Awakened by the sounds, 73-year-old Met Driscoll managed to sit-up on the leather sofa after falling asleep there the night before. He still worked late at night writing computer software, an old habit. His wife was busy in the adjacent kitchen.
Met found his iPhone buried in the sofa crack between the cushion and the rest of the couch. The time was 10 am. He checked the Yahoo weather App and found the temperature was 71 degrees with low winds. He made his way to the hall and climbed up the stairs on all fours, not because he was old but because he liked climbing the stairs that way. At the top, he did a forward somersault for no reason.
He entered the bathroom and splashed cold filtered water on his face. Then he flossed and brushed his teeth with tooth powder. He replaced his pajama bottoms with his worn-out but comfortable bike pants that were hanging near the shower. Next, he wandered to his upstairs office, found a chair, and slipped on ankle guards over his socks. The ankle guards were his own brilliant biking idea discovered while watching a soccer match.
Coming back downstairs, he grabbed an apple from the fridge and filled up his water bottle on his way to the basement. His wife scolded him for interfering with her kitchen duties, so he made a mad dash for the steps. In the cellar, he put on his tennis shoes and slipped on a light jacket. Then he donned his bike helmet, put his sunglasses in his jacket pocket, and set up a list of oldie’s music with his iPhone and AirPods.
He kept his Stumpjumper Mountain Bike inside because quality bikes were a target for thieves. It pissed him off whenever he thought about it. Pushing his bike into the garage, he leaned inside his old Chevy truck and clicked the garage door opener. Free at last, he slid on his sunglasses, dropped his seat for now, and mounted his familiar bike.
He rode up the sidewalk until he reached a beautiful Temple at the base of South Mountain. Despite the no parking signs, the temple had a large parking lot popular with local mountain bikers and hikers. After cruising around the forbidden parking lot for a while, he coasted down to the dirt trail entrance. Biking uphill for forty-five minutes, he rode past the summit with a spectacular view of the mountains and Jacob’s Ladder — a staircase rock formation. On a narrow trail, too close to a dangerous cliff’s edge, he saw it!
The large silver object was hanging motionless in the valley between the two mountainsides. It floated with no sound. Another hovered behind the first.
Three curious magpies circled the closest saucer-shaped thing. “What the hell!” Met yelled.
Another biker came flying down the same bike path toward him. He was out of control and terrified. Met turned to the trail’s outer edge in an attempt to avoid the scared biker. It didn’t help. The biker slammed into him, knocking Met off the path and down the cliff. After three forward rolls and bouncing off a large rock, he came to rest in some thick insect-infested bushes just two feet from a thousand foot drop off.
Grabbing a copious clump of limbs, he looked up to see the hit-and-run biker racing away. He tried to stand, but his right knee was in pain. Wondering how he would get himself and his bike back up to the trail, he felt a gust of wind. He turned, and the saucer was closer now, about 30 feet away. The unearthly object was around 50 yards in diameter.
Then things got weird. A section of the craft faded away, scattering the magpies as two creatures floated towards him. They were wearing odd helmets and suits. There was no way to tell what they looked like inside their gear. In perfect English, the nearest creature asked Met if he was alright. “I’ve injured my knee,” Met replied. None of this frightened him. Met was a curious old-timer.
“Come with us, please.”
Met floated to the craft. Once inside, it was apparent that this thing was not from Earth.
Clean was Met’s first thought. The floors and walls were perfect and smooth. Missing or invisible windows provided an ideal outside panorama.
“Beautiful,” Met whispered. He wanted to see the rest of the ship. But then he blanked out.
He woke up on the trail with his bike next to him. His knee was no longer in pain. He felt terrific. They drugged me, he thought. The strange craft was gone, so he rode home in a daze. He ran up the stairs, slipped on the wet kitchen floor, and slid for 10 feet. It was spectacular. He told his wife what happened as he scrambled back up. “You were lucky those aliens came along and saved you,” she laughed.
“Yeah, I guess so.” His wife, Kinsey, was used to his teasing. Met made another attempt at explaining, but Kinsey was listening to her iPad.
The local news reported the flying objects and even interviewed several bikers and hikers. Met recognized the hit-and-run jerk who said nothing about sideswiping another biker. The UFO event faded away after a week. Just another alien encounter, nothing serious.
A month later, Met was looking and feeling different. He was riding harder, eating more, and losing weight. His hair seemed darker, and the bags under his eyes were gone. “You are looking good,” his wife said one day. She had a disturbed expression.
