“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organism existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.” Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species.
The moon’s size and distance were selected so that its silhouette would precisely cover the sun during an eclipse, at least sometimes.
Call it blind luck. But what are the odds?
If the duck billed platypus were known only as a drawing in Egypt…
Could science tolerate more than a “myth” about a mammal who laid eggs, offered milk but no nipples to her hatchlings, hunted under water with eyes and ears closed using electroreception unknown to other mammals, stabbing her victims with poisonous spikes on her hind legs, then grinding her food with rocks in a toothless duck bill only to swallow it into a GI tract with no stomach?
These uncomfortable facts caused the skeptical elite of yesterday to insist that she was a hoax.
Just as we assume the bird-man of ancient Egypt was religious fiction.
But what if we are wrong?
The inconvenient truth about the platypus is that she screams of intelligent design. Not only of the original coding of a supreme mind but also of genetic tampering.
When new research pulls back the curtains on this duckish mosaic with in-tact blocks of DNA spliced from diverse species – who will hold the robes of the outraged thought police as they stone the young heretics, boycott the journal that published their work and fire its editor?
Rage, like denial, is a decision, but only if free will exists. Otherwise the Queen of Hearts was temperate in shouting, “Off with their heads!”
It’s fifteen feet down to the street. Not much traffic. My lips are sticky with brine.
When that man below us kicked my brother to the ground I wanted blood, but now the words that Nietzsche hated come to mind:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
A certain Buddhist Priest also haunts me:
in pale feet
rides the opera
to a spiral staircase.
Lightning hair, dark voices
strike within her yielding gall.
Silk jinn brass restrains the lip strings
beneath her tears that fall and glare inside
a secret box.
My girl of Utsuro-bune.
Ojiichan wrote this at a recital where I sang “Un bel di vedremo.” My father translated it from the Japanese. That was three days before the accident on the Pali. Forget that now.
In the legend of Utsuro-bune, a red-headed woman landed in Japan in 1803 inside a “boat” that resembled a rice cooker with windows and strange writing on the walls inside. She spoke no Japanese, clutched a wooden box, and as the story’s living soul, she showed respect to the Japanese fishermen.
This is why her legend survives.
In this opaque neo-infinity, science is forever young and speculative. To forget this would be disrespectful and short-sighted.
“Remote viewing of long-term goals” would be a dissertation worth defending.
But ruling elites say the average human chooses short-term pleasure over long-term riches. Thus we need laws against natural selection. A childproof world.
Complex problems rarely have such simple solutions. Here’s the picture of that principle…
Dr. Seung’s crowd-sourcing of neuroscience recruits us to map the soul. With our help, every microscopic neuronal connection will be recorded in three dimensions, someday re-created and reanimated.
The handshake of science and religion has always been immortality.
And we thought the ancient Egyptians were primitive with their mummies, that silly religious talk and all the “incidental” preservation of royal DNA.
Who looks silly today?
So if natural selection brings genetic wisdom, why hamper it with childproof laws? Do the secular elites know something they’re not telling?
Perhaps a hand full of them have even noticed that logic requires a Prime Source of our genetic commands, a foundation for trust, and access beyond space to allow a fleeting choice of love over hate.
This choice comes to me now…
To spare this guy who’s kicking my brother, or to fight him.
The way I’m feeling, I would crush him easily.
That’s not logical, I’ll admit. Strange things happen to me when I get angry.
I fought Moody and thought I had defeated an enemy. Instead, I murdered James’ closest childhood friend and lost my innocence on a kitchen floor covered in my own blood.
The carpet is damp beneath me. I’m shivering and sweating. It’s a fever.
Vedanshi shifts and sits on her heels again. “If they recognize your face, the old woman will wonder how you got here from Washington. You need a disguise.” She reaches into the deck and pulls out a bra, then a dangling sock which she hands to me. “You should put this over your head, I think.”
I put it on quickly. It smashes my nose but I can see through it.
“If the man has a gun, The Ganga can disable it,” she says. “Theoretically, I mean… We’ve never actually done it.”
Maxwell rises to one knee and encounters the ceiling of a UFO with his head. “I got your six,” he says.
“No,” I tell him. “Better you stay here. You’ll scare the guy.”
“So you’re not going to hurt him?” he asks.
“Not if I don’t have to.”
