“Control of the media. That’s what’s going on!” Frank’s pale blue eyes were staring, his face flushed, and his mop of ginger hair tousled. “I’m telling you what I saw. There were a couple of hundred others, at least. They saw it too!”
“Calm down darling, I’m not saying I don’t believe you. It’s just ….” I had to admit that Frank had been less than truthful when we were courting. He’d told a few ‘porkies’ then, ‘bigging himself up’ to impress me. Still, that was ten years ago. Now he’d come home in a state, claiming he’d seen a UFO land in Regent’s Park, for heaven’s sake! There was nothing about it on TV.
Suddenly a report came on about a gas leak in nearby Regents Park Road. An anxious young woman with two small children in tow was being interviewed. “Er, it was about two o’clock and just as we were getting near to the zoo there was a really strong smell of gas. A policeman said the zoo was closed and we must turn around.”
The reporter, a cocky and unpleasant man, knelt down, pushing a microphone into a little girl’s face. “Were you disappointed you couldn’t see the animals?”
A long pause ensued. “Yes.” She shook her head, looking confused. There was another long pause. The reporter stood up, his cockiness dented. “And now back to the studio.”
Frank zapped the TV off in disgust.
“There’s nothing about any UFO on Facebook or Twitter,” I said, at my laptop.
“There’s nothing about any bloody gas leak either!”
Hmm, he had a point. “Didn’t anyone take photos or text their friends?”
“No, there was some kind … some kind of force field. Nothing worked.”
I turned the TV on again. There was a distant shot of a row of gas and police vehicles. Then talk of the park being closed tomorrow for filming. Something to do with Stephen Spielberg.
The phone rang. Frank snatched it up. “Colin, thank god, I hoped you might have been there … No, I never saw any aliens … Put them in a police van? What did they look like?… Bloody hell! Look, have a word with Sandra, she’s having a hard time believing me.” He passed the phone over.
“Hello, Colin … Hello … Is anyone there?” I handed it back. “The line’s gone dead.”
Just then, the doorbell rang. We stood stock still. “Should we answer it?” we both whispered in unison.
Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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