Saturday, December 24, 2011

You and Bob


Suppose you had a friend. Let’s give this friend a name, your friend ‘Bob” and Bob is someone you met when you were a little kid, so little, you really don’t remember meeting Bob because you two were infants playing together when you lived next door. Your parents and Bob’s parents have always been friends, too. In fact, you went through school with Bob, each grade, and nearly every class. Over the years you two have defining moments that really couldn’t possibly mean anything to anyone else. You remember the day Bob kit a golf ball with a baseball bat and the thing hooked wicked and hard, arcing towards Mrs. Redfern’s plate glass window was if it were one of those smart bombs, and as it streaked towards the window you both stood there in horror because right there behind the window was Mrs. Redfern reading her paper, doing her crossword puzzle with her cat in her lap and there’s the little white ball going to… and at the very last moment, a squirrel jumped from the roof of her house down to the ground to eat some of the birdseed spilt there, and that damn squirrel gets nailed by the golf ball, dead center, and deflects the ball harmlessly away. Mrs. Redfern looks up, having caught the action out of the corner of her eye, but she can’t see anything. Bob and yourself fall over dead laughing, cheering, the relief so strong it’s nearly sexual.  Later the two of you retrieve the dead squirrel and bury it with the golf ball. You keep thinking one day the two of you will dig it up again but oddly, neither of you ever bring it up again.

            But you and Bob go on to High School together, and play baseball for the team, you in left field, and Bob playing center. Your team is good, but loses the championship in your senior year 15-2, but you and Bob score those two points, and somehow, you both feel like you took away more from the defeat than your opponents did in victory. College is a blur of good times and all night study sessions and suddenly you and Bob are looking at getting real job in the real world.   Bob winds up with Diane Holton, and you knew those two would make a break pair, even when you were dating her. Had to break her in for you, is how you joke about it with Bob, and with anyone else that might start a fight but not with Bob. You get married to Diane’s first cousin, Lisa, and people talk because the two look so much alike, but you don’t care and neither does Bob.

There’s no way the two of you find a job together and that’s okay because you live on the other side of town and that’s not too far. Things are different, but everyone knew it would be one day, and Diane gets pregnant first.  You and Lisa try as hard as two people can and you lie awake at night wondering if it’s you or if it might be her, or maybe both, but they have doctors that can help. Then one night, very late, Bob shows up and he’s clearly upset and he wants to talk to you, in the car and he turns up the music way too damn loud and has to shout in your ear for you to hear him. You think you hear the word “aliens” and you think this might be an immigration issue of some sort then Bob starts to write thing s down. Bob thinks there are aliens in the woods behind his house and he thinks they want to steal the baby.

Here’s the thing in all this; everyone goes to the movies because they want to see something spectacular and unreal, but when it gets right down to it, no one wants anything like that in their own life, or in the lives of the people they know. You try to talk Bob down from this and you’re surprised he’s so adamant about you not saying anything out loud about it. He gets physical and loud when you say the word aloud and clearly he’s very upset. He makes you promise not to mention this to Lisa or Diane, but you know you’re going to have to explain why Bob woke you both up at two in the morning. And you don’t have to wait very long, either. Diane and Lisa are already talking and when the two of you get back Lisa is standing in the yard talking.

Of course you feel like it is a form of betrayal when the three of you get together to talk about him behind his back. These two women have no idea who they are talking about or what they are talking about but you have to admit to them, and to yourself that Bob has slipped a cog, that something is wrong, and this isn’t something that spending a few hours butchering wood in the shop over a few beers will solve. Bob has quit his job and he spend all his time hiding in the woods and stocking up for the invasion.


So finally you go with Bob into the woods and he tells you there’s a mother ship and the aliens are pouring out of it like ants. Halfway there you realize he’s packing a gun and now you realize the women were right and something has to be done. The mother ship, of course, isn’t there and Bob laments that they moved, knowing he was bringing someone to prove they existed, and he is sure he can find them again. You ask Bob if he remembers the squirrel and you think it’s time to dig it up again.

The day you drive Bob to the hospital he’s holding an ancient golf ball still pocked with dirt, You and Bob dug a hole the size of a grave trying to find it, but there it was, still in what was left of the old tin lunch box, but there were only tiny bone fragments of the squirrel. You hope the meds keep Bob quiet until they get him processed in but he loses it and goes in screaming. The drive home is silent, lonely, and tense. As you pull into the driveway you notice lights are dropping from the sky.

Take Care,
Mike

4 comments:

  1. "Crazy" is a matter of perspective.

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  2. Haunting. Read this, then I went outside to smoke and saw a meteorite flashing in from the south. Chills? Yeah. Thanks, I enjoyed it.

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  3. Bob's lucky, he will be cared for. Who cares for those in the collateral damage zone?

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