A Short Story on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

A UFO? At the North Pole?
by Sherrill Lewis (Sep 2013)


“It just don’t get any better’n this, right, Mavis?” Harry tossed a log onto the roaring fire causing cinders to pop angrily onto the hearthrug.

“Right, Mavis?” he repeated while he stomped the smoldering nuggets scudding across the faux-Persian rug. He waved his hand to dispel the smoke from singed wool and leather.

Leather? Dancing on one foot, he checked the condition of his floppy slipper. “Drat,” he muttered. “My brand new ones, too.”

Standing at the base of the stairs, he yelled, “Mavis! Where in thunderation are you?”

“Here, darling.”

“Here where?” The next county? Sound bounced off the naked walls in the nearly empty room. “I’ll be glad when the movers get here with the rest of our stuff,” he muttered. “Coming by dogsled, more’n likely,” he fussed.

Mavis pitched her dulcet tones into the Mom-speak range. “Upstairs, Harry, in the solarium.”

Slappity-tap, tappity-slap, Harry’s floppy slippers heralded his arrival in the solarium. He bent over and rested his two-days-unshaven chin atop his wife’s blonde head for a moment. Standing up, he said, “Your roots are showin’, honey.”

Mavis bristled. “So are yours,” she said. “You can take the redneck out of the country, but …”

“Beauty-ful, ain’t it?” Harry interrupted. Outside the glass walls, in panoramic spectacular abandon, the Aurora Borealis light show performed across the not-so-distant inky velvet horizon of the far-far-far northern skyline.

“I’m mighty glad we got here first,” he stated. “Best lot in the subdivision. Right on the outer edge so no one else can spoil the view. Swanky address, too, don’t ya think? Number One Midnight Sun Drive. If that ain’t classy enough, right, Mavis?

“Yes, darling,” she answered automatically, drawing her mink-lined full-length sweater closer around her small frame. “We’re the first, and so far, the only residents.”

Suddenly she darted out of her chair. Her long robe caught the corner of a spindly three-legged table. Harry dove for the air-borne poinsettia and missed. “Doggone it, Mavis…” he said, surveying the mess.

“Harry!” she whispered, her nose inches from the window. “Come here… look…! What is it?”

“What? What?” Harry hunkered down, attempting to get a bead along her shaking arm when she backed up.

“Ow! Ouch!” Harry rubbed his nose gingerly where her bony elbow had connected. “Be careful, hon,” he moaned as he straightened up. He took a giant step backward before her other wayward elbow got him in his uh-oh anatomy.

“I’m not sure what I saw, Harry. But I think… I think I saw a…”

“What, honey? What?” He wrapped his arm around her quivering shoulders. It was the same move his hero made in that shoot-em-up western movie he’d watched last night.

She pulled away from him.

That didn’t happen in the movie, he thought, thoroughly confused.

“You’ll just laugh at me and think I’m crazy,” she sniffed, sailing closer to the truth than she realized. Harry grabbed a box of tissues and shoved a crumpled wad at her.

Mavis took a deep breath. “I saw it, Harry, a flying saucer!”

Harry finally knew a marital trap when he saw one coming. Before she would agree to move from Arkansas, America, to north of someplace north, Mavis had given him an iron-clad ultimatum: he had to take Twenty-Four-Step Sensitivity Training Classes for Redneck Men — and graduate — or she’d give him a hit-the-road-Jack one-way ticket.

Step Three had been drummed repeatedly into his head: Do NOT say she’s idiotic/ dumb/crazy/stupid, even if she were sounding or acting like she was idiotic/dumb/crazy/stupid. Step Four’s directive was to find out the root of the problem before opening and sticking his size-thirteen foot in his own idiotic/dumb/crazy/stupid mouth.

“Hon, this ain’t Roswell,” he ventured hopefully. “This is the New Frontier North,” he reasoned. “Things here are…”

The phone rang.

“Just in time,” he muttered as Mavis ran to answer the summons. She put the receiver to her ear and Harry nuzzled against the phone wanting to listen in. She switched to speakerphone and elbowed Harry away.

“Hello, Mavis? This is Krystal, your neighbor at Far North. Hope I’m not calling you too late. The factory is in full swing and this is the very first chance I’ve had to call.”

“Oh, hi, Krystal, we were just watching the sights, and well, I need to ask you a ques…”

“Sorry to interrupt you, but it’s the typical last-minute chaos here. I’m calling to invite you both for Christmas Eve Brunch tomorrow. About ten o’clock? Don’t bring anything but yourselves…”

Slightly muffed curses and a thump of the phone being dropped echoed while they awaited their caller’s return.

In the background, Harry could faintly hear Krystal’s admonitions.

“Not that way, Dancy! Oh, no! There goes another stack of rainbows! Well, sweep them into the recycle bin. Hurry up and make a dozen more. We simply cannot disappoint little Noah again this year.”

Catching Mavis’ attention, Harry rubbed his paunch then pointed to his watch. “Breakfast, when?” he whispered.

“When we finish the phone call, Harry,” Mavis said with infinite patience and her teeth clenched. “Krystal’s in charge of the factory workers and they’re on high alert…”

“I’m so sorry, Mavis,” Krystal breathed, returning from her damage-control mission. “You were about to ask me a question?”

“We can see your fence line from here and I thought I saw, well, it was really strange, up by your place. I mean down. Over … I mean, hovering, like … a flying saucer!”

“Rudy, chill! I’ll be done here in a minute, okay?” Krystal said to someone before she came back on the line.

“You want a flying saucer for Christmas, Mavis? That’s funny!”

“Hmm, well, no, not really. But I coulda sworn I saw one.”

“It is the twenty-first century, Mavis, after all. Tomorrow I want to show you our newest gizmo.” Bells tinkled in the background. “I have simply got to run! We will send a sleigh for you in the morning at ten o’clock. Bye!”




Christmas Eve day dawned as bright as it could, for as long as it would, considering their far-northern latitude. As promised, an old-fashioned sleigh arrived at their front door, right as the clocked chimed ten.

Shortly thereafter, Harry and Mavis were earnestly tucking into over-burdened plates full of gourmet delights, the likes of which they’d never encountered in their Arkansas small-town experience. Krystal poured rich, dark coffee into their Waterford crystal mugs as she chattered non-stop about the upcoming day’s activities.

A shadow crossed the table and Mavis looked up. She dropped her honey-drippy sticky fairy bun sticky-side down in her lap. “Look!” she said, waving her fork toward the thing growing more enormous as it approached the bay window. Thousands of red lights blinked brightly as it came to a stop and settled slowly on the frozen ground.

“Krystal! Out there. Ohmygosh! What is that?”

Dodging the waving cutlery, Krystal tucked an escaping black curl behind her pointed ear as she stepped behind Mavis. “That’s what I wanted to show you! It’s Rudy’s newest gizmo, the Super Hover-Hover! It runs on solar and wind power, very earth friendly. Whisper quiet. Zero-to-light-speed in one nano-second. There’s a boatload of room, too. It’s so much better than that old thirteen-deer-power conveyance ever was. Safer, too. My husband is very pleased,” she purred, smiling. “Did you notice it’s personalized, just for him?”

You’d have to be blind not to see it, thought Harry, forgetting Step Three and reverting to redneck-speak.

Hologram-gold letters emblazoned six-feet high on a shimmering silver background announced:

Kris Kringle, New North Pole
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all,
a Good Night!

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Revised September 2013.