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.”

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