Tag Archives: Air Force

The Little Prince


Moses asked me to write down what I remember from my cross country trip with Oliver.  It was Oliver’s interest in roadside attractions that piqued Moses’ curiosity.  We’d seen a television show about these sideshows along the road.  They captured Oliver’s imagination.  In 1987, many were still open.  From the memories I have jotted down, three seem important—that is, based on Moses’ dreams of Oliver. 

 1. The Airport

 My father had been an Air Force test pilot.  He’d grown up in Pennsylvania and received his pilot’s license at age fifteen at a small airport near Clarion, PA.  So we stopped at what I thought might be that airport.  The stop was more for me than for Oliver.

 The county airport was small, but not the grass strip my father’d described.  We pulled up to a chain link fence and sat on the car hood to watch a small plane take off.  After that we just wandered.  The day was warm with a slight breeze.

 A shack stood at the other end with a wind sock draped from a pole on its roof.  Behind it there was a hangar.  An old man walked out.  He wore coveralls spattered with grease.  I remember he dropped some kind of wrench on the ground.  Just dropped it and left it there.  It seemed odd at the time, but there was no one to steal it.  He shuffled around to the front of the shack.  As he opened the door, he noticed us.

 “You need something?” he shouted.

 “No.  Just looking around.”

 “Don’t go past the fence.  Dangerous.”

 I asked him if the airport once had a grass field.  He continued to stare at us, hand still on the doorknob.

 “Not in a long time.  Why?”

 His question why flummoxed me.  I guess validating my father’s story was more important to me than I thought.

 “I think my father got his pilot’s license here.  A long time ago.”

 “Could be.  Who are you?”

 I realized I hadn’t introduced myself or Oliver.

 “Melanie Williams.  This is my son Oliver.”

 “Um.  Elvis.”

 His name was Elvis.  I remember that, and his dropping of the wrench, vividly.  He invited us into his shack.  It was cluttered with tools, maps and magazines.  A radio squawked every now and then, pilots asking to land.

 “Coffee?” he offered from the dirtiest coffee maker I had ever seen.

 I declined.

 “What’s his name?”

 “My son?”

 “Your dad’s.”

 “Oh.  Joseph.  Joseph Matthews.”

 His eyes crinkled back in a smile.

 “Crazy bastard.”

 “You remember him?  So this is where he got his license?”

 “No.  Down the road a bit.  That was ’42.  Wanted to join the Air Corp.  Too young for the war though.  Whatever happened to him?”

 “He did join the Air Force.  He flew in Korea and later became a test pilot.”

 “One of those crazy bastards, huh?  Didn’t go for space, though?”


 “He still around?”

 “He passed away.”


 “It was a long time ago.”

 Elvis looked at Oliver for moment and then began rummaging through shelves and boxes in the corner.  He came up with an old, tattered, slim hardcover book.  He handed it to Oliver.

“That was your grandfather’s.  First edition.  He gave it to me when he left.  Figured I’d get something from it.”

We both looked at the book.  Elvis was right: it was a first edition, English translation of “The Little Prince”.  On the front cover was my father’s name printed in pencil and now smudged with oil.

“Yeah.  Said the author was one of the most important pilots of our time.  I don’t know.  But if he’s gone, you should have it.”

“Thank you,” Oliver told him.

“Sure.  Got to get back to work.”

Elvis began to shuffle out of the shack.  I stopped him at the door.

“How did you know him?”

“Grew up together.  He always wanted to fly airplanes.  I just wanted to take them apart.”

He walked out.  Oliver and I got back in the car to leave.  I said to Oliver how crazy it was to meet one of Grandpa’s boyhood friends.

“Yeah,” was all he said as he opened the book.

I pulled out of the parking area and got back on the road.  Oliver didn’t say a word as we drove.  He just read.  I believe he read that book four of five times on our trip across America.  I wish I’d kept the volume.  But a year after his disappearance, I got rid of everything from that trip.  Too many memories I couldn’t bear anymore.

I’ve found a picture online of the book cover.  This one is in better condition than the one Elvis gave my son.  If Oliver is still with us somehow, as the dreams Moses describes, I believe that book stayed with him.

I will post the other two later.



I have had many jobs.  Writer of television documentaries for things mysterious, civilian military employee, investigator, I have found many routes to stay employed.  People never believe that I met my first television producer on a Thursday and was writing narration for him by Friday.  We just clicked.  It helped that he was the half-brother of my good friend, but there was a similarity of thought.  He didn’t believe in the strange but saw great potential for making money.  I believed but wanted to disprove everything to get at the truth.

 Five years I wrote for those “Big Foot” shows.  It was fun at first.  Believers came to the subject with the answers while the science folk always had this crossed armed “prove-it” mentality.  I walked the tightrope between, digging out story elements and facts while weeding through the preposterous.  I believe our work during this time was the foundation for many of the shows running now except, today the approach is prove me wrong.

My last assignment was Wright Paterson Air Force base.  I interviewed this Major about UFO sightings.  He gave me the standard military answer.

“I don’t know what they saw, but it wasn’t from this base.”

Funny, I received a call from him a week later.  Turned out, he wanted to hire me.  He liked my investigative style.

So, then I was employed by the military.  I am not allowed to divulge my work.  Top secret.  Would have to kill you if I told you.  But after a bit, exciting as it was, I grew skeptical of the validity of that work, too.  With Air Force clearance, I wrote a book about the impossibility of proving extraterrestrials because of all the hands in the cookie jar.  This blog, by the way, too has been cleared.  I made just enough money from that, free lance journalism and investigating strange sightings to pay the rent.  Got quite the reputation.  If you look me up, you will fail.  I used a professional name during this period.  In my profession who would take a Moses Haygood seriously.  A suggestion by Jules’.

I received a call from another unexpected source – Insurance.  Seems there was this Arizona rancher who was losing cows to what locals claimed were aliens.  Because of my experience and apparent skepticism, the insurance company covering the cows called me.

I know nothing of cows.  My experience with Arizona is singular but the job intrigued me.  I accepted.

My first task was interviewing the rancher.  He had no idea what was happening.  He’d called the insurance company only to find out if he was covered.  The suggestion that little green men were experimenting on his cattle was nothing more than “slow minded Los Angelinos looking for answers to their stupid lives.”

At first, the cows just turned up dead in the fields.  No visible marks.  Then analysis came back showing high concentrations of radiation in their systems.  Next, cows not only were dying but mutilated with large round circles burned into their sides.

Working with the Sherriff and a local real estate guy, it didn’t take me long to find the source of the radiation.  There was a research facility twenty miles away.  The ranch sat above an underground river that was being contaminated.  The contamination came up in the grass and thus killed the cows.  The mutilation was locals looking to create mischief.

The research facility was on the hook for damages, the Sheriff took the reprobates into custody and I got paid a handsome fee.  Why retell this here.  Because, I need you, the reader to know that while my entries tend towards flights of fancy, my history up till this point is one grounded in analytical thought.  I tend to side with those who cross their arms and shout “prove it.”

It’s just that my previous skills hold little sway to my current investigation.  I try hard not to “just believe.”  But with all the dreams and synchronous events, it becomes hard to continually create a litmus test for every evidential bit that falls into my lap.

M. Haygood

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