my eyes are sticking out of my head

It seems you don’t like us much at all. Just because we landed in Westminster the other day, and got in the way of the traffic. We weren’t meaning to upset the Prime Minster….”


by barbara godwin


That’s because I’m an alien. I can’t help that. I’m not so alienish as some of you. I only look like an alien.

The other day I knocked on a very nice red door and asked very politely, through the slit in the middle of the door, if the lady of the house would be good enough to just let me have a blob of treacle and some sausage rolls. I needed to get to Basingstoke you see, because that was where we were staying. I put my eyes through the letterbox and she was very unwelcoming. Screamed at me to go away.

Why do you have slits in doors if you don’t want people to talk to you?

I went round the back of the house. There isn’t a slit in the back door, so I had to stand on the window ledge and look in. That’s all I did, really. She was holding a frying pan. She said she would batter my head in if I came anywhere near her. So I went away. What a strange way to behave. Why if we did that we’d never have got anywhere, done anything, and you wouldn’t be having the benefit of our presence now.

I think you’ll probably get more used to us the more of us you see. I realize that you think in a very strange way, or why would you keep doing things you don’t want to do? For example, ever so many people have said they hate going to work and would give up tomorrow if they could. I don’t understand why you can’t just give up. We could help you do all the things you seem to be doing all the time. You wouldn’t have to drive buses and go in to do nightshift in the factories or anything. We could show you things, so that you wouldn’t have to do whatever you hated doing.

Sigh. It seems you don’t like us much at all. Just because we landed in Westminster the other day, and got in the way of the traffic. We weren’t meaning to upset the Prime Minster. There was no need for him to demand that we be locked up, though of course, that wasn’t sensible now was it, because we slid under the door. We told you ever-so-politely that we would, but you didn’t take any notice. You seem to think we’ve come to take over the world, when we only want to help. Little people with eyes sticking out can be helpful you know. You wouldn’t even need buses. We would get you around by having you suck a cough sweet or something nice like that, and as for things having to be made in factories, well, easy peasy, we’d show you how to grow everything – cars, airplanes, yachts. You start them all off in flowerpots.

Except you wouldn’t need any of them. Not really. You could have them, but you wouldn’t need them, because we could get you about to wherever you wanted to go.

Hey ho, I don’t think we’ll ever understand the human race. Now I’ll have to find some other thing to eat to get me to Basingstoke. Aah, chip shop. That’ll do it.

There’s a very nice house in Basingstoke where they welcomed us with open arms. Our leader is there now, talking to the persons living there. They are very interested in growing things. They like the quick force grown Mercedes we grew for them. We’re working on a fleet of them now.

A small portion of chips please, with sugar and chocolate sauce. No need to scream. No sauce? Whatever you have then. That’s fine. I don’t have two pounds on me, but I can show you how to grow as much as you want. No? Fine. Thank you for the chips.

Can’t wait to meet the people in Basingstoke. I didn’t quite catch how many open arms they have when our leader called me. He could have said seven, but it may have been more. Never mind. Sure to be interesting, whoever they are.

Originally published:
Issue Forty-Two
April 2006


(illustration: ernest williamson III)

Barbara Godwin lives in Southampton, U.K., where her literary agent is currently marketing her first (and shortly second) novels. She has edited a book for Winchester writing students and does freelance work for the Southern Daily Echo, as well as writing adult fiction through the Bootcamp writing group.

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