Monday, 25 July 2011

Close Encounter of the Sozzled Kind

On my Multiply site, a friend challenged writers to write a story or essay using one long sentence per paragraph. Here's what I came up with, and I think it ought to figure high on any list of the Worst Stories Ever Written. Enjoy!


It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell from the sky in torrents, and would have soaked anyone caught outside to the skin if there was anyone stupid enough to be outside to be caught in it – but the only one so stupid was Dick the Drunkard, well-known reprobate and the last person whom anyone would believe, which is why what happened afterwards never made it to official notice until it was far too late, and the earth lay firmly under the grip of the Terrible Scourge From Beyond the Stars.

It was, then, in the midst of all the storm and stress, with water sluicing down the streets and beating down like a hammer, that the ship came down from space, lightly hovering above the village roofs looking like some kind of multicoloured ball lightning; and three spindly grey aliens came riding down on tractor beams to land on the street right in front of the astonished wino, who for the life of him couldn’t decide what to do under these circumstances.

Close to, the aliens looked at the same time handsome in a strange, elegant way, and horrible in a slippery, slimy way; their heads grew into tentacled masses which writhed in a fashion strongly reminiscent of the late Paul the Octopus selecting the winner of the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup, which had coincidentally earned Dick a lot of money in bets won and a lot of hangovers in alcohol drunk; and, below, their slim limbs were articulated in manner that resembled the stick insects the National Geographic showed sometimes in the less popular nature programmes.

“Earthling,” said the alien leader, speaking into a Universal Translator that converted its groobling speech into an equivalent of a Hitlerian bark, the kind of sound you’ll recognise if you’ve watched videos of the old Nazi Party rallies, “I am First Captain Headbanger of the Hevimettuls from Star System Laudmoozik, and according to the standard procedure under these circumstances I am expected to ask you to take us to your leader; but, looking at such a poor specimen as you, it seems unlikely in the extreme that you are in touch with any leader in any way or that they would respond in a manner we would find acceptable.

“Accordingly,” continued First Captain Headbanger, after a pause during which his beady eyes, black and glittering in the orange and green light of the spaceship above, studied Dick for any sign of comprehension, in vain, “we have decided that, since you are evidently a typical member of your species – seeing as we randomly selected a typical member for this contact – we can do no better but to annihilate or enslave you all, and we shall begin the process with immediate effect after this encounter is completed; but our laws demand that we try and ensure that we do not harm a sentient species, and we shall give you one last opportunity to prove yourself sentient: member of the bipedal primate race that occupies this planet Terra, do you have anything to say that will convince us to neither annihilate nor enslave you?”

Dick the Drunkard wiped the rain from his eyes, shook his head and tried to think of something to say; and all of a sudden (perhaps at the prompting of some personal guardian angel) the perfect response popped into his mind, and, walking gingerly forward, he raised himself on tiptoes, touched the First Captain’s tentacles, and in his best, most clearly enunciated tones, not even once slurring over the sibilants, asked the ultimate question: “Please tell me who’s going to win tomorrow’s club championship, Paul.”


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