70
 

(I should have told them we’ve been hearing the Voice of God. The Devil’s Voice, they’d counter. But our motive is pure. Meaning? Free from self-interest, free from hubris. Righteousness is never free from either. They don’t know that; they’d identify, empathize, sympathize. They’d merely condescend and tighten these restraints, maybe add some thumb screws. Or a crown of thorns? Forget the martyrdom tack; it won’t work. Grant’s a Christian; I can smell it, I can read it on his face when I feed him metaphoric samples of upchucked Host. What; that line about "humans being sacrosanct, our status conferred by God"; he didn’t buy it. He didn’t buy that we believe it, but he subscribes to the premise himself; they all do. Who all? THEM, the masses, the hapless herd of humanity. Why "hapless"? Because they’re mistaken. About? Being God’s darlings, teacher’s pets, the chosen; it’s the ultimate vanity, the penultimate conceitedness. And patently false because? Don’t play dumb; you know as well as I do there is no God. Can you demonstrate that; prove it beyond doubt’s shadow? More convincingly than can anyone who suspects otherwise. May we move on? This is a criminal waste of energy. What is? Beating a dead horse. Meaning religion? Meaning any system of belief that relies on faith to sustain its flimsy tenets. Science stumbles enough in pursuit of truth without adding trip-wire fables. What we’re trying to accomplish, if we ever get out of here, is to re-engineer ourselves. Pun intended? Take a species that is breeding itself toward extinction and redirect its course. By? Germ-line therapies, protein redistribution, modifying DNA. Making changes, in other words? And/or improvements. Determined by? Us; you, me and our steadfast objectivity. Uniquely qualified as we are because? We’ve overcome the bias, realized we are neither divinely selected nor inherently superior to every other living thing. So ours is an unobstructed view? A rational clarity. We see life as it is? Hence envision how it might be.)

ROCKEFELLER

How long has he been like this?

DOCTOR GRANT

Since early this morning. We called you last night, but I believe...

ROCKEFELLER

I wasn’t home. I only collected the message about thirty minutes ago. What’s with all the blinking and pulling these gargoyle faces?

DOCTOR GRANT

We changed his medication. It appears he’s had an unforeseen reaction.

ROCKEFELLER

This is temporary?

DOCTOR GRANT

Hopefully. Your father struck a nurse, which is why we switched to a stronger neuroleptic and recommenced restraints.

ROCKEFELLER

Why?

DOCTOR GRANT

Well, we could hardly let him run amok...

ROCKEFELLER

No, why did he hit the nurse?

DOCTOR GRANT

Oh; an argument. Nurse Somerset inquired about a name your father let drop and he accused her of "character assassination," by which he meant we know not what but he grew agitated, more emphatic in his gestures, and while waving his fist in the air he caught her on the chin. It might have been inadvertent but it took three attendants to wrestle him into submission. They hustled him straight back here, secured his limbs, and reported events to me. As I said, efforts were made without success to contact you. In the interim, I authorized Haloperidol.

ROCKEFELLER

He will snap out of this, won’t he?

DOCTOR GRANT

The long-acting injected form of Haloperidol can last up to six weeks. Had I known the drug was counter-indicated by some past sensitivity I of course would not have prescribed it, but your father’s medical records, such as they are, gave no such indication. Which reminds me; have you and your dad always lived in Wellington?

ROCKEFELLER

As far as I know. My mother died in childbirth. I always assumed it happened here. Why?

DOCTOR GRANT

Your father’s medical history stops twenty-two years ago. I only ask because these symptoms are consistent with Tardive Dyskinesia. If he suffered from this condition prior, his present state might linger.

ROCKEFELLER

Or become permanent?

DOCTOR GRANT

Too grim a prognosis, at this stage. We’ll keep him under close observation and let you know as soon as there’s any change. You’ve tried, I take it, to...?

ROCKEFELLER

Communicate? He acts like I'm invisible.

DOCTOR GRANT

Give him time. Give us time. I’m sure, in the long run, he’ll be his old self again.

ROCKEFELLER

Thank you, Doctor. If I may, I'd like to sit with him a while longer.

DOCTOR GRANT

As you wish. One more thing; does the name Stuyvesant mean anything to you or to your dad as far as you’re aware?

Rockefeller shakes his head and sits at Remington’s bedside, glad (in a chamber of his heart) about the madman’s helpless state, gloating (from that selfsame spot) with a rush of retribution on behalf of her (and untold others) used and criminally abused by him:

  • whose tongue flicks in and out like a serpent’s

  • whose countenance shifts like masks, each face competing for the title 'Most Grotesque'

  • whose eyelids flutter, bat to clear an errant lash it seems, but no, their blinks are random, disconnected from a brain usurped by a pharmaceutical 'remedy.'

