At first glance, it seems like a normal Iowa community college campus, newer than many, probably nicer than most.
Still, on July 7, as I bicycled in the neighborhood of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa, I asked myself some nagging questions. And came to some odd conclusions.
Come with me, for a bit, down the rabbit hole…
Item 1: Flat Catherine was not with me. Maybe the calming influence of that Sisters of Mercy symbol would have kept my fevered brain from kicking into overdrive. But I biked this adventure without her, as she resides in my briefcase and I forgot to grab her before heading north. Forgot? Or under the mysterious mind-altering influence of some conspiratorial powers?
Item 2: I downloaded a Waterloo trail map, so I could be planning my biking route while Audrey taught an Advance course on the HCC campus. The idea was that I would ride trails in the cities while my wife taught. But the map showed a dashed line—trail under construction—along a street that turned out not to exist. Hmm. Was the map wrong? Or is there something sinister going on?
Item 3: The inexplicable oval of asphalt. Looking at HCC’s official web site map, what you don’t see is what is just north of campus, accessible from path that leads by Building 13 (of course). It is a mile-long oval of asphalt, surrounding a mowed field of no purpose, beside a spooky corn field.
What is this oval? Why are there two soccer goals, one in place as if teams would play soccer on a half-mile field, the other apparently used (not successfully) to block bike traffic to the trail?
I didn’t have a lot of options for my ride, so I just circled the oval and circled and circled. The day was drawing to a close, and, as tall corn will, the field on the north of the track gave me the creeps. I kept seeing bugs poised on the corn leaves, and I recalled news stories about tiny drones that the Pentagon is developing.
Then, I thought of the HCC logo—a hawk clearly being extruded from some plastic molding machine like Dairy Queen soft serve. A hawkbot! As I came to this realization, a red-winged blackbird perched on the western soccer goal and squawked at me. A bird or a bird bot? I pondered as I rode, when suddenly a helicopter flew overhead.
It was all adding up.
Clearly the grassy area in the oval was some sort of landing strip. Clearly, the feather by the crumbled pavement showed where bot battles had been fought. Clearly stains on the oval of asphalt were not human blood, but alien bot blood. As I photographed the stain, two “flies” landed on my leg and attempted to extract DNA samples. I fear that they may have succeeded.
You might think me a bit overwrought. But the next day, the plot thickened. I was riding my bike to work along the Cedar River Trail when I encountered a south-bound train. Southbound! From Waterloo?
There were all sorts of mysterious signs on the train, but one large tank car was truly chilling—it wasn't Union Pacific or even Canadian Pacific, my friends. It clearly said “Government of Canada” and was labeled in both English and some suspicious looking foreign froggy tongue.
And there was another tank car, covered in colorful graffiti, that was more simply coded with the sign of the foreign invader.
A maple leaf.
If you’re reading this, check up on me. See more photos on Facebook, unless the Canadian Secret Service gets there first. My life could be in danger.