Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dead Planet XXXVI

Dead Planet XXXVI

“Memory is identity.”
—John C. Wright, Null-A
Continuum: Continuing A. E.
van Vogt’s World of Null-A


The kid: “Who was the chick?”

Rick: “That was no chick—that was a lizard droid.”

The kid: “Got somethin’ against droids, Rick?”

[The kid smirks, leans back in the antigrav-Laziboy. It’s in the massage mode. An electro-Camel dangles from his lip—he closes his eyes.]

Rick: “Nah. Just the liz-snake ones. They bug me.”

[Rick fixes himself a drink. Turns on the shower.]

The kid: “So, she tried to make you?”

Rick: “I dunno. Her name was Rachael #69. It’s a long story.”

[Rick kicks his desert boots off—slips outta his jumpsuit. He can’t wait to take a shower after being underground in Snakeville. He finishes off his drink. Gets into the shower.]

The kid: “Tyrell & Co. They must be gettin’ kinda desperate, Rick. If they’re pullin’ that kinda shit on you. They don’t know you that good, do they?”

Rick: “Fuck me. I dunno myself half the time anymore, kid.”

[Rick takes a long shower. Rinsing off the stench of Mars Underground. He’s thinkin’ and feelin’ human again—with the kid back again. He’d turned all that off a month ago—like a light switch. After the pyramid escape, Rick thought he’d never see the kid again. That him & the Predictress had made their escape somewhere safe. But the kid’s back. Rick’s already feelin’ human again—he can think to himself. He admits it—he’s missed the kid. A lot. He lets the hot water bring him back to life. The kid—what is it about him? He has a way of doin’ that. Just being there. Why Rick doesn’t know. It’s more than just a Nexus thing. He’d always taken it for granted. He looks down at himself—he’s alive again down there. That’s for sure.]

The kid: “So Tyrell the Double tried to pump you for info, hmm?”

Rick: “ Oh, the usual.”

[Rick dries himself off in the living room. Fixes another drink. Stands there—looking down at the kid. The kid glances at Rick—smirks. Browses thru the channels.]

Rick: “Yeah, the same old song & dance routine. Every 300 years they shed their skin—it’s the end for the old lizard queen. He knows it—even with the Tyrell clone double-body. The good cop—bad cop routine. It didn’t work.”

The kid: “You’d think they’d give up? It’s me they want, Rick.”

[Rick jiggles the ice cubes in his drink—looking out thru the balcony window. The Martian sunset glows ochre—like a rotten peach.]

Rick: “Yeah, you can say again. Tyrell wants an Exit Visa from the whole mess. He’s sick of the nazi snake empire thing—just as much as everybody else is. Especially now—gettin’ ready to kick the bucket. Funny how things work out, hmm?”

[The kid pulls Rick down into the Laziboy with him. The antigrav adjusts itself—expanding out to cushion them both in mid-air. Rick feels himself fallin’ into REM dreamtime—it feels like comin’ back home. The sunset slides along the Amazonis sea-bottom—stretching out into the desert. Rick hadn’t realized how exhausted he was—his body & mind craved it. REM dreamtime—how long had it been? He drifts off into a much-needed deep sleep…]

The kid: “Yeah, well. They understand, Rick. It’s a two-way proposition—they can’t get anything outta me without you.”

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dead Planet XXXV

Dead Planet XXXV

“The function served by a tool
can be inferred by its design.”
—John C. Wright, Null-A Continuum:
Continuing A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A

Rick: “You’re a chick with sullen tendencies.”

[Hellas Tower the old resort hotel is ahead & down below them—it looks dumpy & rundown from the air. Half hidden from view behind a bunch of Mars City ruins—it seems especially oppressive to Rick today for some reason.]

Rachael #69: “You saw the way Tyrell was acting today? What's his problem, anyway?”

Rick: “Oh, nothing. He’s just another sulky mulky Serpent, that’s all."

Rachael #69: “I'm an Emo kid too—sulking is the name of the game. And sulking is what I do best. Especially in bed.”

Rick: “Hey, baby. You wanna sulk shake? To kinda go with your cry fries? I love a chick who whines & dines away her time. I’ll make ya whine for more—when I get your fine ass back home. We’ll get down real nice. I’ll take care of your sulky pussy, Rachael."

