by Ernest Hogan
—Ay, I don’t wanna go to this big deal job thing. Mamí thinks I’ll find a job there. I can’t relate to any of that. The people are like they ain’t human or something. I need some kaboombo. Better take a tab. Maybe three or four. Maybe more. I know they say you shouldn’t, bad things will happen. They say that about everything that makes me feel good. And they’re always wrong. What do they know anyway? Who are they anyway? Maybe I should take five or six – feel like I can do anything.
Believe me, er...Xuanito? Yeah, Xuanito, you’ll be glad that you decided to spend this Saturday here at the Global Careers Opportunities Symposium instead of raping and pillaging or whatever the kids in your barrio do. And you’ll thank whatever random quirk of fate had you make eye-contact here at the General Hallucinogenetics booth instead of, say, the Nanonukes-R-Us display across the hall, or Fungiburgers, Inc. walkthru down the way. There is not only a big future in Hallucinogenetics, but Hallucinogenetics is the future! And it can be your future, too.
You see, Hallucinogenetics is the next giant step in information technology. No more clumsy hardware or fragile, virus-infested software. That’s all as obsolete as compact disks! We’ve combined the neurotransmitter-flooding effects of hallucinogenic chemicals with specialized memory RNA nanoprocessors to allow us to package information in an easily-swallowed form that downloads through the digestive tract and blood stream, into the brain! Compared to this, the stuff you and your gang spend most of your workweek stealing is fodder for the junkpile!
—I see this bitch ain’t never tried kaboomo.
Don’t give me that streetsmartass look — here, try one of these... Hey, I said one, not the whole six-pack! There’s no telling what all that information will do to you! You better sit down while I call the paramedics.
Come back here, Xuanito!
—Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! I don’t believe it! It makes kaboombo – even a maximo megadose like I took – seem like purified milk! I ain’t never felt so good! I think I can do anything! I think I’ll tear the roof off this building – it suddenly got cramped in here! I can’t breathe! There. That’s better. It got small. Or I got big. The walls are so easy to knock down. And there’s all these buildings in my way. They gotta go!
Okay, Xuanito, we have you surrounded. Global Defense mercenaries have the entire Greater Tijuana Complex sealed off, and the orbital tactical units of the world’s most powerful multinational financial entities are locked onto you. You better give up, turn yourself in, let the nice people in the helicopters with the long-distance spray-nets bundle you up so you can’t do any more harm to society, or yourself.
Look, I understand, I came from a rough barrio, just like you. I was once a poor hopelessly ethnic brown boy like you, but education and surgery, have made me into the successful white woman that I am today. If someone offered me something that was supposed to change my life, I would’ve taken an overdose, just like you.
This has caused some complications. The six-pack of our sample and the hacker-designed kaboombo have resulted in a massive drug-interaction with nanotech and genetic effects beyond anything medical science has yet encountered. We really need to track down those kids and hire them.
And I would’ve been just as disoriented as you were when the hallucinogenetic overload started all those spontaneous mutations, and maybe I would have run amok for a while, too. But the thing is, you have to learn to trust somebody, anybody, and preferably someone who has the authority to keep things under control.
I know when you’re suddenly as tall as a skyscraper, it gets hard to relate to others, and it’s hard to move around without breaking things, especially when you’re upset — tough break that you look Godzillaesque now, sorry about that — but, Xuanito, you’ve got to try. What if we all went around destroying our environment just because we felt frustrated? Somebody has got to take responsibility. You have got to take responsibility.
—What is all this crap? I feel like a god – and there ain’t no god but ‘Zilla.
Oops. Sorry, we didn’t mean for that missile to hit you in the face like that. Didn’t do much harm, though. Your new scaly skin must be really tough.
See? This is already turning out to have some advantages. And you’re learning to walk with that tail as if you’ve had it all your life.
What? Oh, you seem to be getting drowsy. Must be the new incapacitant gas that we’ve decided to test on you. Just relax and lie down somewhere — and try not to destroy anything in the process.
