In an unusual turn of events, townsfolk from Cripple Creek and Victor have been rearing their heads skyward recently, like an overambitious team of turkey vulturers. They reported spotting a series of strange lights overhead. Fleeting and dazzling like a prom queen’s tiara, it instilled a sense of mysticism over the rustic serenity of the Colorado hinterlands.

Upon initial evaluation, the Teller County UFO society suspected that Bob from the county fair had had one too many of his “special” punches and was trying to fly his miniature helicopter again. However, this theory was promptly discarded when it was remembered that Bob had lost his keys—along with his dignity—in a poker game a week prior.

As it turns out, all the hubbub was not about any homemade drone, unless E.T. has taken up drone flying as a hobby, which, considering the dreary job market on his homeworld, isn’t entirely outside the realm of possibility.

Reportedly, the lights were of an otherworldly nature, eliciting a mélange of emotions in quiet Teller County. Some claimed an imminent alien invasion, while others rounded their children and pets, expecting the second coming of Christ. The church organist swore she thought the End Times had begun, but begrudgingly went back to practicing Amazing Grace when the lights did not, to her utmost dismay, lead to immediate rapture.

Amid the quasi-apocalyptic aura, Colorado Springs Air Force Base decided to scramble several aircraft to intercept. Aircraft equipped to combat anything from a rogue fighter jet to a wayward ketchup-carrying drone went aloft to fathom the unidentified lights. Their mission? To ensure Coloradans wake up to a sane world the next day, if at all possible.

However, no substantial evidence of flying saucers, intergalactic wars, or heaven-bound ascensions was reported—just some disoriented pigeons apparently floundering in the face of the luminary spectacle. Investigation into the event is on-going, despite the general resilience of the townsfolk who were seen going back to discussing fishing tactics, lottery numbers and chicken pot pie recipes.

Consequently, the quasi-extraterrestrial temperament has sparked a tourism hike with UFO enthusiasts flocking in. In response, local businesses have gone through the roof with sizzling teleplays of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “E.T.” playing through the small hours. For those with an appetite for the slightly absurd and a little less sense of urgency, “Independence Day” screenings are also available—the aliens in that take a goodly while before they actually do anything.

As the mystery continues to unravel, residents of Cripple Creek and Victor are making do with their own philosophical musings on the unknown. Their consensus? “Better aliens than another election year,” said Mortimer, a local farmer, while sharpening his pitchfork. The sentiment was echoed by a weathered old lady on Main Street, batting her cat-friendly blue eyes, “Oh, I say, let’s have the aliens. They can’t do worse than the politicians.”

Scarily enough, a recent poll conducted by Teller Tribune showed the townsfolk would vote the “aliens” as the best candidate in a fictional presidential election. Once bountiful in silver ore, Teller County now seems to possess an abundant supply of tongue-in-cheek humor—a necessity to journey through these extraterrestrial times.

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