[Rachel looks down at Hellas Tower. Rick slowly circles it on purpose—checking out the roof for any Creepazoid hover-craft. His lets his right hand move up Rachael’s leg—feeling her up all the way. She smiles.]

Rick: [Shrugs, looking for a place to land] “I heard the lizard-boss whining back there underground. He sure knows how to—make a guy feel sullen & down in the fuckin’ dumps.”

[Rick feels up along Rachael’s nude leg. It looks like flesh—all pink & nice & warm & inviting. But actually it feels cool & smooth like a snake. She’s really a Reptoid snakedroid—disguised as a cute Rachael #69.]

Rick: “Let me adjust your safety belt.”

[Without blinking an eye, Rick hits the belt-button, then hits the Jag-jet door release. Tilting the hover-craft to the right—letting the Rachael lizard-droid fall into space. The cabin roars with air—he closes the door with a click.]

Rick: “So much for fuckin’ Rachael #69. Jaysus Christ, the Lizards are getting good at it. Now they’re doing Nexus-9 Snake chicks—to entice poor stupid fuckers like me.”

[Rick lights up an electronic Marlborough—inhales and breathes it out slowly down thru his nostrils.]

Rick: “Man, oh man. They’ll try anything won’t they? Hmm, Jag boy?”

Jag-jet Voice: “I was kinda goin’ “boing-boing” on that one, Decker. She fooled me—but WTF am I? I’m just another droid bot like her—it’s your Private Dick intuition. It saved your ass again.”

Rick: “Yeah, well, lucky I wasn’t drunk. I might not have noticed the difference. It’s been a l-o-n-g time, don’t ya know, Jet-boy?”

[The gray structure of the Hellas Tower seems to have turned its back on the old Martian sea—at the bidding of some crazy Terra fairy-tale conjuror. The tower facade, with its columns, cracked stairs, and stories stacked on top of each other. The whole thing looks like an old used-up Midwestern grain tower back on Earth—the kind that used to line all the railroad tracks along towns full of wheat belt booty, bent eternally before a blasted winter wind outta nowhere.]

Rick: “Ah, home sweet home. But for how much longer, I wonder?”

[Looking down on the shallow courtyard full of space junk & debris—he circles around it to get a good look at what’s left. No familiar squatter domes, no smells outta Earth-émigré kitchens, no more laundry hanging in the breeze, and down there on the lower floor where the hustlers, hairdressers & tricks used to mingle & gossip about the latest Earthboyz to arrive. Empty & abandoned. Gathering red dust.]

Rick: “Wonder where the kid is now?”

[What’s left of the once swanky interplanetary tourist hotel—now it’s just a massive monolith facing an empty ancient dead shoreline with only two or three unbroken picture windows at the top. A few yards from the colonnade there’s a high concrete wall—beyond that ochre rays of the sunset glint on the aerials of the shut-down local power plant. The tall formal doors of his condo conceal themselves in the shade of a cyclopean balcony—it’s been locked for so long that even the crack between them & the doorway has disappeared under several layers of caked Martian dust. Until recently.]

Rick: “Scan the lower floors, Jag-boy. Any lizards or creepazoids still hangin’ around the joint?”

[The courtyard usually empty, except when an occasional hover-truck used to cautiously squeeze its way in, bringing milk and bread from Feodosia. But all the drifters & riffraff have been cleared out by the Lizards. Deckard’s the only one left—in the Hellas Tower. This evening there isn’t even a Snake or Creepazoid cop in the condo—so there’s no one to notice the individual leaning on the molded balustrade of the balcony, except perhaps for a pair of droid seagulls out on patrol, two white specks drifting across the sky. The stranger is looking up and to the right, toward Deckard getting ready to land on the roof. Down below toward the shelter on the dock—the cone of a semi-dead loudspeaker lodged under the edge of some ruined tiles of a collapsed roof. The sea is soundless—but when the wind blows toward the hotel, it carries audible snatches of some kind of radio broadcast directed at the deserted beach. The Lizards scan the beach—checking out the dead city.]

Jag-jet Voice: "No lizards or creepazoids down there... The Lizards are playing another one of their Snake Religious Broadcasts, tho…"

Lizard announcer: “…not at all the same as each other, not cut to the same pattern ... created us all different; is not this part of the grand scheme of things, counted, unlike the transient plans of Monkey-man fools, in many ... What does the Lizard Lord expect of us, as He turns His hopeful gaze in our direction? Will we be able to make use of His gift? ... For He Himself does not know what to expect from the souls that He has sent to Mars..."

