Man, we just can't catch a break when it comes to inflation.

Specifically, that of spy balloons from China our military is forced to shoot down. At first, I laughed at the idea - a balloon, in broad daylight, designed to "spy."

But then, I remembered an incident here in New Hampshire a few years back and wondered, "Did I see one of those and not even realize it?"

In the spring of 2020, at the height of the pandemic and with only Tiger King to “keep us sane," I settled in to write on a deck about a mile from the ocean.

The sky was pretty. So, I took one of those cheesy “today’s office” pictures that people post to Instagram, click send, and thought nothing of it.

Within minutes, my phone began buzzing.

First, it was my friend Sam, asking if the photo was “real.” I assumed he was referring to the blueish pink sky over the marsh and ocean, so I assured him that yes, it was a nice, lovely photo.

Then, it was my cousin Mike. He was very interested in whether the photo was “real.” I responded that yes, it was. Mike’s a high-end programming wiz based in Washington D.C. who has done work for several intelligence agencies, so it struck me a bit odd he would take time out of his day to inquire about a pretty photo.

The third text, however, raised eyebrows. It was Chris Sheridan, former showrunner for Family Guy. Chris is a New Hampshire native who helped me get going back in the day, so it’s always good to hear from him. But then I remembered…he wasn’t at Family Guy anymore.

Chris is now the executive producer of the hit dramedy Resident Alien on SyFy.

That’s when I got a follow-up text from my cousin Mike, asking: “Did you see it?”

Finally, I looked at the photo and discovered what was causing all the commotion. High above the trees was a dark object that I had not scene while snapping the shot.

I assumed it must have been a mosquito that had flown past the lens. But, as I was reminded, someone had just had the yard sprayed about an hour before.

A crumb, maybe? Nope. No food to be found.

But here’s the weirdest part: I went over two years without thinking about this at all. It was only during a conversation with a colleague when I was asked if I’d seen a UFO and said, “…Wait a minute.” I went on my phone, and saved on May 17, 2020 at 7:39 were two photos taken back-to-back with high-definition resolution.

In the first photo, a clear sky.

Rineman Photo
Rineman Photo

In the second: the object.

Rineman Photo
Rineman Photo

So, what say you? Am I another alien chaser from New Hampshire, like my friends over in Exeter? Or did I see something? I mean...the Seacoast was home to a legendary spy.

In the meantime, at least I know I'm not crazy if I see something green in the night sky.

Either way, I just hope if aliens are patrolling the Seacoast, they’re as “competent” as the moronic Martians who embarrassed themselves in the Berkshires.

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