Invasion of Privacy
“Excuse me, sir.”
Here it comes; I hate it when people ask me for money. I pay my taxes so there are places
they can go to eat when they need help. I’ll just keep walking, ignore him, shake my head, and
“Do you have an extra pencil I can borrow?”
Did he say pencil? Surprised, I stop to look at the man sitting on the park bench, for the first
time. He’s wearing what were probably nice clothes once but which are now torn and dirty. In
his hand, he’s holding a stub of a pencil, about one inch long.
“I’ve got to finish writing this,” he says while patting a pile of paper next to him on the
bench. “People have to know what happened before they come back.”
He’s staring at me through a pair of thick glasses and has the look of someone on their last
leg of a long journey.
I walk over to him and ask, “What do you mean, before they come back? Before who comes
“Oh, they’ll be back, don’t you worry about that, it won’t be long either. What was it they
said…? „Before your moon is big again.’ So, it won’t be long now. Do you have a pencil?”
Reaching into my shirt pocket, I pull out a pencil and hand it to him. He takes it and
immediately starts writing again, seeming to forget I’m there. I walk behind the bench to read
what he’s writing.
„Running his claw- like hand along my spine while making an odd whistling noise that I
surmised to be their way of communicating, I began to realize they were preparing to cut me
“What in the world?” I jump back from the bench feeling as if I’d been shocked by a jolt of
electricity. He’s just writing a fiction story about aliens, why am I standing here shaking as if
I’ve just seen a ghost?
Turning his head to face me, I see an emptiness in his eyes of the kind that would only be
seen in someone who’s been through a traumatic event. I’ve seen the same look in the eyes of
soldiers returning from war. This man is either crazy or he has been through something terrible
that has taken the life out of him. But there is something in his writing that rings true to me, like
a long forgotten memory.
Looking into my eyes the strange man said, “You’ve seen them too, haven’t you? You know
what I’m saying is true. You have to help me. Help me tell people they’re coming back, and it
will be for the final time.”
“No!” I say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re crazy. Only crazy people see
I run away from him, running from … the truth. Suddenly I stop, and as I look back at the
man sitting on the bench, head bowed and writing furiously, I remember.
I am nine years old, lying in bed listening to the sounds of the night through the screen of an
open window. The whistle of a distant train. The shifting of a motorcycle’s gears as it makes its
way through the city. I’m trying to hear which sound is the farthest away. I distinctly hear an odd
whistling sound, unlike anything I’ve heard before. It isn’t a tune; it’s more like a strange