Pulled Over: from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s ‘Good Omens’

Terry Pratchett


Introduction

The following is a prescient excerpt about the global situation from Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. By Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (1990), publishers Gollancz (UK),Workman (US). The book is a comedy about the coming of the End Times and the attempts of the angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley to avert them, having become accustomed to their comfortable situations in the human world.

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

Pulled Over

FIRSTLY, HOWEVER, Newt had to do something about the flying saucer.

It landed in the road ahead of him just as he was trying to find the Lower Tadfield turning and had the map spread over the steering wheel. He had to brake hard.

It looked like every cartoon of a flying saucer Newt had ever seen.

As he stared over the top of his map, a door in the saucer slid aside with a satisfying whoosh, revealing a gleaming walkway which extended automatically down to the road. Brilliant blue light shone out, outlining three alien shapes. They walked down the ramp. At least, two of them walked. The one that looked like a pepper pot just skidded down it, and fell over at the bottom.

The other two ignored its frantic beeping and walked over to the car quite slowly, in the worldwide approved manner of policemen already compiling the charge sheet in their heads. The tallest one, a yellow toad dressed in kitchen foil, rapped on Newt’s window. He wound it down. The thing was wearing the kind of mirror-finished sunglasses that Newt always thought of as Cool Hand Luke shades.

“Morning, sir or madam or neuter,” the thing said. “This your planet, is it?”

The other alien, which was stubby and green, had wandered off into the woods by the side of the road. Out of the comer of his eye Newt saw it kick a tree, and then run a leaf through some complicated gadget on its belt. It didn’t look very pleased.

“Well, yes. I suppose so,” he said.

The toad stared thoughtfully at the skyline.

“Had it long, have we, sir?” it said.

“Er. Not personally. I mean, as a species, about half a million years. I think.”

The alien exchanged glances with its colleague. “Been letting the old acid rain build up, haven’t we, sir?” it said. “Been letting ourselves go a bit with the old hydrocarbons, perhaps?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Could you tell me your planet’s albedo, sir?” said the toad, still staring levelly at the horizon as though it was doing something interesting.

“Er. No.”

“Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you, sir, that your polar ice caps are below regulation size for a planet of this category, sir.”

“Oh, dear,” said Newt. He was wondering who he could tell about this, and realizing that there was absolutely no one who would believe him.

The toad bent closer. It seemed to be worried about something, insofar as Newt was any judge of the expressions of an alien race he’d never encountered before.

“We’ll overlook it on this occasion, sir.”

Newt gabbled. “Oh. Er. I’ll see to it — well, when I say I, I mean, I think Antarctica or something belongs to every country, or something, and —”

“The fact is, sir, that we have been asked to give you a message.”

“Oh?”

“Message runs, We give you a message of universal peace and cosmic harmony an’ suchlike.’ Message ends,” said the toad.

“Oh.” Newt turned this over in his mind. “Oh. That’s very kind.”

“Have you got any idea why we have been asked to bring you this message, sir?” said the toad.

Newt brightened. “Well, er, I suppose,” he flailed, “what with Mankind’s, er, harnessing of the atom and-”

“Neither have we, sir.” The toad stood up. “One of them phenomena. I expect. Well, we’d better be going.” It shook its head vaguely, turned around and waddled back to the saucer without another word.

Newt stuck his head out of the window.

“Thank you!”

The small alien walked past the car.

“C02 level up 0.5 percent,” it rasped, giving him a meaningful look. “You do know you could find yourself charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism, don’t you?”

The two of them righted the third alien, dragged it back up the ramp, and shut the door.

Newt waited for a while, in case there were any spectacular light displays, but it just stood there. Eventually he drove up on the verge and around it. When he looked in his rearview mirror it had gone.

I must be overdoing something, he thought guiltily. But what?

Sources:  Good Omens | Wikipedia: Good Omens | Wikipedia: Pratchett | You Tube: Gaiman

Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, OBE, is an English novelist known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series. He is currently the second most-read writer in the UK [after J. K. Rowlings of the Harry Potter series], and seventh most-read non-US author in the U.S. Pratchett began his career as a journalist.Introduction. The following is a prescient excerpt about the global situation from Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. By Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (1990), publishers Gollancz (UK) | Workman (US). The book is a comedy about the birth of the son of Satan, the coming of the End Times and the attempts of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley to avert them, having become accustomed to their comfortable situations in the human world.

