That Time I Witnessed a Real-Life Russian Invasion

Or maybe not, it was dark and such

Paul Thomas Swann
3 min readMar 8
Photo by Andrew Palmer on Unsplash

I am a freshman in college attending a small college in northeast Alabama.

It’s 8:52 p.m. and I’m headed home to Mobile for the weekend. These few months at college have been harder than I thought they’d be.

I load stuff into my 1973 Plymouth Gold-Duster and head south.

Up till then, I’d never been away from home so long before. I just want to get home.

So, I travel down through Aniston, Talladega, and then Montgomery.

It’s a nicer drive than going through Birmingham. And if you look, you can almost see the Talladega speedway and sometimes, on a clear day, even Mount Cheaha to the left.

Something happened to the Lynyrd Skynyrd 8-track tape in Montgomery so I turned on Larry King Overnight. I spend the next 30 minutes yelling at him to keep me awake.

A little bit south of Greenville, I see a shooting star.

I thought it was a star.

Seemed to have lit up half the southern sky.

Half the sky!

Cool! Who doesn’t love shooting stars?

But then the second one flashes across the sky and I get a little nervous.

Not scared or frightened, just alerted.

Aware of my surroundings.

But when I could momentarily see the pine trees lining Interstate 65, which are normally in total darkness, I realize that this ain’t a run-of-the-mill shooting star.


From what my political science professor has been teaching us at JSU, I’m thinking, Soviets.



After years of practicing the head-between-the-knees position in elementary school, and sometimes hiding under school desks that were obviously designed to protect from the debilitating effects of nuclear radiation and blasts, they’ve finally done it.

That’s got to be it!