“Wig an’ Mitre, eight o’clock, important meeting!” Wearing large, black-framed glasses, Derek resembled Stephen Hawking.
“Oh.” I nodded acquiescence.
That evening I climbed Lincoln’s ‘Steep Hill,’ passing intriguing old shops and cafes. Attending were Derek, several earnest young men, two tittering teenage girls and an old gentleman, ridiculous in shorts.
A hush fell and a neat, grey-suited man appeared. “Ladies and Gentlemen, a star known as Nibiru and its four planets are approaching Earth. This is being suppressed!”
A murmur of surprise swept the room.
“These images are from the International Space Station.”
The brilliant northern hemisphere filled a screen. Against the blackness of space, he indicated something resembling a dull red Catherine wheel. “So what can we do?”
The decision, optimistically reached, was for us to disseminate the pictures on social media.
A year later, I stood in Castle Square, watching a green-uniformed WW1 soldier parade evil-looking owls. Above, in the clear blue sky, opposite the sun was a smaller, less brilliant object and four pinpricks of light. The governments of the world had finally ‘come clean.’ They ‘hadn’t wanted to cause panic’ and anyway, ‘the system would bypass Earth.’
Featured in the book and audiobook, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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