[Then comes the strains of a church organ. The melody is majestic, but from time to time it’s interrupted by an absurd "Oompah-Oompah"; in any case, there’s no chance to become caught up in the music, because very quickly it’s replaced once again by the voice of the Lizard announcer.]

Lizard announcer: "You have been listening to a broadcast from Snake Inc. especially prepared for our station by the Lizard Charity of The Rivers of Babylon ... on Sundays ... to the following address: The Voice of God, Bliss City, Amazonis, Mars."

[Deckard lands his Jag-jet on the roof. He knows who’s waiting for him on the balcony. It’s the kid—back again it seems.]

Rick: “Wonder what he’s got goin’ now? Probably up to no good. Knowin’ him—he’s got something goin’ on tho.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dead Planet XXXIV

Dead Planet XXXIV

“When the symbols an organism
uses to grasp and manipulate
reality are false-to-the-facts, this
is called a semantic disturbance.
Sanity is approached by checking
symbols against their referents.
Neurosis results from the attempt
to protect false-to-the-facts
associations from criticism.”
—John C. Wright, Null-A Continuum:
Continuing A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A

[Rachael#69: meets Rick leaving the greenhouse.]

Rick: “You wanna tell me now?”

Rachael#69: “Tell you what?”

Rick: “What it is you're trying to find out this time?

[Rachael#69 pretends to look puzzled.]

Rick: “You know, it's a funny thing. You or one of your Rachel clones are always trying to find out things. Like what Tyrell’s trying to find out. And I'm not trying to find out anything. He wanted to talk to me, that’s all.”

Rachael#69: “You could go on forever, couldn't you? Anyway it'll give us something to talk about next time we meet.”

Rick: “Among other things.”

Rachael#69: “If you can use me again sometime, call this number.”

Rick: “Day or night?”

Rachael#69: “Uh, day's better. The snakes sleep then.”

Rick: “Hmm-hmm.”

Rachael#69: “Your story doesn’t sound quite right.”

Rick: “What story? Gotta a better one?”

Rachael#69: “Maybe I can find one.”

Rick: “Did I hurt you much, sugar?”

Rachael#69: "You and every other man I've ever met.”

Rick: “How'd you happen to pick out this Snake? The one back there in the greenhouse. The Head Snake?”

Rachael#69: “Maybe I wanted to hold his hand.”

Rick: “Oh, you can do better than that.”

Rachael#69: “You're cute.”

Rick: “I'm getting cuter every minute.”

Rachael#69: “Is the kid as cute as you are?”

Rick: “Nobody is.”

Rachael#69: “What will your next step be?”

Rick: “The usual one.”

Rachael#69: “I didn't know there was a usual one.”

Rick: “Well sure there is—it comes complete with diagrams on page 47 on how to be a detective. In 10 easy lessons. Distance learning is cheap these days, you know? And uh, plus I collect blondes and whiskey bottles too.”

Rachael#69: [again] “You're cute. I like you.”

Rick: “Yeah, what you see’s what you get, Rachel. I’ve got a Balinese dancing girl tattooed across my chest.”

Rachael#69: [again] “You're cute. I like you. I like you too much.”

Rick: “Yeah, that’s what all you Rachael clones say. How many of them are there?”

Rachael#69: “I’m #69. Tyrell liked that Nexus model. He created a lot of us—here & there.”

Rick: “Yeah, I know. But I liked the first one. She was the best. The only droid chick I ever loved.”

Rachael#69: “He’s getting ready to croak, you know. The Tyrell clone. The Lizards live 300 years—but his time is just about up. I feel sorry for him.”

Rick: “I didn’t know you droid-chicks loved anybody?”

Rachael#69: “Your Rachael loved you, Rick.”

Rick: “Yeah, but she couldn’t help it. My animal charms turned her humanoid.”

Rachael#69: “And the Predictress?”

Rick: “See? There you go. Tryin’ to weasel secrets outta me. She’s a droid like you—why don’t you ask her, sweetheart?”

Rachael#69: “I would, but nobody knows where she is. Her and the kid. They’ve been pushing me to find out. Before it’s too late?”

