Thursday, March 29, 2007

THE DARK HALLS OF SCIENCE

It is doubtless that many of you have heard of the "Evil Atheist Conspiracy." Most would see this as an offshoot of the Christian "persecution complex," or the egotistical rants of the "intelligent design" faction, who can only define their "science" by picking through the debris on the fringe of evolution.

In other words, most would hear of the "Evil Atheist Conspiracy" and either scoff or chuckle.

However, as my in-depth investigation has uncovered, the conspiracy runs deeper than anyone could imagine...

(SCENE: THE GREAT HALL OF THE CASTLE DARWIN)

The Great Hall is massive; mounted heads from thousands of rare species line the walls. A table big enough to seat forty is in the middle of the room.

Some thirty-to-thirty-five scientists sit at or around the table in groups of three to five.

The Biologists sit in the floor by the table. They wear tattered lab coats and feast on a human body in torn bishop’s garb.

A trio of Chemists are clad in heavy robes to hide their hideous burns. They speak in serpentine rasps.

The Classical Physicists and the Quantum Physicists sit across from each other at the table; each group eyes the other warily. A Theoretical Physicist alternately watches both groups; no one seems to notice him.

The Astronomers are in their true alien forms. They are nearly impossible to describe because no one can stand to look at them for more than half a second at a time. They use alien technology and satellites to beam communication directly into one’s brain and, for some reason, smell like butterscotch pudding.

The Archeologists are dressed in suits made of bones held together by string and wear extinct animal skulls for helmets. They are naked under the bone suits, which is readily apparent. They stand because sitting down is both awkward and very uncomfortable.

The Anthropologists are dressed in a mish-mash of armor from various historical periods and carry mean-looking swords and axes. Everyone else gives them some space, but not because of the cutlery; they smell a little ripe.

The Mathematicians hover quietly overhead on a construct of imaginary numbers. Show offs.

The medical field is represented by a coked-up Pharmaceutical CEO, a Surgeon who is busy dissecting a human hand, and an HMO Lawyer who, everyone agrees, is a true nexus of evil.

Of course, the Atlanteans, who gave us pitiful humans all our technology, sit with smugly superior smirks. Despite their vast knowledge, they are really quite goofy.

Lastly, a Representative from the White House, Lloyd C. BETTINGHAUSER III, the son of one of Dick Cheney’s old frat brothers. He keeps checking over his shoulder to make sure that the Biologists haven’t noticed him.

RICHARD DAWKINS walks in the room. He has horns and a slight reddish tint to his eyes. Dawkins walks to the table, sits down at the head, and puts up his feet.

Dawkins has dropped his usual thoughtful, deliberate, scholarly manner; he’s more of a slick, fast-talking sort.

DAWKINS
Right, then. Everyone here?

Before anyone can answer...

DAWKINS
Good. Let’s get on with it, I’ve got a meeting with the Pope in an hour. We have a visitor from the White House, Mr. Bettinghauser, who’s here to observe the way we do things. Please, don’t eat him, or control his mind, or make him soil himself in fear. First order of business; Biologists, what have you got?

A BIOLOGIST looks up, drops an arm, and shambles over on all fours. When he reaches the table, he stands up, wipes some blood from his mouth, and says...

BIOLOGIST
How are you, Richard?

DAWKINS
Fine, fine.

BIOLOGIST
Hybrids. We’ve got some interesting ideas. We’ve even brought a sample.

The Biologist turns to his group and says something in a strange language that sounds like a combination of monkey screeches and Klingon.

Another biologist ambles over, bows, and presents a stuffed and mounted combination of a puppy and a zebra. Dawkins raises an eyebrow.

BIOLOGIST
It’s a zebrador retriever, sir.

DAWKINS
I can see that. That’s all well and good, but I don’t exactly think cute will help further our evil, secular, materialist plot of total world domination, do you?

BIOLOGIST
Oh, no, no! I made this for my daughter. She wanted a stuffed animal, so I let her kill it, clean it, and mount it herself. You know kids and their toys.

DAWKINS
Good show, old man. They’re so adorable when they're covered in gore, aren't they? And I trust you’re still working on the other project?

BIOLOGIST
Yes sir. We'll have syphilis airborne in less than three months.

DAWKINS
Excellent. Thank you. Oh, and why don’t you cook me up a tiger/parrot hybrid? I want to fly it to work.

