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Match of the Day II: The Big Match
by Michael S. Collins

“I is here in pieces!” For an intergalactic visitor on his first visit to Earth, this was a good first stab at English. It consulted the tourist broacher once more. “Peace. Uneventful, we are. OK! Shake hands is a now?” It offered a claw.

The headmaster, completely out of his depth, felt the best thing to do was to accept this gesture of friendship. After all, if he did not, he could have started an intergalactic war, and that is not something that history would look favourable on. The headmaster took the claw, and dropped dead. The first alien looked at him.

“They seem to make a habit of that.” He said to his companions in their own language.

“Falling over must be a national sport.” Replied the second.

“Let us not dilly-dally around such creatures. We are here for a reason. How far are we from our goal?” said the first.

“I am not sure. We got a bit lost.”

The first youngster turned to his fellows. “Lost? How did we get lost? I thought you said turn left at Alpha Centauri and focus on the small island bit next to Paris. Well, we got here. Now, let’s go see Bobby Charlton and friends before our dads find out we nicked their spaceship.”

His friend decided to snarl up. “Finding Wimberley stadium should be easy enough. It has two towers. And Germany wins there a lot.”

They looked up the quiet street, all four of them, watching in amusement at the still humans who had all taken to the peculiar pastime of collapsing to the ground and staying still. Certainly escaping from the dreary monotony of Apocalypse 7, the home planet of the Cantalavoreans, was an added bonus, but now at any second some angry parental Cantalavoreans could appear in the mothership at any second and punish their miscreant children. And all for a little adventure!

(Cantalavoreans omit natural gasses completely lethal to humans. If you ever come across a child Cantalavorean, remember to bring a trusty gas mask. This is not needed for the adult Cantalavoreans, since they are in fact omnivorous and will have already devoured you. Just in case you find yourself in the above situation. But please do not be put off by this: the adult Cantalavorean is an equal opportunist. Often, to punish a very bad child, they will eat it.)

“Why are we here again?” The youngest clearly had doubts, and the eldest put them to rest.

“We are here to watch an actual football match. And not just a football match but THE football match, the most important football match of all time, as shown in the transmissions dad picked up at home. England winning the World Cup at home, 1966.”

“And how do we know this is the most important football match of all time?”

“Because we translated the creature who talks through it, and he said so. We’re not dumb.”

A passing old lady over heard this and dropped dead. To the youngsters, this was but the latest sweeping of this insane craze the humans partook in. Her friend, a balding creature with glasses, looked at the arrivals with horror.

“We have come to see the World Cup. Tell me, where is Wembley?” Well, in every pack of friends there has to be the genius.

The man spoke. “But ye’r late. The Cup final was last weekend!” And then he fell over.

The aliens took a second to confer amongst themselves. Last week? All of this espionage and conference and for all that, the tournament was already over. They were risking cannibalism and for nought.

And with a crash and a roar and an expletive, there came a flash of lightening and a scream of drums. And down from the heavens, ending the rain as swiftly as fever, came trouble much fiercer than the hazard suit wearing police, beginning to mill at the end of the road. Worse than that. The Mothership!

“Its dad!” yelled the eldest, “Scarper!”

But it was much too late for that.