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Future Schlock

Old Guy

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Asteroid mining? Well, there are certain risks .....................

Future Schlock

"General Mudmover, the President is on line three."

Mudmover snickered and picked up his phone. "Trixie, you can come up with better jokes than that. The President? As if."

"Ah -- this -- is this the party to whom I am speaking?"

"Um -- Mudmover, here. Who is this?"

"It's me, General. Former community organizer. President For Life. Maximus Inflatus. Your Commander in Chief."

Mudmover sprang to attention. "Yes, sir -- er -- I'm not up on the latest forms of address."

"Maximus is in vogue with the Washington media, General. But the proletariat just call me Uncle Ho. Kind of a cross between Uncle Joe Stalin and Ho Chi Minh. Both are particular heroes of mine. You can call me sire or Maximus."

"Well, uh, Maximus. What can I do for you?"

"You probably already have your forces on alert, given the nature of the threat, but I thought it might be a good idea to discuss our options with you and give you the benefit of my thinking."

Trixie tip-toed into the office. She mimed a question. Mudmover shrugged. He had no idea what was going on. "What is it you wished to tell me, Mr. Pre -- ah -- Maximus?" With his free hand the General gestured toward the wall-mounted flat panel television, signaling Trixie to turn it on. In seconds, a major news channel appeared, sound muted. Pandemonium reigned on the set. Letters streamed across the bottom of the screen.





"General," said Maximus. "I am told you have some space interceptors. ARF-27 Despoilers? Can they be used to deal with these space pirates?"

"Ah -- ." Mudmover was mesmerized by the television display. The President For Life's words penetrated slowly. "Ah -- well, sir -- sire. The Despoilers, properly armed, could have stopped these social anarchists, but all my space interceptors were broken up two years ago. It was part of your No Weapons in Space program."

"Well -- ." The former community organizer seemed temporarily at a loss for words. "I never expected you uniformed clowns would actually destroy your toys."

"We did, sire. Every single one."

"Ye Gods, man! At a time like this, you followed orders?"

"There are no Despoilers, sire. I could recommend the use of ballistic missiles, suitably armed and modified, except -- ."

"Except what, General? I look to you for answers, not excuses."

"The last of our ballistic missiles went into smelters just a few months ago. Part of your Swords to Plowshares Plan. A Peace Dividend Project, I believe."

"Well, you know the saying, General, 'There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys, there's only you and me and we just disagree.'"

"I heard the song way back when. The folks in Europe might disagree with the lyrics."

"What happens in Europe stays in Europe, General. Besides, head to toe coverings introduce a kind of commonality, a sort of equality, among women, don't you think?"

"What I think doesn't matter. I have no suggestions for dealing with the falling asteroids. Are you still in Washington, sire?"

"Of course. According to my press secretary and the local media, we have some time before we need to evac -- what was that?"

Mudmover clearly heard a sonic boom overlaid by cries of alarm. "Maximus?"

"Ah -- I'm not sure what's going on, General."

"Sounds like your press secretary and the local media all have the same level of scientific expertise, Mr. President For Life. That was a sonic boom, generated by a falling rock the size of a battleship."

"Sonic - schmonic. Talk sense, General. Don't play guessing games with me. I have no idea how large a battleship is."

"Big. Very big. So long, sire. I think you're about to learn the science and practice of high temperature physics from close up."

"Darn it, man, is there going to be a disaster?"

"Say your prayers, if you remember any. Washington will soon be a vast pool of magma."

"Magma? Is that bad? Will there be a disruption of services? I was a community organizer once, you know. They'll need folks like me in the aftermath of a disaster. And therapists, of course. Can't forget the thera --."

The conversation ended in a burst of static. Mudmover placed the phone back on its cradle. He looked up at the blank television screen and shrugged.

Trixie turned the television off. "It's bad isn't it?"

"Bad as can be, Trix. Time for a major rebuilding of civilization, I'm afraid." He leered at her. "Wanna make a head start on that?"

She tossed her head and walked to the door. "Not with an old fart like you. But there's that nice sergeant who works in the shop. I think I'll see if he's interested in repopulating the planet."

"A sergeant!" whined Mudmover. "But he works with his hands!"

Trixie's smile lit the room. "I know."


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