The Dudes on the Devil’s Backbone

On one of our trips we went to Austin. Admittedly, our primary destination was the giant Whole Foods–it’s like Disneyland with food instead of princesses. Then, with full stomachs and a cooler full of goodies, we took day trips. It was late February and the wildflowers hadn’t been scorched off the earth quite yet, so they were thick as blades of grass on a golf course, in all different colors. We climbed Enchanted Rock and rode the glass-bottomed boat at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, another amazing sight: The water is so transparent you can see the springs that feed it bubbling way down below and watch the big fish swallowing the little ones.

Then, of course, we had to look for something paranormal, and where else but the Devil’s Backbone? This is a high, twisting ridge and the site of many, many ghost stories. We stopped at the scenic overlook with the chain-link fence. (In the past there were probably a number of suicides and accidents involving one too many Lone Stars, so now there’s a fence.) There are wreaths and crosses on it, like the ones you see along the roads where people have died in car accidents.

So we were reading the inscriptions and taking pictures, and when we turned back there were two men…Remember the Totally Gay Nordic Dudes in Dude, Where’s My Car? They looked just like that–blond crew cuts, protein-shake physiques, even the dark glasses–and they were sitting in folding web chairs that seemed to have materialized out of thin air, facing the overlook and not moving a muscle. After five minutes or so they folded their chairs, stowed them in the otherwise empty trunk of a silver Mercedes, and drove off into the ether.

Obviously they were aliens, up there either to recharge their solar cells or commune with the mother ship. Fortunately, their intentions were peaceful…I hope.


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