Rick: “Too late?”

Rachael#69: “Well, duh. You know the Lizard lord is dying. The Tyrell clone didn’t cough-up much anything. Except…”

Rick: “Except what?”

Rachael#69: “C’mon, Rick. Now you’re the one grilling me for secrets.”

[Rachael and Rick reach the elevator hatch. The doors dial open silently—to whisk him back to his Jag-jet ten miles up above. Outta subsurface Mars Underground City—to the freedom of fresh Martian sunshine & air.]

Rick: “Touché, my dear. I owe you one.”

Rachael#69: “You know what he wants, don’t you?”

Rick: [Smiling, lighting up an electronic Marlboro.]

Rachael#69: “He wants an Exit Visa. He knows Lizards have no afterlives. Only humans.”

Rick: “What does he expect? His Tyrell charade is as fuckin’ close—as he’ll ever get to being human.”

Rachael#69: “That’s what I mean. He likes it too much. It gave him a taste for being human. He wants to go all the way. He’s bored with being a Snake—even if he’s the head Lizard Lord.”

Rick: “Sweetheart, these tunnels are tapped. He’s listening to us right now. I hope you realize that.”

Rachael#69: “He told me to tell you all this.”

Rick: “Why didn’t he ask me himself?”

Rachael#69: “He’s too proud. Lizard lords don’t ever admit they’re wrong. To say he wants to be human—it’s treason to the Lizard Universe.”

Rick: “Exit visas—they’re hard to come by.”

Rachael#69: “He knows that.”

Rick: “What’s he want me to do? What’s in it for me?”

Rachael#69: “You get to live.”

Rick: “Yeah, but for how long? Once Lizards get what they want—they off you just like that.”

Rachael#69: “You’re his last hope. Tyrell’s research & the Martian Archives hit a brick wall—when it comes to that sort of thing.”

Rick: “What sort of thing?”

Rachael#69: “You know. The kinda stuff the kid’s into—and the Predictress. The Mayan connection—the pyramids, time-travel & all that stuff.”

Rick: “I gotta go now, honey. I’m startin’ to feel claustrophobic down here.”

Rachael#69: “You’re always the difficult kind, Rick.”

Rick: “That’s what everybody says, honey.”

Rachael#69: “Will I see you again, sometime?”

Rick: “We gotta stop meetin’ this way.”

Rachael#69: “Can I go home with you?”

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dead Planet XXXIII

Dead Planet XXXIII

“The process of false identification
takes place at a subconscious level:
With proper training, the mind can
be made aware of these subliminal
processes and subject them to human,
as opposed to animal, abstraction.”
—John C. Wright, Null-A Continuum:
Continuing A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Do you like Venusian orchids, Mr. Decker?”

Rick: “Not particularly.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Ugh. Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of human beings—their perfume has the rotten jungle sweetness of monkey-brains & putrid rotting ape-shit.”

Rick: “Oh, c’mon Tyrell, you don't have to get carried away like that with me. We both know you hate us humans—us naked apes are pure anathema to you & your calm, cool Reptoid race. Anybody watching you—sitting there in that anti-grav wheelchair. Knows you’re on your last snaky slither, my dear Lizard lord. With your long pink forked tongue—slithering in & outta your old decrepit slit-mouth.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Hiss!!!”

Rick: “Oh dear me, said little Goldilocks to the Big Bad Wolf posing as dearest Grandma. Oh Grandma!!! What big ugly vertical slit-irises—your big old bedroom eyes have!”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Hiss!!!”

Rick: “Why don’t you just save everybody a lot of grief—and fuckin’ wear some decent dark sunglasses, Tyrell? That way the rest of us—won’t have to look at your skanky Snake Eyes all the time? Do me a favor, Tyrell. Cross your heart—and hope to die. Tell me—the honest-to-gawd truth. Is that you inside there—or just another Lizard queen?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You stinkin’ ugly monkeys—you’re impossibly impertinent even to the very End.”

Rick: “Well, I can't imagine, Tyrell. But you seem to be worried about the End a lot more than me? You have me tailed all the time. Your snakes stalk me—everywhere I go. Do they have the hots for me—that fuckin’ much?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “I don’t like you that much, Deckard.” [smirk]

Rick: “Really? Then why did you want to see me?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You’re not here, Deckard. You haven't seen me and we both aren’t having this little discussion in my underground greenhouse this evening.”

