My name is Horace Bentley. All the kids around here call me Pops. My friends call me Horace. You can call me Mr. Bentley.
You’re not the first one to ask about my life, and more specifically, my little adventure. I would love it if you were the last. I’m getting pretty tired of not telling the story. I don’t even get halfway through not telling it, and I can see the doubt in their eyes. Are you going to be the same way? Because, if you are, you can just leave right now. I’m not going to tell you the story. I’ll tell it to someone else.
Anyway, it’s not a story. It’s the goddam truth. I should know. I was there.
July seventh, nineteen and forty-seven. That’s the date that has been recorded as my birth day. My mother said she didn’t even know she was pregnant. She went to bed about eleven o’clock on the sixth, and when she woke up on the seventh I was there beside her.
She had a helluva time, being young and unmarried, and all. She finally latched on to Buck, a lonely rancher from down Deming way. By then I was twelve and running wild in the streets with all the other recalcitrant boys in Roswell. Oh, yeah. Roswell.
You probably know the significance of Roswell, New Mexico in nineteen and forty-seven. If you don’t, you should look it up. Conspiracy theorists love it. The seekers of truth question it. I’m here to tell you that the seekers are closer to the truth than they know.
The United States government issued a press release on the eighth of July, and before a full day had passed they retracted it. Claimed a weather balloon crashed. That’s bullshit. Their first story was the correct story. A vessel from another planet crashed in the desert outside Roswell. When it went down it belched little grey creatures as it dug a half mile long trench in the packed earth. Some of the folks that saw those critters laying dead in the dirt said they looked like little men, but not little men. Others just said they were weird looking. I can tell you unequivocally that they were, are, and continue to be. Until humans destroy this planet they call home, that is.
No one has ever told me not to talk about Roswell in nineteen and forty-seven. But they sure have when it comes to the incident twenty years later. In the desert. Outside of Roswell. I was warned by some men in black suits and even darker sunglasses back in sixty-seven about what would happen if I ever told this story to anyone. So I haven’t. Not a word. Not yet, anyway. What are they going to do if I decide to tell now? Put me in prison? It can’t be any worse than this place I call home. This facility is full of lonely old people who have nothing better to do than watch Jeopardy and then fall asleep during the evening news, only to wake up when Creature Features come on at one. The excitement around here is unbearable.
I feel sad for my fellow residents. The ones that have families only see them about once a month, if that often. I guess the kids feel obligated to make a showing now and then. That way they can sleep at night. Knowing that Mom or Dad is well cared for in a facility full of strangers. That’s the way to keep from feeling guilty. Stash the old folks out of sight. Really now, who wants to look at something that is going to remind them of what the future holds? Better to tuck it away and visit every now and then. You know. Family obligation, and all.
I’m lucky. I don’t have kids to come and see me. I had a sister once, but she ran off with some Count, or Duke, or something like that, to India or Pakistan, or someplace like that. Wait a minute. Maybe it was Indiana. And he was a donut maker. That’s where she went. No. No, it could have been Pennsylvania. Hell, I don’t remember where she went, or with who. I just know she’s not here.
I spend my days trying not to tell anyone what I’m not supposed to tell anyone. It’s really not that difficult. Until the likes of people like you come around. Then it takes real effort not to flap my gums about what I shouldn’t even be thinking about. Maybe it’s time to think, and talk, and even show pictures if I had some.
I guess we should get this over with. That way you can be on your way and I can get back to the ballgame you so rudely interrupted. The Dodgers were down two in the top of the sixth. They damned well better not come back and win this game while I’m distracted. If they do, you’ll have hell to pay.
The desert can be an extremely hot place. It can be a cold one, too. Just not at the same time. The day in question, the desert was hot, right up until it turned cold. Very cold. And, let me just say right now that it was too cold to snow that day in July. In nineteen and sixty-seven. The sun disappeared and the temperature dropped faster than a lead ball in a pool of water. But there wasn’t enough moisture in the air to make a snowflake. It was as dry as a popcorn fart. That was the only benefit about the desert climate that July seventh in nineteen and sixty-seven.
To everyone else it was just another day. To me it was a life altering event. And a homecoming of sorts. Maybe even a celebration of my survival. I like to think of it as a birthday party, though. One with all my extended family present.
Let’s get the doubt out of the way right now. They’re not little men. They’re not little women, either. I have no idea what they are. But, they are.
