The Invasion of the Pseuds by Spencer Brown
by Spencer Brown
They came from the skies, in a ship that was clearly expensive. It soared silently through the clouds, coming to rest above Shropley.
The villagers assembled on the green; this was the most exciting thing to happen to Shropley since the drug scandal at last summer’s pig racing.
After a barage of lights and sounds, that would retrospectively seem rather showy, a gangway was lowered from the craft, and a party of the aliens descended. Their representative stepped forward and addressed the people of Earth/Shropley.
“We are the Pseuds,” he said. “Our world was destroyed due to reasons absolutely nothing to do with Pseud incompetence, and we have come to rule your primitive planet. What’s more, we mean to expediate the matter!”
The people stood there open mouthed. Pseuds? Rule? Expediate? Surely this was some kind of collective hallucination… But collective hallucinations did not use unnecessarily complicated words, and pronounce foreign terms in the correct accents.
“We wish to furnish you with a list of our requirements,” the Pseud continued.
The vicar stepped forward and took the paper the Pseud held in his hand. He looked at the list quizzically: Foodstuffs (preferably from independent retailers, but at a stretch a supermarket’s Finest range) and fine wines (nothing New World). He looked up at the Pseuds , “We will of course meet your demands,” said the vicar “How could we not? It sort of brings to mind Leopold Bloom’s dilemma in Ulysses when meeting Augustine Prowl , wouldn’t you say?”
“Quite” responded the Pseuds, laughing smugly to themselves.
The vicar turned away, a smile on his face. As he passed Henry, he winked. Henry, as always one step behind, shuffled after the vicar in confusion.
Back at the vicarage, the vicar was decanting Jacobs creak into an empty St. Emillion bottle.
“But why… why England?” Henry muttered.
“Simple,” said the vicar. “The Pseuds will be better at blending in here than anywhere on earth. If correctly attired, they will be indistinguishable from many of the native population.”
“Ingenious,” said Henry. He finally noticed the vicar’s curious behaviour with the wine bottles. “What are you doing?”
“Testing them!” said the vicar.
“But surely they have weapons, technology – at the very least some extremely cutting put-downs…” said Henry “Isn’t that a bit risky?”
“Look at this list of demands,” said the vicar. “They have spelt Deli with an h! And in case you weren’t aware, there is no Augustine Prowl in Ulysses… “
They left the wine outside the spaceship, and watched on from a bush as the Pseuds began to examine it, pretending not to notice the expensive price stickers the vicar had purposefully left on the bottles.
“They’re drinking it!” gasped Henry.
“Yes!” said the vicar. “But even with the cheapest bottles it will not be long until the village is out of wine – and if we were to have to listen to their conversation sober…”
He let the implication linger. I shiver went down Henry’s spine. “So what are we to do?” said Henry.
“They have a weakness,” said the Reverend. “The lowbrow.”
“But couldn’t they just pretend to enjoy it ironically?” replied Henry, unhabitually astute.
“On the contrary, I have a plan where it shall utterly destroy them.”
After a day spent searching for the dubbed DVD the vicar had mistakenly bought on his last trip to France, the doorbell went. Henry went to answer the door. “A moment!” said the vicar. He rushed over to turn down the colour knob on his archaic television set, then gestured Henry to go ahead.
The Pseuds entered, intrigued by the vicars unexpected invitation to a DVD evening. “What are we watching?” said the Pseud’s leader.
“It’s a new French art house film,” said the vicar “entitled Pistolet Superieur.”
The film began, and the Pseuds watched in awe as Maverick and Iceman competed for the title of Pistolet Superieur, their witty verbal jousting coloured in rough gallic tones.
By the time it finished, the Pseuds’ eyes were lined with tears. “An excellent piece, moving and profound,” said one of the Pseuds. “One of the most emotive works of art I have ever experienced,” echoed another. They all nodded in agreement.
The vicar pulled out his trump card: “I don’t think you’d find many people who’d disagree with you on that.”
The Pseuds looked at him in unison. After what seemed like an eternity, one of them proved brave enough to break the impasse. “And what do you mean by that?”
“What I mean by that is that the film you have just watched is in fact Top Gun, one of the most popular movies of the 1980s! And what’s more, its in colour!” The vicar turned the colour up on his set to illustrate his point.
The Pseuds screamed. The sound was primal, alien. One by one the Pseuds fell to the floor, seeming almost to collapse in upon themselves, until they lay there, lifeless and wrinkled, like balloons the day after a party.
The vicar smiled.
by Spencer Brown