27 Aug
2003

Close Encounters

Yesterday as I was walking home from work, I noticed something unusual on a corner I walk by twice a day. About fifteen feet up a telephone pole was a homemade sign that read

Tonite:

Sunset

MARS ATTACKS!

There was a rather large plastic alien doll tacked up there with the sign. Then I noticed there was an upright piano on the sidewalk. Then I noticed there was a man in his mid-sixties busy in his yard attaching a glow-in-the-dark alien mask to the top of a ladder that had been draped with black cloth. I kept right on walking.

Of course, I wanted to drive by at sunset to see what was happening, but I got distracted by things like, oh, the real world, and missed it.

Luckily for us humble earthlings, Mars did not attack last night–even though it?s been almost 60,000 years since it?s been this close to Earth and won’t be this near again until 2287. And even luckier for me, the signs were still up, and they had company. The sign on the telephone had been moved to the front gate of the house next to a banner that read WELCOME ALIENS. The glow-in-the-dark mask had been moved to the inside of a front window and there was a new fluorescent alien head in its place over the draped ladder. The base of the telephone pole had been wrapped with some kind of material painted with the words SLOW DOWN STUPID! And yes, the piano was still squatting on the sidewalk and still refusing to explain itself.

As I was walking over to take a picture, the master of this madness himself stuck his head out the front door and looked around his yard. I wish I could say he was wearing a space suit and looked up at the sky with a mixture of hope and terror, but he just stuck his fisherman’s-cap-covered head out and back in again. I walked all the way around the block so I could get a shot of the signs. Here are the three I managed to snap while trying not to provoke His Esteemed Craziness.

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