The Night I Quit the Neighborhood Watch by Michael Grant Smith

A NEW PLANET HAS BEEN DISCOVERED CIRCULATING AT THE FRINGES OF EARTH’S ORBIT.

I’m outside with my dog for his last sniff-and-poop before bedtime, and there it is, that big-ass planet everyone is jazzed about. A bald, pink-golden semicircle clears the row of poplar trees that marks my property’s bounds. Stained luminescence frosts my backyard. As I gape and my bowels genuflect in horror, the new planet heaves its patchwork disc over the line that separates dirt from outer space. Oh, there’ll be no more of this! I can’t abide uninvited and unexplainable cosmic anomalies.

The new planet creeps farther above the horizon similarly to how our familiar Moon rises, except stripy and turbulent right from the get-go instead of melty orange and ashy like an ember. Scientific fact: the Moon cools off when climbing heavenward each night; its moony heat condenses into chilly blue-white cheese, which then throws shadows — not light — upon our dim Earth. But, this intruder…such audacity. The new planet subscribes to contrarian rules of thermal dissipation.

I don’t own a computer machine, I don’t watch much sewervision, and newspapers are mulch, but I heard about this celestial nightmare nonetheless and now the damned thing tests me. What a large, smug, round entity it is.

EXPERTS SAY THE NEW PLANET PROBABLY WON’T HARM YOU.

My border collie looks up from his olfactory celebrations, shudders as if to shake off bath water, and howls the way he did when my third wife passed on. His voice isn’t high-pitched and yippy and coyote-like — not my good boy. Sort of a low moan, pushed through a big drainpipe. The hair behind his neck sticks up thick and spiky. I watch him and watch the extraterrestrial apparition. Guess what? I begin to hoot and wail alongside my mutt. Alex, the German shepherd across the street, and Ting-Ting, the Pekinese next door, join us in our astronomy song.

No. The whole phenomenon is made up! A bunch of rickety bullfuckery; I am convinced right now, and in minutes won’t remember I ever believed otherwise. This sort of stunt is what happens when mass hysteria overwhelms common sense and the laws of nature. Follow the money trail if you want to find out who benefits from a fictitious rendezvous of realities.

PLEASE DO NOT STARE DIRECTLY AT THE NEW PLANET OR DISCHARGE FIREARMS AT IT.

We’re finished: my dog with his pooping and howling, and yours truly with my howling and contemplation. I won’t talk to you, I say to the visitor, because if I talk to you it validates your bad behavior and literal presence. Aloof, the new planet that’s not there floats upward to dominate the evening sky and span the frame of my peripheral vision.

If the planet were there, in truth, the colors of its banded clouds would be cornflower, saffron, lavender, and a dirty-rosy pink. Beautiful and horrible. If the planet were there, and it isn’t, I’d have an explanation for the tidal forces that now pull my shubunkin pond through the grape arbors and over the cornhole court and into Ting-Ting’s owner’s swimming pool. The new planet’s existence itself would explain my gravity-induced headaches.

ENTER YOUR SUGGESTED NAME FOR THE NEW PLANET. NOTHING TOO SCIENCEY.

I will go inside now. The solar system used to make sense, even after the damned government added and took away some worlds. No reasonable person wants to loiter beneath a huge, abstract, new planet approaching its apex. So lovely, so false. Physics and probability work against me tonight.

 

Michael Grant Smith

Banner Image – Angela at Studio Anjou.

 

4 thoughts on “The Night I Quit the Neighborhood Watch by Michael Grant Smith

  1. As all us star gazers now know, the new planet has been named as Orbitan. Its gravitational effect is responsible for my blocked drains. My neighbours belive it is the beginning of the end and they have taken to drinking corn whisky in the afternoon as they await the arrival of the Orbitanians.
    I enjoyed this.

    Liked by 1 person

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