the Last U.F.O. Report

by James Bronson


Chapter 7 - Recipe for Indigestion

            Ranger Bob set about preparing his famous trailhead special.  First, put two sticks of “I Can Tell that It’s Cheaper than Butter” put in cooking pot.  Wait two minutes until butter substitute melts.  Add contents of one granola cereal box and one bag of cheese puffs.  Add one-half pound of sour cream and mix until blended.  Remove pot and pour on a big cookie sheet pre-covered with package of bologna and one bag of potato chips.  Let it cool for one minute then serve with two six-packs of generic-brand soda, one pot of instant coffee, and two rolls of Tums.

            I’m no nutritionist but I think it covered most of the food groups if you count Tums’ fruity flavor as calcium and fruit. 

            Some of our party had to make urgent trips to the newly dug outhouse behind the building.  Then after we ate this gut turning meal, Ranger Bob told us that the meal was just an initiation joke played on all new arrivals.  Actually, the government had spent millions putting in an underground, air conditioned space with steel showers, toilets (male and female), sleeping quarters, and a fully stocked kitchen with frozen dinners and microwave ovens.  Best of all, cold Bud in bottles.  Now that we had passed our initiation challenge, we were all official Death Valley Desert Rats, entitled to one free cold beer per visit.  He explained that the the new Death Valley is built underground, unseen, and top secret.

            The professor pulled me aside and told me that this project all came about to keep the space aliens happy and to keep them returning to help us with various scientific projects.  In short, we provided a protected environment for the aliens to use as their home base while visiting our solar system.  Secondly, the government set up a black box project at Area 51 to distract intruders.  “Believe me, misinformation works.  All the real action was here in remote Death Valley.  Meanwhile, you’ve got a bunch of U.F.O. nuts wasting their resources investigating Area 51 which is actually a testing ground for advanced aircraft and not a storage facility for flying saucers.”

            I asked, “Professor, have we built flying saucers with the help of the aliens?”

            “No, human beings cannot survive their propulsion systems.”

            I could see that the professor was getting more and more uncomfortable telling me about classified information, but he felt that he had to at least bring me up to speed with the basics before our scheduled meeting tomorrow afternoon.

            “What about Megan?” I asked.  “You didn’t tell me that you requested to bring your old girlfriend along to our little space party.”

            “First, I didn’t request her to join us.”

            “She says you did.”

            “There may be some confusion in Washington about who requested who.  Second, she’s not my girlfriend.  We have worked together in the past on special projects.  And in the past we had an affair.  She’s very good at getting men to do what she wants.  I’m still attracted to her, but a woman with her intelligence often has an unexpected agenda.  I find her extremely dangerous.  If she can extract information from the aliens, she might use it to benefit herself rather than our country.”

            “What about me?  Aren’t you worried I might steal their secrets?”

            “Frankly, no, you’re not smart enough, but Megan could find a way to take advantage of your ignorance to gain whatever it is that she wants.”

            “In short, professor, you don’t trust Megan, but you still want to get your hands into her specially tailored pants.”

            “Well, yes.”

            “As for me, you don’t want to take me out in public without a leash, and if it were up to you, I’d be at home in my fenced yard, allowed in the house because I might eat the furniture.”

            “Look, you’re overstating your situation.  You’re a bright guy in over your head, and that’s dangerous for everyone involved.  For me, this is not unusual duty.  As long as I was involved with the project, I’ve had to keep an eye on the politicians and military men, always afraid that they might offend the aliens and bring an outer space plague to our lonely planet.”

            “The aliens, are they that dangerous?”

            “I have no doubt that they could wipe out the whole human race overnight and not care anymore than we would worry about the termites we killed when an exterminator tents our house.”

            “What do I need to know for tomorrow?”

            “One, do not fixate on Megan.  Avoid her.  If she questions you, give vague answers.  If she asks you for anything, turn the order over to me.  Let me handle it.  Treat me as your boss, and if she rubs up against you, think of a long stay in a federal prison. 

            “Second, with the aliens.    This is the tough one because we don’t know what they want.  Play it by ear and look to me for directions.  If I don’t like the conversation, I can step in and take charge.  I’m afraid that’s the best I can do.  I confess that it is not often that I can’t control the situation using my intelligence.  The aliens on the other hand are smarter than the three of us put together.  After all these years, I still don’t know their agenda.”

            I suddenly realized that the two of us were alone in the old office.  Everyone had gone to their posts or gone down stairs for a cold one.

            I asked, “Is there anything I shouldn’t say?”

            “Yes, don’t turn up your nose at the smell of their breath.  It hurts their feelings when you acknowledge that they smell like a mixture of rotting fish and what barn animals leave behind.”

            “What do I do?”

            “Don’t offer them a stick of gum.  They tell me that the odor we smell is not natural on their planet, but to accommodate our atmosphere, their systems make chemical changes that produce the offensive odors.”

            “They smell like shit?”

            “No, worse.”

            “Can’t you and your big brained friends come up with a mouthwash or something?”

            “You don’t get it.  We don’t know anything about their physiological system.  Listerine might kill them.”

            “Problem solved.  Spray all outer space creatures with Listerine and go back to living our lives.  Who needs them anyway?”

            “They might react by destroying all humans.”

            “Not if we can get the Japanese to revive Godzilla.”

            “Gee, kid, you’re right.  I never considered Godzilla.  I’ll call To-Ho Pictures in Tokyo right away.  Then I’ll be able to sleep like a baby tonight.”

            “Did you forget about your big date with Megan?  I heard that the two of you were going to get together tonight in the old barn to relive your magic night in Paris.  Remember, Pops, hot body oil and buttered crepes.”

            “It wasn’t Paris, it was the Barstow Holiday Inn and magic fingers in the mattress.”

            “Knowing you old man, you two brainiacs probably played chess.  She won, and you’re still pissed off.”

            “Wrong.  I let her win. As soon as she said ‘checkmate’, I dropped a quarter in the machine.  The two of us were so hot that the management banned us both from all Holiday Inns, except for the one in Vegas, for ten years.  They made us pay for new linens.  And finally, in my day, we made our own body oils!”

            “OK, Pop, you win.  I’m going to take a shower, get into my air conditioned army bunk bed and dream about big busted space alien chicks that don’t smell like shit.

            “Wait a minute.  Why didn’t you warn me about the initiation thing?”

            “I had my reasons.”

            “Oh, what reasons?”

            “Even old men need a laugh once in a while.  Besides, the Death Valley Desert Rats needed a historian to chronicle our adventures.”

            “Well, I’m not chronicling what happens tonight between me and the alien chicks.”

            “You mean the ones with the big boobs?”


            “Sorry to disappoint you, but all us Desert Rats that spend months at a time out here without female companionship.  We know that story only too well.”


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