• • •
Could it be the bent cardboard backing? How the plastic’s gone yellow? How the seal is slightly broken, but not enough to lend the possibility of past use any credibility? Maybe it’s all of those things, but maybe it’s none. Maybe it’s because there are six in the set, no more and no less, and that number called to him. He didn’t know he was looking for it until he looked at it, but once he found it, he knew his days of wandering were over.
Certain events were set in motion with the goal of reaching a certain outcome, and if that outcome is to be reached, certain signals will be sent through reality, certain circumstances will line up, convenient incidents will occur that help guide reality towards that certain outcome; partner, this here is one of those incidents.
“How much you got on this ah, this pack’a Coors coasters?” George asks the clerk by addressing the coasters themselves.
“Oh, y-you can just have them, Sir, there’s no need–”
“No, no no,” as he turns around to face the clerk. They’re the only two in the secondhand shop, George walked in after the last customers walked out. The poor guy was about to close, the timing was just… convenient. “Anybody else would pay. C’mon, what do you got on these?”
“Oh, o-oh, oh uh, um…” He shakes his head in disbelief. “Five bucks?”
George smiles and offers a hand. “Make it ten and you have a deal.”
The clerk takes it. “Gee, thanks Mister President!”
George W. Bush’s smile doubles… perhaps a bit too quickly. “Hah, I sure am the president! Say, I like this little village y’all got goin’ on back here in the woods. What do y’all call it?”
The clerk legit blushes. “Wuester!” he inadvertently shouts. Then, in a calmer voice, “Wuester, it–… it’s called Wuester. And thank you! It’s a beautiful town, but we’re pretty far back in the woods. Not much to do, only trees to see. There’s Atacama Lake up north a few miles, but that’s, you know…” He kicks the dust. “A lake.”
“It sure is!” George beams. “Well listen, bud, I like your little town here. It’s perty, you know? Got some charm to it. I think I’d like to build my headquarters here.”
The clerk stares noddingly at George W. as if he’s following along with everything he’s saying for a solid few seconds after he stops talking, then the confusion seeps out of his brain and into his face. “Your… headquarters?”
“Yeah, budd’. For The Advisorate.”
Another couple seconds of silence, but the clerk is no longer nodding along. “The Advisorate…?”
“Yeah, the seven of us. Six plus me. I’m in control, they don’t really know it though. They think we’re all equal.” He smirks. “That’s a lie. Doesn’t matter.”
“The… seven of…? Are you not George Bush? Who are you?”
George W. Bush’s face noisily morphs into a mirror image of the clerk’s face. “Who are you, budd’?” When the clerk blinks, George has his own face back. “As it turns out, most folks don’t know how reality works. There are a few’a these planet Earths out here, mister clerk. Quite a few of ‘em. This one’s called High Tower, but I have a feeling in my gut that’ll change soon. A good ol’ feelin’ in that big Earthling gut’a mine.”
“High Tower… huh. That’s not… awful. Why High Tower?”
George sneers at the lowly clerk. “I’m the one at the top, see, I don’t need to explain why I say the things I say. It don’t matter, though. I have my coasters. I’ll build my headquarters over this town and preserve it. You’ll all be left here, but you’ll likely run out of food and water before you’re found by… nobody. Or I could just put you all in the cells.”
The clerk is down on his knees now, his eyes pouring tears for all this misunderstanding. “The cells, Sir?”
“The cells,” George W. wholeheartedly agrees. He claps his hands twice. All the world becomes a prison, every structure a cell. Wuester, Lake Atacama, and the surrounding forestlands are encased in a titanium dome and buried beneath a massive gray tower which resembles a mushroom capped with a grand observatory. It is here The Advisorate shall meet, just as soon as The Master calls the meeting.
D’You Have Something To Say
The seven members of The Advisorate sit at a silver horseshoe table in a lighted room shrouded in darkness. Everyone has a cold cocktail of THC-infused gin and everyone has a coaster to rest that drink on. Everyone but John Kerry, who’s damned to hold his drink until it’s empty.
“So, who’s going first?”
Howard Dean and Wesley Clark stand up in unison. George suspects they practiced this and fails to hold back a smile. He nods them along whether they notice or not.
“We’re happy to report that Spectral Earth has successfully linked with Bionic Earth. We’ve transferred a living spirit.”
“It’s not quite living,” Wesley Clark cuts in. “It is essentially potential life, it just lacks a body. It exists perpetually, as far as the humans understand. It’s fun to watch them develop.”
“Indeed it is,” agrees George. “Great work, gentlemen. Who’s next?”
The gentlemen sit down. Another stands up. “I’ll go next,” says Al Sharpton. “I’ve managed to consciously introduce the humans of Cosmic Earth to extraterrestrial life. They’ve even began to engage in interspecies mingling all on their own, it’s created amazing results, Sir.”
“Exceptional!” shouts George.
“Now that is the truth,” from the farthest end of the table. Everyone looks that way. It’s John Kerry.
“D’you have something to say, Mister Kerry?”
“I do,” John says, putting his glass directly on the table. He waits for George’s eyes to come back to his to continue.
“I made a discovery on True Earth. In no misleading terms, I may have figured out the truth about who we are, brothers and sister.”
Carol Braun brings a hand to her mouth in shock. Everyone else starts whispering to each another, aside from George and Rich. George is staring without emotion at Kerry, and Richard? Richard is smiling, smiling brightly and plain.
“I saw True Earth today, John, and I believe you’re trying to cover something up.”
“E–” is all that comes out of John’s mouth before a wave of hot air hits from behind. A massive portal’s opened up, it seems, and on the other side is Armageddon. Civilization crumbled to charcoal and cinder, dust hanging on the air, feet of ash caked on the streets. Forests, entire mountain ranges burned to char. The last strand of civilization is frayed, a backwoods town in northern New Jersey. If any inhabitants are left they’re likely dying, and that’s if they’re not dead already.
“I move to rename True Earth to Fallen Earth, and secondly to rename High Tower to True Earth. Thirdly, I move to veto our seventh chair John; may he be damned to walk that wasteland he’s allowed to fester under his watch. All in favor?”
All but John. The motion passes without fuss, John simply fades away. The table consumes John’s drink. After everybody else has sat back down, George W. Bush sits down as well.
“So,” he says, palms flat on the table, “who’s next?”
Carol Braun, representative of Primal Earth, takes a stand. “What is the truth of who we are, George? Do you know?”
“Yes… I do,” George nods, but not with excitement. “We’re all equal, that’s who we are. We are The Advisorate and I’m your leader, now do as I say an–”
“The real truth, George,” Carol insists. “We went along with you ousting Kerry. If we’re all equal, then now it’s your turn to go along with us. Tell us what we wan–”
“Fine,” George W. Bush says to his The Advisorate. He pulls a marijuana cigarette out of his sleeve and sparks that son of a bitch, kicks his feet up on the sterling silver horseshoe table. “I hope y’all are comfortable,” toke “‘cause this is gonna be a long story…”
This has been the nineteenth story from Highdeas: The Lost Stories from the Seven Earths, a flash fiction anthology hidden in the back of the book Over the River: The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox. Here is everything you need to know about it:
Over the River
The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox
Over the River is the third book in a trilogy called The Fall of the Seven Earths. I’ve also released that trilogy as a single book called The Fall of the Seven Earths. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
The Fall of the Seven Earths
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
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If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~