"...if you want to be interviewed by Pearl River Flow, the adventure of a lifetime (or, perhaps, afternoon) awaits!"Read More
It was the Age of Fire and Steel, after the Pale Men had wiped out the Ancients. The poor men and women of Jackson struggled against life and death. Nature was a wild, untamed force, and those few huddled together had but one gift against the might of the river and the decay of the swamp: GALGERAN.
GALGERAN! Even today, his name has power. In these Enlightened Days, the young do not learn of GALGERAN in school, even those who can walk to his tomb on any sunny afternoon.
But is it a tomb? There is no date, no name save GALGERAN, no indication that he was ever alive, or dead, and truth be told, there are those who claim that GALGERAN did not die that day, that he lives still, waiting until he's needed to help the people of Jackson. To once again use his talents for God's glory and the good of man.
"It's just a legend." John P. Oldham was President of the Select Men, first amongst those who ruled over Jackson, Mississippi. The Council of Select Men sat under their seal, the seal of the eye and the compass, the instruments through which they had surveyed the land and found the bluffs that offered some mote of protection from the mighty Pearl.
GALGERAN unfurled the scroll across their oil-lit study. The smell of whale-oil in the air was thick, the walls darkened by the constant illumination.
"We both know that there are still a few legends left, Oldham. After all, without the legends, we could not have created this machine, this City on a Bluff. But our machine needs power to work."
"Ox carts? What about windmills? Or wheels on the creeks? Is that not enough?" The Select Men shouted.
"Our cohort Watt, in England, has a new engine, that I believe should..." Oldham stammered to a halt as GALGERAN looked each of them in their eyes in turn, and saw that they did not believe themselves.
"Do you mean the new fuel? The black oil? The liquid coal?" James Boyd asked. Boyd was new to the Select Men, his ideas were dangerous to their ways, but GALGERAN defended him.
"No. The fuel underneath these bluffs cannot be reached with any variation on Newcomen's atmospheric engine. It cannot be reached with anything we possess. It is for future generations." Oldham said. It was known.
"Those who will live through a nightmare of oil and smoke." GALGERAN spoke quietly, returning the attention to himself.
"This is not the power of horses or steel. This is a different sort of power. I need two men, hale and hearty, to accompany me to the spots indicated on these scrolls. We will harness the power this infernal machine requires. Jackson will rise."
"Take Daniel and David with you. They are unique men, capable of what your... journey requires." Boyd said.
There was a solemn moment. Where GALGERAN would go, few could follow, and fewer still could return.
"If I do not return," GALGERAN began, and his words were like a shock to the Select Men. They had seen GALGERAN through the banishing of the Poking Men, through the Racoon Wars, through the Burning Days and the Swamp Ape Horde. Each and every time, he had triumphed over impossibility.
"If I do not return, then erect a marker in Greenville Cemetery, facing the rising sun. It will form the top of a great pyramid. Two more markers must be placed to the East, and inside that protective geometry, the machine will be powered, and my return may be foretold."
"You ask us to build a grave?" Oldham asked, astonished.
"No. Something else. Engrave my sigil, the O and the G." GALGERAN said. "And as always, I use my talents for God's glory..."
"...and the good of man." The Select Men responded, finishing their solemn intonation, the one passed down by the Perpetual Curate of Repton.
There was a great and powerful quiet as Daniel and David came from the wings to stand by GALGERAN.
[Three Years Later]
Since that day in the Select Men's Chambers, Boyd had known that the Age of Fire and Steel was coming to an end. The world was hurtling toward the Nightmare of Oil and Smoke that GALGERAN had foretold. So when the servant came running to him in the dead of night with two long-haired men in buckskins and oiled leathers waiting in the doorway, he knew their time would soon be over.
"David! Daniel! Where is GALGERAN?!" He shouted, leaping out of bed in his nightgown, fumbling for the lantern.
In the light, the two men were haggard, grey. They had been young, full of vigor, when they had left the chamber that day. Deep creases and frayed beards framed haunted eyes. They seemed as if they had come from far away - and as though they still were far away, distant.
"Fetch some whiskey for Misters Crockett and Boone!" Boyd shouted, leading the two men to his study. There, they sat drinking while Boyd began to ask them questions.