BIOLOGIST
Of course, sir.

DAWKINS
Mathematicians, you still have God locked up in that tiny invisible box?

The Mathematicians all start speaking in rapid sequences of numbers and technical jargon. Dawkins cuts them off...

DAWKINS
In a language other than super-smart-ass!

The Mathematicians all look at each other. They nod in unison.

DAWKINS
That’s all you had to say. Archeologists?

An ARCHEOLOGIST, wearing a sabertooth tiger helmet, salutes the group.

ARCHEOLOGIST
Your Lordship, our conspiracy to plant aged specimens of "dinosaurs" and other "ancient species" was nearly discovered, but we’ve taken care of it.

DAWKINS
Ah, yes. What was that chap’s name? Hoving?

ARCHEOLOGIST
Something like that, sir.

DAWKINS
I trust you fed him to the Biologists?

ARCHEOLOGIST
No, sir. Actually, as it turns out, he hadn’t paid his taxes in quite a while, so...

Some at the table wince or shift uncomfortably; Dawkins whistles...

DAWKINS
Poor sod. Those IRS guys are right bastards.

There’s a general murmur of agreement from the table.

ARCHEOLOGIST
And all traces of alien or Atlantean culture on Earth are still under wraps.

The Archeologist nods at the Atlanteans and, after he shields his eyes, the Astronomers; they nod back.

DAWKINS
Anthropologists?

An ANTHROPOLOGIST, wearing a Centurion helmet, a Mongolian fur vest, and the legs to a suit of armor, stands.

ANTHROPOLOGIST
We’ve eliminated or summarily dismissed all archeological evidence of a Young Earth.

DAWKINS
And that "Lost Tomb of Jesus," that was your work, I assume?

ANTHROPOLOGIST
It was mostly Cameron, sir. Of course, once he contacted us we told him what he wanted to hear.

DAWKINS
So, the real tomb is still safe?

ANTHROPOLOGIST
Ten feet under a kosher deli, sir.

DAWKINS
Splendid. Astronomers?

Dawkins (who seems to have no problem looking at the Astronomers) acts like he’s listening to a voice inside his head; everyone else does the same.

DAWKINS
Oh, well done, Astronomers, well done.

Everyone claps.

DAWKINS
Oh, that is evil! And that part at the end with the "Face on Mars?" What you gentlemen do is an art, not a science, and I mean that, I really do. If the rest of you were as effective as the Astronomers we’d be right in the thick of a Reign of Darkness.

Dawkins gives the Astronomers a "thumbs up"; they nod.

DAWKINS
Chemists? I see you’ve all healed up nicely since the last meeting.

A CHEMIST stands.

CHEMIST
Thankssssss...

DAWKINS
And what have you been working on?

CHEMIST
Throwing sssssssssmall children into vatsssssss of asssssssid.

DAWKINS
And how’s that coming along?

CHEMIST
Sssssssssswimmingly...

DAWKINS
Or not, I suppose.

Dawkins chuckles, the others laugh, and the Chemists hiss in delight.

CHEMIST
Yessssss! You are correct, ssssssssir!

DAWKINS
You Chemists brighten my day. Physicists?

A CLASSICAL PHYSICIST and a QUANTUM PHYSICIST stand up; they never take their eyes off of each other.

CLASSICAL PHYSICIST
Everything’s copacetic, sir.

QUANTUM PHYSICIST
As smooth as silk, sir.

The THEORETICAL PHYSICIST stands up.

THEORETICAL PHYSICIST
If I may say something, I...

DAWKINS
You may sit down and shut up.

The Theoretical Physicist plops down and pouts.

DAWKINS
Has anyone come anywhere close to a unified theory?

CLASSICAL PHYSICIST
Not if we have anything to say about it.

QUANTUM PHYSICIST
Ditto.

DAWKINS
You fellows still hate each other?

CLASSICAL PHYSICIST
Yep.

QUANTUM PHYSICIST
Damn skippy.

DAWKINS
As long as you get the job done. Atlanteans?

The Atlanteans wave at Dawkins like Jethro from the "Beverly Hill Billies."

DAWKINS
Love what you’re doing. Keep it up.

The Atlanteans grin and give him a collective "thumbs up."

DAWKINS
Doctors?

The PHARMA CEO stands up and bows.