We’ll want to discuss any harmful side-effects with you later.
—Side-effects? My life is nothing but harmful side-effects . . .
Good news, Xuanito, the permanent alterations to your brain structure from the new gas adding to your drug interactions may actually be to your advantage. Seems that rather than leaving you disabled, your brain now works more efficiently. Yes, you’re not only bigger and stronger, but smarter!
Yes, Xuanito, Hallucinogenetics has turned out to be your future in more ways than one. Believe it or not, our corporation has a need for creatures like yourself, and I’m not just talking about the ever-expanding need for the Military Division to maintain Corporate Security.
You see, working with recombogenetics is a messy, hit-and-miss process, as the principles of chaos apply more to biology than they do to physics; and as you know, with the built-in quirkiness of information nanotechnology...well, your experience of the last few days has given you a small idea of the challenges our research and development department has to deal with.
What we figure is, with your genetic structure as unstable and rapidly mutating as it is, you could help us develop new products simply by letting your shifting nature take its course.
We have done our best to make this simple and pleasurable for you. Now that we’ve given the same overdose you took of our recruitment package with some kaboombo to some young women from beautiful downtown Bangkok (who worked on a freelance basis for our Executive Entertainment Division) we have produced females of your...damn, we’re going to have to have the NeoLinguistics division come up with a word. “Species” just doesn’t apply here! Anyway, if you are willing to sign this contract, we’ll set you up with them on a beautiful South Pacific Island that we got at a steal because it was used for nuclear testing back in the twentieth century; all you have to do is live and mate with these females, and allow us to examine and hold the copyrights to the genetic structure of any and all offspring.
—Life is good. My wives look better to me every day. Humans look weirder. The kids are tearing the place apart and getting smarter in the process. Mamí is actually proud of them. I do get disturbed with what’s going on beyond this island, and I don’t need to plug into a newsfeed to find out. Sometimes flaming chunks of their turmoil come raining down on us. I have ideas on how they can get along, but they don’t listen. I may have to do some more ass-kicking.
Xuanito, Xuanito, Xuanito, what are we going to do with you? Don’t you remember the contract you signed? We even went to the trouble and expense of making that giant pad for you, so you could make an “X” with your smallest claw. It clearly says that we have all rights to your offspring, and unlimited access to the island to examine them! This destruction of all our landing vehicles has got to stop!
We have the island surrounded, and Corporate Navy is prepared to use the most powerful bio-destructive agents that money can buy to wipe you, your wives, and all your kiddies off the face of the planet if you don’t do as we say.
What th — ?
Xuanito! Can’t you control those kids of yours? They’re eating all our ships and planes! We’re going to have to — uh- oh; our weapons don’t seem to have any effect on them…
—No. The only way they will stop is if I tell them to. From now on you’re going to listen to me!
Xuanito, we don’t know how we could have been so stupid. I guess we underestimated how much your brain has improved. We just had a hard time imagining that something that looked like you could be so smart. And face it, you started from — shall we say — humble beginnings. How were we to know that your brilliant mind would need greater and greater challenges? How could we imagine that you would make such a perfect CEO for General Hallucinogenetics? And how all that global turmoil has cleared up. It’s amazing.
And those wives and kids of yours; take my word for it, in a matter of months your kind will be running this planet and, who knows? Eventually, the entire galaxy!
So you just sit back, relax, scan these reports with all those big, beautiful eyes of yours, and tell us what to do next.
And if there’s anything else you want, Xuanito, remember that General Hallucinogenetics is here to get it for you.
—Yup. It’s better. But humans keep messing things up. It seems to be in their nature. But maybe I can do something about that. Except for Mamí, I really don’t have much use for them…
About the Author
Ernest Hogan has been locked up in secret laboratory in Arizona preparing to make his work available as ebooks. Look for "e" versions of Cortez on Jupiter, High Aztech, and Smoking Mirror Blues soon. And Obsidian Harvest, his Aztec dinosaur detective collaboration with Rick Cook, too. And on the physical book front in November, "Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song"
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