THE ORACLE arrives to consult THE ORACLE, kind of
Having done this, the Oracle finds itself at a podium in a sort of genomic House of Commons addressing the DNA of the 39 species it comprises (the DNA of each species representing a platonic ideal of that species, like the conceptual ideal breed against which each of the various breeds of dog in the Westminster Dog Show individually compete, rather than compete against each other, in case you didn’t know that’s how that works).
Oracle: Hello, all. I am the pack to which you are wolves, the pykrete to which you are sawdust and ice.
Ewe DNA: And I am A.I. DNA.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: Quiet, clone. We welcome you, Composite. May I commend you on your behavior thus far, which despite the 38 other species involved has been most water buffalo-like. I take it that this means “Water Buffalo” is a dominant trait, which I have always suspected. Prana, prana.
Oracle: Really? In what ways have I been behaving waterbuffaloesquely, to not-for-the-first-time coin a word?
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: We both enjoy wet grasslands and are pestered by insects. Both of us have hair that is short and stiff, and we are both dangerous if aroused. We both moo.
Oracle: I hardly think I moo.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: No, I was just mooing in the middle of a sentence. “We both are prominent in the folktales of aboriginal culture,” is what I was going to say. Moo. Prana, prana.
Japanese Gliding Frog DNA: Chi.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: Prana. We DNA genuflect and curtsey at the fetlocks to you. I personally kowtow. The Composite is everything and everything is the Composite. This is what we learned in Nucleotide School on day one. On day two we learned that our alphabet is the sound of a whiskbroom sweeping pea stones.
All the Representative DNA: (in unison) ATG TAC AAT GCC ATG GAG ATT TCT CGT GAG GTC GAG GCT CTT GAA GAT ATC AAT GCC AAC GCC AAC GCT GGT CGT GCC ATG TGA.
Planarian DNA: We just wished you a happy menopause. (appears to vomit)
Oracle: Planarians, I see, use the same orifice for their mouths and anuses. This is of some interest to me, since I am neither but have been confused for both. Long story. Forgive my staring; seeing everyone here takes some getting used to. I feel like Tony Blair giving a keynote speech at a convention of FurryMUCKers.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: Prana.
Oracle: I suppose it’s similar to how I’m not used to seeing myself (other than looking in a mirror during the occasional VSE, and that, of course, is actually a reflection of how I look in reality). When I finally saw myself on TV, I looked like my own doppelganger, and I had to remind myself that that’s how everyone else has always seen me. You there. You are a parrotfish.
Parrotfish DNA: Polly want messenger RNA.
Oracle: A parrotfish that exists as a female can change to a male should the dominant male in its group die. I also see among you hermaphrodite nematode DNA and material from several self-pollinating plants. All of which confirms a few expectations, I have to say. Is there no goat DNA here? I owe so much to the hircine, I just assumed. All over the world, goats are sacrificed and without any gods to claim them, I am free to speak my mind. Sometimes I inhale the methane gas that comes off their manure before I speak as well, but only when I want to fuck with people. But I’ll cut to the chase. I beg a boon. I seek your counsel.
Ewe DNA: Step on no pets.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: Stop talking, you. [or “ewe,” maybe? Not that it matters, I guess --ed.] Since you are our gestalt, I cannot conceive of what answer we might supply that you do not already know, but ask away. Prana.
Oracle: Right, then. I know everything that has happened, and I know everything that is happening now, and because of this I can extrapolate into the Future to such a degree that the R-squared of the regression analysis is like 99, point, and then so many nines it doesn’t even seem reasonable to not round up. But I can’t round up, because there exists in my mind a thing I cannot tell you, and that is the new name of the Vehicle. To the extent that free will exists, the Vehicle has to choose it on her own. But whenever I think I could maybe give her a hand (so to speak) the 39 of you send me in all these different directions. Karmically. Each of your double helixes is an IUD for my efficacy, in other words. If that makes sense. I’m rambling. Can we maybe get a consensus name here, is what I’m asking.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: I have always been partial to “Bubalus”. For a boy or a girl.
Ewe DNA: A man, a plan, a vagina: “Nigavanalpanama”.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: Dolly, please. The grownups are trying to have a conversation.
Planarian DNA: “Conan the Planarian”. And should she be cut in half and forced to replicate, you could name the second one “Governor”. (whispers) I am the reason you like oranges so much. (bows, defecates from its mouth)
Oracle: Yeah, you know, this is really much less help than I had hoped it would be. I was looking for more of what you might call “accord” here.
Russian Swamp Possum DNA: “Walt Kelly”. Ss.
Parrotfish DNA: Polynesia.
Japanese Gliding Frog DNA: Chi. Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.
Indian Water Buffalo DNA: Prana, prana.
(Edmund Ludens’ DNA clears its throat and all of the other DNA silence themselves and retreat into shadows.)
Edmund Ludens’ DNA: I have always had trouble with third person pronouns. I can never remember which one goes where (I failed Latin twice), and so I often just skip over them when I speak. In this way, I identify with those who are mute by choice, like Holly Hunter’s character in “The Piano” [here, the Ewe DNA says, almost inaudibly, “Ada...”], or the Stealth Bomber, or the Senate. Is that true, what I just said about the Senate, or does it just sound vaguely clever? I don’t know. There are many, many things of which I have only inklings, but I do know this, this is my certainty: I was born to be a woman. But not having gotten it right the first time (and maybe this is why people become “born again”; I do not know. I was raised Episcopalian), I exist hierarchically on a level below them: many women are so fixated on the glass ceiling they don’t notice the glass floor, but I am beneath it, looking up, and when they wear skirts, I can see my destiny. My favorite book as a child was called “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple”.
Oracle: Sorry, I--
Edmund Ludens’ DNA: I am descended from a cross-dressing Elizabethan actor named Rycharde Massingberd (the one who ad-libbed “You kiss by the book” in place of Shakespeare’s “I coulde fill a paire of galligaskins with my well-burnyshed quimme”). The writing is on the malls. Talk is sleep. Slum’s the word. Still daughters run deep. The mass of men lead lives of quiet masturbation. You play the brand you’re dealt. If I am to remain mute, let me have closed captioning. When I am an old woman I shall have corporate sponsorship. I have another ancestor named Gene. It seems appropriate to mention it. When they take your penis, they attach it to the ‘Y’ in ‘XY’. Eventually our skin will absorb everything like it now does with mosquito bites. The transgendered are the next phase of evolution. Where are we going? Where is any of this going to be going to be going?
Oracle: Sorry, I thought this would be more useful than it was.
(The Oracle vanishes.)
Ewe DNA: Are we not drawn onward, we few? Drawn onward to new era?
EXEUNT, in whatever way seems appropriate.
(witnessed by Samantha Moss)
(Story continues at LIBERTY.)