Rick: “Have it your own way, Tyrell. I’ve been getting used to the cold shoulder treatment from everybody, Mr. Snakeman. All the way from Marty the Martian—to you now. So what else is new?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You’ve been in bed for several days & nights now, Mr. Deckard. Dreaming your ho-hum REM life away. We were beginning to think you worked in bed—all the time like that Miss Marcel Proust?”

Rick: “Who's she?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Oh, you wouldn't know her, a faggy French writer.”

Rick: “Sounds like the kinda guy who wouldn’t ask a chick—“Won’t ya come up? Up to my boudoir, my dear? And see my etchings?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You’re so clever, Mr. Decker. Too bad you’re not a Snake. We could use somebody like you with some brains—on our side.”

Rick: “I’m surprised at you, Dr. Tyrell. Willing to do some horse-trading now with the enemy? My monkey-brains—for your loser snake-skin? I didn’t know you Lizards played the horses?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “We don’t. We play humans.”

Rick: “Yeah, I know. The odds are pretty much against us human beings right now. Aren’t they?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Speaking of horses, Deckard. I used to go to the track regularly. When I was Tyrell. I learned how to pick a winner. I usually like to see them workout a little first, see if they're front runners or come from behind, find out what their whole card is, you know, like what makes them run? What makes you run, Mr. Deckard, hmm?”

Rick: “Oh I don’t know. Money I guess.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Perhaps. I think you’re more complicated that just that, tho.”

Rick: “Go ahead.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “I'd say you don't like to be rated. You like to get out in front, open up a little lead, take a little breather in the backstretch, and then come home free.”

Rick: “You don't like to be rated yourself?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “I haven't met anyone yet that can do it. Any suggestions?”

Rick: “Well, I can't tell till I've seen you over a distance of ground. You've got a touch of class, but I don't know how. It must be what’s left of Tyrell inside you. Before you became his rider.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “A lot depends on who's in the saddle. What if I was your Jockey instead of Tyrell’s?”

Rick: “I’m simply shocked, Tyrell. Is that really a proposition?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You go too far, Deckard.”

Rick: “Those are harsh words to throw at a man—especially when he's been commandeered to show up in your greenhouse boudoir.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You've forgotten one thing—I’m only half lizard.”

Rick: “What's wrong with that? Tired of being a Snake all the time?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Nothing you can't fix.

Rick [laughs]: “You go too far, Dr. Tyrell.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “I just don't care much for your manners, Mr. Deckard. You’re not management material like Tyrell. But maybe we could make a deal? We could become a snake he-man transplant?”

Rick: “No thanks. I'm not crazy about that one. Yawn. Like I didn't ask to see you, Dr. Tyrell. So what’s up?”

[Tyrell levitates his anti-grav wheelchair in a more comfortable position. The Siamese twin game he’s been playing with Tyrell is wearing off. He’s phasing back into Lizardhood like a blurry vidscreen image. It’s only with a great deal of concentration & will-power that the Snake lord maintains the conjoined consciousness of being—both human and lizard.]

Tyrell (Lizard double): “I just can’t stand your monkey-mind, Rick. If only you weren’t so wise-ass & cocky. Dealing with the other Lizard lords is bad enough—but you’re just as bad or worse than them.”

Rick: “I don't mind if you don't like my manners—I don't like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don't mind you propositioning me—but surely you’re digging the bottom of the barrel. I’m just a has-been Terra private-dick—nothing but Soylent green glue-factory material. You don't have to waste your time playing games cross-examining me. I don’t know nothin’, Tyrell—and nothin’ really knows me.”

[Rick reaches under the Lizard’s shawl covering his lap & snatches a zoid-gun outta the lizard weak clenched fist. Flipping it into the greenhouse greenery—it lands & skids in the moss & ferns.]

Rick: “My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around Snakeville today & so few brains! You know, you're the second lizard I've met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the lizard tail.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “What makes you tick, Mr. Deckard?”

Rick: “Too many people telling me to stop.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Very smooth, Mr. Deckard.”

