Tuesday 10 June 2003

All hail to the pods

by AL Kennedy

Remember those films in which alien pods would appear for no good reason in cellars and massage parlours and the like and one unsuspecting night almost everyone goes to sleep and disappears, because the pod people have killed them, reproduced their bodies and then woken up bright and early the following morning and taken control of the world? Those films used to worry me a lot. I would imagine I'd be one of the few nocturnal types that managed to escape being podded and then ended up in an environment run by militant aliens, with everything familiar turned inhospitable and scary.

Well, it's happened. The pods came, the day shift nodded off and the rest of us survivors are stuffed. (By the way, read this very carefully - there may be a pod person watching you for signs of incipient dissent.) Massive podding in high places is the only thing that can really explain most of this century, with particular reference to the last few weeks.

For example, only a pod person would stand up in public and claim that, because something can't be found, it must be there. And don't think that hasn't tempted me over to the pod side more than somewhat. After all, according to pod logic, that means that I must be enjoying a mature, varied and satisfying sex life. I must be swinging from my light fitments in a sweating haze of glory before somersaulting into the fur-lined gondola that is my bed, swiping a few of the hot, buttered dwarfs out of my way and getting down to something utterly unnatural. There's not a shred of evidence that anything like this has happened, is happening, will, or ever could - so it must be real. All hail to the pods.

Goodness, I'm glad to be having so much fun - and that so many Iraqi children are also having fun, scampering about between the cluster bombs and playing catch with all their extremities indubitably in place. Because clearly, if even fully qualified reconstructive surgeons can no longer locate the kiddies' hands and feet, this must mean that they're absolutely there. All hail to the pods.

These are the same pods who can prove the Axis of Good is just dripping with freedom, because there's hardly a shred of it remaining. Westminster is surrounded with breeze blocks and razor wire, trainspotters are being pre-emptively boiled in acid and over in George W's kingdom, human rights are fairly blossoming. Take the entirely innocent Mr Oliverio Martinez, shot five times by police due to a night-time confusion provoked by Mr Martinez's suspiciously squeaky bicycle. Wounded in the eyes, legs and spine, lucky Mr Martinez had the democratic privilege of being questioned repeatedly in the ambulance and during his hospital treatment. For 45 minutes he screamed, begged and denied that his injuries were his own fault, until his medication finally rendered him unconscious. But, in these times of terrorist menace, the supreme court has wisely ruled that Mr Martinez's treatment in no way violated his fifth amendment rights. He is now paralysed and blind. Coincidentally, independent observers are still being barred from several US holding and interrogation facilities in Iraq. All hail to the pods.

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