Sunday, April 12, 2015


I woke last night in the middle of the night, unsure exactly what the time was, and padded off to the bathroom to fulfill the familiar demand of the aging bladder.  Returning to the bedroom, I was surprised to find it filled with sparkling white light.  I glanced out through the window, which looks down over the vast stretch of Hollywood and the Los Angeles Basin below, and was startled to see a brilliant beam of light shooting back at me.  It seemed to be aimed directly into our bedroom window, and came from a source that hovered motionless a few hundred feet above the city...

I supposed it had to be a helicopter.  I have watched them many times before, beaming spotlights down into the city streets in pursuit of criminal suspects.  But I have never before seen a helicopter direct its spotlight horizontally, as this one did, and especially not purposefully in the direction of our hillside home.  I watched for a while, until the light source veered away slowly, as though reluctantly, toward the south, and moved off, out of sight behind the trees, totally soundless in its flight.  A red light glowed briefly as it made its turn, then it was gone.

I lay awake for a long time after this spectacle, wanting to believe that what I had seen was a common sight in Los Angeles, a police helicopter working over Hollywood in the night sky.  But I could not bring myself to quite believe it.  Its behavior was unlike that of the familiar helicopter.  I found myself pondering the possibility that my eyes had deceived me, that I had been dreaming, or that I had seen something stranger and more disturbing than my rational mind could accept...

Some part of me would have liked to believe it to be some celestial, extraterrestrial apparition.  But of course it had to have been a helicopter.  No?

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