[switching positions with his anti-grave wheelchair]

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You may smoke, if you wish. I actually enjoy the smell of it—even tho I’m not totally human anymore. Yes, a fine state of affairs when a Lizard-man once who ruled the Vega star system—has to indulge his vices by proxy. You're looking, sir, at a very dull Lizard lord who led a very snaky life. The Dark Force took over my body—body & lizard-soul. Now I’m crippled, paralyzed in both legs, I don’t eat and my sleep is so near death it's hardly worth doing. The other Lizards keep me alive—to play this insipid Tyrell avatar game with gentlemen like you.”

Rick: “That’s what they say—you were once El Primo Snako Numeral Ouzo. The genius snake. Now you’re playing a two-bit part-time “Dr. Tyrell” stooge. You’re the Scientist Who Came In From the Cold. Why do you keep doing it? Don’t you Snakes ever retire?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “You're the private detective. What do you think, Mr. Deckard? Am I still any good?”

Rick: “Well, either way you’re fucked, aren’t you?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “If I seem a bit rundown & low-energy, Mr. Deckard, it’s because I don’t have much time left. I’m just a washed-up Snake & has-been Earth Scientist now, Mr. Deckard. My hold on life is so slight anymore—I don’t really care very much anymore, sir. A hypocritical, aloof dystopian Snake—that’s me. I surely deserve what I get.”

[Tyrell (Lizard double) lights up a cigarette—a rare ersatz Camel cigarette. He breathes in the rich tobacco, holds it, then exhales it thru his humanoid nostrils. The real Tyrell did the same thing—a rare guilty pleasure he kept to himself from Earth.]

Rick: “I assume you’ve adopted—all of Tyrell’s usual vices, Snako El Primo? Whether you’re half-human or half-snake. We humans aren’t that stupid, are we? But then, does it really matter anymore?”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “I only wish my fellow Lizard lords were as succinct & to-the-point as you Mr. Deckard.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dead Planet XXXII

Dead Planet XXXII

“The advantage of non-Aristotelian
integration over the stereotyped
reflexes of categorical thought is
greater flexibility of mental adjust-
ment of abstractions to the facts
they represent.”—John C. Wright,
Null-A Continuum: Continuing
A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A

[Meanwhile in Mars City Underground—Tyrell (Lizard double) is having a last-minute conference]

Tyrell (Lizard double): [Addressing the Lizard lords gathered around the conference table. The same headquarters table—that the TyrellCorp used for meetings. Except this time—it’s for Lizards only.]

“Greetings, fellow Lizard Lords & Snake Princes. There’s something we must now discuss. It’s about the monotonously oppressive & depressing monkey melancholy—I’ve had to go thru dealing with Detective Deckard’s human REM dreaming. I always hate to tele-dream that way. I have this nervous sub-cortical disgust & uneasiness for that despicable human being. A repulsive aversion to dreaming into his primitive monkey brain-thought patterns.”

[The Lizard lords in the conference room hiss nervously in agreement. Some of them pound on the table with their gloved fists. Others narrow their slit-eyes—fingering themselves under the table.]

Tyrell (Lizard double): “He’s just too fuckin’ jungle lucid—much too primitive & hairy for me. Too much hominid ignorance & bad breath impinging on my pristine Snake cerebrum. Each time I’m around him—his monkey presence smears & profanes me with his dirty, nasty monkey-brain subconscious. Forcing its way rudely into my pure lily-white smooth snake consciousness—how tiring it gets, my fellow Snakes.”

“I don’t know how Deckard can stand it—surely he must yearn for some other non-hominid exo-reality where it would be impossible for him to not be so sickeningly sad & naked ape melancholy that way all the time? That phrase “All too human” means just that—“all too fuckin’ human.” What a waste of time & lizard energy—dealing with these creatures. The sooner our calm, cool Snake Consciousness—takes over this stinkin’ hominid Solar System. The better off our Empire & all of us will surely be—that’s for sure.”

[Hissing fills the conference room. Lights dim. The air-conditioning system almost fails. Everything humans construct is falling apart. Snakes have to drag in human technicians to fix the crumbling infrastructure. In many ways, it’s like that classic decadent Earth movie “Brazil”—technological decay & crippling kipple have set in & there’s no stopping it.]

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. We Snakes of the Garden of Eden—we got rid of the humans—and now it’s time to reclaim the Garden of Earth as our own once again!!! Let the Snake Pandora’s Box be opened one last time—let the Fig Leave reveal the Monkey’s Dirty Dong of Doom once again!!!”

