Copyright 1956 by Carl L. Biemiller

Illustrated by Kathleen Voute

Chapter One Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six
Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven
Starboy's Home C.L. Biemiller's Home

Chapter Two

The fire company from the nearby town never arrived, but the neighbors did, and particularly old Mr. Applegate, whose hay was in the Jenks barn. They came in two's and three's, the farmers and their hired hands. They left the same way after telling Mrs. Jenks how lucky she was that the fire went out before the barn really got caught. They left shaking their heads suspiciously.

"Something mighty queer going on there," said Mr. Tiddlebee, who owned a dairy farm about a mile away, to Mr. S. Jared Fagen, who raised trotting horses on the farm next to the Tiddlebees.

"Something mighty queer about that fire," said Jonas Q. Ferratt, a hired hand on a poultry ranch about another mile from the Jenks, to Mr. Finledder, who raised silo corn for a syndicate of piggeries near Weehawken.

Old Mr. Applegate said nothing much to anybody at all. He climbed the ladder, which led to the haymow and looked at burnt-up hay, at wisps of charred fluff and cindery roof beams. Then he climbed down again, walked over to Mrs. Jenks and Johnny who were waiting for him in the driveway.

"I'll send your mister a bill for my hay, ma'am," he said steadily, "and he can turn it over to the insurance company for payment. Then again, maybe I won't send anybody a bill, not if you can tell me what happened, ma'am." He raised his bushy white eyebrows until they seemed to flap upon his wrinkled forehead like little bird wings.

Mrs. Jenks looked at him. She answered him honestly. "I don't know, Mr. Applegate," she said softly. "First the barn was on fire and then it wasn't."

"I started it with my model rocket," said Johnny. "It blazed and then went out again."

"Harrumph," said Mr. Applegate. "Good day, Mrs. Jenks. 'Bye, son." He was the last of the helpful neighbors to leave. He muttered as he turned down the driveway toward his new Model-T Ford. It was new, too. Brown stickum wrapping paper still hung in patches against the coal-black, high-perched body. Mr. Applegate liked the Model-T Ford and he still had another new one in his barn, still in its paper with its engine parts buried in heavy grease. "Something mighty queer going on there," he muttered.

Mrs. Jenks didn't hear Mr. Applegate mutter but she certainly agreed with him. Not that she would ever tell anyone in north Jersey that there was a flying saucer hovering invisible over the Jenks pasture. Not at high noon on a Thursday in a mid-July summer. There was no sense in disturbing the neighbors by telling them that she thought the saucer had put out the barn fire.

Mrs. Jenks suddenly felt a bit faint. She turned to Johnny, who was watching her anxiously. "Is it still there?" she asked.

"Yes, Mother," said Johnny eagerly. "Oh, yes."

"Johnny, I wish your father would hurry."

"He will, Mother, " said Johnny.

Together they went into the house. Mrs. Jenks went to the front screen porch and sat down. Johnny went into the kitchen and got a drink of water. He was thirsty. Then he took an apple from the fruit bin. He was hungry. He bit it thoughtfully. He wondered what his father would do about his accident with the rocket, and then the apple didn't quite taste right. If only he had aimed the rocket in another direction.

Mr. George Jenks was in motion right after Mrs. Jenks' phone call telling him about the barn and the saucer, but he left one important instruction. "Call the boss in Washington," he said. "Tell him our Johnny has visitors again and ask him to call me at home. He'll know what I'm talking about."

Then he left, got his car from the garage, and fled for north Jersey just as fast as he could safely go. When he passed the jumble of north Jersey cities and traffic hazards, he went faster than that.

The radiator of his car was spurting tiny jets of steam when he roared into the driveway at home and when he slammed on the brakes the car whined and sent a jet of pebbles slashing through the air. Two of them hit Minstrel who was dozing on the grass at the edge of the drive. Minstrel rose, insulted, and walked stiffly out of sight. No Airedale likes to be sprayed with pebbles.

Mr. Jenks was out of the car before it stopped rocking. Mrs. Jenks and Johnny met him at the door and together they walked into the house. Johnny thought his father looked a little pale, but still very calm and softly patient.

"Well, George," said Johnny's mother, and she giggled, a very odd giggle.

"Sit down, Mary," said Mr. Jenks sternly. "It's all right now." Mrs. Jenks sat.

"Of course," she murmured. "Of course."

"Johnny," said his father, "let's hear about it. Right from the beginning."

"It was my fault, Dad," answered Johnny softly. He tried to hold back the lump in his throat. "The rocket got away from me and hit the barn. Gee whiz, it went right through the side, and everything started to burn"

"Johnny," interrupted his father, "never mind the barn. Where's the saucer?"

It's here, George," said Mrs. Jenks quietly. "It put that fire out"

"Right over the pasture," said Johnny, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't keep the note of excitement out of his voice.

Mr. Jenks walked over to a window and peered through the lane formed by the elm trunks to the meadow beyond the house. He stared hard, lifted his gaze and frowned. "Don't see a thing," he said. He paused. "Johnny?" he questioned gently.

Mr. Jenks was remembering. He was remembering that Johnny was the only boy in the world who had ever seen a flying saucer close enough to touch and, as far as he knew, the only earth boy who had ever talked to a Man from Out There. He was remembering the magic sort of mind-reading, which Johnny once said was like using two friendly brains as sort of a telephone without wires, without anything at all except friendship and sympathy.

"Johnny?" he queried. "did you talk with the Man from Out There?"

"Yes," said Johnny brightly, "and he's got a surprise for me."

