Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Almost a year ago one of my commuting walking routes was closed down. It was the prettier, longer one, that swept low down on the river, wound up through some curious, curling back ways of the University, and slipped over the river on a pedestrian only bridge. I liked that route.
It was apparently the victim of a mudslide. And I was happy to believe the mudslide explanation all the way into the middle part of last summer. But there comes a point where all those trucks, all those many, many people toiling away on some hidden part of a long closed road, must produce some results. And as the road persistently remained closed I began to grow impatient, suspicious even. When Spring made its first tentative ventures out of Winter, and I longed for my moseying route once again, I wrote the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
They wrote back to me!
The delays in the reopening of the West River Road have nothing to do with the crash landing of alien spacecraft. They are entirely due to the mudslide caused by the heavy rains of last spring and the engineering challenges of stabilizing the eroded bluff.
Whoa. Wait. Who said anything about aliens? Who said anything about crashed spaceships?
Something was very fishy.
I started to pay even more attention. Why do they need all those tents? Why is the unaffected walking path so thoroughly shut down when there must be a safe way through? Why does the whole operation, viewed across the river, look more like an archeological dig than a construction site?
I asked my friend Doris.
My friend Doris is an alien!
Really. She is! If the pale, whitish green skin doesn't tell the tale, there is the fact that her face consists entirely of a giant eyeball.
"Do you know anything about a crashed spaceship down by the river?" I asked.
She looked really embarrassed. I think. Sometimes it is hard to read just that one big eyeball. You have to kind of look at her mouths/hands too. But I'm pretty sure she was embarrassed. "It wasn't exactly a crash." She said. "It was more like we accidentally dropped a load of experimental avocados."
"Experimental avocados?" I inquired.
"Very experimental." She replied significantly.
"So if I were to illegally start using that route again would I be in danger?"
Doris mused. "You might temporarily turn into an avocado tree."
"How long would I be an avocado tree?"
"Less than a week."
"But Doris!" I exclaimed "I thought you liked people. I thought you were a pacifist utopian vegetarian alien, on a mission of peace and education. Why would you mess with something that would turn everyone into an avocado tree for a week?"
"I am all that." Doris replied. "And I know it's terrible. But it is less than a week, and, and, well..." She trembled. Her eye got a strange, slightly feverish glow in it.
"Yes" I prodded.
"Well," She burst out "Just think of all the guacamole!"