Earth Bound – Chapter VIII

 

Confusing Intrusion

 

Read that back to me please.”

 

The digital audio recording apparatus repeats what Dr. Benito Stelfast has just dictated in the doctor’s own droning voice:

 

“… It hasn’t been that difficult, really; I program the robots to commit the grotesque murders then self-destruct. Since I am the former chair of the Inter-Biospheric Robotics Council, it cannot be easier. [New paragraph]. Easy? [New paragraph]. I must assure that the populations of the four separate biospheres is sufficiently afraid. Fortunately, the recent beta attack upon the South American biosphere helped to produce a certain amount of anxiety; although, I need another set of circumstances to create another wave of fear. That’s where the expendable robots come into play. [New paragraph].

 

Obviously, no human, well… no Alpha human can survive outside the biospheres; the volatile atmosphere will instantly kill any man, but my robots can, and do, traverse throughout the Wild Earth Zone to the four current biospheres for maintenance and security, so programming [italics on] anomalies [italics off] to occur in different parts of the known world is easy. Selecting to kill random citizens is not a real challenge. Even selecting certain [italics on] random [italics off] senatorial fatalities isn’t difficult, but killing my [italics on] best friend [italics off] was really… well, it was not fun. [New paragraph].”

 

The slamming door rips Benito from his reverie, and he quickly turns around as the dictation machine continues unabated, “Yes, our Congress will agree to the single-dome plan. Being the sole leader of Colossus V will…”

 

Who’s there?” Benito yells.

 

“… but I sometimes wonder…” the machine continues to drone.

 

[Computer stop],” Benito commands, then quickly adds “Rodney retrieve whomever just left my library.”

 

Within seconds, Benito’s robotic servant escorts eighteen-year-old Allison Nellums Stelfast to her uncle.

 

Allison? What are you doing?”

 

I… “

 

Allison begins to cry, and Dr. Benito knows that his favorite niece has heard too much.

 

Rodney, take Allison to the Ball Room and make her as comfortable as possible.”

 

 

Chapter VII – Genesis

 

Genesis

 

The western sky is unevenly streaked with slender amber fingers of fog that stretch across the ember-breathing horizon; distant gray and umber mountain ranges softly melt into the tinged orange, red, and violet solar decay as the ebony cloak of evening silently spreads eastward where slowly fading particles of light dissipate into ever-increasing darkness. Within the safety of a sheltering cave, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-woven Codpiece sits on his granite throne that is covered with the down of young aquatic birds and flocculent fur from velveteen mammals that resemble drift wood, and he gazes into the fire—prescient energy created by burning logs from the Tree of Knowledge. The fire is built against the northern wall of the cave and employs a slow moving, barely noticeable draft that sucks the fire’s smoke to where no one knows, and as he smokes the crushed leaves and buds from the Tree of Knowledge, which, at times, makes him giggle uncontrollably and at other times makes him ravenously hungry, especially for the sweet sap from a hybrid sugar maple tree, Midas retells his tribe’s history:

 

Oh eternal Muse from whose spirit I am bequeathed the ability to recall our tribal history, come to me now and help me tell my people about the genesis of our race and how our supreme goddess, Lady Coca-Cola, chose us as her people. Help me plant the seed in our children so that they may nourish it and watch it grow into a magnificent tree of Wisdom, and help me to inspire them to keep our history alive long after I leave this earthly plane.”

 

Midas quaffs from the Lethean Jug of Amber Inebriate Liquids and tokes deeply from the Sacred Pipe of Dreams.

 

In the beginning… ”

 

Midas exhales the mind-clarifying smoke, his body drifting away until it vanishes into a land where imaginative forces overcome the more pragmatic concerns for survival from the harsh atmospheric violence of the Wild Earth Zone; his mind reigns supreme while his body reposes.

 

Long before the earth was born, there were two mighty gods: IBM and Coca-Cola. They lived in mutual distrust of each other because each wanted to exclusively control the chaos by which they were surrounded.

 

Their epic battle begins, each god struggling mightily against the other, their tense, clashing muscles bulging with the determined ichor that pumps puissance into each of their militant ambitions. Eons pass with neither deified force gaining the upper hand.

 

For long spans of time that we are unable to effectively comprehend, the two gods rage war on each other, but there is no order in the Universe, and as soon as one god gains a slight advantage over the other, chaos callously spews into their conflict an unforeseen event that renders both combatants neutral. The war continues unabated until the eve of the century when both gods, fatigued with the battle, decide on a truce so that each can rest.

 

IBM is a strict disciple of rules and regulations when it applies to appearance. Ironically, this kind of stern discipline disappears completely when it comes to telling the truth, and he is prone to histrionic antics that often cause the lower gods to question his mental acuity. He proudly dons an aggressively orange toupee; he employs alternate facts when the truth opposes his agenda; he wears a smallish, really expensive watch to make his tiny hands appear larger; he wears a dark suit, a clean starched white shirt, uncomfortable dress shoes, and a comically long superfluous piece of red cloth tied in a knot around his neck. He believes that pomp and circumstance are meant to be observed at all costs, that they somehow magically transform into tangible manifestations of militant, civil, and intellectual superiority. IBM finds a relatively comfortable piece of chaos in which to rest, but as a strict adherent to the conformity of specious traditions, he decides not to loosen his tie.”

 

Midas pauses. His throat is parched, and he calls for a drink. A nubile maiden hands him the Lethean Jug of Amber Inebriate Liquids. Midas takes a kingly quaff then, after a belch that echoes throughout the cave, which makes the children giggle uncontrollably, the mighty warrior-leader resumes his story.

 

Both gods are aware of the existence of black holes.”

 

Midas leans forward as he momentarily turns from storyteller to teacher, and he addresses the children directly, “A black hole is the invisible remains of a collapsed star with an intense gravitational force that is so powerful that not even a god can escape.”

 

The clueless children shake their heads habitually. Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece smiles then takes another healthy toke from the Sacred Pipe of Dreams. As he exhales a thick cloud of smoke into the air, he continues his story.

 

Of course, both gods recognize that when a spurious black hole travels near them, their very existence is threatened. When IBM hears the black hole slowly approaching him through the chaos, he adjusts his slumber just enough so that his body does not repose in its destructive path, but he forgets about his tie, which is sucked into the black hole like angel hair pasta and, in an flash, drags the god into its inky blackness. It all happens so quickly that before IBM remembers that he is, in fact, a god, with god-like powers, and can easily disintegrate the superfluous piece of red cloth tied in a knot around his neck, IBM is sucked into a different dimension of the Universe never to be seen again. Lady Coca-Cola becomes the supreme deity of our people!”

 

The tribe sits back, relieved to hear, once again, that their supreme deity has overcome her most challenging obstacle, the dreaded IBM. IBM lost to a goddess. Nothing has changed. Lady Coca-Cola is still the most powerful of all gods. A few of the tribal members clap.

 

After a long party that is celebrated throughout the Universe, which involves shooting stars, exploding nebulae, and crashing galaxies, Lady Coca-Cola returns her main focus on governing; she realizes very quickly that the Universe is too disorderly and is motivated by her ambitions to quell the chaotic dynasty over which she has taken control, so she embarks on her most difficult challenge. In only seven days, Lady Coca-Cola creates the ordered universe.

 

Lady Coca-Cola first creates woman in her own image; it is her finest creation. The woman is grateful that she is created, mind you, but she is afraid of the dark and is so importunate in her requests to have a nightlight that Coca-Cola pauses. When our Lady and Savior is refreshed, she creates Rolex, the god of light and darkness, thereby separating night and day, which will ultimately inspire Cole Porter to write a very popular jazz standard eons into the future. Lady Coke looks down upon her work and is satisfied, but she has much more work in front of her.

 

Lady Coca-Cola creates Calypso, the god of French oceanographers, and she also creates Amtrax, the god of the land who sometimes wreaks havoc on the earth’s population. Value Jet becomes the goddess of the friendly blue skies, but this capricious goddess, too, occasionally rains disaster upon her people, killing hundreds at a time. Prudential becomes the god of mineral matter composed of the earth’s crust by the action of Earth, Wind, and Fire—the Goddesses of Funk. Fauna becomes goddess of wildlife; her sister Flora becomes goddess of botanical pursuits (and it is to her we pray when burning fuel from the Tree of Knowledge); their sister Meriweather becomes adviser to Fairy Godmothers who grant wishes to fuliginous women working in ashes and makes them the belles of balls worldwide.

