When I first saw them I didn't take a lot of notice. Just one or two scattered here and there around the county. Funny, I thought, and that was about it.
But then more started to appear. Gradually they were spreading, popping up like some form of disease, a seasonal rash, may be. Some were big, some small. They appeared alone, in lines, even clusters and piles.
I began to get a little concerned when early one Sunday morning I saw one lying in the middle of Highland Street, split open, like some huge deformed egg from which a grotesque being had hatched and skittered off into the shadows, leaving a trail of seeds.
I pointed it out to my companion. I didn't elucidate my full blown theory about little orange men for fear that my Canadian buddy would think me crazy. I simply exclaimed: “Whoa! Look at that, there, Jees,” in a high pitched uncontrolled shriek but he brushed it off, stating, “kids, eh. Who’d have ‘em.”
Kids... I shivered. Surely they come from the same place as the ones in the UK!
And then, a few days later, I stumbled upon the epicentre of the outbreak; the Area 51 of Haliburton’s alien invasion; the place where no one in their right mind should be going anywhere near. But there was no high fence, no federal agents cordoning the area off.
I was in Buckhorn, that pleasant little village on the way to
; the place the aliens had undoubtedly aimed to conquer first. And, amidst the rolling fields on this beautiful fall day there was a long line of smiling families waiting their turn to pay money to enter, to ride on a tractor to go see where this bizarre phenomenon was spreading from. Peterborough
Now, I'm sure you’ve all seen those films where the hero (not that I'm casting myself as some death defying, world saving chap by any means) is at first dead set on staying as far away from the action as possible but somehow he just can't help but wander right into the heart of the lions den. Well, that was how it was with me.
I stopped the car a way off down the road (there was a large queue), and, taking Little Z as back-up/a disguise/human shield I followed the crowd of smiling folk.
They gladly paid their dues and loaded themselves onto tractor trailers. They grinned and chattered as we were pulled slowly away from civilization and out into the uninhabited countryside. Past fields of strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries and corn we went.
The corn definitely worried me. I've seen corn in too many horror films.
And then, there it was, the source of my angst. A vast field filled with thousands of them. Big ones and small; smooth, ribbed and knobbly. There were white ones, green and grey but mostly they were the same as the ones spreading throughout Haliburton. Orange!
The tractor stopped and the kids piled off it, running out into this field of doom. I screamed at them to stop but was drowned out by another tractor as it approached with another trailer load of smiling faces. I began to realise it was too late and slumped down on the steps of the trailer. I clutched weakly at Little Z as he struggled to get free and I wept as he broke from my grasp, ran into the field and threw his arms around the largest orange orb that he could find.
The wife looked at me like I was an alien and skipped over to our little boy. I'd lost them, it seemed.
Suddenly a large hand pressed my shoulder. I looked up into the big brown eyes of the Mexican tractor driver. He understood, I could see.
“What? Why?” I bleated.
“I know,” he said. “Crazy, crazy people. They worship them! They pay money to come in; they pay money to take them home, and then, they build shrines. They stack them in the street, line their driveways, set them on the porch with candles in!
we just eat pumpkins.” Mexico