Relaxed Reads: Blue Harvest


Crop Circles

Cody Moss

Part One

Saturday had arrived. Ryan couldn’t have been more excited, but Melissa was aloof. They were just finishing cleaning up at Burger King. Ryan danced as he swept the floor; Melissa filtered the deep fryers nonchalantly. Ryan whistled as he took out three leaking, putrid smelling bags of trash; Melissa scraped caked-on grease off of the equipment. Ryan wondered, if only for a moment, what aliens would think if they saw man-made crop circles; Melissa wondered what it would be like to live the life of an ant. 

All of their fellow coworkers got to leave before them. The manager hated Ryan and Melissa — but really, the manager hated everyone. The two clocked out, the computer beeped and the back door slammed shut. 

Ryan turned slowly to his friend, wide-eyed and ecstatic as he whispered, “It’s time.”

Melissa looked at him.

The two jumped in Ryan’s car and drove to Giant Eagle. Old Man Yoder’s farm was in walking distance of Giant Eagle, but they also needed to pick up a few last minute supplies.

Ryan drove a 1990 Chevy something-or-other — at least that’s what he called it. The back bumper was almost completely gone. What wasn’t rusted off had practically fallen off when he backed into a tree on the Fourth of July. The doors squeaked, only one window went up and down, and the engine growled an angry growl like a vicious animal. It was perfect; it was his baby.

They arrived at Giant Eagle and parked to the right of the entrance. They walked past a couple quietly arguing about what movie to get from Redbox. 

“I still can’t believe you went to see this without me,” the woman said.

“I’m sorry — ” the man said, trying to muster up an excuse. “You had to work and I, I really want to see it again.”

A fluorescent light flickered in the darkness above the entrance as Ryan and Melissa walked in. 

“You want donuts?” Ryan asked. “I want donuts.”

“Nah, just some energy drinks,” Melissa said. 

Ryan grabbed a shopping basket and hung it on his arm. He felt like an old lady carrying an oversized handbag, a handbag with secret compartments that contained everything from a first aid kit to a can of green beans. He had found a can of green beans in his grandmother’s purse one time, that was before anyone realized she had dementia. 

Ryan headed for the donuts. He twirled the tongs on his finger while he searched for the perfect one. Melissa inspected the birthday cakes behind the glass. Ryan finally decided on cream-filled and ate it as they walked around the store. Melissa led the way to the beverage aisle; Ryan followed; a half-eaten donut in one hand, an empty shopping basket in the other.

Melissa grabbed three Arizona Sweet Teas and a Monster. Ryan selected two Monsters and a coffee drink to chase down his donut that was already gone. They also decided to share a case of Red bull. What would their adventure be without a sugar rush, other than a drowsy adventure? 

They made their way to the front of the store where there was only one checkout register open. A young woman stood at register six thumbing through a magazine. Ryan lugged his now heavy basket onto the counter. 

“Are you guys a little thirsty?” the cashier woman joked.

“Huh? Oh yeah, we actually have a party to go to,” Ryan lied.

Melissa flashed her Giant Eagle card at the woman; Ryan didn’t have one.

“Well, have a nice night,” the cashier woman said as she finished ringing them out. 

The two friends walked back to Ryan’s car toting heavy blue bags. They sat in the car for a moment in silence and just as Melissa was about to open her drink Ryan looked at her.

“I forgot to pay for my donut,” he said quietly. 

They burst into hysterical laughter. That moment best described their friendship; two friends laughing at each other’s stupidity. 

Once they finally calmed down, Ryan and Melissa each lit a cigarette and cracked open an energy drink. They guzzled them down until they could feel their hearts beating faster and faster pumping the sugar through their veins. Caffeine, nicotine and two daring friends. It was the perfect mixture for trouble. 

They left the car parked at Giant Eagle and walked to Old Man Yoder’s farm. Ryan carried two wooden boards and Melissa pulled her drawing for the crop circle out of her back pocket. It was a simplistic design but strange enough to look extraterrestrial. Ryan thought the design was marvelous. 

“I think it’s simple enough for us to try and pull off,” Melissa said.

“Yeah I think so too,” Ryan agreed. The design looked like a circle within a circle with lines protruding out at different angles sort of like a tribal tattoo. 

They avoided the main road and started cutting through backyards. The smell of manure was getting stronger as they got closer. Finally they snuck past the barn and made it to the corn field. The full moon illuminated the night, shining a soft blue light over the autumn harvest. 

Ryan handed Melissa a board and they nodded at each other. Ryan went first into a row of maize, and Melissa followed. They would have to start in the middle of the field to perfect the design. They felt the leaves of the cornstalks brushing gently against their faces. Their pace quickened to a run down the row. Suddenly, Ryan’s shoe caught the root of one of the cornstalks; he fell face first into the dirt and almost took the cornstalk with him. Melissa tripped over his legs and fell beside him, crushing the cornstalk. They laid still for a moment in the darkness, when they thought they heard something rustle in the cornfield. 

“Probably just an animal,” Ryan whispered, after a moment. 

They got up and continued carefully down the row. Melissa led the way this time until she finally stopped at the end of the row. 

“What is it?” Ryan whispered softly.

He peered over her shoulder but didn’t understand. They walked out of the row, but the row didn’t end. The crops ahead were simply pushed down. Ryan’s stomach turned and Melissa’s body began to tremble. The two realized they were standing inside of a crop circle. 

Contact Cody Moss at [email protected].