 

Ella Fitzgerald is very grateful that Lady Coca-Cola has showered so much attention on her, but she still feels empty inside. Sadly, she roams the Hanging Garden of Eden and sings wonderful jazz ballads. Lady Coke looks down upon the earth that She has created and sees Ella’s sadness.

 

Coke asks, ‘Why, my first lady of jazz, are you so morose? Have I not given you everything?’

 

“ ‘Why yes, my Lady.’

 

“ ‘Then why are you so sad?’

 

Ella continues in a melodic inquiry, ‘Have you ever heard two turtle doves bill and coo when they love?’

 

“ ‘Am I not thy Lady and Savior, Coca-Cola?’

 

“ ‘Of course you are. But,’ she continues, ‘that’s the kind of magic music I want to make with my lips when I kiss. For Christ’s sake,’ she exclaims, ‘Huggin’ and a-kissin’, oh what I’ve been missin’. Lover man, oh where can he be?’

 

“ ‘Who’s Christ?’ asks Lady Coca-Cola.”

 

“ ‘Pardon me, Dear Lady?’

 

“ ‘Oh! Never mind. So, tell me again what’s your problem.’

 

“ ‘Well, Coke, I know you’re the real thing, but I can’t throw down any good loving on you, and although the animals you gave me are fun, you forbade sex with them… well, at least you will forbid it when Elvis and his brother Aaron visit you on the sacred mountain and you take the form of a burning bush that is never consumed by the conflagration.’

 

“ ‘How do you know about that?’

 

“ ‘It’s called foreshadowing.’ ”

 

Ella exclaims, ‘What I really want is someone like me but not like me, a puzzle piece that’ll fit me and with whom I can talk, play… live.’

 

“ ‘OK,’ says Coke. ‘Let me eat some ribs and I’ll get back to you after lunch.’

 

Lady Coca-Cola saunters off to wherever gods and goddeses go, and Ella falls asleep on a bed of soft, brightly colored flowers near a creek.”

 

A loud crack of thunder echoes loudly throughout the cave, and Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven codpiece recognizes the fear in the eyes of his followers, so he decides to end the story.

 

Tomorrow,” he says, “I’ll tell the story about how Coke bottled her effervescent benevolence to create a man for Ella Fitzgerald, but now I think it’s time to drink Erasmus’ Nocturnal Elixir so that we can drift into that land where shadows and forms coexist.”

 

Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary prepares a nocturnal elixir every evening, and all the tribal members drink it, even the youngest. The elixir slows down the body’s functions and allows the partaker of its essence a wonderful night’s sleep. The tribe drinks their medicinal liquid while purple rain slips through the leaden sky. After most of the tribe drifts towards Morpheus’ shrine, the medicinal guardian consumes the elixir’s dregs, and as the moon rises unobserved behind thick clouds, the tribe falls peacefully asleep.

 

 

Earth Bound – Chapter VI

Dark Friday

Dr. Benito Stelfast’s personal serviton, Rodney, escorts Sergeant Viernes into Benito’s residential library. Introspectively, the sergeant wanders around the room, musing to himself as he meanders away from a bookshelf of impressive leather-bound books and casually approaches a portrait of a beautiful woman with piercing brown eyes; bright, chestnut brown hair, long and wavy; a regal woman possessing celestial puissance and the smile of a renaissance goddess.

The library is a large, nearly square room containing brooding bookcases that completely cover three of the walls, twelve-foot high; the fourth wall, opposite the entrance, bears a high-vaulted, multi-latticed window behind a gothic desk facing the door. The sergeant has never ventured this far into the room before, but he’s always wanted to see the view from the window behind the stately desk. He feels uneasy as he walks toward the tall, high-arched window but doesn’t really know why. He walks past the desk, and the beautiful panoramic view of a serpentine river-cutting valley jumps onto the crystalline pane that spreads into a further-widening vista as he gets closer and finally stares into Eden.

After an eternity of mind-expanding silence, Viernes turns and looks back upon the desk, which is immaculately clean, only a few items on it including a monitor that contains a list of names. As Viernes looks more closely, he notices that one of the the names is Francine Eustice.

That’s odd,” he thinks aloud. “That’s the name of one of the senators who was killed by malfunctioning robots.”

He bends closer toward the screen and reads, “Henry Clayton, Jessica Alvarez, Adam Shepherdson…”

It hits him like a club-thrust to the scrotum, making his mouth viscously thick with acrid acidity. Here is a list of everyone who has been killed by the malfunctioning security robots. Beside each name is a comment: “Almost won him over”; “Shame she couldn’t see things my way”; “Too bad… a good citizen,” etc. Beside the name Adam Shepherdson is the comment: “My best friend but expendable. I will surely miss him.”

He looks up and notices Dr. Benito’s gaze, and he realizes that he will die very soon. A dream from his distant past flashes the immediacy of his ensuing terrestrial departure, the unequivocal acceptance of irrevocable circumstance, a hitherto forgotten warmly macabre image from his youth when his eager soul was more malleable, more impressionable, more tolerant of the human condition, more apt to believe in deified thaumaturgy exclusive to Edenic citizenry, the morphing of Autumn into Winter, the Phoenix’ rising from ashes, nebulous space debris clashing to quicken celestial birth:

Standing along an endless shore an insignificant human speck a grain of sand observes in the offing a barely noticeable surge of energy initially felt more than seen but powerful like a Charlie Parker solo quickly developing until it becomes a solid wall of emerald water rising like a mountainous range looming across the horizon then directly overhead covering the sky redoubtable aggression silently screaming escape is laughable eyes wide open and instantly ready to discover the ultimate metamorphosis from a terrestrial citizen to whatever comes next.

My apologies, Sergeant. I’m afraid that you’ll be the next victim of our malfunctioning robots. Thought I was going to put them away for a while.”

Viernes stares, blankly resolved to his Fate but finally says, “You killed your best friend?”

I had to throw off any suspicion that I might be the cause of the unfortunate series of accidents.”

But…”

Yes, Adam was on my side. I had to dispel any doubts of my integrity. You see, the smallest diversion…”

…Would shatter your dreams of becoming sole leader of our planet.”

Benito smiles, “You would’ve made a good ally. But don’t worry, I’ll see to it that your wife and children are provided for.”

You’ll get caught. Bad guys never win.”

Oh, but Sergeant, I already have. I won. I’m the only one who can. It has all been arranged.”

On the way to the senate chambers meeting, Benito hears over the radio, “Another death attributed to malfunctioning robots. Details… ”

Boy, the news sure gets out quickly,” thinks Benito as he smiles in the mirror.

Earth Bound – Chapter V

ABC’s United Nations of Globe Trotters

Night falls and hurricane winds batter the mountainous region with marauding apathy, extirpating thick root-entrenched trees with incongruous grace and dexterity, blasting out chunks of terrestrial alpine dominion and smashing boulders into cosmic dust. Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece is chief of the itinerant tribe whose name translates to They Who are Heavenly Burdened. As the members of his tribe huddle together against the storm in the center of their cave, he understands that his duty lies in easing their anxiety. He calls for his Sacred Pipe of Dreams, and through its creative influence, he recites the oral history of his tribe as Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary prepares the Nocturnal Elixir as an anodyne against the mass emotional stress incurred from harsh atmospheric violence of the Wild Earth Zone.

As the moon crests over the tribe’s cave, Midas begins his incantation, “Oh, mighty Jimi Hendrix Page, my personal Muse, grant that I may recite tribal history with the wisdom of Albert Einstein, the charity of Cupid, and the clarity of Timothy Leary. Our people are the chosen people of Lady Coca-Cola, the goddess that refreshes. Our humble tribe is one of twelve separate tribes that once co-existed in peace within the confederation of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters. Now, our twelve tribes are spread throughout the planet, but it is our prayer to you, my Muse, to bring us back together as one nation.

Long before the existence of the confederation of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters, a complex tribe named China existed, and it had the largest population and longest tradition. Originally, they were a mostly secluded group of smaller tribes that bitterly fought amongst themselves, yet from this savage violence was born a philosophy and art that embraced simplicity and peace. China’s architecture was elegant, and their celebrations were inspiring. Rumor has it that China invented an incendiary devise to make brilliant, colorful explosions in the sky, and this process is still used to this day by tribes worldwide to heighten their festivals and military parades.

The philosophy of China was peaceful, so it wasn’t long before the tribe of thugs called the NRA forcefully took the incendiary devise, modified it, then used it to violently overtake other less powerful tribes. The NRA absconded with China’s art, science, and philosophy of peace and sold it to a barbaric, militant, heathen tribe called Capitalists, who were then morally saved when Microsoft preached that Lady Coca-Cola could help them receive the riches they deserve by accepting Coca Cola as their exclusive savior, the sacrosanct pause that refreshes. The Capitalists joined Microsoft to form the super-ultra-megatribe called Christians who then became the most powerful tribe of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters.

