I’m standing in a field near Chico, California with Aileene McConnley. She hands me one of those white air filter masks that people wear while they’re mowing the lawn. “See those?” She points at a pair of white streaks crisscrossing each other in the sky. “The trails are going to be heavy today.” When I ask what exactly it is that chem trails do she scoffs at me and hands me an already opened umbrella.
“That’s the thing,” she says, “It’s easier to tell you what the trails don’t do.” McConnley says that in some instances chem trails are meant to seed the air and force rain fall, although in some parts of the country the trails release “nanites” that work their way into the heads of unsuspecting victims and attach themselves to their brainstem. “From then on you vote for who they say you vote for and buy what they want you to buy.”
As she explains the far reaching implications of chem trails a plane passes overhead. She hands me a gas mask which I barely fit over my head. It makes it hard to hear what she’s saying but I can’t deny that the air suddenly tastes much cleaner. I think back to all the times I’ve stood under a trail pocked sky and breathed in deep. Am I infested with nanites that tell me where to shop and where to eat? I say the exact thing that I just typed out loud, posing it as a question to McConnley and she responds, “probably,” as she drapes a rubber suit over my body and attaches an air pump to a tank that she was keeping in her trunk. I feel much safer now.