Alien Parade: Installment 6

Here’s the sixth installment in my short novel, Alien Parade, wherein we meet Dr. Martin Boyd, UFO investigator.

22. Arrival

Now it was inside of two weeks to Alien Days. The weather had turned “ducky,” which is to say cloudy, cold and windy. And Larry Mercer was nowhere to be found. The Mercer Flying Saucer Chevy sat in his barn in a state of disassembly while its owner was on the Mississippi River shooting at ducks as the cold north wind pushed them south. 

There was still no final word on the liquor license for the dance. All Claire would say was that she was working on it.

Sam had got herself out on a limb by offering Ole Olson the grand marshal’s job without first checking in with Robbie Porter, who apparently would not relinquish the title without the official vote of a committee, which nobody had been appointed to in years. 

And she still had not heard from Dr. Martin Boyd, the nation’s premiere UFO investigator. Had he been so insulted by her offer of a measly $2,500 that he had chosen not even to pay her the respect of a simple ‘no’? 

To make matters so much worse she was succeeding at the one thing that could turn simple failure into absolute disaster, not just for Narvik but for her nascent career in economic development and public relations. She had started to get confirmations that the press was going to show up. Every state and regional paper had expressed interest in sending a reporter as had the Travel Channel. Local television stations in Madison and La Crosse, always hungry for stories to feed their early morning shows, had booked her or Claire for programs during the week before the event. 

And then there was The New York Times. Sam’s friend, Harriet, had emailed her excitedly to say that she had convinced her editors to allow her to come out and cover the festival. It was just the kind of quirky thing that would confirm for Times readers that flyover country was flown over for good reason. But, hey, national press was national press even when it fed stereotypes. If Harriet covered it just right, readers of the Travel Section might want to visit charming little Narvik in just the same way that they might explore an outpost in Antarctica. Odd and offbeat made for interesting cocktail conversation. 

As things were lining up right now, Samantha Tucker had arranged for the state, the region and even the nation to get a front row seat at an embarrassing showcase of a little Wisconsin village that was down on its luck and pretty much without hope. She was after ‘off-the-beaten-track and delightfully weird.’  But she was getting ‘remote and irredeemably sad.’

She was staring glumly out her drafty window in the courthouse attic, looking out at the slate grey October sky, which was keeping Larry Mercer’s nose away from his grindstone, when the phone rang. 

It was Darla Schmitt. 

“He’s here,” said Darla. 

“Who’s here?” asked Sam. 

“Martin Boyd. Dr. Martin Boyd. Who else?”

Sam’s heart leapt into the collar of her big grey wool turtleneck sweater. 

“How can he possibly be here? He never returned my last email. There’s no contract. Nothing. So, he just showed up at the farm?”

“Yep. Got him settled in upstairs. My nicest room, ya know. Seems like a nice man. Kind of odd.  A little slick. Ya know, come to think of it, Sam, I’ve never met a UFO investigator before, but if I were to meet Martin Boyd on the street and had to guess, I’d probably say he’s a UFO investigator.” She gave a little laugh at Sam’s expense. 

“You’re a laugh riot, Darla. Everybody around here is a comedian. Shit. I’m coming right out there.” 

“Shhhh!”

“What?” asked Samantha Tucker as she entered the farmhouse kitchen. 

“He’s upstairs in his ‘meditation hour,’” said Darla Schmitt in a loud whisper and with a little chuckle. “He came down about a half hour ago and asked not be disturbed for a full hour while he meditates.” 

They moved out to the porch, which was brisk but tolerable now that the clouds had started to break up and the sun was dodging them, alternating blasts of warmth with a chilly wind. Samantha noted the improvement in the weather and hoped that it was driving Larry Mercer from the river and back to his workshop. 

They huddled under blankets that Darla had brought out and talked in normal though somewhat subdued voices as they sipped their coffee. 

“What’s he like?” asked Sam. “And don’t say, ‘like a UFO investigator.’

“Serious. Bookish. Late thirty-something maybe. Gets a good haircut someplace. Neatly trimmed beard.” She slowed to consider her next judgment. “Professorial… if the college was some tiny liberal arts school in New England or maybe up in Ashland… but like he thought he should be teaching at Harvard.” 

“Wow. That’s a lot to get out of showing the guy his room and being asked to ignore him while he meditates.”

“You asked! And, anyway I’m an innkeeper. I can read people, you know.” 

“Sorry. You think he’ll come off alright before a crowd?”

“Oh, yeah. Seems very sure of himself.”

