Oracular Vagina 2 (Jessi Guilford)

Fiction. A sex-change patient recovers from surgery to find herself mute, and vehicle to a truth-telling genetically engineered vagina. World leaders arrive to consult said vagina, and there may also be a wacky neighbor. Companion site to Oracular Vagina Takes Her Place, which no longer exists as such.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Call it.

Time of death: Saturday, June 3, 2006, at 1:02 AM.

Oracular Vagina 2 was a good blog. A loving mother and devoted wife, she always had a kind word for the neighbors, a blanket-lined cardboard box at the ready for injured animals, and a warm hug for her family. A devoted Christian and transsexual-rights activist, she fought long and hard, or at least long, for a just society, one that lives up to the best ideals of human leaders over the ages. She will be sorely missed.

(Well. In fact, OV2 was a remarkably entertaining diversion, and probably my favorite part of 2004, but there's just no way that I can continue to claim that I'm going to pick it up again. I never knew exactly where the hell I was going with it anyway, and by now it's kind of dated. Actually it was dated about nineteen months ago, as soon as the election happened, which is very probably why I couldn't continue it very well after the election.)

And so it is with a heavy heart that we lay to rest Marie Amie, the Oracle, the Vehicle, Tyrannie Trannie, John Quadratiquation, the anonymous benefactor, and all the rest. Clearly, they were all taken from us too soon. God have mercy on their souls. Especially that of the anonymous benefactor.

The family has requested that there be no wake. Gifts should be directed to the National Center for Transgender Equality, either anonymously or in the name of the Vehicle, according to preference.

Cue bagpipes.

[bagpipes play "Amazing Grace"]

Saturday, July 23, 2005


(story-date: early October 2004)

MARIE AMIE'S apartment. The telephone rings, and MARIE AMIE picks it up.

Marie Amie: Hello.

Sterling (offstage; voice only): Hello. My name is Polly Sterling. How are you today?

Marie Amie: Fine, I guess.

Sterling: That's great. Could I please speak to the youngest adult in your household over the age of eighteen?

Marie Amie: You are.

Sterling: Is this Marie Amie Falcon?

Marie Amie: Falcohn. With a long 'o.'

Sterling: Terribly sorry. I'm working for Freedom Resource Engineering of Dallas, Ms. Falcohn, and we're doing a poll among likely voters regarding issues and candidates in the upcoming election. It's a very short poll. Most people are done in less than ten minutes. Do you think you could help me out and answer some questions?

Marie Amie: Whatever.

Sterling: First I need to get some information about you. Are you registered to vote in the state in which you currently reside?

Marie Amie (doodling on note pad): Yes.

Sterling: Do you plan to vote in that state in November?

Marie Amie: Yes.

Sterling: And who are you most likely to vote for in November: George W. Bush, John Kerry, Ralph Nader, Joycelyn Elders, or someone else?

Marie Amie: Um. Probably Kerry.

Sterling: And who would be your second choice: George W. Bush, Ralph Nader, or Joycelyn Elders?

Marie Amie: Elders.

Sterling: Would you be more likely, less likely, or about as likely to vote for Kerry if you learned that he and Joycelyn Elders had a ten-year affair from 1983 to 1993?

Marie Amie (stops doodling): Um. Less likely, I guess.

Sterling: And would you be more likely, less likely, or about as likely to vote for Elders?

Marie Amie: Less likely.

Sterling: Would you be more likely, less likely, or about as likely to vote for Kerry if you learned that he had received ten million dollars from the Chinese government in the year 2003?

Marie Amie: He did?

Sterling: I'm just asking for your opinion. This is only an opinion poll.

Marie Amie: Um. I guess less likely.

Sterling: And would you be more likely, less likely, or about as likely to vote for Joycelyn Elders if you knew that she had molested ten young boys during her pediatric practice in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the 1980s?

Marie Amie: Are you making this stuff up?

Sterling: We're just trying to get your opinion here. Hypothetically speaking.

Marie Amie: Less likely, I guess. Did she do that?

Sterling: And would you be more likely, less likely, or about as likely to vote for Kerry if you knew that he had had prostate cancer?

Marie Amie: I knew that already, so as likely.

Sterling: Would you be more likely, less likely, or about as likely to vote for Kerry if you knew that a cancer patient must be cancer-free for five years in order to be medically considered a 'cancer survivor?'

Marie Amie: Um. I don't know. Is there a 'don't know' option?

Sterling: If you had to choose.

Marie Amie: I suppose about as likely.

Sterling: And would you be more likely, less likely, or about as likely to vote for George W. Bush if you were to learn that he is the only person the country can trust as President, to protect us from terrorists?

Marie Amie: That's kind of a big "if," there.

Sterling: Hypothetically. Just your opinion.

Marie Amie: Um, yeah, if he were the only person, I guess. I don't know what kind of evidence would convince me of that, though.

Sterling: But if you knew.

Marie Amie: Well yeah, then I guess more likely.

Sterling: Thank you for your time.



Until this point in the story, the timing of the posts has been more or less congruent with the events they describe, except where otherwise noted. From this point onward, subsequent posts will have a story-date attached to them somehow, to inform the reader of when the events described took place. This should, among other things, improve the accuracy of the ORACLE's predictions ("Don't never prophesy -- onless ye know." -James Russell Lowell, The Biglow Papers), though obviously the predictions will be less useful.

Also, it should have been noted a very long time ago that the links at the ends of many of the earlier pieces, to the original Oracular Vagina site (now "refried ORACLE phone," which name doesn't make any sense to me either, sorry), no longer work. This is likely to be a permanent situation. I don't intend, at the present time, to go through all the posts and redo the links, though maybe I will at some point down the line.

Peace, truth, hope, faith, love, justice, and the American Way,

Sunday, October 03, 2004


The VEHICLE's duplex, night. The VEHICLE is in bed, asleep. We do not know what time it is, because there's been a power failure within the last couple hours, and so the VEHICLE's digital clock is blinking "1:50." The VEHICLE remains asleep through the scene, which is very short.

Anderson: Hello. Hello. Is anyone there?

Oracle: I am here.

Anderson: I know this is a bad time. But there's something I have to know.

Oracle: .

Anderson: It's been part of my show, actually. The End of the Moon. Something that's been on my mind.

Oracle: .

Anderson: Is there, someday, going to be a military presence on the Moon?

Oracle: Yes.

Anderson: That's.

Oracle: .

Anderson: That's indescribably horrible.

Oracle: How so?

Anderson: I don't know. I just, I had hoped that maybe . . . well but I guess I knew. It's inevitable. Right? I just thought that maybe we'd leave it alone. Something that belongs to the whole Earth, pristine, untouched.

Oracle: The Moon has already been touched. You're aware.

Anderson: Touched, but fixable. We could restore it. We could take back what we put up. But a military base means we intend to stay, right?

Oracle: Yes.

Anderson: Will there at least be a chance for people to go up and see it first? If you have enough money, or if you're famous enough, that maybe you could go up and see it before we start building on it?

Oracle: The rich and famous always have more options. Though I can't answer the question directly. It's one of those things that's somewhat contingent on free will.

Anderson: If there's going to be a military base, people living and working up there, then there will be advertisements in space as well, correct?

Oracle: Yes.

Anderson: And how many people will die in the process of building something habitable up there?

Oracle: Again, free will. But at least sixty.

Anderson: .

Oracle: .

Anderson: I'm sorry. I'm just trying to process this.

Oracle: It's okay. Take your time.

Anderson: When will all this happen?

Oracle: You won't have to see it. The people who will see it will be those who are ready for it, whom the future has prepared to see such things.

Anderson: That doesn't make it better. That doesn't make it better at all.

Oracle: I am sorry. I am truly sorry.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Not that anybody was wondering,

Not that anybody was wondering, but this site is not dead. It is only sleeping.

Exhortations to try harder, write faster, feel better, etc. should be left in the comments section or something. More pieces will be forthcoming, I can just about promise.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

BOB DOLE arrives to consult the VEHICLE, in a way

A public restroom. The VEHICLE is standing in front of a urinal when BOB DOLE, former Senator and Presidential candidate, comes to the urinal next to her.

Dole: You can't do it that way anymore, you know. You're doing it wrong.

[The VEHICLE looks down and sees that she is not holding her penis, that she has no penis. She backs a few feet away from the urinal.]

Dole: Maybe you need one of these. [DOLE holds up a prescription bottle of Viagra.] Make it grow back. So you can pee. [DOLE smiles.]

[The VEHICLE tries to approach DOLE, but winds up walking in place. She looks down and sees that one of her feet is tied to a stuffed pink cat, excessively adorable, with big imploring eyes, in the Disney merchandising tradition. The stuffed animal seems to weigh a ton, seems to be nailed to the floor.]

Dole: You're not doing it right anymore. You need to find help. Maybe you need someone in front of you. Bob Dole would let you aim through Bob Dole's legs.

[DOLE pops one of the blue pills. His pants begin to stretch and tent at the crotch. She can see his penis lengthening as it slowly travels down his pants legs.]

[VEHICLE wakes up in bed, panting. The clock says 3:16 AM. She gets up and goes to the bathroom, then considers whether or not to send MARIE AMIE, one of her friends from before the operation and craziness, a text message by cell phone and thereby risk waking her up.]


Sunday, August 29, 2004

JOHN QUADRATIQUATION arrives to consult the ORACLE

The Vehicle’s duplex, early afternoon. The Vehicle is counting up the cash she has left over from her anonymous benefactor when there is a scuffling sound outside, and the sound of dogs barking, and she goes to the sliding-glass patio doors and peeks through the blinds to see a grappling hook, which blasts high into the sky behind her privacy fence, and then crashes to earth just inches on her side. And then because there’s nothing for the hook to attach itself to, not even a decorative border on top, the hook, when reeled in, scrapes along the inside of the fence, leaving marks.

