Hey Grandpa! It’s great to see you. It’s been way too long. I SAID, IT’S BEEN WAY TOO LONG. Yeah, I’ve been really good. It’s great to be home. Saw the Packers beat Detroit with Randy Wright—now there’s an NFL legend we won’t soon forget. How have you been? I SAID, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN? Good. Well, I’m glad to hear it.

Looks like you’ve been spending a lot of time in your office. I see you put up some of your old astronomy maps, interesting. And what is that, a brand new telescope? Fancy. Need help? Sure, let me help you out. Looks heavy. What’s the occasion, doing some stargazing? Haha, anything to get away from Grandma for a few hours.

Oh, you’ve been putting it together so you can see Halley’s Comet passing tonight, wow. Okay. Huh. Right.

Did you keep the receipt? No? No reason, just wondering. Well, I’ll leave you to it. Don’t want to be a bother. See you downstairs.

What’s that? No, I don’t want to get in the way. This is your thing. Just wanted to come upstairs and say hi. I SAID, I JUST WANTED TO SAY HI.

Wouldn’t I like to see the comet? You got me there, Grandpa, you got me there. How could I miss this? Tonight is definitely the most important celestial event of the century. Not seven months ago on April 8th and 9th. Nope. It’s tonight. November 27th, 1986. No doubt about it.

I SAID, SURE I’D LOVE TO WATCH.

Yeah, I guess this will be my first and probably last time seeing it. You’re lucky though. Got to see it twice in one lifetime. I bet you were just a young lad your first time. That’s where you got such an attachment to it, right? Oh, you didn’t see it. Why’s that? Couldn’t stay awake? Haha you dozed off, didn't you sleepyhead?

I SAID, YOU FELL ASLEEP DIDN’T YOU?

Oh, you tried to see it and were counting down the days but your neighborhood bullies who called you “Coperni-kissass” and “Galile-hoe” tied you up with a vacuum cleaner cord and stuffed you in a washing machine—the latest commercial innovations of the time—while everyone else enjoyed something they would never see again and truly didn’t appreciate the way you would have. Jesus.

So this is a vengeance thing. An “I’ve been waiting my entire life for an unspecified date in 1986 just to stick it to the people who called me various astronomer puns and used timely torture methods” thing. Would’ve never guessed. So that’s why you’ve always been allergic to chores all these years, haha. Because of your, uh, trauma. Yep. Sorry.

Hey, at least it never deterred you from counting down the days. Seventy-five years. Whew! That’s a lot of individual days to count down and keep track of. Every single day. Basically your entire life. I don’t think many people could do that. Not without messing up. I’m not saying you lost count, but who knows. You might’ve. Might be off by a few days or months or half a year…

I SAID, THIS IS GOING TO BE GREAT.

Anyways, what time is this thing going off? Any minute now? Sure. That’s promising. A lot riding on this. Maybe we should take some of the pressure off. Look for Orion’s Belt and call it a day. Might be too cloudy anyways. I think I hear someone calling me from downstairs. There’s the Big Dipper! Cool, that was fulfilling. Well, I’ve had my fun, I’m going to head out.

I SAID, SCOOT OVER I WANT TO GET A BETTER LOOK.

All right, I have a confession. Listen, I really don’t want to ruin this for you. But I also don’t want to see you upset when this doesn’t go the way you thought it would. See, somewhere along the way I think you got your dates mixed up, Grandpa. Halley’s comet passed by earlier this year.

I SAID, I REALLY DON’T WANT TO RUIN THIS FOR YOU BUT HALLEY’S COMET PASSED EARTH SIX MONTHS AGO AND WON’T BE BACK UNTIL 2061. OKAY? YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME? THAT’S FAIR. MAYBE I’M WRONG. PRETTY SURE I’M RIGHT THOUGH BECAUSE I SAW IT, I CAN SHOW YOU PICTURES. I’M HOPING YOU’RE HEARING ALL THIS BECAUSE IF SOMEONE WAS LISTENING FROM ANOTHER ROOM THEY’D THINK I WAS AN ELDER ABUSER. YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME BECAUSE YOU’RE WATCHING IT RIGHT NOW AND I SHOULD LOOK OUT THE WINDOW?

Wow! There it is! I guess you were right all along Grandpa! Halley’s comet! Definitely not a Boeing 747! Nope! But the actual comet that’s been recorded every seventy five years for centuries! First by Roman philosophers, astronomers from every era, literary giants, and now us! Two guys in a house in Cincinnati less than ten minutes away from the airport! Wow! You’re right, it does have a long, streaking tail behind it! Certainly not your cataracts giving off that effect! I SAID, INCREDIBLE!


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