"GALGERAN?" Was his first, but all the two could do was shake their heads.
"No. Not dead. But gone. Lost." David said. Daniel pursed his lips, revealing missing teeth from a once-perfect smile.
"You were only gone three years, but yet..." Boyd hated to bring up their condition.
"We were gone for far longer than that!" Daniel shouted, a frightened look in his eyes. David shook his head slowly as the haggard man continued.
"But we were gone no time at all, it seemed. As though it were yesterday."
"If time is a river, then it must meander." Boyd said quietly. It was a saying of the Select Men.
The three were drinking heavily. Boyd brought out another bottle of whiskey.
"How far?" Boyd asked, sliding them a map of the United States.
Daniel pushed it away. "We made it to the river. To the swamp."
"The Amazon? The Mississippi?" Boyd asked, incredulous as the two exchanged crazed looks.
"It's not two miles away!" Boyd shouted. "What manner of joke is this?"
"We crossed over into the swamp to get on a steamboat, and then we were... lost. The woods were far deeper than we had ever known, the city of Jackson was gone, gone forever, and then it would be back... but strange, something we couldn't touch, intangible, and other days madmen would wander the woods as though they could hear us and see us, but when we tried to talk they ran screaming."
Boyd drank. The two were broken. Legends and histories would have to be concocted. They had come undone.
"Did you get it?" He asked, finally.
"Yes." David said, looking down into the glass. "It was supposed to be so far away."
"That swamp was many places, Crockett. That swamp was many times. I told you, I told you. It was just an afternoon, but look at us! Think about how many days had passed!"
"Take it. Take it." Daniel shouted, throwing the object at Boyd's feet. It was heavy, metallic, wrapped in a tattered oiled cloth. "GALGERAN said to guard it. That your home was the second point in his equilateral machine."
"You know you've been compromised. Infected by the Flow. The Select Men will not let you spread your madness." Boyd said, closing his eyes as the hammers of the rifles behind the bookcase were clicked into place.
Everything was smoke and light for an instant, then the two were dead on the floor. Boyd hung his head. Daniel Boone was whispering to him, blood flecked on his lips.
"...sanctification. He used his talents in the glory of God and for the good of man..."
Carl Sagan: Shitty Blue Dot of Disappointment
Look at it. Fucking look at it. Look at it again. Look at that fucking dot. That's here. That's home. That's it. All of us dumbfucks. Everyone you hate, everyone you didn't get to know, everyone you ever pretended to hear of when you were trying to impress someone, every asshole human being who ever fucked shit up till they died. That dead ball of useless salt water and rock isn't just the aggregate of four billion years of death and feces, it's also the only source we've ever had for suffering, save those few lucky bastards who died horribly in space.
Thousands of pointlessly confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines – all wrong, all equally wrong and murdering each other for it, every manhunter and cannibal, everyone who ever stupidly ate shit and died, every armadillo-fucking forager, every dumbass and coward, every liar and destroyer of civilization, every inbred king who thought he was the shit, and peasant who waded in it, every young couple who thought they were in love, every cheating mother and abusive father, every useless child brought screaming into a world without purpose or care, every inventor of dildos and guns, every explorer of depravity and servitude, every teacher of shitty morals, every corrupt politician, every dead "superstar," every dead "supreme leader" in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of shit suspended in cosmic hellfire.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of this urine-soaked dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Oh, sure, we posture, in some fake self-importance, forever indulging the suicidal delusion that we matter in the Universe any more than the parasites that live in the assholes of parasites that live in the assholes of vultures, and that's the only reason our tiny malfunctioning brains can be challenged by this point of pale, piss-in-the-stars blue light. Our planet is lonely for no reason, just like all of us, an insignificant speck in the insignificant cosmic dark that serves as a fitting metaphor for our mortality. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no help that can come from anywhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life, and it does not give a shit if we live or die. There is nowhere else to go. We're stuck on this shithole rock. We don't even visit. We're too dumb to figure out how to settle elsewhere. Earth is where we make our stand, where we can choose to inflict our horrors on an unsuspecting cosmos in the future.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. But that's a pile of horseshit. We know the truth. Nothing matters. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores how none of this shit matters, and that even if we do preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, it will be for all the wrong reasons, in order to trap future generations in the only home we've ever known, out of fear.
