At first they thought an asteroid was going to hit the planet Earth. A worldwide panic ensued. But a few days later, the astronomers changed their story. The object hurtling towards our planet was not an asteroid, but a gigantic alien spaceship. Mankind was about to receive its first extraterrestrial visitors.
The spaceship went into orbit
around Earth, and began to make radio contact with scientists. After
a rather long period during which the extraterrestrials studied our
language, the aliens finally broadcast their intentions to the
The scientists briefed the
President of the United States at the White House.
“So is it good news or bad
news?” asked President Jill Trenton.
“It's good news,” said
Barry Tyler, the leader of the scientists. “They like us. They're
benevolent. They want to send down a small landing craft from their
large spaceship. The small craft will be carrying some of their
“Very good,” said
President Trenton. “Did you arrange a landing site?”
“Sure did,” said Tyler.
“They're going to land the craft on a grassy spot near the Vietnam
“They're going to present
you with gifts,” said Tyler. “Rituals seem to be very important
with these extraterrestrials. It's very important that you graciously
accept the gifts that they give you, in a way compatible with their
ancient rituals and protocols.”
“That sounds pretty easy,”
said President Trenton. “This should make a great photo-op. What
do they look like?”
hideous,” said Tyler. “Their heads are like mutant jellyfish.
They have five big slimy tentacles coming out of their heads.”
“Yuk!” said President
Trenton. “Let's hope I won't have to touch the disgusting things. I
get grossed out very easily. I'm the kind of person who loses her
appetite if I merely see a fish head.”
On the day of the landing,
high officials from Washington came to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along
with an army of reporters and scientists. They watched as the landing
craft slowly descended from the sky, and landed in the large grassy
President Trenton was flanked
by Barry Tyler, who was there to give last minute pointers on the
all-important meeting of two different races from two different
“After our meeting at the
White House, I found out something important,” said Tyler. “Before
you accept the gifts that the aliens offer, one of the aliens will
approach you, and try to kind of embrace you. It's some kind of hug
that is very important in their rituals. By letting the alien hug
you, you will show that you regard their race as highly as they
regard our race.”
“Good heavens,” said
President Trenton. “I have to be hugged by the hideous type of
creature you described? Well, I'll try my best.”
“It's a little more than a
hug,” said Tyler. “To conform to their rituals, you will have to
let the alien wrap his tentacles around your head. Apparently this is
because their tentacles have some way of sensing whether your
intentions are friendly.”
“Good God, what have you
got me into?” asked President Trenton.
Two aliens emerged from the
landing craft. One was holding the gifts to be given to the
President. The other alien approached the President slowly, wagging
its slimy tentacles.
President Trenton was shocked
by the hideous appearance of the revolting alien. It was the ugliest
and most repulsive thing she had ever seen. At first she thought to
herself: I've got to do this. But then she visualized the
five slimy tentacles wrapping around her head. The image made her
want to vomit.
“No!” cried President
Trenton. “No, no, I can't go through with it!” She
departed the landing area, going back to the White House.
The aliens soon became aware
that an unforgivable breach in ritual protocol had occurred. Feeling
rebuffed, they returned to their landing craft, which lifted off, and
returned to the much larger mother craft orbiting the planet. A few
days later, the huge spaceship hurtled off into the voids of space,
never to return.
At the White House there was
a post-mortem to discuss the diplomatic fiasco that had occurred.
“Okay, so I blew it,”
confessed President Trenton. “I just freaked out, thinking of that
icky creature wrapping those disgusting slimy tentacles around my
“Before the aliens left,
they told us about what the gifts were, the gifts we're never going
to get,” said Tyler.
“What were they – some
crummy souvenirs from their measly little home world?” asked
President Trenton cynically.
“No,” said Tyler. “Before
we rebuffed them, they were going to give us a machine for making
stones into gold, a cure for cancer, a cure for AIDS, a device for
stopping global warming, and a recipe for a potion that can provide a
little thing called...eternal life.”