Roast Beef and Armageddon 


News travelled fast about the spaceship. We weren’t used to things like this happening in Neverington. It was a Sunday afternoon in the middle of June, so at least E.T. had waited for morning service to finish. People round here still relied on their God fix.

I was at my girlfriend’s house when it happened. Her name is Stacey. She was the only girl my age in the village (and her dad owned the only satellite dish for miles), so I was lucky to have her.

We were watching the sports channel when the spaceship came and  interfered with the signal. Even now, if you ask old man Shaw, he’ll tell you it was the satellite that drew it in, but I don’t know if he’s right about that.

Me and Stacey and her dad were amongst the first to get to the landing site in Houghton’s paddock. P.C Blanchard was there, too, and though he was pretty good with the usual village quibbles, we figured he might lack expertise in these matters.

Lucky for him the military hot-assed it in there. I’d never seen a helicopter up close before then, but there must have been at least a dozen hovering over the village like giant hawks.

Then came the tanks and jeeps, and the soldiers in their big boots with rifles slung over their shoulders. They started to move us back and I overheard Mr Houghton asking the general if this was going to stop him bringing his cattle in to pasture. The general waved him away and carried on yelling his orders. That pissed a lot of people off. It was our village and the Houghtons had been moving cattle across those pastures for six generations.

We were stopped on Main Street by a TV crew asking directions for the UFO. I pointed back the way we came, and then the pretty woman with blond hair asked if we could answer a couple of questions for the camera: Had we seen it? What did it look like? those sorts of things.

Compared to the school exams we’d just sat, it was a walk in the park.

We went back to Stacey’s after. The smell of cooking in the kitchen was out of this world. Stacey’s mum had stayed behind to get the roast finished…and I’m not kidding when I say she makes the best roast dinners.

Stacey’s dad carved the beef while Stacey dished up the vegetables–fresh local produce all of it; you could even see the hills the cow had grazed on from the window.

After dinner we went into the living room to watch TV, Stacey’s dad still cursing because he couldn’t get his satellite channels. In the end we found a channel that worked, and some old black and white movie was playing.

I must have drifted off at one point. I remember hearing explosions but I thought they were on the TV.

We were all a little sleepy.


(c) Darren Hawbrook




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