The blip increased in size until it zipped into the airspace over the Mall. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It looked almost like a Fiat: small and bubbly, not like any flying saucer I’d seen before—or had seen in the movies, at least. Everyone was on edge. The Seals stopped in their tracks and didn’t move an inch when it first appeared. As it lowered itself onto the grass of the Mall, they began walking towards it slowly and inconspicuously.
I, on the other hand, kept my distance. I didn’t want something to pop out and shout “Take me to your leader!” and they all point at me. I know what happens next.
A panel of the spaceship hissed and popped open slightly as steam poured off of the superheated metal. The panel then slid out towards the pool and went horizontal, parallel to the ground. It fell slowly, making a platform down onto the soft grass.
“Had they ever felt grass on their feet before?” I wondered.
A shadow appeared. Through the steam, a humanoid figure appeared and made its way out through the curtain of gaseous vapor. There it was: the first alien species ever seen by mankind.
In all honesty, it was rather unimpressive. I mean, it looked different, but it didn’t look that different. It still had eyes where its eyes should be, a nose where its nose should be. Aside from the slightly larger forehead and the longer legs, you wouldn’t think anything of it if you saw it walking down the street.
It didn’t seem too uncomfortable. After it walked out the doorway and down the path, it actually seemed right at home. I heard a voice yell from inside the ship as it made its way down the platform and towards the pool.
“Hugh! Wait for me!”
The alien stopped and turned around. “Well hurry up, Muriel! We need to get off this planet quick if we’re going to make it to Betelgeuse in time for the wedding. I can’t wait around forever.”
I watched what I assumed was the female of the species dash down the platform after the man. She, surprisingly, looked almost exactly the same as him. They wore almost exactly the same clothes, had almost exactly the same haircut, and sounded remarkably similar.
“It’s now or never,” I said aloud to no one in particular. I began walking towards them at a quick pace. They got over to the side of the reflecting pool and knelt down. As they began to drink, I walked up behind them.
“Hello,” I said in a calm, but commanding tone. “My name is General Jack Haines. I’ve come on behalf of the government of the United States of America to welcome you to our wonderful planet.”
They continued drinking from the pool without a care in the world. Neither paid any attention. “Excuse me,” I said, this time a little louder. Still no response. “Excuse me!” This time, I used my ‘General’ voice. That got their attention. They both turned towards me verrrry slowly.
They looked at me strangely. They then looked at each other, worried.
“Hugh, did you remember to turn on the SEP generator before you got off the ship?” the female asked.
“Well no, Muriel, I didn’t. I thought you’d turned it on before we came through the atmosphere.”
“As I said before, my name is General Jack Haines, and I’ve come on…”
“Yes… Yes… Uh… Jack, was it? Yeah… Great to see you, thanks…” They both stood up and began glowing a bright red from head to toe. “So Jack, it was great seeing you and we were very glad to stop by… but we’ve got a very important engagement we’re going to miss… so…”
“I understand, but you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. I’ve been informed that the President would like to extend an invitation for dinner at the White House.”
“Oh Hugh that’s the place I wanted to go for calbax!” she shouted to her husband. “What will they be serving for…” He jabbed her with his elbow and she let out an ‘ooph’ sound.
“That sounds great, Jack, but we’ve really got to get…”
He grabbed her by the arm.
“Now, Muriel!” They both ran towards the ship as the platform began to retract back inside. After they got through the door, it slammed shut and the ship immediately lifted off the ground. Hovering gently above the ground, it turned towards me as a speaker buzzed on outside the ship.
“We really are sorry to run off like this, John, but our species has a rule about interacting with primitives. Sorry about all this trouble. Give it another couple hundred years and, if you haven’t destroyed yourselves yet, we’ll stop by again. Who knows! We might even become friends!”
The Seal team that was deployed around the mall was standing with their briefcase-guns now drawn. I assumed they were waiting for my order to fire, but I honestly didn’t know what to do. Their weapons were pointed towards the ship the whole way through the sky as I stood there with my jaw hanging down to the ground.
I turned around to see one of them at my six. We looked at each other and, with our eyes, said “What the hell just happened?” Neither of us knew. I was really ready to pinch myself and wake up from this strange, weird dream once and for all.
I raised my hand and swirled my finger around to dismiss the troops. They assembled and marched off to their trucks.
“Would you like a ride back to the Pentagon, sir?”
“I think I’m just gonna take a walk. Try to clear my head,” I said.
I strolled off down the mall towards the Washington Monument, and looked down and saw the sticker on my uniform: “Hi! My Name Is Jack.” Tearing off the cheap sticker, I crumpled it up and threw it in a nearby trashcan. So much for niceties.