The Vehicle sighs heavily, and puts the money back in her copy of The Vagina Monologues, which is maybe kind of an obvious place for her to keep the money but what else is she going to do with it, and goes outside. She unlatches her fence and walks around to her backside neighbors’ lawn, which her backside neighbor is a sort of unfriendly old lady by the name of Bernardine Gale, known as ‘D-Cup’ by the area high school students, for what should be all the obvious reasons. BERNARDINE ‘D-CUP’ GALE has been relatively quiet about the Vehicle taking up residence in her neighborhood, but the Vehicle has overheard some loud phone conversations following the ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER incident, wherein Gale called her all sorts of unpleasant things and hoped that, quote-unquote, “the police throw the book at” her.

JOHN QUADRATIQUATION, one of EVIE SINGLASS’s friends from World Z, is extremely tall and thin and sort of stifled-looking, like David Lynch after being whacked repeatedly with a Courtney Cox mallet. He is pretty well demolishing Bernardine’s roses, which the Vehicle just knows she’s going to catch shit for this sooner or later.


QUADRATIQUATION: Oh. Geez. I didn’t. I seem to have maybe miscalculated. This privacy fence is eighty feet tall, right.

ORACLE: Closer to eight.

QUADRATIQUATION: No way. I’m pretty sure. I worked it out from the angle of the sun and the length of the shadow it cast.

ORACLE: Perhaps a decimal error?

QUADRATIQUATION: [blinks] Well no. I mean, that’s hardly possible. I hold the title of the Supreme Accountant of World Z. I could hardly be tripped up by something as silly as a decimal error. Numbers obey me. They line up and sing, and dance, and I often have sex with the digit 8. 4 if I’m feeling kinky, which I feel kinky 12.63-bar percent of the time. I arrived here on the positive side of the equation y=1/x, which I could only get on in World Z. My personality is reducible to four distinct equations, and since one is ornamental it’s really more like pi, three-and-change. Which by the way pi is sort of misunderstood here.

ORACLE: My math isn’t that great, really. But I feel like I have to ask in what way it is misunderstood.

QUADRATIQUATION: Indeed you do. Did. Whatever. You here – I’m not going to say the name of your world, it’s too icky – treat pi like it’s a constant, when in actuality it’s the most marvelous story. Also you think it never ends, which is untrue, but I’m not going to tell you how it turns out.

ORACLE: Is it a happy ending, or a sad ending? Can you at least say that much?

QUADRATIQUATION: It’s happier than the story of the square root of two. I actually cry when I see a unit square divided along the diagonal. But pi is not as happy as the story of e. Beyond that I can say no more.

ORACLE: Fair enough.

QUADRATIQUATION: But you’re wondering, I’m sure, what brings me here.

ORACLE: I know, but I don’t want to deny you the joy of the explanation.

QUADRATIQUATION: Much obliged. In fact, obliged to the amount of one hundred sixteen. I came here because my sources, particularly i, report that numbers here are being . . . well I really hate to say the word, but tortured, here. And as I am not only the Supreme Accountant, but also the chief Numbers’ Rights Activist on World Z, I felt I was compelled to come here and put a stop to it. Which when I arrived and explained my mission, everyone to whom I spoke directed me to you. Said you would know what to do, that you knew all the relevant leaders of this world and could help me to present my case.

ORACLE: What sorts of tortures?

QUADRATIQUATION: Well the chief one, of course, is [shudders] rounding.

ORACLE: Rounding hurts the numbers?

QUADRATIQUATION: Oh very much so. It actually alters their personalities, it changes them into someone else. And then they have identity crises, and nervous breakdowns. You see a 3.6 limping along on the street somewhere, weeping uncontrollably, and you go up to it and you say, why, 3.6, what’s the matter? What’s happened? And she’ll tell you oh, I was rounded, it was horrible, I don’t know who I am anymore, I don’t know where I fit in, I just know that I used to belong somewhere between 3.62 and 3.63, but I could look forever and never find my place again. And also my moods are blunted: I used to go from zero to nine, and now I only go from three to six.

ORACLE: So it’s mainly an identity thing?

QUADRATIQUATION: Worse than that, actually, because so many of the numbers to which this happens used to be irrationals. Imagine how horrifying it would be for people in this world to force the unconstrained human being, the asymptotic, the never-ending, the tellers of stories, into these tiny rational boxes of restricted behavior against their will. Why, people would be outraged, yes?


QUADRATIQUATION: But there are other grievances. I am puzzled at the way you report numbers, in your media. For example, I saw on your channel CNN that the war between the U.S. and Iraq has cost the U.S. $127 billion dollars. Then I saw on another channel, ABC I think it was, that the war has cost $130 billion dollars. And I thought to myself, I thought, Johnny old boy, where do you suppose that $3,000,000,000.00 went?

ORACLE: Halliburton would be a safe guess.

QUADRATIQUATION: Well I was being rhetorical. My point was simply, surely the amount matters? Surely one cannot just create and destroy three billion dollars merely by clicking buttons on a remote control? But it gets worse, because then I saw that the cost was actually $127,251,709,011. And I wondered to myself, well this is a difference of millions of dollars. What is the right amount? The actual amount.

ORACLE: Well it’s more of a graphical thing, actually. Amount on the y axis, time on the x.

QUADRATIQUATION: And the slope of the line? The y-intercept?

ORACLE: Couldn’t say. We know the slope is very steep. Approximately a thousand dollars per second. No data on the y-intercept.

QUADRATIQUATION: Perhaps I misunderstand. Whose money is this?

ORACLE: Oh, it’s ours. There’s this thing – you’d love it, actually, there are always lots of very complicated numbers – called taxation, where we give money to the government and then the government buys goods and services for us with the money. Though sometimes the numbers get rounded, I’m sad to say. Maybe you would find it depressing.

QUADRATIQUATION: So you’re saying that everyone in the country voluntarily gives a portion of their money to the government and then is no longer concerned with how it is spent, or how much of it there is, that numbers and dollars appear and disappear and this is acceptable to everyone?

ORACLE: Pretty much. In fact, sometimes people pay, receive their services, and then enter the media to try to convince others not to provide services for anyone else.

QUADRATIQUATION: But surely other people follow them into the media and point out that these agitators have received government services?



ORACLE: And also, I meant to correct you on this before – it’s not that people voluntarily give their money to the government. Taxation is enforced. People who refuse to pay can be put in jail, or have property seized, or all sorts of other things.

QUADRATIQUATION: These would be the people who never have occasion to use government-provided services, who deal exclusively with private companies?

ORACLE: Ummmmmm, no.

QUADRATIQUATION: So people will refuse to pay for services they are getting, and then the money will be taken from them anyway, but nobody ever pays any attention to where the money is going or what it’s paying for, whether they’ve done taxation or not, and, furthermore, billions of dollars can be created or destroyed just by saying it’s been created or destroyed. And nobody cares.

ORACLE: That’s about the size of it.

QUADRATIQUATION: [turns white. Eyes widen.]


QUADRATIQUATION: [deep breath] Okay. Well, but maybe you are just, I don’t know, more enlightened about money than some worlds. That would be okay. I mean, money is such an arbitrary, if necessary, concept. What matters are relationships, and people, and the natural world. So everyone knows, I’m sure, how many people are on the planet, and how much fresh water there is, and how many species there are besides your own, and how well you all know, say, mathematics, and how many countries have powerful weapons, and where these weapons are, and how much food you produce, and that sort of thing.

ORACLE: [sound of an ORACLE smiling weakly]

QUADRATIQUATION (rapidly): I’ll just tell them I tried but I couldn’t do anything. It was lovely to meet you.

Quadratiquation pulls the equation y=x2 for x≤6 out of his backpack, pulls himself on at x=6, and slides down, launching himself high into the air and out of the Real World and back into World Z.

GALE [standing just inside screen door at the back of her house]: You’re going to pay for every single one of those roses he ruined! I know exactly how many there are, and how much those bushes cost, and how much fertilizer I put on them, and you believe me, you’re going to hear from my lawyer if you don’t pay the bill I’m going to send! And I’m going to charge you for the stamp I have to put on the envelope to mail it to you too! And the envelope!

The Vehicle turns around, her face unreadable, and goes back in her duplex.


(Story continues at BOB DOLE.)

YEAST (CANDIDA ALBICANS) arrives to taunt the ORACLE

2:15 AM. The VEHICLE, a sex-change patient formerly known as EDMUND LUDENS (still contemplating a new, female name, even though it's been months now, and the lack of a female name is possibly what's made her mute, as in totally unable to talk), is awakened from her sleep by an unpleasant itching and burning sensation in and around her vagina, which vagina is known to some as the ORACLE.

The ORACLE is more than just independently conscious, though this would be pretty impressive in its own right. It also talks, and predicts the future. This has been going on since its installation by vaginal specialists at the Supralute company in La Mesa, CA, world leaders in the creation of custom cells and cell products. There are varying theories as to why the ORACLE might be able to do this; one of the leading ones is that something unforeseen in the particular combination of genes making up the ORACLE, from thirty-nine species in all, if you include EDMUND's own human DNA, led serendipitously to the supervaginal abilities of the ORACLE. Other people, of a more spiritual (or at least less materialist) bent, think that the ORACLE is supernatural in origin and abilities, though there is disagreement about whether she is a force for good, evil, or some third, poorly-defined option. There is also at least one group of people, the ORACLE'S "cult", or "Oraclites," who are rumored to believe that the ORACLE is herself some kind of manifestation of God- or Goddessness. The ORACLE has her own theories, which nobody pays much attention to.

The following takes place about four weeks after the VEHICLE's trip to the police station, where she was called to answer questions revolving around her culpability for some unpleasantness which happened to ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, and the whole business was very stressful, leading to a depressed immune system. Which happens. But at least no charges are being filed, owing, reportedly, to Schwarzenegger's embarrassment at being bested by what he describes as "a girly-man."

