It was 4 a.m.  I was hauling a load of frozen meat from the Midwest into Sparks, Nevada.   It was that time of the night when
tired eyes demanded rest.  I took the next exit off I-80 and was glad to see at the bottom of the ramp, a wide dirt area where I
could comfortably pull the truck off the road and spend the night.

 I climbed down out of the tractor and walked to the edge of the dirt lot to relieve myself.  Finished, I looked around at complete
desolation.  The ramp bottomed out at a thin, roughly paved road that changed to dirt after two hundred feet then disappeared
in the desert, probably going off to a remote section of some huge ranch.

 I felt the comfortable stretching of the muscles in the back of my knees as I climbed the embankment to the highway,
appreciating good boots.  I took in the changed perspective and unique fragrance of the quiet desert night.  The darkened
mountains in the distance were outlined against what would soon become the first glow of dawn.  From the high ground I was
able to do a full 360-degree scan of the horizon.  I was unable to see a single light, just varying shades of darkness contrasted
against the startlingly bright stars overhead.  The broad, dark highway stretched off into the desert in opposing directions.

 I stood on that overpass for a while, lost in thought as the gentle warm breeze climbed off the desert floor, flowing up over the
highway.  The complete, quiet isolation, the stark separateness from any real civilization, brought about that deep introspection
of life and living that I appreciate so much.

 I felt to be standing at the epicenter of that place where the workaday world yearns to go to escape the noise of the hive, if
only for a moment, just to smell the night air and know that it really exists, somewhere.

 I didn’t notice the wasp-like drone that quietly insinuated itself into the edge of my thoughts until it gained considerable
volume.  Rudely shaken out of my reverie, I quickly looked around for the source of the ever-increasing noise.  

 Slowly moving in my direction through the desert sky was a large cluster of bright lights, held aloft as if by an invisible, dark
hand, stretched down out of the heavens.

 I stood amazed, as it grew in size and volume, moving slowly in a path that would pass directly over me.  The lights were
mounted in the bottom of the unseen aircraft, positioned as if to light a landing area or to illuminate something for photography
or inspection.  It couldn’t have been more than a hundred feet off the desert floor.

 I was never one to run from things such as this, especially when flight would be directly contrary to that world-class curiosity
that I have stubbornly nurtured all my life.  

 Slowly it continued toward me, shadowed by the constantly changing footprint of brightly lit desert floor.  As it got closer, the
reflection of light from the ground barely exposed the rounded sides of a huge craft, stretching upward into the black sky.

 This was not just another Tuesday night, driving my truck across the constantly changing interior of America.  This was real.  
This was something that would change things forever.  I wouldn’t simply wake up tomorrow and continue as if nothing had
happened.  I had seen this thing and knew that I would carry the memory of it with me forever.

 Thoughts of UFOs and alien abductions uncomfortably forced themselves into my thoughts.  Those countless hours of driving
through the night, listening to Art Bell, do take their toll.  The fear in my stomach fought with the analytical curiosity of intellect.  
The physical urge to flee was held prisoner to the insatiable need to know.  Kill me, do whatever, but not until I find out what’s
going on!

 The noise was deafening as I realized that I would soon be standing exposed in the brightly lit center created by the powerful
lights that were climbing the rise toward the overpass.

 I tried to look up as the circle of illumination encompassed me with thundering noise and blinding light.  I put my hands above
my face to try to block out the glare and get some perspective of the size and shape of the craft, but had to turn my face away
to avoid what I feared would be permanent damage to my eyesight.  

 I looked around at the brightly lit desert, transformed into a surrealistic arena; both sides of the highway, all the ramps and the
overpass were washed in an eerie illumination; this thing was huge.  

 I had not known real fear up to this point.  Oddly enough I had experienced extreme physical fear, physical reactions that were
probably genetically bred into the human race over many millennia; that urge that demands that life flee from predators.  But
analytically I was not afraid; I wanted to walk away with this experience boldly tucked under my belt, readily available for
recounting.

 But when this roaring, overwhelming behemoth stopped directly over my head, everything changed.  Why would it stop here,
other than the fact that I was standing, fully exposed on the top of this overpass, miles from anywhere?  There was nothing else
out here, no other reason for it to stop!

 As I stood frozen, held in a surrealistic bath of thundering noise and blinding light that seemed to beat down on me, time
stopped.  It could have been one minute or one hour.  What did they want?  Why didn’t they do something?  Why hadn’t any
other traffic come along I-80?

 At one point, something changed.  The fear vanished and I relaxed.  It was probably that I realized (or hoped) that if they were
going to do anything, they would have done it by now.  

 Suddenly, the noise changed.  The craft shifted, turned about forty-five degrees so that its length (or what I assumed was the
length, judging from the lights and the direction of travel) was parallel to I-80.

 Then slowly, it started moving east over the highway.  

 It had moved down the highway about a quarter mile, when I heard behind me, a car with a noisy muffler coming from the
west.  Stepping out onto the highway, I waved my arms in the beam of the oncoming headlights and was relieved to see an old,
large flatbed pickup carrying ranch equipment, rumble to a stop at the side of the highway.

 
 “You picked a hell of a place to break down, driver,” he drawled as he stretched his neck out of the window of the pickup,
looking down the embankment at my rig.

 “No, no, I’m not broken down!  What the hell is that?” I blurted out, pointing at the noise and lights receding into the distant sky.

 “Oh, those damned things are out scaring up the country side.”

 “What is it?” I demanded, incredulous at his nonchalance.            

  He looked at me irritably.  “That’s a blimp!  We see them out here all the time.”

 “A blimp?” I asked, stunned.

 He looked up at the craft, receding into the night, then back at me.  

 “Yea.”

 “Oh…” I said sheepishly.

 “You OK?” the farmer demanded.

 “Yea, I had just settled in for the night, when this thing stopped right over my head, scared me to death!”

 “Yea”, he laughed.  “They’re a real pain in the ass!”

 “Thanks, ah… yea thanks for stopping, I appreciate.  I- I’ll be fine, thanks.”

 He gave a slight wave, put his truck in gear and drove off into the darkness, the rumble
of the truck’s acceleration momentarily drowning out the distant hum of the aircraft.

 I stood for some time watching the lights of the blimp, until they became a dim point in
the night sky and then quietly, softly, blinked out.

                                                                             The end

© Copyright Christopher Mercon October 2001    chrismercon@hotmail.com
CARLWATTSARTIST.COM
The Night Sky
by Christopher Mercon
Page Created  8/24/08, modified
11/24/08, 1/17/09, 2/18/09
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The Night Sky
12/31/08
Carl Watts, Nutrition Response Testing Certified, WFG Associate,
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