“Thanks, sweetheart. I’m feeling good.” Met walked over and gave his wife a lengthy kiss. Then he went downstairs to shower. He was changing physically. With his shirt off, he could see his old Abs forming. He looked younger. Still old, but younger.
Each day, Met was looking better. He tried to hide his changes by wearing loose clothing and sporting a hat and sunglasses in the house. Still, his wife kept telling him how good he looked. Sometimes she would follow him around, asking what he was doing. “It must have been those aliens that saved me,” Met said with a laugh. Kinsey said nothing.
“The kids will be here next week for your birthday. David and his daughter Lyra are coming from LA, and Susan is coming from Portland with Jovi and Tabor.”
“What? Nobody told me anything about that.”
“I just did. Your grandkids are missing you.” Kinsey walked over to Met and removed his sunglasses. She jumped back, startled. “You look 30 years younger.”
Met understood now what was happening. The aliens fixed more than his knee. “So do you, cutie.” Met gave Kinsey a firm hug. “I’m going for a ride. Be back in a couple.”
At this pace, Met would be a young man again in two weeks. The thought of terrifying his wife and children was too much for him to bear. I should leave, he thought to himself. He rode for hours in the mountains, trying to decide what to do.
On his birthday, he wore his sunglasses, old ragged clothes, and had a beard stubble. It didn’t fool his wife. His daughter, Susan, joked about his losing weight and pulled up his shirt. “Dad! When did you get abs?”
“Good question,” Kinsey said, then turned and left the room.
Twelve days later, Met was in South America surfing. He had enough money to sustain himself for two years while he figured out what to do. He left Kinsey with most of their savings. Met was now just one of the many missing persons in America. Two months later, looking and feeling like a twenty-year-old, he read about his family’s search for Met Driscoll. Tears filled his eyes.
Once, while strolling on a beach in Peru, he was spotted by Mike, an old college friend. Mike was walking with a cane from the other direction. He paused and looked at Met. “Do I know you?” Mike asked.
“It’s possible,” Met replied and took off his sunglasses.
“Wow, you look just like a friend of mine. But he is much older than you. What’s your name, son?”
“My name, sir, is Methuselah,” Met replied with a chuckle. That was clever, he thought to himself.
“Well, have a good day,” Mike said and continued on his way.
Met turned and said, “You too, Mike!”
The old friend looked backed to see Met jogging away. How did he know my name? Mike wondered.
Almost a year later, Met took a selfie then emailed it to his wife. Perhaps this might give her some comfort.
“I love you! In search of those Aliens.”
A young lady was on the beach carrying a long surfboard from the 60s. “Nice board,” Met said as she hiked past in the deep sand.
“Yours as well. We seem out of place.”
“I learned on these longboards back in the…,” Met caught himself.
The lady stopped and planted her board in the sand. “Back in the 60s?” She said.
“I know that makes no sense,” Met replied.
“You had an encounter, didn’t you? What’s your name?”
“My name is Met. I was born in 47. What about you?” Met asked
“Sandy, born in 43. And I don’t seem to be aging. It looks like they can rejuvenate and eliminate aging. I have a feeling they want to see us again.”
“Ok, that’s weird. I’ve had the same feeling. I can’t explain it.”
“I’m starved,” Sandy said. “Can we get some food and talk?”
They worked their way across the sand to a sandwich pub. When they entered, everyone was staring up at the TV monitor above the bar. The place was silent.
“Play it again!” Someone yelled at the bartender.
“We have come to you in peace. We have an offer.” The image on the screen was somewhat humanoid.
“We have discovered that your species ages and dies with time. We have cured 370 of you. None have expired from aging or disease. They are no longer flawed. We will provide your entire planet with this gift on two conditions. First, you must destroy all nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction. Second, you must eliminate war as a form of politics. That is all we ask. You must comply within 240 of your days, or we will leave.
The people we have cured may come forth now for you to witness. The choice is yours. Should you accept, you will learn to terraform and colonize other planets. Otherwise, your species will soon fade away or self-destruct.”
In one of the paramount struggles in human history, the people of Earth were able to comply. The Aliens were true to their word. All the conspiracy theories were wrong. Humanity had a new friend that bestowed the marvelous gift. Met and Sandy returned to their homes. A beautiful young Kinsey stood in the yard with the mountains behind her. She smiled as Met ran to her arms.