‘Are those fireflies inside or outside the van?’, asked Kevin.
‘Fireflies?, I’ve always wanted to see one, where are they Kev?’
‘I don’t know …either on the inside or the outside of the van, or maybe both’
Pa was driving the van along a narrow bohreen. Martina was next to him, and Kevin next to her.
Pa kept his eyes fixed on the road.
‘If they’re on the outside of the van, then they could be alien fighters …we’ll be in tree cover soon, do you have a bearing on them?’
‘A bearing on them?’, asked Kevin sarcastically, ‘since when did you turn into Roger Ramjet …we’re in a Ford Transit, not the fucking Starship Enterprise’
‘Be nice Kevin, Pa’s just trying to avoid the aliens, we’re all in this together, it’s gonna be hard enough to build a spaceship without turning on each other as well’
‘Sorry lads, the fireflies are freaking me out’.
‘Why don’t you roll down the window and see Kev?’
‘Why don’t you you roll yours down Pa, huh, if you’re so smart?’
‘I don’t have one, it fell out at the Strawberry fair, remember?, plus I don’t see any fireflies, maybe they just are inside your head’.’
‘Oh yeah, I forgot all about the strawberry fair’
Kevin rolled down his window.
‘that was great craic, we should go again …do you know what, you’re right Pa, the fireflies are not inside or outside the van …they must be in my eyes, sorry about panicking lads’.
‘That’s grand Kev, we’re all tired, we should have a few joints when we get there, just to relax before we start building’.
‘Not for me Martina, you and Pa can; I’ve too much to do, especially after that dickhead McLoughlin left the microchip stuck in its housing’.
The van pulled off the bohreen, onto a forestry track, and came face to face with another vehicle. They skidded to a stop and the engine cut out. The vehicle in front flashed its headlights.
Martina grabbed Pa by the arm and began yelling.
‘The aliens are here!’, reverse us out’.
Pa tried the ignition.
‘They’re here, Pa, reverse the van now!’
‘I’m trying to Martina, the engine won’t start’
The vehicle facing them switched on it’s full beam.
Kevin spoke slowly.
‘I’m not sure that’s the aliens lads, I doubt they’d have arrived in a van, and anyway you saw what they did to Tokyo, they woulda vapourized us by now’
He paused for a moment
‘…unless of course they want to torture us’.
Bram. Bram. Clunk.
Martina grasped for the door handle.
‘Open the door!’
Pa and Martina barrelled out the driver side of the van, and into a ditch.
Kevin was slower to respond. He casually opened the passenger door and walked towards the light. Moments later he returned.
‘Lads, will ye come out of the muck …it’s just Mark Greville, I knew I recognized the van.’
The second van drove forward until it was level with them, and the driver’s window rolled down.
Martina climbed out of the ditch and smiled at the driver.
‘Jesus Mark, my heart, I thought you were the aliens, and then when ya flashed the lights it scared the shit out of me’.
Pa joined Martina.
‘Yeah, same here, mine’s pounding, such a dose that was …what are ya up to?’.
‘Howya lads …I just spent the last hour cleaning up cans dumped at the party, I tell ye, there were some dirty cunts there tonight’
Mark leaned out the window and took a look up and down the track.
‘what’s all this about aliens?’
Kevin joined the others.
‘Sorry Mark, I thought ya would’ve known, the world’s been attacked by aliens, and most of the major cities have been destroyed …that’s why the lads were freaking out, for a moment there we thought you were one of them’.
‘Ha, dunno if that’s a compliment or an insult; you up for the after-party Kevin? someone’s taken decks up to the cottage in Ballyfarnon, ye can follow me up if ya want’.
‘No, sorry Mark, I can’t, I’ve got to build a spaceship’
Kevin pointed to where mark had driven from.
‘Is there anyone left up in the woods?’
‘Not really, there’s two auld lads clearing back bushes, and they’re horsing into it, actually they said they were clearing way for a spaceship, I just figured they were off their heads so left them to it …apart from that I think Pa and Martina have a fire going, but there’s no music’.
‘I’m Pa’, said Pa, climbing back into the Ford.
‘Ah, sorry mate, of course you are, dunno who I was thinking of, anyway there’s only a few people left up there …right so, good luck lads’.
Pa turned the ignition and the van started instantly.
‘Fuck sake, typical, now it decides to start …good job we’re not taking the van into space’.
Kevin scratched his head.
‘Hmmm’, he muttered. He climbed back into the cab alongside Pa and Martina, and both vehicles headed in opposite directions.
The van found two people sitting around a fire when it arrived in the car park/ clearing.
If you were to select an army to represent the fighting capacity of the human race, neither of them would make an obvious choice. But then again, at short notice, at five in the morning, in a conifer plantation miles from anywhere, it would be unwise to get picky.
Kevin climbed out of the van and walked over to the fire.
‘Are ye here for the spaceship?’ asked a young man in a black tracksuit.
‘Yeah, how’d ya know?’
‘Ah, Kevin, I didn’t recognize ya for a second, I was just asking because there’s two lads up at the top of the hill flat out getting things ready for it, who’s with ya?’
The man at the fire was a man called Faf. If the battle against the invaders came down to a fistfight between humans and extraterrestrials, he would be a match for a six foot one. He worked as an electrician and his skill with wiring would have made him an asset in the building of the spaceship. If he was sober, but he wasn’t. His other abilities were a bit of an unknown quantity as it took him so long to do anything nobody really noticed what he did, and was how he got his nickname.
‘Just Pa and Martina Faf, I suppose ye’ve heard about the invasion’.