Mr. Jenks looked at Mrs. Jenks. He made a decision. Men make decisions every day. They decide to start a new business, to steal third base, to create new governments, to order troops into battle, to change their shirts. The most important of their decisions change the face of the world; bring happiness, freedom, sadness, and slavery.

Few men ever get a chance to make a decision like the one Mr. Jenks just made.

He had decided to contact the unknown. He had decided to learn to know a stranger from another world, a visitor from Outer Space. Mr. Jenks never thought about expanding mankind's knowledge or adventuring with man's future. He was just curious.

Mr. Jenks just wanted to know what was going on.

"Let's all go down to the pasture," he said.

It was remarkable how much the day still looked like a plain old July Thursday, which only proves that there are really no ordinary days at all. Something very special is always happening to someone every day, which makes every day special, and getting out of bed easy for all of us.

The grasses rustled as they walked and a bunch of wiregrass twined around Mr. Jenks' ankle and untied his shoelace. A brown baby rabbit stared at Johnny and never bothered to jump out of the way as they passed within five feet of it. Far off above the horizon a hawk hung so still that he looked as though he were glued to the sky.

The day felt lonesome. Without thinking about it, Johnny extended his forefinger and poked it into the air for no reason at all except to draw a finger line through the warm, summer-smelling quiet. They reached the center of the grassy expanse.

Mr. Jenks squinted into the sun, then almost directly overhead. "Well," he said, "well…." He looked at Johnny. Johnny grinned.

There was a hum in the air. It was a faint hum, almost as if the leader of a bug band had asked for more volume from the insect violinists. Then, over their heads, the daylight suddenly had edges. There were blue shades in the sunshine, and there was a shape, blurred, then firm. It was the saucer! A broad and glimmering disc so light, so much a part of the air itself that it cast no shadow as it formed an almost-unseen umbrella over their heads. The disc moved, hovered ever so slightly, and then settled to a point about the height of their shoulders above the meadow.

"Wow," breathed Mr. Jenks and unconsciously he reached a hand to Mrs. Jenks, who took it.

Johnny bounced and wiggled with joy. "Yi, yea, yi," he cried.

The disc was solid now in the sunshine. Suddenly a section of it seemed darker, black, and a door opened, and a smiling face confronted the silent Jenks. It was the Man from Out There, and just as Johnny remembered him.

"Hello," he said. He said it in real words. Not the thought language at all. "How are you, Johnny? And hello, Mr. And Mrs. Jenks." Then he jumped lightly to the ground.

He was taller than Johnny's father, a big, lean man in a tight-fitting tunic of some silvery cloth with soft metallic glints in the fabric. His long legs were clad in a pair of skin-tight uniform trousers. Around his flat waist was a broad white belt and from it hung a small, glowing tube that looked like a pulsating flashlight. His face was tan and his hair was silver and his smile was gay and incredibly white.

Johnny lunged for him, clasped him about the waist, and the man, with a careless gesture of tenderness, rumpled Johnny's hair. At the same time he met Mr. Jenks' steady stare with an equally firm and equally probing look.

"Welcome to earth," said Mr. Jenks. "You know Johnny, and this is Mary, my wife."

"My name is Arcon," said the man, "and the ship is called Unit Dekon where I come from." He indicated the shining disc with a flick of his finger. He turned to Johnny. His smile grew even broader. "My little earth boy," he said. "Here's your surprise…" He turned his head and looked through the open hatchway into the ship.

Johnny's gaze followed the man's and so did his mother's and his father's.

There in the doorway was a boy!

He was a bit heavier than Johnny but about the same age. His face was eager and open, although his wavering smile was a mite shy. His hair was darker than the man's and it held a faint tinge of red. He was dressed in what looked like a suit of blue coveralls, a single-piece garment that came to his knees. There was a narrow white neckband at his throat. On his feet he wore a pair of soft black boots which came up above his ankles. He stood in the doorway and looked at Mr. Jenks and Mrs. Jenks and then he gazed at Johnny.

"Hello," he said softly, as if he weren't quite sure of the word.

"This is my son, Remo," said the man and held out his arms to give the boy a lift to the ground. Mrs. Jenks did a surprising thing. She knelt on one knee and pulled Remo into her arms. She gave him a big hug. "You're a long way from home," she said. She pushed the boy away gently. "Shake hands with Johnny."

Remo did. He reached his hand into a pocket on his coveralls. "Did you send me this?" he asked. In his hand was a small card, the kind that comes in boxes of breakfast cereal. It was a picture of a baseball-player, a picture of slugging Teddy Williams of the Boston Red Sox. It was the same card that Johnny had given the Man from Out There on the day he last saw the flying saucer a long time ago.

"Yes," said Johnny. "It's a ball-player."

"What," asked Remo, "is a ball-player?"

There was a moment of silence. Mr. Jenks cleared his throat. "A pasture is no place to welcome guests," he said. "Would you all like to go up to the house?"

"Yes," said Arcon gently. He turned and gazed intently at the still-hovering disc. Its door closed slowly, leaving only a spotlessly gleaming surface. The ship rose another twenty feet. It began to blur, became light-streaked. It vanished completely. There was nothing in the sky over the meadow.

"That's mental control?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"You could call it that," answered the Man from Out There. "Anyhow, I told the ship to move."

All the way up the pasture to the house Johnny had the impression that his mother, father, and the Man from Out There were busily talking although never a word was spoken aloud.

He laughed. He understood that sort of thing, sort of understood it. In fact, there was an idea forming in his own mind as he walked with Remo. It was Remo's idea, not his. "I'm going to stay with you and visit," it said.

Chapter One Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six
Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven
Starboy's Home C.L. Biemiller's Home