Tue 23rd Jul 2013
A Martian landed in the woods near Thomas Hardy's Cottage.
Jonathan Slibbling was walking his dog and admiring a perfect sunset.
"What are you?" asked the creature from Mars.
Slibbling pulled the dog's leash tightly and stepped back.
"I am a man. And this is my dog."
The Martian looked pleased. (Well, it was difficult to see that because he was a little green blubbery faced creature. But his body appeared less tense).
"Just what I was looking for. Can you help me?"
"Well. I could try but you would be better off going to the Tourist Information Office in Trinity Street."
"No. No. You will do. I am carrying out some market research. I am due to report back tonight. Can you answer a few questions?"
"Yes, of course, sir," and Slibbling wondered if you called an alien from outer space "sir".
"Is this place called England? Part of a bigger place called Britain? Part of a bigger place called Europe? Part of a bigger place called the West? Part of a bigger place called Earth?"
"Wo, wo, wo! Slow down. Yes, this is England."
"Sorry for the speed but I am running out of time. I am doing an Ysitroo Research."
"Yes," replied the Martian impatiently. "Is it true, in your language..."
"Ysitroo that in England you can do nothing at all and your leaders will give you over one thousand of your pounds a month?"
"Yes. It's called benefits."
"Precisely! It does benefit you..." and the Creature ticked a list on his clipboard. "Ysitroo that some of your little people go to school for eleven years and leave unable to read?"
"Yes. But, you see..."
"No, please. Just answer with a "yes" or "no" with no riders. Okay?"
"Actually, it's madam," said the visitor coquettishly.
"Ysitroo that in your land there are people who pray to an invisible creature they think was the son of another invisible creature that they call God?"
"Ysitroo that some of your people roll dried leaves in thin papers, light them and fill their lungs with smoke?"
"Ysitroo that many people eat even after they have taken in enough nourishment and then carry huge amounts of fat around?"
"Yes," whispered Slibbling wondering what a bad impression he was giving of his country.
"Won't be long now. Ysitroo that you make babies by doing this?" and he held a picture that made Slibbling blush.
"Yes..." he murmured.
"Ysitroo that you have a few people who make more money in a few months than most of you take a whole lifetime to make?"
"Ysitroo that you have a leader who you never elected and who lives in a huge Palace at your expense?"
"Yes," replied Slibbling beginning to regret being born British.
"Ysitroo that your leaders only lie when they open their mouths and always tell the truth when they are silent?"
"Yes," gently sobbed Slibbling.
"Ysitroo that a guilty person can be freed when twelve citizens believe his or her lies?"
"Ysitroo that you have millions of you watching cheap programmes like The X Factor, Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing despite having a working brain organ?"
"Yes," stumbled Slibbling, ashamed to remember the joy that he and his incredibly obese wife had had watching two cretins dancing.
"And finally, Ysitroo that a woman is not allowed to sleep with men other than her husband but it is all right for a man to sleep with as many women as he wants as long as his wife doesn't find out?"
"Yes," said the wretched Slibbling.
"Thank you English Earthman," said the Martian. He softly spoke into his hand. "Okay. Ready for disintegration. Beam me up Sloppy. I have concluded my research project. It confirms the Professor's hypothesis: humans are only slightly up on primates. In fact, some apes are brighter since they are significantly more logical and less confused..."
And there was a blinding flash of light. Slibbling stood staring into the darkness. His dog licked his hand in commiseration.
Slibbling shrugged his shoulders and walked off towards his home and his favourite Dr. Who episode.