HOLY SHIT, I SEE WHY HE WENT WITH THE ORIGINAL VERSION
There are transmissions across the bandwidths. Push your soul into the Land. Push your soul into the Ocean. There is no contest. But a winner will be declared, and a loser will be insinuated.
There are codes referenced. The most #woke of all will discern the translated messages. They will learn where the message breaks down. More of the Pearl River Flow will be revealed. At the 1 hour, 10 minute mark, to be specific.
Pearl River Flow: “We’re interviewing world-famous astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson today, it’s certainly the biggest interview we’ve been able to do so far, and we’re honored to have him on the show.”
Neil DeGrasse Tyson: “Well, you know, you say ‘we’ but, actually, there’s only one of you.”
PRF: “Okay, good point, Neil, I was using the editorial ‘we,’ so let’s…”
NDT: “Also, while you are in fact, interviewing me today, by the time people read this interview, the day that they read it won’t be today. They’ll become time travellers, simply by…”
PRF: “Okay, right, but it’ll be ‘today’ to them, or they can look at the date stamp and…”
NDT: “And while you say it’s the ‘biggest’ interview you’ve ever done, the mass of all the interviews is negligible, so you could perhaps say it’s going to be your most popular interview, or I am your largest guest, if that’s true.”
PRF: “That’s true. Our other interviews were mostly small woodland creatures and Phil Bryant. I think you're larger than him.”
NDT: “That must have smelled awful. Did you know our sense of smell is actually a sense of chemical touch? The molecules in the air directly touch our olfactory nerves, creating impulses that the brain references with memories, allowing us to identify what we mistakenly call ‘smells.’ Also, did you know that hate, being a chemical interaction inside the neurons of the brain, has a weight, or more technically, a mass?"
PRF: “Is that a mistake? That doesn’t feel like a mistake. Also, the woodland creatures smelled fine.”
NDT: "Woodland creatures smell wonderful. I know that. They smell of starstuff. We're all made of starstuff. Even Phil Bryant."
PRF: "Are you telling me that the 'hatestar' is real?"
NDT: *Chuckling merrily* "No comment. But, hate does have a smell."
PRF: "Alright, can we get to the first question?"
NDT: *Chuckling a little more merrily* "You mean the second question?"
PRF: "Goddamnit, Neil, don't do this to me."
NDT: "When you say you're honored to have me 'on the show,' are you suggesting that I am, somehow, standing on top of it? Given four dimensions of space, the only one that I can be said to reside 'above' your readers is in the 'time' dimension, where if we arbitrarily - because all directions are arbitrary - designate 'before' as 'above,' then I am in fact 'above' or 'on' your 'show,' even though it's not what is traditionally understood as a 'show,' it's a written interview."
PRF: "I must confess to a certain amount of inexactitude in my English, Neil. I like a little poetry, leaving things open to interpretation."
NDT: "So I am forced to translate from 'muddled idiot' into 'science english.' After having seen Prometheus, I am up to the task."
PRF: "Did you really see Prometheus, or was it just photons..."
NDT: "Hey, no. I do that. Not you. Cut that out."
PRF: "Alright the..."
NDT: *Waiting expectantly*
PRF: *Sighs, counts on fingers* "Uh, mistake, Hatestar, first question.. Okay, alright, the forth question.
PRF: "Do you think that aliens would purposefully contact human, or post-human civilizations?"
NDT: "What do you know about the squirrel plan?!"
PRF: "I'm with the beavers, Tyson. It's okay."
NDT: "We get Mars, flat-tail."
PRF: "Okay, okay, chill out."
NDT: "Did you know that most liquids contract, rather than expand, when they freeze? Water's an exception, it's crystalline structure causes it to take up more space than it's liquid form. So on a world where water was not the main liquid, thinking creatures might say 'chill in,' because their liquids would contract when frozen."
PRF: "That's actually kind of.... cool."
NDT: *Laughs giddily like a schoolgirl*
PRF: "So, if we lived on a world with a different non-water liquid, it would shrink when it froze, and wouldn't float to the top of the lake or ocean or whatever? It would sink to the bottom?"