“Eggsss-zalent,” said Sam Tucker. 

They went back inside just in time to hear a watch alarm start to ring from upstairs. Meditation hour must be over. They heard creaking on the wood floors above them and then the stairs made the racket that old stairs make when a man is six foot two and 190 pounds of bone, muscle and ego. 

There is that second a person has before meeting someone they know has the power to change their lives: a potential employer, an important professor, a promising blind date. In that second, time stops to let the mind catch up. We think, ‘I may eventually have this person’s job and retire from it, I may spend the rest of my life studying what interests this woman, I may marry this man and grow old with him. But I have not yet seen them. I have not yet heard their voice. They have yet to make me laugh or cry even once. I don’t love them yet and I haven’t fallen out of love with them. I haven’t hated them. And that small gesture that no one else notices, the one that endears them to me now and that will eventually drive me crazy to the point of my demanding that they stop it? I haven’t noticed that gesture yet. But I will. In seconds I will. Here it comes.’

“Ms. Tucker, I presume.” 

Dr. Martin Boyd stood before her in stocking feet, tailored blue jeans, a new belt and a crisp green and brown checked flannel shirt covered by a black sleeveless quilted vest. She thought he looked like a man who checked with a Hollywood costume department before deciding what to wear to a place like Wisconsin. 

Sam took two steps forward and extended her hand. “Dr. Boyd. I’m so glad you’re here! But what a surprise.” 

“Yes. Well. I’m so sorry to barge in on you all like this, but I was in Milwaukee for a conference and I was about to board the plane back to New Mexico. Something came over me. A strong feeling. It said, ‘Dr. Boyd. You’re here. Only a few hours drive from Narvik. Go!’ And so I got out of line, rented a car and here I am.” 

Sam and Darla thought the same question: Even his inner voices call him ‘Dr. Boyd’?

“Well,” said Sam. “Eggsss-alent!. Are your accommodations ok?” That was a rude question to ask in front of Darla, a misstep not lost on the innkeeper who filed it away for use in a chide to her friend when the moment would arise. 

“Very satisfactory, thank you,” said Dr. Martin Boyd. This struck Darla as very un-Midwestern. Nobody from Wisconsin would ever describe anything as ‘very satisfactory’, especially not a room in an inn with the innkeeper standing right there in front of him. 

But with that nicety disposed of as far as Martin Boyd was concerned he moved straight to business. “I understand time is short. When may we get started?”

This was just the question Sam wanted to hear. Darla first built a fire for them in the parlor before she excused herself while she did chores around  the farm and fumed about Dr. Boyd finding her best room satisfactory. 

They sunk into deep old leather chairs on either side of the fireplace and Sam filled in the good doctor on everything she knew about Ole Olson and the strange goings on at his farm, about the “investigation,” such as it was, being conducted by Sheriff Harold Rhude and, of course, about Narvik Alien Days and her hopes for his public presentation during the big weekend. As was her way by now, she casually mentioned the likelihood of coverage in the Times

Martin looked up from the notes he was taking as if this last point was an irritation. He made a dismissive wave of his left hand, which held his pencil. “Oh, yes. I’ve been quoted in the Times often. I only hope they get my name right this time.” And he returned to his note taking. 

“But your name seems so simple. How could they spell it wrong?” 

“Not spelling. Order. It’s the curse of having two first names. Martin Boyd. Boyd Martin. It works both ways. Still, unforgivable. Sloppy.” 

It was becoming clear that Martin Boyd would not be an easy man to work with, but she could also see how he could be the centerpiece of the whole festival and how he might eclipse everything else that could and — as far as she could tell at this point – would go wrong. 

“I’ll need to see Mr. Olson first thing in the morning.”

“Of course. I’d be happy to drive you out there.” 

“Oh no, Ms. Tucker…”

“You can call me Sam.”

“Yes. Well. You can call me Dr. Boyd. No, no. From here on out, until my report is complete I’ll tolerate no interference from outside entities. I can’t risk contamination of evidence, witnesses or my own thoughts. Do you understand?” 

Sam thought to herself ‘I understand that you are a fully certified nut job’, but she agreed readily. Actually, the doctor’s overstated ethical propriety added to the allure of the whole thing. Nobody would know what this guy was going to say until he said it at the big reveal at Alien Days. 

She moved on. “Will any of your team be joining you?”

