceals.”
Bob reacts childish and comes closer to Larry, “I know about one secret. They’re supposed to reveal it on the 11th.” He says. Larry appears surprised at first but then smirks, “Yeah, and how do you know that “Adventure Bob”?” he asks.
Bob pulls out a folded up paper that looks like a pirate map – and to his surprise, it was a map. Just not a pirate map.
“Come with me today, and I’ll show you what you’ve wanted to see. I’ll show you what I know, kid.” He says to him.
“I have work today. I can’t do anything.” Larry replies. Bob lifts his eyebrows and puckers his bearded mouth, “Well then you’ll miss out, kid. Too bad.” He begins to walk away into the desert. “Wait,” Larry says, “I’ll go. But it better be something worthy. I don’t want to get fired over some lame joke.”
The two make their way across the dumps and walk into a convenience store for some snacks. Larry buys a hot dog and a can of “Extreme”, his favorite energy drink. Bob doesn’t know what to get so he lets Larry choose his snack- a caramel nougat chocolate bar. He thinks about getting water or a tea but Larry’s drink looks much more interesting so he grabs one too. Larry smiles at his daring attempt and says he doesn’t know what he’s getting into.
“Is this what you youngsters drink these days? A can of liquid hell?” he asks as he holds it up to examine it. Larry laughs, “Try it, you might like it.” Bob scoffs and continues to belittle the drink before snapping open the can. He takes a sniff and then a sip.
“Whoa, baby! I’m alive again!” he screams. Larry laughs and opens his can as well.
“Man, I thought those measly little shark shots at the bar were strong, ain’t got nothing on these.” Bob laughs, “You young people these days
Larry and the adventurer continue to walk the miles of desert in hopes for a sight worth walking for. Larry asks Bob why he chooses to live like this and Bob says he’s always been a UFO enthusiast but was never able to make it into professional business. He tells him that it’s much more fun to be on the opposite side of the government and that if he was a UFO expert he’d know what they knew and wouldn’t be able to venture out on his own. He likes to discover things like he does now and likes to wonder what they really do behind military bases.
“It’s a two way mirror kind of reality, son,” he says, “Everyone on that side can see us and everyone on this side can see what we do but we can’t see them.”
Larry agrees and adds, “When we find a UFO crash landing, we’re keeping it to ourselves so we can take years to study it and form our own cases.” Bob chuckles, “There ain’t going to be no crash landing, kiddo. UFO’s- they fly at high altitudes. They have highly advanced technology so the chances of there being a crash landing are highly unlikely.”
Larry finishes the last few drops of his extreme and punts it across the desert while night draws near. The two remain quiet for some time and then Bob kneels down and tells Larry to stay quiet.
“What is it?” he asks.
“Shh, look there. It’s armed guards. The military base is just over that hill.” Bob whispers.
“What should we do? Are we allowed to be here?” Larry asks.
“Of course we’re not allowed to be here. Why do you think the guards are there?”
Larry squats down beside Bob and the two peer over the dry bushes and tumbleweeds. He notices the two armed men stand tall and confident. They carry rifles and their faces are serious- they mean business. They wear fatigues of a sandy color, dry and unattractive. Their shoulders are broad and full of muscle and they look around furiously. They don’t speak to each other but they nod and shrug and signal to each other.
A minivan approaches, black and stained. Its dead quiet and the sound of scrolling tires are heard. The heavy back doors of the van fly open as the two men aim their guns. Somebody walks out with their hands up and then follows the other armed man, but then somebody else walks out of the van- and somebody else after that. Three people now share this experience with their hands up in fear and follow their leader. Somebody screams in another language but is struck by the gunman.
The three walk afar into the desert with their gunmen and again the scrolling tires are heard as the van drives off in the opposite direction.
“Let’s get out of here, Larry.” Bob says.
Larry follows Bob back a mile or two and they realize they’re safe now.
“What- what the hell was that?” asks Larry. Bob shakes his head, “I don’t know. They might be taking people in for questioning. Nobody has the right to know things these days.” He says.
“Wait a minute; I don’t think those guys were guarding the base. I don’t even think they work for the military. They were taking three people, there were people there!” Larry shouts.
“Take it easy, tough guy.” Bob exclaims, “Don’t get yourself riles up just yet. You’ve seen nothing. I’ve seen people get kidnapped, shot, zapped, abducted. This is only the beginning.”
“Zapped?” he asks.
“Yes, zapped.” Bob replies, “Soon they’re going to have the power to control the entire population. I’ve read about it years ago. First, three. Then that multiplies to five, fifteen, and twenty five, and then the country.” He says.
Larry takes a deep breath and then sighs, “What language were they speaking? Spanish?” he asks.
Bob shrugs, “Can’t be sure. I didn’t here too clear.”
“Wow. That was damn weird, man. Take me home, Bob.”
“Didn’t I say I was going to show you something worthy?” he asks.
Larry chuckles, “Yeah, well, you didn’t cease to amaze, “Adventure Bob”.
Bob laughs, “Hey kid, that ain’t even what I was going to show you.”
Today Larry is feeling like Bob’s interest in this “secret project” is starting to rub off on him. He feels excited today- but eager and over his head, perhaps. He goes up to Bob and asks about the map. The map that’ll be sure to simplify the whole project if the location is found. He buys an energy drink for Bob and himself and the two start in the direction the map says to go.
