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Late Summer Night Tales
The phone rings and John’s wife answers it. John didn’t bother to move since he rarely gets phone calls, unless it’s someone asking for a donation.
“It’s your Aunt Silvia.”
John jumps from the couch and walks quickly to his wife. She hands him the phone.
“Hello, Aunt Silvia.”
“Hello Johnny. I was going through my stuff to see what we should take with us for our move to Florida. I came across some things of Uncle Bill’s from when he was in the Air Force. Would you want them? If not I’ll throw them out.”
“Sure, I’ll take them. I’ll drop by and pick them up tomorrow, OK?”
“Good, what time tomorrow.”
“I’ll pick them up after work, about 6 o’clock.”
“Six o’clock is fine.”
“Good, I’ll see you then.”
Uncle Bill was Aunt Silvia’s brother. Uncle Bill died over 20 years ago. John always liked his Uncle Bill. He was a lot more colorful than his boring father. It wasn’t until John grew up that he appreciated the wisdom of being boring and what his father had done for his Uncle Bill. John’s father owned his own construction business. His father gave his Uncle Bill a job in his company. His father gave his Uncle Bill a livelihood.
John hadn’t thought about his Uncle Bill for years but his Aunt Silvia’s phone call brought back many memories of Uncle Bill. He drank too much, but he was a pleasant drunk. It brought him down to a kid’s level and so he was popular with the children. Uncle Bill never married. It seems the people who are the best with children never have any of their own.
John stepped outside and sat on his stoop. It was one of those nice summer nights, warm and dry. He looked up at the clear night sky. Then he drifted back to a night many years ago.
It’s late at night. John, and his friends, have been listening to his Uncle Bill tell stories. He told a story about his encounters with a one eyed giant, a bronze statue that came alive, and an island with dinosaurs. He told these stories in between sips of beer.
He put down the empty beer can. He put two holes in another can with a can opener and took a long sip. He leaned forward then spoke in a low, serious voice.
“Now this story here is true.”
September 1955 – Two weeks before the story’s beginning.
First Lieutenant William Mitchell and the other pilots in his squadron file into an auditorium. Captain Harry Voss remarks; “They’re going to show us a film of an interview with a World War II German pilot.” First Lieutenant James Moore jokes; “That’s all we need now, taking advice from the losers.” A few of the other pilots laugh.
There is the audible clicking of the tape reel in the dark auditorium. The German pilot is wearing a business suit. He looks in his early to mid-40s. He is chubby and has a long, dark, mustache. He speaks with a thick German accent. First Lieutenant Mitchell listens intently.
The German pilot tells of an incident during The Battle of Britain:
“One time a Spitfire had me in a bad position. I couldn’t get away from him. In desperation I fired my machine guns and cannons. He was behind me of course and there was no one in front of me. When you see tracers in front of you it’s difficult to tell if they are going away from you or coming towards you. If one or two of the empty shell casings hit your aircraft you may think it was bullets hitting you. In any case the trick worked and the Spitfire pilot broke off the attack. I used this trick once more during The Battle of Britain and again over Germany against four Mustangs. In these cases the enemy fighters broke off their attacks. “
September 1955 – The night before the story’s beginning
First Lieutenant William Mitchell sits at a table in the Officer’s Club with Captain Harry Voss, First Lieutenant James Moore, and Captain Don Price. First Lieutenant Mitchell and Captain Voss are on their third beer. Captain Price is getting quietly drunk on scotch. First Lieutenant Moore, also a scotch drinker, is talking loud. He is stands up, “Them Brooklyn ‘Bums’ don’t have a chance against the Yankees.” Colonel Johnson and Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy sit at a table in the center of the room. They give Mitchell’s table an annoyed glance. Mitchell makes eye contact with the two colonels.
F-86 & Flying Saucer
September 1955 - The Story Begins
Captain Harry Voss and First Lieutenant William Mitchell fly their F-86 Sabre jets across the desert. Mitchell notices something below.
