ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER arrives to consult the ORACLE
An apartment complex near the VEHICLE's former building. The crowds of Oraclites have dispersed from the area; it is unknown where they have gone. The Vehicle is in the area looking for her friend Brook (no "e"), whom she last saw when still a man named Edmund Ludens. Her plans with Brook are nonspecific; she hasn't called beforehand. It just struck her when she woke up this morning that she would like to see Brook again, so she thought she'd go to Brook's place and see whether anyone was home.
Meanwhile, two small girls, ages two and four, are standing in front of someone's window, up ahead. One very large dog, and one medium-sized dog, are barking at the girls from inside someone's apartment. The dogs may be rottweilers, or pit bulls, or something. The Vehicle was always more of a cat person. The dogs are making a terrible racket at the window, and the window is occasionally bulging from the force with which they lunge at it. The smaller girl gets up very close to the window at one point, and the Vehicle can see the frustrated larger dog snapping at her through the glass at one point, with a full view of its teeth. The Vehicle is not sure whether to attempt to intervene; no parental figures are in sight, and the window seems to be holding, and the girls are standing in rapt fascination, watching the dogs.
And then ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, bodybuilder turned movie star turned California Governor (the Vehicle thinks, and people talk about me like I'm implausible), approaches the Vehicle. He is wearing a very sharp, and even gubernatorial, suit, navy blue, with a solid red tie. He seems not to notice the unfolding vignette with the little girls at all.
Schwarzenegger: I have a question to ask you.
Oracle: I will answer. But there is a condition you must fulfill for me first.
Schwarzenegger: What kind of bullshit is this? You never ask anybody else for conditions.
Oracle: And yet.
Schwarzenegger: Fine. What is the condition?
Oracle: I want you to touch your right hand to your right shoulder.
Schwarzenegger: That's it?
Oracle: That's it.
[SCHWARZENEGGER bends his arm, but there is too much bicep in the way (also there may be freedom-of-movement issues with the suit -- we'll never know); he flexes and grimaces, but his hand is not quite long enough to reach his shoulder.]
Schwarzenegger: This is really stupid.
Oracle: Lemme guess. You'll be back?
[SCHWARZENEGGER turns around and leaves. The dogs continue to bark. The girls continue to stare.]
(Story continues at TERRA, THE PLANET EARTH. Schwarzenegger set continues at ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER RETURNS.)