So far, blog-readers, I’m sure you’ll agree, my tales have related nothing extraordinary and are comfortably within the experiences of any everyday Joe or Josephine. Who has not ordered an iceberg, from either pole, available from any reputable online shop?
Who has not been hypnotised either by an ostrich or a chicken? Who does not have a genie? Who has not enjoyed the life-changing experience of being turned into a vulture? Who, at one time or another, has not been a secret agent? And who, I ask, has not had Count Dracula for a school chum? We all have. But, I fear, my latest adventure will stretch the credulity of my readers to the very limit, and possibly beyond. Nonetheless, every word of it is true.
It began yesterday. I was on the terrace, alone, admiring the stellar panoply. One particular star caught my attention. It twinkled more brightly than any of its neighbours and, to my astonishment, appeared to be growing larger and brighter. Naturally, I was fascinated. Before I could say ‘alien abduction’, I found myself on the bridge of a Type-42 Interplanetary Spacecraft. I had been spacenapped and my abductors were three aliens. One was at the controls and, as we sped away, I could see Earth fast diminishing in the rear-view mirror set above a wide viewing screen.
“/&%$$ II(“·$,” said alien #2.
Fortunately, I never leave home without my Intergalactic Translator. It’s at times like this when it comes in very handy. While alien #2 babbled on, I turned the dial.
“This is the BBC.”
No, that’s not the right channel. I turned the dial again.
“And now the weather forecast for the scientific stations at the South Pole. It’s gonna be friggin cold–”
No, that’s not it. I turned the dial again.
“Hail, Earthling! We come in peace!”
Hooray, my Translator works!
“Greetings, little guys, how’s tricks?” Best to appear nonchalant, I thought. “And who might you be?”
“By the Sacred Shrouds of Sacramento!” I exclaimed. “Those are the very characters in Victoria’s, or The Dear One’s (TDO) play, ‘Morgan and the Martians’! You must be Martians!” I looked at my Translator dial and, yes, it did point to ‘Martian’.
“We are indeed,” said Ibble. “And you must be King Joe! All hail King Joe!”
“Fellas, please!” I said sulkily. “You can call me what you ’king like but let’s be civilised about this!”
“No, Highness, you don’t understand. The Queen of all Mars especially chose you to be her partner. That immediately elevated you to the rank of King!”
“Now just wait a cotton-picking second, fellas. Are you telling me that Victoria, Miss Beeky, TDO, is the Queen of Mars?”
“Not so loud, Majesty!” Bibble whispered in my ear. “She will hear you! She can hear and see everything! We beg you to keep your voice down! Queen Bee Quay (that’s her real name) decided to have a sabbatical from Royal Duties. She chose Earth as a special project for her thesis, ‘Other-World Cultures’. She changed her form and has lived amongst you for many years now. One of our years is equivalent to many Earth years. We live much longer than you do, you know.”
“Ok, chaps,” I whispered back, “but this has been a bit of a shock. It changes everything!”
“What does it change?”
“Well, for a start, I can’t call her TDO anymore. I’’ll have to upgrade it to Her Royal Highness (HRH).”
“That’s not such a problem, is it?” This from Blop.
“Not for you, maybe, but for me it’s a catastrophe!”
“Don’t call me Shirley, but it is! It means I will have to rewrite all my blogs and change all the TDOs into HRHs!” I hung my head in my hands and dolefully pondered the massive task.
“Never mind, Highness,” said Ibble. “Why don’t you play Space Invaders while we do some experiments on you?”
Ibble had touched on one of my favourite past-times. TDO…um…HRH has kept me quiet for months on end, with this brain-teaser of a game, while she has been busy writing. But I was a little alarmed about being used as a guinea pig.
“Brain experiments,” said Blop. “We want to find out why Queen Bee Quay selected you as a partner out of all Earthlings. We think it’s because you must have a massive brain.”
“Well, fellas, I don’t like to boast, but show me anyone with a bigger brain than mine and I’ll show you an honest politician. So what did you have in mind?”
“Nothing special,” said Blop, “we’ll just lop off the top of your head and take a peek inside.”
“Oh! If that’s all, go right ahead – no pun intended. Just put Space Invaders up on the screen and I’ll leave you to it.”
While I shot down hordes of invaders, the little guys went to work. Using the latest ZX240 laser, they began at a point just above my eyebrows and ended just below my hairline at the base of my neck. They peered inside.
“Well I’ll be blowed!” Blop exclaimed. “There’s nothing there! Just wood!”
“Teak, I would say,” said Ibble.
“No, it’s harder than that. Looks like mahogany,” said Bibble. “And there are concentric rings.”
I felt I needed to comment, despite enjoying a frenzy Space Invader destruction. “In fact, fellas, it’s ebony. If you count the circles, it will tell you how old I am.”
That intrigued them no end, and they set to work. Soon they had an answer.
“We count 5 rings, Highness.”
“It’s possible. Might I have been born in a leap year?”
“More importantly, Highness, you don’t have a brain!”
Before any of us could say another word, an image of HRH filled the viewing screen, destroying what might have been my best ever score in Space Invaders. Ibble, Bibble and Blop grovelled face-down on the flight deck.
“Ibble! Bibble! Blop!” roared HRH. “WHAT do you think you’re doing?”
“Apologies, Majesty!” Blop whimpered. “We just wanted to find out why you chose King Joe as a partner.”
“It’s because he has no brain, you idiots! Why else would I have chosen him?”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw my three new pals slap their foreheads.
“Now bring him back here to Earth and make sure you stick the top of his head back on!”
“Joe!…Joe!…Wake up! You’re having a nightmare!” The voice belonged to HRH but sounded much more gentle and reassuring. Slowly, I opened my eyes and found myself in our dark bedroom. HRH had her hand on my shoulder, rocking me gently. “Are you awake now?”
“Yes, dear. Are you really Queen Bee Quay of Mars?”
“Don’t be silly, Joe. You’ve been dreaming. Let’s go to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee. You can tell me all about it.”
While HRH (aka TDO) prepared coffee in the kitchen, I bathed my damp brow in the bathroom. Looking up into the mirror, I nearly jumped out of my skin. It wasn’t familiar Joe staring back at me, but a complete stranger. Instead of a shiny bald pate above my bushy eyebrows, I sported a fringe of hair. Naturally I let out a yell which quickly brought HRH into the bathroom. She took one look at me.
“The fools have glued the top of your head on backwards!”
Personally, I quite like my new look…