“Good,” Vedanshi says. “There’s a break in the traffic. Scoot under a car so no one sees the decloaking.”
The Ganga dips to street level. I crawl out of its cloak and roll under the car that’s parallel parked behind the Prius. I reach out to see if my hand disappears into The Ganga. It doesn’t, so I scoot out into the street, stand and move between the pseudo-cop and my brother.
The man steps back and pulls a gun, almost dropping it in the process. “What’s with the mask?” he asks.
There’s a wedding band on his left ring finger and cowboy boots below a sagging uniform that would fit a much taller, thicker man.
“Tell me why she’s cursing the dumb Haole in the cop suit,” I say to him.
His jaw falls open but no words come out.
I glance behind me at my brother. “Did she say to break this boy’s knees?”
“She sent you?” the man asks, his forehead lined.
I nod, fold my arms then shake my head at him. “No one can reason with her when she’s like this. You’re a family man, so I’ll try to get you off the island before she snaps. No reason you should die.” I look at his boots. “What is it, Texas?”
“Shut up. Let me think.” It’s an uncomfortable show. I don’t really need time to think.
He purses his lips.
I stare at him for a moment. “Here’s your plan. Fly home, get your family and disappear. That’s your best chance.”
His eyes open white all around. “She’s that mad?”
“I haven’t seen her like this before. I’ll take this kid. You need to vanish.”
“How was I supposed to know he’d go straight to the cops?”
“You’re right. There’s no way anyone could have predicted that. But listen, whining won’t help you.” I reach up and fasten a button on his uniform.
His shoulders slump and he tucks his gun away.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “Maybe there’s something good I can tell her about you. Got anything?”
I tap his chest with my fingers and hold out an open palm. “Cuffs?”
He takes a key from his pocket, gives it to me, then ducks into the driver’s seat of the Prius. “Tell her thank you,” he says. “My son’s showing signs of empathy.” Tears well up in his eyes.
“Empathy’s good. I’ll give her your message word-for-word. Is your boy getting the I.M. injections?”
“No, I.V. Some DNA thing. I never get it right… Menthol Asian?”
“DNA demethylation,” I suggest.
“Yeah, that’s it.” He squints up trying to find my eyes through the sock I’m wearing.
“Look, just tell her she’s welcome to kill me. Tell her I’ll do it myself, in fact… If she’ll just please, please keep treating my son. That’s all I want. I’ll do anything.”
“Don’t think that way. Suicide would make things worse. For the rest of your son’s life.” I can’t believe I wanted to hurt this poor guy. “Give me your phone number.”
He reads a number off the back of his cell phone.
“Go home,” I tell him. “Get packed. Get ready to run, but wait for my call. I will call you. Whether I can cool her down or not.”
“Thank you.” He reaches out, squeezes my wrist, pushes a button on the car’s dashboard, then rolls a few feet away before the gas engine comes to life and takes him out into the morning traffic.
I turn to James. “Cameras are watching. You don’t know me.”
He chuckles. “You look like a bank robber.”
He seems stable on his feet. “Can you walk?” I ask him.
“Sure,” he says. “The guy kicks like a girl.”
“Why does that dumb remark make me want to hug you?” I move behind him and push him along the sidewalk ahead of me. We walk south for about forty seconds, then take a left into an alley and come out behind the buildings into a parking lot big enough for The Ganga. Ojiichan’s Ford sits behind the police station two buildings to the left. I take the cuffs off James and try to say that we’re about to meet an invisible thinking machine, but he’s not listening.
“You were going to drown yourself,” he says. “I got that feeling back. Where you basically don’t want to be alive.”
“I’m sorry, but you don’t have my permission to kill yourself. You’ve got to put Skullcage on the map and carry on the Fujiwara name.”
“Yeah, I know. I really do know. But it’s just that sometimes…” he looks down, “I really don’t care.”
I gently slap his face. “I don’t want to hear the demons right now.”
He’s a little startled but doesn’t say anything.
“Maxwell and a girl named Vedanshi fished me out of the ocean. They don’t know about my leukemia.”
“There’s got to be some kind of treatment for that,” James says.
“There’s not,” I tell him.
His face is so lost. But only for a moment. Suddenly he’s himself again.
“What just happened there?” I ask him. “In you head.”
He looks up and to his left. “I don’t know.”
“Whatever you just did, it’s the secret to a good life. Try to remember it.”
