By Jack Cawthon

The big news on the international scene is that a human baby has been cloned. Big deal! As the secret is now out, you readers of the Herald are going to hear the rest of the story even before Paul Harvey does.

Do you suppose that Big Puf happened by accident? Why am I the only one who can find it? The answer, my friends, is that BIG PUF WAS CLONED BY ALIENS FROM OUTER SPACE!

The setting is a mountain top somewhere in Preston County. I am sitting up there communicating with spirits. I hear a buzzing sound, which is not uncommon for me, but which was somehow different from the buzzes I normally experience. Suddenly, a bright light envelopes me and over my head I see a saucer-shaped object. I cannot move. Then, "it" appears before me.

I can't really describe the being as it was more like a vapor with a head, not unlike the mists that often hang over me and the mountain. But when it spoke it spoke with a twang that I identified as somewhere south of Beckley. The words were familiar to me, as I speak proficient hillease.

I had been chosen, I was told, for a noble experiment here on earth. "Why me?" I asked, as I had never been chosen for anything except derision. I was told that I had had years of experience dealing with university professors which qualified me as a special space expert. Also, I had hill genes of long standing, and after considerable study, this was the genetic stock needed for the "experiment."

Before I could say, "Give me space, lots of space, and don't fence me in," I found myself on board the "mother" ship, a more descriptive than I could imagine at the time. What followed next, I won't describe here, as there may be young readers reading this who don't understand how alien babies are made. I can say that it wasn't unpleasant. Before I could say "Don't, stop!" (I may have dropped the comma in all the excitement.) I was back on the mountain top. I assumed I had had visions once again, as I often experience them when writing this stuff and find them extremely helpful.

Then, one day in the institution, while staring off into space as I often did, a visitor appeared in my office. I hadn't noticed him come in, and I assumed he had brought another manuscript on chicken research for me to edit.

However, he identified himself as "Bubba," and told me he was there regarding the "mountain experiment," and he winked. At once, I realized I hadn't been imagining the happening and that I had really been abducted by aliens. Bubba explained that my genes had been perfect. I thanked him and told him I always wore Levi Strauss. But he didn't seem to understand earthly jokes.

He continued with news that hit me, well, like a ton of space dust. Bubba told me he and his people had cloned a whole community in a "puf," and had named it Big Puf. (Later I found that spelling was not done well by aliens, but I wasn't about to correct them as I didn't want mutated.)

Bubba told me that I was the "father" of his "babies." (I wasn't about to ask about the mother, as I was afraid that even space aliens had heard about child support.) I would be given the opportunity to visit whenever I wished, he told me. I had been given visitation rights! However, no other earthly people would ever be allowed.

You can bet I took his directions down carefully. When I later followed them, I found myself in a village not unlike one can find throughout the hill country. Surprising, most of all, I found myself among people who talked and behaved, and if I modestly say so myself, looked much like me!

Bubba was there to escort me around. He introduced me to the "first prototype model" of myself, who had been named "Burvil." I saw the cleverness right away, as my alien friend was familiar with a name I couldn't have chosen better myself. But there was something obviously wrong. Burvil didn't talk right. He spoke with perfect grammar and was sophisticated, which I let Bubba know was a defect in manufacture. He shook his head and said that something must have gone wrong with the disk drive. He lifted Burvil's shirt and adjusted the disk, which, of course, was in his back. Burvil yelled out some profanities and declared, "You egit! Go messin' with me agin the States will settle with you'un but not afore I whomp you upside the haid!" Perfect likeness, I gushed in pride.

I realize this story will be difficult to verify. Also, that doctor who sounds French will get all the credit. But I am now free to tell my story, and as I have perfect credibility with all you readers, I know you will accept what I have to say.

Over the years I have been asked how one can find Big Puf. I always smile, and say "You can't get there from here." Everyone thinks I'm being coy. But I have been given the honor of "fathering" a whole multitude, something only in the past allowed to royalty and, perhaps, traveling salesmen.

Oh, I almost forgot. There was one "human" presence roaming Big Puf. Somehow, Arley Cleeter had wandered in unnoticed at first. But Bubba explained that he had been so spaced out on chemicals of the 70s, and, in addition, from Pennsylvania, that he was permitted to stay as a "resident alien."

I am proof that this cloning is not so bad after all. I do have excellent qualifications, if I do say so myself. And I have been given permission from the Galaxtic Council to issue periodic reports to you. You are invited to join with me in promoting the movement. We are known as Derailians.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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