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
Hence envision how it might
How long has he
been like this?
this morning. We called you last night, but I believe...
I wasn’t home.
I only collected the message about thirty minutes ago. What’s with all the
blinking and pulling these gargoyle faces?
We changed his
medication. It appears he’s had an unforeseen reaction.
father struck a nurse, which is why we switched to a stronger neuroleptic and
Well, we could
hardly let him run amok...
No, why did he
hit the nurse?
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.
snap out of this, won’t he?
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
As far as I
know. My mother died in childbirth. I always assumed it happened here. Why?
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.
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...?
Communicate? He acts like
Give him time.
Give us time. I’m sure, in the long run, he’ll be his old self again.
Doctor. If I may, I'd like to sit with him a while longer.
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:
flicks in and out like a serpent’s
countenance shifts like masks, each face competing for the title
flutter, bat to clear an errant lash it seems, but no, their
blinks are random, disconnected from a brain usurped by a
(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
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...
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.)
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
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."
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
"I’ve come to a decision that I’m sure you won’t much like. As soon as
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