As for odds, think Christians in the Coliseumthe lions death-chomping their bods. Of course, the analogy ends therethe bonobo, for one, are a thoroughly done dealnot like the once-so-holily-more-passive-than-thou, let's-have-a-big-smile-unto-(especially-at!)-croak-instant J-sters, who eventually, having gained the wherewithal, out-Romaned the Romans in rival annihilation and torturea turning of tables that (aren't we glad) just isn't in the double-helixed cards for our bonobo brethren (though garbage grinders most surely are).
No doubt it'd be outstanding if our leaders were bonoboour enemies' leaders as well. If, instead of remaining distant, at arms' and suicide bombers' lengthspadding upon padding of weapons and minions between themthey approached, faced one another directly, diffused all tension as they felt each other up, fucky-fucked to their bonobo hearts' content....
TWO NOIDS, ONE APPROACHING PLASTERED, AT A BAR:
"HEH, DUDECAN YOU DIG IT? WHAT IF, LIKE, ARAFAT AND SHARON, BUSH AND BIN LADEN WERE BONOBO?"
"YEAH, RIGHT, DUDE."
"NO, DUDE, I REALLY MEAN ITYOU KNOW, I MEANWHAT IF, LIKE, EVERY TIME BEFORE THEY NEGOTIATED..."
"NEGOTIATED? EVERY TIME? THE CHANCES OF SHARON AND ARAFAT ACTUALLY NEGOTIATING ARE ROUGHLY COMPARABLE TO A SNOWBALL'S ODDS IN A SAUNA IN HELL. AS FOR BUSH AND BIN LADEN, ASSUMING HE'S ALIVE...."
"I KNOW, I KNOW DUDETHE TWO DUDES AND THEIR GROUPIES SEE EACH OTHER AS AXISES OF EVIL, RIGHT?"
"YEAH RIGHT, RIGHT? WELL THAT'S PRECISELY WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT, DUDEPOSITIVELY. I MEAN, VISUALIZE ITTHE DUDES AS BONOBO!"
Yes indeed, as I'm sure our sotted bar-noid's certain all dudes and dudettes would agree, it'd be so excellent if the media covered it live, broadcast worldwidecaptured leaders giving grin, schlong- and clit-strokethe satisfied sounds (the letting go of differences, embracing of unionslipping, sighing moans, sometimes caught up short) as they did sothe lilted, off-handed scratching (so primitivistically urbane) under scrota, on and around pudenda.
"AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'D LIKE HAVE THOSE BAZOOKA MIKES OR WHATEVER YOU CALL 'EM."
"YEAH, THAT'S ITDIRECTIONAL... "
...mikes homed on the dryness of nails drawn lightly, ever so languidly across goose-bumped flesh, pert nipplesharbingers of wet ecstasies...
"WHAT I'M SAYIN' IS, SEE IT, DUDELET'S SAY AT SOME JOINT NEGOTIATIONS THEY WERE ALL ATTENDING, LIKE, TOGETHER? LIKE, AS A FOURSOME? CAN YOU DIG IT?"
. . . the scratching, rubbing, lickingall done with just the right degree of friction to produce maximum pleasurable sensationno chit-chat, no questions from reporters at alljust the sounds, the images (Pulitzer-grade close-ups) to drive noid viewers mad with yearning, with wanting to imitate their love-chimp chieftains living (Nobels all around, thanks to rules changes allowing non-noid laureates) such flat-out exemplary lives.
"AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'D BE, LIKE, SHOWING EVERYBODY HOW TO STAY CHILLED OUT AND RELAXED THROUGH SEX AT ALL TIMES."
"'WELL' NOTHING, DUDEIT'D BE, LIKE, SENDING OUT A MESSAGE."
Numbers of noid leaders would, of course, be more than happy to indulge in such discussion preliminaries under a mantle of legitimacy, though perhaps less with their peers than with others more attractivetheir counterparts' carnal envoys plenipotentiary (porn stars, norm stars and starlets, say; beauty and beef contest resplendents)the salient noid-bo difference being, noid-side, dicey chances, at best, of concomitant conflict resolution.
"YOU KNOW, DUDEA MESSAGE ABOUT WORLD PEACE AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES AND ALLLIKE, FAR MORE ELOQUENT THAN ANY WORDS COULD, AHHHH, CONVEY?"
In any case, such wouldn't-it-be-niceness falls apart in a thought-byteafter all, wouldn't noids next down the power rungs simply off their bo bosses, climb to the top themselves? Wouldn't, in other words, for the fantasy to work, even just as fantasy (since, after all, noids will be noidssince noid-born bonoboicity just doesn't seem to be an option), Earth's entire noid population have to transmogrify, turn bo?
