Whirled War III was strictly chemical until the mid-1980s, when it went biological. Up to that point, the Untied States and the Sobeit Onion worked frantically to save their people from chemical ruin, but this proved largely futile. The bulk of the lower and working classes had been hopelessly infiltrated and reduced to gibbering idiots; pathetic victims of crack, meth, dust, weed, junk, and mass brainwave entrainment, virtually useless for all but the simplest repetitive tasks. The coincident global emergence of mass automation then rendered them totally obsolete, saddling the superpowers with half a billion or so lumps of useless flesh.
What to do, what to do? After farming out of what menial tasks remained to the so-called Turd Whirled, the two major powers basically imploded. Urban centers rotted inside-out, families disintegrated, national IQs plummeted, intelligent laborers were imported from Aphasia and Eastern Myopia; puddles of drool accumulated in shopping malls, abandoned classrooms, strip clubs, fast food joints, seedy bars, graffiti-covered subways, musty old libraries filled with yellowing obsolete books, gum-slicked sidewalks outside infested flop houses…
Faced with the total collapse of all that is good and righteous in totalitarian life, the stupor-powers collaborated and appeared to find temporary salvation in a biological war, turning virulent strains of pathogens loose on their own people, targeting the brown, black, junkies, poor, disenfranchised, unentitled, sodomists, crack heads, toothless meth scratchers everywhere… But this too turned out to be more problem than solution, soon threatening to spread to the global blood supply and wipe out the good, the clean, the rich, the upstanding white elite.
The idea of running a good old-fashioned conventional war was then entertained but quickly abandoned due to lack of interest on the part of the hollowed-out masses, whose brains simply couldn’t be entrained sufficiently after decades of addiction. Gone were the days when millions could focus their hate long enough to jumpstart a large-scale campaign. Feasibility studies had long-since ruled out the viability of solving the so-called “population deadwood problem” with nuclear weapons, due to global fallout, so things were pretty much left to drift into the new millennium.
The various alien powers-that-be were appealed to, but they’d already abducted far more humans than they needed to establish their hybrid lines. Nor were they interested in vaporizing a billion or so on a contract basis, due to the projected impact on what they call the “off-life”; we refer to this variously as heaven, purgatory, limbo, the bardo, nothingness, depending on your belief system. They claimed that purging the deadwood would flood the off-life, generating an unpredictably devastating tsunami rebound effect on the living. The Grayliens seem to have a much clearer, more evolved grasp of the cycle of life and death, to the extent that they manage their involvement with it as a tractable systems engineering problem might be dealt with by humans. However, in the late 20th Century, they were either unwilling or unable to enlighten us further in this area.
With the discovery of the Mayan time springs deep in the Youcantan jungle, mankind finally caught a break. Due to the subsequent proliferation of time drugs, it is now difficult to pinpoint the date on which the springs were discovered, but it appears to have been shortly after the turn of the new millennium, give or take a year. Within a decade, despite the best efforts of governments everywhere, time drugs had spread across the globe into every walk of life. Virtually everyone became addicted to slo-mo sprays, time-reversal rubs, stop-action powders, injectable interludes, fast-forward flapjacks, rewind roll-ons, time-slip Slurpees, time-stop stogies, time-travel tabs…
Anything that flies was soon converted to distribute time drugs, flooding the atmosphere, seeding every cloudtop. By 2010 (or what passed for it, given the increasingly subjective nature of time), Dearth’s water cycle was totally saturated with time drugs. Surprisingly, the net effect was a certain averaged temporal quality not totally unlike the original pristine environment, though relatively discontinuous and unpredictable. As a result, the newly washed world clock tends to jitter a bit, giving life a certain unmanageable quality. The tenor of this departure from continuous time varies with locale, depending on the cloud seeding activities of the local government and her enemies. In addition, the global presence of a vast melange of time drugs tends to enhance the effects of individually administered agents, increasing their potency several fold.
Today it is almost unthinkable to attempt to compete on any level in any field without the aid of time drugs. Battlefields, studios, boardrooms, auditoriums, theaters, barber shops, supermarkets, garbage trucks, churches, cemeteries, tourist traps -- all are treated continually with the latest custom time drug mix, designed for ultimate consumer satisfaction. The effect is quite disconcerting, making it virtually impossible to know whether one is dreaming, reminiscing, waxing nostalgic, or actually time traveling at any given moment. The whole concept of the present has been essentially trashed.
John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in many literary journals. A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/
His recently released experimental lit-rap video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=l33aUs7obVc.
He’s @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.