NDT: "Yes, retaining it's cold, not being thawed out by the lifegiving sun." *At the mention of 'life-giving sun' Tyson kneels, touches the floor with his right knuckle, then raises his left fist to the sky before mouthing a word I cannot hear* "Therefore, oceans made of a non-water liquid would freeze an Earthlike planet, turning it into a lifeless snowball."
PRF: "Whoa. Did you cover that on Cosmos?"
NDT: "I didn't want to terrify you all into sleepless nights."
PRF: "But you did that whole thing on 'The Great Dying.' I couldn't sleep for a week, knowing that we're basically doing the same thing to the ocean now."
NDT: "Ah, the Great Dying. Hail Satan."
NDT: "Good friend of mine. Let's carry on."
PRF: "I'd really like to come back to what you just said..."
NDT: "The Great Dying wasn't that great, but there was a hell of a lot of dying. Like, everything dead. *There is a bit of a glimmer in his eye here, but I cannot tell if it is sadness or joy* Most everything in the oceans died as it became an anoxic pit of poison, spewing clouds of toxic methane gases out over the continents. Even the trilobites, who had survived on the Earth for most of the history of multicellular life, enduring meteors, comets, volcanoes, the appearance of predators, diseases, parasites - even they were wiped from the book of life, swept by the cold hand of the Death Ocean into the Halls of Extinction."
PRF: "So I was searching the phrase 'Death Ocean' to come up with a pithy clip of a Death Metal band playing the song, but every time I typed it in, all these articles were about how we're actually killing the oceans."
NDT: "You mean 'that thing that's most of the Planet?"
PRF: "We're fucked, aren't we?"
NDT: "Fucking would imply some sort of coitus. When we've killed the oceans, we will simply cease to exist, after centuries of hopeless torment."
PRF: "I think we're going to end on that note."
NDT: "Actually, the note we end on will be the strangled cry of the infant in the crib as clouds of methane flow over what's left of the straggling, starving dregs of humanity, torn down in the peak of their civilization from their gleaming cities and hopeful concrete temples, to choke and bleed in the streets as they fight over the last few grains of corn that were harvested years ago from poisoned fields of blood..."
PRF: "Cut off the mic. Cut it all off. End the transmission, damnit! Why is he smiling?! WHY IS HE SMILING!?
NDT: "...actually, when you say 'hope,' as in 'there's hope for the future,' what you really mean is 'I want the future to be this way' but the Universe doesn't care, it..."
We regret losing another Pearl River Flow intern team. We are now hiring. We do not, as it is, 'pay,' though the 'exposure' is great, so bring weather-appropriate gear. You will be expected to fight raccoons for your daily snack allowance.
They were brainwashed into it. That's my story that prevents me from exiling the lot. It may come as no surprise that my feelings for the governance of the State of Mississippi are less generous than my feelings toward barnacles. Barnacles, at least, have a useful ecological function, while our elected representatives are mere nuisances infesting our Ship of State. Given that the Ship of Mississippi is rotten, full of holes, and sinking, the barnacles ain't helping.
Yet, what they've been getting up to lately is beyond their usual assholery. I can think of no explanation for their behavior that does not end in them banished to one of those vanishing islands off the coast.
Save this one: They were under mind control. I've seen Jessica Jones, I know how the Purple Man works. That is the only rational explanation.
Therefore, I present, Mississippi Legislative Adventures: Starring Dick Billington!
Dick Billington strode his way across the gold-gilded red carpet of the Mississippi State Capitol the same way he made every footstep he’d ever taken - with the massive confidence of a golden-bronzed God, a pectoral colossus straddling the political globe in tasteful charcoal suit pants specially tailored to hide his shamefully massive bulges from the prying eyes of the curious public.
He hadn’t even been elected, but today’s polls showed him with an uncharacteristically poor 99.9% approval rate - a failure he personally blamed upon the four illiterate “readers” of a schlock website about the sort of food only ‘the poors’ would eat under threat of starvation.