“Indian 2 to Indian Leader, I see something 11 o’clock low.”
“Indian Leader to Indian 2, I see it too. Indian Leader to Wigwam, we see what looks like a flying disk. We’re going down to check it out.”
“Wigwam to Indian Leader, we don’t have anything on radar.”
The F-86s close in on the object as Captain Voss reports.
“Object is silver, disk shaped, about three feet in diameter. It’s thin, can’t be more than a couple of inches thick.”
The object climbs vertically.
“Hey where did it go?”
“Indian 2, it climbed straight up.”
The two Sabres climb to the disk’s altitude. The F-86s are closing in on the disk. The disk makes a sharp turn to the left.
“Indian 2, did you see that? It had to be a 25g turn at least!”
“Indian Leader, I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it.”
The two jets turn towards the disk.
The F-86s pursue the disk. They gradually close the distance between themselves and the disk. Then the disk stops, causing the two fighters to overshoot it.
Mitchell blurts out, “That thing stopped in mid-air.”
The two jets turn, the disk makes a quick circle around the fighters.
The disk climbs vertically.
“Something’s hitting me!”
Captain Voss jinks his aircraft and Mitchell follows his leader’s maneuvers.
Mitchell feels something striking his aircraft.
“He’s shooting at me too!”
“Split-S! Let’s go for the deck.”
The two Sabres roll over and make vertical dives. The disk matches their speed and altitude. The F-86s pull out 1,000 feet off the ground.
Voss shouts out, “He’s still on us! He’s hitting me again! Crossover break!”
The two F-86s turn towards each other. The disk reverses direction and flies between the two fighters.
Voss shouts, “He’s hitting me again!”
The fighters turn in opposite directions. The disk simply climbs and simultaneously attacks both aircraft.
Mitchell exclaims, “This thing can hit us from anywhere!”
“Fly low and fast, and keep jinking!”
Mitchell drops to less than 100 feet off the desert floor. Voss executes and Immelmann maneuver then turns hard. He opens fire with his cannons. For a few seconds the disk is on the defensive. Then Voss’s F-86 explodes.
Uncle Bill is telling stories to the neighborhood children. Right now he’s telling the children the “True” story. Last night John saw the movie that gave Uncle Bill the Cyclops story. John is sure some weekend night he’ll come across the movie that was Uncle Bill’s inspiration for the flying saucer story. John has grown up in the last 10 years. He starts college tomorrow. John learned Uncle Bill couldn’t get a job after getting out of the Air Force. John’s mother broached the idea of letting Uncle Bill go when his father’s construction business took a downturn. John’s father would have none of it. To John’s father families had to stick together no matter what.
Uncle Bill hasn’t grown up a bit. One would think he’d try to fill in the holes in his story. If it was over the U.S. the UFO would have been picked up by radar. If the flying saucer wanted to shoot down two fighters it could do it in a second. John concludes Uncle Bill didn’t change his story because he didn’t have to, a kid young enough will either believe it or go along for the ride.
John looks through Uncle Bill’s things. He looks through a stack of pictures. There are many pictures of him in a flight suit standing by an airplane. Then he finds a flight log of William Mitchell. This surprises John since he couldn’t picture Uncle Bill as a fighter pilot. John reads the log. He soon finds it boring. He decided to go to the back of the log.
Mitchell sees Captain Voss’s F-86 explode. He screams over his radio , “Indian 2! It just shot down Indian Leader! “
The disk flies close behind Mitchell. He feels some hits on his aircraft. It feels as if someone was hitting it with a small hammer. Mitchell jinks his aircraft but the disk matches his every move. Mitchell wishes he could shoot backwards. Then he realizes he might be able to let the saucer think he can. He opens fire with his guns and climbs slightly. The disk might not know if the shells are coming or going. Mitchell thinks, “If it gets hit by a couple of empty shell casings that might convince it that it’s being shot at.” The disk wobbles then jinks violently. The disk decelerates. Mitchell stops firing, but keeps flying fast and low. The disk resumes the pursuit. Mitchell sees high tension lines at his 2 o’clock. Mitchell turns and flies straight for the high tension lines. The disk is close behind him. Mitchell feels hits on his craft again. The sand his F-86 is kick up obscures Mitchell’s rear vision. He hopes that does the same for the disk. More hits on his craft tell him the dust cloud isn’t causing much of a problem for the disk. Mitchell flies under the high tension lines, opens fire and climbs slightly. Behind him is a huge electrical explosion. He stops firing. The disk is gone. That explosion was probably the disk hitting the high tension lines.
