The First McGee
By Steve M
Yeah, I wrote this. Blame no one else.
Thank you for having me here today. I’d like to share with you the origin of these artifacts on display today. In doing so, I will be giving you the exact moment-by-moment history of them. It is a personal account, and I will tell it exactly as it happened. It started on Earth Five far into the future. This is my story:
“911, what is your emergency?” asked the male voice on the other end of the phone.
A guy, just great, I thought to myself. With what I’m about to tell him he’ll go from zero to hysterical woman conclusion in under a second.
“You’re not gonna believe this. There’s a spaceship hovering overhead.”
“Ma’am, do you know that it’s a crime to make prank calls to 911. Your call might make it take longer to get someone else’s call that’s life-or-death,” he articulated in a rather stern baritone voice.
“I’m not kidding. Listen, I’m the science teacher at Krause High School. I’m not drunk. I’m not on drugs. I’m camping off of Highway 42, and there’s a spaceship directly overhead.”
“You’re Eve McGee, are you?”
“Yes,” I replied quickly.
“Good, then we’ll know whom to arrest,” he replied.
“Dammit! I’m not kidding.”
“Yes, you are. Now, Ms. McGee, I’m going to cut you some slack. I’m not going to escalate your call and have you arrested. My girl is gonna be in your class next year. She a smart one. Wants to join your chess team too. So listen, I’m going to hang up now to make sure the lines will be free for authentic emergencies. And Ms. McGee, if I might suggest something, if you are going to do drugs, leave your phone in your pocket, don’t take it out. And definitely, don’t call unless it’s a medical emergency.”
“Shit!” I said as the ship moved slightly. Something the size of four blocks you’d find in New York City just moved about a foot to my left. It was silver trending to blue.
“Are you alright?” he asked me.
“It moved,” was my stunned response. I scurried from my tent and hid behind a tree.
Then I realized that there were no engine sounds — nothing. It was just floating like a leaf on water. Millions of kilotons, enough to crush me thousands of times over and was only 40 to 50 meters directly overhead.
“Goodbye, Ms. McGee. You stay safe now.”
Then the dumb son-of-a-bitch disconnected the call. I was furious. I won’t repeat all of the expletives I shouted at my phone. I know you know them all well enough. To continue, I knelt beside a pine tree and quickly hit redial.
“911, what is your emergency?” said the female voice.
“Oh thank God it’s you and not him,” I said.
“Pardon me ma’am, is someone threatening you?”
“No, well yes…shit, maybe, okay maybe. I’m just glad you’re not the last idiot I talked to.”
“I’m sorry ma’am, I don’t understand. Please tell me your emergency.” The voice was soft and old with a polite tone to it.
“I’m camping up in the hills off of Highway 42. There is a huge spaceship hovering 40 to 50 meters directly above me. And I’m not crazy, and I’m not on drugs, and I’m not drunk. My name is Eve McGee and I teach science at Krause High School.” I said all of this in less than eight seconds. About 7.4 seconds by my reckoning. I’ve got this thing about time. I’ll tell you about it later during questions.
“I know who you are,” replied the old woman on the other end. Remember that polite tone? It was gone.
“I know who you are and I’m calling bullshit on what you’re telling me,” she spoke to me like a mother to a teenager.
In the background of the call I could hear the man I had talked to previously when he asked the woman on the other end of the phone if I had called back. I didn’t hear her reply to him, but I know she did as he said ‘shit’ real loud and clear.
“Now honey, I’m gonna tell you something, so you want to listen, you hear. There are 17 women in this call area that are pregnant. And two of them are having a hard time with it. There’s 36 people in this call area that are over 80 years old. We’ve got 14 disabled children. So I want you to think about that because those are the people that might have to pay the price for your little joke. Now I don’t know why you’re doing this, but honey, you need to stop.”
Another idiot. I looked up at the spaceship. No beams of light were coming from it, but it was luminescent and had a cold glow like a light behind ice. I needed to try something different.
“Okay then, arrest me,” I said defiantly. “Go ahead, send your biggest and baddest. Let them tell me I’m crazy when they see this. Yes, please, arrest me. I’m a couple of miles up from one of the old logging trails off 42.”
“We’ve got more important things to do Eve McGee,” she said right before she ended the call.
Dammit. I needed a plan. Who can I call? Not him. He was not reliable. Shit. So much for the dramatic breakup. I dialed his number.
“Well, that didn’t take long. Let’s see, not even 24 hours” Roger said in a smug, self-satisfied voice that reminded me of one of the many reasons we broke up
More ego than brains — reason 5.
“Listen to me. There is a massive spaceship directly overhead. I need your help.”
He started laughing hard.
“Stop laughing, asshole,” I said furiously.
“Now you want to smoke weed? After all the times I asked you to and you said no, you’re going to try it hours after we break up and trip the hell out your first time. This is great!”
Stoner — reason 9.
“I’m serious Roger. I’m not kidding, and I’m not trying to get back together with you.”
“Yes, you are. You are totally trying to get back together with me. And you try to do it right before bedtime. Smart girl” he said with a chuckle.
Sex machine — reason 2. I get sore, ow.
“Stop being a shit head; I’m serious.”
