The Great Crop Circle Caper
By Sarah Harrison
Jason stared out the window watching the raindrops run down the panes of glass.  He was thinking about
the coming months.  His hours had been cut  at work and he was worried about paying rent and making his
car payment.  Many of his friends had been completely laid off.  Mountain Springs was primarily a tourist
town and people were not taking vacations because of the poor economy and high gas prices. Besides
tourism, the major industry in town was the bottling of spring water and the factory was laying off too.
People weren't buying bottled spring water in a bad economy.  His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing
of the phone.

"Hey Jas, Jack and I are going to the Olde Towne Pub for a pitcher or two, want to come?" Asked his friend

"There's the man with the plan.  I could go for a basket of buffalo wings right about now." said Jason.

"See ya there about eight, don't be late or I'll drink all the beer." laughed Steve.

They were starting on the second pitcher of beer when Steve suddenly remarked,  "I  just bought a great
book about crop circles at the used book store." He pulled the book out of his backpack.  "Look at all these
great crop circles made by alien visitors." Steve held out the book opened to a page showing a group of
circles in a swirling pattern.

"Bull shit, crop circles were started in the '90's by a couple of old farts in England who spent way too much
time in pubs. Since then, people have been outdoing themselves to create new crop circles.  I saw it on the
Discovery Channel." Stated Jack.

Oh yeah, I bet you $10 you couldn't make something believable."  Replied Steve.

"You're on.  I saw how those old guys did it on the Discovery Channel.  I have some boards and rope at
home.  This book you have shows all the patterns." challenged Jack.

"OK", said Jason. "We'll get a case of beer and go out to that field off Bear Creek Road.  If we can make a
phony crop circle that makes the news, then Steve will pay Jack $10 and that will prove they're all human

The less than sober bunch headed to Jack's house, stopping first at the Quickie Mart for more liquid
refreshment. They arrived at Jack's house and went out to his garage. Jack pulled out rope and boards,
knocking over paint cans, tools, and boxes of nails in the process.

"Jesus Jack, ya making enough noise to wake the dead. It's a good thing your parents are at the beach."
Said Steve.

"Yeah, I got the place to myself for five more days. Anyhow, here's how crop circles are done. One person
stands in the field holding a pole with a rope tied to it. Another person has a board with a rope tied to both
ends. This rope will be the handle for picking up the board.. The rope tied to the pole is tied to the person
with the board. He then holds onto rope attached to the board and walks stepping on the board. Lift the
board with your foot on it, lower it, and press down, do it over and over again. Because the person with the
board is tied to the pole, he goes around and around in a circle until he reaches the middle. It creates a
perfect circle. To create straight lines, you just walk forward without being tied to the pole." Explained Jack.

"It sounds simple for round patterns but we couldn't do anything fancy with that method."  Steve said

"I think we'd better stick to simple right now, we're too drunk to do any masterpiece crop circle." Laughed

The boys headed out to Bear Creek Road, parking the car out of sight among some trees. They gathered
their crop circle gear and the beer and headed to the field. Along the way, the case of beer was dropped on
the ground.

"Jesus Steve, could you possibly make any more noise. This operation needs to be quiet." Scolded Jack.

Ok, ok, eberthings accordin' to plan, Captain Kirk, hic." Replied Steve.

"Ok, this looks like a good spot, it's a full moon tonight so we won't need the flashlights. We're on a hillside
and the crop circle will be clearly visible to Bear Creek Road."   Said Jack. "Steve you hold the pole and I'll
tie the rope to it. Jason, you and I will take turns creating circles. I think we'll do one big circle with four
small circles around it attached by straight lines." Explained Jack. "Steve will you try to stand in one place,
you're swaying all over the place."

"Aye, Aye Captain, I donna think the engine can take much more."  Replied swaying Steve.

Jason and Jack worked through the night creating one large circle and four smaller ones. All the while
keeping swaying Steve upright. They finished about the time the beer ran out.

"This looks good. We need to leave before any early morning traffic starts. Be sure to watch the news and
see if anything is reported. Steve, you will be paying out tonight." Laughed Jack.

Jason woke up that afternoon feeling less than cheery. "Ow, my head hurts, damn that was a long night.
Why did I let myself get talked into that nonsense." He drank a big glass of tomato juice and took a very
long, hot shower. He decided to turn on the 5 o'clock news.

He watched with amazement what unfolded on the screen. The police had the entire crop circle surrounded
with crime scene tape. There were groups of hippies and flowery New Age folks trying to get into the crop
circle. The police were having a hard time keeping these folks outside the crime scene tape. The Channel
11 news reporter, Hillary Snell, came on the screen. "Have we been visited by aliens from another world
and are they leaving us a message? Cerealogists from England, experts on crop circles, are on their way
here to examine our crop circle. More news at 11."

Jason sat back in his chair. "I guess Steve owes Jack $10. I wonder what will happen when the experts
arrive from England?"

Jason called Jack and asked, "did you see the news? There are police, news cameras, and people trying to
get into the circle. This is nuts!"

Jack laughed, "isn't this great! Steve owes me $10! People are acutally buying this shit."

