A few years ago I was involved in an alien abduction. The aliens were very polite about it. Just after eight o’clock in the evening two of them knocked at my door. When I opened it, there they were, all green, tentacled and alien. I thought they might be Mormons come to tell me about soul prison but they assured me they were aliens. “You can’t even tell which way up we are,” explained one, and turned upside-down, or possibly the right way up, to prove it. I wasn’t convinced; I can’t always tell which way up Mormons are, so I asked them a trick question. “Where do you go when you die?” I asked. The creatures began to behave very oddly. Balanced on a single tentacle they span around like humming-tops, ejecting little puffs of coloured smoke. I later learned to associate this reaction with consternation, dismay and a touch of gout. When they had calmed down they told me that when they died they went to the recycling plant and asked me not to mention it again since they didn’t like to dwell on such things. I concluded that they were probably not Mormons and invited them in.
They introduced themselves as Squee and Squaa. I handed tentacles with them and told them I was Brian. They asked if they might call me Squoo, since their voice-production equipment had particular difficulties with Brian, and I agreed. In my living room they declined to sit on chairs, since they were not suitable for their anatomy, and asked if I could supply them with buckets of water to cool their jollops. I filled a bucket and a large saucepan with water from the kitchen tap, then added some ice cubes for good measure. Back in the living room the aliens perched on these vessels and let their jollops dangle in the water. They squirmed about and sighed with such evident delight that I was rather envious and wished I had jollops of my own to cool.
I offered them refreshments, but they explained that Earth food and drink would not nourish them and that, being aliens, they could only eat poison. I returned with a selection of cleaning materials from the kitchen, which I guessed would probably be poisonous. Squaa sniffed suspiciously at the oven cleaning fluid, tried a little at the end of a tentacle, then downed the bottle in one gulp, professing it to be the best poison he had ever tasted. Squee emitted fumes of delight as he crunched up some drain un-blocker and I felt that my duty as a host had been discharged admirably.
I asked them why they were here. They told me that, if it was okay with me, they would rather like to abduct me. I would be beamed up to the mothership where I would have my anatomy, particularly my reproductive organs, examined with strange, alien instruments. Then they would have sex with me, if I was up for it. I asked if we could forego the sex bit and, so far as you can tell with aliens, they seemed rather relieved. “People do seem to expect it,” said Squee, “and we don’t like to disappoint them.” Squaa moved his tentacles in a kind of Mexican wave, a gesture that signified either agreement or a strangulated hernia depending on the colour of smoke emitted. On this occasion I took it to be agreement.
After the examination, they promised, I would have a conducted tour of the mothership, and then they would tell me the secrets of their technology so that I might save my planet. I asked for some examples. “We can tell you how to make bricks without straw,” offered Squaa. I responded that I didn’t know a lot about the brick-making process, but I didn’t believe that straw had figured in it for at least the last couple of thousand years. Squee then suggested cakes without straw, Squaa countered with steam engines without straw, Squee offered the secret of making haste without straw, and each time I regretfully turned them down. So far as I knew, I explained, straw was only used by farmers to make into bales and put in barns so that their premises would look more farm-like. “If you can guess my name,” said Squee craftily, “I’ll tell you the secret of spinning straw into gold.” I guessed his name was Squee and he seemed astonished that I’d got it first go. It turned out he didn’t know the secret at all, but thought that since I was such a know-it-all I might be able to tell him.
I eventually agreed to be abducted in return for the Secret of Eternal Youth and other skin-care products. Squee set about acquainting me with the details of the abduction process. Since they had a limited special-effects budget, they did all their work by teleportation, or ‘beaming up’, he explained. He and I would be teleported to the mothership and Squaa would stay behind to clean up. I became a little suspicious at this point and asked what manner of cleaning up would be required. Squee explained that the teleportation process didn’t actually relocate my body. I would be scanned, details of the state of every molecule of my body would be gathered at the mothership, and a perfect replica of me, with all my thoughts, feelings, memories, loves and hates would be constructed there. It would be so perfect that even I wouldn’t know it wasn’t me. Squaa would stay behind to dispose of the original.
This did not sound good. I asked if ‘the original’ meant me. Squee confirmed it. Squaa would kill me, and the original Squee, quite humanely of course, and dispose of our corpses in a hygienic and environmentally friendly manner. I asked why they couldn’t just make a replica of me, do their experiments, then dispose of the replica. Squee and Squaa began their dismayed humming-top routine again and jollop water splashed everywhere. When they had calmed down Squee was too distressed to speak so Squaa took up the story. "First of all,” he said, “the replica will think he is you and will be no more keen to be disposed of than you are. Secondly, there are the legal complications. If there are two copies of you, who has custody of the jollop coolers? Thirdly, and this is the real show stopper, you can’t play fast and loose with the wazzocks of the space-time pomfret. It will only tolerate two copies of an individual for a few seconds. After that, the whole universe could turn Chinese in the twinkling of a visual appendage.”
At this point I’d had enough and asked them to leave. They asked if I was absolutely sure, since they could offer a whole range of beauty products suitable for complexions of every possible shade of green. I said I was sure. Then Squee produced a document from a fold in his quimble and asked if I would sign it to say an approved abduction had taken place, just so they wouldn’t get into trouble. The document was all written in Alien, so I declined. Finally they asked if I would clean up after them. I said I would, just to get rid of them. So they beamed up, and there they still were. “You have to kill us!” squeaked Squee. “Right now!” squawked Squaa. But I didn’t kill them, and that’s the story of how I unintentionally abducted a pair of aliens.
Being Chinese is nowhere near as bad as people imagine. I am now quite used to the diet, the sing-song speech and the funny writing. The owners of the takeaway no longer call me a foreign devil and piss in my noodles. It has many advantages. As for the aliens, I made them memorise a Wikipedia article on Mormonism and sent them out to spread the good word. For all I know they're still at it.