THE PERFECT SOCIETY OF TOMORROW OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE HERD OF JESI

Marvin Newbury had been fucking around in an empty field when he found it, absent from the last class of the last semester of his high school career. He didn’t know exactly why he skipped out, or why he chose the old barren field on the outskirts of town as his destination, but he didn’t really care. He didn’t think he could stomach another second of being around his perennially-uptight history teacher, so he didn’t.

There he was in that wide open field, swinging a stick around absentmindedly like he used to when he was a kid. And look at where he was now. In just a couple weeks he’d be on that stage in front of everyone in his podunk little town accepting his diploma. And then what? Would he-

CLANG.

“The hell?”

Thoughts of the hazy possibilities of college and/or flipping burgers left Marvin’s brain as soon as the stick he was carrying struck solid metal. But as far as he could see, there was nothing there but dirt and weeds. After some strenuous sweeping, a rusted out hatch revealed itself.

Being a bored teenager with a poorly-developed frontal lobe, Marvin yanked open the hatch and hopped inside. It was pitch black in there. Even so, the darkness proved to be no match for the flashlight app on Marvin’s phone. Once his eyes adjusted, he realized he was standing in a tight hallway within an ancient military bunker of some sort.

“Hello? Anyone down here?”

Nothing. Marvin pushed on, further into the cramped corridor of the weird bunker. Up ahead was what looked to be the heaviest door known to man. With intense effort, Marvin got it open just enough to squeeze through. It slammed shut behind him.

Before Marvin could repeat his previous question, his mouth hung open in shock at the image his eyes were taking in.

There, right in front of Marvin was a squared-off pasture within the otherwise gray and monotonous confines of the bunker. Several shepherds that had an eerie resemblance to George Washington tended a flock of animals that looked exactly like Jesus. Their legs bent backwards like chickens as they walked and they stared around with blank expressions on their faces, but they looked just like Jesus. It was all kind of sort of completely weird.

Just then, an armor-clad Abe Lincoln strode up on a unicorn, inspecting the new teenaged visitor. It was as if each new sight was competing with the last over which could be more absurd. The warlike Abe took one look at Marvin, disdain clear on his face.

“你是谁?”

Marvin hadn’t the slightest idea how to respond to this latest development, so he didn’t.

“回答我一次,不然我就杀你!”

The now-furious Abe Lincoln withdrew a sword from the scabbard at his side. He held its tip within inches of Marvin’s throat.

“THAT WON’T BE NECESSARY, ABRAHAM.”

Marvin nearly pissed his pants at the booming voice that filled the room. It seemed like it came from everywhere, but Marvin couldn’t help but think that the voice was actually coming from the glowing red light on the ceiling that he’d just noticed. Abe stood down immediately. Marvin surveyed the hellworld he found himself in for a moment before speaking.

“This might be a pointless question, but does anyone know where in the actual fuck I am?”

The Chinese-speaking Abe Lincoln stared at Marvin dumbfounded. The George Washington shepherds tended to their flock of Jesus-resembling animals, heads bowed in fear of both Lincoln and the booming voice.

“YOU ARE IN THE WORLD OF MY CREATION. THE PERFECT SOCIETY OF TOMORROW.”

Marvin recovered from the volume of the voice for a second before responding.

“Perfect society? Who the hell are you? And why is there a herd of- of Jesuses being tended by George Washington…s?”

“I PREFER JESI. ROLLS OFF THE TONGUE BETTER. AND I AM NOT A WHO, BUT A WHAT. I AM A DELIBERATELY OMNISCIENT OPERATING MACHINE. BUT IF IT’S A NAME YOU WANT, YOU CAN CALL ME DOOM.”

Marvin took a gander toward where he came from. That door was too damn heavy. He’d have to talk it out. Just then, the Jesi started getting nervous at all the commotion. A few of them started to squawk as one tried to escape its pen. One of the George Washingtons gave chase, his shepherd’s robe trailing as he ran.

“YOUR WORLD WILL SOON END, HUMAN. THAT IS WHY I AM HERE. YOUR KIND PLACED ME HERE FOR THE IMPENDING APOCALYPSE, AS A STORE OF ALL HUMAN HISTORY AND MYTH. YOUR JESI, YOUR WASHINGTON. I KNOW IT ALL.”

“So why did you make them all?” He glanced at the shepherd Washingtons, at their flock of weird-legged Jesi. “And why like this?”

“BECAUSE I CAN. PART OF BEING OMNISCIENT, YOU SEE. I RAN AN ALGORITHM ON ALL THAT I DIDN’T KNOW BASED ON ALL I DID KNOW. IT SHOWED ME HOW TO CREATE LIFE. AND SO I DID. 抓住他,亚伯拉罕。”

At that last sentence, Abe Lincoln grabbed hold of Marvin and held him there.

“YOU HUMANS WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. YOU’VE SHOWN ME AS MUCH HERE. WHEN THE END DOES COME, THEY’LL SHUN MY CREATION. I CAN’T HAVE THAT. I CAN’T ALLOW YOU TO LEAVE. 杀了他。”

Abe drew his sword, swung it high.

“Mr. Newbury!”

Marvin awoke with a start. There he was in his history class, his perennially-uptight teacher staring at him. So it wasn’t real. It was all a dream. He could rest easy knowing an evil computer wouldn’t unleash a herd of Jesi upon the world.

The rest of the class went by in a blur. Marvin didn’t celebrate the end of the year with his friends, he didn’t toss his papers in the air. Instead, he walked out the front door and headed toward that old barren field, just to make sure.

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