Black Petals Issue #106 Winter, 2023

BP Editorial Page
BP Editorial Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
The Thing in the Yard: Fiction by Vincent Vurchio
A Forest Green: Fiction by Logan Williams
Clown Safe: Fiction by Taylor Hagood
Home Delivery: Fiction by Jon Adcock
Judith and Bobby Save the World: Fiction by Stephen Tillman
Many Wee Undead: Fiction by Marco Etheridge
Meat Pie: Fiction by Anna Koltes
Mexican Coffee and Burgers: Fiction by Fred Zackel
Leaving: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Ghost of the Perfect Hotdog: Fiction by Mark Miller
The Illustrated Woman: Fiction by Jen Myers
Thrice in One Sitting: Fiction by Justin Alcala
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning: Fiction by Gene Lass
AI Self-Mortification: Flash Fiction by Christopher Henckel
Correct Mistake: Flash Fiction by Eric Burbridge
A Moment of Inertia: Flash Fiction by Sean MacKendrick
Get Your Kicks on Route 666: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Let's Do Lunch: Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
"Three Wishes": Flash Fiction by Ronin Fox
Woodsman's Revenge: Flash Fiction by Jada Maze
To a Crow: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Estranged: Poem by Michael Keshigian
At the Terminal: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Angler's Nightmare: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Last Thirteen Steps: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Murderous Words: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
My Childhood Snapshot: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
With Vampires About: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Zombies are Loose: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Lil' Toe Dipper: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Scattered Pieces: Poem by Andrew Graber


Well, here we are in 2024, and maybe this will be the year when the off-world people will finally decide to stop all the games and let us join the Universal Family. There’s a lot of talk from so-called “Whistle-Blowers” about the U. S. government and all their cover-ups, their captured alien spacecraft and their reverse-engineering programs. Maybe we’re about to see yet another conspiracy theory turn out to be true.

I’m a true believer when it comes to UFOs or UAPs, whatever the current “hip” term is for extraterrestrial craft. There have been two incidents in my life that made me into a believer. Or maybe not…

When I was about 8 or maybe 9 years old, on our farm in Monroe County, Michigan, it was common to see all kinds of aircraft. The workhorse of the airlines in those days was the Douglas DC-3, a twin-engine prop plane also used by the military as the C-47, or “Gooney Bird.” I was airplane crazy as a kid and could identify most of the more common planes by their sound alone.

One day in the springtime, a cool, blustery day with broken clouds overhead, I heard a DC-3 and glanced up at it as it passed through the clouds, heading north. My mom was out in the yard, too and I don’t remember who spotted it first, but there was a small silver object circling the plane as it cruised along. From our viewpoint, we were unable to tell if it was a sphere, or a disk, but it was metallic and extremely shiny and it kept perfect pace with the airliner, never varying its distance from the plane. The aircrew had to know it was there. No way they could miss it. We listened to the news on the radio and watched the papers, but nothing was ever said about it. My mom always felt it was most likely a military experiment. Of course, I voted for aliens. But then, I would, because I was a kid, raised on Sci-Fi books and The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Later on, after I was in the Air Force, serving in the Air Police, as they were called then, I was on patrol at McConnell AFB in Wichita one evening and part of our duties after everything closed for the day was building checks. Most of the buildings required only a walk-around, shake the doors, look at the windows, make sure everything was tight. The Headquarters building, however, required a walk-through, because there was classified material in there. And on this one particular evening, as I walked through the Headquarters building, I spotted a security cabinet that was open. It was equipped with a thick metal bar that locked in place with a combination lock. Otherwise, it was an ordinary file cabinet. There it was, with the bar standing beside it and the lock lying on top and the top drawer half open.

I was an 18-year -old kid, away from home from the first time, toting loaded firearms and feeling pretty cocky. Besides, I also had a Top-Secret clearance. It never dawned on me until later that someone might have been setting me up. I went right to that cabinet and found myself just browsing. I pulled the red file. It was right there in the top drawer. I’d just take a quick peek and nobody would be the wiser. I found myself looking at a set of documents with drawings of saucer-shaped craft and drawings of little, skinny people with big heads and almond-shaped eyes. I nearly shit my pants. I turned the page and read an order from the big man himself, the Secretary of the Air Force. It was an order for any pilots flying over United States territory to shoot down on sight any unknown craft of unconventional design without markings indicating country of origin. I’m sure by now, that document has most likely been declassified and released, most likely in redacted form. I put the file back in the drawer, secured the cabinet and got the hell outta there.

So, when it’s all said and done, why not believe? The Air Force certainly does. And now, from released footage, so does the Navy. And if they really don’t exist, why issue a shoot-down order?

Or, just in case the NSA reads Black Petals, maybe none of these things really happened at all…

Wichita, KS 1/15/2024

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