[The Lizard Council hisses even louder in agreement—the timetable must be set up faster. It’s urgent & terribly necessary to rid the solar interplanetary realm—of stupid naked Adamic monkey brains forever.]

Tyrell (Lizard double): ”The Head of our Medusa Goddess. That's who’s in the Box—and when her deadly gaze looks out at the universe, then everything will be changed forever!!! Not into mere pillars of salt & stone—but into living breathing glorious Reptoid Beingness! Not brimstone and ashes—not Sodom & Miss G. But of course, my fellow Lizard Lords—I’m just preaching to the choir. All of you know that already—we the blessed Medusa Minions of the New Millennium. We who never have a Bad Hair Day—we who proudly wear the Writhing Snake Coiffure of the Medusa Goddess. We who bear the Art Deco Zig-Zag Wig—of the great Bride of Frankenstein!!!”

[The Lizards lose it completely—the Conference Room turns into a Cosmic Alligator Pit of Anger. Lizard Kings & Queens—start wrestling with each other on the conference table. Crocodile tears flow like rivers of darkness—flooding the fetid humid Lizard underground headquarters there beneath Mars.]

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Listen to me, my slithery all-knowing Fellow Lizard Lovers. Even if I were the beast-god Cerberus himself—barking with all his heads by the gates of hell. I would still tell you the same thing—it’s time to Open Pandora’s Box & Let Snakehood Goddess Free Once Again!!!”

[Leaning down over the vidscreen image of Deckard—descending in the elevator to a meeting with the Head Lord Lizard himself. ]

Tyrell (Lizard double): “See, there he is. This time I’ll take care of him myself. I’ll use my Snake charm & Lizard suavity—to turn him into a reasonable monkey. I’m going to meet him now—in my special greenhouse conservatory. We’ll make a deal. A deal worth it—for him to drag himself outta the hominid gutter & into my clutches. I’ll learn the secret of his Nexus droid—and his Predictress courtesan.”

A Lizard Lord warns: “Careful, Deckard’s a smoothie. He's a professional bedroom dick you know.”

Tyrell (Lizard double): “Hmm, you’re right. I didn’t think of that. He’s probably immune—to my mind-fuck manipulation games. I’ll try out a humanoid avatar first.”

Gas station attendant (Lizard double):

[Supposedly admiring Rick’s old hover-craft up above]

“Jaysus Christ, Mr. Decker—what a beautiful classic old Jag hover-craft! This Jag model’s worth plenty, big time Mr. Decker!!! How much you want for it?”

Rick: “Sorry, kid. I’m married to that old Jag now.”

[So much for the Jag hover-craft ploy, the Lizard lords down below say. They ponder other ways—to influence Decker’s mind-set. Maybe they’ll just let Tyrell the Lizard double handle it his own way.]

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dead Planet XXXI

Dead Planet XXXI

“The general rule is that any
notions of identity are simplifications
of a more complex underlying reality;
this rule applies to self-identification
as well.”—John C. Wright, Null-A
Continuum: Continuing A. E. van
Vogt’s World of Null-A

Deckard can’t help but notice—how utterly, tragically, completely depressing Hellas Town has become. Flying low over the shabby concrete city jungle—he slows down to get a good look at how everything has really gone downhill fast.

The Lizards down below are mopping up—the has-beens, the old hanger-on Martian crowd, the bums & loonies, the smalltime hoodlums, the drifters & young hustlers from Terra still hangin’ around town. They’re all being rounded up by the Creepazoid cops & Lizard heavies.

Deckard tilts his hover-craft to the left. “Oh jeez,” he says. “They’ve closing the old Amazon Pawn Shop—what a raw fuckin’ deal.”

The old couple, Joe & Gardenia, look up & wave to Deckard. He’d land and say goodbye—but he knows where they’re going. To the Soylent Green glue factory—for lizard food. That’s where.

“Pretty soon they’ll be coming for me too,” Deckard says to himself.

He guns it back for the Tower—thinking fast, pretty much deciding what to pack & what to burn. He’s been the man in the high tower long enough, that’s for sure. Mars was good while it lasted—but nothin’ lasts forever these dayz. Where to go now tho—with the fuckin’ snakes everywhere?