The Christians are narcissistic, materialistically motivated hoarders of wealth and power, and their leader, Gilded Midas of Gop, often goes against the suggestions of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters, blatantly breaking inter-tribal laws and justifying it with rhetoric that, although ambiguous, connotes compliance with the laws, and this hypocritical justification is obsequiously accepted by the leaders of the ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters to whom Christians donate ludicrous amounts of money.

Together, the Christians and the hierarchy of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters developed a philosophy based on greed and an aggressive form of moral rigidity that condones condemning reprehensible behavior of opposing groups while ignoring their own shortcomings. This philosophy can best be understood through the story of Curious George W the Lesser.

Curious George W the Lesser’s father, Curious George Senior, was also a leader of the powerful Christians, but in attacking the insignificant tribe of Iraq, he forgot to force the philosophy of the Christians onto the nefarious, arid tribe. Eight years later, his son Curious George W the Lesser preemptively attacked a different tiny tribe and tried desperately to make them embrace the philosophy of the Christians. He really wanted to rule Iraq because it boasted of a huge supply of black gold, which Curious George W the Lesser coveted, and he gained wide support by claiming that this teeny tiny country had magical weapons of mass destruction and by claiming that a previous attack on his tribe was linked to it, a terrifying attack that was actually the malevolent action of a totally unrelated group. The weapons of mass destruction were never found (the fact that these weapons were never used in Iraq’s own defense was never questioned), and although Iraq never fully embraced the ideology of the Christians, Curious George W the Lesser was hailed as a mighty hero who couldn’t conjugate irregular verbs and was prone to insipid redundancies.”

Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece suddenly realizes that his cottonmouth has made it difficult for him to speak. He looks happily down from his pelt-laden throne at his tribe, belches loudly, which makes the children giggle, smiles broadly, then exclaims, “It’s time for a break. Good Coke Almighty! Am I thirsty! Musicians! Play an interlude while we have a quick repast.”

The Amber Lethean Jug of Inebriate Liquids is brought forth, and as Midas receives inspiration from the Sacred Pipe of Dreams, the rest of the tribe snacks on fruits and vegetables. Afterward, the tribe settles back around its leader, and Midas continues his tale of tribal history.

NRA has already been mentioned. It is the second tribe of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters, and it supports the right to bear portable weapons of destruction at any and all cost to public safety, even the mentally impaired are allowed to possess a weapon. Portable weapons are also encouraged in schools to protect children from ursine attack. Practically any member of this tribe can legally carry a weapon in public unless she is a member of a sub-tribe called Muslims.

One of the early tribal leaders of NRA was Charlton Heston, who was also known as Moses or Ben Hur for reasons we no longer understand. Charlton belonged to a guild called Actors. Not much is known about this group except that they were very pretty people who sometimes thought that because they were beautiful—an obvious auspicious gift from Coke Almighty—actors had things to say that were more important and thereby more meaningful than the dreary, aesthetically challenged majority. Unfortunately, the pulchritude-impaired majority most often accepted the ideas of not only the pretty but the wealthy as well; they sequaciously acquiesced to the fact that it was their own fault that they had neither looks nor wealth.

The third tribe of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters is called the NBA, which is a group of very talented individuals who don’t work well together as a team. To be a citizen of this tribe, one has to be very tall and arrogant. This tribe is embraced by Capitalism, so they receive very large sums of money to play a trivial game that involves throwing a ball through a hoop. For some reason, the citizens of this tribe become very concerned about whether or not they can throw the ball through the hoop, and this is confusing because they are treated better than any of the citizens of any other tribe.

The NBA is also a pretty hostile tribe because once a tribal member is no longer able to place the ball through the hoop, he is exiled from the tribe, regardless of how good he once was. Everyone is eventually kicked out of the tribe, but new replacements are always ready to gain entrance. It is a fleeting paradise where one lives as lavishly and as morally corrupt as one wants with impunity, but because of the youth of its membership, the tribe named NBA never holds any real power; they merely party until they are exiled.

Starbucks is an agrarian tribe that specializes in a very addictive plant from which is brewed a magical black liquid that keeps its drinker awake and anxious for hours after it is consumed. Starbucks, who also makes major financial contributions to the Christians, has been allowed to grant one magic black liquid purveyor temporary membership to each of the other tribes. This highly honored, temporary citizen knows the secretive process of making the magical black brew, and he helps the confederation maintain control over the twelve tribes by keeping all supplied with the addictive liquid.”

The tribe erupts in approval, waving their hands in the air as if there were no repercussions. When the enthusiasm dies down, Midas continues, “The tribe of Iraq was mentioned earlier; it is a small tribe that incessantly starts fights with the other tribes but is easily defeated every time. It is an annoying tribe, but it helps the Christians remain ever powerful because of its persistent unruliness, which helps the tribe of Capitalism to maintain military dominance, allowing its elders an opportunity to overstate Iraq’s potential danger and to stock-pile tangible weapons of mass destruction against the imagined threat, which, in turn, profits the Industrial War Complex; it is a never-ending cycle.

Big Pharma is the confederation’s sole supplier of medicinal herbs. It is the tribe that has successfully lobbied the confederation to be not only the sole purveyor of medicinal herbs, but they also have made it illegal for any other tribe to experiment with them. This allows their leaders to destroy alternative yet effective, easily obtainable medicines that are manufactured at a much lower cost to the consumer. This allows Big Pharma to charge ridiculous prices for the medicines they have purchased at a very low initial cost. Profits are big league! As you may have surmised, Big Pharma makes major monetary contributions to the most powerful tribe of Capitalism.

The seventh tribe is called Marlboro, which is a tribe that smokes the dried leaves of the tobacco plant that is addictive and kills whomever smokes it, but the smoke from the plant can’t assist one to enter the cosmic realm of ethereal awareness that the Tree of Knowledge does. The tobacco plant is really popular among the pubescent members of the tribe, which has inspired a group of querulous parents, who can’t control the aberrant actions of their ill-behaved children, to blame Marlboro for their respective children’s indulgences; unfortunately, ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters, in a desperate act of bureaucratic acquiescence, rallied around these pitifully unqualified parents and created laws making it illegal to provide samples of this herb to the adolescents who are too feral to be controlled by their lethargic parents. It’s sadly funny that the members of this tribe decry big government unless it’s to force their children to not smoke or force women to acquiesce control of their anatomy.

Free Credit Score Dot Com, the eighth tribe of the twelve, is the tribe that has maintained the records of the confederation of ABC’s Wide World of United Nations Globe Trotters. It provides free reports to all citizens of the twelve tribes, but they have many hidden fees that must be paid upon receipt of this report. Failure to pay results in major penalties including, but not limited to, name calling and taunting by song.

Beatles is a musical tribe led by a tetrarchy called the Fab Four, and they have revolutionized popular music and hairstyles. Within the tribe, the Fab Four are so celebrated that young women instantly become pregnant upon seeing them in public. Collectively, they worship a group of gods: Lucy, who is a sky goddess with kaleidoscopic eyes; Eleanor Rigby, who keeps her face in a jar by the door; Michelle, who works for Ma Bell; Jo Jo, who was a man who thought he was a loner; and a fool on the hill who has eyes in his head that see the world going ‘round.

Wall Street is the tribe that maintains the confederation’s finances. It is composed of pasty-white, corpulent and glabrous middle-aged men with heads too large for their frames and who wear very expensive suits. The citizens of this tribe are morally lax and so ruthless in pursuit of shiny objects that they often do unconscionable acts on other tribal members, even kin, to obtain their desires.

Lost Vegas is the penal tribe where those convicted of debauchery, lasciviousness, or solicitation are kept under guard, except for the very wealthy who are allowed to keep their many mansions while the victims of their avarice wallow in Corporate waste, the mire produced by the same Sardanapalian assholes who steal the victim’s meager possessions. Since prisons are privately owned, and the wealthy are excluded from Justice, prison owners make large monetary contributions to the confederation who invite public officials to arrest minor criminals that will fill up the myriad jail cells so that the owners and their stockholders can make a substantial profit.

And the last tribe is Xanadu, where Alph the sacred river ran through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea. There was a thirteenth tribe called the Cherokees, but their lands were taken from them by an ephemeral barbaric tribe called Uncle Sam, and they were forced to migrate to lands not conducive to their particular lifestyles; both powers ultimately waned along with China.

