Fox’s series the X-Files starred David Duchovny and Gillian
Anderson as FBI
agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully
Lights fade on this snow-erased suburban street as our screen flickers with roadside
bombs & body count. News is another stalled front,
a season past its prime. The house rattles with gale-force winds & Doppler radar
promises more. In this late hour, wisdom’s
an X-Files rerun, Tempranillo catching candle-shine in a glass. The flame leaps—a
little spark, a little shudder,
a little rising action in Headquarters where Scully calls Mulder, whispers Is it wise?
But I’m drifting back to the Hoover Building, my own inside shot
to honeycombed halls, rowed desks & ringing phones. What
badge were we after,
riding the Yellowbird bus down Pennsylvania Avenue,
a troop of girls kitted out in jumpers, cable knee socks, & small green berets.
badge we were after, what wisdom? Citizenship? Government?
We lived on old tobacco land, blissful on suburban streets, tree-lined Glens &
Choppers stuttered over Saigon. In a year where cookie sales
earned record profit we walked through security, scanned the Ten-Most-Wanted
Mulder knows the truth is out there. Scully, good Girl Scout, questions
every clue. She knows how far
the smart girl gets—badge & suit, official blessing,
unwitting agent of someone
else’s grand undisclosed plan. Cut to Mulder on the shooting range. What—or who—
emerges next? Bullets, a steady
sequence of shots. The human-sized target bends & spins, faceless,
with a red spotted
heart. Same spin, same din as I remember it.
Jane Satterfield is the author of Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond.