Was born in Denver, became a beatnik at six, moved to Dallas, couldn't get the redneck vibe down, and the goatee was too much for my fourth grade...read more teacher, finished school, made steel guitars awhile, freaked out and did some drugs, grew out of that, entered the business world, became a paralegal, quit, wrote poetry the whole time, did the homeless trip, beat the City of Dallas against the wall as a journalist, forgot about that, ended up disabled. After all that, you're surprised?
Alien invasion. Call this a miracle if you want. Half the world did. One minute all was fine, the next we’ve got these big steely globs hovering over the White House, the Kremlin and a dozen other national capitols. This was not funny. Not funny at all.
Sure, those old Japanese science fiction turkeys from the Fifties and Sixties thrilled me with scenes of terrified oriental people racing en masse away from Gorgo, a reptilian anomaly that turned out to be a kid when Gorgo’s mom came to get him after he’d wrecked Tokyo, but as an adult I realize that this was only a movie. Yeah, big heart-knockers, those flicks. Mothra’s wingspan so ghastly and vast the giant miller couldn’t help but turn a freeway into a scramble of wrecked Toyotas as 2,000 pound autos bristled like leaves on an autumn day. This was different. Had a new era begun?
For Chrissakes no.
What began as one of those sum-of-our-fears incidents that really should never happen became one of the biggest embarrassments in human history. Like anything of this magnitude of stupidity, this began as would any Grade Q refugee from a wannabe moviemaker. Typically, the overeducated minions of contemporary science—physicists, astrophysicists, chemists, biologists, even engineers—hit the rad scenes immediately. After all, if you want to know, they’re going to find out for you. Whether you like it or not. Every night on television a different scientific report. Not that anyone could get close to those floating beach balls from Hell. HD164595 is what these eggheads ultimately called the originating star system these sometimes-teardrop, sometimes-global ships seemed to have ushered from. On an exploratory mission. That old chestnut was proffered dozens of times even though nobody had a single head-scratch of a notion what this was about. At least at first.
Science sent-in linguists to try to communicate with the hypothesized beings inside the objects just like that “Arrival” cheesecake. Nothing happened. Then the worst of possibly desirable outcomes for science fiction fans everywhere occurred when something—call it static or some kind of super X-ray—shut down the electricity in the cities below the craft. That’s when the doors opened, and the next event could only be described as warlike.
Yeah, call-in the Pope.
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The U.S. government flew the pontiff to D.C. Problems emerged. First, the crazy energy would not allow any planes in the air for a radius of nearly 25 miles around those airborne wayfarers. The Army had to find a bus. The U.S. Army had to clean the bus. Then they had to paint it. White. With a surround-sound stereo so the Holy Father could listen to Gregorian chant performed by the choir of St. Gregory The Great Church of Hamilton Square, New Jersey. Great times deserve rockin’ vibes, right? The effect was beyond surreal and then some. There the Pope stood, his shepherd’s crook stretched-out before him. Then the spaceship over the White House began to speak. Chill factor? You bet. And Fox News was right there.
An alien or an archangel, we report, you decide. As the alien glob began its thunderous oration in perfect, broadcast-ready English.
“I AM DAHLEEK-PUHLEEK-DAHLEEK-DULACK!!!” the voice, which actually cracked mortar, intoned. The Patriarch’s mouth gaped open like the Pearly Gates themselves.
Actually, special effects notwithstanding, the scene bordered on the kind of absurdity commonly found in old Three Stooges matinée movie specials. A long row of obvious jackwagons in three-piece suits. Some of those real life stooges bearing eyefuls of tears.
What? Spongebob Squarepants? The Pontiff stepped-back, a world religion paragon gone Rodney Dangerfield. Yep. Cartoonish all right. To the extreme.
The world-renowned linguists look up from their computer screens on the White House lawn, and one signals. A bustle ensues. Emerging from that cloud of white coats, a spokesman approaches a bundle of microphones.
“This is unfortunate,” the science-gaggle press attaché practically whispers into the nervous bundle of steel. “Apparently, these extraterrestrial visitors are very barbaric. They have picked-up a broadcast of a children’s cartoon…Spongebob Squarepants…suspect we have an amazing being among us…and demand we provide one of these beings…for scientific research on their home planet…and to put into…what we believe…may be an alien zoo.”
Mic drop. Indeed.
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The capitol city’s electricity snapped into operation. Then a burst of fire. Michele Obama’s famed vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House—gone, an apparent, smoking threat.
This certainly would have been a great time for Rod Serling to step around a corner and in his reedy voice say something like, Fact or fiction…does anyone ever know what is real…an alien race comes to earth and demands we give them what only we understand is a cartoon character…yet who really knows what other worlds believe is real and what is not real?
Jiminy Cricket. This was the weirdest thing to ever happen to the human race. How to placate the invaders from HD164595? Could anyone explain to them that Spongebob is only a computer-generated image designed to entertain children? Considering the smoked vegetables on the South Lawn, this was not laughable, and worse, something needed to be done and done quickly enough to minimize any further space-borne damage.
Quickly, the President met with a group of military researchers from Los Alamos. Many ideas rose and then fell before the group. Despair quickly settled. Then an idea: Get a midget prisoner from maybe Leavenworth and alter him with some extreme plastic surgery and send him to HD164595. It was worth a try, vivisection or not, a living facsimile of a cartoon character that lives at the bottom of the sea that is beloved by children and a large majority of stoners worldwide.
The prisoner, named Mickey, which itself was weirdness, was code-named “Joe” practically the instant he was found at Tennessee Colony, one of the most dangerous penitentiaries on earth. Mickey. Who told Mickey what? Apparently, Mickey was promised immediate release. He’d been imprisoned a decade before for defrauding the circus where he worked, then murdering the circus security police officer that caught him drunk--“beyond recognition” his captors said to the judge--and with a six-foot whore in a seedy Las Vegas motel room. Springing into action, the world’s best plastic surgeons KOed the midget and set to loosening his skin and then placing actual foam “sponges” under his epidermis. Obviously quite painful. A violation of the Geneva Convention rulings against torture and the International Court at the Hague—but the fate of the earth was in the crosshairs of some crazy-assed aliens from a star system without the dignity of a name.
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Doped-up and without pain, Mickey, a.k.a. “Joe”, stepped-out of a military transport van and onto Pennsylvania Avenue on the morning of May 5, 2023. “Joe” looked exactly like Spongebob Squarepants. Maybe better. Staggering, confused, both dazed and in an artificial dream-state, “Joe”, the savior of the human race, a tricked-out, three-foot-eleven murderer painted off-yellow, moved into place, ready for the next step.
The silvery globe above honked. The honk sounded like a giant cock trying to seduce a swan. Everyone near, halfway deafened by this parody of Gabriel blowing his horn, grasped their earlobes and bit their lips. The entire world likely sat stunned and in fear before 11 billion television sets. Then it happened.
“Joe”, a.k.a. Spongebob Squarepants, was sucked into the sky.
Would there have been a parting of clouds with this event? A swell of Hollywood music? What would Ed Wood, creator of Plan Nine From Outer Space, have made of this craziness? A Fox News reporter, a pert blonde in a baby blue pullover miniskirt, drooped and fell onto the green rye grass. The Pontiff, who had returned to the site from his presidential suite at a local five-star hotel, keeled into a crouching kneel and lost his white mitre in the process.
Then the visitors from HD164595 vanished with their hostage.