Author : Glenn Blakeslee

It’s another damn fine desert day, and Old Joe sits on the dilapidated Lazy Boy on the porch in front of his trailer. He’s got his feet up and a pint bottle of cheap wine in his hand, and he’s thinking lazy desert thoughts. He’s got his chores done, tended his little forty-acres of nowhere, and he’s relaxing in the relative luxury of his porch.

His looks to the horizon, where county road S65 cuts a straight line through the sagebrush, up to the hills. He can see dust plumes rising in the still afternoon air. Here they come again.

He’s posted dozens of No Trespassing signs on his property, but the damn dirt bike riders ignore them. Might as well post signs that read Welcome To Paradise, he thinks. They don’t bother reading them anyhow.

It’s only desert, but it’s his desert. Riders have cut trail across it where no trails should be. Every autumn flash flood gouges those trails deeper. Soon his place will be nothing but gouges, he thinks.

Maybe they’ll veer off, Old Joe thinks. Maybe I won’t have to reach for the gun.

The dust plumes rise higher. Soon he hears the buzz of motors, sees flashy helmets above the sagebrush. Sure enough, the riders are off the road, weaving through the brush toward his little trailer home.

Old Joe creaks forward in the Lazy Boy and groans to his feet. He puts his bottle down and reaches for his old Remington 12 gauge. He’s in the driveway before the riders can see him, holding the rusty old gun across his chest like a western hero. When the riders come out of the brush and onto the dusty drive, he swivels the barrel and fires a round into the air, over their heads.

The riders come to a sliding stop in the driveway. They look at Old Joe holding the gun, and look at each other. Old Joe yells “Get offa my land!,” and he levels the shotgun at them.

That’s all it takes. The first rider drags a donut across the driveway, throwing up dust, and heads out to the road before Old Joe can finish yelling. The second pushes his motorcycle backward, downshifts and roars off.

Old Joe blasts the shotgun in their direction, just for good measure, and staggers back to the shade of his porch, his Lazy Boy, and his bottle. He props the shotgun against the trailer.

“Damn bikers,” he mutters.

Old Joe has dozed off, and he wakes to eerie sounds and bright lights. A pulsing bright globe sits over the sagebrush on the side of the driveway, and as it descends he’s suddenly awake and reaching for the shotgun.

The globe glows, and sheets of static flow across its surface. It emits a disharmonic hum that gives Old Joe goosebumps. He steps away from the porch, shotgun across his chest, shouts “Get offa my land,” and fires a shot into the air

The globe touches the sagebrush and then bounces, falling and rising. Lines of red light circle the globe’s equator, and the hum rises in pitch and then drops to a basso rumble. Joe takes steps toward the globe and aims the shotgun.

The globes rises and swoops down the driveway, lighting the sagebrush and the sand as it dwindles into the distance. Old Joe fires a shot after it, just for good measure.

He watches for a little while, until the thing disappears altogether. He turns and stumps back to the porch.

“Damn aliens,” he mutters, and reclines his Lazy Boy into the perfect desert night.

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