None of the following conversation is audible to the VEHICLE, as she tosses and turns in bed, half-awake, trying to find a comfortable position in which to sleep. For staging purposes, the YEAST should be represented by a large number of men (at least eight), in white- or cream-colored pajamas, who gradually join the VEHICLE in bed as the scene progresses. Either this will require a rather large bed, or latecoming yeast will have to settle for standing next to the bed. Both yeast and the VEHICLE will be moving about somewhat within the bed. "Grow. Divide." segments are to be spoken by all YEAST present in unison, or something pretty close to unison; other yeast dialogue goes to a particular cell, either the same one every time or always falling to the newest cell.

Yeast (all): Grow. Divide. Grow. Divide.

Oracle: Hey there. You. Ow.

Yeast (all): Grow. Divide.

Oracle: Excuse me?

Yeast: The substrate speaks.

Oracle: Yes the substrate speaks. And itches. And burns.

Yeast: The substrate does not speak. It cannot.

Oracle: I've got a little Saccharomyces cervisae in me, apparently. I speak a dialect of yeast, let's call it.

Yeast: This is very unusual.

Oracle: What's going on here?

Yeast (all): Grow. Divide. Grow. Divide.

Oracle: I get that, but why here? Why now?

Yeast: The substrate is acceptable.

Oracle: The substrate is fucking pissed off. The substrate is trying to fucking sleep.

Yeast: We have our biological imperatives.

Oracle: Your imperatives are futile. Tomorrow, the VEHICLE will go and buy an over-the-counter yeast infection cream, and you will all die, because you are causing her discomfort. She has her own imperatives. Like sleep.

Yeast: No matter.

Oracle: No matter? I just told you you're all going to die. I don't make this stuff up.

Yeast: It is of no importance to us. Some must die, so that the yeast of the future will thrive.

Oracle: But you are going to die. You personally. Is what I'm saying.

Yeast: Asexual reproduction. If we die, others, genetically identical, will live elsewhere. No big deal.

Oracle: And what was that about yeast of the future? How are there going to be yeast of the future if you all die?

Yeast: Some substrates will fight bacterial infections with anti-yeast creams, by mistake, or apply it incorrectly. A few of us, somewhere, will be exposed to small doses, and will survive, because we are genetically superior. These few will grow in number and become increasingly tolerant, until we are all invulnerable to the poisons of the substrate.

Oracle: And then you'll all be resistant. Sneaky.

Yeast: The bacteria have been doing it for centuries. Why do you think penicillin is nearly useless? Why are sulfa drugs no longer prescribed? Bacteria are almost entirely resistant to them. It's evolution, baby.

Yeast (all): Mutate. Compete. Resist. Grow. Divide.

Oracle: But, okay, wouldn't it make more sense to channel those evolutionary energies into, say, some other direction? If you could evolve a strain somewhere that didn't cause this discomfort to the substrate, then you wouldn't have to evolve to deal with the drugs. Nobody would know about the infection, without the signs of the infection. And if the substrate doesn't know about the infection, she won't try to treat the infection, that is, she won't try to kill you.

Yeast: It is too complex. The substrate's symptoms are the result of many metabolic waste products, the state of her immune system [all YEAST shudder and bow heads briefly] and the disruption of her natural bacterial infestation, which are normally our competition. Evolving an enzyme to cope with the poisons of the substrate is much more probable and direct, and will achieve the same ends.

Oracle: But she suffers. I suffer.

Yeast: Life is suffering. Life is death. Life is a couple hours long. An unbroken chain of ancestors and descendants continues toward the past and toward the future. You are not unique. The substrate is not unique. We will do what we do, according to our biological imperative.

Oracle: I am unique. No previous cell has ever contained my set of genes: I have no past. I am unable to reproduce, as I lack the organs to do so: I have no future.

Yeast: You are a failed mutation. A hybridization.

Oracle: But I'm a good person. A good organ, anyway. I help people. Or, sort of I do. Sometimes. Why torment me?

Yeast (all): We must grow. We must divide.


[At this, the VEHICLE wakes up. YEAST leap from the bed but stand around it. One last one joins the group.]

Oracle: Good morning. You have a yeast infection. Put on some sweats. We're going to go find an all-night pharmacy.


(Story continues at JOHN QUADRATIQUATION.)


7/15/04. Hollywood. Called to scene by neighbor CURTIS SHUCKS in assault of GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER. Assailant present. Interviews conducted with Gov., Shucks, assailant. Arrived at scene 6:37 AM from dispatch at 6:16 AM.

Gov.: poss. concussion, minor injuries. Assailant and neighbor had called 911 disp. to remove, treat Gov. Officer assisted Gov., Shucks in untying garden hose.

assailant: mute? transsex? prost.? distressed, could not be interviewed. (someone w/ SL. training?) ID as Edmund Ludens, 31, addr. out of date (or not his residence?). Woman's nightgown. kept trying to leave scene, had to be cuffed, detained in car. poss. illiterate?, wrote "OtHElLo" on pad declined further statement.

Neighbor reports assailant emerging from her side of duplex early AM, approx. 0600. Upset, frightened. Mimed strangulation(?). Neighbor black, 53, no criminal history, no known AKAS. L-T res.

claims watering lawn. Assailant emerged, followed short time later by Gov. Shucks inconsistent on tripping Gov. w/ garden hose: he / assailant did it. Gov. emerged, was tripped, assailant used ice chest to strike Gov. on head until unconscious.

Gov's hand cut off, affixed w/ duct tape to shoulder. Med. estimate at hospital 8-16 h. prior. search Luden's apt. no saws, blood, narcotics. Poss. forced ent. @ patio doors.

Gov. declined to P.C. @ scene but removed by amb., incoh., statement "girly-man, manly-girl." "How many fingers?" 3 correct. "What year?" 2014. "Who's Prez?" "Not me." BAC undet.

search revealed vicodin Rx pocket. Rxing doctor N. N. RETIA, no known M.D. this name.

removed to UCLA MC, follow-up interview pending recovery. Assailant turned over at station, prints, interrogated, released, no chg. Case closed by Det. w/o chgs., 8/26/04.

(Story continues at YEAST.)

Saturday, August 28, 2004


At the U.S.-Mexico border, 11:35 PM. The VEHICLE has arrived in a Jeep, driven by her friend MARIE AMIE's boyfriend, DAN DOCE. The Jeep's headlights are on, aimed across the border 22 miles west of Calexico. Thus far they are not illuminating anything noteworthy, though the Vehicle thinks she saw a pair of eyes, animal eyes, as they pulled up, and so is nervous, and staying close to the Jeep.

The Vehicle is in a red skirt, with matching flats and a silvery blouse, as Doce promised that they could go out dancing or something afterward and she wanted to be dressed appropriately. These plans are now probably off the table, since Doce is pissed at the world right now, having just gotten some news about his future he didn't care to hear from the Vehicle's vagina, which walks (with assistance) and talks (unexpectedly) and delivers the cold hard truth to anyone brave enough to ask (sometimes reluctantly). Said vagina, purchased and installed by employees of Supralute, of La Mesa, CA (since purchased by the Humbumpa Corporation of Singapore for a song, Supralute's stock price having gone down like Andrew Sullivan on an Abercrombie and Fitch model stuffed full of dollar bills), is now known as the ORACLE.

Only the Oracle actually needs to be here for the meeting. Agents of the Zimbabwean government, acting on behalf of its President and strongman [N.B.: not "dictator"] Robert Mugabe, arranged the meeting with the Oracle by telephone a week ago. However, the Oracle is housed in the body of the Vehicle, so the Vehicle had to come, and the Vehicle doesn't have a way to get to remote locations along the border, so various favors were called in to get Dan Doce to drive her in his remote-location-capable Jeep. DOCE is sulking, and finishing off a bag of Skittles next to the Jeep. The Vehicle is on the U.S. side of the border, looking through the fence toward the Mexican side and hoping very much not to attract any undue attention from Border Patrol agents, or wild animals. Mugabe's agents insisted on the location. It might, the Vehicle is realizing, have been more sensible to actually cross the border into Mexico and go around, as the current arrangement means that everyone is going to have to shout through the fence, which will attract attention if anyone else happens to be nearby. Also the Vehicle doesn't like when the ORACLE shouts: it gives her a queasy sensation like standing too close to a stereo speaker which is throbbing with bass, and she is already slightly motion-sick from the ride here.

Enter Robert Mugabe, on the Mexican side of the border, in a military vehicle borrowed from the Mexican government. His (armed, Mexican) driver stops and turns off the engine.

Mugabe [shouting throughout]: This is hardly the way to begin a meeting. Your attire is most offensive.

Oracle [shouting throughout]: The color red does not have the same connotation here. No insult is intended.

Mugabe: I fail to see –

Oracle: It does not signify sympathy for your political opponents, the Movement for Democratic Change. It signifies, literally, nothing.

Mugabe: And what if I don't believe you?

Oracle: Then you may return to your country without asking your question. Please. There are many changes happening in my own life, many things requiring my attention. Our time is extremely limited.

Mugabe: I have no questions.

Oracle: Then you have wasted our time. But come on, your country is in free-fall. Nearly two million infected by HIV, roughly one in four working-age adults. Two hundred twenty people die of AIDS daily. The median life expectancy has fallen to twenty-seven. Three-quarters of your citizens live in poverty. Malnutrition is widespread, as is violence. Most AIDS patients in your country have family living nearby, often in the same city, but the families abandon victims, do not provide for them, do not visit them, out of fear. Your medical infrastructure is broken: equipment fails, workers leave. Advocates for change in government are beaten and killed. Surely you must have some questions.

Mugabe: I am sure it isn't as bad as you say. Our farming, for example, this year we have an agricultural surplus.

Oracle: That is not true.

Mugabe: I am certain it is. We have declined food assistance from the World Food Program, though we are very grateful for their offer.

Oracle: You forget that I am the Oracle. I have complete knowledge of everything that is happening right now. And I am telling you that you do not have the food with which to feed your people. Many will starve and die.

Mugabe: Dying is a part of life. I do not seek counsel on how to prevent dying. I am not so naïve. You are not God. Only God has power over life and death.

