He pours a cup of coffee, stretches his tentacles, and grunts at his colleague Bob before slumping onto a chair in front of the computer screens.
"What are they up to today then?" he says in a grumpy tone. Grfelft has been on this posting for 485 years so far, and is not enjoying it much.
Bob leans back from the telescope, rubs his eye, and says: "They're all shitting themselves."
Grfelft sighs. "They're always doing that. We reported that the first day we were here, and you know The Big Wang doesn't believe us and we're not allowed to go down there to get samples. Just leave it."
Bob grabs a handful of popcorn and puts his eye back to the scope. "No, seriously. They're panicky-shitting-themselves."
Grfelft raises a legbrow. "Really? Where's Liz Jones?"
"She's in Somalia. They haven't found out about her yet, don't worry."
"So what's put the wind up them?"
"Well, as far as I can make out, there's been a critical loss of confidence leading to widespread fear about the future."
"Are you sure Liz Jones isn't involved?"
"Don't worry, she's on a low-level data-collection mission in the Horn of Africa. There's no mobile signal, she can't do much harm. No, this is all about the economy."
"Oh God, not that again. It's so BORING. That killing spree last week was much more interesting."
"Hmm. Well, anyway, there's these bankers, and they decided that America wasn't as safe as they thought it was, and they said so, and then all the bankers sold everything they had with a dollar sign on it, and that made everyone else sell everything too, just in case. Now all the bankers are worried that all the money they've given everyone won't be paid back, and they might ask the governments to pay them more money to make up for the fact they're less likely to pay it back."
"Has anyone figured out yet that none of this money exists?"
"Don't seem to, no," says Bob, chewing on a simulated bacon sandwich and fiddling with the zoom on the White House.
"Yup," says Bob.
"Christ, this place is shit. D'you remember that millennium we spent watching the triple-breasted ziggles discover sexual reproduction? That was fun. So who's in charge of all the money?"
"A French lady, but she's only been in the job five minutes and has been accused of corruption. It used to be this fat French man, but he's a sex-pig so he had to resign."
"Oh, well, the French. What'd they expect? Where are the world's leaders, then?
"Well, they're on holiday. Obama's had a birthday party, Sarkozy's on the Riviera, Merkel's in the mountains and Dishface is in an Italian villa. Gideon's at Disneyland. But all of them are really upset. They've all been ringing each other up and screaming. Gideon's been screaming even when he's not on the phone."
"But they're all still breathing in and out, right? Most of the humans are in a job and most of them have their health?"
"Yeah, pretty much. Thirty per cent of them have got the internet and Steve Jobs is richer than America. The Horn of Africa's hungry but everyone's used to that."
"Well, they'll send it some money and the soldiers will use it to buy more guns, like normal. They still haven't realised China's in charge of everything. Anything else?"
"Yeah, riots in London. Burning and stuff."
"Some coppers shot someone so they had a protest and it turned into a riot. They looted CarpetRight and Aldi, and broke into Maccy D's and started making their own fries."
"That's the problem with looters, no ambition. What's anyone doing about it?"
"Dishface has flown his tennis coach out to Tuscany."
Bob finishes his sandwich, licking his tentacles as Grfelft repeatedly hits his head against the desk.
Grfelft sits up, and sighs. "Right. Well it can't be all bad. What's happening with the polar bears? I quite like them."
"Oh, another one got shot because it tried to eat some schoolboys who camped in its garden when it hadn't eaten for months."
"NO! THOSE BASTARDS!" Grfelft goes a purple colour, angrily stabs at his keyboard, opens the Polar Bear programme and changes some data. Bob looks nervous and tries to lighten the atmosphere.
"Umm, have you seen this great new app on my iPhone, it's called a FoxBall, and what you do is..."
"WHATEVER! I don't fucking care! These people are IDIOTS. IDIOTS! The single-celled organisms at the bottom of the methane oceans at the other end of the galaxy have more common sense. I mean, it's beautiful down there and they've got orgasms and chocolate and motorbikes but they spend all their time stressing about stupid shit and money which doesn't matter in the least and whether their bums are too big. I'VE GOT SEVEN BUMS, HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL?"
This last sentence is shouted at the large floor-to-ceiling window in the viewing room, and is accompanied by a pint of Grfelft's facial slime which spatters across the glass in his rage. A small squeegee descends from the ceiling with a reproachful noise to wipe it off.
Grfelft subsides. "I'm going back to bed for a couple of years. Maybe when I wake up they won't be quite so bloody stupid."
He stomps off, pausing in the doorway to say over his shoulder: "And get Liz Jones in for a service. Damn thing's malfunctioning every five minutes, we'll have to give her a rebuild. The only research she's sending is about Jim Kerr."
As the electric door whizzes shut Bob rolls his eye, scratches an elbow with one of his feet, and switches over to EastEnders.
* Read updates from Bob and Grfelft here and here.