Sheriff Funk had failed for the 14th time to retrieve his package from the post office. The eclair he’d eaten earlier seemed to be shifting around inside of him now. He didn’t know eclairs knew how to dance but it did remind him of a dream he had once. If that package gets into the wrong hands there will be hell to pay. Postmaster Nancy said they had finally located the missing package but the delivery truck carrying it had flown off the turnpike over an hour ago. Nancy was a real character and when she made the whooshing sound of the truck flying through the air he almost spit out his coffee. He probably should anyway because that eclair has clearly had too much coffee. She was sure to mention the big-hairy man everyone had been seeing down by the millpond. After leaving the post office, he began walking down main street which was an exercise in waiting to see what was going to happen next.
It had been one of those months around the station. A freak strain of squirrel fever that caused the animals to attack a local church picnic. Bill down at the dairy farm lost three of his milking cows in a bizarre animal attack with unexplainable impact damage. All the local kids were driving around chasing ghost lights and one of the school bus drivers had seen a bird so big it blotted out the sun. Dust devils at the book fair. Dark gentlemen lurking around restaurant counters. Dairy products at the grocery store curdling overnight. Numerous reports of loud booms, metallic buzzing noises, and bizarre prank phone calls. Mrs. Throttlebee’s prized hydrangea bush suddenly burst into flames and began making strange predictions until the firefighters arrived to put out the blaze.
One thing right after another had been happening and he didn’t quite understand it. Sure the town had always been a little strange nestled up next to the crossroads in the middle of nowhere. Seemed to be a magnetic quality to the place that drew in interesting people from all over the world and none of them had any explanation when you asked them about it. It was just someplace that certain people felt like they were supposed to be. Short of the bizarre murder many years ago and the occasional drug-related nuisance calls it was a pretty quiet place. Now it felt like a tornado of shit had blown into town and he was getting tired of pulling on his muck boots. He used to be able to get a good nap in after a delicious bear claw from the bakery but now the phone never stopped ringing. The phone as far as he can tell was accidentally connected to the sewage treatment plant because bad shit never stopped coming out of it.
Another thing he noticed is there seemed to be no explanation for this madness. Just question after question with no answer. He found it wasn’t very difficult to make it through each particular catastrophe in and of itself. But lying awake at night looking for answers was starting to wear thin. It was making him dizzy now and standing up was hard. The out of control nose bleeds weren’t helping. A strangeness had settled over him that he didn’t quite understand. A spooky silence to go along the never-ending topsy turvy vertigo that was haunting him now. Whenever he tried to sleep now he could never quite fall all the way asleep. His brain was always looking for the next fucked up thing that was going to happen which made sleep impossible. Shellshock had slipped its icy cold daggers into him and everything was just shitty now. He wasn’t sure he could take any more. Even the nice lady he met at the potluck wouldn’t call him back.
The universe must have heard his desperation and decided to kick another fucked up mess out of the cosmic randomizer. There was a loud whining sound over by the train station and he turned to see an airliner falling out of the sky with dark smoke trailing behind it. The plane had a flag on it but he was so dumbstruck that he couldn’t quite process which one but he saw the color green. A huge swath of trees over to the north by 22 Mile had exploded into a gigantic fireball as the plane crashed into the forest. The ground shook as the impact spread to the surrounding area. He could hear the shop windows next to him rattling around in their frames. The guys must have been hanging around the firehouse again because he heard the sirens start almost immediately and a call came in over his radio before he ever had a chance to call it in himself. He was absolutely dumbstruck.
When he got back to his Bronco it wouldn’t start. As he looked down the street he realized other people were now walking around their cars and shaking their heads. Jesus, he hoped the firetrucks and ambulances were still working or this was going to get ugly quick. This is exactly the sort of thing that had been happening for months now and he had to think fast. There was a girl’s bicycle leaning up against the old blue mailbox by the craft store. It wasn’t pretty but it would get the job done, thankfully it wasn’t too far, but he did feel bad for the poor little girl who would return to find her bike was missing. Pink handlebar tassels streamed in the air as he rode past all the people who had come out of the shops to see what was going on before turning to stare at him. No harm in testing the bell in case of emergency. The bike was a little small for him, but it would get him there, although that eclair was starting to worry him again.
He didn’t need to look to know the whole spectacle was currently being streamed live on the internet. Once he got onto the gravel the bumps became quite hellish because this particular model of girl’s bicycle had solid rubber tires and a seat like a can opener. Those people with their skin tight padded bicycle pants won’t be so funny the next time he sees them. The eclair had finally had enough of all this nonsense and decided to jump ship while he did his best to not mess up that poor little girl’s bike. When he looked back up he would have sworn a small green shape had run across the road in front of him. The physical exertion was probably just catching up with him or those strange sky gods that were currently been running his life were just testing him again. You’d think the universe would eventually run out of this sort of insanity but it never did. Impossible questions were keeping him up at night and threatening to topple his mental boat which had already begun taking on water.
When he arrived at the crash site he was happy to observe a large collection of emergency vehicles already on the scene. He was worried everyone else was going to be riding bicycles too. The firefighters were putting out the blaze before it turned into a runaway grass fire and he could see one of his deputies was already inspecting the crash. Timmerman was good at his job and easy to get along with. He had a nose for trouble and a keen eye when it came to crime scenes. His wife also made a pretty good lasagna which he was kind enough to share whenever she made it. Timmerman was doing his best not to laugh as he pulled up on his little pink bike with brightly colored tassels. After a quick ring of the bell, for the deputies sake, he ditched the bike and they headed towards the scene.
“Strange going-ons here Sherriff. There doesn’t appear to be anyone on this plane. No bodies, no body parts, or any other personal items that we could identify. For lack of a better term Sir, this is a ghost plane if I’ve ever seen one, you can’t fly a plane with no pilots. I found something else very disturbing. There are footprints which originate in the center of the impact zone which look like they were made by a small pair of shoes. Clogs if I were to guess or something like that with a pointed toe and block heel. They disappear off into the forest over there. Never seen anything like it, Sherriff,” stated Deputy Timmerman who was shaking his head with that thousand-mile stare of his.
“Get Norine on the phone and tell her to send up coffee and doughnuts for everyone. Tell her to throw in a few of those homemade brownies because something tells me this is going to be a long night. Make sure there are no eclairs.”