“My team? Oh. No.” He forced a smile. “Ms. Tucker, for the small fee that I am being paid I am making a generous contribution of my own time.  There can be no team. But please trust that I have conducted dozens, hundreds of similar investigations and I have thoroughly reviewed my father’s extensive field notes from his previous work here. You need not worry about the quality of the work.” 

“Oh. No, no, of course not! And Narvik is grateful that you’ve agreed to help us for such a modest stipend. It’s really just a gesture on our part. We’d be embarrassed if you thought we believed it was actual compensation.” Sam felt herself laying it on maybe a little too thick, but she suspected that when it came to Dr. Martin Boyd there was no such thing as too much flattery. 

“Very satisfactory, then,” said Dr. Boyd. “Now, where could one find a good vegan restaurant around Narvik?” 

23. Dinner with Martin

The funny thing was that Samantha could offer Dr. Martin Boyd the choice of vegan restaurants in Redding. The trouble was that neither was very good. So, she took him to her favorite little out of the way place in a county, which was out of the way itself, yet still stylish. 

This part of southwest Wisconsin was a fondue pot of cultures. The base was cheese, of course. But the old Scandinavian families had brought with them socialist tendencies from the old countries along with recipes for lutefisk and lefse. During the late 1960’s and 1970’s back-to-the-land types had come from Madison bearing their Moosewood cookbooks. And now wealthy software developers and lawyers were buying up farms as weekend places and expecting restaurants like the ones they knew in the Loop. 

And, of course, wherever money went artists followed. The Redding area was home to blue grass musicians, potters, watercolor painters, poets and their ilk. The small galleries, tucked into old barns and feed mills held some excellent work at bargain prices. In the little out of the way country taverns you could hear some of the best fiddling and picking anywhere north of Nashville. 

And where there is money and art there is good food. Ottawa County hosted the two so-so vegan places, a Thai restaurant, and a few fancy ironic supper clubs. The classic Wisconsin supper club served steaks, chops and seafood with a fish fry on Friday night and prime rib specials on Saturday. Usually founded be expatriates from Madison, the ironic supper clubs of Ottawa County “paid homage to the genre” (they actually used that sort of phrase in their menus) but kicked the genre up several notches with elaborate sauces and sides and prices to match. 

Sam suggested the Modest Expectations Cafe and Boyd agreed to meet her there at 7 PM, which was a bit late for the Midwest but Martin had to get in his yoga practice first. 

Modest Expectations was on Redding’s Main Street in an old storefront that once held a five and dime. It had white tablecloths, small candles and vases with goldenrods and asters, still in bloom in October, on each table. Brightly colored pictures by local artists hung on the exposed cream-colored brick walls, lit just right from above. 

The menu was on a chalkboard above the bar and featured only five items. Pretty Good Pot Roast. Just Fine Chicken Breast. Okay With Me Trout. Don’t Get Too Excited Lasagna. You’ve Had Worse Pork Chops. 

Martin studied the menu as if it was the final draft of his doctoral dissertation. He asked the waitress so many questions that she went back to consult with the chef three times. He finally settled on the trout, as he was only a part-time vegan, but only after securing several concessions from the kitchen. To make up for all of it, Sam ordered quickly and apologized for everything she could think of to apologize for. But the young waitress just smiled. She had seen the likes of Dr. Martin Boyd before. 

Then Boyd took off his reading glasses and studied the wine list as he held it three inches from his face in the candle light. After he ordered a bottle of white wine he seemed to relax a bit. The arduous task of ordering his dinner behind him, all the pressure was now on the restaurant to execute his flawless decisions

“Dr. Boyd, I’m so grateful that you decided to come to Narvik, after all,” said Sam while they waited for the wine. “You don’t know how much this means for the community.” 

“My father always spoke very highly of the people of Narvik. And, frankly, this is a fascinating case.”

The waitress returned with the wine and opened the bottle in the expert yet casual way that suggested that she had done it before and that her customers didn’t need fancy shows of exaggerated sophistication. When she removed the cork she simply tucked it in her pocket and she poured the wine into each of their glasses until they were just about a third full. “Let me know how you like that,” she said before drifting away. 

Dr. Martin Boyd swirled his wine in his glass then lifted it to study the contents by the light of the candle. Just to be a good dinner companion and representative of the Village of Narvik, Sam did the same but she couldn’t stop the grin from growing on her face. 

Boyd raised the glass, sipped and then rolled the liquid in his mouth before swallowing. At that Sam couldn’t contain herself any longer. She stifled a laugh in the sleeve of her bulky sweater. 

Boyd looked behind him and then around the cozy, dim restaurant. “I’m sorry. What did I miss?”