 

Pulled Over

FIRSTLY, HOWEVER, Newt had to do something about the flying saucer.

It landed in the road ahead of him just as he was trying to find the Lower Tadfield turning and had the map spread over the steering wheel. He had to brake hard.

It looked like every cartoon of a flying saucer Newt had ever seen.

As he stared over the top of his map, a door in the saucer slid aside with a satisfying whoosh, revealing a gleaming walkway which extended automatically down to the road. Brilliant blue light shone out, outlining three alien shapes. They walked down the ramp. At least, two of them walked. The one that looked like a pepper pot just skidded down it, and fell over at the bottom.

The other two ignored its frantic beeping and walked over to the car quite slowly, in the worldwide approved manner of policemen already compiling the charge sheet in their heads. The tallest one, a yellow toad dressed in kitchen foil, rapped on Newt’s window. He wound it down. The thing was wearing the kind of mirror-finished sunglasses that Newt always thought of as Cool Hand Luke shades.

“Morning, sir or madam or neuter,” the thing said. “This your planet, is it?”

The other alien, which was stubby and green, had wandered off into the woods by the side of the road. Out of the comer of his eye Newt saw it kick a tree, and then run a leaf through some complicated gadget on its belt. It didn’t look very pleased.

“Well, yes. I suppose so,” he said.

The toad stared thoughtfully at the skyline.

“Had it long, have we, sir?” it said.

“Er. Not personally. I mean, as a species, about half a million years. I think.”

The alien exchanged glances with its colleague. “Been letting the old acid rain build up, haven’t we, sir?” it said. “Been letting ourselves go a bit with the old hydrocarbons, perhaps?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Could you tell me your planet’s albedo, sir?” said the toad, still staring levelly at the horizon as though it was doing something interesting.

“Er. No.”

“Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you, sir, that your polar ice caps are below regulation size for a planet of this category, sir.”

“Oh, dear,” said Newt. He was wondering who he could tell about this, and realizing that there was absolutely no one who would believe him.

The toad bent closer. It seemed to be worried about something, insofar as Newt was any judge of the expressions of an alien race he’d never encountered before.

“We’ll overlook it on this occasion, sir.”

Newt gabbled. “Oh. Er. I’ll see to it — well, when I say I, I mean, I think Antarctica or something belongs to every country, or something, and —”

“The fact is, sir, that we have been asked to give you a message.”

“Oh?”

“Message runs, We give you a message of universal peace and cosmic harmony an’ suchlike.’ Message ends,” said the toad.

“Oh.” Newt turned this over in his mind. “Oh. That’s very kind.”

“Have you got any idea why we have been asked to bring you this message, sir?” said the toad.

Newt brightened. “Well, er, I suppose,” he flailed, “what with Mankind’s, er, harnessing of the atom and-”

“Neither have we, sir.” The toad stood up. “One of them phenomena. I expect. Well, we’d better be going.” It shook its head vaguely, turned around and waddled back to the saucer without another word.

Newt stuck his head out of the window.

“Thank you!”

The small alien walked past the car.

“C02 level up 0.5 percent,” it rasped, giving him a meaningful look. “You do know you could find yourself charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism, don’t you?”

The two of them righted the third alien, dragged it back up the ramp, and shut the door.

Newt waited for a while, in case there were any spectacular light displays, but it just stood there. Eventually he drove up on the verge and around it. When he looked in his rearview mirror it had gone.

I must be overdoing something, he thought guiltily. But what?

 


Sources:  Good Omens | Wikipedia: Good Omens | Wikipedia: Pratchett | You Tube: Gaiman

Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, OBE, is an English novelist known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series. He is currently the second most-read writer in the UK [after J. K. Rowlings of the Harry Potter series], and seventh most-read non-US author in the U.S. Pratchett began his career as a journalist.

 

 Introduction. The following is a prescient excerpt about the global situation from Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. By Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (1990), publishers Gollancz (UK) | Workman (US). The book is a comedy about the birth of the son of Satan, the coming of the End Times and the attempts of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley to avert them, having become accustomed to their comfortable situations in the human world.