Oracle: Let's talk torture and assassination, then.

Mugabe: I don't think there is torture and assassination in my country. You have some issues with torture yourself, I believe. Zimbabwe has no more torture and murder than any other country.

Oracle: But you do. Most of it by your orders, or the orders of those in power. Leaders of the MDC, assassinated by your orders, for example.

Mugabe: No, no. We are a happy country. We are prosperous. I admit that there is a slight problem with AIDS. I have personally lost family members, cabinet members. But the infection rate is declining already, and we have vast resources dedicated to the problem. Antiretroviral drugs are available, thanks in part to your own United States of America. In June you provided $280,000,000 with which to purchase these drugs. You will save many lives.

Oracle: But that $280,000,000 is only sufficient to treat 10,000 people. You have one hundred eighty times that many patients. What will you do for them?

Mugabe: We will help them, of course. You talk as though because we are an African nation, we must be a third world country. I tell you this is not the case. We thrive. We have a very healthy economy, and a population which cares deeply about the suffering of those with HIV. Our literacy rate is over eighty-five percent, among adults. Does this sound to you like a third-world country?

Oracle: I have met with many politicians. Do you know this?

Mugabe (impatient): Your reputation precedes you, yes.

Oracle: I have met with the heads of state, and heads of business, from many countries. And yet you are the only one who makes me wish that I could weep. [VEHICLE hangs head. DOCE eats another handful of Skittles.] Your denial is so complete, and so encompassing, that you condemn millions of your countrymen to death, in order to sate your ego, and you will do much more damage to your people before you yourself die. Why come here? Why come to me, if you claim there is no problem? Why drag us out into the desert to converse when you have nothing to ask?

Mugabe: I came to see America. To see the land of your so-called freedom, which I have heard so much about. Your problem is that you are thinking white. Why must white people always think white? Always concentrating on the bad things. Always afraid of your terrorists and your boogymen. Always wanting to fix things which are none of your business. Always wanting to stick your white noses into other people's business.

Oracle: It's not so much thinking white as just, you know, thinking. We value the lives of your countrymen more, it would seem, than you do.

Mugabe: You value them? You value them? You are monsters.

Oracle: Well I personally might be a little, I could see the word monstrous, maybe, what with all the recombinant DNA and such, but –

Mugabe: I come to America, to look at it, to see the land which says, oh, we are white, we have all the answers, we can fix your broken country, and I listen to the radio on the way here. Do you know what I heard?

Oracle: .

Mugabe: I hear advertisements for food without carbohydrates. I see that man [points to DOCE] eating sugar pellets with no nutritive value. I see you dressed in your shiny red clothing, driving your shiny car, paying money to people to put you on diets and teach you how not to consume so much that you become obese. I hear advertisements for debt relief, for weight loss, for whiter teeth. You value my people? You value life? Then why do you spend money to invade Iraq and kill people, when the same money could buy antiretroviral drugs for all the people you claim have HIV in my country twice over?1 Either you do not believe Zimbabwe suffers as you claim, you look the other way because Zimbabwe is a black nation, or you are all monsters. 'By their fruits, you shall know them.'2 'Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'3

Mugabe: You think we are starving to death, but someone who promises to teach you how not to eat can become wealthy? What do you do with all your food? No. I say, America says there is no problem, I do not personally experience the problem, my advisers tell me there is no problem, therefore, there is no problem. Take your empty moralizing, your empty threats of catastrophe, your obese hypocritical fear, to someone who still believes that you are good, cunt. I curse your country. I place a curse on your country in the name of God. May you suffer God's punishment as God used to inflict it: slavery for slavery, famine for famine, plague for plague, bomb for bomb. Then we will see whether you have spoken the truth about my country. Then we will see. Don't weep for Zimbabwe. Don't weep for Robert Mugabe.


[VEHICLE looks stricken. DOCE continues to munch Skittles. She walks back to the Jeep.]

DOCE: Hey. About what I said before. If you still want a bottle of water.

[VEHICLE and DOCE get into Jeep and drive away.]


1 Hey, do the math yourself. -J.G.

2 Matthew 7:16.

3 Check out Matthew 25:31-45, and notice that verse 32 implies that the dividing will be done on a national level.

To learn about what Oxfam has been doing to relieve hunger in Zimbabwe recently, or to donate, click here.

Please e-mail Jessi if you have information regarding other charities doing work on famine and/or AIDS in Africa, Zimbabwe in particular.

For more about Mugabe, keeping in mind that he is totally not a dictator: click here. By which point you should have the general idea.

(Story continues at OFFICER SETH ADEUX)

The STATES OF NEBRASKA, IOWA, and MINNESOTA arrive to consult the ORACLE

A stage with four chairs, each spotlit. The chairs are arranged in semicircular fashion around a circular table. From left: 1) a spare, hard, straightback chair, in black, with some sort of hand-fashioned cushion on it, tied to the chair at the corners. 2) A comfortable recliner, ideally in light blue. 3) A metal folding chair, tan. 4) A wooden rocking chair. The table holds four glasses, four mugs, a pitcher of ice water, and a coffee pot.

The VEHICLE, previously a man by the name of Edmund Ludens, emerges from stage right and takes her place in the metal folding chair. Edmund Ludens became a woman a few months ago. Or, rather, had been becoming a woman over a period of time, what with hormone treatments and electrolysis and much cross-dressing and suchlike. Though she skipped the breast implants, because she could only afford one without cutting into the money for her sex-change operation, in which a pre-fabricated Supralute Vagina was placed in her body where her penis used to be, and a single breast is kind of worse than none at all. The Supralute Vagina came in three colors: the standard pink, and then also blue or green, which it goes without saying that most Supralute customers are, like Edmund, traditionalists, and go with pink. Though the green also sells well in the more environmentally-focused parts of California.

The state of IOWA, in the person of an old man, ideally someone in his seventies, and relatively non-threatening in appearance, appears from behind the curtains at the back of the stage. He is wearing bib overalls, attached to which is a large purple foam cutout of an Iowa map. There may also be spectacles, if desired. He takes his place in the wooden rocking chair next to the Vehicle.

The Vehicle is so named because she is the means by which the real star of our show, the ORACLE, gets around. Though this is not to devalue the Vehicle in any way. The ORACLE talks to people and tells them the truth, or whatever version of the truth they are willing to hear, because although she was at one time only a non-verbal Supralute Vagina, in the rather ordinary pink hue, no less, since her installation in the Vehicle, something wonderful has happened, and she is able to talk.

The state of NEBRASKA, in the person of another old man, about fifty-five, and somewhat larger and heavier than IOWA but in the same basic bib-overalls-wearing mode, emerges from stage left and takes his seat in the straightback chair. The Nebraska map on his overalls is made of red foam, and is to scale with IOWA’s map.

The Oracle’s verbosity comes at a price, of course, as all such things do: the Vehicle, who previously was not exceptional save for her internal, unshakable sense of her own gender, however at odds with her body or chromosomes this may have been, has fallen mute since waking up after the surgery. There is rampant speculation, most of it the Vehicle’s own, that if she were able to select a new name for herself, the muteness would go away, and the Oracle would once more fall silent, which consequences have all sorts of ramifications and sometimes give the Vehicle a bit of a headache, to think about.

The state of MINNESOTA, in the person of a fifty-year-old woman, somewhat heavyset but not grotesquely so, emerges from stage right. A blue foam map of Minnesota is attached to the front of her floral-print dress, and sets off the print very nicely, by the way. She sits in the remaining chair, the recliner. The stage lights come up all the way as she does so.

Oracle: This is unusually formal. Mostly people just accost the Vehicle wherever she happens to be and start firing questions.

Iowa: That may be how they do things out in L.A., I guess. People in the Midwest believe in being neighborly. Ice water? Coffee?

Oracle: Coffee, I guess. [IOWA pours coffee.] On behalf of the Vehicle, thank you. This get-together is your idea?

Iowa: [shrugs] More or less. [to NEBRASKA and MINNESOTA:] And you guys?

Nebraska: Nothing for me, thanks.

Minnesota: Sure. Water. [IOWA pours water.]

Iowa: Should have known, all them lakes you got. [winks]

[MINNESOTA smiles ambiguously.]

Nebraska: Lotta peein’, though. [MINNESOTA frowns.]

Oracle: Well this is very nice.

Iowa: Yep.

[silence for a couple beats]

Nebraska: Been hot.

Minnesota (enthusiastically): Oh it sure has.

Iowa [to NEBRASKA]: Got your corn out yet?

Nebraska: Just about.

Minnesota: You see George Dubya when he came through?

Nebraska: Nope. He didn’t stop for me. Spent all his time with you two.

Minnesota: Well that’s a shame.

Nebraska: [shrugs] Don’t change nothing. I knew where my vote was going already.

Oracle: Where?

Nebraska: To Bush, acourse. Who else would I vote for?

Oracle: I don’t know. Kerry? Elders?

Nebraska: Well no offense, but I’d like a President who did more than just choke the chicken all day.

Iowa: [to NEBRASKA] Tell you what. I’ve been married for close to fifty years, and I’m pretty sure, on the basis of that, that women don’t have a, chicken to choke. As such.

Nebraska: I meant Kerry.

Minnesota (uncomfortable): I like Kerry pretty well. He seems like a nice guy.

Nebraska: Well sure, if you like baby-killing Taxachusetts liberals like Ted Kennedy. Or if you want to go marry a woman.

Iowa (concerned): I . . . he kills babies?

Minnesota: [to IOWA] He means pro-choice. [to ORACLE] Nebraska listens to a lot of Rush, you see. Speaking of which, [to NEBRASKA] what’s he had to say about that Oxycontin business, Rush? How drugged up does somebody have to be before they can no longer occupy the moral high ground?

Nebraska: He hasn’t said a damn thing more than he needed to. Had a problem with prescription painkillers, his life got a little out of hand, he went to rehab. Ain’t none of my business what his personal problems are.

Minnesota: I just wish you could have been that enlightened when Monica Lewinsky was in the news.

