“Hey Big Dope.”
I assumed it was C.W. The shape was of the late Carl Sagan, but since he is dead, there’s no use pretending. I was in the shop working on a project when he wandered in. He didn’t say anything, just walked around and fiddled with different tools. This distracted me, so I told him to stop.
He held up a caliper and said, “Good tool. They once used something like it in science classes.”
“They don’t use them still?”
“Not since they don’t have science classes anymore.”
That got my attention. “They what?”
“Don’t you keep up with things?
“What does that have to do with science classes?”
“I can’t believe you just asked me that. You know as well as I that your species hasn’t taught science since the second year of Mike Pence’s presidency.”
I stopped what I was doing and turned off the machine. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“Your ignorance. You might as well be asking if I’ve been committing CNAV.”
“C.W.,” I said, “you have me totally confused.”
“Don’t tell me that you don’t know what Church Non-Attendance Violation is.”
I didn’t respond.
“Have you been so busy out here that you’ve been guilty of C…,?”
I interrupted him. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“That’s okay. The penalty for the first offense is just a week in re-education camp. I can attest to that.” He paused for a few seconds. “Oh, and have you filed your Personal Unacceptable Behavior Enemies list? They are due by the end of the year.”
“Have you gone berserk?”
“Not at all. FBI Director Madoff has stiffened the penalties for noncompliance this year. He says fully developed and verifiable PUBES are critical to the moral welfare of the country. He just arrested three women and two men for shaving theirs, shaving names off their lists of known gays, that is.”
“Now don’t tell me you don’t know who Bernie Madoff is?”
“I thought I did. But …”
“I wouldn’t mess with him. He’s under a lot of pressure.”
“Emperor Trump, President Arpaio, and General Kushner have ordered him to help Secretary of Defense Moore join forces with the new Secretary of State, and begin cleaning up what used to be the Middle East. They say that the radioactivity has subsided enough. I think they intend to start on Texas after that.”
“New Secretary of State? What on earth are you talking about?”
“Don’t tell me that you haven’t heard they appointed Franklin Graham to finish out Sarah Palin’s term after she became Secretary-General over at the UN.”
“I haven’t,” I said. “And did you say ‘General Kushner’ a minute ago?”
“I’m beginning to worry about you,” he said.
“The Kushner I know has no military experience. You must be making stuff up.”
He shook his head in disdain. “Look,” he said. “We have no military anymore, so what difference does it make who the head of it is? What is it with you about expertise? Treasury Secretary Osteen isn't even an economist.”
“C.W.,” I said, “we’re going to have to sit down and talk for a few minutes.”
“First sensible thing you’ve said all day.” A shudder went through his body. “Wait one.” He shuddered again. “I’m receiving a report. I think maybe it’s about what they plan to do with those teenage girls they caught reading novels.”
“Girls reading novels?”
“Yeah, can you imagine what kind of mess they would have if there were any boys still left around?” He shuddered again. And again. Then he said in a weak voice. “No. Are you telling me the truth? How embarrassing. How did it happen? I’m ready when you are.” He turned to me and said, “I’m going to be off-presence for a moment or two.”
“What’s the matter?”
“During this morning’s adjustment transmittal, they got my Constant Relative Adjustment Positioner out of sequence.”
“My CRAP has been off by nearly seven Earth-years ever since.”
“C.W.,” I said, “Before you go, answer me this about the things you said. Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?”
“Oh,” he said. “That will be up to you.”
I've had no further intercourse with the form of C.W. Future, but I will try live upon the Total Resistance Principle, ever afterwards; and may it was always be said of me, that I knew how to keep my love for America and its people well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!