Steve Lacroix was fifteen and a half years old and lived in a small town in Texas. His interests were aliens, ancient secrets, chaos magic, and saving enough money to leave this dumb hick village. He had an older sister named Sara. She worked at the local grocery store as a bagger. They’re thick as thieves. She knew she was done for. She knew she’d never get out out of town. But she thought Steve had a real chance to do something big in the world.
That particular Friday Summer night Steve texted Sara, “Can you get off work early? 8?”
She replied, “Why?”
He said, “Meteor watch’n!”
She agreed and gave her boss some lame excuse. She drove back to their house. Mom would still be working at the video store and Dad was still on the road.
Sara was fiddling with her keys on the door when Steve pulled open the door away from her. He took her by the arm and lead her back down the front steps. “Come on, we’re wasting time.” He said.
She sputtered, “But it’s still light out!”
“Come on, gimme the keys. I wanna drive some more!” Steve said.
“Excuse me? I get out of work early, throwing away an easy ten bucks, that’s not counting tips and you just barge out of the house and demand my keys to my car? No, I don’t think so.” She said.
“Buh buh but.” He said.
“You know, I’m not even moving from this point until you apologize.” She said and stood with her arms crossed.
He stared back at her defiantly, but gave up quickly. “I’m sorry for bin’ pushy, sis. I didn’t mean it. Please, I’m just excited to get out in time to catch the shower.”
She slowly pouted approval and said, “Ok, good enough, I’ll accept that.” She handed him the keys.
He snatched them out of her hand and raced to the car, jumped in, started it easily, rolled down the window and watched his sister still walking to the car. He wanted to say something pithy or smart, but he held his tongue.
She got it and buckled herself in. She said, “Okay, first check all your mirrors as you weren’t the last one to drive.”
She said, “Ok, now check your blind spots before backing up.”
She said, “Ok, now you can back up.”
He did, and they were off.
They drove in silence for a few minutes. She let him concentrate as they went through the busiest two intersections in town, the only intersections with stop lights. To her approval Steve did come to a smooth and complete stop at every light and checked his blind spot when changing lanes even though no one else much was on the road.
She said, “So what did you learn in school today?”
He said, “Regular stupid math stuff, some dumb government stuff. P.E. was free day so went out behind the barn and smoked weed with George.”
She said, “Cool.”
He said, “Oh yeah, also this cool Wichita story about Coyote.”
“Oh,” she said, “Tell me more.”
“Well, “ he said. “First there’s Coyote, he’s the trickster figure. He finds a small snake sunning himself on a rock. He goes up to the snake and says ‘Wow, it must suck to be so small.’
“Then the snake just flicks out his tongue. Coyote says ‘Show me your teeth’ and the little snake does. He shows Coyote his teeny tiny pointy snake teeth. Then Coyote shows his large fangs and says ‘I bet you wish your teeth were as big as mine.’
And the little snake just flicks out his tongue. Coyote says, ‘We should have a biting contest!’
The little snake just flicks out his tongue. ‘Since I’m biggest I’ll go first.’ Coyote says and bites down on the little snake who’s just the smallest thing. Then he lets up and little snake is all beat up.
Then little snake, oh, wait his name is never-grows-larger. Never-grows-larger quickly takes a little bite of Coyote’s muzzle as he’s pulling back. And Coyote says ‘Ha, I totally won!’ Then he dies and the little snake goes back to sunning himself on his rock.”
“That’s pretty good, bro. Have you thought of being a writer?” She said.
“What? That’s not even my story.” He said.
She sat stunned for a moment then said “Don’t say that. Doesn’t matter. Especially old stories like that. If you’re doing any impact on it as a story you’re paying it forward. You’re beciming part of, like, it’s flesh. Maybe”
He said nothing for a moment, then, “Yea, that makes sense. I think.”
They drove the sky around them darkened and the first stars came out. Trees and scrub whooshed by the open windows.
She said, “We going to Park Field?”
He said, “Yup. They say you can seem them the best there.”
She said, “You know we’re not being bugged, right?”
He said, “What? Why would you say that?”
She said, “I know there’s no meteor shower tonight. You’re out here looking for flying saucers.”
He almost said something, but held it in.
“Look, it’s fine.” She said. “It’s good you’re interested in this kind of stuff. You have to have dreams, right?”
“It’s not that. I know they’re real.” He said.
“Really, how’s that?” She said.
“I know I haven’t told you before, but I’ve been abducted.” He said.
“Really?” She said.
He paused and bit his lip. “Uh, no. But I know someone who was really abducted.”
“Stephen Jones Lacroix. Do they have proof?” She said.
“Sure, yea. Of course.” He said.
“And what proof is that?” She said.
“Umm, he said that he took out an implant. A little bit of metal the aliens were using to track him. He says it has strange markings on it.” He said.
“But have you actually seen him pull this thing out of his body?” She said.
“Umm… no.” He said.
“Then one, how do you know it actually came out of his body? And two, have you seen said piece of metal in person?” She said.
“No.” He said, sounding hurt.
“Look bro, there’s lots of people online with crazy stories and I know it’s hard to tell the real ones from the fake, but you gotta be suspicious. Some of them might ask for money or whatever.” She said.
“Sure, I can tell who’s lying.” He said.
She sighed and said, “No, you can’t. No one can. That’s why it’s so dangerous. Just take my word for it.”
He said, “Hey, we’re here.”
They parked and got out of the car.
“Hey, give me some help here.” She said and motioned to the back of the car.
“Sure, yea, no problem.” He said.
They walked to the truck, she opened it and handed him her two camping chairs while she took out a medium sized cooler.
He said, “Ooh, what’s in that?”
She shrugged and closed the trunk.
They set up the chairs. She cracked open the the cooler and tossed him a cheap Beer.
“Holy shit, Sara, you rock!”
They drank a few beers, watched the last of the sunset, and counted airplanes.