Stephen Hawking may have all the answers afterall

Stephen Hawking, the brilliant physicist – I know he's brilliant, because I read his "A Brief History of Time" book and the five percent of it that I understood was terrific – says we should be afraid of close encounters with E.T.

As he sees it, if any beings from outer space are smart enough to travel through the universe and run into us, they may be smart enough to take over the Earth.

I was going to keep quiet about it, but since Hawking's statement has led to some scientific dispute, I should now reveal that we have already had contact with an extraterrestrial.

He landed in my back yard one night last week as I was taking out the trash.

"Greetings, Earthling," he said as he hopped out of his flying saucer. "This is Earth, right?"

This is the place, I said. How, in all the limitless reaches of space, did you find us?

"No problem. I just typed the address 'Earth' into my GPS."

You have a GPS?

"Galactic Positioning System, it's great. Used to be I'd have to stop at every solar system and ask directions."

Now aren't you supposed to say "Take me to your leader"?

"No need. I see one of them sitting right over there."

My leader? Where?

"Over there, the large, shiny being with the metallic skin."

That's not my leader. That's my car.

"Don't try to fool me. We've observed how you two-legged creatures continually serve these stronger beings, which cruise in mighty herds alone the pathways you built for them. You go to great lengths to provide their food. We've even seen you washing them, proof of your subservient position."

How does that prove anything?

"Well, has your car ever washed you? I rest my case."

OK. So what did you come to Earth for?

"The usual thing: We're hostile invaders from dying planet, seeking a vulnerable world to colonize, a place where we can kill all who resist us and enslave the rest, a world where we reign supreme and make you our miserable, crawling servants. Oh, and we're also looking for some waterfront property. Any problem with that?"