Back to the Garden

by Kevin Boothby

The cameras are rolling.

Jacinda bears her arm to the nurse, though not without stealing one last glance at the vial to be sure that she’s getting the placebo. She knows her company as the best of friends. They share the most noble vision for the Earth and all creatures great and small. But she also knows the power brokerages of the world, inhabiting one of them herself. One can never be too careful.

All good. The innocuous solution is injected and Jacinda makes a brief statement to the bank of cameras before her. “Be a good citizen of the world. Do it for your loved ones, do it for your neighbors, let’s get through this pandemic together. Get vaccinated!” The applause follows, and the cameras depart.

When we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong

Jacinda is bemused by the subtle pulsing in Klaus’s body which her feminine perceptions read like a palimpsest on the prodigiously serious gait of the aging visionary. She has to stifle a giggle imagining the young Klaus, with long hair and raging hormones. All of that sexual lust which has since flowed as from a fuel line to power his long, arcing intellectual career. The music of Crosby, Stills, Nash–the music of his youth, had suddenly, irresistibly summoned a decades old version of this man as if by hypnotic charm.

They shake hands. “You are one of the few who can make a real difference,” he says with that disarming warmth. “We are but a small band of friends, but our influence is immense. I think you already know this. But sometimes we all need a reminder of what we are trying to accomplish, how important it is.”

Klaus saw, or perhaps thought he saw, a cloud of doubt pass over her face.

Just beyond the hotel is one of the most spectacular views imaginable. IPhones are great, but not worth losing these priceless–and irreplaceable–treasures. Jacinda had learned her lessons, taught to her by the master. You give wealth to a fool he will only squander it. Nearly every lottery winner has done just that. There’s a reason why most poor people remain poor. Yet a super-intelligent and industrious minority of humans have bestowed an unbelievable bounty upon humanity. Nowadays people can travel almost anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours; drive automobiles, dine on nearly any menu they like. They live in great sprawling suburbs with homes full of appliances, all of which gobble up scads of energy. The Everyman has won the lottery on the backs of the brights, and the result is senseless and destructive hedonism. Thousands of species of animals who have lived for millions of years will go as the dodo so that some overfed dumbass can drive a pickup truck. And Klaus’ band of world leaders are not even counted among the brights, they are merely their custodians, those who must see to it that the idiocy of the world does not drive them extinct as well.

I’m goin’ down to Yasgur’s farm, gonna join in a rock n’ roll band

The smartly dressed, brown skinned steward emerges into the plushly decorated conference room holding a massive silver platter which he is eager to set down on account of his already aching arms. Sliced melons, strawberries, pineapple and golden apple cuts draw in one’s attention against his white, double-breasted coat.

Moments later his similarly skinned compatriot sets down a platter of cheeses and crackers, and finally a short, young lady sets down two silver urns of coffee and tea. The attendees are filing in. Klaus always has a small entourage, for he is, despite his overt modesty, a prophet of Biblical proportion. Handsome Justin is not far behind, immaculately dressed in the finest silks. Head always cocked slight upward, he commands deference. Jacinda could not help notice how good looking he is, although his obsequiousness to women like her makes him suspect as well.

Two hours later the refreshments tray is picked over. Empty coffee cups sit on crumpled thick cloth napkins, stained with brown semi-circles. Some yawns for lack of sunlight and physical activity has afflicted the attendees. But just now everyone sits erect and at attention. Klaus has taken the stage to address his flock.

“The vaccine has reached nearly seventy percent of the world population, and unquestioned success …” Everyone here knows the score. Releasing an engineered virus into the general public was always risky, as it could mutate into something deadly enough to kill everyone, including themselves. But their in-house scientists assured them the chances were remote. China’s one-child policy was the last of the overt top-down measures to control population. Governments cannot operate in the open like they used to. America put an end to that. Other countries have followed suit. Their peoples will resist as hard as their leaders try to push. A manufactured pandemic, on the other hand, though risky from a health standpoint, provides ample cover for a trial mass sterilization program. Of course not everyone who took the vaccine would suffer this side effect, by design, only about 10-20% of them.

And maybe it’s the time of year, and maybe it’s the time of Man

On the east corner of the lobby, through the long, vertical windows, one looks down upon an ugly concrete loading bay. The raw ingredients of tonight’s buffet supper, of grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, shrimp and lobster, organic vegetables, coffee, teas and pastries are packed in plastic crates, handled by broad shouldered men. Jacinda’s eye falls as if by gravity on one of those men, wearing a muscle shirt, his splendid male physique polished with his own sweat. ” My bended hook shall pierce their slimy jaws, and as I draw them up I’ll think them everyone an Antony, and say ‘Ah ha, you’re caught!'” She allowed herself to get lost in a whimsical moment, expressed in a line of Shakespeare. She needed a break from business. “A girl needs pets” she muses, shaking her long, black hair coquettishly.

Suddenly she realizes that Justin is standing behind her. He had crept up silently as a snake. Jacinda froze, wondering if he had learned her thoughts, if she had accidentally voiced them within his earshot. “Whale watching tomorrow should be great fun” he opens. Innocuous enough, and she is satisfied that he had not discerned anything, that he only seen her titillations at the sight of the muscular man and a stab of sexual jealousy had brought him over.

Justin represented the new man. Tall and handsome, clean and splendidly attired, straight teeth, skin clear and soft, and eyes that pierced. He was perfectly adapted to polite society, as good as any woman, and capable of social calculation which made him a most deft politician. Tomorrow Klaus and the band of future leaders–for they were all undeniably in ascendancy–would board a private charter jet to Vigo, Spain, where they would board the Sueno del Mar, a 100-foot luxury yacht, to go watch the orca whales in their southern migration. “Mark says that the migrations are getting stronger for the orcas. And they may have their babies with them” Justin continues.