Unfortunately, since the great Babylonian Breakup, we’ve lost contact with all other tribes, so our coffee, cigarettes, medicinal herbs, basketball, and portable weapons of destruction are gone, but when the prophecy is fulfilled, we will unite in the Stadium Rock Festival Reunion Tour of Everlasting Freedom, and we will once again party like it’s 1999.”

Midas The Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece finishes his story, and Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary prepares the tribe for its nocturnal ritual. Outside the cave, the storm rages wildly, scattering flora and fauna helter-skelter in the electric maelstrom.

Earth Bond – Chapter IV

Dream of A Gilded Planet

Sergeant Viernes is slightly irritated that he has become more and more associated with Dr. Benito Stelfast, not that he’s become best friends with him by any stretch of the imagination, but the doctor knows him on a first-name, casual, momentarily lost-then-recognized basis. The sergeant simply wishes to be among the numerous biospheric citizens of whom Dr. Benito has neither interest nor knowledge, yet the fringe benefits are pretty good… OK, they’re decadent, at least compared to his personal monetary expectations.

When he was initially instructed to inform the good doctor about the death of Senator Falstaff Boyd, a political constituent, the sergeant was noticeably excited. The good doctor is head of the Inter-Biospheric Robotics Council (IBRoC), one of the most powerful men in the quad-dome nation, but Viernes has now visited Dr. Benito on several additional occasions, each time to inform him about the death of another citizen.

Dr. Benito’s serviton knocks upon the doctor’s chamber door. “Sir, Sergeant Viernes has called once again.”

“Is he in the library?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did he say the matter?”

“No, sir.”

“I wonder who’s died now?”

“I know not, sir. It does seem, however, that he brings sad news with each visit.”

Dr. Benito reflectively pauses before jumping back to reality.

“Please show him into the library where he can wait; I’ll meet with him shortly.”

A few moments passes before Sergeant Viernes is escorted into Dr. Benito’s study.

“Dr. Benito, I apologize for intruding upon your peace, but…”

“Sergeant… Sergeant Viernes. There’s no need to apologize even if you do bring more bad news… you… are bringing more bad news?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“Another robotic malfunction?”

“Yes.”

Dr. Benito Stelfast sits quickly in his leather chair.

“Damn.”

Stunned, Benito adds, “Rodney, bring me an anodyne for my headache.”

Sergeant Viernes looks around, confused, “Rodney? There’s no one around but me, sir. I’m Sergeant Viernes.”

“Hm. Oh,” Benito laughs, “Rodney is my serviton.”

Rodney enters the room and bows to the police sergeant, “I hear everything that goes on inside and outside this house, sir.”

The serviton then gives the pills to Dr. Benito who drinks them down with tap water.

“He sure looks human,” says Viernes.

“Hm? Pardon?”

“Your robot, sir. It looks amazingly human.”

“Yes,” says Benito, then he sits silently, staring intently at the floor for a moment or two until he slowly looks up and asks, “Where did this latest fatality occur?”

“It was at the victim’s residential home. Seems like another security robot killed the man then self-destructed.”

“Goddamn it,” Benito hisses. “Same goddamn M.O.?”

The sergeant nods his head.

“You know, Sergeant, this spree of random killings began almost immediately after the beta attack on the Peruvian dome. I’ve had my men working ‘round the clock trying to figure out what the hell’s going on…”

The sergeant feels sorry for the doctor but secretly wonders why anybody would want to get into politics, especially someone like Dr. Benito Stelfast who is not only the leading robotics scientist on the planet, but he’s an elected senator as well.

“It must be hard…”

“You haven’t a clue, son.”

Dr. Benito pauses just barely before resuming, “I’m sorry, Sergeant. I’m lost in a wave of emotion. A dozen random deaths, and we’ve got a major bill on the floor tomorrow.”

“The Biospheric Consolidation Bill?”

Dr. Benito looks up, momentarily stunned.

“Ah, yes,” says the doctor, “I suppose it is in the news.”

“It’s all anybody’s talking about.”

“Really? Hmm. Well, what do you think?”

“Well, sir. I agree with you. I think that the four biospheres that are scattered across the planet should be consolidated into one biosphere. It’d be much safer. The betas have already demonstrated that they are nothing more than barbarians. No longer human. And, personally, I don’t think that the betas deserve the biospheres we’d be abandoning. The domes and the savages should all be destroyed.”

“I agree,” says Benito, “But the bill won’t pass without a bit of compromise. Don’t worry, though, I’ve put in legislation that’ll assure we will always have more than enough weaponry to quell any future uprising from the betas in the Wild Earth Zone.”

“That’s what I like to hear.”

“I need just a bit more time. Pass this bill, and then I can devote my resources to solving all these fatalistic robotic anomalies. Four senatorial deaths…”

“That’s five, sir. The one last night.”

“Oh. Yeah. Damn… What was his name?”

“Adam Shepherdson, sir.”

Dr. Benito screams out. Sergeant Viernes looks on in horrific uncertainty until Vanessa rushes in to investigate the violent pneumatic explosion from the darkest recesses of her husband’s emotional center; Sergeant Viernes quietly leaves the emotionally usurped senator in the shrill echoing room. As he closes the chamber door Rodney approaches.

“What the hell was that all about?”

The serviton replies, “Adam Shepherdson is the good doctor’s best friend.”

* * *

Benito awakens abruptly and is instantly repulsed by the smell of his own breath, which wreaks of sour gastro-intestinal bitterness. He orders Rodney to retrieve a mint-flavored liquid breath rinse, which temporarily refreshes his spirits as he sinks deeper into satin sheets, but his head still throbs with intrusive percussive militancy. An intense crash from his son’s room sends him wide-eyed and lunging for nothing as he instinctually reacts to the harsh diapason that invades his serenity like an adolescent chainsaw with Tourette’s syndrome. Michael is playing his flavor of music too loudly… again.

Benito almost runs to his son’s room, and when Michael sees the unequivocal displeasure in his father’s eyes, he immediately turns down the music, but Benito is too incensed to stop; he snatches the boy’s stereo and throws it against the wall. The boy’s lower lip quivers, but he says nothing as his father slowly walks back to his own bedroom where he immediately crashes into unconsciousness.

The dream is always the same, and although he never fully remembers it, Benito always awakens from his sleep with an inescapable feeling of invulnerability:

Standing on a phosphorescent, jagged promontory, a lingering pale yellow light shines between two pink-marble obelisks, erect and primal against an orange and red streaked sky. A dark gray wisp of cloud curls around his ankles like a smoky kitten that then bounds beyond him. Looking over the land that stretches from Mesopotamia to Vienna, he sees hordes of troops amassing victory after victory, leaving victims in a crimson wake of bloody turmoil until he sees all the lands over which he holds dominion, a physical map of his conquests stretching out before his eyes in deferential tribute. Colorfully dressed men and women bow before him, some of which, with the insouciant flip of his hand, vanish into the heavens; others, the more obviously obsequious, turn to gold. Then, as he descends the mountainous platform, the world shrinks into the palm of his hand. He carefully arranges it in a specially made lacquer jewelry box, and he puts the box in a place of honor among his other possessions in a golden vault.

 

The Fuliginous Plight of Midas

I really don’t understand the conflict between the factions of climate change when the major contentious point of debate is the veracity of whether or not carbon-based energy is creating conditions that will ultimately be the demise of the human race. This debate is not dichotomous; it has more than two arguments.

Why, exactly, is this debate so divisive to a point that many are emotionally affected by its outcome? Why do many of us feel it necessary to choose only one of the proffered solutions? How is the general public affected and to what degree? Why do we get so emotionally involved in details that are irrelevant? It’s not like there are no alternatives to the problem. Energy is not exclusively generated through processes that use carbon-based resources, so why are some proponents of carbon-based energy so ardent, especially when they are not directly rewarded and when the coveted energy is easily available from other sources that more effectively and efficiently provide the same energy?

Energy is an important social concern that nearly everyone should consider, yet most Americans don’t work for fossil-fuel corporations, and they are not compensated by them, so why such loyalty? Energy is provided by many methodologies that are renewable (carbon-based energy is finite); energy created from wind and solar technology do not add deleterious miasma into the atmosphere; even if the level of pollution spilled into the atmosphere from burning carbon is within acceptable levels of human tolerance, it is still pollution—why support the possibility of damaging effects when it is so unnecessary? The answer lies within the heart.