Deckard can’t help but look down—getting into how crummy & film noir the whole planet has become. Mars reminds him of an old ‘50s gangster movie—that one with Sterling Hayden in it. What was the name of it? Asphalt Planet? Asphalt Jungle?

“I forget—but I can still see those opening credits. Crawling down that Saturday night movie screen—back in the those good old movie palace dayz like the Rialto & Golden Gate.”

Far down below—the crumbling ruins of an old gone Martian city. A crummy canal-front—rundown spaceport hangars, power wires looping overhead, crumbling curbs lining the dirty streets, pot-hole asphalt abandoned alleys, garbage lying around.

Grey concrete bridge columns, decrepit plastic apartment houses falling apart, Chandler-esque kipple fading fast, decaying terminals leaning against each other till they fall down, last minute crime just waiting to happen, growing on things like green mold on cheese, a kind of dying Earth city like Cincinnati, taking its own sweet rotten time, kicking the bucket the slow way, one desperate Martian hoodlum at a time…

“And I’m the last has-been hold-out—me just another two-bit private dick hoodlum. Marty the Martian & Dick Handley—they’ll get the fuck out in time. Their kind always thinks fast—when it comes to their own fuckin’ skins first. They know when the game’s up. When the rats need to abandon ship. They’ll move on to some other casino planetoid or Las Vegas moon. Probably Titan Town—that’s where the dismal dregs & reject gang lords are migrating to. As if it’ll do ‘em any good…”

“The Snakes got me in their slant-eye sights—me & the other two,” Deckard says to himself. “The kid & that Predictress dame—that young dynamic droid couple hiding out somewhere. They better keep playin’ low too—if they know what’s good for them. They must know somethin’ I don’t know—something big & nasty. Bad enough to get the lizards & snakes all upset—so fuckin’ nervous & nosy.”

“Everybody scramblin’ for their own precious Exit Visa—even the Tyrell lord lizard double & his gang. The creepazoids heavies want out too—they’re sure getting desperate about something. Funny how things work out,” Deckard says to himself. “The snakes & creeps more worried than me,” Deckard smirks to himself.

The Jag hover-craft takes a quick dive—and then changes course for the Hellas Town limits not far away. That’s where Deckard’s Jag-jet is headed for now—the bleeper on the vidscreen blinking emergency red. He leans back in his Jag pilot seat. The controls have been taken over—now they’re on automatic. There’s nothing Deckard can do—except let the hovercraft go where it’s told to go.

“Destination: Tyrell (Lizard double) bunker,” says the Jag-craft voice. “Arrival time: two minutes. Urgent detour: No cancellation possible. You’re expected soon, Detective Deckard.”

“Who cares,” Deckard shrugs. He adjusts his shoulder-holster tighter into his armpit. A zoid-gun hugging him close—it always made him feel better.

“Everything was getting too easy anyway,” he says to himself. “There for awhile I wondered what was up. Something’s gotta be really wrong big time—with the Lizard agenda in free-fall this way.”

“I’ve been thinkin’ the same thing the Jag-jet droid said on the intercom. “Them pussy-footin’ around with you all the time.”

“No shit,” Deckard says.

“Now it’s even more apparent,” the Jag-jet droid opined. “The lower-level slugs & heavies like Lt. Snake? They’ve failed, haven’t they Rick? So now it’s time for the big shots to make their move. It’s about time. I’ve been waitin’ for them to play their crummy cards—ever since we got outta that Martian pyramid, remember?”

“Yeah, Jag—I remember. Some of it anyway. The kid did the heavy lifting tho—him and the Predictress queen. Oh well…”

They were getting close to the Hellas Town city limits. Deckard wondered what the Tyrell clone had in mind this time? More fun & games? Maybe it’s too late for that—maybe he’d waited too long?

“Oh well, Jag, everything else is goin’ down the shitter. Might as well be yours truly too, hmm big guy?”

The Jag-jet doesn’t answer—it’d never been a very talkative droid. Only in a pinch—it’d bitch about something or other.

The underground bunker doors up ahead—they’ve begun sliding slowly back. The Lizard tractor-beams—gently grab hold & pretty soon Deckard finds himself in an elevator. Slowly taking its time—descending 10 miles into the heart of the beast. The monsters waiting for him—down there in Mars Town Underground…