FIELD TRIALS OF ANOTHER KIND
By Rusty Marshall
Some years ago, while living in Louisiana, I, quite by accident, came across an interesting sport for the owners of bird dogs. It is called Field Trials. These people spend the weekend in the field, on horseback, following their dogs in search of birds that have been released in the area.
Not being the owner of a bird dog, I became involved in this sport in a rather different way. This particular Field Trial event was three days long. After the first day's runs were over, several of the participants were sitting in a bar having a few drinks and discussing the day's events. The discussion kept returning to the fact that it was seven miles to the nearest place to get anything to eat, and how they had all almost starved to death out there that day.
Being a person that is always ready to earn a few extra bucks, I loaded my pickup truck with eggs, bacon, hamburgers, hot dogs, candy bars, cookies, soda, beer, and anything else I could think of to sell from my makeshift concession stand. After loading up some ice and a couple camping stoves, I headed out for the field long before sunrise. When the participants began to arrive that morning, I already had coffee ready and was bacon frying. With these wonderful aromas floating through the chilly, early morning, air, I was instantly in business. I had a hard time keeping up with the orders. Everyone wanted to know if I would be there for the rest of the weekend? Of course, as any good businessman would, I assured them, that I would.
As evening approached everyone began packing up their equipment, horses, dogs, and leaving for the campground. I had too much to repack in an easy manner, so I decided to stay where I was. I would just sleep on the seat of my truck.
To the best of my knowledge, these people at their campsite seven miles away, were the nearest human beings to where I was. I was in the middle of the proverbial nowhere, in the swamplands of central Louisiana. It became a night I shall never forget.
It was a beautiful, warm, night with an absolutely clear, moonless sky, stuffed to overflowing with brilliant stars. So magnificent was the view that I decided that I would sleep under the stars on the table I had brought along. Lying on my back on the table with a pair of binoculars to my eyes, I was seeing sights in the heavens too beautiful for mere words.
Suddenly, the stars disappeared from view as a blaze of light filled my binoculars. I jerked the binoculars from my eyes to see what had happened. To my surprise, there was a brilliant flood light floating about one hundred and fifty feet above the ground, barely moving to the left and descending at an almost undetectable rate, but moving and descending none the less, and without a sound.
I jumped up from the table and yelled, "What the hell is that?" I ran to my truck in hopes of hiding from whatever this thing was. I suddenly realized that a white pickup truck, out here alone, would be the easiest thing in the world for them to find if they wanted to find it.
A second light blazed on, about a hundred feet to the right and above the first and then a third at about the same distance from the second. Now I was really getting frightened. This was all I needed, out here in the middle of nowhere, and I have to run into a couple of UFOs out searching for something. Now what do I do?
I sat down behind a large tree, trying to gather my thoughts. All my life I had believed in UFOs and had always wanted to see one up close. Now I had the perfect chance and here I was hiding behind a tree. Why did it have to happen here, when I was out in the middle of the swamps, alone, at night? What the heck was I doing out here anyway? Where were all those great dogs when I really needed them? They were seven miles up the road, sleeping quietly, comfortably, in nice soft beds, much better than the one I had. And they were not about to have a close-encounter of the scary kind.
After much discussion with myself, it had been a long, terrible argument, but I had won, or lost, depending on your point of view. I gathered my courage, grabbed my flashlight, and headed off toward the three lights, which I figured were about a half a mile away. I might never get another chance like this, so why not. As I got closer, several more why nots came to mind, but having a very curious nature, I ignored them and continued down the trail. When the fourth light blazed on, I did have to stop and restock my courage, but I walked on.
Finally I was within fifty yards of the lights and I could see smoke coming from them and I could also just make out little tiny parachutes over each light. They were flares flowing down on parachutes. I suddenly found myself surrounded by military troops, with weapons in hand. Do you have any idea how scary it is to suddenly be staring down the barrels of twenty-five or thirty military weapons? I've seen ten gauge shotguns on which the barrels looked smaller, of course, I wasn't standing on the business end of them.
Our field trials were being held on the edge of Fort Polk Army Base and I had ventured right into the middle of military night maneuvers. They knew we were there during the day, but we were not supposed to be there after dark. I had apparently failed to receive that small bit of somewhat important information.
After I explained why I was there, I was assisted, rather quickly, to load my truck, and was promptly escorted off the base. I won't mention the fact that I was missing all six cases of beer that had, up to that point, been in the truck.
Thank goodness my aliens turned out to be allies. As badly as they had scared me, I don’t know what I would have done if I had met up with a squadron of real aliens.
Well, so much for my UFO hunting.
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Reston, Virginia USA
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