No, Dick Billington had taken it upon himself to finally straighten out the worst body of governance in the United States. He’d personally cock-punched some boot-licking techbro representative and called him a “beta” before taking his office by force because it was headquartered in Madison, Mississippi. Madison was a town that Dick Billington liked because it covered every surface in bricks, and hard, red bricks made Dick Billington require even more spectacular acts of the tailor’s craft in order to keep his dress slacks slack and his shirt-threatening pectorals from sending his real ivory buttons flying across these august halls in a blinding display.
“What’s on the agenda today?” He asked Philip Gunn. The moment Dick Billington said that, Philip Gunn became the second most powerful man in the Mississippi State Legislature, and that position was only so prime because everyone else was jealous that Billington had spoken with him first. Until Dick Billington had walked in the room, Philip Gunn had the most masculine name in the chamber, and the best haircut, which was only because every Representative went to supercuts, while Dick Billington had willed his hair into Superman-esque jet black with the properly grey temples after once seeing Mitt Romney across a room at their favorite underground golf pro shop in the Maldives.
Dick snatched the agenda off the podium and glared at the press, forcing them to retreat from the chamber, up against the wall like Dick Billington wanted them, come the Revolution. He was a one man revolution, he knew, and they knew it, and they all wanted to die by his hand. The Clarion Ledger capitol beat reporter was wishing for the sweet embrace of oblivion so hard that Dick almost struck her down with his eyes, so cold and so blue that he’d never needed to use ice cubes, he just stared at his drink the way that he stared at the cowering members of the legislature and press. The scribe from WLBT threw himself onto a pen, and in his death, he knew happiness for the first time, relief from the weight of his lifetime of lies, transcendent bliss under the gaze of Dick Billington, a gaze harder than steel, a beam that could have withstood all the jet fuel in the world without melting.
“Education? Medicare? State Park funding? Prisons? Police? Roads? What is this shit?” Dick wasn’t shouting but everyone in the building knew they had to listen. Every last one of them was a toadying creature trained from birth to love the whip of fascism. Each and every empty skull was putty in the broad bronzed hand of Dick Billington. Putty he could shape. Mold. An amorphous gunk waiting to be turned into something beautiful, something more than the assembled biomass of slime mold and racism that had infested that glorious dome since time immemorial.
“This is all bullshit.” Dick Billington said, and every representative was ashamed that they had even considered this business. They flailed, gnashing teeth and sweating as each tried to outdo the other in eating their waiting bills, tearing lobbyist-written stacks of tax breaks and school rules into sweaty, bloody shreds, their flabby fingers working for the first times in their lives, the tiny reptilian basal ganglia all that could function in their atrophied brains, disused for decades. “Do you all know what the real problem is?”
Dan Eubanks, who, because of his exposure to superstardom in his blockbuster YouTube videos, had managed to maintain a modicum of awareness in the Dick Billington onslaught, screamed out the first thing that came to mind.
Dick Billington froze. With his improbable musculature, the effect of coming to such a full-body stop caused the air around him to heat up several degrees. The delegation began to mutter, to wonder, and as the steam wafted from Dick Billington, half of them were outraged that Eubanks had dared speak and half were bowing down in stunned religious fervor at anyone brave enough to assemble words in the presence of that awesome personage.
“Who are you?” Dick Billington asked. The words were like a tornado in a trailer park. Mississippi Representatives threw themselves on top of one another to try and answer, those who had been outraged were now genuflecting Eubanks, those who had bowed to him were now scrambling to be seen by Billington. Cries of ''witness me!” accompanied their petty acts of violence and cruelty, though Dick had eyes for none save Eubanks, a lone pillar of humanity in the writhing sea of genteel racists. It was like a Roman orgy rendered in salt pork, devoid of sex or pleasure.
"Just a humble servant of the Lord who has selflessly taken it upon himself to represent the people of Mississippi.” Eubanks said, pleading on his knees as Representative Bubba Carpenter (R-Burnsville) shrieked racist epithets at the crowd to try and raise his voice above the clammy clamor.
Dick Billington silenced the mewling with a glare that froze sweet tea into sugary syrup and one word so perfectly pronounced that every Representative shed a single tear, which was shattered by the perfect enunciation issuing from those unchappable lips. They all wished they had never inserted the state-issued buttery cornmeal plug that every Mississippi politician is required to keep in their mouth at all times.
“Mediocre.” Dick said, and they fell to the floor in horror.