“What does this map mean? Where did you get it from?” he asks. Bob breathes heavily, “I have my ways, but I ain’t sharing. A true adventurer never tells his secrets.” He says. Larry rolls his eyes, “Right, I almost forgot.”
“It took a long time to make though. That’s for sure.” He then adds. Larry looks around and sees dirt everywhere, and if not dirt, yellow grass with cacti growing out of it. The sun burns their skin like hell and they’re heading down a very dry looking trail.
“Come on, Bob. I thought you had something to show me. We’re just hiking the damn mountains.” He complains. Bob stops walking and he turns to Larry, “Look, kid… you came with me. You didn’t have to- but you did. Now I know my way around here. I’ve been doing this for years. If you got a problem- leave.” He says firmly. “Alright, alright. Calm down, old man. Geeze.” Larry stammers.
Five hours into the day. Mid august. 2pm and a frightening 115 degrees. The clothes begin to stick to their backs and their underarms begin to sweat. Their caps are drenched with the sweat from their skulls and foreheads and the energy they consumed wore off quickly. There was no turning back. Now was no time for regret. They walked a long five miles into nowhere and now they’re here staring like two jackals.
Larry pants after taking his cap off briefly, “What’s your plan now, genius? That map is a crock.” He says. Bob continues to examine the map and mumbles to himself. “Look at you,” Larry says, “Tell me, Bob, was ending up in the middle of the desert part of your plan?” still- Bob ignores him to study the map.
“I must have miscalculated the distance. We were supposed to turn right about a mile and a half back.” He says. “You think?” Larry jabs.
“Alright, enough with the wisecracks, smart guy. I made a mistake. Let’s turn back.” He calls. Larry sighs and turns around to walk back.
Five minutes into backtracking, a military cargo helicopter hovers over them and heads south. “Look, Larry! Military! They might have something to do with this, come on. Let’s follow it!” Bob calls through quick winds of the copter. They run quickly and they pull up their pants from sagging, watching as the copter flies farther away. “Bob! It’s too fast, we can’t catch up to it.” Larry calls. Bob insists he could reach it so he keeps running and panting. “Bob! It’s gone, man. There’s no point!” Bob starts to slow down and stops, pants and curses. “Those copters, man. They go fast. They go way too fast.” He says. Larry pants and says, “There’s no way we could catch up to it. We shouldn’t even be out here, man.”
“Why are you saying this now? If you don’t want to see a UFO then why are you here with me?” asks Bob as he catches his breath. “Look, I never said it was going to be easy. I promised you something amazing in the sky and that’s it.”
Larry looks at him and hisses, “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s keep going.”
“Look there. Chem trails.” Says Bob. Larry looks up, “You mean contrails?” Bob shakes his head, “Chem trails. The government- they’ve been spraying toxins in the air at high altitudes through jets and planes. Suckers don’t know anyone knows about it, but I do. I sure as hell do.” Larry glances up again to see the sun reflect off the plane’s exterior while the sound passes him by, leaving him with an empty drag.
“If you hate the government so much, why don’t you move countries?” he asks. Once again, Bob sighs, “It’s not about hating the government. I want the
Larry chuckles, “Why don’t we create our own UFO? Get some gadgets and gizmos and fly that thing in the sky and watch as people think it’s a UFO.”
“Ah, that’ll never work. Helium is expensive, and hydrogen wouldn’t work at all. We could probably get a kite, put some aluminum or foil on it, add some lights of some sort and we got a UFO.” He replies. Larry smirks, “Let’s do that.”
“What about the map?” asks Bob. “We can’t just stop the quest short now.” Larry takes the map from him, “We’ll save it for tomorrow or the next day. Tonight, Bob, there’s going to be a new aircraft in the sky.” He smiles and folds the map into four.
The duo buys the biggest plastic bags they could find and add foil to the bottom, tie it in a knot with a small piece of cloth from Larry’s kitchen sink and dip it in lighter fluid, watch it carefully and light it up firmly, and after several matches fail, the last one finally sends the bag elevating.
“It’s flying! Yes!” shouts Larry. Bob laughs and applauds their success. “There she goes! Flying away into the sky! New Mexico, watch out!” he wails, “She looks beautiful up there, kid.” Larry smiles and continues to watch their aircraft defy gravity. The fire burns bright tonight and the wind is just up their alley.
“There she goes!” Bob continues to shout. “Dude, people must be freaking out.” Larry laughs. Bob turns to him, “Good. Job well done.” Larry laughs, “We gotta drink to this! Let’s get the beers and the chips!” Bob grunts, “Better not be that energy crap.” Larry laughs, “Nah, we got enough of that. Let’s get up on the roof.”
The two sit down on Larry’s rooftop with a 12 pack and two bags of chips. After a while, their aircraft is unseen. Not even the bag is visible. Bob takes out his monocular and still sees nothing.
“Where the hell is it?” he asks. Larry stares up for what seems like the longest time and still sees nothing. Stars, white dwarfs, triangles of stars in other shapes and nothing else.
The Aircraft Man by Alex R. Encomienda / Actions & Adventure have rating 2.8 out of 5 / Based on17 votes