by SC Bryce
The Effects of Traitorous Neighbors
I shan't say who reported me because I don't know. I have my suspicions, of course, but as you are aware I am not one for gossip. Thus, I shall merely say that I strongly suspect Jonathan Rafael Cranford, of the Vineyard Rafaels and the Flemington Cranfords. Between you and me, I do believe that he has always had a secret grudge against me and, no doubt, pounced upon these two "murders" as a welcome excuse to take vengeance for unknown slights. Or perhaps it was Gloria Germane.
Regardless, Diary, one of the guests to whom I graciously opened my estate for the unveiling of my lawn sculpture, "The Universal Need for Seatbelts," has, it seems, learned that the alien craft I spray-painted was real. Equally real, of course, was the pair of alien corpses in its cockpit. No doubt my unknown, traitorous neighbor(s) failed to inform the authorities of the circumstances that made my appropriation of the spacecraft and the killing of the aliens justifiable. This omission of facts strikes me as profoundly unfair. But I suppose little more could be expected given the snobbery of my neighbors. Forever, it has been the fate of the artist to be an outsider.
Federal authorities are in the yard even as I write. They did not, obviously, identify themselves as such. Rather, they claimed to be surveyors taking measurements for a shadow-box fence proposed by Mrs. O'Leary. Yet it seems to me that, for surveyors, they've taken an unusual amount of interest in "The Universal Need for Seatbelts." Theirs is a profession, I believe, not generally known for appreciation of the arts or, for that matter, German Shepherds, one of which they have padding around the yard. Their camera lenses also appear to be aimed as much at the sculpture as at the landscape.
I suppose that, if I am to be completely fair, I shall have to admit that my hasty plantings did not entirely cover the grooves created when the craft tore through the garden in its messy landing. Plus, there is that smell emanating from the bodies. I explained to the "surveyors" that the smell was merely the leftovers from the weekend's barbeque that I placed as fertilizer in the new flowerbeds. Yet, I think, they may have noticed the flies clouding around the bodies as well as the occasional maggot roiling beneath the rotting skin.
Really, I should have buried the things right after the unveiling party!
It's far too late now, Diary. The authorities are knocking upon the back door. I suppose there will be questions to answer and forms to complete before I can write to you again. Hopefully, they will not notice the few baubles I removed from the craft.
© 2007 SC Bryce, Reprinted With Permission
This story originally appeared in Kaleidotrope, No. 2.
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SC Bryce is a long-time reader and writer of speculative fiction and has been published in Flashing Swords, Lorelei Signal, Byzarium, and AfterburnSF to name a few. Born in Washington, DC, the author currently resides outside Manhattan. Read more at SCBryce.com.