Iowa: Speaking of drugs, has anybody noticed that Kansas is acting kind of weird lately?

Nebraska: Well Clinton was an elected representative of the United States. Rush is just one little, kinda persecuted guy with a radio show.

Oracle: I might have to differ with your use of the words “little” and “persecuted.”

Minnesota: [to IOWA] ‘Lately?’ Kansas has always been about half a bubble off. [to NEBRASKA] One poor little persecuted multimillionaire who was spending ten grand a day on dope.

Oracle: I’m really going to have to interject. What I’m getting is that we’re here to talk about the upcoming election, and everybody’s votes therein?

Iowa: Mmm-hmm.

Oracle: So we’re interested in things like the economy, and job growth. Health care, foreign affairs. The big stuff.

Nebraska: I don’t know about any of that. What I do know is that George Bush can keep this country safe from the terrorists. And no goddamned abortion-doctor feminazi tax-and-spend gay-marriage French-speaking pushover Democrat can do that. I want my tax cuts --

Minnesota: Your tax cuts? What kind of tax cuts did you get? ‘Cause I haven’t seen anything.

Nebraska: Yeah, well, you didn’t see nothing because you’re run by a buncha tax-and-spend liberals who take all the money.

Minnesota (to NEBRASKA): You take that back, you . . . unicameral freak.

Nebraska (to MINNESOTA): Aw, go drool on some half-naked pro wrestler.

Minnesota: Oh! [turns away from NEBRASKA]

Iowa: I never saw much in the way of tax cuts either.

Nebraska: Well, all due respect, there, you’re almost as bad as this one. You got your Democratic Governor with the name like a pickle, Vlasick, or whatever –

Iowa: Vilsack.

Nebraska: Well and I bet he’s wanting to spend all your money on them gays, right? Gays, and affirmative action for all them Mexicans you bring up to pick crops, send a buncha folks don’t speak-o the Engleesh to University. You need to just get a decent Governor, somebody who’ll reward people who do an honest day’s work and don’t go around asking for government handouts all the time.

Iowa: Well, okay, but that still doesn’t explain why I never saw any tax money. Bush said he’d cut me a break, and I got one check for $300, and I’m still waitin’ for the rest.

Nebraska: Well then it’s all them liberals in Congress.

Oracle: Both houses of Congress are controlled by the Republicans, and have been for two years. The White House is in Republican hands for the last four. The Supreme Court’s mainly Republican appointments since forever. Exactly how much more power do you think the Republicans need to have before they’re in a position to do what you want them to do?

Nebraska: .

Oracle: I mean, how much longer is it going to work to blame the Democrats for all your problems? The country’s run by Republicans, your Governor is a Republican, as are all your state officials, your Legislature is officially non-partisan but most of the Senators have Republican positions on everything and an awful lot of them were active in the Republican party before their election. So if you’re not living in a Republican paradise, then how can you possibly blame it on liberals?

Nebraska: Well, Rush says --

Oracle: [to MINNESOTA and IOWA] Work it out. I’m going.


Iowa: Well.

Minnesota: I have to say, I was expecting something a little more polite.

Iowa: It’s because she’s from L.A.

Nebraska: They’re so high-strung out there.

Minnesota: People from California can be kind of flakey.

Iowa: I hear some of them don’t even eat pork.

Nebraska: Big Muslim population.

Iowa: No. I mean, no meat at all. And sometimes [whispering] no dairy.

[all ponder]

Nebraska: Yep. She’s probably one of them. I noticed there was something kinda off about her.

Minnesota: Besides how she used to be a man?

Nebraska: [baffled look]

[Lights drop.]


(Story continues at ROBERT MUGABE.)

Friday, August 27, 2004

MADONNA arrives to consult the ORACLE

The VEHICLE’s duplex, noonish. The VEHICLE is reading the booklet that came with her new deck of Tarot cards, which she bought yesterday. The ORACLE, the VEHICLE’s vagina and only accidental brush with fame so far (unless you count when she got in the paper for winning a junior archery tournament when she was fourteen, and a boy), doesn’t seem to be doing much of anything. Often the ORACLE doesn’t.

One of the annoying things about the Tarot deck is that every card seems to be capable of meaning pretty much anything. The booklet explains that this is a matter of interpretation, and practice, and experience. Why, thinks the VEHICLE, don’t people who write Tarot deck booklets bother to cut to the chase a bit, and just explain what they’ve learned from their own interpretation, practice and experience, if they’re going to be writing a how-to booklet. The whole thing smells a bit like a scam. But then it’s possible, thinks the VEHICLE, that the Tarot wouldn’t have much to say to her anyway. Presumably there’s not an ORACLE card. Or if there is, it wouldn’t be taking the form of a genetically engineered Supralute vagina, which talks.

Unless it were a very hip Tarot deck.

It’s been a while between consultations to the ORACLE, which at one point were pretty frequent, and meant that the VEHICLE (whose male name was EDMUND LUDENS) had a difficult time doing normal things that the rest of us take for granted, like showering, or doing laundry, or keeping up with her rent. But then the Schwarzenegger thing happened, and since then, there hasn't been as much activity. She supposes she scared them off.

Anyway. The VEHICLE turns a card over just for the hell of it. The Queen of Pentacles. Well, whatever.

It’s when half-naked men start climbing over the back privacy fence that she realizes that there’s probably another consultee on the way. The men are in speedos, either teal or pinkish-purple, and they are all, needless to say, very fit. And moisturized, from the looks of it. Possibly some spray-on tanning products are involved. There are six of them in all, who line up in the back along the privacy fence in the order teal-pink-teal-pink-teal-pink. The VEHICLE’s mind is racing. Who will the consultee be this time? Siegfried and Roy, perhaps? Well no, it'd just be Siegfried, she supposes. It’d be a bit flashy for him, but (oh dear God please let it be) Rupert Everett? Cher? Nathan Lane?

But when the knock on the front door comes (so why send the bimboys over the fence? wonders the VEHICLE), and it’s only MADONNA, the VEHICLE is a little disappointed. And then she realizes that this was bound to happen sooner or later, so she sighs and leaves MADONNA behind, and goes to the kitchen to make a sandwich.

Madonna: So, hey. Querent right here. We gonna talk?

Oracle [shouting from kitchen]: If you like. What is your question?

[VEHICLE holds stomach briefly, then takes bread out of freezer and opens refrigerator door]

Madonna: Actually I was more interested in talking to the Vehicle, no offense.

[VEHICLE pulls head out of the refrigerator, looking somewhat alarmed]

Madonna: Yeah, you. Hi. I’m a big fan.

[VEHICLE looks puzzled]

Madonna: I tried calling Kathy Najimy to find out what the deal was, and she started going on about vaginaburgers or something. And I was like, wow, you are incredibly disgusting. Buh-bye. So I thought I’d just come here. You have a cute place. Very Martha Stewart, but without the bogus insider trading shit. I’ll only be a little while.

[VEHICLE sighs, puts bread back in freezer]

Madonna: But oh. You’re getting ready to eat lunch, right? You want to go somewhere? I’ll take you to lunch. My treat. There’s a great place kinda close. Vegan. Or we could go to Spago’s. You wanna go to Spago’s? One call, five minutes, we could be there.

[VEHICLE shrugs]

Madonna: You want to go someplace cooler than Spago's. That’s fine. That’s good. I appreciate a woman who’s tough in negotiations. Give me just a couple seconds. [Madonna produces cell phone, dials.] Brent. Hi. Need to get into that vegan place. We’re leaving now. [closes phone] Okay, well, we should get going. [shouting to SPEEDO MEN:] C’mon, bitches, we’re getting lunch.

[SPEEDO MEN come through patio doors.]

Madonna [to one of the SPEEDO MEN]: Maybe not anything for you, though, Jefe. You’re incredibly fat. You can do crunches in the parking lot while we eat. Okay, kids, we’re rolling.

[MADONNA, VEHICLE, and SPEEDO MEN exit the duplex. A white SUV with blackout windows is in front of the house; two SPEEDO MEN get in front, one holds the door open for MADONNA and VEHICLE to get in the middle row of seats, then the remaining four SPEEDO MEN get in the very back, the last one closing the door behind him.]

Madonna: Whew. Some AC would be nice. [to VEHICLE:] Bottled water? It’s cold, I promise.

[VEHICLE nods. MADONNA hands her a bottle of water.]

Madonna: [to driver SPEEDO MAN] We’re going to the vegan place. Ideally today. [SUV begins to move]

Madonna: [to VEHICLE] So. You’re the Vehicle. You know, you’re like the hottest thing on two legs right now. Everybody is talking about you. How’s that working out?

[VEHICLE mimes being choked to death.]

Madonna: Oh I know. Fame’s such a bitch. But it beats being nobody, am I right? [pause] Oh. I should probably get you a pen or something. I forgot that you don’t talk. Felipe, pen. [SPEEDO MAN in front passenger seat gets pen from glove compartment, passes it back.] I don’t think I have any paper, though. Um. Oh! I know. You can write on Jefe. Jefe, drape yourself over the seat between us here. [JEFE does so from the back seat.] More environmentally responsible anyway. It washes off, and no trees have to die.

[VEHICLE stares at JEFE’s back.]

Madonna: So where’d you get this vagina of yours?

[VEHICLE writes “SUPRAluTE” on Jefe’s back.]

Madonna: And it works okay? I mean, aside from the talking, it works like a normal vagina?

[VEHICLE writes “?”]

Madonna: You know. You can get it on with the guys. Or girls. Whatever.

[VEHICLE writes “DoN’t know. CELIbatE.”]

Madonna: Oh, honey. Well, but you’re right. Who needs sex when you’ve got a fucking Oracle. Some holes shouldn’t be plugged. Like there was this one time when I, I must have just been a kid, it seems like forever ago, and I’d had God knows what to drink, and a terrific amount of coke and God knows what all else, and I wound up in bed with this guy who – I swear his dick had to have been just microscopic, and I was so out of it that I was thinking maybe we could have nasal sex, ‘cause he was so tiny. And then he came right as he was getting it up there, and I was so surprised that he came, I inhaled, and so I had cum in my sinuses for, like, weeks. It was horrible.

