It was 9:30 AM on a Friday when the Martians landed on Dave McQuilty’s farm. The ship, which was more spherical than saucer-shaped, touched down in the midst of some cows. A long silver platform descended and a little grey man stepped out.
Dave waved. The little grey man made a strange hand gesture and said, “Take me to your leader.”
“What a marvellously egalitarian system the Martians must have!” Dave declared, as he set out to make the arrangements.
He started by calling the office of the Prime Minister, whose number was conveniently listed on the Parliamentary website, and requesting a meeting between himself, the Prime Minister, and a special foreign guest. A pleasant secretary told him that the Prime Minister was very busy, but should his schedule free up they would contact him.
Dave was not surprised by this. The Martian, however, did not understand. “How can this man be your leader if he refuses contact with his citizens?”
Dave shrugged. “I suppose, in a way, it increases his esteem. Perception of exclusivity and all that.”
Dave’s second step was to contact the Government House Leader, who, he figured, had an impressive enough title for the Martian’s purposes. The House Leader, however, was also very busy that day. Dave then tried to call his local Member of Parliament, the provincial Premier, his local Member of Provincial Parliament, and the Mayor. No luck.
He decided that the best he could do was take the Martian on a nice tour of Parliament Hill. So he and the Martian drove an hour to Ottawa and parked in an underground lot. Reading the list of hourly rates, Dave hoped the tour would be quick.
To partake in a public tour of Parliament, visitors must wait in line at a Service Canada building across the street from the Hill. It being a Friday, the building was packed with other tourists waiting for the same thing. Dave and the Martian settled into the back of the line.
After waiting forty-five minutes, Dave reconciled himself to the fact that they would not be getting a tour of the Hill any time soon. He pulled the Martian out of the line and the two walked back to the lot, where Dave paid his $30 parking fee and wondered why the alien could not have landed on the Hill itself and saved them both a lot of trouble.
“So, to summarize,” the Martian said, adjusting his seatbelt, “I travelled fifty-four-point-six million kilometers from the planet Mars on a diplomatic mission to make contact with the Leaders of Earth, and I cannot meet your Prime Minister, your Government House Leader, your Member of Parliament, your Premier, your Member of Provincial Parliament, or your Mayor. I cannot even set foot in your Parliament Building.”
“Listen here,” Dave snapped. “If you wanted any of these meetings you should have called ahead. It’s a Friday, for Pete’s sake. I’m doing the best I can.”
His options exhausted, Dave took the Martian to the Canadian War Museum. The Martian interpreted this as an aggressive act, and an invasion was launched.
Originally published on 365 Tomorrows; March 10/2017