It was the usual crowd you’d see at these sorts of events; rack selections from Old Navy, Macey’s, L.L. Bean, and a few custom jobs from Rodeo Drive. Stereotypes were frequently assumed; few lived outside of what their costumes described. Occasionally, you’d find one or two who managed a bit of authentic sheen, but it was rare. As they milled about, over-imbibing and over-exaggerating, popular lyrics could be recognized by anyone who’d attended in years past.
“When the wife and me were on vacation in the desert of Peru,” one man began, as he dropped his very drunken arm around a nearby companion, “we visited the Nazca Lines, you know, those famous crop circle things, and everything looked like it did in that Discovery Channel documentary, except one thing. There was a porcupine carved in the ground. Can you believe it! A blasted porcupine right there in the dirt!” He slapped his companion on the back, nearly toppling himself to the ground, yet salvaging each and every one of his Scotch-drenched ice cubes. “We saw it from the helicopter. Now, I ask you, how is that possible? I don’t even think they have porcupines in Peru. It’s got to be aliens, right?! What else could do that? Eons of fast-moving water during the time of the dinosaurs, or even all the years after, couldn’t possibly be that precise or that creative. We’re being lied to; make no mistake. There’s something much bigger going on here!”
“The same thing happened at Roswell, am I right?” chimed in another zealot. “I know there has to be a bigger story there. Weather balloons and fake alien autopsies, come on! How does anyone believe that nonsense? I’m ex-military,” he said with a left-handed salute that nearly cold-cocked a passerby, “and I tell you, there’s simply no reason to have a military base in the middle of the dessert and claim it doesn’t exist. The point of having a base is to intimidate the other guys. And once they’re discovered, why would they claim that it’s for ‘secret’ testing of aircraft and other military stuff? I’m telling you straight,” he said with an air of superiority, “if you wanted a base to be secret, you’d put it inside of a mountain or twenty thousand leagues under the sea, not right out in the open where people driving by and satellites can find it. I was a pilot,” he said, pulling at the left lapel of his sport coat where a small gold airplane pin sat perched, “it must be a tarmac for incoming aliens. Why else would they deny its existence?”
“You’re right,” said a woman who had been eavesdropping from inside her less-than-interesting hen clutch. “No one would believe that… but the bigger question is, why do they keep propagating these lies? What are they trying to distract us from… what heinous, horrific thing is happening right under our noses that they don’t want us to discover? It’s like a worldwide magician’s sleight-of-hand.” The men nodded in agreement. “It’s like they’re trying to confuse us with the strange, flashy thing right in front of us to avoid drawing attention to the fact that they’re pulling the wires off stage.” The men raised their glasses in a toast, and the group clinked in unison, adding their stamp of approval to her proclamation.
As the assembly gradually moved from standing to taking chairs at banquet tables scattered about the hall, their attention was quickly drawn to the small stage at the front of the room. One of the event organizers tapped the microphone at the podium and began his speech, continuing the shared conversations from the collection of believers without segue or introduction. “It’s our fundamental right as human beings to know the truth about our own origins.”
Applause swelled. Some members tapped knives to glasses in support of the speaker’s remarks.
“Government agencies, in partnership with religious organizations, have been keeping us deluded for far too long. They tell us that the designs we see in crop circles and the indentations at Nazca are simply geological malformations. They insist that we are manipulating our own vision to feed some psychological desire to describe something we can’t or don’t want to understand.”
Boos and hisses radiated from the floor with a rhythmic chanting of “Lies, it’s all lies!” Once the commotion began to subside, the speaker continued.
“They tell us there’s a logical reason. They filibuster our intellect from the time we’re in grade school until we are middle-aged adults when finally, we believe their storylines without question. ‘It’s a hoax,’ they claim.”
More hisses, jeers, and sneers came from the crowd.
“‘It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon,’ they say.”
“No way!” yelled a group of twenty-somethings to the right.
“Yet we understand the truth. We have been visited, and we will be visited again… and the time is growing very near!”
Applause bounced off the ceiling tiles and spilled out into the foyer from the hotel’s grand ballroom.
“Scour away all the nonsense and allow the truth to be seen in its full glory; this should be our rallying cry,” the speaker hollered as he pounded his fist on the podium. “The government can’t keep us from knowing, especially if what they withhold could affect our safety.”
“We want the Truth!” screamed a pack of millennials to the right.
“We are entitled to protect ourselves and our families. If we have been visited by aliens, and those of us here tonight are certain that we have, how do we know that these aliens haven’t made a deal with Washington to annihilate us all when the time is right? Make no mistake, such a treaty would be easily cast if it meant bank accounts would be swollen and interstellar cushions would soften their descent when there are no other options left. Let’s face it, our government is not now and never has been, operating in our best interests. The alien coverup is just a small piece of that pie.”
More applause and cheers erupted from the audience as waiters and waitresses worked hard to refill water glasses without becoming drenched by overturned tableware.
“In spite of this, now is the time that we must play possum, draw back, and allow the insolent to falter with their counterfeit compass. They will stumble as they saunter toward the door of what they believe to be an easy exit. Only then will they fall victim to the same sleight-of-hand that they have been perpetrating against us all these decades.”
The woman at table eight nodded and offered her new friends a smug grin.
“Once we pull back, relent, stop pressing for answers; only then will they make the mistake that will divulge their true intentions, and they will be betrayed. That’s when we’ll catch them in their deception and set in motion our mutiny, thrashing hard at their political solar plexus and forcing out the flatulence of their duplicity.”
The crowd exploded with cheers of “mutiny” and “hit ‘em where it hurts,” accompanied by clinking stemware, high-fives, and gregarious pats on the back. This amalgamation of different thinkers trusted strongly in their own rhetoric and we are not going to be persuaded otherwise.
As the rabble continued congratulating themselves and began comparing notes about their most excellent plan, a stout little man with rounded posture approached the dais. He wore tan khakis and the brown cardigan of honorable respect, as would a veteran of the Normandy invasion. Still, his head held no hair nor hat, his dark eyes were shaped like almonds, his tiny nose appeared to be lacking cartilage, and his ears were flat to the side of his head. His skin held a grey pallor that gave the impression of a foreboding illness. The crowd was drawn to their feet as they felt the energy of his approach. None could explain their silence nor their fragility in his presence. There was an electric charge to the air.
He stepped up to the podium and adjusted the microphone. “I’ve been sent to give you a message,” he intoned with the gentle expression of somebody’s great-grandfather. He reached for a bottle of water from the nearby table, and as he took a long draw, a voice could be heard from the back of the crowd. A middle-aged woman stepped from the camouflage of the throng and shouted the words many were thinking.
“I know the truth… you can’t hide from me,” she said, thrusting her arm forward and pointing directly at the little man. “You’re a GREY! Don’t deny it… you’re an alien sent to give us the final ultimatum!”
“No,” he said calmly, putting the water bottle aside, unbuttoning his sweater, and allowing it to fall to the floor. “My name is Michael,” he roared as bright white wings unfolded from the hunch on his back, “and God is very displeased!”
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