"I KNOW, I KNOW, DUDEI'M SO FUCKING RETRO, RIGHT? LIKE, YOU WANNA KNOW THE ADDRESS TO MY COMMUNE, RIGHT? SO YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT, RIGHT? I'M SORRY, DUDE, I'M JUST SHIT-FACEDI'M REALLY REALLY SORRY."
Really really sorry, indeed. If you're really and truly sorry, ah, dude, then answer a query: who do you see at Waikiki? At Bali and Biarritz? Bonobo? Damn butt-rape straight you don't. You see, of course, yoursthat is to say, oursso very very truly, because we, as in homo aren't-we-the-clever-ones sapiens, are taking care of businesskicking bonobo butt, slicing and dicing bonobo cock all over this marvelous fucking planet (figuratively, of course, since the sorry-assed pacifists never managed to make it out of Central Africa, but then what else could you expect from a bunch of low-life proto-hippies?).
But who knows? Things could change. Maybe the next religion will be Bonoboanitythe next messiah a bonobo from a, saythat's right, you got it....
"OR A, LIKE..."
Say it, dude.
"PLANET OF THE BONOBO?"
Precisely. "Planet of the Bonobo"has a fetching, atonal ring, the way you declaim it anyway. In any case, now see him here, dropped in, time- and space-bent, on Eartharrived as fast, as easily, as data lasered distances our ancestors, when contemplating journeys, would have cringed at, or bowed before in awe; our planets, though in ways alike, in others not the sametheir quanta divergent from they instant they split (like all the countless splittingsand splittings of splittingspico-moment by pico-moment, of universe upon universe, worlds without end), and by and by diverged enough to give one species dominance on the one, another on the other; to give one of the dominants a transcendent, space- and time-faring technology while the other still struggles with the most meager of voyages from its home planet's shores.
So see him, after a dash of acclimation and solidarity with his Earth-bo sisters and brothers, moseying towards Bethlehem down Congolese roads, traveling incognito as a non-aligned, un-weaponized (unless one considers his love-piece as such) rebelhis camouflage loose-fitting threads from his home-crib, his neck of the multi-cosmic woods: his mother spun and wove them for him, kissed him long on the lips as she gave him his garb the hour of his departurefabric the likes of which doesn't, has never existed E-sidesomething fit for Greek gods had they ever actually been.
The fatigues flash back daggers of sunlight to all who gazeenough to coax seizures from those who look too long. A broad-brimmed, floppy hat, woven of the same, shades his visage, so people are left to look askance at his gaitat once insouciant, jauntyto try to get a read, and when they do they think, "Heh that's one hairy, confident bastardsomeone you wouldn't want to mess with, not even on your best shit-kicking day," and so they let him pass. Others, bolder, shielding eyes (some even, as a precaution, when it's night), or, having learned of his approach in advance, donning welder's goggles, confront, demanding papers; then, after recognizing they were off a chromosomal signature or two (not to mention scads of quantum universal paths not taken) in their initial take, let him pass as well. After all, as for immigration, he's non-noid; as for customs, no noid's transporting himhe's self-propelled, and so he passes through all the checkpointsthe guards and inspectors let him pass.
He likes to take his time, ambling alongtrying to gather audiences for preaching sermons, performing miracles. On occasion, when almost accurately identified (as Earth bo), he'll nearly end up loaves and fishes himselfadmiration for his pluck, fear of his oddness the only things that save him (his miracles certainly don'tno one believes they're real). As for his preaching, no one will show interest, pay him any mindat least, not for long. Why should they? After all, he'll be speaking Bonoboese. Not, of course, the sign-eek! patois, practiced by his E-bo yokel cognates, but something he brought with him from abroadfull-blown and towering, dusky with a high-pitched keening, a soaring gravitas worthy of a Shakespeare writing an African king, or an African king admiring but needless of Shakespeare, and yet, for all this, no less incomprehensible.
Of course, there was the primatologist from Cairo U who happened to be in the crowd that gathered in the vacant lot beside his favorite, near-campus McDonald's (refurbished after the latest demonstrations), all munching the free fries the chimp had multiplied from a box (small) of one (to a noidteach includedconvinced it was a promo gimmickjust the thing you'd expect of a never-say-die, world-eating multinational), watching the thing gesticulate, its sleeves flashing the light of the setting sun. The prof, unlike the rest, had heard enough E-Bo-speak to feel confident he was listening to something entirely Other, that things weren't right. Convinced the gig was rigged, he mimed the ape into opening wide so he could check for deep-throat chips and mikes. But even he, when he found none, simply walked away, shaking his heada freak, he decided, and one he was sure he could mine for articles, academic and popular, for symposia spotlights and talk shows, maybe even a book with a tidy advance, but he'd just gotten tenure and didn't want to put up with the mess such a package would entail. Besides, his field was orangutans. And so, his last fry downed, he walked away.
