He found it not far from his farmhouse in the scrub and desert of Laikipia in Kenya. He photographed it and called the local police who called Nairobi who called the United Nations. Seventy two hours later his farm, where he had lived alone for fifty years, was sealed off and a large white tent was erected over the object.
Press teams interviewed him almost hourly and his farm hands more than once. His answers were always the same: No, he didn’t hear anything; Yes, it must have happened at night; No, he had never seen anything like it before.
After a while they left him and he sat on his veranda drinking beer, watching the people all over his land.
It was a long cylinder, maybe two feet in diameter and one hundred feet long. It was like metal to look at and he expected it to be hard but it was soft as a sponge. He had poked it several times, nervously. On the third poke, a small section had opened like a drawer. When he saw what was inside, he called the police.
He sipped his beer thinking about it. The smell had struck him most at first – a pungent almost sweet smell – but it made him cough and he pulled away. There were large, bold letters down the side of it and on the inside of the drawer.
He was tired. It had been a long day. He closed his eyes.
One of the journalists found him. “I think the old guy’s had it. It must have been all too much for him.”
In the seconds before he died, he kept thinking about that writing.
What was it like? It reminded him of something.
What was it?
That’s it: like warning signs.