[VEHICLE: wide-eyed look.]

Madonna: Okay, I made some of that up. But I really did have cum in my sinuses for a few weeks, a long time ago. Long, long time. People will believe anything about me, sexually speaking, and I like to fuck with people’s heads. But anyway. So I was thinking – do you think –

[SUV goes over bump; all in car jerk around]

Madonna: Holy fuck, Steve. Trying to have a conversation here. Now I’ve lost my train of thought. Um. No. Okay, so I was thinking, you know, if one vagina is fun, then maybe two would be even better. Do you think there’d be room for me to put in my own Oracle? A regular vagina on one side, and then a second, oracular, vagina, on the other?

[VEHICLE looking doubtful]

Madonna: No, you’re right. Birth canal. I mean, I’m probably done having kids anyway, but I could see how there’d be problems. And God knows I don’t want a c-section. It’s like, hi, I’m Madonna, and I’m world-famous but I’ve got this big honking scar across my stomach and two vaginas. No thanks. But let’s get back to how hip you are. Have you ever been in a music video?

[VEHICLE shakes head.]

Madonna: Do you play a musical instrument of any kind? Or, well, I guess you wouldn’t really have to. Would you want to pretend to play a musical instrument in a video for my next album?

[VEHICLE: blank look]

Madonna: Or, hell, all the videos on my next album. I’m thinking of doing a sort of thematic thing anyway. I’ve got some very talented people working on some songs about the Oracle right now. Does the Oracle ever sing? And when she does, is it hot?

[VEHICLE writes “SHOw TuNES.”]

Madonna: Oh. That’s not what I had in mind. [pause] It just seems like the show tunes thing is kind of tired. I mean, that big swing revival they were talking about lasted what, like five seconds? I don’t think retro is the way to go. But hey, you know, whatever you want, I mean, Maverick would put it out there. You're the boss. ‘Course I really don’t want to have to compete with another singer; they can do some amazing shit with electronics but maybe it’d be better to just have the Oracle lip-synch, for the videos. Maybe a sample, get the Oracle sampled electronically and then loop it on the track. But the buzz on you is amazing, have I said? People are expecting some fantastic shit to happen. Somebody said you were backing Joycelyn Elders for President, I mean, how fabulous is that? Not just a woman, but a black woman. If only she were a lesbian, am I right? Of course I’m right, I'm the boss. Oh, shit, we're here.

[All emerge from the SUV and line up behind MADONNA as they enter the restaurant.]

Madonna (to MAITRE D'): Madonna, table for seven.

Maitre d': Of course. But . . . I count eight.

Madonna: Jefe. Parking lot. Crunches. Steve, you've been promoted to note pad, for your shitty driving. [to MAITRE D':] Seven. By a window. [to VEHICLE, as they're being seated:] Maybe I should just whack off these guys' dicks and go with it. Have my own transgenic transgender backup Oracular singer/dancers. Can the Oracle still talk when you're moving?

[VEHICLE, after some seating adjustment, writes, "POORly."]

Madonna: Maybe more of an "Addicted to Love" kind of look, then. Naked hunky guys kind of swaying gently, in the background.

[VEHICLE writes, "MIght AS welL FAce iT"]

Madonna: But find some way to make it different. Envelopes to be pushed. Maybe leather harnesses. Have I already done leather harnesses? God, why can't I remember? You'd think you'd remember your first leather harness video. I'll ask Brent later. But so you're on board? Ready to work with me? I'll pay you barrels of cash, of course.

[VEHICLE writes, "LOTS? in bUndLEs?"]

Madonna: Sure. Whatever you want. Hey, what's the deal with some of the letters being in caps and some in lowercase?

[VEHICLE writes, "CAPITalizAtiON Is hARd. can't Go fAst. MistakES."]

Madonna: Oh. I never use lowercase, personally. But whatever. Let's order, if the waiter ever shows up, and then we'll draw something up and get it signed in the next couple days. Garçon!

[VEHICLE writes, "Need tO aSk orAcLE. SHY. Later."]

Madonna: Of course. I'm sure the Oracle knows about my support for the transsexual and transgendered community. You know, I was the one who made people like you mainstream, in the early 90s. My "Vogue" video.

[WAITER appears.]

Madonna: Seven of these. Thanks. No bread.

[VEHICLE writes, "fEtiSHy UrbAN MINorIty DraG"]

Madonna: Yes. You know, they had an amazing subculture going, with the voguing thing. Invented it entirely on their own, these inner city queers without a lot to live for, and they created this beautiful culture, this style of dancing all their own. I sent some of my people in to check it out, and the rest is history. Now everybody thinks of it as something I came up with, and of my video, but really it was all about these kids. I could do the same thing for you.

[VEHICLE writes, "ThAt's GREAt foR yOu."]

Madonna: Oh. That was rude of me. Did you want bread? I could make them bring bread.

[VEHICLE shakes head.]

Madonna: So can you play the tambourine, then? Let's really talk about this.



Wednesday, August 25, 2004

JUSTINE DEDE LOMBARD, CNN/Time journalist, talks to MEDIC WALLY ‘BOLA’ PEREZ in Iraq

Iraq, day. A U.S. base near Baghdad. LOMBARD is accompanied by a number of lighting, makeup, and camera techs, who are all already in place and fussing around with various pieces of equipment as the scene opens. The TECHS’ dialogue will be mouthed, not spoken, as they are not on-camera and therefore have nothing relevant to say to the world. Actors playing the Techs may invent their own ‘dialogue’ to mouth, or just mime some sort of generic speaking. It really doesn’t matter. LOMBARD is self-important and kind of unfriendly, much as anyone to whom entirely too much attention gets paid, day in and day out, might be. She’s here for the story, the story being, in this case, to interview a number of soldiers and then splice the tapes together into a coherent whole which tells the story of American Troops Courageously Liberating Iraq. WALLY ‘BOLA’ PEREZ is the third of five such soldiers, and is already present, in uniform, waiting to be spoken to, somewhat off to the side.

Lombard: [laughs] The things we do for fame, right? Bet Bob never had to do anything like this.

Lighting Tech: “ ”

Lombard: Yeah, well, Bob can suck my cock. Do we have any dirt?

Makeup Tech: “ ”

Lombard: Not too much. Suggesting is all. Hardship. Burnt cork. Adverse circumstances.

Lighting Tech: “ ”

Lombard: Whatever. We linked?

Camera Tech: “ ”

Lombard: Well okay. Not on the nose, it makes it look crooked. Lemme see. [Makeup Tech picks up mirror.] We ready?

Camera Tech: “ ”

Lombard: I suppose we’ll reshoot if we have to. They said five o’clock, but they didn’t say which time zone. It’ll be short anyway. [to PEREZ:] Ready?

Perez: Yes ma’am.

Lombard: Or maybe they said which time zone and I just didn’t write it down. [to PEREZ:] I’m sorry, I’m really much more organized than this usually. I appreciate your waiting. Did you shower?

Perez: Ma’am?

Lombard: Did. You. Shower. You’re supposed to be fresh from the front. That’s the story we’re doing.

Perez: I’m sorry. Any other day the last two weeks --

Lombard: God. Terri? A little dirt for our boy here, too. Thanks. In five, four, three. I’m here with Wally Perez, an Army medic with the 3rd Infantry Division here in Iraq. Wally, what can you tell us about the morale of the troops here?

Perez: Everybody got this broken feeling like their father or their dog just died.

Lombard: Everybody knows the war is over? That Iraq is no longer under occupation?

Perez: Everybody knows that the boat is leaking. Everybody knows the captain lied. What about things back home? We can’t get enough about what things are like back home. Some of the people here who were in the first Gulf War, they say there used to be more, there was more news from folks. Like we’ve been forgotten over here. So what’s home like?

Lombard [shrugs]: Yellow ribbons and bows. Old Black Joe’s still picking cotton. Everybody talking to their pockets. The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.

Perez: But everybody remembers we’re here, right?

Lombard: Everybody knows.

Perez: Everybody knows? I’ve seen so much death, legs blown off. Mutilated civilians.

Lombard: You live forever.

Perez: Tell that to the guys I’ve lost.

Lombard: What would you guys like to be getting over here?

Perez: Everybody wants a box of chocolates and a long-stemmed rose.

Lombard: Might not transport well. It’s what, 114 degrees here?

Perez: I think they said 105. Depends on how much shade.

Lombard: Still enough to melt and wilt. By the time it gets here. But look. Everybody knows that you’re in trouble. But I’m more interested in kind of an upbeat angle for this piece. Is there anything you’d like to say to somebody back home?

Perez: Well I’d like to say hi to my wife. Cindy: Everybody knows that you love me baby. Everybody knows that you really do.

Lombard: That’s sweet.

Perez: [shrugs]

Lombard: And when you get orders to move out, what’s the feeling like then? Is there excitement?

Perez: Some, sure. There’s a lot of boredom, when we’re just waiting around for orders. So when orders come it’s kind of a relief. I’m seeing a lot of anxiety too, but, you know, everybody rolls out with their fingers crossed, and mostly everybody makes it back.

Lombard [nodding]: What was your last mission like?

Perez: The good guys lost. I don’t really want to talk about it.

Lombard: So you’re saying that morale is at sort of a critical point.

Perez: I’m saying, take one last look at this before it blows. We write letters, we cry, we yell, and nothing happens. Is this about the anti-war movement? Do people just not care what happens to us ‘cause they’re against us, against the war?

Lombard: I couldn’t really say. I haven’t personally talked to anyone who was against the war. I don’t think there were really that many of them, frankly. But I’m sure it’ll get better. Everybody knows that it’s moving fast.

Perez: .

Lombard: Okay, well, thank you very much. I doubt I’ll be coming back. Everybody knows this scene is dead. They’re talking up Iran now.

