The aliens came to Earth. Their marbled skin was marked in lines and squiggles that resembled Egyptian hieroglyphs.
We met them, following First Contact protocol. Everything went as it should.
Then, our leader asked them for their species’ name.
They said it in their language.
Our universal translators couldn’t come up with a direct translation. So, it went rogue and used a random word.
It used the word ‘hineys’.
Our leader managed to take it with a military straight face. I’m pretty sure nothing could make him crack up.
The rest of us…
Yeah, we…We were good.
Until the universal translator went full bust and translated every word as ‘hiney’.
A couple of the guys hyperventilated, trying not to laugh.
Others went into a fake coughing fit that should have won them some sort of Oscar.
As for me, I bit down on my lower lip and thought of holocausts and burning school buses and crying little kids and Sarah McLaughlin’s Humane Society commercials.
“Hiney hiney hiney hiney hiney hiiiiiney.”
Tears escaped my eyes and I just wanted to run. Run to the farthest spot in the base. Maybe hide in the bathroom.
“Oh hiney hiney hineeeeeey.”
I focused on breathing. Just breathing. There was nothing else to be done. Just breathe.
“No hiney hiney hiney nuh-uh hiney.”
At least half of the guys gave up and ran. They ran as fast as they could without even excusing themselves. They just had to get out of there.
I couldn’t blame them one bit.
I wanted to excuse myself, but there was no way on this planet that I was going to open my mouth. Not even to cough.
“He’s hiney hiney oh hiney hiney four hiney hiiinnneeeeey.”
Our leader shot a glare at me as another third of our group ran for the hills.
The lead alien pointed to our leader and said in a matter of fact tone, “Sooooo hiney hiney hiney?”
Strangely enough, it was the questioning tone of that line that broke me. I couldn’t hold back anymore.
I dropped to my knees and laughed and laughed and laughed. I could barely breathe, but somehow I managed to keep laughing.
The alien leader did not nuke us to extinction, which I thought was right decent of him…her…it? Whatever.
My leader didn’t order me to be court martialed and executed, which was amazing.
He did order me to peel 300,000 potatoes with a half-broken carrot peeler. That may have been a little extreme as punishments go.
But it could have been worse, in all honesty.