STORYLINE - 10: SPACEWISE, Martians Over Station Street (M.O.S.S.)
We were on our way down the High Street when this 'thing' with flashing white lights passed overhead. Then it came back again and hovered.
'D'you reckon he's lost?' Fred asked me.
'I dunno', I answered, gawping up at the thing. It just sat there in the air, spinning - like a kid's top with lights. 'Maybe his Satnav's gone down'.
Harry grinned. He enjoyed himself hugely, looking at us looking up.
Jack carried on walking, unaware we had stopped. All he can think of on a Friday night is beer and babes. We were still staring into the sky after the spacecraft disappeared between the clouds when he stopped and looked back at us,
'You know what you lot look like, don't you?' Jack stood and laughed. We didn't care what he thought. We'd seen an alien spaceship! He told us anyway, 'You look like fish gasping for air with your gobs wide open like that! If you don't shut them some pigeon's going to drop a worm, thinking you're its chicks'.
'Didn't you see it?' Fred asked.
'See what? I was looking at the boozer down the road, where we're going - aren't we? Don't say you've changed your bloody minds!'
'I suppose we are... aren't we?' I turned to the other two. Harry and Fred shrugged, by the look of them not sure of anything any more.
Harry said something under his breath and laughed. When Jack stared at him he protested,
'Nothing! I was talking to myself. Go on, i'll be right after you, soon as I check my digital camera'.
'You got it on your camera?' Fred gawped.
'I hope so', Harry fiddled with the buttons and swore, 'Sh**, it's just a blob!'
'No?' Fred probed.
'Bloody well no!' Harry swore again. 'This sh***ing gizmo never works right when it should!'
'Ah well, next time maybe', I sniffed and walked on.
'What f***ing next time?! Do we stand here until he flies back again?' he whines. 'I should cocoa! We could be stuck here growing long beards before it came back again'.
'Never mind cocoa, it's beer I'm after... Beer and birds!' Fred slapped me on my back and we sauntered on past the Indian Takeaway and the Launderette. He stopped a minute to check his hair in the closed tea-shop window, and fluffed up the hair on his forehead before following on. Dick was outside the Chinese Takeaway and coughed as we passed.Jack had already vanished into the boozer.
'What's up with you, Dickie?' Harry smirked. 'Caught something - at last?'
'I didn't hear anybody ask me if I wanted to come for a drink', Dick huffed.
'That's as nobody asked you! Now s** off. We might ask you to 'ang around when you start to pay a round!' Fred rounded on Dick, 'Or when the next Martian bus passes an' their pensioners get off t'go to the market - whichever comes first!'
'What's that about Martian buses?' Dick sniggered. 'Seeing little green men now, are we?'
'Only their pensioners', Harry hawked and spat on the pavement between Dicks' feet. 'The ones with little green bus passes!'
'You're having me on!' Dick squawked with glee. Harry had only yesterday sworn he would never talk to Dick again after he pinched Harry's girlfriend.
'As if-', Harry didn't look at his nemesis, and walked past him, straight for the main door of the 'Wellington Heifer'.
'Shouldn't have said anything about the spaceship', Fred laughed, following hard on Harry's heels.
'B***** the spaceship! We'll have forgotten all about it after a few pints and a sh** round the bike sheds!'
That was Harry. Whenever he missed an opportunity he'd head off for the 'Wellington Heifer', or the 'Virgin Cow' as Fred put it when he was little, hanging around the door waiting for his Dad to come out and give him his pocket money.
'What're the funny lights up there?' Dick pointed upward at a big, round shape with flashing lights that hovered above us.
'Jeez, it's back!' Harry fumbled with his mobile phone camera, and aimed it upward just as a sharp blue light homed on him.
He was gone in a flash, up into the air, his mobile phone dropped into my hands and Id stared down at the screen. What I saw there was this round blue blob right across the screen, haloing some funny-looking figure in the middle.
'What was that?' Dick stared up into the sky. 'Where'd Harry go?'
'Sod if I know', I answered, my mouth open.
'You're all playing at fish again!' Jack mocked. He'd come back out again, and stood there with his arms folded, looking clever. The two bouncers stood behind him, looking like a pair of gorillas in their black suits.
'It's Harry, he-' Fred began.
'What's up lad - has Harry taken a fancy to a bit of skirt and rushed her up a back alley?'
'He vanished up into a shaft of blue light!' Fred made a cardinal mistake there, stretching - or trying to stretch - Jack's imagination. Not that Jack's a total moron, far from it, he does the Daily Mirror crossword and word-search every morning in his tea-break. Aside from that he'sa bit of a moron, going on for fairly moronic.
'Vanished into -', Jack stopped and laughed. He laughed so hard I thought he'd got a coronary, holding his sides, face a sort of purple colour. He mastered his laughing and pointed towards the off-licence, 'Dope, he's standing over there, looking like a dozy ass as usual!'
