In the air

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

OK, first and foremost, since we’ve had a few of you ask, our annual 95-word fiction contest will kick off next week. We’ll have all the contest rules and other details in next week’s paper, but if you want to start mulling over your perfect plot for microfiction, get to it.

We go for a lot of walks around here. Our office is in a lower-income but family-friendly neighborhood, and we’re all, to one degree or another, prone to stepping out for a quick, brisk walk. In the newsroom, we half-jokingly call ’em spirit quests. We go on a lot of walking meetings, and I’m especially likely to go for a walk whenever we’re on deadline and I still have something to write, most likely this column, since it’s usually the last thing I work on every week. The function of this column is often housekeeping—like the paragraph above about the fiction contest—or to provide some additional editorial perspective on a story elsewhere in the paper. (There will be some of that later in the column.)

Anyway, at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, just before the sudden, precipitous sunset, I stepped outside to stretch my legs and quest my spirit.

As I started walking, I noticed a large military cargo plane flying low in the sky and almost directly overhead. A minute later, I saw what looked to be the same plane flying over head again—like it was circling. And then, a minute later, I saw it again. And then again.

Later, after I got back to the office, I asked my colleague Caleb Furlong, one of our advertising consultants and a much bigger gearhead than me, if he saw that “big, crazy military cargo plane.”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “The AC-130? There were at least three of them. … I love ’em.” Apparently it’s not that unusual to see ’em around here.

But, for me, walking around the neighborhood, nodding hello to the kids and the moms out on the street, it looked like the same giant plane circling repeatedly overhead, and it made me feel paranoid.

In unrelated news: enjoy this week’s feature story about cannabis!