The rain blattered against the windscreen in that particularly bothersome way that nasty squalls do – whoosh! Splat!! Overwhelming the wipers as they flapped ineffectually in their fight against the elements – then the madness of the befuddled late-night driver set in… flicking the wipers off in the hope that the streaming rain unhindered would be less bewildering than the swooshing whirlpool created by my useless wipers – very stupid!
Rapidly realising that unhindered rain can indeed defeat the best night vision when left unchecked, i flicked the switch back on. Nothing. In fact, not only had my wipers died but so had my lights and engine! Cursing, i hit the brakes and came to a shuddering halt.
Well, this is just great. Marooned in the middle of nowhere, in the midst of a deluge that would have had Noah reaching for his carpentry tools, and without a clue where I’d managed to strand myself. Fantastic!
i turned the key in the ignition – not a thing… Blasted car, and blasted rain! In my mind’s eye, i visualised my engine steaming under the bonnet, as mini-waterfalls cascaded through rusty holes, drenching the electrics and blowing fuses like fireworks on New Year’s Eve. i shuddered to think how much this was going to cost me – far more that this heap of junk was worth, that was for sure.
Thumping the wheel with both hands in exasperation, i slumped back in my seat and stared at the ceiling, exhaling a sigh of resignation. What to do now? There was no way that i was going out in that! Besides which, it was dark as pitch and i had no idea where on earth i was. This was just one great big disaster. The best i could hope for was for another car to pass… a knight in shining armour – well, a car anyway – who would rescue this damsel in distress. That, of course, was not without its risks, but what choice did i have? Besides, i could take care of myself, if needs be and any burly trucker trying to have his wicked way with me would have to negotiate a can of pepper spray and a freshly manicured set of talons!
Calm down. Nothing’s going to happen. Just wait for help.
Was i imagining things, or was the rain easing? It certainly appeared to be, and then, joy of joys, a light in my rear-view mirror: several lights in fact, white, blue and red… never before had i been so pleased to see a cop car draw up behind me.
Erm, did i say ‘behind’? As it came closer, i realised it was more a case of ‘overhead’ – police helicopter… Surely not?
Definitely not! Whatever it was made no sound at all and was now hovering silent and motionless above my car. The rain had stopped too. Gingerly, i wound down my window, peering out and upwards – i needn’t have bothered: within moments, all my doors had flown wide open and i was dragged bodily from the vehicle by a force beyond my understanding. Momentarily, i hung, suspended feet upwards, hands grasping my door handle, then with a monstrous sucking sound, i was vaccuumed upwards, straight into the gaping maw at the base of the UFO. Well, this was turning out to be a hell of a night!
OK – so, aliens… not quite what i’d expected. Forget your liquid-eyed, grey, bulbous-headed, three-fingered extra-terrestrials and you can forget your tentacled monsters too. These guys looked fairly normal, if a little ‘unfinished’, if you get my drift. To start with, they were pretty much your everyday human being, a bit awkward looking, with rather angular joints, spiky hair that seemed to be just an extension of their heads – think Bart Simpson – and no silvery space suits: these dudes made do with badly fitting t-shirts and jeans of such poor quality that they almost appeared to be painted on, rather than made of any sort of recognisable fabric.
“What the hell is going on?”, i thundered – they looked a bit embarrassed.
One of them stepped forward: a guy in a black t-shirt, crazily spiky hair/head, with a Fu-Manchu goatee and moustache that, for all i could tell, had been tattooed on.
“Maintenance”, came his brief response.
i raised my hands in a shrug – apparently a universally recognised sign denoting, “huh?”
Another guy stepped forward, (shoddy sandals and a dangly white moustache that looked like it was made out of string):
“Perhaps I should explain. We are superior beings who created and run what you call ‘your’ world. Even though you think you are living beings, you’re not… ummm, it’s a kind of a game for us really… but, I’m sorry to say, it’s not particularly reliable, so sometimes things break down and, well… we have to intervene”
i gave him a hard stare – “You, my little pony-tailed, alien friend, are talking a load of twaddle!”
“No, it’s true”, interjected spiky hair, “we make you talk, and dance, and go shopping, and build things… all sorts of stuff, even, well you know…”, he flushed red, and whispered, “hanky panky!” An embarrassed pause followed, whilst the aliens shuffled their feet and pretended to look elsewhere. Spiky hair coughed and rallied, “Hey, it’s really cool, although, ahem… some of the other superior beings think we’re a bit geeky and whackadoodle – but they just don’t know what they’re missing!”
Something hit a chord with me and suddenly everything became perfectly clear.
“Haha! You bunch of losers! You’ve got everything confused… so much for being superior beings! You nutters have lost the plot… it’s not you who are in charge of us – WE’RE the superior beings and we’re the ones playing games with all our little imaginary people, making them dance and talk and do teh sex!”
It was all so obvious now – these poor saps had spent so long intercepting our broadcasts and spying on us from afar they’d latched on to the one thing that we did that they could relate to. Now the dimwits honestly believed that they controlled us, just like we controlled our avatars in Second Life. Poor souls – i figured we may as well give up the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe right now.
Anyway, i was getting bored. “Tell you what guys, you’ve had your fun but i’ve no time for anal probes or any of that nonsense, so why not just beam me back down to my car and disappear back where you came from. Go and play around Uranus, or something, but put me back where you found me, RIGHT NOW!”
“Oh, I don’t think so”, said Spiky – and that’s when he logged me out!
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
Hed like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
David Bowie – Starman