 

Pulled Over

FIRSTLY, HOWEVER, Newt had to do something about the flying saucer.

It landed in the road ahead of him just as he was trying to find the Lower Tadfield turning and had the map spread over the steering wheel. He had to brake hard.

It looked like every cartoon of a flying saucer Newt had ever seen.

As he stared over the top of his map, a door in the saucer slid aside with a satisfying whoosh, revealing a gleaming walkway which extended automatically down to the road. Brilliant blue light shone out, outlining three alien shapes. They walked down the ramp. At least, two of them walked. The one that looked like a pepper pot just skidded down it, and fell over at the bottom.

The other two ignored its frantic beeping and walked over to the car quite slowly, in the worldwide approved manner of policemen already compiling the charge sheet in their heads. The tallest one, a yellow toad dressed in kitchen foil, rapped on Newt’s window. He wound it down. The thing was wearing the kind of mirror-finished sunglasses that Newt always thought of as Cool Hand Luke shades.

“Morning, sir or madam or neuter,” the thing said. “This your planet, is it?”

The other alien, which was stubby and green, had wandered off into the woods by the side of the road. Out of the comer of his eye Newt saw it kick a tree, and then run a leaf through some complicated gadget on its belt. It didn’t look very pleased.

“Well, yes. I suppose so,” he said.

The toad stared thoughtfully at the skyline.

“Had it long, have we, sir?” it said.

“Er. Not personally. I mean, as a species, about half a million years. I think.”

The alien exchanged glances with its colleague. “Been letting the old acid rain build up, haven’t we, sir?” it said. “Been letting ourselves go a bit with the old hydrocarbons, perhaps?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Could you tell me your planet’s albedo, sir?” said the toad, still staring levelly at the horizon as though it was doing something interesting.

“Er. No.”

“Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you, sir, that your polar ice caps are below regulation size for a planet of this category, sir.”

“Oh, dear,” said Newt. He was wondering who he could tell about this, and realizing that there was absolutely no one who would believe him.

The toad bent closer. It seemed to be worried about something, insofar as Newt was any judge of the expressions of an alien race he’d never encountered before.

“We’ll overlook it on this occasion, sir.”

Newt gabbled. “Oh. Er. I’ll see to it — well, when I say I, I mean, I think Antarctica or something belongs to every country, or something, and —”

“The fact is, sir, that we have been asked to give you a message.”

“Oh?”

“Message runs, We give you a message of universal peace and cosmic harmony an’ suchlike.’ Message ends,” said the toad.

“Oh.” Newt turned this over in his mind. “Oh. That’s very kind.”

“Have you got any idea why we have been asked to bring you this message, sir?” said the toad.

Newt brightened. “Well, er, I suppose,” he flailed, “what with Mankind’s, er, harnessing of the atom and-”

“Neither have we, sir.” The toad stood up. “One of them phenomena. I expect. Well, we’d better be going.” It shook its head vaguely, turned around and waddled back to the saucer without another word.

Newt stuck his head out of the window.

“Thank you!”

The small alien walked past the car.

“C02 level up 0.5 percent,” it rasped, giving him a meaningful look. “You do know you could find yourself charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism, don’t you?”

The two of them righted the third alien, dragged it back up the ramp, and shut the door.

Newt waited for a while, in case there were any spectacular light displays, but it just stood there. Eventually he drove up on the verge and around it. When he looked in his rearview mirror it had gone.

I must be overdoing something, he thought guiltily. But what?

 


Sources:  Good Omens | Wikipedia: Good Omens | Wikipedia: Pratchett | You Tube: Gaiman

Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, OBE, is an English novelist known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series. He is currently the second most-read writer in the UK [after J. K. Rowlings of the Harry Potter series], and seventh most-read non-US author in the U.S. Pratchett began his career as a journalist.

 

 

Dady Chery

About Dady Chery

Dr. Dady Chery is a Haitian-born journalist, playwright, essayist, and poet. She is the author of "We Have Dared to Be Free: Haiti's Struggle Against Occupation." Her broad interests encompass science, culture, and human rights. She writes extensively about Haiti and world issues such as climate change and social justice. Her many contributions to Haitian news include the first proposal that Haiti’s cholera had been imported by the UN, and the first story describing Haiti’s mineral wealth.

Leave a Reply