Cats and Monkeys, Living Together
So a friend got himself a cat, and now he needs my advice.
Sooner or later our species will be visited by an alien civilization. One sunny day, a shiny spacecraft will just, I don’t know, drift out of the overcast above The Hague, in The Netherlands, and settle gently onto a patch of dewy grass – just near Noordeinde Palace, most likely.
A ramp extends from the craft, and down they slurch, tendrils wafting affably, bringing peace and relatively benign intentions to our blue planet. And the Earth, as the saying goes, stands still.
Journalists – and also some people from American media outlets – descend on the area in droves. Dutch police quickly establish a cordon around the alien craft with calm efficiency, as we expect. Reporters nervously set up cameras and microphones. The air is festive, if a little tense.
Meanwhile, alien Representative Woost Blurgen of Rigel V taps his galactic translation device with confusion. There is some low muttering, and one of the aliens disappears up the ramp, returning moments later with another. This new alien flicks a switch on the galactic translator device, gives Representative Woost Blurgen a certain kind of look, and slurches sullenly back up the ramp.
“Mensen van de aarde,” Woost flurbles. “We komen in vrede!”
The folk from CNN frown at the cameras, and announce that the aliens seem to be having technical difficulties. Their European counterparts tell them loudly to shush, and a brief altercation breaks out when the CNN people demand to know if the aliens intentions are hostile, and whether their president needs to return to Washington from his golfing resort in Florida.
The world frets. Matters become so tense, in fact, that the Australian Prime Minister boards a plane for Hawaii.
All of humanity is wearing tight smiles. System administrators across the globe methodically expunge every mention of Michael Bay from the internet. Without any prompting, one billion people dig holes in their backyards, and bury DVD editions of Independence Day, Aliens and 10,000+ other titles that now seem somehow insensitive – in a self-evident sort of way.
Meanwhile, a small group of humans spontaneously forms a committee to determine a more appropriate and culturally-sensitive nomenclature for the visiting ‘trans-solar’ species.
And what follows is a period of slow adjustment, as many of us find ourselves saying things like, “wait, why can’t we just call them aliens? I mean, they don’t seem to mind and – why are you rolling your eyes?”
And: “No, it’s not hate speech, Miranda, because I don’t hate them – actually, I feel a bit sorry for Representative Woost Blurgen, especially now he’s dating a Kardashian. Will everybody please stop edging nervously away from me!”
Meanwhile, the Dutch army has been busy. They have formed a very wide and very necessary protective circle around the
alien visiting trans-solar vessel. Through the next three weeks they will turn away approximately 1.7 million evangelical ministers, each trying to get aboard the space craft to have a quiet word with the occupants about whether they’ve been saved.
Embarrassingly, half a billion humans now worship Representative Woost Blurgen as some sort of god. They are wholly preoccupied with devising an elaborate set of religious rituals and bickering about whether the new Temple of Xenos should be led by Pontiff Kanye or Pontiff Boris Johnson. The rest of humanity watches them argue on their television, cringing helplessly. Whiskey is in short supply everywhere.
Within a month, there remains only a twelve kilograms of chocolate left on planet Earth; the rest is on its way to a galactic trade hub near Eta Cassiopaea. Woost and his companions have purchased the Earth’s entire chocolate supply for 700 million metric tons of gold, which they apparently mined from asteroids in our solar system on the way in.
Regrettably, all global currencies have collapsed. Gold is now roughly the price of copper. An annoying 13-year-old boy, who happened to have hoarded his Halloween candy, has just purchased The Falkland Islands. Bitcoin is high again, though as usual not for any particular reason.
Representative Woost Blurgens and his trans-solar companions are leaving. The president of the United States, having spent the past month trying to conclude a real estate deal with them, has just tweeted that negotiations with the aliens were PERFECT and that they’d told him he was the BEST NEGOTIATOR in the galaxy – possibly the solar system. The Florida Everglades are now owned by a group of Ukrainian businessmen.
The aliens ship lift gently and silently into the clouds. Nigella Lawson is missing, along with nine-thousand tons of cocaine.
Andy Serkis wins Best Actor for his portrayal of Woost Blurgens. After undergoing surgery in preparation for the role, Christiana Bale wins Best Actress for her performance in the critically acclaimed musical biopic, Hillary.
Meanwhile, surveys suggest that approximately half-a-billion people now believe that aliens never visited planet Earth. Mark Zuckerberg refuses to remove any of the so-called ‘Alien Hoax Groups’ from Facebook, adding that he himself has never been an alien. He drinks a glass of water on camera to prove it.
In America, House Democrats blame an evil cabal of Russians for the lack of chocolate. House Republicans, meanwhile, blame illegal trans-border visitors from Mexico for hyper-inflation, homosexuality, and the apparent lack of cocaine.
Ellen DeGeneres invites the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad onto her show, and they perform together an uproarious karaoke version of Wasn’t Me by Jamaican-American Reggae Artist, Shaggy. It is destined to become this year’s most liked video on YouTube.
The Director General of the European Space Agency appears on television to announce that it has “detected the aliens leaving our solar system”.
Six hours later, the Director General announces that she is stepping down in order to spend more time with her family. In addition, she apologises for her use of offensive language, as well as for any emotional hurt it might have caused.
The deadline for Brexit is pushed back.
So a friend got himself a cat, and now he needs my advice.
Ten years have passed since that horrible, awkward night and I'm still trying to process it.