Emotion seems to be, terrestrially speaking, a human quality. (We, as a species, might anthropomorphize (accent on the fourth syllable) some other animals, but that is kindling for another fireside chat to be conflagrated at another time.) Emotions are ambivalent; they are neither right nor wrong; they simply exist within the human condition. How we react to our emotions is what we perceive as either malevolent or beneficent. Conflict quickens when we falsely interpret these feelings into factual proof of veracity for debating. For whatever reason, we grasp onto the notion that we are right when being right or wrong is not the objective. The only desirous outcome in this particular debate is having abundant, inexpensive energy so that we may maximize our abilities to work and to recreate. Carbon-based energy is not the only resource that will accomplish these objectives; in fact, carbon-based energy is not a very good resolution when cheaper, more efficient technologies exist, technologies that, if researched with necessary enthusiasm—the same alacrity exploited by the status quo—would make the planet smile like a pharmaceutically enhanced Cheshire Cat supplemented with industrial strength catnip.

The answer to many of the questions asked at the beginning of this essay is very easy… and most children instinctively understand, especially if they have ever sullied their hands with a greasy piece of coal: The people who are making irrational, monarchical amounts of money through carbon manipulation do not want to negatively affect their ludicrous incomes because, as you know, it is very difficult to maintain a staff of servants who are manageable—servants who have adequate enough skills to perform their duties with the deference due to one’s employer. Very few of our nation’s populace—only one percent of one percent—really understand the cost of the resources exploited to maintain a palatial house with a fleet of luxurious automobiles; to possess more than one estate—because living in one locale throughout a calendar year is so mundane; to maintain a yacht and crew to cruise the Caribbean or Mediterranean seas; to even plan a major party that effectively displays Sardanapalian luxury, which, obviously, denotes directing the help with an acceptable hubris and feigned concern about their particularly pedestrian lives. When one is wealthy and has the accompanying responsibilities, the health of the planet is a really low priority concerning daily modus operandi.

Peace Through Music

 

Earth Bound – Chapter III

Redneck Charlie and the Olympiad

Dawn breaks, and as the lime green solar disc surreptitiously peers over the pastel-swirled horizon, mixing the day’s palette with a wonderful assortment of vivid colors and painting sunrise with brilliant broad strokes from a more passive palate, billowy clouds refract the sun’s waves in a dancing light-show celebration of morning, and the tribe whose name translates to They Who Are Heavily Burdened stirs from its collective sleep. The Nocturnal Elixir created by Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary enables the tribe to dream as a unit, each member experiencing the same dream but adding elements to it, which reflects the tribe’s collective mood. Rarely does anyone remember the dream, but each member wakens refreshed and the subconscious sharing of dream images clandestinely strengthens the tribe’s unity.

A tumultuous crash echoes throughout the cave, and the tribe, now wide awake with adrenal anxiety, directs its attention towards the cave’s entrance but then, wearily, relaxes, postulating whether the auricular chaos was the result of the ubiquitous violent weather that constantly batters their world. As the tribe mechanically begins to think about its daily schedule, Polyphemus the Nocturnal Sentry rushes in from his outside post, incoherently yelling as loudly as he is able, a mutant wildcat in savage pursuit.

The men quickly grab their weapons and within seconds confront the snarling, paw-swatting beast, a cautious line of men with spears nervously jabbing as the sinuous carnivore crouches in front of them preparing either to leap and attack or to instantly retreat in survival-flight, vacillating between the two instinctual extremes as its legs quake in anticipatory readiness for the fulgurous decision to send the feral feline into action. With two incredible incisors gleaming salivary viscosity and penetrating upwards from the raring feral feline’s jaw, the catamount is ready to pounce, its legs shimmering with tension that is ready to unleash fury, but from behind the javelin-jabbing warriors a flaming arrow arches, in slow motion, over the group of warriors and strikes the cat’s flank. The projectile hits with a painful thud, and the cat yelps, but the shaft falls innocuously to the ground. The arrowhead is unable to penetrate the thick skin of the beast, but the flaming shaft sets the animal’s fur ablaze in a violent burst of blue-green conflagration. Howling in fatalistic pain, the tortured animal rolls on the cave’s sandy floor until the fire extinguishes then, with shiny red and black charred flesh and smoldering fur, it screeches out of the cave.

It was when the tribal warriors were nervously confronting the invading wildcat that Polyphemus regained his composure behind their biological wall of protection, inhaling in and out like an ironsmith’s bellows when he noticed the fire’s burning low. He determinedly stoked the fire until the flames of differing shades of green and yellow aggressively licked the air, creating intense heat. He hastily grabbed some arrows and dipped the flint-heads into the flammable paste and then quickly stuck them into the fire. After the rods ignited, Polyphemus shot them at the beast just as it was about to launch at his fellow warriors.

Exhausted the warriors stand, still paralyzed with fear yet relieved and mentally drained, staring with hollow eyes at the cave’s entrance, waiting for the beast’s return, the women and children huddled together at the cave’s far wall, the immediacy of death desperate and clutching at their conscious spirit. Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece then casually walks to the area of the cave where he and his warriors store their weapons. The other warriors follow, excitedly reliving what had just happened.

With a barely noticeable gesture, Midas signals to Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary who retreats into his private laboratory and grabs a mixture of botanical herbs with certain tranquilizing properties to help the tribe overcome its present hysteria. Midas then assembles together his followers.

It is near the beginning of the Sunny Season Celebration, the time of year for our annual sports festival wherein we remember certain tribal ancestors and acknowledge our best athletes. We will begin the sporting festivities this afternoon, and I will initiate our celebration by telling you the history behind our five day ceremony, but first, I think it would be appropriate if we pray to Captain Kirk our god of war, for helping us vanquish our recent assailant.”

The tribe bows in reverence, and a young girl puts some flowers at the base of Midas’ throne. After a few minutes of deferential silence, the tribal leader with the magical hemp-woven codpiece resumes his oration.

In honor of the Sunny Season Celebration, I’d like to recall to you the sad story of Redneck Charlie, an ancient tribal warrior who has come to represent for us the ultimate hapless victim and reminds us what happens when one becomes overconfident.”

Staring into the dancing green and purple flames of the fire, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece chants a song to the gods and then describes what the gods present to him in the conflagration.

I see… Redneck Charlie following Jackal-Dude…”

At the sound of Jackal-Dude’s name, some of the children scream and run for their parents. Jackal-Dude is the tribe’s most egregious nemesis: a half-beta, half-carnivorous wolfhound. During the hunting season, Jackal-Dude hides outside the tribe’s encampment, waiting to ambush one of the tribal members who strays too far from safety.

There, there, now children. Don’t worry. Jackal-Dude won’t come to us for a long, long while… although we should always try to avoid open spaces because our tribal nemesis is very cunning… and very dangerous.”

Midas nods towards Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary who silently leaves the assembly to prepare another anodyne for anxiety. In the interim, Midas sings a song about happiness. Erasmus returns shortly, and when the room settles, Midas resumes his story.

Redneck Charlie cautiously, clandestinely follows Jackal-Dude from a distance and suddenly realizes, as the hairy beast walks hesitantly over the heat-absorbing sand crystals, that the reason Jackal-Dude leaves during the sunny season is because the rocks and sand are too hot for the mutant’s sensitive feet, so the unruly beast retreats every year at the beginning of the sunny season to the mountainous region where the snow and cold comfort him.

When Jackal-Dude finally reaches the cooler smooth foothills that debauch the infernal sandy region, Redneck Charlie feels confident that the carnivorous beast will not turn back; the mutant carnivore is yearning so badly for the cooling comfort of its lair that it will not cross back over the hot sand until next year’s seasonal change. Still ankle deep in sand, Redneck Charlie jumps out of hiding and yells, waving his hands in the air with reckless abandon, relentlessly taunting the mutant half-beta, half-carnivorous wolfhound. At the sound of the juvenile heckling, Jackal-Dude slowly turns around and stares menacingly at his gadfly adversary, yet he remains on the edge of the desert, fuming, until Redneck Charlie shouts to a small crowd that has gathered, ‘Hey, y’all. Watch this.’ He then places his thumb on his nose and wiggles his fingers in Jackal-Dude’s general direction.

Redneck Charlie doesn’t realize that the gesture he has just given to his nemesis is the equivalent in the language of Jackal-Dude’s ancestors of calling into question the carnivore’s parentage, and as soon as the gesture is made, Jackal-Dude methodically walks toward the mocking beta who is so into his spasmodic gyrations that he doesn’t notice the beta-consuming mutant until he accidentally strikes the carnivore’s nose. Charlie’s knees buckle as the mutant carnivore immediately masticates the writhing, screaming… dying beta.