Then. “Cocks?” Dick asked, pointing his sculpted finger at Dan Eubanks (R-Nesbit) “What have you done about cocks?”
“Meeee meee meee!” Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) sang like a schoolgirl, for he too had cock-related legislation that he would never have dared put forth had Dick Billington not disrupted the status quo so thoroughly.
“I didn’t ask YOU. I asked the man who yelled ‘cocks’ earlier.” Dick Billinton said. He felt as though the squabbling Representatives were becoming disorderly. He briefly considered making one of them stand in the corner for a punishment, though he knew the others would then become bloodthirsty, like Lord of the Flies on an island of piggies.
"I have a bill that would police people's genitals at the restroom door." Eubanks said. The others were agape at the pointless audacity of the proposal.
"And why didn't you bring it to the floor already?" Dick asked.
"I thought it was intrusive, offensive, and frankly, a bit absurd." Eubanks said. The others nodded mindlessly, and for a brief moment Dick Billington saw his spell fading, saw something approaching humanity enter the cold, dead eyes of the assembly.
“But cocks.” Dick said, and their attention was on him like a room full of dogs being shown a ball. All he had to do was throw it to Eubanks.
“Cocks.” Eubanks replied. “I want to make sure that if you’re using a restroom, only all natural 100% organic cocks are in that room with you, cocks that have been nurtured since birth. Cocks that understand the full joy of unchallenged manhood throughout their development, a cock that is a cock every day that it is behind God-given pants, a cock that rests, hopefully, nestled in comfortable, all cotton briefs, or, God forbid, boxers.”
“I understand.” Dick Billington said. His words bestowed a peace transcendent, and in that moment the Mississippi State House of Representatives knew truth, experienced justice, and was brought face-to-face with an unyielding avatar of the American Way. A thousand Captain Americas were born and died in the pause between “I” and “understand,” sacrificing their soul-eagles to the eternal fire of the Brotherhood of Men.
“I, Dick Billington, know but one pain.” Tears were wept in the open, and in a distant radio booth the state technicians struggled to unplug the microphones from SuperTalk Mississippi as both JT and Dave began masturbating to Dick’s words.
“And that pain is having some intersexed person come into the restroom with me while my penis is exposed. It’s dangerous. Any uterus in the room with me while my regal phallus is exposed to naked air will, without warning or delay, become pregnant.”
Tears were drawn down cheeks that had not felt them in decades. Every woman in the room became pregnant. A Clarion-Ledger reporter threw himself from the balcony as penance for his crimes.
“And what shall the punishment be for the misallocation of genitalia, Representative Eubanks?”
“I hadn’t thought to punish them, dare I? It seems so petty, so ruinous.” Eubanks said, quivering.
“Dare.” Dick demanded.
“One. No, two, no… three…” His eyes gleamed, this was the moment that he had been waiting for. The YouTube videos, the campaigns, the promises and hands on bibles, the handshakes and babies, the sacrifices on altars in the darkest woods, the endless hours on the pews of the church, when the only worship he now desired was that of Dick Billington….”
“FIVE YEARS!” He shouted. “HALLELUJAH!”
“AMEN!” Came the cries of the flagellants. “AMEN! HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST! They surely deserve the penitentiary for such flagrant destruction of life!”
“PARCHMAN FARM!” Cried Bubba Carpenter, hoping for one whit of attention from the Adorned One.
“Representative Eubanks, for your service to cocks, I will let you attach your name to this bill.” Dick said. “Now, let’s see, what else is on the ledger… schools? PAH! Crime lab, medicare, bridges? What kind of godless communist wants ‘clean water’ as a priority? If lead is good enough for bullets it’s good enough for our water systems.”
The crowd was frothing, ecstatic, like all southern men their fathers had never approved of their lives, and there was only one thing better than that approval. Dick. Billington. “Who else brings service to Dick?” Billington demanded from the whimpering crowd. The Mississippi State House of Representatives had proven easy enough to fix. He knew that Mississippi would be 40th in a few things before long.
Maybe even higher.
“I have something, I have something, I have something! Witness me! Witness ME!” Representative Gunn shrieked. He sounded like a wounded pig, he proudly wore his spittle like a bib of slime.