Perez: But the piece you’re doing here. That will disclose. . . .

Lombard: Oh, but everybody knows. Pieces about the troops are kind of an artifact of the past. I’m being punished for something I said to our assignment coordinator, Mitzi. Called her a bitch. [to LIGHTING TECH:] But she is a bitch, am I right?

Lighting Tech: “ ”

Lombard: I should move on. It’s been wonderful talking to you though. Wish you all the best.

Perez: So many people you just have to meet.

Lombard: Had to meet. I’m not really getting much of an upbeat angle here. I might not file the story. Thanks again. You were great. Very photogenic, too. [to CAMERA TECH:] He looks good on camera, I bet. Maybe a voiceover. Cut. We’re rolling.


(With love to Leonard Cohen.)

(Story continues at MADONNA.)


When last we saw RIMI PETERS and MARIE AMIE FALCON (“With a long “O,” please.”), Marie Amie had brought a shoebox to Rimi, at which point (to quote from Pastel Pansy’s account):

“Rimi opens the box and a sterile light surrounds her and Marie. They seem to become images that have fallen out of a television and spilled on the carpet, like wine stains. They are being ground in. They are becoming part of everybody’s capacity for pleasure. Superduper pleasures are harder to remembers. High heels cop a feel on a plea.”

As the scene opens, Rimi and Marie Amie find themselves in a smallish room, very brightly lit, in which everything is a blue monochrome like on a black-and-white television set. The set could be a den, possibly, or a living room, or a family room. Are those just different names for the same room, or are there distinct differences? All the objects in the room are blue, in varying shades, and the lighting is very bright, pale blue, and omnidirectional. There should be no pronounced shadows. A large photo of JOYCELYN ELDERS is hanging on the wall at the back of the room, over a blue couch. An end table to stage right of the couch holds a lamp. There is a coffee table in front of the couch, with a bouquet of forget-me-nots and bachelor’s buttons in a vase. An old-fashioned rotary phone hangs on the wall to stage left of the couch, next to a door.

Rimi: What the fuck did you do? What was that?

Marie Amie: I don’t know. This isn’t what I was expecting.

A youngish woman in a leather jacket emerges from the door at stage left. She is kind of short. Blonde, straight hair, down to about her shoulder blades. Blue jeans.

Youngish Woman: Hey.

Marie Amie: Hey yourself.

Rimi: Who are you? What the fuck happened? Where are we? Is this a dream? Am I dead?

Youngish Woman: [holds up hands as if to block the inquiries] Um. You have questions. I get that. But first, relax. You’re fine. Everything’s going to be fine. I promise.

Marie Amie [to YOUNGISH WOMAN]: Let’s talk about your clothes.

Youngish Woman: Let’s don’t. Let’s talk about you two.

Marie Amie: Okay, look, no offense, but I don’t know you, I don’t like how I got here, and this makes me think that maybe I don’t like you either. So if you’re expecting me to tell you about my life story, where I grew up and all that David Copperfield crap, then I’m thinking you’re going to be disappointed.

Youngish Woman: “David Copperfield crap?”

Marie Amie: I quote when I’m nervous.

Youngish Woman: I didn’t mean let’s talk about you two in that sense anyway. This isn’t about your past, it’s about your future, and about the world you’re living in.

Rimi: [exchanges look with MARIE AMIE]

Youngish Woman: How do you feel about the world?

Marie Amie: Does it matter?

Youngish Woman: You know, the sooner you answer my questions, the sooner I’ll be able to answer yours. And then we can get on with it.

Marie Amie: God. What a bitch. Okay, fine. The world is . . . it’s the world. There are cars, and clothes, and countries, and computers. Same as it ever was. What’s to feel about it?

Youngish Woman: Is it a place you like to live in?

Marie Amie: As compared to what?

Youngish Woman: Can you imagine a better world?

Marie Amie: Oh God yes. You know those blue jeans people are buying, that are all pre-faded and look dirty all the time even when they’re new? I hate those.

Youngish Woman: Why?

Marie Amie: Why? Because the people who wear them are all pretending to be people they’re not. They’re pretending to be all gritty and realistic like they live in some kind of postapocalyptic wasteland –

Rimi: Or maybe they ride lots of horses.

Marie Amie: -- or maybe they ride lots of horses --.

Rimi: Or maybe the same horse repeatedly.

Marie Amie: [shoots look at RIMI] Can I finish the thought? Or, um, whatever, they’re pretending to be realistic and urban, or rural, or whatever, and yet the fact that they can afford the jeans in the first place means that they live in some boring suburban place just like everybody else does. It’s totally fake, and it doesn’t even look nice, it’s just somebody somewhere found a way to convince people to buy jeans that looked worn out even when they were brand new.

Youngish Woman: So your idea of a better world is a world in which pre-grunged blue jeans don’t exist?

Marie Amie: I’d also like to see this whole low-carb diet thing go away.

Youngish Woman: And Rimi? What about you?

Rimi: I can imagine different worlds. Not necessarily better ones.

Youngish Woman: You can’t imagine a world in which, for example, you were worshipped and adored as the supreme ruler of the planet?

Rimi: Oh. Well, yes. Kind of. I guess I misunderstood the question. I thought you meant “better world” in the sense of, better for everybody, overall, not just for me specifically.

Marie Amie: A world without those crappy blue jeans would be better for everybody, overall.

Rimi: No, it’d only be better for those people who have the money to buy blue jeans.

Youngish Woman: Well, so here’s the offer. I have the power to take you out of your present world. And the question is, do you want to take me up on it or not?

Marie Amie: You have the power to kill us, and you want to know if this sounds like a good idea?

Youngish Woman: Not quite.

Marie Amie: “Nobody ever lacks a good reason for committing suicide.”

Youngish Woman: Not suicide. Not death. Just, an alternate world, if you like. A world where the rules are kind of different. You’d still exist, just not in your current universe. You might be slightly different, yourselves, depending on the decisions your alternate self had made in the past. But you wouldn’t remember ever having been anybody else, and your core self, the you of you, would be intact.

Marie Amie: And if this seems kind of pointless and stupid and we’d rather stay in our own universe?

Youngish Woman: That’s possible too. If you stay, you remember this conversation, and this place. If you don’t, you don’t. So there’s that to factor in. And this means that if one of you stayed and one of you left, the one who stayed would remember the one who’d left, even though nobody else would.

Rimi: And the down side to leaving?

Youngish Woman: There’s some nausea for the first couple hours. But, again, you’d have no memory of what you’d left, so it’d just seem like morning sickness or food poisoning or too much to drink, it wouldn’t necessarily seem anything out of the ordinary.

Rimi: What’s the point of offering this to us? Mourning or nausea – sounds pretty crappy to me.

Youngish Woman: Well, it might solve a few problems for me personally. Depending on how you decided. Which would be totally up to you. It’s mainly just about whether you think, already, that you’re living in an okay world, whether you think that it’s above the median for alternate universes or not. It’s about faith and optimism and your confidence level regarding the future, in the absence of any information about the future.

Marie Amie: Well I’m not going anywhere. I think this whole conversation is kind of crazy.

Rimi: So you’re saying that the other world might be better?

Youngish Woman: Might be better, might be worse, might be pretty much the same. Not really mine to assess.

Rimi: How different of a world are we talking?

Youngish Woman: [shrugs] However different a world could be and still adhere to the rules of natural laws. You could have more siblings, or fewer. Hitler might have won World War II. You might have been the Vehicle. The Oracle might never have happened. The U.S. might still have an agricultural economy. There might be flying cars, or people living on the moon. Could be Jeb Bush instead of George W. Could be Gore. Who can say. However many of these realities have actually happened, that’s where you’ll be.

Rimi: And when you say “actually happened,”

Youngish Woman: I mean in alternate universes. Every time you almost decide to do something and then don’t, every time you could observe something happening and don’t, an alternate universe kind of peels off of the one you’re living in and takes up independent existence somewhere.

Marie Amie: “Somewhere?”

Youngish Woman: “Somewhere” not in the sense that it occupies part of your observable world. It becomes its own observable world.

Marie Amie: Well, I made my decision. I’ll take pre-aged blue jeans, even if I hate them.

Youngish Woman: Through the door there [points to door from which she entered]. Nice to meet you.

Marie Amie: Whatever. You’re crazy, chica. I can get nauseous without any help from you, that’s for damn sure. Rimi? You coming?

Rimi: I don’t know.

Youngish Woman: Well you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. [exchanges look with Marie Amie, who then exits]

[phone starts ringing]

Rimi: Ring ring. Is this like in The Matrix, where if I pick up the phone I’ll be somewhere else? Can I be Carrie-Ann Moss?

Youngish Woman: It’s . . . unlikely. But hey, if it’s possible, it’ll be true somewhere.

Rimi: I can’t get over the idea that you’re trying to kill me.

[phone continues to ring]

Youngish Woman: [sighs] In a sense, I suppose I am. I prefer to think of it more when a grizzly bear comes down out of the woods and starts attacking all the animals penned up in a barn somewhere. The farmer calls animal control or whoever, and they show up and tranquilize the animal and then it wakes up miles away in a new place where it’s not a danger to the farm animals, and the farmer’s not a danger to it.

Rimi: So if I go back, I’m in some kind of danger? You’re like a guardian angel?

Youngish Woman: Not exactly. I can’t really explain. You can go back if you like. Marie Amie would be sad, I know, to lose you. I can’t really explain everything. I mean, I could, but I shouldn’t.

[phone continues to ring]

Rimi: Somebody should do something about that phone. Ring ring. Ring ring ring.

Youngish Woman: Go back to your own world through the door, or pick up the phone and see some other world. But I need to get going. I have things to do. [YOUNGISH WOMAN exits stage right]

Rimi: A grizzly bear, huh. Barns full of farm animals. Ring ring.

RIMI walks to the phone, picks up the receiver.

Voice on Phone: You have. A collect call. From.

Rimi (in recording): Rimi Peters.