True enough, when Jack called out Harry turned and blinked.
'Where am I?' His voice sounded a bit odd, but aside from that he looked sound enough to pay for the first round when we got as far as the bar.
'Pull yourself together! Never mind where you are, get moving over here - your turn first to put your stash on the bar!' Jack had only one thing on his mind right now. Later he'd have something else in mind, after the fish and chips. 'C'mon lad, are you another one with deep pockets and short arms? Just like your Dad!'
'I was in this massive great, white space with big black eyes staring holes into my head, telling me things', Harry looked sort of ghostly white, and he was staring up into the air. Into the dark blue yonder.
'You'll be in another space before long, with our eyes burning into you, telling you to reach with your short arms into your deep pockets and pull out a folding blue twenty note!' Jack pushed Harry ahead, past the bouncers, through the double doors, up to the bar. 'You'll know what it looks like when you see it - it'll be the only one in there amongst the moths'.
'What d'you want?' Mavis asked. I was busy looking into her cleavage, but she ignored me and stared oddly at Harry. 'Your face is a bit pasty. Have you seen a ghost?'
'He's been seeing little green men', Jack nudged Harry as Mavis drew four pints. 'Wallet, Harry!'
'Little green men?' Mavis stared at Jack. 'No, they're shiny white!'
'You've seen them?' Fred giggled.
'I've seen them. What's more I've flown around the whole of the British Isles in three seconds with them in their space module!' Mavis looked from Fred to me, smiled and told me, 'If you don't unglue your big eyes from my t**s, I shall rub them in your face! My boyfriend's over there, one of the minders. So hop it and take your beer with you!'
We left the bar, with Mavis wiping away the spilt beer from the top of the bar, laughing mockingly at me.
'Was you with my girl last night?' the boy friend's voice rumbled and he grabbed Harry's shirt collar. He had to be about six-foot-six, the bouncer I mean.
'Never, I swear!' Harry went white as a sheet.
'Put him down, Cyril!' Mavis shouted over the general hub. 'He's harmless!'
'S'right, Cyril - ', Jack said the name slowly, savouring the sound, 'you don't know where he's been. Y'might catch something horrible!' Jack was overjoyed at knowing the bouncer's name was Cyril. Like another birthday, or New Year's Eve all over again.
'So what was that about little white men?' Cyril growled back.
'Forget it! He thinks he's been up in a spaceship with me, that's all', Mavis glowered at Cyril. Guess who'll wear the pants if they ever get married?
'Cyril?' Fred sniggered. He'd be too late for his own funeral!. He found the bouncer's big hands around his head, ready to twist.
'Cyril, put him down and get over there to the door!' Alfons the manager barked over the din of the bar-room. 'Do what you're paid for! There's all these hairy oyks coming in, bloody riff-raff!'
Alfons pointed at the bikers surging through the door towards the bar and pointed at Mavis,
'Dont serve them, girl! What do they think this is?'
'It ain't Mars, that's for sure!' one of the bikers looked at me and winked. 'At least there's more room up there!'
'How would you know?' Alfons challenged.
'Been there, ain't I!' came the answer.
Jack went over to the gaming machines and we followed him like sheep. The biker came over to me and asked,
'You seen a spaceman or something? You'e staring holes in me!'
'I just thought I saw you somewhere else, that's all', I lied and tried taking his attention off me, pointing at the barmaid showing off her cleavage, 'Mavis looks good, doesn't she'
'Eh? Oh hell!' His eyes open wide at the sight and pours his beer all over Cyril's size twelve blue suede shoes. He didn't know much after that, and Cyril spent the night in a police cell. Classy way of getting a free breakfast served up with a cup of tea - minus saucer.
There've been many sci-fi movies made, some about UFO's landing on earth with dire consequences for humanity. There've also been sightings in real life, although the only one that ever produced a 'little green man' was at Roswell in the USA, and that was hushed up - something about dissecting it to see what made it tick? There have also been sightings, crop circles and the like in the UK, USSR and elsewhere. Here's a book that gives some insight into the UFO situation so far. It'll leave the hairs on your neck standing on end.
This story is based on the North of England
The clues are in the name of the pub and in the dialogue. I don't know if little green men or space ships have been sighted in Northallerton or nearby Ainderby, but that's where the Wellington Heifer is (a Black Sheep Brewery pub), in the neighbouring village of Ainderby Steeple on the road west to Leeming Bar and Bedale. I've passed it a few times on my way up to Wensleydale, but never been in. I'll have to change that one day. Nor have I sighted anything as odd as a flying saucer there, although I've seen another kind of flying saucers (as well as dishes and saucepans) at home as a kid when Mum lost her temper. Next time you're up that way, on a walking or driving holiday, stop off at a Black Sheep pub for a meal and a convivial evening - maybe even stay the night. Who knows, you might spot a Martian at the bar getting in an order for him and his mates in the car park.