“Nothing,” Sam choked out. “Ah. I was just thinking of something that caught me as funny.” 

“And what was that?”

“It’s nothing,” said Sam but she couldn’t stop the giggles. 

“Tell me.” 

Sam did not find it hard to substitute a true story to hide the fact that she was really laughing at Dr. Martin Boyd’s display of pretentiousness. 

“I was just thinking about Larry Mercer’s Flying Saucer Chevy.” 

“What’s that?”

“This guy Larry built a ‘flying saucer’ out of an old silo and attached it to his 1971 Impala back in the first year of the parade. It became a big hit and I’m trying to get him to make the thing run again. It’s ridiculous when I describe it, but it’s really important.” 

The tension of the situation had conspired with the first sips of wine to make the sound of her own voice and the retelling of the goofy little story feel hilarious. She laughed even harder. 

To her surprise Dr. Martin Boyd began to laugh with her. “I was once asked to judge an alien cocktail contest. I guess they figured only I’d know what a really good Martian martini was supposed to taste like.”

“Did you do it? Judge the contest?”

“Oh, hell yes. And the cocktails were excellent! Cheers!” And he gulped down the wine in his glass and poured them both another round. 

The evening went on like this. Even the exacting Dr. Martin Boyd had to admit that the trout and accompanying mushroom risotto was very good. And after another bottle of wine was ordered and consumed Sam stopped worrying how she was going to get away with this on her expense account. 

They finished their evening back at the farm bed and breakfast with Darla before a crackling fire in her living room. Martin Boyd pulled out a joint and held it up. “This is legal where I come from as it soon will be everywhere. Ladies, do you object?”

The ladies were enthusiastic in their lack of objection and Martin shared. 

The conversation drifted around to the town characters beyond Larry Mercer, who Sam had described in detail back at the restaurant. Darla, the only real Narvikian in attendance, had the most to report. Sam was particularly interested to learn more about the mayor. 

“Claire was the most respected teacher at the high school,” explained Darla. “Taught English and coached the girl’s volleyball team. I think they went to state twice. Anyway, she retired and so did her husband, Tom, who had some state job in Madison. Then he got cancer and just like that Claire was a widow. 

“They never had kids so no grandkids either. I suppose Claire was looking for something to fill her time. Joe Ellsted had been village president for years and years and, I don’t know, I guess it was some pension thing, but he wanted to get back to a real job with the village. So, he gave up being president, Claire ran unopposed and Joe became head of public works.”

“Sounds vaguely corrupt,” said the now very relaxed Dr. Martin Boyd. 

“No, I don’t think so,” said Darla. “I guess it checked out with Robbie Porter. And, anyway, in these small towns it’s hard to get anybody to even run for anything at all. Everybody thinks Claire and Joe are doing good jobs and nobody else wants them.” 

Sleepy from the wine and the weed and the warmth from Darla’s fire, Sam started to drift off into that state of twilight, not sure what was real and what was a dream. Somewhat vague herself, Darla wasn’t sure but she thought she heard her friend mumble, “Claire could have been more.” 

24. Firewood Stonehenge

Early the next morning he got to work. Dr. Martin Boyd drove out to see Ole Olson and to examine “Firewood Stonehenge.” Sam’s appellation had taken off.

Ole wasn’t at the farmhouse when Martin arrived so he got to work with a tape measure, his camera and a compass, documenting every detail of the mysterious stack of firewood and ignoring the line of police tape that the sheriff had draped around it. 

About a half hour later Ole drove his small rusted pickup down the gravel farm road. He had been delivering his organic eggs to the Modest Expectations Café and other local eateries. He found Martin sitting on his back stairs making notes. Martin rose to meet him.

“Mr. Olson?” 

“Yep. Dr. Boyd?”

“Call me Martin.” 

“Ok, then.” 

Ole led Martin into the kitchen just as he had Sheriff Rhude and Samantha Tucker. He boiled some black coffee and set a steaming cup in front of Martin at the kitchen table. 

Ole told Martin his story from the top and, as always, without embellishment. Ole never met an adjective that he liked. 

Martin recorded Ole’s statement on his smart phone but also took copious notes in his reporter’s notebook. When he finished he took a long sip of coffee. 

“Can I come back at sunset?” he asked Ole, who answered with a shrug. 

At the end of the day Martin Boyd returned. He and Ole stood at one end of the curved firewood stack and watched the sun go down behind the ridge just to the right of the other end of the stack. 

