(01-14) Public Relations

"The American Futures Corporation believes this is more than a theft of semen. This was something far more sinister and evil, because it was the theft of a baby, born of this planet, a spawn composed at the edge of our adaptive resources, and this was not my baby or your baby, this was our baby. Who among you would give safe haven to the terrorists who would steal the future, and subject it to possibly fatal temperature variations? Yet even as I speak, the semen of the Patriarchs is in a midget's refrigerator. And this is no cute, benign midget. This is a midget gone terribly wrong."

The Public Relations spokesman for American Futures was holding a press conference in the public garden, where the Troll Daddy Band had held the security cameras in thrall while Cowboy Jesus had rode in on Indian Shadow and robbed the vaults while Paris rode away wearing one of his suits. The scenes were on flashcards, appropriately named as behind them there was a naked dancer and to somebody they were conveying information while to somebody else they were hiding the booty. “Give me just a moment,” the Public Relations Man said. He swayed like he might fall down. “I feel like somebody hit me over the head with a soft hammer,” he said. The reporters began looking at each other.

“What in the fuck are you you talking about, Hersh?” an old woman wearing a red checked cowboy shirt asked. “The cameras are rolling and you look like you’re on drugs.”

“It’s the network,” the PR man said. “These DNA computers we’ve given a body, now, and it’s on the loose.”

“Are you making a goddamned Frankenstein analogy Hersh? Is there something you’re not telling us? Because if you are leaving a hole in the story, where people can imagine anything, you’re going to get a lesson in the dark side of public relations. What do you mean a body? You’re supposed to be creating the new patriarchs and all of a sudden you shift tense and number?”

The Public Relations Man seemed to have regained his composure, and his energy. He held up one hand, “Let me get this connected to the ground for you people, so you don’t miss the core of this story. I’m saying that what we thought we were gonna get is not what we got. You know how in research, you know that the really big discovery is going to be an accident that you couldn’t foresee.”

“Hersh, you just used the word, accident. What is the accident?”

“The accident,” Hersh said, “is that we don’t know what it is, now. All we can say is that the DNA computers seem to have linked up, but we didn’t have anything to do with it. What we suspect is that the little people are in the service of this virus. Because let’s be clear with our terms, it is a virus. It is self replicating and it does not know how to live in balance with the host.”

A thick, balding man with his white sleeves rolled up over thick forearms interrupted him. “Hersh, you just called the future of mankind a virus. Does this signal a shift in American Futures toward the actual collection and storage of biological materials, such as sperm that can sing and dance? Are you feeling like maybe you’ve neglected security concerns because of coddling?”

“This is certainly under review, Roy. We may have projected all our hopes and dreams of humans evolving into space, becoming different from us, as different as we are from pond slime. We had a vision of our releasing them like birds being freed of their cages, and that we would seed distant planets. You can imagine how we felt when we realized our role in the story was entirely different from the role we read for."

A thin man with a long face and sleepy eyes asked, “Have you been contacted by the kidnappers?”

“We have received assurances that there are no temperature problems.”

"How was that contact made? By telephone?"

"I'm not at liberty to say how contact was made."

“So if there is this being who has escaped across the boundaries of your understanding, by linking up all these DNA computers, if the computers are destroyed, say by temperature extremes, does he die?”

“We assume so but we aren't sure. Our position is that we are not opposed to killing him, as he is operating beyond our control, and thus outside of our liability coverage.”

"Would it be murder?"

"Our attorneys advise us it would not be murder, as there would be no corpse, and thus no victim. It would actually be more like reining in an abstraction."

"But one with balls."

"You could put it that way I suppose."

The reporters had enough to feed the beast. There was science so advanced it was indistinguishable from magic, satanic dwarves mutating to trolls, and a midget outlaw riding on an unknown Indian. There was even a living, breathing Tinker Bell. And what had been presented to the public as individual fathers, each leaving a legacy to his children, was now exposed as being more like food for something bigger than all of them, something which had ordered up the meal for itself. Every one of them dreamed of being the first to get an interview with the new being, but they didn’t know how they would talk to the mind of computers embedded in proteins.

Then there was a major leak. The midget hadn’t contacted American Futures by telephone or computer, or through any device whatsoever. It was a direct biological link between Paris and him, by which they could share thoughts as easily as two computers sharing files. They had honed the connection through the sexual energy until it was now as clear as a telephone line. Paris was channeling her cousin in negotiations between him and a corporate team consisting of public relations, security and legal advisors. She was having her fifteen minutes of fame.

The largest television audience ever measured tuned in for the special coverage, as Paris listened to questions, and calmly told them what Louis and Troll wanted them to know. “Are you actually hearing their voices?” the security consultant asked?

“Do I hear them? Well, only at the same time you do. I don’t edit them. That's the difference between channeling and repeating.”

The important question, and the one asked over and over again, was, “What are your demands, your terms, your vision of how this drama plays out?” And each time that question was asked in its several forms the answer was, “We thought we were the robbers, but we were being recruited. We don't know what the Patriarch wants."

Posted: Sat - May 10, 2008 at 03:24 PM