All attempts to defeat the hostile extraterrestrial invasion had failed utterly. A meeting of military officers was convened at the house of Jonas MacDonald, a physicist who specialized in high-energy physics. The officers were there to ask the physicist if he knew of any high-tech way that the invading extraterrestrials could be attacked, perhaps with something such as lasers or electromagnetic pulse weapons.
“So far our military efforts have been a complete disaster,” said General Curtis. “After the aliens landed in New Jersey, and wiped out many people, we've hit them with every conventional weapon we had. We've dropped countless bombs. We've strafed them with our jets again and again. We've shelled the hell out of them with our best artillery. But we're getting nowhere. The alien stronghold keeps growing larger and larger.”
“Why aren't such attacks working?” asked MacDonald.
“They seem to have some kind of strange energy bubble around their landing area,” explained Curtis. “It's some kind of super-strong energy field that is able to vaporize incoming bombs and bullets. Whenever we shoot something at the alien stronghold, our bombs and bullets just kind of melt as soon as they touch the protective energy bubble.”
“Have you thought about using nuclear weapons?” asked MacDonald.
“No, that's out of the question,” explained General Curtis. “The prevailing winds would cause radioactive fallout to drift on to New York City.”
“Do you have a picture of what these extraterrestrials look like?” asked MacDonald.
General Wheeler produced a photograph, and put a picture on the table.
“Let me think,” said MacDonald. “There might be some kind of high-energy proton beam we could use to attack these things.”
MacDonald's 13-year-old son Artie walked into the room. Artie should have been at school, but he had got suspended for starting a big food fight in his high school cafeteria.
“Is that what the aliens look like?” asked Artie. “Cool.”
“This meeting is classified,” said MacDonald. “Artie, clear out of here.”
The men continued to discuss MacDonald's ideas for a high-energy proton beam. Twenty minutes later Artie came back into the room.
“Dad, I know I'm not supposed to be here,” said Artie. “But I've got an idea. I've got an idea about how you might defeat the aliens.”
“Artie, have you lost your senses?” asked MacDonald. “Nobody wants to hear a teenager's ideas on saving the world from an alien invasion.”
“But, Dad, it's a really good idea,” said Artie.
“Let the boy speak,” said General Curtis. “Right now, we're desperate for new ideas.”
“I got the idea from the cafeteria food fight I got suspended for,” said Artie. “We can fight the aliens with food.”
“Very funny,” said MacDonald. “Now go to your room, and don't bother us again.”
“I'm not kidding, Dad,” said Artie. “There's a way to do it. Look at that picture of the alien. He has no real nose. Just a kind of a slit for a nose. So my guess is these aliens are probably sensitive to particles in the air. If we bombard them with fine particles, it may kill them. The easiest way to bombard them with fine particles is by using spices.”
“Spices of what type?” asked General Wheeler.
“Any type of spice that is a very fine powder,” explained Artie. “Cinnamon or curry powder would probably do the job.”
“That's the craziest idea I've ever heard,” said MacDonald. “The aliens are protected by an energy bubble that would make it so that the powder couldn't even fall into the alien stronghold.”
“But it just might work,” said General Wheeler. “Who knows – maybe their protective energy bubble was only designed for things like bombs and bullets. Maybe a fine powder could get through that thing. Let's give it a try.”
So the conventional high-explosive bombs were taken out of a military jet. Two giant vats of cinnamon and curry powder were loaded into the jet. The jet made a bombing run of the alien stronghold, dumping the curry powder and cinnamon on to the strange alien structures.
The protective energy bubble of the aliens had been designed to destroy only incoming objects larger than about a millimeter. The curry powder and cinnamon fell right through the protective bubble.
The aliens breathed in the curry powder and cinnamon, and all died instantly. They came from a dustless planet, and had never evolved any apparatus for protecting their lungs from fine particles.
And so the teenage boy who had started a food fight at his high school cafeteria became known as the unlikely world savior who started a food fight that saved planet Earth.