“Just what I thought,” said Martin as he scribbled again in his notebook. 

“So, tell me Ole. In winter, the sun would go down right about there?” and he pointed to a spot just to the right of the other end of the firewood wall. 

“Yeah. I guess so,” said Ole. 

“Uh-huh,” said Dr. Martin Boyd and in his mind he was repeating the way Sam Tucker strung out certain words in what he had to admit was a charming if annoying way. ‘Eggsss-zactly.’

25. Difficult

It had quickly become routine. Late in the evening Darla Schmitt would build a fire in the living room of her farmhouse bed and breakfast and pour three glasses of brandy. Her only guest, UFO hunter Dr. Martin Boyd, would come downstairs in his stocking feet and pretty soon Sam Tucker would show up at her kitchen door. 

The three would sip their brandies and smoke a little weed, while outside the Wisconsin autumn roared down from Canada, and they would talk about the day’s developments. 

On the fourth night of their little routine Sam showed up with a guest. 

“Dr. Boyd, I’d like you to meet Mayor Claire Kornstedt.” 

“Dr. Boyd, so good to finally meet you. I really should have made the effort sooner, but Sam tells me you’ve been so busy. I can’t tell you what this means for Narvik.” 

“It’s my pleasure, Madame Mayor.” 

“Oh, please, call me Claire.” 

“Fine then,” said Dr. Boyd while Sam and Darla suppressed grins, knowing that Claire would wait for the reciprocal offer that would not come. 

They all sat in the big, old, sagging comfortable chairs arrayed around the fireplace. Sam pulled out her list and took a sip of brandy. 

“Oh, Sam, really?” asked the mayor. “I thought we’d have a nice social visit.”

“Claire. We’ve now got a week until Alien Days. We don’t have time not to work. There are too many details.” 

“Well, okay then,” said Claire. “I was saving this for the right moment anyway. Consider your temporary liquor license at the high school granted. Cheers.” And she lifted her glass to see the soothing brown liquid reflected in the glow of the fire before she took a sip to toast herself. 

“Nice work!” said Sam. “How’d you get past Emily Meister?”

“Those who enjoy good sausage and good public policy should not allow themselves to watch either being made,” said the mayor. 

“Ahh,” said Sam. She explained the situation to Boyd. “Emily Meister is the school board president. Very strict I’m told. Claire promised she’d find a way to get her to go along with a liquor license for the Alien Dance that we want to bring back for Saturday night. The high school is the only place big enough for it and so it’s really up to the school board. So, Claire, did you bribe her or threaten her?”

Claire looked at the joint that had just been passed to her. She shrugged and took a drag, then coughed and sipped her brandy. “Never did understand what people got out of this stuff,” she said in a slightly gravelly voice. “I prefer alcohol. Anyway, you’re too cynical, Sam. I did neither.”

“So, what did you do? Sheriff Rhude said she’d be a tough sell.”

“Why I used you, Sam. You see Emily Meister, for all her Puritanism, is a liberal puritan. She doesn’t like to see booze in the school for a very good reason. How can we tell the students not to drink and then they see their parents as well as the town fathers and mothers drinking in the kids’ own cafeteria?”

She stopped as the effect of brandy, THC, the warmth of the fireplace and the depths of this comfortable old chair all caught up with her. 

“But Emily is also a real feminist. So, I laid it on thick about you. How you were making a name for yourself and doing wonderful things for Narvik but how you also had to deal with the sheriff, who is a man, and Larry Mercer who is a man who talks too much, and Ole Olson, who is man who doesn’t talk enough, and, oh for gods sake, Robbie Porter who is sort of a man after a fashion and, with apologies doctor, Dr. Martin Boyd who is well…” 

Claire Kornstedt realized that the substances and the setting had led her to go too far. 

Sam recognized the trouble and jumped in. “Eggsss-zalent! Claire, you can use me like that any time! That’s wonderful. Now I can check that off my list. This is huge!”

But Dr. Martin Boyd had heard. “’Dr. Martin Boyd, who is well…’ Well, what, Madame Mayor? Dr. Boyd is well what?”

“Difficult,” said Claire as Sam and Darla stared into the fire. “I’m told you’re difficult. And, seriously Martin, just now, the thing about I say ‘call me Claire’ and you say nothing. Really?” 

“I like to maintain a certain professional remove,” said Martin and then he took a long drag on the joint that Sam had just passed him as they all dissolved into laughter in front of the crackling fire as a northern wind drove the autumn down upon them. 

