In a departure from its traditional position that the earth is the only inhabited planet, the Vatican has consulted experts on the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
The Boston Herald
Even though I’ve been instructed never to disturb the Pope when he’s watching “Star Trek” reruns, the alien in the reception area was getting impatient. I’d kept him at bay by giving him free espresso and biscotti, but after a while he ate a potted plant, then the receptionist. I had to do something.
“If we hit warp speed, we can still make the 11:30 Mass.”
“Excuse me–Your Holiness?” I said meekly after cracking the door to the papal den. “There’s someone here to see you.”
“Who is it?” the Pope asked, pausing only to mute the volume.
“The fellow from the THX 1138 spiral galaxy you invited in to discuss the possibility of extraterresterial life.”
“What’s his name?”
“Go in peace, and may Glzorp bless you.”
I handed the Pope a piece of paper on which the alien had scrawled his name.
“Glx13*//:37aH2″? the Pope asked haltingly.
“He puts the accent on the asterisk,” I said.
“Okay–show him in. I’ve got this episode on my 7-DVD boxed set.”
I went out to the reception area. “The Pope will see you now,” I said.
“About frzeleepkink time!” the alien replied. He’d been reading a copy of US Weekly that the receptionist . . . uh, left behind.
Lady Gaga: It could happen here.
“That Lady Gaga is one hot glizzkt34i, isn’t she?” he said.
“I suppose you could say that,” I said. I tried, as best I could, to maintain a proper professional reserve. We get a lot of kooks at the Vatican–people asking for miracle cures, autograph hounds, youth hockey coaches looking for relief from Pope John Paul II’s “Pray Don’t Play on Sunday” Encyclical a few years back.
“Your Holiness?” I asked tentatively, hoping he’d take my cue and relieve me of the pressure of pronouncing the alien’s name.
“Hi–Pope Francis I here,” the Pontiff said, trying to make the alien comfortable by using a numeral, even though as the first Francis he technically doesn’t have to.
“I just flew in from Alpha Centauri, and boy are my arms tired!”
“Pope, Glx13*//:37aH2 here–nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, Glx13*//:3 . . .”
“Please–call me ‘Glx’. Everybody else does.”
“Okay, Glx–sit down, sit down. Can I get you anything?”
“No, I’m all set. I had something called a ‘Courtney’ out there on the buffet.”
Alien receptionist: She has to leave early to meet friends at the T.G.I. Friday’s on Venus.
The Pope looked at me in horror. “Who’s covering for her?” he asked.
“I’ll take care of it,” I said.
“Because I need someone to validate Glx’s parking.”
“I know where she keeps the stamp.”
With that I excused myself from the two intergalactic leaders, but I left the door ajar in order to bear witness to their historic meeting.
“So, tell me a little about yourself, Glx,” the Pope said.
Giordano Bruno, early sci-fi fan
“Well, just as your Giordano Bruno predicted,” the alien began, “there are forms of life in the universe other than you self-centered, egotistical humans.”
The Pope got a far-away look in his eye. “My bad,” he said, “or rather our bad. Really too bad for Bruno, though.”
“Yeah. Being burned at the stake has got to be tough.”
“It’s not really a stake–it’s more like a Weber Grill.”
“So patented Weber technology means meats stay moist and juicy?”
“On the nosy,” the Pope said. The guy loved his grilled bratwurst. “So anyway, what is it with you space aliens?”
“What do you mean?” Glx asked. “And by the way,” he continued before the Pope had a chance to answer him, “we think you’re the aliens.”
“Everybody’s multi-culti these days,” the Pope said with a sigh. “What I mean is, you swoop down out of the skies, abduct productive, tithe-paying parishioners, and just drop them off when you’re done with them, their bodily orifices singed and their memories zapped so they have no recollection of where they’ve been.”
“We,” Glx began, then hesitated. “We find it hard to talk . . . to women.”
“Well, Christ almighty–I do too, but you don’t see me abducting them!”
“That’s because you prefer little . . .”
“Don’t go there!” the Pope said sharply, interrupting his visitor.
It was one of the Pontiff’s great skills, the ability to piss off people of different backgrounds, then act as if it was all a misunderstanding. “So tell me Glx,” he began again. “Why exactly should I believe in you?”
Holy water font
The alien looked him up and down. He didn’t have eyebrows, exactly, but he lifted the fleshy fold over his single visual aperture upwards in an expression of skepticism. “Right back at ya, Benny,” he said after a moment of awkward silence. “Why should I believe in you?“
You could have knocked the pontiff over with a splash from a holy water font. “Because I’m . . . I’m the Vicar of Christ on earth!”
“So what,” the alien said. “I’m the Vlzkkx1 of Glzorp on K2H1z!”
“Is that like a big deal?” the Pope asked.
“Absolutely–you’ve got a Popemobile, I’ve got a Glzorpmobile.”
“How many miles per gallon do you get?” the Pope asked.
“Highway or city?”
“24 to 26–I keep pretty good records for expense reimbursement. Anyway, it might surprise you to know that, where I come from, nobody believes in you!”
“Get outta town!” the pontiff exclaimed.
“Seriously,” the alien assured him. “Just as you have your science fiction nuts here on earth, in my galaxy we have organized religion fans–like myself.”
The Pope gave the creature a wild surmise, like Cortez’s men in Keats’ “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer.” “So–do you have, like, Star Trek conventions . . .”
“With my mitre on, my head’s as big as an alien’s!”
“With carbon-based life forms dressing up as saints and monks and cardinals.”
The Pope was stunned, and fell into silence. “Well, I guess what’s sauce for the priest is sauce for the nun, or something like that.”
I could tell from the expression on the alien’s face that he was smiling inwardly.
“So who’s your favorite Pope?” the Pope asked Glx.
“Well, it’s hard to say,” the green being said as he rubbed what passes for a chin in the THX 1138 neck of the woods, “but if I had to pick, I’d go with Hadrian III.”
“Why him?” the Pope asked. I could tell he was a teensy bit miffed that he wasn’t #1 in the alien’s mind.
Pope Hadrian IV: That’s as close as I could get.
“Well, he was only Pope for a year and a half, but during that time he whipped a naked widow through the streets of Rome, and poked out the eyes of George of the Aventine.”
“Sounds like something out of WWE Raw,” the pontiff said, obviously impressed. “Anything else?”
“Well, Emperor Charles the Fat invited Pope Hadrian to a diet at Worms.”
The two looked at each other, then exploded in laughter. “Where do you pick this stuff up?” the Pope finally asked.
“The Oxford Dictionary of Popes,” the alien said. “Either that or something called Wikipedia, which we’re starting to get as part of basic cable.”
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Here’s to His Holiness: Fake Stories About Real Popes.”