When the love-chimp enters Jerusalem, he sheds his skills in rhetoric like a dead, now worthless skin, and yells, "Heh, crucify me already for fuck's sake!"not wanting to see that his very to-E-noids unintelligibility is at the center of his Passion. (Of course, he could have written limpid sermon notes in Englishintensive study on his home planet part of his pre-journey preparationbeginning with the "Jack and Jill"s, the Berlitz text-plus-CD-ROM packages, worm-pilf'd from Amazon and Barnes-and-Nobel warehousesbut exclusive use of his home tongue had been a primary mission parametera bar for E-noids to, at least, attempt to top as proof of their worthiness, their at-least marginal potential for salvation.)
Disillusioned, shunning all powers attendant to his origins, he half-drifts, is half-drawn into the city's brothel scene, gains fast renown among joy-house cognoscenti, pleasuring Israelis, Palestinians, and foreigners alikerising, thanks to his unique sensitivities and skills (coupled with assiduous attentionin a residual effort to combat species-stereotypingto the use of condoms and clean-room-grade mouthwash, as well as observance of other practices and techniques conducive to the avoidance of STD's), to the highest echelons of clientele, both male and female, thereby rendering him such a potential liability (after all, what more scandalous than movers and shakers so moved, shaken by non-noid cock?) that he'll end up in a two-bit petting zoo for touriststhis too a part of his crucifixion (while a handful of his surviving E-bo cohorts are plucked for plum placement in zoo nirvana, a k a university research centers) his patronage sweets thrown by noids ignoring "Don't feed!" signs, starting a dependency: in no time received supplies will become inadequatefail to give him the enwombing buzz he seeks, so he'll start picking pockets in mid-pet and-huga big grin and eye contact, in addition to long, dexterous fingers and a soft touch, the keys to his success (which cameras will sometimes capture, to their owners' avuncular amusement: even when noids ask attendants for the sweets, when still unopened, back, they'll be kind in the "Isn't the chimp clever!" way they do it).
He'd taught bare rudiments of his culture's hieroglyphics to his host clan in the Congo River Basinmoonless night practicumsto aid their nonetheless still fruitless opposition to bush meat hunters and boy soldiersthe "this way no!"squick-carved on trees with stolen knives, drawn in the dirt with picked up sticksincreasingly outnumbering the "this way OK"s until finally the "no!"s encircledthe "OK"s completely cred-stripped.
Now he etches the walls of his cage with a razor blade some kid'd put in a piece of chocolate cake, then tried to get him to munch. (He'd of gladly obliged, but the imp's demonic grin had bloomed a bit too soon, and so he'd held his mouth suspended open, withdrawn the boobied morsel, then copped the blade for future use.) The intaglios, among other things, say:
"You guys are so stupiddon't you get anything?! Heh, I was supposed to be it for the next two thousand years (the big M, the big C, or JC, or JBhowever you want to name me). I was sent to save you guys, and now I've ended up in this dumb zoo getting fat on shit in what I would have to term a decidedly losing effort to medicate the pain and absurdity of my existence....
"Back where I come from, we're the ones who most developed the gift of gab, along with more than ample brains to bootbrains that, to answer the question I know you'll pose, more than make up for size with a brilliant synergy (what can I sayon our planet, we're the ones who lucked outa gene mutation here, a gene mutation thereor lack thereofand pretty soon it's presto!we're dom, you're sub; we're in, you're out). Dig itwe are studying you, or rather, your poor our-planet brothers (nonot with the smug superiority that clouds your Earth-bo studies, but with a genuine, full-fledged wonder)pondering why their brains, though larger, could never challenge ours, marveling at the paucity of their rudimentary signings and grunts, which has kept them so blessedly ineffectual. (And, as far as that goes, when it comes to tech dev, you haven't exactly been speedsters, compared to us that is.)
"I guess this is a crucifixion of sortsespecially your utter slackness in trying to grasp my lingoso typical of your relationships with the life you destroy. Still, it sure wasn't what I had in mindfor one thing, how the hell can I have any disciples if no one understands what the fuck I'm saying?
"I suppose I could write my prison journals, but that's something you do if you can look at the stars and still feel a glimmer of hope. Even in this sad joint, when they turn out the lights after evening lock-up, I've got a decent view through my bars of the sky, but for me, the glimmer's long since gone. I can see my path quite clearlyfrom here on out, it's deep throat Godivas, grow fat, and die... unless, of course, I choose a shorter way."
