Slippy the Wibble twitched three tentacles and twirled the other, waiting for the Chief of Staff to show up. I could tell he was already annoyed. Slippy stood at one end of a large, oak Victorian table, where I’d pulled the chairs out, and I sat to the side of him.
“Why am I waiting for such a man?” asked Slippy.
“He’s the right hand man of the most powerful man on earth,” I said.
“I already know all of Ryan Seacrest’s people, and he is not one of them.”
“Right,” I said. “But these are the people you need to know for official channels. You understand?”
“No,” said Slippy. He straightened two of his tentacles, showing me he was resigned to the occasion. “But I will engage it if you advise.”
The door opened, and several men walked in led by Chief of Staff Kelly Johnson. They sat across from Slippy and set down a few notebooks and organizers.
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Slippy,” said Johnson. “We’ve been trying to set up a meeting with you for some time now to discuss some critical matters.”
“Did you go through Victor?” asked Slippy.
I got chills for a moment. Had I neglected my duty?
“Yes, he’s the only contact you allowed,” said Johnson.
“Well done, Victor,” Slippy said to me. “Is this the latest possible time we can have it?”
“It really is,” said Johnson. “Look. We have a problem with your legitimacy.”
“What the hell?” I said. “Where’d that come from?”
“How were you chosen by your species to be the liaison?”
“We played a game,” said Slippy. “The equivalent to earth traditions is that I drew the short straw.”
“Okay,” said Johnson. “But who do you answer to?”
The wibble looked at me. “What does he mean?”
I always found this level of interpreting a challenge. “Do you have an authority?” I asked.
“Oh, yes. You mean my father.”
“Er… No,” said Johnson. “We mean higher than that.”
“There is nothing higher than that,” said Slippy.
“I see,” said Johnson. “How was your father chosen to lead your people?”
“Short straw,” said Slippy, but I could tell he was attempting humor.
“Can you describe the detailed process in which your father was chosen to be the leader?” asked Johnson.
“It is considered inappropriate to discuss reproductive efforts of my species,” said Slippy.
“Do you have any democratically elected leaders?” asked Johnson.
Slippy turned a tentacle toward me. “What he says is nonsense. How can one elect one’s father?”
I shrugged. This was all a bit above my pay grade.
Johnson frowned. “What about Wibbles that don’t have your father? How are they represented?”
“They have their own fathers,” said Slippy. “Are all earth officials this stupid?”
“I’m sorry,” said Johnson. “We’re going to need better validation of your authority, Mr. Wibble. Can you arrange that?”
“I’ve already explained it,” said Slippy.
“What else can we do?” asked Johnson.
“That’s easy,” said the Wibble. “I’d like to speak to your father.”