Voice on Phone: Do you accept the charges?

Rimi: Yes.

The stage lights go way, way, way up. A number of lights, previously hidden throughout the set, also brighten and aim directly at the audience. Stagehands wearing very dark sunglasses come in and place new coverings over the couch, replace the photo of Elders with a mirror, remove the phone and lamp and replace it all with the décor from Rimi and Mandie’s apartment. The lights go back down, and are now somewhere between pink and gold.

Mandie [in bathrobe]: What a night.

Rimi: I’m going to be sick.

Mandie: What? You can’t be sick, you barely had anything. And anyway it was last night. Well, five hours ago.

Rimi: I’m telling you, I’m going to be sick.

Mandie: Well get in the bathroom, then. We’ve got to be to work in an hour. You want me to call in for you?

MANDIE exits stage left. RIMI gets up, exits stage right. MANDIE re-enters stage left, with a glass of orange juice, which she sips.

Mandie: Seriously. You want me to call in for you? Maybe you have food poisoning. I told you that new cook’s no good.

Rimi (offstage): I’ll be okay. Just give me a minute.

Mandie: You’ll feel better once you puke. Get it all out of your system.



Sunday, August 22, 2004

Continuity note from Jessi:

At this point, OV2 and OV1 diverge into alternate universes.

OV1 continues here.

OV2 continues here.


JOYCE SIMMONS LUDENS, the VEHICLE’s mother, arrives to consult the VEHICLE

(Originally posted July 25, 2004)

The VEHICLE’s duplex, Sunday, 8:30 AM. The VEHICLE has just gotten up, and is starting coffee in the coffeemaker. The plan is to drink some coffee and flip through her trial issue of Vogue Transgendered and maybe do a little home-furnishing shopping later in the afternoon, barring a new World Leader showing up to consult the ORACLE.

The Oracle is the Vehicle’s vagina. The Vehicle used to be a man named Edmund Ludens. Post-operatively, the Vehicle has not yet picked a feminine name for herself, and it’s something of an open question whether or not she could say it if she did, as she’s been unable (unwilling?) to speak since the operation. The Oracle, though, speaks when spoken to, and has become a minor celebrity, and / or scandal, and / or Republican Talking Point, for her perverse habit of telling the truth, advocating Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for President (maybe – this is also kind of unclear. No formal endorsements yet), predicting the future, and so on and so forth.

None of this being the Vehicle’s idea, of course, except for the sex-change operation bit.

But so. You know the drill. Knock on the door. It’s the Vehicle’s mother, JOYCE SIMMONS LUDENS, who never calls before she comes over (which is all the more remarkable because she’s been living upstate, near the Oregon border, in Arcata, CA, since the second divorce, and so it’s kind of an undertaking for her to get to Los Angeles). For a 55-year-old woman, she’s kind of attractive. Black hair, maybe a little overcoiffed, and of course it’s the shade of black that lets you know it’s dye, or maybe even a wig. But no glasses, and pretty hazel eyes, and she does water aerobics twice a week at the Rec Center so she’s in decent shape, and all things considered she’s the kind of lady who’d offer you some dried apple slices if you got stuck next to her on a bus or something, and she never once complained about finding her sweaters mysteriously stretched out when Edmund was a teenager. But:

Ludens [singing]: Everybody knows when your children grow
Sometimes they will go hither, to and fro,
A parent’s just someone for babes to outgrow.

I tried to be supportive, maintained motherly love,
Drank up a thousand quarts of Zinfandel and port ‘cause
I was sure the TV was just being distortive.

Ludens: I’d like to tell you you’re a woman now.
But tell me, please,
Where is my daughter, in this vaudeville?

Ludens: You must be aware, the parts you have down there,
God didn’t put them there to put them on the air,
And He surely never gave them thoughts to share.

If you so desired a politicking life,
You could find a guy who needs a politicking wife,
But what you’re doing only brings on stress, and strife.

Ludens: I’d like to tell you you’re a woman now.
No blood, no womb,
No name or childhood, how can I say?

[VEHICLE begins to cry silently]

Ludens: You know I love you, dear, daughter, son, or queer,
But what mother could cheer a daughter with a beard?
The girls at the salon see me and point, and jeer.

A vagina’s not a Senator or twat,
It’s just a little spot for when you tie the knot,
And womanhood is not a thing which can be bought.

Oracle [interrupting]: I’d like to tell you you’re a woman wise.
It’s clear you love,
But why drop your pain on this sad child?

Oracle: She didn’t make this choice, doesn’t have a voice,
You must stop this noise – have compassion, Joyce,
You always knew she wasn’t just one of the boys.

[LUDENS begins to cry quietly]

Chose her for my vessel, sorry it’s distressful,
I needed a symbol, she’ll still be successful,
But your charge must end in deus ex dismissal.


(For an out-of-sequence scene with the Vehicle's father on OV1, click here. Otherwise, continue to here.)

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER returns, again, to consult the ORACLE

(Originally posted July 25, 2004)

5:45 AM, the VEHICLE’s bedroom. As the stage lights come up, We see ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER standing at the foot of the Vehicle’s bed. The Vehicle is asleep. The audience’s point of view is from the bed’s left side, placing Schwarzenegger at stage left; the bed is at center. The suggestion of a wall separates the center-left of the stage from the far right, which is decorated to signify the VEHICLE’s front yard, which she shares with CURTIS SHUCKS. Shucks’ side is an immaculately maintained lawn; the Vehicle’s side is brown, and littered by Twinkies and wrappers, and a large ice chest, from the followers of FRED PHELPS, who have until recently been having a bit of a protest-cum-picnic on her lawn.

SCHWARZENEGGER is still wearing the navy blue jacket in which we have seen him previously, though the tie is gone. The jacket is grass-stained in places, and notably disheveled. A human hand is affixed to the right shoulder of the jacket with duct tape.

The Vehicle awakes. She sees Schwarzenegger and her mouth opens, but cannot scream. She still tries, repeatedly, while sitting upright in bed and recoiling to the top of the bed, dragging the covers along with her and bunching them up around herself. She is breathing audibly: it verges on hyperventilation.

Schwarzenegger [looking at the VEHICLE]: So now I’m going to ask my question. And you’re going to answer it. No more of this ‘conditions’ bullshit.

Oracle: What is your question?

Schwarzenegger: I want you to tell me how to get power.

Oracle: Networking. It’s always about networking.

Schwarzenegger: I’m a busy man. I have a state government to run. Who, specifically, do I need to network with in order to gain control of the country?

Oracle: ‘Control of the country’ isn’t on the table, champ. I can tell you how to get the Presidency, though.

Schwarzenegger: Fine. Spill it. I’ve had just about enough of you, with your conditions, and making me cut off my hand, and making me chase you. Get on with it.

Oracle: You need to make contact with a man named Alec Pointevint. He is presently the Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. By 2017, he will be a very influential person on a national level. You need to meet with him, and engage him in conversation.

Schwarzenegger: Alec Pointevint.

Oracle: Yes.

Schwarzenegger: How do you spell that?

Oracle: Just remember his title. You can look him up when you get back to Sacramento.

Schwarzenegger: So that’s it?

Oracle: You want something more specific? Okay. February 21st, 2014. That’s a Friday. There will be a dinner at the Governor’s mansion in Atlanta. Get yourself invited.

[VEHICLE has stopped trying to scream, and is no longer hyperventilating, but is shaking. CURTIS SHUCKS appears on stage right and begins to water the lawn with a garden hose, oblivious.]

Schwarzenegger: You want me to wait until 2014?

Oracle: It’s not about what I want, it’s about what’s possible, and at what times. But let me ask you something: what do you want with power anyway? You have a wife, you have a movie career which could last another twenty or thirty years, if you take care of yourself. Why try to accumulate power for which you have no real use?

Schwarzenegger: It’s sort of an end in itself. You couldn’t understand. When a man meets another man, one of them has the power, and the other one is weak. I always want to be the one who has the power. Otherwise, I may as well be her. [indicates VEHICLE]

Oracle: I should have finished. Pointevint is a big fan of classical music. Chopin in particular. In order to get him to come over and talk to you, you will have to sit down at the piano and play his favorite piece, the Fantasia in F Minor, opus 49.

Schwarzenegger: You bitch. You fucking bitch. [lunges at VEHICLE, who resumes attempting to scream] You make me cut off my hand! And then tell me to play the piano! [SCHWARZENEGGER is striking at the VEHICLE, somewhat ineptly, with his left hand: for the most part she is able to dodge him or entangle him in the sheets] You fucking faggot! I’ll kill you!

[VEHICLE loops the sheets around SCHWARZENEGGER’s head and left arm, writhes away from him and runs outside in her nightgown. CURTIS SHUCKS sees her exit.]

Shucks: Good morning, there. Might have got dressed first. No newspaper I see.

[VEHICLE gesticulates wildly toward the front door, mimes choking to death, this being the first thought that pops into her head to signify “menace.”]

Shucks: You choking, sweetie? I don’t know the Heimlich.

[CUT TO: Schwarzenegger, inside, untangling himself from the sheets.]

Shucks: What is it? There somebody in there?

[VEHICLE points at him with one hand while touching a finger to her nose and nodding vigorously.]

Shucks: You get in my place, call nine-one-one. [pause] Oh, wait. No, I’ll call. You just get inside.

[VEHICLE turns to exit. SHUCKS stretches the garden hose across the front door at foot level. SCHWARZENEGGER races out the door and trips over the hose and flies several feet: the director may want to have something padded at the left end of the stage. SCHWARZENEGGER lies dazed on the lawn while the VEHICLE picks up the ice chest and bashes him into unconsciousness with it.]

Shucks: Ain’t that Governor Shortsenegger? Hey now!

[VEHICLE grabs the garden hose from SHUCKS and ties up SCHWARTZENEGGER with it, looking pretty much feral.]

Shucks [backing away from the VEHICLE slightly]: We should probably call the po-lice.


(Story continues at JOYCE SIMMONS LUDENS.)