"What happens when the experts from England arrive? They'll say it's fake and then the shit will hit the fan."
Said Jason.

"So what?  We weren't seen, if we all keep our mouths closed no one will be able to pin it on us. Uh oh, we
had better talk to Steve and make sure he keeps his mouth closed. He does tend to brag about things,
doesn't he? I'll call him and tell him to not run his mouth. I'll tell him we could be charged with criminal
mischief and that wouldn't look good on a resume." Said Jack.

Jason closed his cell phone and decided to fix something to eat. He was nuking a Hungry Man dinner when
his cell phone rang. It was Jack.

"Jas, you're not going to believe this! Pictures of our crop circle are already on the internet and it's gone
viral. You know Steve works the front desk at the Mountain Springs Hilton? He said the phones have been
ringing off the hook. People from all over the country are making reservations because they want to see
the crop circle. And it's not just the Hilton, all the hotels are filling up!"

Jason plopped down on a kitchen chair. "Wow, I bet business will pick up at Muldoon's Steak and Seafood
where I work. This is great! I was worried about making my car payment."

"You bet. People have to eat. Maybe, the Mountain Springs Bottling Company, where I work, will sell more
bottled water. People will get thirsty too." Replied Jack.

The next morning Jason decided to visit the crop circle site before going into work. There were cars lined
up along the road and he had to park a half mile away. What he saw at the site made him stop dead in his
tracks. A drum circle had been set up outside the crop circle and the drummers were energetically
pounding a beat. There were hippies, Wiccans, and New Agey types dancing around the crop circle. Several
ladies, dressed in long colorful dresses, with flowers in their hair, were standing in the middle of the
biggest circle. They were chanting and holding their arms up to the sky. Jason saw people walking around
selling glow sticks, glow jewelry, and toy UFO's. "They must have bought out the Dollar Store." Jason
thought to himself.

At the edge of the field, Jason spied a Mountain Springs Water stand. They were doing a brisk business
selling bottled water. "Holy cow, that's Jack working in the stand!" Jason walked over to the stand and Jack
was grinning ear to ear.

"I can't believe my eyes, Jack. How did you get set up so fast?" Asked Jason.

"Well, this stand is used during festivals and not to toot my own horn, it was my idea to pull it out of storage
and set it up here. Business has been great and I must have fifty dollars in tips already. By the way, see
those guys in suits over there near the Channel 11 news truck? They're the cerealogists from England.
They came here straight from the airport. It looks like they're about to be interviewed by Hillary Snell. I'm
dying to know what they say." Jack grinned.

"I know what they are going to say, it's a fake. I think I'll just wander over there and listen to the interview."
Replied Jason.

"Well, come straight back and let me know, the suspense is killing me." Said Jack.

Jason walked over to the crowd of people gathering around Hillary Snell and the cerealogists. The
cameraman motioned to Hillary to start. She held up her microphone, "This is Hillary Snell from Channel 11
Action News. I'm here with the experts from England, Mr. McDonald and Mr. Burns. So tell me, what is your
opinion of our crop circle?"

"Thank you Hillary, Mr. McDonald and I agree that your crop circle is completely genuine. We have
examined the circle and taken readings with our geiger counters and conclude that this circle was not
made by human hands." Stated Mr. Burns.

"Yes Hillary, we have studied the grasses and concluded they were not flattened by human feet. It took a
great deal of energy to make those grasses lie down. We took readings with our geiger counters and found
residual radioactive readings. Energy made the crop circle, not human beings." Agreed Mr. McDonald.

"There you have it, the experts agree the crop circle was made by alien visitors, back to you Ted." Reported
Hillary Snell.

Jason staggered back a few feet. "What the Hell! A group of drunk amateurs making their first crop circle
and the so-called experts say it's real. I don't understand." Jason turned to walk back over to Jack's water

On his way back, he heard an argument between two groups of crop circle visitors. "The circle was made by
aliens making contact!  No, the circle was made by Gaia, our Earth Mother, telling us to stop global warming!
No, it was aliens! No, it was Gaia!" Jason watched as the alien vs. Earth Mother groups nearly came to
blows. The cops had to separate the two groups to stop potential violence.

"This is getting out of control! What is wrong with these people, is the whole world this gullible?" Jason
thought to himself.

Jack was alone at the stand as everyone had gone to watch the interview with the cerealogists. "So what's
the poop, Jason? Did the experts say our circle was a fake piece of crap?"

"You are not going to believe this, but these guys said it was real! How is it possible?" Jason shook his

"Well, there are two possibilities, these guys are true believers and will say any crop circle is real.  Or,
they're making a lot of money being crop circle 'experts'." Replied Jack.

"This is too much for me, these people are nuts. Shit, I have to go to work soon, let me have a bottle of your
over-priced water. I'm going over to that hot dog cart and get a smoked sausage." Said Jason.

"For you, my partner in crime, the water is on the house. What time do you get off tonight?"  Asked Jack.

"About nine, why?"

"I want you and Steve to meet me at the Olde Towne Pub after work. I'll call Steve, just be sure to be there. I
have an idea." Grinned Jack.

"Those four words scare me to death, but Ok I'll be there." Jason replied, wondering what he'll be sucked
into next.
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