Slippy the Wibble got the idea somewhere along the line that he should ‘get his swag on’ if he wanted humans to relate to him, so I was helping him try on a fedora when Georgetta waltzed in without knocking like she usually does. “Hi, handsome.”
Slippy bent one of his tentacles to imitate a human wave. “Hello, ambassador, love of my life.” They’d been playing at this faux flirting since the day they’d met, but it sometimes made me feel like the odd man in the room. Yeah, I know—the irony.
The place was a wreck. The wibble and I had been working a lot of projects lately, so all kinds of electronics, construction materials, bottled chemicals, and various junk littered the living room. My bicycle paraphernalia surrounded a big tub with my Christmas decorations, my clothes hamper lay knocked over with half the clothes spilled out, and camping gear piled in a corner. Not to mention all the pizza boxes and the aquarium equipment.
“T’sup, Victor?” Georgetta tousled my hair, a move that would irritate me were it anyone else.
“Slippy wants to ‘get his swag on.’” I scanned the bins of hats, scarfs, and bling for the next item.
“You really going Sanatra on him?” She slid the hat to one side on his prune-shaped body.
“I was thinking more Neal Caffrey, but the Sinatra mystique might be better.”
“Honey, you ain’t going to get the same effect on this big hunk of ET love. He needs something that brings out who he is—don’t you know nothing?”
I had to admit, the fedora sitting on his big, half-deflated-beachball body that was suspended by four wormlike tentacles made it look like someone tossed a hat on a weird looking chair.
“About swag? No, I don’t. But I knew enough to cancel his consult with Aziz Ansari.”
She laughed. “Good move. I don’t think that’s the right way.”
“He looks good, though,” said Slippy.
“He does.” Georgetta put her attache case on the coffee table and sank into the recliner. “I like you better in a rasta.”
“A what?” asked Slippy.
“Can’t you see it, Victor? Reggae Slippy?”
“I don’t think you’re helping.” I threw the hat in a bin. “The weird thing is, I’m trying to clothe a being who’s body already covers and protects anything that… needs covering and protecting.”
“And that’s why you’re accessorizing with these ridiculous hats.” She stood up and stepped in front of the alien, assessing him. “What’s cool about an alien—I mean besides everything?” She grabbed his two front tentacles as if they were human arms. “What about these? You’ve already got this translator attached to this one, maybe we can jazz it up and get some more gadgets.”
“No.” Slippy bopped her gently on her curls. “The translator is already a severe but necessary compromise.”
Georgetta pinched her lips with her fingers. “What about a belt around your middle?”
Slippy’s midsection shrank and his upper tentacles quivered. “Impossible.”
“All right.” Georgetta went back to her seat and opened the attache. “I’ll put my mind to it, but first we’ve got some requests from the president to go over.”
“What does he want?” asked Slippy.
“Lots of things. You’ve been avoiding him. I think you hurt his feelings.”
“I’ve given him as much time as his relevance demands,” said the alien.
“Can’t you just talk to him? You at least met with his predecessor.”
“Not by choice,” said Slippy.
Georgetta shook her head and smiled. “You’re not making this job any easier, and since you refused anyone else’s ambassador, I’m really doing the job of many.”
“You’re loving it,” I said. “Managing the communications to Slippy, putting world leaders in their places, riding in a limo….”
“Don’t tell my secrets, smarty. Slippy, they just want a little guidance to prepare treaties with the mother ship, can’t you toss them a bone?”
“Are they still on about that?” asked Slippy. “We’ve told them several times that we don’t work that way. We have observed your earth treaties for centuries, and they are meaningless.”
“You mean they don’t honor them?” I asked.
“That, too, but what I’m saying is that they have no foundation in meaning.” He pounded the table to emphasize his words, something he’d picked up from the movies. “They are words that are used to twist meaning as they see fit.” He rocked on his support worms and flailed. “The words are given more power than the meaning in which each party intended, so that each side can agree on different things that match different interpretations in the words, and whoever is the most powerful will force their will upon the other accordingly—meaning and intention be damned.” He turned and danced back and forth on his lower tentacles like a stunt pony in a show. “Only the greatest imbecile in the universe would enter into a treaty with earthlings. So to use an earth expression—to hell with them.”
He kicked out with his lower worms, dumping the swag bins, and flung his upper tentacles around, then twirled on one of his lower appendages. I’ve never seen him so worked up.
Another tentacle came down on a pizza box, which slipped out from under him and sent him sprawling. He tried to recover, but tripped over a bicycle helmet and tumbled onto the big tub of Christmas decorations, rolling with it and dumping it on himself. When he got up and steadied his support appendages, Christmas tree lights wrapped him up in a tangle, baubles clung to him every which way, and a wreath ringed one of his tentacles.
Georgetta sat back in her chair. “Now, that’s what I call getting your swag on.”
“Yeah. Keep the wreath.” I chuckled. “Definitely keep the wreath.”