There is a faint ringing of bells in the distance. I’m sitting here staring blindly ahead.

Pay no attention to the agents in the black suits with the dark sunglasses.  The light in your field of vision in the night sky is most assuredly the planet Venus, for it is the brightest object visible to the naked eye.  Jolly old men in red velvet suits don’t ride around in unregistered metal aircraft identified by civilians as “sleighs” pulled by flying reindeer…  Now just smile for the camera…

Wait, where was I going just now?  Oh right, here I am, sitting at a traffic signal, on my way to the grocery store to buy a half-gallon of eggnog for the party tomorrow.  The light turns green and I’m back on track.  I turn left into the parking lot and pull through to a space cattywampus to the front entrance.

I park, get out of my car, and lock the door.  The parking lot lights stare down at me like UFO search-beacons.  A pair of overly amorous teenagers spins through the parking lot.  They obviously have other things on their minds.  They choose a dark, secluded spot where they can go more or less unnoticed.

Several shadowy figures in black suits with dark sunglasses approach the teenagers.  The teens point to the UFO searchlight parking lot beacons and gesture wildly.  The agents point to the night sky and flash a photo of the couple before they get in their car and drive away.

The store is nothing to write home about.  It’s too late at night for bell ringers.  There’s pumpkin spice everything everywhere, but that’s not at all unusual this time of year.  I get my half-gallon of eggnog and stroll through the only remaining third shift checkout with its zombie-eyed cashier staring blankly ahead of time and space.  I leave and return to my car.

Seriously, where are my keys?!  The door is locked.  I had them just a moment ago.  I hope I didn’t drop them when I got out.  It’s night and it’s foggy and it’s pitch black except for the glare of those spaced out parking lot spotlights.  Oh wait, here they are, in my hand…

The faint glimmer of celestial objects twinkles at the periphery.  A faint tintinnabulation of sleigh bells sounds softly as a brighter pinpoint of light becomes clearer, almost like a red reindeer nose…  But it must certainly, most assuredly, be the planet Venus, for that is the brightest object in the night sky visible to the naked eye.

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.