Jacinda smiled at the image of the baby whales. Babies, even from another species, will make most any woman smile.

“Oh yes”, she replies, quickly finishing up her internal calculations, “It shall be wonderful. The Spanish coast is so lovely, lovely of Klaus to arrange the excursion, a perfect way to conclude the conference.”

From just a few paces away Mark comes into their conversation. “My ears are burning” he says, with a laugh. But he almost immediately turns back around, realizing that he is about to be introduced to some initiates to the global leadership group.

Introductions are exchanged. The new members fix their attention onto Mark, admiringly. “So happy to have you. Our ranks are swelling. People are learning the future of a sustainable earth. In fact Klaus believes in as little as one hundred years from now humans will live in perfect ecological balance with the earth. Industrial wastelands will become forests of life. Our food will be nutritious and safe, once again, done with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Oceans will be teeming with fish. Oh I hope you will be joining us on the whale watch tomorrow? It shall be magical, I assure you!”.

By his peripheral vision Mark can see Klaus summoning him. Mark motions Jacinda to take his place. Jacinda is a star. The initiates knew of her recent stirring speech on the new lines of war, the information wars, and the need to insure that information online is properly sourced and vetted. And more to the point, those who spread disinformation are properly dealt with by the authorities. The combination of intellect and female intuition and empathy made her a paragon of global leadership. Amongst her devotees it bordered on worship.

We are stardust, we are golden
We are caught in the devil’s bargain

Klaus clicks the latch and double checks with Mark to be sure that all electronics are switched off.

“You know you can’t just put them all to the sword like in ancient times” Klaus began, picking up where they had last left off in the argument. Klaus’ face became slightly flushed with irritation, as his physiology had just picked up where it left off as well.

Men are the problem. The problem is always with men, especially the young adult ones.

“That’s what women are for” Mark counters reflexively.

“Indeed” says Klaus, “why men in the First World War would rather be ground up meat than receive a white feather from a female, but … ” and then he turns to look at Mark, “men are being pushed. There’s always the crazy misogynists, the men’s rights crowd, no problem there, they have no credibility, but you have an increasing number of mainstream conservatives all upset over the dissolution of the nuclear family. They show studies, stats, broadcast on the internet, we cannot ignore them.”

“Yes but even conservative men have accepted female empowerment.” Mark parries, “And those empowered women are having fewer kids, and a female head of the household is far more likely to comply with demands of the state. Girls thrive in school, they love the institution and soon become greatly interested in preserving it. And the boys are doing so badly, and are so unappealing, that many of the girls will grow into independent, single women not interested in marrying. The men are psychologically so deflated by rejection that they are largely harmless. All of this works toward a sustainable population goal, you know.”

“Agree. But you forget that the male population also provides with the bulk of the innovators. We are always racing our foes with technology. The problem is separating the wheat from the chaff. Plus no one has ever managed the entire globe. A military is not yet obsolete, the special forces need men. Females and pansies can do a lot with technology, but you still need the fighters with boots on, no way around that yet.”

Mark stops to think for a moment.

“You see my point, Mark” continues Klaus, taking the opportunity to fill the silence with more of himself, “only about ten percent of human males are worth anything in a post industrial, post agricultural economy. And of those ten percent there’s just a handful who are indispensable to our success. The problem is that it is very difficult to identify that indispensable few until most of the cohort has matured.”

Mark emerges from this thoughts and resumes: “The feminists are highly effective, I think you still underestimate them. We now have quite a few boys who want to be girls, convinced that it is their only route to social acceptance. Naturally a few exceptional males will break away, it’s statistics. They may be our enemies or may become the few indispensable ones. The women are good at spotting these men. For those who remain stubborn enemies of the state, they are yet no match for the state.”

“Don’t be so sure. We are still trying to square a circle, you understand. Social pressures work on most men, they quickly understand that they are powerless and have no choice but to work for us. But the exceptional ones who have what it takes to break through may also break us, the Genghis Kahn’s of the world.”

“Injectible nano-technologies are showing promise” says Mark as a tentative rebuttal, “though it’s not anything to scale yet, and it poses its own problems” adding his tentative retraction. “Honey traps still work like a charm, though. Tempt married men with beautiful young women, single men with under-aged ones, gay men with boys. Get it on tape and you own their reputation. It rarely fails.”

“So long as we control global information flow” Klaus counters, having now adopted the role of the skeptic in the conversation.

“It’s solid, Klaus. Tech and media is onboard, I have few doubts of that” says Mark, squaring himself back up before Klaus.

“That’s good. That’s good.” replies Klaus, trailing off and disengaging. He moves toward the door and rotates the handle. The latch clinks and the door is opened.

The muted din of merrymakers challenges the thickly carpeted hallway. As they open the door to the dining hall it roars with a great deal more treble. Everyone has been waiting for Klaus to show so that they can be seated. The several tables are piled with feast. The wine flows. Klaus steps to the head of the longest table, picks up a champagne flute and raps on it three times with a fork. It rings like a church bell. The room suddenly falls quiet.

“To our beautiful Earth, and to our friends in this movement. And to our children and the splendid inheritance we shall bestow upon them. Ours is a noble cause, it is a great cause, so let us now celebrate so many wonderful things which are on the way.”

Cheers erupt. The guests are seated. Now they can eat.

We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we have to get ourselves
Back to the Garden

Author’s note: All people, places, and conversations in this piece are fictional.

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