It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

War of the Worlds - The Expurgated Version

A few days from now, October 30, 2005-- (Voice by Orson Welles)

As I sit here at my desk, sipping a mai tai and looking out into the celestial ether, it occurs to me that I am drunker than Foster Brooks at Oktoberfest. It also occurs to me that the large red star in the night, winking like Shelly Winters after a bottle of merlot, is Mars, approaching its bi-point16-annual rendezvous with our fragile world. It looks like a giant, glow-in-the-dark marble.

I stare solemnly into the great crimson globe, mesmerized by its astral pulse and its vague resemblance to Sammy Davis Jr.'s glass eye. So distracted am I by the scarlet sphere that the room becomes deathly silent, as still as an auditorium of Mormons after a Buddy Hackett one-liner. After several moments, I am awakened from my Mai-rtian reverie by the umbrella in my drink, poking me in the eye as I absentmindedly sip the sweet nectar of curacao, lime, rock sugar, and rum. I close the tiny umbrella and return it to the umbrella stand that is my drink.

I squint again at the ruby orb. Is it me, or has it grown larger than ever before? It seems to be pushing its way closer, as relentless as Ben Affleck trying to marry a celebrity with the name "Jennifer". It seems to be growing menacingly over the city lights, but it isn't expanding. Rather, it's moving ever nearer. Like a Mack truck with brake failure in San Francisco, it's careening now, careening through the inky night towards us. Drawn as though the Earth were its opposite pole, it approaches, disasterously pulled upon our world with the tragic inevitability of the Titanic and the iceberg, or Drew Barrymore and Tom Green.

From the now blood red Martian terrene there suddenly comes a vast flock of hideous nightwings. Like shadowy birds of prey they descend upon the frail horizon. Their lights like Jack Palance's eyes, brooding and tinged with a kind of serene, yet potentially homicidal madness, gaze down upon the cities. Their raptor wings stretch out across the firmament, blocking out all light except the ever more vast and florid planet in the air and the inobscurable Cracker Barrel sign just off the highway.

With a awful cry that reminds me of Ashley Simpson's performance at the Super Bowl, flame reaches out from the gaping, Mick Jagger-like maw of these terrible Batman Begins lookalikes. It tears through the towns and metropolises, faster than a Harry Potter rumour, more vicious and irrational than a Huffington Post blogger. Smoke, like from a Kingsford grill-off, rises from the dwellings. People stagger from wreckage as if from a Michael Bolton concert, begging for swift death.

I move away from the window. I knew something like this would happen. All the signs were there. Chicago. Houston. The World Series. The world had to be near its end.

Suddenly, the air was filled with sounds of horrible alien gasping and wheezing, like a William Shatner singing Schoenberg. With spastic lurches the demon birds of Mars descended to ground, dropping in a William Hung-like dance, as if lemmings off a drawbridge. Mars receded into its normal elliptical path, as powerless now as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a Hollywood catfight.

I turn on the radio and the airwaves are turgid with the news. The Martians were defeated because they could not handle the simplest of Earth's inhabitants. For all their death rays, anti-gravity systems, comfortable polyester knitwear, and Onstar service, they were unable to prepare themselves for something every Earthling and most Californians take for granted. They had perished at the hands of the glazed donut.

The entire invasion fleet, drawn to worldwide Krispy Kreme franchises like Beyonce to paparazzi, had choked to death on glaze sugar. Unlike the inhabitants of our world, who have built up a tolerance to this incredibly toxic substance over a period of millions of years, via the bear claw, the danish, the eclair, the cinnamon roll, and various strudles, the Martians were completely unprepared for the devastating effects massive amounts of sugar can have on one's nervous system. Their giant Martian brains exploded like 2-liters of soda on a Death Valley summer's day.

The Earth seems safe again now. Whipperwills sing again. Flowers bloom in the sunlight. Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan reconcile. Regis Philbin's agitation seems comic once more. Joe Biden resumes another weak bid for the Presidency. Children laugh and point. The sun rises.

Somewhere, in the distance, I can hear Homer Simpson shouting "In your face, alien scum!" Do your dance, Homer. Do your dance.

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