I can always tell when Slippy the Wibble is getting restless because he does this little dance. It’s hard to describe how an alien with four giant worms held together at their middles by a deflated beachball dances, but it’s more or less a bouncy thing and a waggle. He’d been bouncing and waggling for about a day and a half when I finally pinned him down.
“What’s eating you, Slippy? Someone slip a flounder in your shorts?”
Wibbles are sophisticated aliens, who understand the nuances of speech and the functions of idioms and figurative language, so he didn’t answer me with some stupid literal interpretation like they do in those TV shows.
“Selection of an ambassador to the mother ship is late. We must find a suitable human being within three months.” For a Wibble, that was like needing to compose a complete dictionary of the English language by the next day. One of his worms curled and flicked.
“I’d be glad to help, but the criteria are a bit murky.”
“I will know him when I see him.”
I brought it up to Ryan Seacrest—Slippy had recognized him as the indisputable leader of earth, and we currently stayed in his guest house. Ryan decided to create a reality TV show in search of the Wibble ambassador. He gathered up contestants of every race and creed from all over the world and set up immensely bizarre, mind-bending tasks to see how they handled truly alien situations.
Slippy and I visited the set after the first week and watched a Samoan woman figure out how to communicate with a bonobo monkey using pretzel sticks and pudding. Slippy excreted a pile of something next to the camera and headed out into the city.
We saw enough bizarre behavior, for sure. There was a flash mob of Boy George’s ‘I’ll Tumble for Ya,’ some cosplay girls dressed up like turtles, and a street performer pretending to be a garbage can. None of it impressed Slippy, not even the geek pride parade that went through the esplanade.
I figured he needed a break because his lumpy middle contracted, and his worm legs drooped. I’d come to take that as meaning he was agitated. Truth be told, I was getting cranky myself.
“Let’s get some McDonalds,” I said.
The alien loved a Big Mac. He immediately perked up and we hit the golden arches about a block away. A cute, black cashier named Georgetta with tight curls, barely tall enough to reach the register greeted us.
“Well, aren’t you the most handsome thing in the world,” she said. She clearly meant Slippy. I mean I’m not ugly, but come on. She still graced me with a warm smile, so I was feeling a bit fuzzy by the time we sat down.
Every walk of life filled the tables. Lots of tattoos and piercings, a party in medieval costumes heading to the Renaissance Faire, and some people made up like zombies for a live, all-night role playing game they’d just come from. While we were sitting there, a barber shop quartet placed their order in song, and a guy who’d modified his face to look like a cat’s insisted on getting his milk in a saucer.
“There’s got to be somebody here that would do the trick,” I said. “Look at all these weird people. Isn’t there anybody?”
“I need another Big Mac,” said Slippy.
“Yeah, I want more fries.” We got in line.
After a man who self-identified as a shrub finished ordering, Slippy pushed ahead of me.
“Miss Georgetta of McDonalds,” he said. “On behalf of the Wibblerian extraterrestrial species, I request your services as ambassador to the mother ship.”
I grinned. “Perfect.”