The Day I Saw an Alien

I chucked my duffel bag into the trunk of Josh's car and checked my brain at the curb.
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My friends say I'm gullible. I prefer trusting. Or maybe believing. But not gullible. Sure, I'm a "what you see is what you get" kind of person. So naturally I expect the same kind of openness from others.

But I don't fall for just anything. It's not like I think professional wrestling is real. I don't think Elvis and Hitler vacation together in Venezuela. And I never would have counted myself among those folks who think we're "not alone." At least not until I saw an alien with my very own eyes …

It was the spring of my sophomore year in high school. My friends, Josh and Danny, were wondering if I'd like to go with them to San Antonio for the weekend. We'd stay at Josh's dad and stepmom's house, eat plenty of barbecue, and maybe hit the Schlitterbahn—one sensational waterpark.

"Are you in?" Josh asked.

After a quick parental "OK," I heartily accepted.

Friday afternoon, I chucked my duffel bag into the trunk of Josh's car and checked my brain at the curb. By the time we reached the interstate, I was bumping along in dreamy anticipation. I was off for the ultimate, stress-free weekend of fun in the sun.

No Words Could Adequately Describe The Terror And Excitement I Felt At That Moment. It Was An Alien, All Right.

Along the way, Josh explained to me that his dad lived in the Alamo Heights area of town. "And?" I shrugged.

"According to eyewitness reports," he whispered, "the neighborhood is known for paranormal activity." Josh said one awestruck resident even published an autobiographical account of his thrilling alien abduction.

By the time we reached Josh's father's house, I began to understand why everybody thought little green men frequented the place. There were gnarled cypress trees everywhere. With the help of a few street lights, one might easily mistake a dark, twisted shadow for an unwelcome visitor from the great beyond.

Inside, Josh showed us our barracks for the weekend: the study. The room was lined wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with all kinds of books. Among them, I noted, was an unusual amount of literature detailing mysterious and unexplained phenomena. Several of these books were even scattered on the floor, including the alien abduction story. I leafed through it. Josh's family, it seemed, had not been totally unaffected by—nor uninterested in—these strange happenings.

Josh's little brother, Jordan, joined us in the study that evening. He'd been staying at his dad's house all summer and was probably glad for the company. After awhile, we all crashed. I fell asleep on the couch next to the window, too exhausted to think much about aliens or anything else except a good night's rest.

Around 3 o'clock in the morning, I awoke with a start. Through the venetian blinds on the window beside me, I watched a screaming blur sprint by, setting off a motion-sensitive light. I sat up and peeked between the slats of the blinds. What I saw next almost made my heart explode.

Across the driveway, sitting in the branches of a cypress tree, was something that looked like an alien. The oval head. The black, slitty eyes. The sallow body. All there. Suddenly, I could hardly breathe.

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