The Alien Problem
Sun, 13 May 2018
I was woken early one morning by a polite knocking on my back door. I quickly dressed and rushed downstairs to find a small, green alien standing politely outside the door waiting for me to answer.
"Can I help you?" I said. Perhaps the first ever encounter between mankind and an alien race could have been slightly more dramatic, but frankly it was early in the morning and I wasn't prepared.
"Greetings," the alien said. "I am Jacanutrasarasander Elelelunianianiana Dararaaranpol, known to my people as JED1."
"Greetings Jacanutrasarasander Elelelunianianiana Dararaaranpol," I said, "I am known to my people as Jed. Welcome to planet Earth."
"Thank you," he said. "I am pleased to accept your kind offer. Please, would you take me to your leader."
"That would be Alun," I said, "He Chairs the island's Leadership Committee."
"Does this Alun rule the world?" Jacanutrasarasander Elelelunianianiana Dararaaranpol asked.
"You'd think so sometimes," I said, "But no, just this island. We could go and see him now, he'll be up, or we could wait, he usually calls round at 6.30 after meeting the early morning boat."
"Oh, I don't know. Which do you think?"
"Well I could do with a coffee, I've only just got up. Would you like a coffee, or a tea, or a nettle and bladderack herbal tea?"
"Yes, one of those please."
"Right, coffee it is. Welcome to planet earth, are you alone?"
"Yes, I am alone. Our race's technology is so superior to yours, and to every other race in the multiverse, that just one of us is sufficient to take over rule of a planet. That is what I am here for, to take over as leader of the entire planet and to officially declare it a colony of the Ichichician people.
"Do you have milk in your coffee?"
"I don't know? What do you advise?"
We were interrupted by a hammering on my back door. It was Alun, who crashed into the kitchen without waiting for a reply.
"Jed, you're already up, what's happened, have aliens invaded overnight?"
"Yes," said JED1, "Although there is only one of me."
"This is JED1," I said. "He is here to take over as ruler of the world."
"You're bound to be an improvement on the current lot. I'm Alun. Welcome to Happy Island."
"Thank you for your gift, though I intend to take over the entire world."
"Well you can't rule the world from here, you'll need to head to the mainland. Would you like me to send up a flare for the boatman to get him to come back, or would you prefer to wait for the lunchtime boat?"
"I don't know, which do you think?"
"You haven't finished your coffee," I said.
"Ah yes, I had forgotten. Coffee is way good, we don't have anything like it on my planet. We only have Horlicks, yuk"
"So, supreme leader," I said, "What do you want us to do while we wait for the lunchtime boat?"
"Oh, I don't know, what were you going to do if I hadn't showed up?"
"I was going to milk my geep," I said, "Then just potter round the house doing non-urgent tasks." I'm currently in the middle of writing a novel, which means that must of my time is taken up by non-important distractions.
"I was going to build a cabbage shelter, to protect my cabbages from the rain, then, when I'd done that I was going to build a cabbage sprinkler system, to water my cabbages using captured rainwater," said Alun.
"Well, why not do that then," said JED1, "Both seem perfectly sensible ways to spend your time."
"But what are you going to do?"
"I don't know? What do you suggest."
"Why don't you help me milk my geep?" I said.
"Good idea, yes, I'll do that. Then perhaps watch Alun and his cabbages. It sounds really exciting, rain-proof rain-irrigated cabbages. If only I knew what a cabbage was."
It was soon time for the lunchtime boat. Alun took me to one side.
"It's the alien, Jed," he said. "I don't think he's ready to take over running the entire world."
"He does seem a little indecisive," I agreed. "But what shall we do, he does seem to have his heart set on being supreme ruler of the Earth."
"Leave it to me, Jed. Oh, JED1, I've been thinking about your strategy for ruling the world."
"Strategy, oh yes, I should clearly have a strategy. I hadn't thought of that."
"You could practice your leadership skills by running Happy Island for a few days, before taking over as ruler of the entire world."
"Yes, that's a good idea. It would be terrible to have a world leader who had no idea what they were doing."
"Quite," I said with feeling. "You can stay in the Empty House while you're here. There's plenty of room."
We made the short walk across the island to the Empty House, which we always use for guests, although guests on Happy Island are about as rare as alien invasions.
"There are an awful lot of bedrooms," said JED1. "I don't know which one to stay in."
"What about this one?" I said, pointing to a sign on the door. 'Alien Invader's Guest Room.'
"Yes, this looks quite suitable," said JED1, after giving the room a brief examination. "It has an entire wardrobe of JED1 clothing, it's almost as if the Empty House was expecting me."
"Yes, the Empty House is surprising like that. Just last Tuesday I was out for a walk and got caught in an unexpected shower. I went to shelter in the Empty House and it had left an umbrella and raincoat in the hallway for me."
JED1 soon settled into a routine. He'd call round my house at 6.31 every morning, just after Alun, knock tentatively on my back door, ask us both what we were planning to do that day, then order us to do that. Usually he'd join one or both of us in our work and soon made himself a popular feature of the Happy Island community.
However, one afternoon when I called on JED1 in his room, I found him packing.
"Are you off to the mainland already?" I said. "Do you feel you're ready to take over ruling the entire planet now?"
"Certainly not," he said. "In fact I'm finding ruling Happy Island far too stressful. The boatman's going to take me to Isolated Island and I'm going to set up on my own."
"Do you need some money?" I asked, not that I had any money to offer him, I was just curious how he planned to live.
"Oh no, I'm going to sell my alien technology to the boatman in exchange for food and coffee."
"Oh well," said Alun when I told him the news, "At least we can be certain he'll come back at some point."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because The Other Terrence Oblong could never resist a title like 'Return of the JED1.' He's utterly predictable like that."