ANNIE: Yeah. So all of that stuff was by way of introduction. I’m Annie Jump, and this whole story is about me.
I’m thirteen years old, I’m about to go to high school in the fall, and I’ve lived in Strawberry, Kansas for most of my life. My mom is from Chicago, but she’s dead now. I don’t miss her at all. I’m not mean or anything, I just don’t remember.
It’s not easy being a teenage science genius in a small town, especially when your dad believes in aliens. I try to take comfort in the thought that, even if he was totally and completely normal, no-one would like me anyway.
I mean, I have a 185 IQ, I got a perfect score on the SAT’s – last year, I put a hard boiled egg into orbit. Do you think there’s anything I could do to prevent Peter Stockholm and his cronies from stealing my gym shorts, besides being totally and completely someone other than me?
Didn’t think so.
Anyway, it might be packed with mouth-breathers and oil brats, it might have no Starbucks and only one yoga class a week- church basement, five pm, Fridays- but if there’s one advantage to living in the middle of absolute nowhere, it’s that Strawberry, Kansas has a dark-sky rating of two. And on the first night of the Perseid’s, when the moon is new.. there’s no city on earth that can compare.
If you sneak out of your room and go out to Hamlin’s field at midnight and look up, you don’t see planes, or pollution, or buildings glowing on the horizon. You only see the stars, and the meteors and…
Music is coming from somewhere, mounting in urgency. And then a whooshing wail like an incoming missile grows and grows. Annie points upwards.
What is that?
What buttwipe is setting off fireworks during a meteor shower?
An explosion. Green light flashes across the stage. Annie screams and covers her face.