The Blimp that Ate PA

CmdsJlens1” by U.S. Army – Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Getting to this a bit late, been busy with some other stuff.

So I’m standing there in my back yard watching a squirrel bury his nuts and this huge white nerfy-looking blimp drifts over my house. For a minute I thought, “oh, it must be a promotion or something.”

So I looked for a brand logo or lettering of some kind on the side and saw nothing. Then I noticed it was floating kind of funny, a little limp at the one end. I watched as is slowly passed overhead, to the north.

By the way, I was staying at my regular house for the week, not my secluded cabin at an undisclosed location in the wilderness of northwest Pennsylvania. As a result I was missing out on what my neighbor Andy might have said at such a sight, “What’s that, the fucking Hindenburg?!”

I would have had to say, of course, no. But he probably would have gone on about “how they shouldn’t fly those things because they can blow up!” and I would have countered with how they used helium these days.

In response he likely would have wandered off back to his house muttering something like, “Maybe that’s why I’m hearing that high pitched sound…”

Anyway, Andy wasn’t around but my other neighbor, my “in town” neighbor Robert, strolled up with his homemade geiger counter, waving it slowly through the air in front of him. Wearing a red and black insulated flannel jacket and matching cap he conjured the image of an odd character Steve Buscemi might play.

Looking skyward at the blimp he lowered his device, which probably couldn’t detect a fart, and said, “Hey guy how you doin’? I’m not getting a reading on this so we’re probably safe, but would you take a look at that thing?!”

I nodded, “Strange for sure. What do you make of it?”

“Well come on man! Obviously it’s a covert government op gone awry! Surveilence or something. They’re probably sittin’ up in that thing listening to us right now with some uber-sensitive high-tech microphones and stuff. So I’d watch what I say if I were you!”

I nodded again. Robert wandered off, mumbling something I couldn’t really hear, but I could make out part of it, “some people just don’t know what we’re up against. Poor damned sheeple.”

The blimp — which I have now come to learn was a NORAD JLENS aerostat, part of testing being conducted at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland — continued on its unmanned journey northward. I noticed a long cable or something hanging behind it, but I couldn’t tell if it was actually dragging on the ground.

The scene was eerily silent, surreal. I felt like I was in a M. Knight Shyamalan movie. Especially when, somewhere far below and behind the craft, sparks started to fly accompanied by ominous flashes of blue light and very distant popping noises. This confirmed that the cable was at least very close to the ground. Close enough to intersect with power lines and pull them down.

I scanned the sky, not sure what I was looking for. Another blimp? Giant walking Transformers? Mothra?

Robert had made his way over to Herb, our back yard neighbor. Herb was an interesting cat too; a ham radio operator with a 40 foot radio tower in his yard. They were looking at Robert’s geiger counter and glancing up at the blimp between head shakes and nods.

In my pocket, my smart phone made a brief vibrating pulse. I retrieved it to see what the alert was about. My news app headline read, “NORAD Blimp Breaks Free Drifts Over PA.”

Why not. I walked over to the guys to relay the news report. After I showed them the headline, they looked at me, then glanced at each other. Wry smiles sneaked onto their faces.

Robert tipped back and blatted a laugh, “HA! Sure, believe whatever they tell you!”

Then they both chuckled and went back to watching the blimp.

I half waved them a goodbye and headed back into my house. My phone pulsed once more, this time a text message had come through. It was from my top-secret government informant, and it read, “call me…”

To be continued…

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