John’s son comes over.
“What are you looking through, some of Aunt Silvia’s old things?”
“Actually it’s my Uncle’s Bill’s stuff from when he was in the Air Force.”
“Yea, he died a couple of years before you were born.”
“Can I look too?”
John rummages through the box and finds a diary. His son looks at the flight log.
First Lieutenant William Mitchell sits in a chair, before him is a board of majors and colonels.
Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy - “You and Captain Voss were drinking at the officers’ club last night.”
“We had a few beers no more than normal. We weren’t drunk when we were flying.”
Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy - “Why did you stop transmitting?”
“What do you mean?”
Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy - “The last transmission we heard was ‘Object is silver, disk shaped, about three feet in diameter. It’s thin, can’t be more than a couple of inches thick’. We made repeated attempts to raise you but received no response.”
“We were transmitting all along, that’s when we weren’t too busy fighting that thing. Come to think of it the last message we received was a message saying they didn’t see anything on radar.”
Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy - “A couple of inches thick, what was flying this mysterious object, ants?”
Colonel Johnson dryly states the facts:
“Captain Voss is dead, power lines were cut and so was electrical power to thousands, and you come back with your plane heavily damaged and with most of your ammunition gone. All you have for an explanation is this crazy story.”
Mitchell insists - “It happened. I’m telling you exactly what happened.”
Colonel Johnson - “Well none of us here believe you and no one above the age of 10 will ever believe such nonsense.”
“But it’s true.”
Colonel Johnson - “Stop this! You have two choices, resign and we’ll let you out for the good of the service, or face a court martial. A court martial will probably end in dismissal.”
John realizes he just read the start of Uncle Bill’s problems. He probably wrote this story in his diary in case the investigators searched his room. The investigators would think he believed the story himself. He wonders why Uncle Bill would keep repeating this story to a bunch of kids. John’s son interrupts his thoughts.
“Dad, this is fantastic. He had a dogfight with an extra terrestrial vehicle. I’m surprised they let him keep this. Did he say anything about it in his diary?”
“Yes, you don’t believe any of it, do you?”
“You think he made it all up?”
“He had to explain the reason why another pilot got killed.”
“Dad, if someone is going to make up a story to get out of trouble they would come up with something people are more likely to believe.”
“How come this thing didn’t show up on radar?”
“Dad, hello, stealth.”
“The size, something that could fit into something that small wouldn’t have the intelligence to make something like that.”
“Ground control not receiving his messages?”
“But he claimed he was talking to the other pilot, besides something that advanced could have taken Korean War vintage aircraft down in a second.”
“Yes, if that is what it wanted to do. If it wanted to know as much as possible about our capabilities it would want to test out the capabilities of the aircraft and the capabilities of the people who were in those aircraft.”
“So you’re saying it was toying with the two fighters to find out what the planes could do and how humans are likely to react?”
“Yes, exactly. Keep in mind in the 50’s sci fi movies the aliens used ray guns with beams of light. He doesn’t say anything about a beam of light. Laser beams don’t have beams of light.”
“How would he know that? He wouldn’t. It was true.”
“Destroying their space ship was probably more than they bargained for. Your Uncle Bill may have saved the planet.”
“You mean them not expecting us to have the capability or ingenuity to take out one of their craft?”
John realized Uncle Bill told the story to kids under 10 because he wanted someone to believe him.