“Thank you for inviting me to the Global UFO Fact Finders symposium,” Mark said. “Today at GUFOFF, I will prove my comprehensive theory of these phenomena.” (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include The Just Us League and Winter Storm Snicker. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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“Ooh, a comprehensive theory,” Nadine whispered as she scrolled through her tablet.

“Whatcha lookin’ for?” Lisa asked.

“I’m checking my email,” Nadine said, “to see if anyone has analyzed the video I uploaded this weekend.”

Mark cleared his throat. “My theory offers the first complete explanation for every class of UFO phenomena, including flying disks, crop circles, cattle mutilations, and alien abductions.”

“Don’t we have a theory for that?” Lisa whispered to Nadine. “Like … ‘aliens did it?'”

Nadine nodded. “He probably thinks he’s a scientist.”

“The basis of my theory,” Mark said, “is that cows get head colds.”

Lisa and Nadine sat up straighter. Oscar leaned over to them. “I gotta say, that’s original.”

“As you may know,” Mark continued, “cows have huge sinus cavities. That’s why you can hear them moo from so far away. And of course, huge sinus cavities would make a head cold much more severe.”

“Uh huh,” Lisa whispered. “And huge feet make it hard to shop for shoes, which is why you don’t see ducks in shoe stores.”

Nadine stifled a giggle.

“So when a cow sneezes,” Mark said, clicking to the next slide in his animated presentation, “that would release a tremendous amount of energy. Enough to blow the rest of the cow out its own backside. Thus explaining cattle mutilations.”

“I think he really believes this,” Oscar said.

Lisa rolled her eyes. “Some people will believe anything.”

Nadine bit her knuckle.

“Because no animal is perfectly symmetrical,” Mark pressed on, “the pressure in the cow’s sinuses would not be perfectly equal. The nasal mucous would begin to spin as it emerges, flattening it into a flying disk.”

“That snot funny,” Oscar whispered.

Nadine scrunched her eyes shut.

“If this disk lands in a field,” Mark said, “it would flatten the wheat or corn into a crop circle. And if it lands on a person, well, being covered in bovine nasal mucous seems exactly the kind of psychological trauma that would make someone think he or she had been kidnapped by aliens.”

“Aliens from the planet Kownex,” Lisa whispered.

Nadine buried her head in her hands.

Oscar stood. “I must say, that’s very … comprehensive. But do you have any evidence?”

“In fact I do,” Mark said. He nodded as two teenagers pushed a wheeled box onto the stage. Mark pulled the cloth cover from the box. “Ladies and gentlemen of GUFOFF, I present Cow Likeness, our anatomically correct bovine simulator. We call her C.L. for short.”

“Why not Elsie?” Lisa asked.

“That would reverse her initials,” Mark replied.

Nadine hugged her trembling ribs.

“And now I will demonstrate my comprehensive theory,” Mark said, lifting a remote control.

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“This should be fun to watch,” Zigax said, pointing to the interstellar monitor.

Xagiz shook her head. “You really shouldn’t have implanted that idea, dear.”

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Have fun!