I tug on his left arm and get him to crouch next to me out of camera’s view beside a parked car. We get flat on our stomachs, just to be sure. Vedanshi’s face appears inches off the ground in the parking space beside us. Her head is detached and floating upside-down with her hair on the asphalt.
“Coast is clear,” she says and vanishes, chin first, hair last.
“That’s Vedanshi,” I say.
“OK, that just happened. We both saw it.” James goes into a dense calm and then comes out of it rubbing his eyes. “She’s hot, isn’t she?”
“Yeah. And she’s inside an invisible machine. We’re going to crawl into it now. Parts of your body will disappear on the way in. No big deal, right?”
“Disappear? Nah… really?”
“Don’t freak out on me. Just go. And don’t stand up for the cameras.”
I push him. He moves forward and disappears as if crawling through invisible UFO hulls was routine to him. Complete confidence. That’s James 24/7. Unless he happens to call you late at night from jail. I follow after him and take my place by Vedanshi. James sits on the other side of Maxwell.
“Tight,” James says looking around at the acorn pattern on the Indian rug. He reaches in front of Maxwell and me to shake Vedanshi’s hand. “I’m James. It’s beyond amazing to meet you. You’re absolutely gorgeous, you know.”
“Thank you.” She blushes and shakes his hand. “I’m Vedanshi, The Role of the Sacred Knowledge.”
“The role of… That’s the meaning of Vedanshi?” he asks.
“That’s got to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” James glances at me then thumps Maxwell on the back with an open palm. “Thank you, dude. You look just like your Facebook pictures.” He looks at Vedanshi again. “Thank you both for getting Johanna here to save my ass. I owe you guys… my life, probably. That was one unhappy cop.” James looks at me. “How’d you do that with him?”
“I don’t know, it’s the first time I’ve been that deceitful. I feel like I need to wash my mouth out and take a shower.” I peel the sock off my face, pull it up off my head, then look at Vedanshi. “What do you make of DNA demethylation to treat autism? Could you hear him at all?”
“Every word,” she says. “In the River I’ve noticed the old woman likes to mull over the language of a virus she seems to associate with Autism. It methylates DNA. Epigenetics, you would probably call it.” The Ganga rises ten feet with no tells on Vedanshi’s face. “Would all of you like to stay at my place tonight? It’s not really mine, but… Well, it sort of is now.” She smiles but her eyes are distant.
“Definitely,” James says.
Maxwell nods and I say I’ll do anything that doesn’t involve the old woman. But actually I’m worried about the guy I sent home. And his autistic son. What have I done? I should probably call the old lady and fix this.
“I don’t guess we can do a noodle run in this thing,” James says. “I’m starving.”
“I’ve got veggies in the garden,” Vedanshi says. “Things are growing.” She notices the bra on the rug beside her legs and sneaks it through the deck beyond the edge of the carpet. “James,” she says with a glint, “lean forward as far as you can and look down.”
“Don’t do it,” I tell him.
He leans forward and as the parking lot shrinks out of sight and the Hawaiian Islands zip down to dots in the Pacific Ocean, he calmly says, “Jeepers, Mrs. Cleaver.”
I shake my head.
“You were supposed to be startled and impressed,” Vedanshi says.
“I am.” He draws a deep breath and lets it out with a whisper, “God, I hope this isn’t a dream.”
“It’s not,” Maxwell says, as South America rushes toward us and an island off the coast of Chile and Peru comes closer.
“Rapa Nui,” I say as the island’s triangular shape evolves beneath a flock of small cumulus clouds.
I know Vedanshi is not Mahani Teave, but why is she taking us to Easter Island?
We descend and the ancient Moai give us palpable respect as though they’d been waiting eons to greet us.
The southern end of the island comes close, but we move past it, beyond the two tiny rock islands and into the crystal water. With the hull cloaked we’re gliding forward under the ocean in a saucer-shaped bubble. Visibility is sixty-five feet plus.
“Vedanshi,” James says, “I’m sixteen. How old are you?”
“Sixteen,” she says, “not counting quantum stasis.”
James grins at Maxwell. “If this is a dream, buddy, I’m going to be pissed at you.”
They both laugh as we head straight at a rock wall without slowing.
M. Talmage Moorehead
If you want, please read this story from page one (beginning with Johanna’s unorthodox prologue). It starts here.
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