I'm so happy

talking in my head

with the aliens' leader

that I don't notice

that I've been walking

up the gangplank

into their spacecraft

until I'm inside,

staring about,

looking at a map of the Earth

on a huge screen

you can see all the countries

and cities

marked with red lights

and golden trajectories

leading to them

(of course South is at the top

and North is at the bottom

but apart from that

they got it right)

I'm not sure

if this is an invasion plan

or an interplanetary

friendship atlas

so I turn to ask the alien leader

but I can't make a word

form in my head

the alien leader

whose name I know somehow is

Vlng rr Giz

(or something like that)

has decided to grow hair

like a shagpile muppet

he's grown taller, too,

and looks down at me

and beams a picture

into my head

I can see the map on the screen

but it's like a 3D movie

that somehow I can feel

in my hands

there is so much detail

I can see Hobart, Tasmania

and I know I could feel

every house and person in it

if I had the time

I can see


New York

Mexico City


Sao Paolo


New Delhi

Hong Kong

Kuala Lumpur










St Petersburg





suddenly I realise

that these are all the places

my father has been to

for his medical conferences

and from where he has sent me


with smart comments


and cartoon drawings

to remind me

he still exists

I look more closely

at the aliens' leader

and detect a smiley look

in its eyes

(if it had a mouth

I could be sure)

somehow this alien

reminds me of my father

I devise a plan

to test my theory

I think hard

of my father's favourite

piece of music

(Mozart's something or rather)

that goes



it works

the alien start to jive around

like his shagpile's on fire

and all the other aliens

are grooving, too

this is when I know

I'm dreaming

and what I'm dreaming about

is my dad

who Julia and I always call


(and we call mum Anthea)

yes this dream is about

my dad

who is so often away

that he's a bit of an alien to me

so in my dream

(I'm still dreaming)

I grab

the aliens' leader's

shagpile fur whatever

and rip it off

and there

sure enough

is my dad, Roger

underneath... inside

looking at me sheepishly

like he had been caught

doing something naughty

by Andrea

I say aloud to him in English

'Hi, Roger, my good fellow,'

or something ridiculous like that

and he laughs

and laughs

and I laugh

and all the aliens laugh

and take off their suits

to reveal their

true identities

I guess

you know them all

Max and

Duk San and

Con and

Hilary and

Duyet and

David and

Juanita and

Terry and

Sue Lee and

William and

Charlie and...