The UFO and the Rattlesnake: Tales from the Rez
So…a couple of weeks ago they had reruns of the X-Files playing on TV. The SF series has always been a favorite and I’m elated it’s returning with the original cast of Duchovny and Anderson. The Flukeman (The Host)–you know, the one with the tapeworm-like humanoid–and the episode with the succubus are two favorites of mine. Awesome stuff!
Anyway, I was watching one of the re-runs when I remembered the time one of my older brothers blew through the front door swearing to the Almighty that he had seen a UFO. No little green men, just a UFO hovering low over the hills up by the river.
“Man! I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he said, gesturing dramatically. “It just came out of nowhere…and it stayed there, just hovering, like it was spying on us. We all just kept watching it, holding our breath, you know. Like we were hypnotized or something. Then all of a sudden lights started flashing and spinning on the thing. Then it spun left and disappeared into the night. Just like that! Man! It scared the hell right out of us. We all just looked at each other. Then we beat the heck out of there.”
We all stared open-mouthed at him. But that lasted for only several moments. Then we busted out laughing and scoffing. We accused him of just being drunk and seeing things through inebriated eyes. And you couldn’t blame us. I mean, after all, he’d just stumbled in after a night of “howling” and from attending an all-nighter in the desert with his drinkin’ buddies. I remember Mama, a fine Christian woman, standing there with her arm folded over her chest, clucking disapprovingly at him, and shaking her head in disappointment. She didn’t believe him either. But he swore he wasn’t making it up and to this day he has not retracted any part of his story. And we still don’t believe him because that late morning when he showed up at the house, he was reeking to high heaven, and too, he had always been the most superstitious out of all of us kids. He was always seeing and hearing things that we did not. We suspect he got that irrational fear from our father, the full-blood.
Later the same day he made another appearance at the house. He was all decked out for another night of howling and had stopped by, he claimed, to see what we were all doing, which turned out to be a big fat lie as we later found out. I doubt Mama believed that either because I remember her warning him not to be drinking and getting into any car wreck. The sun was sinking behind the western horizon when we walked him out. We watched him get into his truck and drive away, all happy and waving his cowboy hat at us. His truck stopped farther up the road. By then Mama had gone back inside and we kids stayed outside where it was cooler. When his truck stopped, we all ran to the road to see what had happened. We watched him get out of his pickup, hurry to the side of the road, then return to his truck carrying something in his hand. We couldn’t make out what he was carrying from where we were standing. The truck started rolling again but only for a short distance. Next thing we saw was his taillights slamming on and the truck rapidly decelerating. Then the driver’s door came flinging open and next came our brother flying out of the cab like a bat out of hell. We wondered what the heck was going on with him. We continued watching and saw him jump into the bed of the truck and start peering into the cab through the rear window. Hands hooding his eyes and all. As he watch from the rear window, his truck kept rolling slowly forward. It must have been driverless for a good many feet before it came to a complete stop. My brother finally climbed out of the bed and quickly got back into the cab. He drove on.
The following day he told us what had happened. With Mama disapproving of his drinking, he’d always hide his booze in a paper bag under some roadside brush and would stop and pick it up on his way out. This time, however, a rattlesnake had gotten into the bag and after he had gone down the road just a little bit, the paper bag started to rattle. That threw him into a panic and out of his truck real quick like. He watched the rattler vacate the bag and eventually slither out of the truck. He said that if the outside of the truck hadn’t been so hot, he was sure the snake would have found its way into the bed where he was. Eventually the snake dropped to the ground and disappeared into brush.
We couldn’t stop laughing. But all Mama said was, “The Lord is trying to tell you something, ——-!”
It’s a hilarious memory. We still laugh about it when we’re together reminiscing.
“I want to believe.” The X-Files.