‘I’ve been listening to nothing else this last few hours, Sandra has been filling me in on everything’
The Sandra that Faf was talking about was sitting next to him, was about half an inch taller, and had a remarkable collection of beads and ribbons tied into her dreadlocked hair. Sandra also had in her possession both a lightning fast uppercut, and an encyclopedic knowledge of conspiracies. Thinking and speaking about these conspiracies occupied her every waking moment, which put great demand on her time.
‘I wouldn’t really call it an invasion’, she interrupted, ‘it’s more of an awakening, the beings from the Interdimensional Federation of Light have always been with us.’
Martina got out of the van and joined Kevin.
‘Howya lads, fair play to ye for getting the fire going’
She turned back to the van.
‘Pa, come on, it’s your turn to skin up’.
‘If you think of it, all the world’s problems come from one thing, and that is an absence of light,’, continued Sandra, unfazed by whether anyone was listening or not.
Faf ignored her.
‘Where were ye before this Kevin?’
‘Oh, just getting a microchip for the spaceship.’
‘To modulate the gravitational field it generates’
‘No, I mean, why are ye building a spaceship?’
‘Because we are going to hit the mothership hard and knock out their command and control structure’
‘Shouldn’t the air corps be doing that?’
‘How the fuck are those lads going to tackle an alien force Faf?, they just don’t have the equipment, they just don’t’
‘I dunno, it sounds mental Kevin, surely there are people trained for that sort of thing’
‘Uh, erm, a space force?’
‘Don’t be daft’
‘Whisht, there’s something moving in the trees’, interrupted Martina.
Pa had been on his way to the group but stopped in his tracks.
‘Something or somebody?’
‘Quiet’ snapped Kevin.
Pa scanned around him.
‘Because if it was something, then it could be one of the aliens’, he whispered.
‘Will ya just shutup for a minute, it sounds like chanting’
The group went silent.
‘I don’t need, dum, dradum, I don’t care, dum, dradum, I don’t want, dum, dradum…’
‘That sounds like Billy the rant’
‘What’s he at?’
‘Fuck knows’, replied Sandra, ‘…anyway …the thing with Interdimentional Beings of Light is that they want some chaos, but not lots …so they allow governments to use chem trails to control people’.
‘Where d’ya say the two lads were getting things ready Faf?’
‘Up at the top of the hill Kevin, they started working even before the music stopped …it was pretty wiry really; everyone was dancing away and ya had the pair of them rattling about with shovels in the middle of everything’.
‘Fuck sake, the muppets, that take off strip was supposed to be at the bottom of the car park’.
‘You won’t need a spaceship to reach the beings of light Kevin, they operate in a fourth dimension that is right here’ interrupted Sandra, ‘they are nowhere and everywhere, you just need to fold time to see them’
Faf scratched his head, and turned to Sandra.
‘Uh, I’m not sure what you mean, I, I still can’t visualize that’
‘That is because you’re drunk Faf, alcohol blocks your space time receptors’.
‘You can’t visualize it coz she’s talking bollocks’ snapped Kevin.
‘You can visualize it because you can visualize anything that you can know, yeah, which is everything’ came a voice from the darkness.
The group went silent.
‘Who said that?’ shouted Martina.
They stayed silent until the blonde flat top of Billy the rant emerged from the trees.
‘Fucking hell Billy, you scared us; where’d you come from?’
Billy paced over to the group, and sat on next to the fire.
‘I come from the same place everyone comes from, creation …but that is not the question each of ye should ask yourselves’.
He looked around the group.
‘The real question you need to ask, yeah, is where am I going to?’
‘Where are you going to Billy?’, asked Martina.
‘That’s fifteen miles away, you’re not going to walk there are you?’
‘Is it really fifteen miles though?’ asked Sandra
She then answered herself with another question, ‘…or is that just what the government would like you to think …the truth is places are not really that far from each other. It makes it easier to control us if we think we are all farther away. Don’t be fooled.’
‘Give me strength’ muttered Kevin, ‘I’m off up to build the spaceship, ye can follow me up; Pa can I take the van?’
‘Sure Kev, the keys are in it, just don’t get it bogged down’.
Pa began rolling a joint as Kevin set about starting the van.
Faf squinted at the cigarette papers.
‘Is that white widow I can smell?’
‘Spot on Faf, I had some I was saving …tonight seems like a good night for it’
‘I won’t argue with that, what’s up with Kevin, he seems stressed out’.
‘Ah, Kev’s just worried about the alien invasion …and he’s had nearly a full strip of acid’, replied Martina, ‘plus Gerry McLoughlin left a microchip inside its housing’.
‘Were ye all up with Gerry McLoughlin?’
‘Yeah, we needed to get a microchip’
‘How is Gerry?’, I heard that he cleared Zero Tolerance’
‘He did’, replied Pa, ‘all fifty seven basement levels …that was some going wasn’t it’
‘It was, ye should’ve brought him up here for the spaceship’
‘He was too busy watching a nuclear reactor on his computer …plus himself and Kevin’d end up at each other’s throats’
Billy the rant had been ignoring the conversation. He jumped to his feet.
‘Right, it’s time to move, which way is Ballyfarnon?’
Pa looked up and gestured to the papers next to him.
‘Are you not staying for some of the joint?
‘Don’t believe in smoking that stuff mate, it’s poison, it and drink …good nutritious food is all anyone need, yeah …I had a chicken and a bottle of Lucozade for me tea and I’m flying …what way do I need to head for Ballyfarnon?’
Pa pointed to the track.
‘You’ll need to follow that out onto the main road and…’
Bram. Bram. Bramm. Kevin had the van started.
‘You only need to point man, I only need a general idea’
Pa shrugged and gestured in the direction of the track again. Billy paced back into the trees. Pa called after him.
‘Billy, that’s not the way…’
‘Leave him go Pa’, said Sandra, ‘that fella’s wired to the moon’.