Aaron and Holly were practicing proper social distancing on their favorite benches in the park. Since they were fifteen feet apart, they had their masks off and were enjoying their favorite beverages on a beautiful Sunday morning.
“I spent a lot of time on hold with insurance companies this week,” he shared after a long sip of his Snapple.
“That’s usually when you do your best thinking,” his best friend informed him as she blew on her coffee because it was way too hot to drink.
“Well, if I don’t use the time to think, the hold music is going to enchant me and I really can’t deal with that on top of everything else going on right now,” he grumbled.
Holly was well aware of Aaron’s theory on hold music’s evil powers. He believed there were subliminal messages buried in the repetitive notes that influenced callers to purchase whatever the company was pushing that day. As a result, he always found a distraction while on hold to avoid the music’s siren call.
“And what did you think about during all that phone time?”
She had to know. You didn’t let Aaron open a can of worms, and then not prod him to dump out the contents so you could see what was in there.
Well, you could, but it would totally be your loss.
“Have you noticed how there’s never anything in the news lately about people claiming to have been abducted by aliens?” he asked totally straight faced. “For that matter, there’s also no reports of strange crop circles, unidentified flying objects, or unexplained power outages that were clearly caused by interference from alien crafts?”
“True,” Holly countered, “but then again, the news has been otherwise occupied with covering the pandemic that’s ravaging the planet. That could just be bumping all the alien related news from the headlines.”
Aaron shrugged, took another sip of his Snapple, and pondered her words.
“That’s an intriguing theory, but do you really think major news outlets would turn away any sort of alien related story? That stuff is pure gold in any news cycle.”
Holly, who had managed to get in a sip of her coffee by now since it had finally cooled enough not to scald her throat on the journey to her stomach, took the bait.
“So what do you think happened to all the alien activity then if the news isn’t simply ignoring the stories?” she asked knowing full well she would love the answer.
“I’m thinking the aliens have put Earth on their no fly lists,” he informed her. “We know they are intelligent beings since they’ve managed to master travel across the galaxy.”
“Clearly,” she interjected with a smile as she settled in for that afternoon’s entertainment.
“I’ve always believed that aliens live among us,” he continued. “Advanced scouts sent here to keep an eye on things and to report back to various home planets. That’s why when aliens do come and abduct humans, they always get away with it. All that planning ahead assures that their targets are easy prey, and there will be no witnesses.”
Holly nodded like it all made perfect sense. “I’m assuming these scouts either have the ability to take human form, or are well disguised so as to live among us undetected.”
“So are you saying that anyone wearing a mask has the potential to be an alien?”
Holly loved playing Devil’s Advocate and further fueling Aaron’s rants and conspiracy theories will well thought out questions. She wasn’t only a fan, she was also a major contributor to his ramblings, even if he never realized it.
“Don’t say that too loud,” he strongly cautioned. “You can’t let the Trump anti-maskers get a hold of that theory. That could make for a very ugly situation.”
“Things can get even uglier than they already are?” she mused.
Aaron chuckled and held up his Snapple bottle in salute. Holly responded by holding up her coffee cup.
“Remember that in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Earth was listed as “Mostly harmless”. As a result, aliens knew they could travel here at will and conduct any business they saw fit. My guess is that Earth’s entry has since been updated, probably in the last couple of months.”
“Too stupid and selfish to do even the simplest things to save lives during the thralls of a planetary pandemic. That would be my guess for the new entry,” she volunteered from her side of the path.
“Very harmful,” he snickered in return. “I bet there is a galaxy wide ban on any travel to Earth, and those poor advanced scouts are marooned here and just trying to survive.”
“Don’t panic. I’d remind them of that very sage advice,” Holly volunteered.
“So if you think about it, Trump’s horrible response to the Coronavirus might have saved the Earth from an alien invasion,” Aaron mused. “He’s bungled things so badly that aliens won’t come here, and have had to remove “Conquering Earth” from their to do lists. Crazy how things work.”
“Maybe we should keep this theory between us,” Holly quickly suggested. “Trump is so desperate for any sort of boost in the polls that he would probably jump on this “I saved the planet from an alien invasion” idea and make it the focus of his campaign moving forward. You know how much his minions hate outsiders, so they would eat this up, and hail Trump as Earth’s savior.”
“I can see the campaign pitch now: He could have built a wall to keep out illegal aliens, but instead, he saved taxpayer dollars and instead, allowed a killer virus to run unchecked through the nation to keep out an even more dangerous kind of alien!”
Aaron said the line in a deep announcer’s voice that made it sound very official.
“I’ve got goosebumps,” Holly admitted. “And not the good kind.”
“We live in very strange times,” Aaron stated the obvious.
Holly’s entire body shook at the mere thought, and she quickly chugged her coffee to try to get warm again.