For several days one summer. mysterious lights appeared in the skies over Waco. Everyone had a theory, from weather balloons to a secret Air Force plane to flying saucers. Then the lights disappeared and were all but forgotten.
A few weeks later, I was listening to the radio.
Summer days were long, and you could only play baseball or hide and seek for so long before you wanted something else to do.
It wasn’t hard to persuade my friends that we should catch the robbers. I had a brilliant plan.
If we wrote down the license plates of all the cars that went by and gave them to the police, they would know where the robbers had been, and they could catch them.
And everyone would know we were the ones who did it!
We knew who all the cars on our street belonged to, and Sleeper Avenue didn’t get much traffic, so we stood at the corner of 41st Street and wrote down as many numbers as we could.
What my friends didn’t know was that I had another agenda entirely. I was after much bigger prey–space aliens. If the lights in the sky, as I suspected, had really been spaceships manned by aliens, I knew they must be hiding among us, making their nefarious plans.
They would try to act like us, but they wouldn’t understand certain things, like how license plate numbers worked. If we gave the police the numbers, they would know which ones were fake.
I knew that if I revealed my true plan to my friends they might not play along, thus the stolen car ruse.
For added measure, I suggested that we might just catch a Russian spy, too.
We spent hours writing down license plate numbers. The afternoon sun was broiling, and we couldn’t possibly account for all the cars that streamed by. It became clear that this was an exercise in futility.
One by one my friends abandoned the mission. I looked down at the long list of numbers we’d written down. What an idiot I was! Even if the police knew that the space aliens’ car had passed this way, it would be long gone by now.
What a stupid waste of time! Unless…...all the letters and numbers added up to some kind of secret code! And I was the one to crack it.