The story below is 100% true and happened in the summer of 2000…
“Something is going to happen on August 29th.“
I eyed my mother skeptically from across the table as we dined one hot July evening. My daughter and stepfather had already finished their meals and left the room, leaving it solely up to me to debunk this premonition.
“Oh really?” I asked. “Like what?“
She shrugged before spearing another forkful of salad. “I don’t know,“ she replied. “It’s just a feeling I have.“
“Well,“ I began, curious despite myself, “is it a good thing, or a bad thing?“
“I’m not sure. Good, I think.“
“And just who exactly is this possibly good thing going to happen to on August 29th?“
“I don’t know that either,“ she replied, slightly perturbed at my cynicism. “I’m just telling you what I feel. Something is going to happen on that day.“
“Well, the spirits certainly are covering all their bases,“ I joked. “On August 29th something that may be good, or may not be so good is going to happen to someone, somewhere. Wow. That’s really going out on a limb.“
“You’ll see,“ was all she said.
Rather than risk being sent home before dessert, I kept any further doubts I may have had to myself. The conversation turned elsewhere, and as July slipped into August, my mother’s premonition was all but forgotten.
This particular Tuesday in August began as do many summer days in Maryland: hot and humid. Rather than the usual thirty-two mile drive to work, a coworker and I had been ordered to attend a meeting in Northern Virginia, more than twice that distance away. We then had the distinct pleasure of spending the next seven hours learning a new method of scheduling that was guaranteed to triple the amount of time it usually took to create the same schedule.
By the time I arrived back at home that evening, I was more than ready to call it a day. My antique, 4-poster bed with it’s cool sheets and down pillows was calling out to me, but I managed to resist it’s Siren song long enough to check my email. What I read then had me wondering if perhaps I was already asleep and dreaming:
Congratulations! You have been selected as the Grand Prize winner of Fox.com’s X-Props Summer Sweepstakes. Your name was randomly chosen from among the nearly 3,000 participants who correctly answered all 6 weekly questions. As you may know, the prize is a weekend in Los Angeles to visit The X-Files set…“
After reading the email two or three (dozen) times looking for the catch and not finding one, I picked up the phone.
“Mom! You’re not going to believe the email I just got.“ I went on to explain about the contest, especially about how I’d nearly forgotten to answer the final two questions, rushing back to complete them only after seeing a reminder on an X-Files fan website that the contest was in it’s final days.
“This is really great news,“ she told me. “Congratulations!“
We talked a little while longer, and then disconnected the call. When the phone rang five minutes later, I was still staring in awe at my computer screen.
“Hello?“ I asked, distractedly.
Getting right to the point, my mother blurted out, “I just remembered something. What is today’s date?“
Confused, I had to think for a moment. When the answer dawned on me, I gasped aloud.
It was August 29th.
Picture #1: A screen shot of the sweepstakes winner – ME! – as announced on the official X-files website:
Picture #2: Me, some guy that bears a remarkable resemblance to the liquid-metal man from Terminator II, and my brother Dave. Oh wait, it IS the liquid-metal man. For those of you die-hard X-files fans, you may recall that Robert Patrick joined the show during the season where Mulder was abducted by aliens. Unfortunately, David Duchovny was off somewhere with the aliens when we got to visit. We saw Gillian Anderson, too, but did not get a picture with her. Robert Patrick did a wonderful job of making me look stupid. 🙂 When he heard that I had won the visit through an X-files trivia sweepstakes, he had a trivia question of his own for me – which I got wrong! I believe the question was, “Which band had songs on both the X-files movie soundtrack and the CD Songs in the Key of X?” The answer was Filter, which I did not know. Of course, Robert may only have known it because his brother, Richard Patrick, is the lead singer of said band!
Picture #3: Dave and I hamming it up by the stars’ chairs.
Picture #4: After visiting the cast where they were filming on location somewhere out in industrial LA, Dave and I were given a private tour of the Fox lot, including the X-files studio. Here is Dave, sitting at Assistant Director Skinner’s desk. Assistant Director Dave?