Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

There's A Spaceship In The Backyard, Mommy

by Debbie Jones-norberto

Life is pretty odd. One morning I was playing with Barbie--next day a spaceship landed in the backyard. Yeah, just like that, a spaceship. My big brother was running through the neighborhood knocking on neighbor's doors. A round dirt circle was burned away from the landing craft, a rectangular box-like thing. It opened slowly and out came this hideous being from another realm--face of veins and plastic, yellow hands, oversized skin on a small frame. My five year old brain was on overdrive as I went screaming down the street to my friend's house. I could actually see faces in my basement window. I was never more frightened in my life.

Later in the day, I noticed my brother being scolded in the yellow kitchen, canary in its cage watching, hearing my mother sternly telling him that he and Jimmy had gone too far that time. They scared "all the little girls and moms in the neighborhood". Ten-year-old Jimmy still had traces of duct tape on his face where my brother had attached the front half of his "Visible Man" model. It was a help that our old pool had been carted away, leaving a perfect circle of dirt in the backyard. It also was genius of my brother to roll out my toy box, cover it with tin foil, dress Jimmy up in a raincoat, Playtex rubber gloves, and tuck him down into the box. All he needed was all of us screaming little girls in the neighborhood and the fear of aliens to convince the majority of the neighborhood that, yes indeed, there were Martians on Pine Knoll Rd. in Upstate NY.

After that incident, I still believed creatures lived in my basement. We had what seemed to me a mysterious door that led to another portion of the basement where scary things lurked: the washer, the dryer, and, God forbid, the frightening furnace and water heater! It was in the tiny rectangular above-ground windows that my friends and I "saw" the faces of the aliens. We would peek through my mother's flowers and swear that faces looked out at us. Then, cotton dresses lifted, we'd run top speed to the next yard's safety. To this day, I cannot walk up stairs from any basement without turning around and looking behind me.

Often I still feel I'm running, screaming down the street from invisible forces. The adult world is too real, harsh. There are so many "aliens", not just on Pine Knoll Rd. in 1968, but in present time. But, that is the adult, reflective me and listening out the window, I hear children screaming in glee and it is a panacea to me. There are no longer faces in windows, no emerging creatures, but I breathe deep, and know it was amazing to have had Martians in my basement.

Debbie Norberto-Jones is a musician and freelance writer living outside of NYC with her husband and three kids. She still thinks about monsters, but in a different way.

Twenty-eighth Flash

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