Are you still with me? Is there doubt lingering somewhere behind those half lidded eyes of yours? I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet, so stay with me. And keep an open mind. An open wallet, too, if you’re so inclined.
July, nineteen and sixty-seven. The Summer of Love. The beginning of the downfall of this country. But I’m not going to blame that on the hippies. I’m not even going to blame it on the wacky tobaccy they were smoking. Or the tiny pieces of paper they were swallowing. I’m going to blame it on the….hold on a minute. The phone’s ringing.
Sorry about that. It was another one of those people who make a living cold calling others, and trying to sell them something they don’t need or want. I was nice this time. I didn’t even raise my voice. I just quietly hung up the phone. Mother would have been proud.
Anyway, back in sixty-seven the government sent around a couple of pasty looking guys in black suits and dark sunglasses. They looked like twins, one just a little older than the other. I was a young buck back then, but I knew government types when I saw them. They haven’t changed much since then. I think they’re all still using the same tailor, and keeping Ray-Ban in business.
It was my twentieth birthday, and I had just gotten back from my first tour in Vietnam. Since I had flown into Travis Air Force Base in California, and was on my way to Fort Bliss in Texas, I thought I’d stop off in New Mexico and visit Mom and Buck. They were still living at the ranch north of Deming, so a stop in Roswell to visit old friends was right on the way.
I got to say hi to Dave and Lorraine, and was on my way to Ralph’s, about a mile outside of Roswell, when the world turned upside down. It was approaching the end of the day, and the sun was like a chef at a busy soup kitchen, cooking everything in sight. I was thinking that the coming night would not bring much relief to the scorching heat. How wrong I was. But, that’s all the relief it brought. Just from the heat. And, before sundown, too.
The darkness descended faster than a runaway Peterbilt pulling forty thousand pounds of chickens zig zagging down Wolf Creek Pass. This is where my story is supposed to end, how the day turned instantly to night when the sun was hidden from view by the large craft that appeared and hovered above me. I’ve been warned several times through the years not to say anything past this point. Well, I’m about to break my silence. There’s more. The more that others have wanted to hear. The more that you might not want to hear once you’ve heard it. So, pull up a chair and get comfortable. Oh, and close that door. There are big ears that roam these halls.
I was walking down the side of the road on my way to Ralph’s when the day just up and disappeared. It got blacker than the inside of the closet Buck used to lock me in when I raised hell as a kid. I stopped right where I was and didn’t move a muscle. Instantly, I became chilled to the bone, and the sudden drop in temperature took my breath away. It was like I was being freeze-dried right where I stood.
All sound ceased to exist, and the instant whiteness that surrounded me momentarily blinded me. When the pupils in my eyes caught up to the intense light, I was standing in the middle of a circle of beings. They were familiar to me. All but one, that is. It was as though I knew the others, but didn’t really know them. Like a second cousin you see only at family reunions.
The stranger among us reached out and lightly grasped my hand. The feeling was strange, but yet intimate. The texture of the being’s skin I can liken only to that of jello, warm, not cold. The touch itself was very tender. It was firm, but not overpowering. It felt like a lover’s touch.
I know, I know. I was twenty years old back then. How would I know what a lover’s touch felt like? I knew a little something about love. Maybe later I’ll tell you about Peggy Sue. We were going to be married when I got out of the army. That kind of fell through. I blamed it on her loneliness and the changing world. She blamed it on the war and the way it left me. It left me the hell alone is what it did. The world changed while I was gone. Life moved on without me, and so did Peggy Sue. So, I went back to Vietnam. Not once. Not twice. But five times in total. The last time, they sent me home for good. They said I was too damaged to return.
Enough about that. You’re not here for me and Peggy Sue. You’re here for the alien. Let me tell you right now, that creature was anything but alien to me. It was as though we had been waiting for each other all our lives.
Trying to describe the creature….Let me stop right now and straighten something out. That creature can best be classified as a female. A female in our terms. Worldly terms, but not Universal terms. The beings that greeted me that July evening in nineteen and sixty-seven were from a place where gender is undefined. Beings are beings, and if they’re meant to be together, they are. But, to keep things simple and easily understood by you and whomever you may discuss this with, I will refer to the thing that held my hand as a female.
