Across the street, Chigger Johnson was thrashing through the brush. He had an illegal goose blind nestled between the highway and the train tracks in a six-acre strip of largely ignored brush. Chigger felt the easiest way to facilitate a good goose hunt was to hunt out of season on property you don’t own.
Chigger’s most recent method was to hitchhike the night before to the vicinity of the blind, crawl into the brush, drink a fifth of whiskey, and snooze all night. Then at the crack of dawn he’s start shooting; sometimes he’d even aim.
The geese, bounded by the train tracks on one side and an interstate on the other, never learned the difference between the sound of a Kenworth, a coal train, and a Remington Model 1100 12-gauge autoloader. Chigger timed his shots to match the loudest traffic. It was massively illegal, but so far humans hadn’t been any more discerning than the geese. Usually by 10:00 am he’d call his buddies, Whacker and Shoney for a ride home. Shoney’s old lady had a Honda Odyssey and a job. They’d haul the birds in the Honda while she was at work so she couldn’t bitch about messing up the upholstery. They’d butcher them at Whacker’s place, stash them in a freezer, and drink a six-pack for lunch. It was a good life.
Chigger was halfway through his whiskey and watching the stars when it happened. A silent black object briefly blotted out the stars overhead as it zipped past. Chigger sat upright, instantly alert.
Fuckin’ space aliens!
The black object was hard to make out. It made some noise, but compared to the interstate it was indistinct. It centered over the convenience store, hovering several hundred feet above it. Quickly two robots dropped out of the thing’s belly. Then two more. Chigger whipped out his phone and started recording. He was always ready to make a video. He figured he’d sooner or later make some money on a YouTube viral video.
What did aliens want with a convenience store? There were plenty of cattle to mutilate just over the hill. Did aliens like corndogs? Chigger did. He could go for a corn dog right now with nacho cheese and ketchup.
There was a bright flash and the report of a small explosion as the aliens breached the roof. Then four shots. Chigger had a savant-like ability to identify firearm calibers from their sound. It was a 9mm. He reached out and touched his 12 gauge. If the corn dog stealing aliens were gonna’ invade God’s country they sure as hell wouldn’t get far shooting Euro-pellets.
More shots. Sounded like a three-round burst. Shouldn’t aliens have ray guns? Was this the U.S. military? Then all hell broke loose! Two rifles on full auto, no indication they hit a damned thing. Definitely U.S. Government; nobody can burn ammo like the American military. It made him a bit jealous. In general Chigger never fired unless there was something edible in his sights. Or a commie. Or if he was pissed. Ammo was just too precious to waste. The exception was his pappy’s old gun. That thing ate ammo like a politician spends money. It was the patron saint of spent brass. But it was so much fun you just couldn’t help yourself. He still missed that gun. What did the game warden need with a Gatling gun anyway?
He kept recording. So far all it had been was a silenced black helicopter and some Feds robbing a convenience store; but something interesting might happen yet.