“So what do you want me to do about it, my dirty little girl,” he said in a repulsive attempt at a sexy voice.
Next time I’ll ignore the really cute ones I promised myself.
“I want you to come out here on Highway 42 and get me.”
“Why don’t you just head back home. I’ll get a bottle of champagne, and we can celebrate.” He spoke confidently.
“God dammit Roger, quit being a dick and come get me. I’m a couple of miles up walking trail seven.”
“Oh, I see. I see what you’re doing. You want me to go way out in the woods at night, get lost looking for you. Meanwhile, you’re comfy and warm back at home and laughing your ass off at me. But I’ll tell you one thing Eve McGee; I’m not as stupid as you think.”
I disagree. And to think at one point I actually considered marrying this shining example of a sloth with a decent paycheck.
Then I heard a female’s voice in the background. It said, “Who are you talking to honey?”
“A friend” he replied.
Cheating son-of-a-bitch — reason 1.
I even knew her name. Roger didn’t waste any time. I disconnected the call this time.
I stay crouched behind the tree. Three strikes, but I wasn’t going out that easily. If nobody would come to my rescue, I’d have to rescue myself. That’s what I was thinking. I was thinking about cigarettes too. I had hiked so far up the trail that it would be too damned far and too much effort to walk back up to the road and get on my bicycle and pedal the six miles back to town just to buy a pack of cigarettes. The weekend was supposed to be about breaking bad habits.
My thoughts went to things in the tent: my purse, my wallet, and the rest was camping stuff. And the science fiction books. They were my secret weapons in the war against nicotine. That and anti-smoking patches. Leave it all, I thought to myself. But it included the lost Schreiber book, the manuscript they found after he died. It will be the biggest thing in science fiction when it happens. Shit, then I remembered all the other books I had on my Kindle. I definitively had to go back and get my Kindle.
Wait a minute. I need to record this, I thought.
When someone is really excited working a touchscreen usually takes several attempts. Turning on the video recording on my phone did just that. Three times, that’s what it took. The image wasn’t anything to see, a silver-blue glow right above the trees. The problem with my image was that I was too close to it, there was no sense of size and scale, and it was uniform in appearance. It could have had curves at the edges I couldn’t see. It was like trying to read a big sign in the window by pressing your face against the window. I cursed when I saw my brilliant recording would just result in a YouTube video that most people laughed at or had a hard time seeing because their tinfoil hat had slipped down over their eyes. Still, I kept recording. Maybe it would change, and I would get a good shot of the spacecraft leaving.
I quickly scrambled back to the tent. I grabbed my Kindle and right as I was getting my purse, my phone rang. Deaconville Emergency Services displayed on my phone. What the hell? I answered the call.
“Ms. McGee are you there?” It was the old woman again.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Ms. McGee, we’ve had a call from the Prichard farm out on 42. They said there’s a big ass spaceship hovering just south of their place. They even sent us pictures and video. And the whole family is confirming it, all eight of them. Ms. McGee, we’re sending two patrol cars to assess the situation. What I need you to do right now is to find a nice safe place and hide. Do you understand Ms. McGee? I need you to hide. Can you do that for me?”
“Yes. There’s a cave in the rocks about two hundred meters from here.”
“How far away is that in feet and inches?”
“218.72 yards,” I replied. You learn what you want. I learned conversion tables.
“Good. Now Eve, I need you to go there now. Don’t worry about your stuff; we can go can back for that later.”
At last, I thought. At last, they’re taking me seriously. Then I remembered my journalism class in college, back when I wanted to be an investigative journalist. Long story short, without corroboration, a single source is just not good enough.
“Okay,” I replied.
“I want to stay on the phone with you Eve. Is that fine with you?”
“Yeah, no problem” I replied quickly.
“My name’s Ethel. Eve, do you have a camera on your phone?”
“Already on it Ethel. I’ve been recording it for the last few minutes.”
“George and Chris. That’s the two men coming for you. They’ll be calling your name.”
I stuck my head out of the tent again. No change, still hovering overhead. The video I was recording was still crappy. I made the seven steps back to the tree as fast as I could. Then I did something that changed the universe forever. I switched from video to camera mode. And whether I needed it or not, in all my excitement, I turned on the flash.
“How are you doing Eve?” Ethel asked me.
You know what the security systems on those vessels are like. The moment that flash went off on my camera, they sounded the general alarm, and I learned why the Dietz are all hard of hearing. What a racket! It sounded like one of those enormous horns they will blow in the Swiss Alps on Earth Five except thousands of times louder. It was so loud and startling I dropped my phone. And that saved my life. Before it hit the ground a high-intensity discharge beam blew the crap out of my new iPhone. And I had even purchased the insurance plan. I freaked out. I panicked. I took three steps backwards and dove into the tent. Not my smartest move ever but in the long run, I think historians will look at it as a good choice made in a hurry.
Most of you are familiar with the rest of the story. The bright light, the tractor beam, the incredible shock of finding out that aliens are human.
This is how I entered the Intergalactic War. I appreciate that the museum will hold my artifacts in their care so that all can know that even those who control the universe for as far as Hubble can see; we too come from humble circumstances. And I trust that it will bring hope to all.