By Jack Cawthon 2003

Burvil was bopping around like a pinball trapped by a runaway bumper. I could only guess that he had gone off his Ritalin again and onto the drug du jour of the Big Puf moment.

I had hardly removed my aging self from my aging pickup, both of us beginning to rust in our driveshafts, victims of our saltiness, when he began screaming, "Did you see them? Did you see them?"

Aware that Burvil's brain is imprisoned somewhere between puberty and adultery, I assumed he might be referring to the recent Victoria's Secrets special on TV. I most certainly don't watch such trash, especially models posing more of themselves than the scrimpy little nothings, especially the one wearing, or hardly wearing, the little black, lacey, frilly. (I had read about this outrage in some review.)

"Them men in black!" he exclaimed in his own frugal manner. "That there Gray Barker was right when he told about them!" Aha! I was beginning to understand. The late Gray Barker attended Glenville State College and in between ran the movie projector at the old Pictureland Theater in town where I watched many a B Western when I was a mere tad. I remember him as a tall, lanky sort, not one would become internationally famous for his work with UFOs, or as we less informed or less visionary, call "flying saucers."

I had recently found his book They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers at a yard sale and prize it as a collector's item. In it he was the first to mention "men in black" which has now become part of the U-Fo doctrine. The book is well written, and the account of the "Flatwoods Monster" brought back my own memories. A. Lee Stewart was editor of the Braxton Democrat in Sutton back then, who some might describe as a colorful character and other less charitably. He was the first newsman on the scene at Flatwoods that fateful night and had much to do with alerting the world of other worldly events.

The night of the Flatwoods spotting, or plotting, Stewart had received some sort of information, perhaps from outer space, that something had happened in Gilmer County.

If it had, that would have been news in itself, as I, in my young mind, never felt that anything happened there. Linn Hickman, editor of the Glenville papers, called me and asked if I would pack the Speed Graphic camera and come join the search.

As a budding photographer who hoped someday to make the big time, as big and as far away as Parkersburg, and still in high school subject to the thrill of journalism and not yet over the threshold of reality, I needed no encouragement to tag along.

Hickman, Stewart, a State Police sergeant from Weston and I trooped off into the woods to some part of the county, I now can't remember where, to chase some object which had glowed and seemed to prefer Gilmer as its next stop after Flatwoods.

We didn't find it, else I could have become famous for being on the scene of the "Gilmer County monster" although I did achieve fame of sort later as being a Gilmer monster myself in my old columns in the Glenville Pathfinder. (What irony, as I have always had a lousy sense of direction, worse than Fremont for whom the title was given.)

But Burvil jolted me back to reality, if I may use that word in relationship to Big Puf. He was still jabbering about "men in black," and however little hormonal reserve my brain possesses I had trouble leaving "women in black" with my remote control.

After calming Burvil sufficiently to ask him what in the world he was talking about, he could only reply, "It hain't of this world; hits of outer space!"

"They found aliens in Wal-Mart," he almost sobbed. And the story came bubbling forth that he had once visited a Wal-Mart, a feat in itself as Big Puf is far from meeting the demographics of such a super store, and he had seen men in black roaming the aisles with little devices on their belts that from time to time they would unhook and speak into.

He figured they were like ET, trying to call home. I told him they were probably store managers, or big shots from the Arkansas headquarters, and he said that proved his point.

There was no stopping Burvil now that he was on a vision quest. He pointed out that aliens were probably just scouting out Flatwoods in the 50s. "Look at it now!" He seemed to think that only someone with outer space connections could have made it into the big commercial center it now is, centrally located in the center of no where. I told him I thought it was John Skidmore. Burvil shook his head and said Barker had mentioned "skid marks", not Skidmore, when he described the landing scene.

Burvil moved closer to me and said he wanted to confide something, if I promised not to tell. I hoped it wasn't about that woman over on Blue Tick who doesn't pull down her window shades at night, or so I was told by a source whom I will protect for his sometimes perverted peeking.

Burvil said he believed there were aliens in Big Puf, that they were already HERE in our midst. I asked him how he could tell, and he looked at me as if I was an "egit," his favorite word for non-agreement.

They got normal toes and fingers, and even belly buttons," he smirked, knowing something I was alien to. The six-toed Hanshaws and the 11 fingered Pratlows and the absence of umbilicals when they merged genes suddenly came to mind, and I could swear I could hear that music from Close Encounters of the Third Kind playing in my head, which is ironic as I have trouble handling close encounters of the first kind in Big Puf.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
The information on these pages, to the extent the law allows, remains the exclusive property of Bob and Dianne Weaver and The Hur Herald. information cannot be used in any type of commercial endeavor, or used on a web site without the express permission of the owner. Hur Herald published printed editions 1996-1999, Online Hur Herald Publishing, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021