Looking at her was pleasant, but difficult. To define what I saw is impossible. When I attempted to focus on any one aspect of her body she faded into nothing. She was there, because I could feel her presence, but I could not make out her form. She shimmered in the fading light, pulsating with the vibrations of the stillness that surrounded us. I could not take my eyes from her. She was stunningly beautiful.
I wanted so much to hold her, but could not. When I would reach out to touch her there was nothing to touch. She could hold my hand, but I could not hold hers. I could feel her touch, but could she feel mine?
Stairs magically appeared out of no where. She led me up them. We were followed by the others. I knew the others. I knew then that I knew them, and had known them when they had left me here in nineteen and forty-seven. They were family. They are family. I wish that they had taken me with them in nineteen and sixty-seven. But, that was not to be. There was a reason I was left behind. You are that reason. Tomorrow, I will not be here. Tomorrow, you should tell my story.
When we got to the top of the stairs I looked behind me. The steps were gone. The earth was miles below us. I was standing on nothingness. A door slid shut, and all that was, was no more.
When I woke up I was laying in a ditch at the side of the road. I was naked. My clothes were folded and stacked within reach, my boots resting comfortably on top of the stack. A small photograph was propped up in such a way that I could clearly make out a couple standing before a control panel of some sort. I was on the left. She was on the right. I kept that picture for many years, until it was stolen from me.
Every July seventh I would take the photo out and stare at it as I drank myself to sleep. About thirty years ago the picture disappeared. It had been a rough year for me. I was really down in the dumps. I guess I drank more than I should have and slept longer than usual. When I woke up my precious picture was gone. The twins in the black suits are responsible. I just know they are. They’ve been watching me for years, just waiting for me to screw up. I did that night. Now I only have memories. Sweet memories.
The night of July seventh, nineteen and sixty-seven was a beautiful night. It did not start out well for me, but it ended better than any young man’s dream. It took me awhile to remember everything I went through that night. There were all the usual tests. I’m sure you’ve heard about them. All of the abductees tell the same story. Poked, prodded, and tested in ways that modern medicine can only dream about. What my family did to me that night can only be described as torturous. I knew what was coming, but was not prepared for it when it arrived.
I assumed I passed all of the tests. I was looking for my clothes when my beautiful mate arrived. I can only call her a mate, because that was what I was there for. Mating. She led me down a long hall to the last door on the left. I had the impression that it was her private quarters. I was wrong. It was a mating chamber.
There was no talking involved. She did the touching. I did the feeling. I have never been loved so deeply or passionately, before or since. I cried when it was over. Then I fell asleep. When I woke up, they were gone.
They were not gone in the way you might think they were gone. No. They were gone, as in dead gone. When I woke up there were men and women in uniform everywhere. It was very dark and there were bright lights on poles lighting up the surrounding desert. I can only describe what I saw as a crash site. I was stunned.
Laying in that ditch, I was hidden from view. When I stood, I was not. Men rushed towards me from all directions. They grabbed me and shoved me into the backseat of a large sedan. I was whisked away to a waiting helicopter and then flown to a nearby secret facility. There, I spent several days answering questions, being poked, prodded, and tested in ways that only the government can do.
When I was finally released, I was sent to Fort Bliss. Four days later I was on my way back to Vietnam. Before stepping onto the ground in El Paso, though, several forms were shoved in my face and I was forced to sign them. I was warned that if I told anyone about what had happened outside of Roswell, I would be spending the rest of my days at Leavenworth. Hell, Vietnam wasn’t bad enough?
So, I’ve kept my mouth shut. To this day, it continues to haunt me that I might have lost a son or daughter in that crash. It was bad enough that my family died, but an unborn child? My only child? I suppose I could have tried marriage and raising a family, but Vietnam, Agent Orange, PTSD, four pieces of lead that still call my body home, and then there’s desire. I guess I just haven’t had the desire.
I never did read about the crash in nineteen and sixty-seven. By then, I suppose the government had gotten good at keeping a lid on things. Well, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag.
Ladies and gentlemen—a spaceship crashed outside of Roswell exactly, to the day, twenty years after the crash in nineteen and forty-seven. How many crashes have there been, before or since? For one crash, the government still has a research facility? Give me a break.
So, now you have it. I’m getting tired. You’ve got enough material here to begin writing your story. Come back tomorrow. If I’m still here, I’ll go into more detail. Just wait until you hear about that mating chamber.
Dammit. The Dodgers won. Close the door on your way out. Too many old people around here. And all they want to do is talk.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.