Now we, the tribe whose name translates to They Who Are Heavily Burdened, celebrate Jackal-Dude’s annual retreat with a week-long competition at the beginning of every sunny season, and our yearly competition is dedicated to the commonsense-impaired, Jackal-taunting beta named Redneck Charlie. The god of the Tree of Knowledge, Jimmy Hendrix Page, is also honored during the Festival of Let’s Get High, Not Stupid And Dead. For five days our greatest athletes compete in a pentathlon. The winner is the athlete who collects the most points, and he receives, among other glorious prizes, an honorary seat on my pelt-laden throne as well as the privilege to toke from the Sacred Pipe of Dreams. The festival concludes with two days wherein we rejoice in epicurean delights.”

Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece takes a kingly quaff from the Amber Lethean Jug of Inebriate Liquid and then continues his story, “The first day of our festival pits our athletes against each other in the large rock-throwing competition, but… before the competition begins, all of the athletes who will be competing throughout the week long event come together for a communal breakfast of performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals. This is the Steroid Breakfast that helps the athletes better prepare for the anguishes of world-class competition while simultaneously rendering their sexual organs useless. It is a price each athlete is willing to pay for the ultimate goal of celebrity. After breakfast, the athletes draw straws to direct the order in which they take turns at heaving the stone as far as their bodies allow.

In this competition, the winner is our tribal citizen who can throw the same large rock the farthest, and he receives for his efforts a massage from one of our tribal maidens who’ll use a lotion made by Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary. This buttery lotion relaxes muscles with a penetrating heat that also produces wonderful hallucinations. We call this event the Vesuvian Warming in honor of a warrior from antiquity named Vesuvius Aetna. He was a mountainous man who was outrageously strong. He stood atop a large seaside precipice and threw down rocks, ash, and pyroclastic flows upon the ancient city of Pompeii, completely destroying it.”

Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven codpiece takes yet another royal quaff from the Amber Lethean Jug of Inebriate Liquid, foaming liquid racing down his furry face and unto his chest. Smiling, the tribal leader belches loudly and continues.

Day two of our festival honors the elegant sport of spear-throwing, which is similar to the large rock-throwing contest only the athletes throw spears. The spears, however, have been adapted for the contest. The razor sharp blade on the spear’s tip is replaced with a blunt rock. This event is unique in the pentathlon because a partner is used: the spear-catcher… and the best spear-catcher receives an honorary quaff from the Lethean Jug of Amber Inebriate Liquids.

The spear-throwing contest is played in memory of Head-Wound Harvey, who was the spear-catcher for the great pent-athlete Rick Flair, arguably the best athlete ever. Head-Wound Harvey, whose last words were, ‘Hey, y’all! Watch this!’ was the greatest spear-catcher in the land. On the fateful day when he lost his ability to speak at an adult level, Harvey did a back flip just as Rick Flair released the spear into the air. This was, of course, preceded by the aforementioned last words, but as he landed, he lost balance and fell on his back. The blunt stone of the spear struck Harvey directly in the forehead, leaving a permanent indentation and leaving the athlete with a prepubescent disposition. Harvey spent the rest of his life, at least within the boundaries of his eclipsed mind, skipping school and looking up young girls’ skirts.”

Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece looks around surveying his people, checking to assure that the youngest members of the tribe are not getting too restless, which is tough during this time of year when fairly decent weather importunately calls youth outside to marvel in Nature’s mysteries. Noticing that the children are stirring slightly, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece asks Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary to re-administer the calming elixir slightly less potent than the Nocturnal Elixir. He then resumes reciting his tribe’s history.

Day three of our annual Sunny Season Celebration is set aside for the contest we call the Disoriented and Sense-Impaired Race for the Prize. To begin this event, our athletes sit at the starting line. They simultaneously inhale as much smoke as they can from the burning leaves and buds of the Tree of Knowledge then hold their breath. (Of course, one of the past leaders of the tribe, Bill Clinton, had his championship stripped away because he claimed to have never inhaled.) When the official gives the signal, the contestants exhale then stand up and turn around ten times in small circles with their forehead against the top end of a club that is resting vertically upon the ground. When the official in front of each contestant counts to ten, the athlete straightens up and runs forty yards to the finish line where he has to pick up from the ground, without using his hands, a bud from the Tree of Knowledge. When the contestant has secured the bud with his teeth, he becomes the winner, and his bud is ignited.

The Disoriented and Sense-Impaired Race for the Prize is played in honor of Mary Jane, another celebrity from antiquity; although, we really don’t know that much about her. However, we believe that she did important work studying joints, roaches, and jays, which were birds and insects that are now extinct. She invented something called a doobie, which is a small group of brothers singing four-part harmony atop a large rock. She was a great scientist of the past, and we honor her name to this day.”

The tribe bows their heads in silent homage. After a brief moment, Midas continues, “The fourth event of our celebration is the Expectoration Distance Championship. This is a relatively straightforward event in which the athlete spits as far as he can. This event became notorious after it was discovered that milk from the hybrid Bovine Boar makes the saliva heavy and viscous enough to spit great distances. Roger Bannister was the infamous first member of the tribe to expectorate his fluid the equivalent of thirty feet, but his competitors dismissed him as a charlatan, claiming he used a performance enhancing substance. Once a year, however, the tribe honors Roger with a celebration in which everyone spits and incessantly grabs their crotch. This day is also known as Baseball Day, but the meaning of this phrase has long escaped our tribal historians.”

Midas starts giggling, which makes the entire tribe giggle in return. Slightly regaining his composure, the leader continues, “The fifth and final day of competition is the Race and Rhyme Relay sponsored by COP, the tribe’s Counsel Of Poetry. The object of this event is to race the equivalent of forty yards, hand a stick to a partner, and then recite a limerick. After the limerick is completely recited, the second athlete runs back from where the first one started, recites his limerick, hands another partner the stick, and the pattern continues until five athletes from the same team complete the race. Bawdy content of the limerick can overcome lack of speed in this event and this almost caused a riot in one of the games from the past. It seems that Cassius Clay finished the last leg of the race by reciting a limerick about floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee; however, Redd Foxx, who had finished the race’s last leg five minutes after Cassius, was awarded the victory by reciting a raunchy limerick about a man from Nantucket.

The winner of the pentathlon not only gets to sit on my pelt-laden throne and smoke from the Sacred Pipe Of Dreams, but he also gets to marry, from a group of maidens desirous for strong children, a woman of his choice. Of course when the commissioner of the game adopted this rule, many of the more shallow athletes lost sight of the glory of the games in favor of glory itself. They became spoiled crybabies whose puerile threats and fatuous temper tantrums left many of the elders hollow inside, but our children, unfortunately, embraced the athletes and their false, materialistic drive, and they, in turn, became unruly, restless… ill-behaved. All was saved, however, because of insight given to us by Duracell, the god of light. Our athletes are now humble and grateful for their athletic gifts, which they have come to realize, are gifts they have received through no merit of their own but instead are acknowledged as gifts from the benevolent gods whom we honor daily.”

Midas takes a kingly toke from his Sacred Pipe of Dreams then washes it down with a quaff from the Amber Lethean Jug of Inebriate Liquid. What Midas didn’t relate to his tribe was the fact that it was he who “changed” the attitudes of the ancient spoiled athletes into a more humble realization of their gifts. As he was the most powerful warrior upon ascending the throne of his tribe, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece gave the first pentathlon champion of his rule, Tyrell Owens, a vicious dope-slap when the athlete starting sprawling like a baby about not getting his way. Tyrell’s ears rang for three days, and when the ringing ceased, his humility and graciousness returned. Soon after that, the children of the tribe began respecting their elders and became more studious.

Midas finishes his story, and his tribe smiles with contentment, reflecting on his words. Midas then sends Polyphemus the Nocturnal Sentry out of the cave to see if it is safe. The sporting events are about to begin.

Earth Bound – Chapter II

Critical Decision

Come in, come in, Sir,” Dr. Benito Stelfast says as he stands up and walks around his ornate desk with his hand outstretched, “I appreciate your taking time from your busy schedule to come and talk to me. Here. Have a seat.”

Thank you.”

Senator Falstaff Boyd looks down to his left at a leather covered wooden chair and sits while Benito leans back against the front of his desk, facing his constituent.

I know why you’ve called me in, Dr. Stelfas…”

Please. Please. Call me Benito.”

Senator Boyd looks a bit stunned, slightly bewildered, but his physiognomy quickly morphs into introspection.