(Ha! Some cure. We know your thoughts, lad, we who raised you from a commandeered egg  and plopped a dollop of ourselves in place of Mrs. Wolffmüller—yolk’s on her—in hopes you’d manifest him—namely me—whom skeptics deem imaginary. Trouble was—and is—you are a disappointment. Because you are not us—a clone does not a soul-mate guarantee—not Stuyvesant’s Siamese twin—a clone does not a bosom brother spawn—neither Rockefeller-sibling nor Rockefeller-son—a clone is neither phantom alter-ego nor conjugal fruit-of-the-loin—at best a single-minded chip off our double-decker block—so to speak—with wits half those of ours—therefore a halfwit—our ludicrous exterior and lashed-to-the-mast predicament notwithstanding. Vaunt your upper hand—go ahead—accommodate all your vices—with that veggie you’ve adopted like some virtuous cause célèbre—indulge. What you don’t know—about Miss Docile—what we—whoops—neglected to inform you is that—no, let’s not forewarn him; he’ll discover the truth soon enough. Poetic justice? Just desserts for cooping us up in here—with Doctor Grant content to 'medicate'—meaning to 'dope'—what he cannot comprehend—reducing us to our former—Quasimodo-like—plight. Though better this than sedation—at least we’re free to think—plot—orchestrate our escape plan—plus sonny-boy’s comeuppance—by weaning him from Suzette—or by watching her self-destruct. Bravo; we like it. Let him master Brainless-Barbie's program only to see it crash.)

Privy as he is to none of Remington’s tag-team subtext, Rockefeller gapes at his father’s spastic blinks as through Venetian blinds, menace / pathos alternately flashed, neither unambiguously, both unsettlingly, filial-duty and moral obligation vying for allegiance, diabolical parent opposed to autonomic lover, ineluctable culprit versus victim by design, neither party meeting strict criteria for parent or for partner:

  • Rem by his insistence for as long as memory serves on a brotherly form of fondness, less dependent, more mature, intent on parity, peer the role that 'Daddy-Dear' most coveted and jealously promoted, rivals, male or female, nary to be tolerated, requisites that persisted till the day Fell left for school, grudgingly relaxed but never quite relinquished...

  • while 'she' might be an 'it' with equal validation, mentally ill-equipped to return a suitor’s troth, psychologically stunted, emotionally inscrutable, senses fully alive yet wired as to a dolt, appreciative yet unmoved, responsive yet inert, most reactions flitting across her surface like the footfall of a water spider.

"Rem, can you hear me?"

(Oh, we can hear you. What’s more we can smell you.)

"No? Well, I need to talk anyway. You can pretend to listen; you’ve always been good at that."

(Foul as a mongrel's muzzle after sniffing a bitch's butt.)

"I know what you’ve been up to; I mean, at the lab. Above and beyond Suzette and your made-to-order transplant business, that kidskin covered notebook documents your obsession."

(Steeped in sluice-gate juices, pickled in pussy; the aroma's unmistakable.)

"It reads like Jekyll and Hyde, except that you experiment on others instead of on yourself. 'Evil genes'? Genes that predispose us to 'vile behavior'? Are you serious?"

(Birth canals extrude then ever-after lure back half the race.)

"You’ve been altering genes systematically, tracking down sequence after sequence like some bloodhound on a super-predator's trail? Noble, I suppose, in a half-ass sort of way. Jesus, Rem, could you maybe stop that grimacing?"

(Tardive Dyskinesia; Doc Grant is correct. We know the symptoms well. What you see before you, Benedict Arnold, is the upshot of your infamy.)

"Guess not. Sorry. I know you’re blaming me for... Christ, just look at you! What can I say? You’re right; I committed you for you—you’re really not well—then for me, then for her, and then for us."

(My dear misguided poor-excuse-for-a-twin, Suzette is a hopeless cause. Terminal, if unplugged from our 'iniquitous' apparatus. Should we warn him?)

"Which no doubt disappoints you. Nothing new there; I’ve always let you down. All my life I’ve felt your expectations dashed by my personal inadequacies. I tried so hard to be like you but something inside kept willing me apart. Call it self-preservation, asserting my identity, distinguishing me from you. It nearly drove me nuts."

(No, let’s not. He's broken his pecker once through lack of self-restraint. Suzette will do much worse; in effect, she'll bust his balls.)

"Leaving for California, against your advice, has made all the difference—despite your spying on me. You knew I changed my major from Genetics to Robotics; you knew about Joanna; it’s a toss-up which was worse; I mean, for you. For me, they both were better choices, emancipating choices; I finally got out of your footsteps, started walking on my own, which I intend to continue, once I’ve tidied up your mess."

(Stuy, we need a name-change. This "R" derivation no longer suits us. Any suggestions?)

"I’ve come to a decision that I’m sure you won’t much like. As soon as Suzette gets stabilized, I’m moving her to the house. After which I’m dismantling, piece by abominable piece, the entire Falk Foundation."

(Let’s go with Remington from here on out. Weren’t we already? We're making it official.)

BACK

NEXT