We turn onto a long and lonely road. We stop the bus, the headlights shining on the road sign. Diane pulls the map close, the flashlight beam close enough to burn a hole, and checks the map again. But it's no use. A bank of lights from an approaching vehicle behind us flood into the bus. The lights draw very close, then stop. Only slightly annoyed by the glare in the rear view mirrors, Diane and I begin bickering about the left turn we should have made at Albuquerque. Then when we hear a noise. Like rattling tin. We look around, then up at the road sign that's still caught in our headlights...
... it is vibrating fast. Not knowing what to make of it, our bickering fades as Diane's flashlight beams, the dashboard lights, and the headlights dim to amber then to black. "Whaaa..?" I stammer. Then, in an instant, a cone of brightest light imaginable bathes the bus. We try to look at it, but it's too bright. I sit there, slackjawed, too scared to budge. Diane jabs the radio, snaps switches on the dashboard. Nothing. A low hum outside grows into a deafening roar. The windows start rattling. Door locks click open, then closed. Everything metallic floats up toward the ceiling. Pens. Coins. Cellphones. Then, with a soft whoomp, like a weightless current of air being sucked out of the bus, everything goes black.
When we wake up, then sun is climbing over the scrubby desert in the east. We're sprawled on the bed in the back of the bus. I have no idea where we are. My left shoe is on my right foot, my pants are on backwards. There are also these strange spots on my chest.
Then I look out the window. And, in a flash, I remember where we are: Roswell, NM.
So it wasn't all a dream after all. Or was it?
As scary as that experience was, it turns out many different types of aliens are among us. And they aren't just in Roswell.
From the Colorado front range down through southern New Mexico, we saw them everywhere:
*We're all but certain that the auspicious date of May 5 had something to do with this gathering of residents and resident aliens.
.... They were suited up as scuba divers who fathomed the deep blue holes of Santa Rosa, NM.
... They appeared as apparitions of forever-young outlaw heroes* of yesteryear.
*By all accounts The Kid was a courteous and good looking young man. Except that he was a murderous cattle thief and his long buck teeth made him look like a squirrel.
... They took the shape of underground rock formations that are out of this world.*
*Found in the Carlsbad Caverns, just south of Carlsbad, NM.
... and they were personified by a pair of roughnecks from Odessa, TX (working the oilfields of eastern New Mexico) who assured us (outsider mircobus-driving Oregon hippies dirtying up the desert southwest) that this nameless drive-thru shack would provide us with the best chunky green chile burritos we would ever stuff down our gullets. We believed. And they were right.
Which is to say, the aliens are everywhere among us. They might be someone you've known for years. They might be someone you just met. Believe.