A Temporary Reprieve
General Zrrt led his band of hundred-foot tall battle-tanks onto the sand of the California coast. The beetle-like machines walked on two legs while four arms, packed with devastating weapons, tracked in all directions looking for targets.
Henry “Sunny” Carpenter watched them approaching as he sat on the sand with his guitar. He gazed at the alien battle-tanks, then grinned at his cup of mushroom tea. He slobbered, “Gnarly! I should buy from Thailand more often.” He set the cup down and played a few bars on on his guitar while he sang:
Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea. And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honali.
“Human!” roared General Zrrt from the top hatch of his tank. “The Imperial forces of Yzzboohn are here to invade your Earth. Run and tell your leaders to surrender now, or pay the consequences!”
Sunny gazed at Zrrt blankly. “This isn’t Earth, dude.”
Zrrt slumped. “It isn’t?”
“No, dude. This is Honali!” drooled Sunny. He grinned at the pink unicorns that danced on Zrrt’s eyestalks.
Zrrt turned to his second-in-command beside him and growled, “I knew that navigator from the temp agency was an idiot. He already got us lost three times!”
“I’ll have him executed at once, sir,” said Hzzlt.
“Do that. Then signal the troops. We’re returning to the Imperial Capital.”
“But sir!” protested Hzzlt. “If we do that, two hundred years will pass on Earth due to time-dilation effect. Humans have the technical expertise to produce a powerful space navy in that time.”
“Bah!” chortled Zrrt. “It would take all Earth’s political leaders working in concert accomplish that. At the rate they’re going they won’t have a moon base in two hundred years!”
Written for Matthew Wright’s weekly mega short-story challenge. Look for the original prompt right here: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/this-weeks-mega-short-story-challenge-5/