“Have you ever wondered why it seems like there have been so many Super Moons recently?” The old fireworks manufacturer could only stare in slack-jawed confusion. Two perfectly inconspicuous white men, wearing perfectly inconspicuous outfits, claiming to be with the CIA, had requested to discuss something urgent with him. And now they were asking questions about The Moon. “No, I can’t really say that I have. I’m sorry, there must be some kind of mix-up. I’m no astronomer, I just make fireworks,” the old man said. “I assure, you, there’s been no mix-up, sir,” one of the agents insisted, “Now, if you could just-” “I’m sorry, boys, I don’t mean to be rude,” the old man said, cutting the agent off, “but I think I’m going to have to see some identification.” They both showed the old man their badges. “Perhaps I’m just getting senile,” the old man said, “but back in my day, the purpose of identification was to identify. Yet neither of these badges have your names on them. Is there a reason for that?” “Men like us don’t have names, sir,” one of the agents said, lowering his voice. “Well, that’s just tragic,” the old man said, “Here, I can give you some. You can be Carl, and you… I think you look like a Jerry. Will that be all?” “Jerry”, who had been silent up until now, spoke up, “What my partner is trying to say is that, as CIA agents, secrecy is very important, and it could be dangerous if our identities were compromised.” “What, you just assume that I’ve never seen a real CIA badge before?” the old man bluffed, “Can you tell me why I shouldn’t call the cops on you two right now?” “Let’s just tell him the truth,” Jerry said, “It’s not the least believable thing we have to tell him.” Carl sighed. “The truth is that we’re not with the CIA. We’re agents of a nameless organization within the United States Government that handles matters of utmost importance in absolute secrecy. As such, we do not carry identification. Only this.” Each agent handed the old man a small plastic card, reading only “This person is to be cooperated with to the fullest extent possible” along with the signature of the President of the United States. The old man closely examined both cards. “If you’re checking the signatures, you’ll find that they aren’t identical,” Jerry said, “because they aren’t photocopied. Both of those were hand-signed by the man himself.”
“Suppose I were to believe this farce,” the old man said, “why is talking to me a matter of utmost importance? And about the moon, no less? Don’t think I forgot about that.” “Have you ever wondered why fireworks are so central to the Independence day tradition?” Carl asked. “I can’t really say that I have,” the old man said, “Is there a point to all this?” “It’s no use beating around the bush,” Jerry said, “I think it’d be better if we just came out and told him. Like ripping off a Band-aid.” “As you wish,” Carl said, “You know how some astronomers theorize that The Moon used to be part of the Earth, and something blasted it into orbit?” “Still beating around the bush,” Jerry admonished. Carl sighed in annoyance. “Fireworks scare the away the Moon.” “Excuse me? I must not have heard you right just then.” the old man said. “A long time ago, the Moon and Earth were together,” Carl explained, “Something happened, and now they’re not. The Moon gained Independence from the Earth. But it doesn’t want that any more. It wants to return. And, as you can probably imagine, we do not want it to return.” “So we scare it away with fireworks?” the old man asked incredulously. “Exactly,” Carl said, “On the anniversary of the Moon’s independence from Earth. At least, what the ancients believed it to be.” “But that’s ridiculous,” the old man said, “we celebrate the creation of our great nation. You expect me to believe that this is a coincidence?” “Of course not,” Carl said, “The Founding Father’s choice of date was intentional. And it makes for an excellent cover-up.” “And what do I have to do with any of this?” the old man asked. “That brings us back to the Super Moons. The Moon’s pull is getting stronger. It’s keeps getting closer, despite our increasing efforts to keep it at bay. We need you to help us put a stop to this for good.” “What do you mean by increasing efforts?” the old man asked, “And how do you intend to stop it for good?” “Well, all kinds of countries have independence days now, don’t they?” Carl said, “As for our ultimate plans… we’ll need your assurance that you’re fully on board before we can tell you those.