“Welcome back to Washington AM! I’m Maria Clark, and we’re about to meet a very unordinary special guest here in our studio this morning. Mr. Gibs, is it? Is it your first time here with us?” Maria asked, turned away from the TV monitor to him sitting across a small glass coffee table.
“Correct,” he nodded. “And yes, Maria. At least it is MY first time here, with you. With ALL of you. Very glad to be here at this interview.”
“That’s great!” Maria replied, smiling. “Awesome! Now let’s get into it…”
Mr. Gibs grinned.
Awesome—or great, was probably the bright sunshine beaming down over the block and (W)A.M. News station (Washington Morning News), and NOT this particular morning’s guest, she might have meant. If she—THEY in the (W)-News station knew—the whole state—even the entire world—who, in fact, this guest really was. This slim figure of a man wearing a suit and tie, dark sunglasses and a beard he probably had since the eighties. And what exactly had already been planned decades ago to take fourth on this unusually bright and sunny April morning—not a clue, though? Not one that would change a thing—or their plans.
Maria turned back to the television camera. “So, for everyone in upper Washington, who hasn’t a clue yet on who mister Gibs, I’ll fill you all in. He’s the chef and owner of Washington’s most popular bar and grill, Gibs’ Grub. And he’s written a new book to tell us how it’s done, is that right?” She turned back to him. Mr. Gibs nodded again.
“Correct,” he said, simply.
“All right,” Maria laughed, excitedly. Tell us ALL about your book. A very interesting title, too. How To Grill A Planet?” She picked up the hardcover book off the table, showed the camera.
“Yes,” Gibs said, “correct. It is a cookbook. MY cookbook; a present for people who like to grill on the go.”
“Right; exciting,” Maria said, put it down. “So tell us ALL about it! Does it have special recipes, ingredients, our audience can use to…grill on the go?”
“It’s my cookbook,” Gibs said, after a moment. Maria, confused—glanced at the camera—beyond, to the darkened parts of the studio. She turned back to him.
“Yes,” she said, nervously, “we know, mister Gibs. We ALL know, now. But what we DON’T know, is what’s INSIDE the book, ok? How about telling us what’s IN that book?”
“Correct,” he said, after another embarrassing on-air silent moment. “It is my cookbook, Maria.” Maria swallowed hard, sighed. She looked at the monitor again, longer with contempt this time.
“Yeah, correct,” she said. “Well, what about Gibs’ Grub, your VERY popular restaurant? What spicy secrets can you let us know that perhaps goes on behind that kitchen’s door? Can you tell us a little about THAT? CAN you? Okay; can you let us all know where we can grab your book? The publisher is Take Over, right? Well, that’s an interesting name for a publisher, WOULDN’T you say, mister Gibs?”
Sitting unearthly still, upright in the plush brown leather chair—Mr. Gibs hadn’t replied—not a word. He hadn’t even moved while Maria nervously bombarded him with the sleuth of questions. NOTHING, for the two and a half minutes that she did.
She leaned over to him, slowly. “What is WRONG with you?” she whispered, covering the small microphone clamped to her dress suit with a hand. “What in the HELL is your problem? We’re LIVE here! Our shows aren’t taped, don’t you know that? You JERK!”
Another painfully awkward pause from Gibs. Maria leaned back in her chair. “All right,” she said. “We’ll take a small break and soon be back with Oliver, to take a much-needed glance at this weeks’ weather forecast.”
Mr. Gibs suddenly lifted his left arm to his mouth. He then began speaking in odd gibberish into his gold wristwatch.
“Wha-what in the WORLD are you saying?” Maria jumped in her seat, now shouting at him. “Have you gone mad? BALLISTIC?”
Gibs stopped, put his arm down. He turned to her. “No,” he said, calmly. “But, thank you, Maria, for the interview. We hope millions were watching; even your countries’ president.”
“Millions? President Amy? Who, is WE?”
A scream belted from the left side of the studio. Maria turned her head in horror to see the producer barrelling for the exit doors across the room.
“They’ve LANDED!” he cried, “they’re here! Big saucers outside! BIG! Burned my Mercedes in the parking lot; to a CRISP!”
“Who?” Maria yelled back. “Where? Outside? They’re here?”
“Have LANDED!” he screamed—smashed through the doors and scurried down the stairwell.
“Correct. We have,” Gibs said. “I was already here, though, and have been for a long time. I was brought here to do reconnaissance, and wait. Wait until the right time of when my people returned with more of us to surround the earth, get on nationwide television, and finally once and for all help disclose that extraterrestrials exist, and are here. To get to the point, MARIA, we have this town surrounded. We’ve come to take over the planet.”
“Momma-mia!” croaked a voice from behind the television camera.
“I DO own a restaurant here, but I highly doubt what I and my chefs have been cooking and serving humans for years will make the planet take-over any easier to swallow, Maria.”
Maria suddenly remembered one of the ingredients for Gibs’ B-Stem Broth she’d glanced at from the cookbook backstage earlier. She jerked over the table, covered her mouth with a hand.
“Dear, God!” a voice croaked from behind the TV camera again. It was followed by the sound of liquid being splattered onto the checker-tiled linoleum floor.
Mr. Gibs removed his shades. The eyeballs in each socket were bright red with a black cat-like line in the middle of both. He stared directly into the camera.
“People of earth,” he grinned, “this interview is over. Bon appetite?”