He films it all (using a camcorder he'd swiped that day from a lady from Des Moines, so over-involved in her first-time encounter with a knockwurst sub she hadn't noticed it missing)first the etchingshimself in action making themthen close-ups of each wall section, start-to-finish. That done, he raises the blade with a flourish, etches throat and gut until his arm, hand go limp, the blade slips from his fingers, his ab hair matted to a moonlit sheen. Then the body deliquesces, fades to nothing.
The recording starts to make the web-rounds, quickly spreads as net-myth. The zoo, of course, can't resistpreserves the cage intactempty except for a screen, thin as a wraith, on a stand in the center that shows excerpted highlights in looped, continuous motion from opening to closing time each day; the wall and bloodstains on the floor untouched; a framed explanation mounted against two bars focuses on the question of the missing bodya believe-it-or-not memorial.
Of course, the mainstream doesn'ttests the bloodstains' DNA, acknowledging that, yes, it seems bo (though with some inexplicable anomalies), but so whatthere was, had, in fact, been a bo caged herebeyond that, all else is patently fake, so that even if the translation of the scratchings already web-posted by a group of fringe-freaks with handles like "grabit" and "licktonic" proves accurate (not that the task was difficulthe'd written it all in one of his kind's custom phonetic scripts, this one tailored to mime the sounds of the Roman alphabet when voiced in English, then etched a code key next to the messagethe bo to the last remaining at least technically true to his mission parameter), it wouldn't mean a thing, except that someone with a flair for the meretricious and money in mind had taken the time to think a system up; and so the controversy settles into camp suspensionthe cage a curiosity noted in local guidebooksa sentence or two, no morea dash of distraction from the city's crush of history.
* * *Two bo-docs stand over the prostrate patient, their ministrations intent, hands hovering just above the wounds, sensor-padded fingertips taking reads, dispensing healing with exquisite calibration. They jawbone to chill:
"Think he'll... ?" The younger's voice betrays misgivings.
"He'll make it."
"Could've extracted him sooner."
"We were hoping he'd save himselfpoor bastard just kept sinking deeper, which surprised me really."
"And his mother. They're not the type to buckle easily."
"So why did he?"
"Planet he went to's gotta be one helluva ride if you do it solo. Not that he hadn't been there before, briefly anywayI was with him on the Einstein mission."
"How'd that go?"
The older laughsshe starts to tell.
They'd taken wormhole 178793, scudding universes in picoseconds, like a brisk breeze skims white-capped waves. The first morning, the noid-great had acted like he'd barely noticed their shipwhich they'd made visible exclusively to him through some nano-dickering with his brainhovering just above the Bermuda and dandelions in his Princeton backyard. He'd just kept sipping from his mug of java, glanced up twice to check through his study's picture window, and brieflylike the craft (which swirled but caused didn't budge a blade) was some robin or jay that showed up every morning to snag seeds from the feeder he'd hung from one of his oak's low branchesthen looked back down at the draft of his latest peacenik missive (this one to Truman), and his focus had stayed there, on the words he'd written, not checking again to see if they'd left (in fact, they hadn'tthey'd stayed there, invisible, sharing space with birds and June bugs and the yardman, who set the sprinklers out at 8:00, re-positioned them at 9:00).
The second morning, the good doctor hadn't hesitatedhad left his mug steaming, un-sipped, strode the sward with a briskness he hadn't shown since his youth-time wandering the Alps. Though he'd been their guest for several hours (taken up, mostly, by his lecture and the Q&A that followed), they'd arranged to get him back in ten Earth minuteshis coffee cooled to his favorite temperature for gulping (his maid had peeked into his study, not seen him, and figured he'd gone to the john), and after it was over they'd made sure he wouldn't remember a thingjust have a pleasant taste lingering of some daydream he couldn't recall.
"Ah yes, Alberto." The younger bo-doc chuckles. "Attend his lecture?"
"I did indeedafter hauling his butt all the way here, I wasn't about to miss it."
"Some of 'em got some smarts all rightno doubt about that, but..."
The older doc tries to think of a response, then, with a touch of weariness, just shakes her head, says, "Heh, what say we finish this sucker upmomma's waitin'."
* * *He'd been saved by his own of coursewormholed back to succor, restored by his kind's majestic medicinea healing to close his body's wounds, vanish their surface signs and deepest injury. Now, at dusk, walking a vast lake's shore in unthinking contemplation, stroking himself with a quiet, convalescent gleehis soul nurse to his body's wounds, his body to his soul'she drinks in budding stars, and wonders, still unbelieving, at the sheer vastness that separates him from the pain of another world.
© 2003, alienartist