Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nevertheless The Plan Was Not Implemented

by Peter Richter

Thomas Friedman was right when he said, “Much of this biodiversity in Indonesia is now under threat.”

It had been this way since gasoline became currency; I remember bartering with The Governance for the newest edition of The Guinness Book of World Records, which featured a scratch-and-sniff page of the world's worst smelling people. It starred Clint Eastwood. This explained the snarl of his face, as even he agreed at his disagreeable odor.

He is a hard-ass and I respect him for it. Being a hard-ass is what drew me to The Governance. She owns the police, a few million dollars in gasoline, and a jester. She is on her 15th jester.

This is all hearsay, but I believe the death of the first 14 jesters to be related to the illegal logging agreement The Governance made with westerners. I also believe the jesters now live in the most northern region of heaven. Like I said — it's all hearsay.

Thomas Friedman was right when he said “Indonesia exports raw labor, not brains.” The people had bad teeth and brown jeans. Things like lettermen jackets, cosmetics and votives didn't exist there.

I went to The Governance with luxury items and laid them at her feet. Kneeling, I said, “I made a mental note of how well traveled you could be and filed it away. I realize that the amount of gasoline you process does not weigh on your happiness. But Governance, have you ever smiled?”

She didn't answer but motioned for me to continue. I adjusted the volume on the ipod and played a clip from ER. I knew George Clooney could sell my argument; all salt-and-pepper and glaring into the part of the body that makes women love strangers.

She said, “I must have this.”

“But wait!” I said

I dimmed the lights, lit the votives and stripped her naked. I walked around her and bound her to a mink coat. She rubbed her cheek against her lush shoulder and purred.

“Governance. Have you ever felt so beautiful?”

She hadn't.

Thomas Friedman was right when he said, “Of course, a lot of people offer quick-fix plans for how to stem the tide of material degradation, but in countries like Indonesia, plans are rarely implemented as intended.”

It didn't take a week for the people of Indonesia to trade in their gasoline for portable DVD players, Lebron James jerseys and subwoofers.

Sitting on the corner of a dirt road was a child, homeless with an ipod. He tried to hunt with it, but he scared away the animals as distorted music played from the dangling earbuds. He tried to keep himself warm with it, but the tiny LCD screen only generated enough heat for one earlobe. Before it died he tried to cover himself from the rain with it. There were millions like him. And as the forests were purged for western greed, the true population of the tech-savvy-homeless left the naked woods and took to the streets.

I remember being a runaway in Patterson New Jersey. I remember my home made of tarps. The floor made of more tarps. In comparison I had it good. I remember smelling like Clint Eastwood. I remember finding a pocket knife and being amazed at its uses.

After a lunch rush, a restaurant dumped a bag full of clams out back. I sat on the pebbles and broken road and used the knife to pry open the clams.

That was the best lunch I ever had.

Thomas Friedman once said, “Imagine a world without coral.”

I visited The Governance. Her 15th jester had died from drinking the plasma leaking from the wall of TVs. The Governance was ill with worry and malnourished. She was pink and white. I came to her bed side. “Governance, the comprehensive strategy of technology is not just a one-off plan. We need to help them.”

She replied. “We need a million Noahs and a million arks.”

She passed away at that moment. I thought about how I had been drawn to her. I thought about the living energy inside of us, our unexplained machinery churning all the stuff that has sustained us all.

I looked up to the most eastern region of heaven and asked Thomas Friedman to allow me to redefine my relationship with the natural world.

He said, “Have you read Hot, Flat and Crowded? That is the whole point.”

Maybe The Governance had passed away from affixation from her obsession with gasoline. Maybe it was the forests and farms being purged by westerners. Maybe it was the pacifying media.

Nevertheless, inside me, it was all of these things swirling that led to my decision to burn her palace down.

As The Governance rose to the most medium region of purgatory, her palace fell. Most of society had ascended to various levels of heaven.

34% remained. I looked down on them and listened to their cheers as ascending melodies. Flat and crowded met hot and make it hotter, and that was the start of a whole new set of problems.


  1. I forgot how much I love this piece. Reading it and then thinking about how you read it really brings it home.