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, August 28, 2004

ROBERT MUGABE, PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE, arrives to consult the ORACLE



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.

[EXEUNT 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.]

EXEUNT

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.

[exeunt ORACLE, VEHICLE]

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.]

EXEUNT


(Story continues at ROBERT MUGABE.)