There were no clubs I wanted to join at Lincoln elementary, the school I went to as a kid. Back then, nothing “normal” really interested me. So I remember being really excited when my teacher told me I could start my own club. All I had to do was get enough people to join. She said I needed a minimum of five students and I knew just what kind of club I wanted, an Alien Club. It would be a club dedicated to the study and hunting of aliens, something I was crazy about as a kid. I remember approaching the kids I thought would be cool to have around, even if they didn’t like aliens. I asked Josh first. He was the most popular kid on the playground; all the boys wanted to hang out with him and I was sure all the girls liked him. He was blonde and blue eyed with a habit for getting into trouble. Even though I was seen as the weird kid, since I knew Josh, I was somehow acceptable to be around.
When I first met Josh He told me proudly he had broken his arm three times on separate occasions. One of those times had been at school when he jumped from the top of the playground slide on a dare. He sounded brave and fearless as he retold his story. He said it didn’t hurt and he didn’t cry. I never told him I had found out that he was actually pushed down the slide and cried all the way to the nurse. Josh ended up joining my club but I knew he wouldn’t stay if I didn’t get more people to join so I asked my friends Eddie and Rachael.
Eddie was dark skinned and quiet. His parents were Cambodian and frequently cooked food I had never heard of. His clothes occasionally smelled odd with the scent of foreign foods. Rachael was a girl I had met recently. She was shy at first but quickly warmed up to me and was the kind of girl that wouldn’t be quiet once she got to talking. She followed me around like a duckling. With Rachael tailing me, I felt like I was really in command of something, some big shot on the playground because I had a flunky. With Josh, Eddie and Rachael, I had my makeshift club going; I just needed one more person to meet the minimum requirement. I asked around, but all of the other kids thought the club sounded either ridiculous or just found me way too weird.
Without a fifth, we wouldn’t be an official club. So I decided to impress everyone with the start of club activities. I believed that if people saw how cool and interesting studying aliens was, they would want to join us. I held my first Alien Club meeting in secret, after school. I told everyone in the club to meet around the pre-K building. I had gathered up some books on UFO’s and extraterrestrials from the library to show everyone and also did a bit of reading myself so I would sound like I knew something about the subject. I explained what an alien was, UFO’s, alien encounters and what Area 51 was. Rachael expressed some interest. Eddie was always indifferent to anything besides Pokémon and sports. Josh only seemed to care when Rachael did.
To be honest, I liked Josh and wanted him to stay, so I didn’t mind his new found obsession since I knew Racheal would do anything I told her, including leaving Josh alone. Our first meeting only lasted fifteen minutes because we all had to go home after school. I told everyone to go study up on aliens because the next time we would do some alien watching. They said they would, but I knew they wouldn’t.
A few days later I gathered everyone at recess. We met under the trees that lined the fence, at the end of the basketball courts. On the other side of the fence were the street, a store strip and a fast food chicken place. I found a spot between the bushes and trees, a clear spot where we could look out, perfect for alien hunting. That day I informed everyone about the MIB, the Men In Black. Not characters from a movie. I explained who the real Men In Black were. I told them they were the guys that sent a warning when a person got to close to the truth. Honestly the thought excited me. It was the sure way to know that we were on the right path if one of us got a visit from them. That day, I told them we would be watching out for the MIB. Eddie didn’t want to do it and ran off to play some game with another friend. He didn’t want to waste his recess looking for men in black suits. It sounded stupid when put that way. Rachael stayed of course and so did Josh. I told them Eddie was just a chicken and that they would be too if they ran away.
After agreeing to do the watch I told them that they had to look closely and pay attention, that the MIB could change their appearance at will, anyone could be one. So we sat for about twenty minutes, most of the time goofing around and suspecting people that were obviously not who we were looking for. Recess was almost over and both Josh and Rachael were tired of this game. They stood and went to talk about other things. I knew Josh liked Rachael and I hated her for it. She was taller than me with silky brunette hair. Of course Josh liked her. But she was supposed to be my friend, not a traitor.
I turned back to the fence, brooding over Josh when the bell rung. I was about to get up when I saw a single man across the street, walking. He wore all black, with a hat on his head and a briefcase in one hand. I was even sure he had on black shades. I squinted at him and felt my heart lurch with excitement. A car swooshed past and I could see the man was wearing brown, no shades. I blinked. I wasn’t sure if it had always been brown or not. He was of course, all the way across the street.
I got up and returned to class. After school got out I told Eddie, Josh and Rachael about what happened when they left. They thought I was making up, teasing them to make my club sound cool. Rachael even mentioned that he was wearing brown instead of black, so how could he have been MIB? I agreed, but was angry that Rachael didn’t back me up like always, now that she had Josh on her side. I walked home by myself as usual. I told my mom I was a big enough girl to do so, plus I only lived a few blocks from home. On the way I remembered what I had said earlier about Men In Black, that they could change their appearances. My heart sank. Rachael was wrong. I know what I had seen. He had changed, I know he did. He looked right at me. I had to tell them this, that I was right.
That night I had a strange dream. I dreamed that I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I didn’t know what had woken me, but I just felt I had to be up. The house was quiet and dark. My brother was asleep in the bottom bunk. My parents room was adjacent, their door closed. As always the bathroom door that was across the hall facing my room was open, it’s darkened threshold concealing shadows and the faint, eerie glimmer of a mirror. I tried not to look into that darkness and the distorted blob of my reflection as I exited my room. I walked down the hall and into the living room.
There was no knock, but somehow I knew someone was at the door. I went to the front room door and reached out for the handle with a shaky hand. I had no clue why I felt so scared to turn that knob or who it was at the door so late. But it was as if my hand was guided by some force, I had to open the door. My fingers closed around the handle and pulled. Nothing. There was no one there, nothing but the flickering of my porch light. I wanted to open the screen and look out but decided against with a new wave of fear. I quickly closed the door, enveloped in darkness again. I suddenly didn’t feel alone. I knew someone had been at the door and they were watching me now.
I woke up that morning shaking. I didn’t want to have that dream again. But I kept having it, every night. I would dream of answering the door to no one. I began losing sleep to this and soon I had decided to put off my alien club activities. The dreams stopped and after a few days of pleasant sleep, I picked the club back up. I got out more books from the library. I held a meeting as usual, even more focused on my search for aliens. I didn’t tell my friends about my odd dreams or mention the man again.
For a while, everything was fine; however one day after school my teacher congratulated me on starting my new club. I didn’t know what she was talking about since I never got a fifth member and made it anything official. But she insisted I had. She said she met with some girl at recess saying she was the fifth member. She said the girl’s name was May Bim. I had never heard of her in any class though. Her name was odd; I figured she was probably Cambodian or something. I wanted my club to be official so I didn’t say anything about not knowing her. Before I left the class, my teacher said she forgot to tell me May had left a note for me in my desk. I didn’t remember any note, but perhaps she had done it when I went to the bathroom. I went to my desk and sat. I stuck my hand in my desk and searched till I felt a small folded piece of paper. I pulled it out and opened it. The paper looked as if it had been torn from a note book. The message was written very fine and delicately, curving letters no elementary kid would be able to write.
Chills went down my spine when I read the note with its bold black letters. It said: “I’m at the door”, signed BIM in all capital letters. I knew what she meant. I knew she was no little girl and I would never find her in any class. I never told my teacher about the girl or what the note said. I was absolutely petrified. I couldn’t sleep at night. My parents had me see a doctor and I was prescribed pills to help me sleep. Till this day I still have trouble answering my front door. Because I knew, Bim backwards spelled: M.I.B. They were still watching me.