O… kay, Benito, but I know what you want; I just can’t go along with the plan. It’d give one man too much power, and that one man, without a doubt, would be you.”

That’s not assured. There will be an election afterward. The citizens will ultimately decide who the leader will be. It could just as easily be you.”

Dr. Benito Stelfast has his doctorate in robotics engineering. He is also a senator representing one of the four biospheres erected many centuries ago throughout the globe by ancient scientists who had realized the inevitable total destruction of the planet caused from global warming initiated in the late nineteenth century by the Industrial Revolution. He currently resides within the South American biosphere atop land once the former capital of Peru. The recent violent attack on his biosphere by an atavistic, barbaric tribe of mutants has encouraged him to consolidate the four domes into one heavily secured colossal biosphere called Colossus V.

Please don’t patronize me Doctor. Besides, I’m not convinced that we need only one biosphere. What will happen to the four that currently exist?”

The idea seemed to quicken as he spoke it and give it life.

We can give them to the betas. They are our biological brethren, right?”

That’s not a bad idea, really. I’m sure they could use protection from the insufferable terrestrial elements. How any of them have survived is beyond belief.”

That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. It’d be the beneficent thing to do. None of us ever anticipated that anyone could survive the planet’s last mass extinction that destroyed practically every plant and animal so many centuries ago.”

I am well aware that the mutant beasts currently existing in the Wild Earth Zone are the miraculous survivors of the humans so callously left outside the four biospheres by the scientific community nearly five centuries ago,” he paused, “and your idea to give them this special opportunity is morally appealing in some distorted way, but I just can’t abide the possibility that one man would be leader of, in essence, the entire population of the civilized world.”

Think of the betas. Nobody ever expected survivors. It’s baffling that anything survived… plant or beast… but our latest sensors have shown that very few mammals did survive, and they do exist, The DNA tests gathered by servitons1 have proven irrevocably that the betas have adapted to the environment that killed off 95% of all carbon lifeforms. No one knows how these… these beasts… how these barbaric mutants survived the most devastating mass extinction ever, the wiping out of practically every living thing on the planet that was created by the human population during the aftermath of the global warming initiated by the now infamous Industrial Revolution.”

It’s just that they don’t appear to be threatening to us in any way; they have adapted to the climatic changes; we haven’t. They can live beyond the protection that our biospheres grant us. They’re harmless to us; there’s no reason to consolidate.”

That’s where you’re wrong. The betas are serious threats to national security. There’s evidence that strongly suggests that the betas have the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction. Our very way of life is at stake.”

How are the betas threatening? Didn’t our Robotic Army totally wipe out those savage warriors just ten years ago? They had rudimentary weapons… clubs and rocks.”

Why take chances. Video surveillance shows us that they’re barbaric. They’re really not human anymore.”

Then why worry about them?”

Because they’re animals! Animals capable of destroying portions of the biospheres that would cost too much money when it can be so easily avoided if we consolidate the four biospheres into one colossal, technologically superior biosphere built with even more protection against the betas and their ever-threatening technological advances.”

It doesn’t seem necessary; they’re not that dangerous. Seems like a ploy garnered through unfettered capitalism.”

Benito pauses, sighs, and then slowly walks to the other side of his desk where he sits, still facing Senator Boyd, a panoramic view in the huge window behind the defeated scientist displays a pastoral man-made recreational lake.

So, you’re still gonna vote ‘No’ in two weeks?”

I am. One colossal biosphere seems unnecessary.”

Very well; although, I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that you don’t see the clear and present danger that exists to our very way of life.”

There was nothing more to say, so Senator Falstaff Boyd leaves Benito’s office silently while Dr. Benito Stelfast ruminates with cerebral intensity scorching his hazel eyes that churn extinguished yet burning emotional fury.

Before retiring for the evening, Benito takes a soothing bath to calm his frayed nerves. He steps out of the tub when he hears his doorbell. As he ties his bathrobe, there comes a knock on the bathroom door. It is Benito’s personal serviton, Rodney.

Forgive the intrusion, Sir, but Sergeant Viernes from the Diplomacy Station is waiting in the library. Seems he needs to speak to you. Says it’s an urgent matter.”

Thank you. Inform him that I’ll meet with him anon, and offer him a drink.”

Already done, Sir.”

As Benito enters the library in his bathrobe, Sergeant Viernes leaps from the cushioned chair with a drink in one hand and a marijuana cigar in the other.

Dr. Benito Stelfast,” he blurts as he stands.

He starts walking toward the doctor as the doctor slowly approaches him, but the investigator stops suddenly, gulps down the rest of his drink, steps back toward the chair, sets the empty glass on the table beside the chair, then he takes a few puffs on the cigar before smashing it out in the ashtray on the same table. By the time he turns back around, Benito is upon him with outstretched hand.

I am Dr. Benito Stelfast.”

Pleased to finally meet you, Sir. I’m Sergeant Viernes.”

Well, how may I help you, Sergeant?”

I’ve come to bring sad news, Doctor. Senator Falstaff Boyd is dead.”

Really?” Benito takes an awkward step backward. “I just talked to him not twenty minutes ago…”

Dr. Benito Stelfast’s face slightly contorted with confusion. Then he almost silently whispers, “How?”

Another serviton malfunction.”

Where?”

In the basement of his office complex a few blocks south of here. Seems like his serviton went awry, strangled the senator, then initiated a self-destruction program no one knew existed within its circuitry. Destroyed itself completely. It’s the third incident this month, but this time it struck down a senator.”

Damn,” says Dr. Benito, mostly to himself.

Don’t worry Doctor. No one blames you; everyone knows that you’ll ultimately figure it all out. You’re the greatest doctor of robotics ever lived.”

Still…”

Benito stands silently for a moment then says, “What was the senator doing in the basement?”

No one knows, Sir, but the mayor wanted you to know, and I was sent to tell you.”

Again, Benito stands in retrospection. Sergeant Viernes then coughs a little, drawing Benito back from his cerebral journey.

Oh, I’m sorry, Sergeant. It’s just so…”

I understand, Sir. Will you be needing anything else from me?”

Hm? Oh… no. No thank you. Here.”

Dr. Benito hands the investigator a few cigars.

Thank you, Sir,” Sergeant Viernes sings. “We don’t get this quality down at the station.”

_______________________________________________________

1 Service automatons.

 

 

Earth Bound – Chapter I

Savage Nobility

A small group of haggard barbarian hunters awkwardly wince, awestruck and shaken, before the behemoth source of primeval light that confronts them, its blinding brightness so hostile they must protect their vulnerable eyes with their shields and outstretched hands, actively arching their bodies away from the fulgent antagonist in a futile attempt to ameliorate its impending luminescent aggression. When their eyes adjust, they warily crawl towards the linear wall of intense palpitating illumination standing militantly before them, the demarcation between themselves—vulnerable in the gray shadowy vestiges of a waning violent storm—and an overtly penetrating tranquility, which fills the compass of the expanse that stretches out ahead of them, a pulsing fluorescent boundary, a formidable, thick glass wall extending infinitely both vertically and horizontally, separating the storm-battered, wearied warriors from the endless field of golden corn eagerly reaching for the expansive blue, cloudless sky and its auriferous sun.

Within the twenty-foot thick vitreous wall, giant web-like metallic cables support the colossal structure with geometric precision, and on the other side of the glass barrier is the endless field of glowing, ray-drenched corn the mammalian herd covets. Corn as far as their red eyes can see, tasseled ears slightly swaying in homogenous golden sunlight while on their side of the monolithic glass wall, dingy, brooding storm clouds hang above the heads of the hungry hunters in the disinterested crepuscular dusk. The beasts stare, agape, at the luminous curiosity, wondering how they can penetrate the wall and enter Eden.

The leader of the hunting group looks apprehensively back at his followers and then nods to them assuredly before he turns back and faces the wall. He then tentatively touches his forefinger to the glass barrier. A loud, fulgurous blast instantly electrocutes the beast―intense heat scorches the mammal’s fur as a deafening shockwave sends the creature flying, arching over rain-pummeled plants and glistening minerals; its golden mane waving with air currents that bristle against it; its seven-foot tail snapping frenetically through the flight; its long arms turgid against its sides; its red eyes extinguished; and it lands with a dull thud upon a large, pliable, carnivorous plant that voraciously consumes it, almost silently save the initial crunch of bones.

