“Gentlemen, please, if I might have your attention.  Is everyone present?  There ought to be ample room for all of your colleagues, if you could please muster here, in the main hall.  Yes, if would organize yourselves into serried ranks, the spacing will be more efficient, as when a grocer packs oranges.  This is the first principle of an army, even an army of dedicated newspapermen and radio journalists such as yourselves.  Please refrain from jockeying for a better position.  The acoustics of the room have been designed so that I shall be perfectly audible to all of you from this dais.  Indeed, Ignacy Paderewski entertained us here at the Tesla factory once, and from the back of the room, you could discern the faintest pianissimo.  The mazurkas danced through the air and the polonaises crashed like thunder.  Evanescent strains of beauty illuminated the room like tendrils of energy from one of my oscillators.  It was a memorable evening that transported all of us, for a brief few hours, to an idealized world, almost as though it had been synthesized in a laboratory.”

“Pardon–what does Heinz say to all that?  I repeat, he is a mute, but you may ask.  Yes, indeed, he hears you.  And comprehends, in his way.  Ah, a groan in response.  Inarticulate to you but eloquent to me.  It signals that weariness under which we all labor here on earth, under heaven.  You scoff and titter, and yet the most sophisticated scribe among you can at best approximate in prose the variegated world that surrounds him.  A superior being would look with derision upon our greatest literary works, ignorant as they must be of the Grand Design.  He would scorn our savagery.  Heinz is a brute, perhaps, but a docile one and honest at that.”

“But my apologies for such an outburst.  You have all in your various ways endeavored to enlighten through your reportage, to sow brotherhood through mass communication, the excrescences of yellow journalism aside.  I hope tonight to be vindicated of such calumnies as have from time to time appeared in the popular press, deeming me a madman and a failure.  A failure!  And it was for that reason I have summoned you all here from the metropolis to these barren stretches of Long Island, where in a few moments, I shall activate that mighty, latticed superstructure that looms above our plant.  Like Eiffel’s creation, its skeletal beauty is a reflection of the mathematical forms that can only be perceived by the mind’s eye.  What?  Indeed, sir, its existence must be credited in no small part to the generosity of my benefactor, the estimable Mr. Morgan, a gentleman of boldness, who recognized my vision and enabled me to realize it.  But all of the world shall reap its dividends.”

“And so now, when I depress the lever on my console, I shall be remotely engaging circuits that will create an invisible link between our facility and a sister installation in London.  You shall have audible confirmation of my success, as the channel of radio waves will transmit the voices of our overseas counterparts to us, as our voices shall be transmitted to them.  I must now ask Heinz to return to his former position and resume his role as a biological conductor.  Indeed, sir there is no other way.  The Creator’s work surpasses our own and I am compelled to exploit it.  I repeat, there is no need to strain your ears.  The room shall resound with the response from our collaborators.  You need not worry about jotting notes.  The event itself will be sufficiently memorable to recall from memory, and soon your readership shall feel as intimately acquainted with this extraordinary achievement as you.  Shall we begin?  I now shall make contact with our invisible interlocutors.  My friends!  CAN YOU HEAR ME?”

“Listen now!  Yes, that noise you hear.  It is confirmation of success.  Indeed, success, sir.  You hear me correctly, as you hear our friends overseas over our ‘bellowing telephone.’  Pay attention.  It may sound as though it is mere inarticulate gibberish, but it is precisely the response that I anticipated.  No, there is no mistake my friends, nor is there any electrical interference.  What you hear is the crystalline reproduction of the words, or ought I say sound, uttered by our brethren across the vast expanse of sea.  A groan, pained at first, but now, as we hear, subsiding into murmurs, like the chant of Christian brothers.  Sonorous isn’t it?”

There now, you needn’t be aghast.  The experiment has gone as planned.  Looking at your faces, I see quizzical expressions among you as you strain to form words expressing your astonishment and stupefaction.  Strain no more, gentlemen, it is futile.  The effects of my machine are sopoforic, yet you will not fall asleep, but rather into a waking slumber.  Your perceptions shall be dimmed somewhat, your reactions slowed, your thought encumbered by an immoveable weight.  Your mouths gape like fish, as you silently enunciate the single syllable, ‘why’?  Why?”

“The public, which reposed its trust in you; how have you repaid them?  By flattering their worst conceits about themselves.  By pandering to the coarsest instincts of the herd, the basest emotions!  You pass off Fool’s Gold as art, idolatry as religion.  You have ably served your masters, comfortably ensconced in their Park Avenue pleasure palaces, aggravating the ignorant masses and feeding their appetite for war, to which you have cynically led them for use as cannon fodder.  You mock the higher pursuits of art, literature science, subjecting their exponents, the only truly enlightened among you, to ridicule.  A society can only survive when led by its elite, those fit for the task of identifying the proper goals and purposes of mankind, and yet you call me madman.  Enough!”

“As I say, the experiment is a success, and for that I thank you, you who are participants in this experiment that shall gradually ripple outward throughout the world, you the vanguard of a new human race.  A race of minnows you shall be, sirs, but peaceful, indisposed to the bloodshedding that is the ineradicable canker of human history.  Guided by me, the philosopher-king if you will, (I have devised a solution of ions that renders me immune to the effects of my device), you shall enter an age of peace, submissive but disinclined to aggression.  I have recreated the effect to which I have already introduced you, but on an unimaginably larger scale.  Look now at your progenitor upon his throne, Heinz, his wiry headpiece a thorny crown.  You have been remade in his image.  He, this simple manchild, has begot you.  He is your father now, your god.”



Editor’s note: check out Henry Vogel’s “The Gift,” the winner of the Heroes contest, and Gene Kendall’s “The Problematic Journey of Mr. Scratch,” the winner of the Villains contest, and then cast your vote for who should triumph here.

Photo by Abode of Chaos

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