Figures supplied by the East Lincolnshire Potato Marketing Board reveal that in the year 2010/2011, two hundred and twelve people claim to have been abducted by aliens. That's a fifty per cent increase on the numbers from the previous two years, and this begs two questions. Firstly, why is the East Lincolnshire Potato Marketing Board so interested in alien abductions? I mean, I appreciate that the business of marketing potatoes lacks glamour and that you might want to branch out a bit, but a sudden interest in extraterrestrials is a bit of a leap. The second question is why should I be so interested in the subject? This latter query, at least, is something I feel qualified to answer.
Good morning. My name is Doctor Adolphous Bongo, and much has been made of the recent police raids on various properties with which I am associated. I think I should take this opportunity to put your minds at rest about the material that was confiscated on these occasions. Firstly, I have no knowledge of the items that were taken from the flat over the laundrette in Market Street. I have not used this particular address for eighteen months, having loaned it to a friend. What he does there in his own free time is none of my concern. The articles discovered at the lock up garage in the old railway arches are nothing more than the normal paraphernalia of a busy doctor. Any suggestion otherwise is the result of over-zealous reporting in the local press. In particular, I feel that the repeated use of the word 'entrails' is needlessly dramatic. Finally, it has been reported that the most damning finds have been made at my surgery. As most people who know me will tell you, I rarely make any attempt to attend my place of work. Therefore anyone who suggests that the medieval torture equipment, the pro-vivisection literature and the giant Mr Whippy costume that were found there are in any way connected with me is batting on a very sticky wicket indeed.
All this fuss is coming at a very difficult time for me, what with this alien abduction business to deal with. At first glance you wouldn't think I'd be too concerned about patients complaining of being probed by aliens in the middle of the night. It's a simple enough matter to prescribe a course of antibiotics and suggest that they sleep with the window closed in future. Not that I have any proof that antibiotics are an effective treatment in these situations, but most people are generally stupid enough to accept that if penicillin can get the better of a dose of the clap, then it's more than a match for Lord Zog and his celestial minions from the planet Zytus 6. Or whatever.
Now obviously, my first reaction is always to assume that the people reporting this nonsense are nutters. 'Nutter' is a complicated medical term, which roughly translates as 'patient'. After all, I have in the past been asked to treat people claiming they'd been bitten by the Loch Ness Monster, mugged by pixies or gone down with a bad case of werewolves. One fellow spontaneously combusted in my waiting room, which didn't half make a mess of the paintwork. I only wish I could figure out how he did it, as it seems a sure-fire way of keeping the waiting lists down, but my impromptu experiment with a blowtorch, a tin of paraffin and a six kilogram bag of charcoal briquettes resulted in only minor injuries and superficial toasting.
You know, I even had one chap claiming he'd been set upon by wombles, but I threw him out. You've got to draw the line somewhere.
I am of course aware of just how unlikely alien visitation really is. I mean, all that physics stuff: the implausibility of crossing vast interstellar distances, the unbreakable barrier set by the speed of light, the likelihood that most emergent intelligent life will be gobbled up by alien space dragons long before it has the capacity to strike out across the stars. I am also acutely aware how improbable it is that some cosmic visitor would strive to overcome the incredible odds to reach this tiny blue bubble of life within the cold infinite blackness of the universe, purely in order to embed his space gizmo into one of my patients.
That said, if there is even the remotest possibility of Johnny Spaceman landing his flying saucer in my patch, I want to know about it. Painfully inserting complex medical equipment into the miscellaneous orifices of the populace is my job, and if Captain Zargon and his band of bright purple squid creatures from the planet Zanussi 12 want to argue about that, I'll rip off their antennae.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I continue to watch the skies. Not because I want to reach out beyond the limits of this fragile human sphere and touch the infinite. Not because I want to be in the vanguard of a new age of universal peace and cosmic brotherhood. I'm merely protecting my livelihood. And that, if you're interested, is why the police found a high-powered telescope, camouflage gear and a six gallon drum of chloroform in the boot of my car. You see, you'll usually find that there's a perfectly innocent reason for these things so long as you don't jump to conclusions.
Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2012
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