Erupting into raging violence, the attendant beasts rush for their primitive weapons and attack the plant, rendering it and their former leader a collective mush that produces the harsh, wafting odor of sulfur and burnt almonds. The beasts wail in anger at the sky, roaring collective pain to their gods a radish-screaming displeasure at the injustice of Life. Turning toward the gigantic, gleaming, corn-taunting glass structure, the tallest beast runs for a large stone and throws it at its luminous nemesis. With a dull thud, the stone innocuously bounces off the structure and splats the moistened ground as a laser ray from within the wall blasts the beast into oblivion immediately followed by a more devastating explosion that instantly kills every plant and animal within a fifty-mile radius of the explosion, a semi-circle of fuligenous death that stains the burnt ground away from the undamaged transparent wall that protects and endless waving sea of golden corn harbored safely behind the redoubtable glass wall, mocking the outside devastation with deafening silence.

֍ ֍ ֍ ֍

On a distant continent of the storm-ravished planet, another tribe of nomadic beasts finds temporary shelter in a cave recently carved out by terrestrial wind, rain, and fire. The auburn sun slips unnoticed into the horizon as mild winds and leaden precipitation block sunset’s nocturnal pageantry, engulfing it into a velvet gray fog. Evening always brings a sense of highly anticipated relief to the tribe of atavistic human betas whose name translates to They Who Are Heavily Burdened. Midas, the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece sits regally upon his throne, a huge boulder deep within the cave of his people, a stoned fortress that shields his tribe from the fatalistic weather patterns that harrow earth’s surface with intense electrical storms that sporadically flash red fingers of lightning across the dark lavender sky or produce swirling orange-yellow funnel clouds that burrow ditches miles-wide into the dark, red-crusted landscape, callously raping its botanical population.

Midas’ seven-foot frame is lean and menacing to his followers, and when he raises his hairy arms, he appears as tall as the trees. He is covered in soft fur from his head to his tail, a prehensile appendage with a ball of fluffy fur on its tip that trails behind him six feet when he’s not using it to swat away insectile aggression. Midas claims the highest part of the cave in which he and his followers pass time when the weather is so horrific that no one can venture safely outside.

The following morning is relatively calm, and although the wind is fierce, there are no ominous black and red streaked clouds heavily spackled against a pink sky, the customary flocculent harbingers of violent atmospheric clashes that portend danger and encourage all tribal members to huddle together safely within the security of the cave’s stoned walls. The opportunity for a relatively calm hunting expedition is as apparent as the elongated dark purple shadows that casually creep towards the sunrise peeking its luminous eye over the horizon, and as the solar miracle teasingly presents itself to full grandeur, the tribe splits to fulfill respective duties. Bundled up tightly against the wind, two groups separate, the stronger in search of wild game while the distaff tend to more domestic responsibilities.

After trekking a few miles north of their cave, the hunters spot tracks of the mutant wild boar. They are all aware of the animal’s serrated teeth, and their nerves quicken as they focus on the present task, moving slowly through lush vegetation with the precision of ants assiduously picking the exoskeleton of an giant mutant horned beetle until nothing is left but a fragile carapace. The men silently stalk their hidden prey with the focus of an atheistic praying mantis trying to reject its religious dogma.

A thundering grunt echoes through the valley, and a large porcine mutant charges a pubescent boy on his first hunt. The guttural explosion from the charging pig frightens the boy who drops his weapon and stares wide-eyed-red at the raging animal. Within seconds, the large incisors of the genetically altered razorback tear through the boys leg, spewing blood, fan-like, out and away from his body in radial pageantry, a beautiful sanguine web stretching until the strands evanesce into infinitesimally smaller crimson beads that splatter lush, verdant, almost blue leaves that shade the tropical floor like short, wide umbrellas. The boy screams, and while the other males scramble after the fleeing game, Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary, tends to the hapless victim.

While the stronger group hunts, the second group of the mammalian herd spreads out to pick fruits and berries, not traveling very far from the cave. Sunflower Blossom carries her bundled infant child, and she softly hums as the other women spread out and search for edible flora. Very briefly, the wind stops. The pale-green sun’s rays bathe the fruitpickers with all-embracing warmth; everyone looks to the heavens and smiles. Sunflower Blossom lays the child on its back in the dense vegetation, and the giggling, gurgling infant makes the mother smile, a mutual mother-to-child expression of complete joy. The warmth of the sun is so unexpected and pleasurable that Sunflower Blossom starts to dance, twirling around and around in an ecstatic dervish, her child’s cooing and the birds’ chirping encouraging her to lose inhibition and to continue her aggressive spinning, a kaleidoscopic reverie of bodiless enthusiasm, and she dances with frenetic undulation until she stumbles and trips, lunging forward in wild abandon toward a laughing oak. She tries desperately to catch her balance, stretching her legs in front of her as far as possible as she runs in a semi-circle until the force of gravity finally brings her down to earth in a single, riotously hysterical thud.

She lands on her child, killing her instantly.

֍ ֍ ֍ ֍

Midas leads his group of warriors back to the cave: an array of men fatigued from the hunt but gregariously content with their success, even numbers of men marching in front of and behind the blood-dripping game hanging upside down by its legs from a pole that is carried on the shoulders of two warriors. The young victim of feral aggression is bandaged with blood-soaked leaves and towed on a makeshift gurney, and he’s singing; the two warriors pulling him along smile at the pubescent warrior’s merriment—a hallucinogenic reaction to certain medicinal herbs Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary gave the victim to ease trauma. The hunt has been successful, but as the hunting party enters the cave of violently depressed women wailing in emotional rage, an inescapable, sullen uneasiness presses down upon the warriors like a dense, heavy fog, extinguishing vestigial energy until all physical expressions are spent and only inexpressible emotion remains, an abysmal empty yearning for something unattainable, a shattering desire for yesterday and harsh realization of what is lost forever.

@SSTJazzVocalist

http://www.Southern-Standard-Time.com

 

Democrats Should Not Be Complacent, But…

It is no news: Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. She is, in mid-August, three months before Election Day, trending in the social media, totally humiliating Donald Trump in current polls, but instead of praising her as the most qualified politician, the media has portrayed her as, at best, a lucky dilettante even though her history as activist, First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State illustrates her qualifications demonstratively. Hillary is progressive in her views on abortion, drug policy, education policy, environmental issues, gun control, health care, immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, social security, and tax reform. If Hillary Clinton were a man, she’d be praised as the greatest politician ever instead of the serendipitous woman who happened to run against a political opponent who is an unqualified megalomaniacal, bigoted, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, nationalistic supremacist.

The Donald is steadily losing the support of loyal voters traditionally guaranteed, nearly gratis, to the GOP, but his unjustified celebrity harbors sanctuary to the dregs of society, attracting the darker side of Ignorance. There is, however, real hope for progressives; an unintended consequence of Trump’s popularity with extreme radical groups is that his overt supremacy puts a mirror to a traditional GOP voting-base and reveals for all to see a willfully blind acceptance of the unchristian disparaging bigotry that accompanies ideologies of the ostensive hatred that had previously been obscured by ambiguous yet falsely patriotic, anti-Christian rhetoric, which began with Nixon’s Southern Strategy that took steroids and morphed into a powerful plan of action under Ronald Reagan. The curtain has been pulled, and now some of the blind can clearly see. Red states are turning blue.

In defense of his political thumping, by a woman, Donald Trump claims that the media is malfeasant in its objective coverage of the presidential campaign, the same media that gave him, according to CNN, an estimated two billion dollars of free advertisement, allowing him coverage usually reserved for the highest political figures of both parties, even allowing him to call in interviews. Donald’s current rhetoric suggests that the news media has shifted and is now favoring Hillary, further insinuating that any other Republican candidate would be slaughtering her, which is ironically funny to me. The GOP’s top politicians—Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Scott Walker—couldn’t even defeat the supercilious man who claims to be really rich and smart… prodigal and perspicacious even though he probably doesn’t know what it means.

Hillary is not a perfect presidential candidate for me, but who is? I do like her wanting to make higher education more accessible for everyone. I like her social programs, but I worry about her hawkish past. I do not approve of our nation’s using drones and inadvertently murdering civilians in its fight against ISIS; however, I can think of no alternative. I’m unqualified to even guess. Congress won’t declare war, and ISIS is a serious threat to the planet. I’m also not a fan of Hillary’s association with big business, but I hope she’s been swayed by Bernie Sanders and her constituency to regulate big banks and businesses and to reduce the chasm between the salaries of CEOs and the workforce. Basically, regardless of her opponent, Hillary is a formidable politician, and we, as U.S. citizens, need to prepare for her inevitable national leadership.

Peace Through Music
August 15, 2016
@SSTJazzVocalist
#GroovicusMaximus
#progressive
#paralyzed
#MercerAlum
#Green