“What would you get on your crystal set?” Vic asked his son. “Are there any stations still transmitting?” It had been his impression that radio stations had folded up several years ago.
Ragle said, “He can probably monitor ship-to-shore signals. Aircraft landing instructions.”
“Police calls,” Sammy declared.
“That’s right,” Ragle said. “The police still use radio for their cars.” Holding out his hand he accepted the crystal set from Vic. “I can trace the circuit later, Sammy,” he said. “But I’ve got too good a hand right now. How about tomorrow?”
Junie said, “Maybe he can pick up flying saucers.”
“Yes,” Marge agreed. “That’s what you ought to aim for.”
“I never thought of that,” Sammy said.
“There’s no such thing as flying saucers,” Bill Black said testily. He fiddled with his cards.
“Oh no?” Junie said. “Don’t kid yourself. Too many people have seen them for you to dismiss it. Or don’t you accept their documented testimony?”
“Weather balloons,” Bill Blake said. Vic was inclined to agree with him, and he saw Ragle nodding. “Meteors. Meteorological phenomena.”
“Absolutely,” Ragle said.
“But I read that people had actually ridden in them,” Margo said.
They all laughed, except Junie.
“It’s true,” Margo said. “I heard it over TV.”
Vic said, “I’ll go as far as admitting that there seems to be some sort of odd-ball stuff going on up there.” He remembered one experience of his own. The summer before, during a camping trip, he had watched a bright object flash across the sky at such velocity that no plane, even a jet-propelled plane, could have matched it. The thing had more the manner of a projectile. In an instant it had whisked off over the horizon. And occasionally, at night, he had heard rumblings, as if heavy vehicles were passing at reduced velocity across the sky. Windows had vibrated, so it had not been head-noises, as Margo had decided. In an article in a digest medical magazine she had read that head-noises indicate high blood pressure, and after that she had wanted him to visit their health-plan doctor for a checkup.
Philip K. Dick
Time Out Of Joint
Copyright © 1959 by Philip K. Dick.