Printed from WriteWords -

When the Martians Finally Come

by  Jordan789

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009
Word Count: 501
Summary: well, it's something. For this week's silver challenge.

I looked up as I buckled Jeffrey into the car seat, and there it was sitting in the sky above midtown Manhattan: a giant metallic spacecraft (for lack of a better word) reflecting the universe back at itself: a blue sky, glinting sun; its underbelly a convex and grey Manhattan.

“What is that?” Jeffrey asked. “Is it the aliens?” His face displayed a look of simple curiosity, as if new neighbors had moved into town and the next step was to bake a damned fruit cake; he knew nothing about fruit cakes.

“Where did you learn about aliens?” Along the sidewalk and from their stoops, the other inhabitants of my street began to appear and make predictions.

“Marvin the Martian,” he said. Of course. Looney Toons. In my boy’s mind, when the entrance hatch on that spacecraft—or whatever it was--opened and the army of Martians (sorry for generalizing) marched out, knee-high and touting laser pistols, all that would be required of us good guys would be to bake several thousand cakes laced with dynamite candles.

“It’s not aliens,” I said. I wasn’t ready for paranoid alien attack theories and Armageddon-through-laser-beam horror-philosophies. I had to worry about what I would put on the car stereo to keep Jeffrey happy, and whether feeding him his lunch, a hotdog that I had wrapped in aluminum foil will eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease. I retreated into the house to check the traffic report and let the big steel egg float away to China.

I turned on the news and found the rest of the city wasn’t so calm. Fox called it Sphere-O-geddon. NBC called it Visitors in a Bubble. I settled with NBC and listened to an attractive, apparently fearless news anchor: surrounded by blaring car horns, he approached the stalled cars looking to the drivers for interviews.
“What do you think it is?” he asked a man. The anchor’s flawless skin could probably deflect lasers.

“I don’t want to stay to find out,” the man said. He had what seemed like eight other people in his normal-sized sedan.

I then thought to call Tom’s cell phone; he would know what to do. But he didn’t answer. I left a voice mail. “We will wait for you at the house,” I told him. I looked at Jeffrey. Then everything settled in. We needed to stock up on canned food. We needed to hide in the basement. We needed emergency supplies of water. We needed this right now. I didn’t know how to do any of this. I looked at my son, sitting on the carpet as he happily pushed a wooden train along.

“The mayor is urging everyone not to panic.” News copters showed images of bridges quilted with cars.

“Where are you going?” The news reporter asked one woman.

“I saw Independence Day,” a lady said. “We’re going to find us a hole in the desert with Will Smith. He knows what to do.”

“God save us,” I said.

“Mom,” Jeffrey said.

“It’s alright.”