PHARMA CEO
My liege. Our surgeon reports that malpractice suits are down while "accidental" or "natural" deaths are steadily climbing.

The surgeon stabs the dissected hand several times and giggles to himself.

PHARMA CEO
And we hope to have 30% more Prozac in the drinking water by next year.

DAWKINS
Outstanding. And, finally, our esteemed guest and closest friend, the Prince of Darkness, Satan!

A jet of fire shoots from the floor and reveals Satan in all his stereotypical glory (red, horns, fangs, cloven hooves, etc.).

ALL
Hail Satan!

SATAN
Dickie D., my man!

DAWKINS
How are you, old friend?

Dawkins stands up, hugs Satan, and reclaims his perch.

SATAN
Feeling good, feeling good. I would’ve gotten here sooner but I had a meeting with Pat Robertson.

DAWKINS
Yes, of course. How is all that going?

SATAN
It’s all aces, baby. I’ve got Robertson, Falwell, Dobson, all of ‘em in my pocket. As long as I keep the money and the adoration flowing, they’ll say that Paula Abdul is the Second Coming.

DAWKINS
Was that you, with the whole Haggard ordeal?

SATAN
Nope. He’s the one who liked meth and man-ass, not me.

DAWKINS
It goes to show you never can tell.

SATAN
As of now, everything’s moving along quite well. The Christians think all the Muslims are out to get them, the Muslims think anyone from the West is out to get them, and the Jews think everyone’s out to get them. Honestly, it’s getting too easy, drill sergeant.

DAWKINS
I know, and it’s not quite as fun as it used to be.

SATAN
On the bright side, that whole "intelligent design" kick is doing better than I had imagined.

DAWKINS
How so?

SATAN
Well, remember how we had to slip Behe a mickey just to win the Dover Trial? Ever since then, I don’t know, it’s like they all went crazy. I haven’t had any contact with them since last year but they just keep digging themselves deeper and deeper. I was able to devote more time to death cults and UFO cults, though, so I’ve got some really nifty ones coming out next year. And I got "The Secret" on Oprah, too, so...

There is a rousing round of applause.

DAWKINS
That’s why you're the master.

SATAN
Thanks, Dick. All my usual rackets are coming out even; alternative medicine, nightmare philosophy, Wall Street, public education, politics. An even keel all around, you might say.

DAWKINS
Glad to hear it.

SATAN
Oh, and kudos on the book, by the way.

DAWKINS
Thanks, old boy. Well, does that cover it? Anyone else?

Dawkins listens to the Astronomers in his head. Some people sigh or groan after they do the same.

DAWKINS
Jolly good point, Astronomers. Now, calm down! They’re right, you know. Every meeting, we end up performing the virgin sacrifice in the middle of the orgy because some people...

Dawkins gives the Biologists a dirty look. They all avert their eyes.

DAWKINS
...can’t seem to control their bloodlust. Honestly, it’s so anti-climactic, no pun intended. So, for once, let’s enjoy the orgy and perform the sacrifice after, so we’ll have something to look forward to. OK? Everyone?

There’s a general murmur of reluctant agreement.

DAWKINS
Good. Well, this meeting of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy has closed.

Dawkins motions to the Biologists. One of them hands him an arm. Dawkins brings the arm down on the table like a gavel.

DAWKINS
Now, let us pray...

Dawkins hits a button on the underside of the table. A panel slides out of the ceiling and a glass coffin comes down on two chains.

The mummified corpse of Charles Darwin (complete with several mummified finches) descends. All the scientists get down on their knees and chant...

ALL
Hail Darwin! Hail Darwin! Hail Darwin!

After crossing themselves with pentagrams, the scientists stand up and begin moving towards the Orgy Room. Dawkins walks over to Bettinghauser.

DAWKINS
Mr. Bettinghauser, is it?

BETTINGHAUSER
Yes, sir.

DAWKINS
Will you be staying for the orgy?

Bettinghauser, who was nervous the entire time, finally perks up a bit.

BETTINGHAUSER
Really? Well, sure. Why not?

Dawkins grins; Bettinghauser does the same.

DAWKINS
Great. You can have him first, Chemists.

Dawkins slaps Bettinghauser on the back and disrobes as he walks towards the Orgy Room. Bettinghauser is frozen with shock until a Chemist puts an arm over his shoulders and leads him to the Orgy Room.

CHEMIST
Dibsssssssss!

1 comment:

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