“GUNN.” Dick pronounced, and spontaneous ejaculations wracked the crowd as their new God said their favorite word. Randy P. Boyd (R-Itawamba) fell prostrate before the bronze form of Dick.
“Show him our dick bill, Gunn! Show him our dick bill!” Randy pleaded, face buried in the red and gold carpet.
“Silence!” Gunn hissed, but in that moment of assertion he knew the entire crowd had turned on him, for daring to steal one whit of attention from the Almighty. He withered. The baleful eye of Dick was upon him. Speaker Gunn wished for death, but knew he did not have permission to die. Not yet. Not until Dick gave it to him.
“What do you have, Gunn?” Dick asked. He drew himself up to full height, adding half a foot to his already towering frame. Ivory buttons flew from his chest in cruel trajectories, ivory disks that ricocheted from the marble walls. William “Dick” Tracy Arnold (R-Prentiss) lost one eye as the others scrambled around his blood-soaked feet to grab the rarefied pieces of dead elephant.
“I need legal protections for the pathetic shreds of my sex life. I want sex outside of marriage to be illegal. I want to make sure nobody’s hiding a penis from me. I want to make sure nobody’s getting… getting…” The assembly hung their heads as one, the floor becoming even more interesting than Dick Billington for the briefest of moments.
“Tell me.” Dick said, beckoning Gunn over with a single curling finger. The man practically skipped into the circle of invisible light, and began whispering into Dick’s broad bronzed ear, but not before becoming hypnotised by each whorl of cartilage, wondering at what secrets those ears had heard, what they had…
“They’re doing what?” Dick was taken aback, blue angel eyes soaring in rage.
“With their penises. And sometimes the penises go in unsanctioned, unreserved… places…” Gunn blushed a crimson hue, what was whispering to Dick Billington was something that he had seen himself, something that he once had wished only to tolerate, but now, he knew, in the presence of that golden god, he must betray.
“...sometimes without penises. Entirely.”
Dick Billington shook with anger. He, an unelected servant of the Greater Good, here in this shameful chamber, would right this wrong - true, it was a wrong only he felt, a wrong that nobody with a modicum of decency would be affronted by, and yes, their “dick bill” would create untold legal issues.
“No!” Dan Eubanks said, crying. “Not that!” The others knew what he spoke of, in darkened rooms they had seen “The Dick Bill” and they knew they could never pass it, that no one would dare vote for it. For, even without reading it - none of them read the laws that they passed - they knew that it was a horrible legislative nightmare, shackling lifetimes of misery to accidents of birth, denying entire swathes of the population rights, enshrining in tortured legalese the minor conveniences of a nonexistent population.
Such things they had only glimpsed in their darkest fevered imaginings. Now, thanks to Dick Billington’s growing influence, it could become the law of the land. But for Dick they would burn the constitution they claimed to hold sacred, they would ignore the Holy Teachings they once had meditated on in pristine temples, before their elections, the rites of which had stolen their souls.
“Make it so.” Dick Billington said. “But as much as I despise people who labor under the assumption that our government doesn’t enforce the beliefs of the Christian religion…”
The assembly laughed. It was an honest laugh, they all knew the truth.
“..still, I can’t stand the hypocritical language in the title. ‘Protecting Christians from Government Discrimination’ - gentlemen, you know as well as I do that there is nothing at all Christian about this bill. Not one bit. Sure, those viewpoints are the only ones it protects, but… let’s think, what do none of you have?”
“Souls!” Eubanks shouted, weeping.
“Religion!” Carpenter added.
“Consciences!” Boyd shouted.
“Freedom!” Shouted Gunn.
“Then it’s settled.” Dick Billington said. “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination.”
They wept at the meaningless majesty of the title.
“Well, gentlemen, I must be off. This has been informative, but I’ve decided I don’t like working in government.”
Dick Billington walked out, leaving a wake of desperate men, aghast at what they had done, what they had voted for. But it was too late.
While we have been informed that the preceding sequence of events is "unlikely," we at Pearl River Flow will take the following silence from our lawmakers as tacit acknowledgement that it is an accurate summation of what occurred. Should any of them deny that this was the case, the staff of Pearl River Flow will gladly apologize for our assumption and prepare the boats for exiling our legislators.