26. Preliminary findings

Samantha Tucker chuckled to herself as she read the lead story in that week’s Narvik News

Expert Promises UFO Findings Soon

By Thelma Rhude

Internationally renowned UFO expert Dr. Martin Boyd promises a “significant” breakthrough when he reports the results of his investigation into what has become commonly known as the “Firewood Stonehenge” phenomenon at the Ole Olson farm. 

Boyd’s presentation is set for Friday evening in the Narvik high school auditorium. In an exclusive interview with The News, Boyd says that almost two weeks of investigation including several interviews with Olson and careful analysis of the evidence during site visits has yielded what he calls “stunning” results. 

“I cannot say for certain why aliens have targeted Narvik, yet it appears they have,” said Boyd. 

Geez, Martin, you’re laying it on a little thick, Samantha thought. 

She brought the paper with her as she crossed the Ottawa County courthouse lawn to Bauman’s restaurant for her weekly meeting with Claire Kornstedt. She found the mayor there at her usual table but with an unexpected guest. 

“Sheriff!” said Sam. “Are you joining us for lunch? What a pleasure,” she said with sincerity. She had come to really like and respect Sheriff Harold Rhude. 

“I see you have my mother’s good work there, Sam,” the sheriff said nodding at the newspaper in her hand. 

“Yes! Well, our Dr. Boyd certainly is helping on the promotion front!” Sam slipped into the booth next to Claire. 

“He certainly is,” Claire agreed. “But Harold has some concerns. I don’t necessarily agree, but he’d like to discuss them with us over lunch.” 

They exchanged some pleasantries about the weather, football, Sam’s ongoing efforts to get the Flying Saucer Chevy back into the parade, the mayor’s work to convene a long-forgotten committee to officially designate Ole Olson as the parade grand marshal and ease Robbie Porter out of that role just for one year, and details about the Alien Dance now only 72 hours away. 

As they dug into their lunch specials Harold Rhude put down his fork and cleared his throat. “You’ve done good work with all this, Sam. You really have. This’ll be great for Narvik.” 

“Well, thank you, Sheriff. But of course nothing’s happened yet. There are still a lot of unresolved details.”

“Right,” said the sheriff. “And it’s the details of Martin Boyd’s presentation that have me just a little bit concerned.” 

“How so?”

“Would it surprise you to learn that Dr. Martin Boyd isn’t exactly the kind of doctor you might have had in mind?”

Sam swallowed her food hard and put down her fork. Of course that had occurred to her. It had occurred to her from the start and so many times since that she had worked hard to send those questions to the deepest backwaters of her mind. She didn’t have to know and she most certainly did not want to know. But rather than answer the sheriff’s question directly, she just raised her eyebrows. 

“I did some investigating of my own,” the sheriff went on. “Turns out Martin Boyd is a doctor alright. PhD in comparative literature from High Chaparral College.”

“I’ve never heard of High Chaparral College,” said Sam while trying to ignore the more significant fact. 

“Not surprised. At the height of its enrollment the place had all of 500 students. Seemed to be the kind of place a kid would go to smoke some dope for a few years while he figured out what to do next. Anyway, they shut down a decade ago. But the more important question is what’s a doctor of comparative literature doing passing himself off as a UFO expert?”

Panic started to grow in Sam’s stomach. Claire sensed her young friend’s growing unease and intervened. 

“This is where the sheriff and I have a respectful disagreement,” said the mayor. “To my knowledge, no institution of higher learning offers a degree in UFO investigations. A doctorate in anything indicates a certain degree of… well…. respect… for facts and a knowledge of how to do research. That’s good enough for me.”

“And a degree in comparative literature indicates an ability to appreciate a good story and maybe make some up himself,” Sheriff Rhude replied while retrieving his fork and digging back into his salad. 

Sam started to regain her composure. “I appreciate your good work, sheriff, but I have to agree with the mayor. Dr. Boyd never specified what his degree was in.” 

“No. No, he did not. But I have other concerns.” 

“And they are?” asked Sam, now completely uninterested in her meal. 

“Boyd ‘interviewed’ me as part of his ‘investigation’,” said the sheriff making the air quotes as he found appropriate. “And, well, Ms. Tucker I have to say that I’m not sure your expert is stable.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I have every reason to believe that your Dr. Martin Boyd is just a little bit nuts. I have every reason to believe that on Friday night he’s going to tell the whole town – and thanks to your good work – maybe the entire world that he really does believe in aliens.” 

Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

One thought on “Alien Parade: Installment 6

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