Vote for Mithras, part two

Peter looked at Karl, and Karl looked at his reflection for several awkward moments. Peter spoke slowly. “Mithras can get Mithras into the White House. My job is to streamline the campaign. In the end, while I know it’s popular to believe that people will do as they are told, I have no real influence on the nature of the candidate and his ability to win the hearts of a representative majority.”

“Sounds like a speech you make regularly.”

“It was harder this time because I’m drunk.”

“Ah.”

Peter downed one of the new beers in a couple of swallows, then took a second bottle and started to nurse it.

“We want to make Mithras a household name.”

“He is. He’s a horned half-beast god resurrected from the glaciers of Greenland in what is unarguably Mankind’s greatest scientific achievement.”

“I mean as a candidate for the Presidency.”

“Oh, well, yes. Sorry.”

“We feel people would be willing to vote for Mithras to oppose the tactics of the ineffectual and downright damaging successors of President Webb.”

“Yeah, nobody can really follow Webb, can they?”

“The greatest President in American history. And he reigned for eight years thanks to you, Mr. Willingham.”

“Reigned?”

“Mithras can bring the same, fresh perspective to the office that President Webb did.”

“Really?”

“These are different times, Mr. Willingham. We have awoken the Old Gods, given them form and life. And, from that, we have learned the truth of Human history. The ancient world has been rewritten. Olympus is no longer a myth. The bones of Hercules lie somewhere out there, the remains of the Titans are beneath the sea. The world as we knew it is gone. In its place is a brand new history full of life and magic. We need to move forward. Embrace it. And, with Mithras, we can do so. His knowledge will guide Humanity on a new path. A vital path of discovery. We will take the knowledge of the ancient gods and use it to propel Humanity into the future. Knowledge that was watered down by the time it reached the ancient Greeks and the Romans, and was lost altogether in fable in the Dark Ages.”

“How does Mithras or any of the old gods know about this lost knowledge? They were created in beakers, no?”

“Well…”

“And isn’t all knowledge hindsight anyway? When this stuff was watered down and lost, and as they retreated into fable, did they actually think about what was lost and what should be preserved?”

“Now, Peter – “

“These are questions the electorate may ask, if you’re going to go with the Olympus Strategy. So all these beaker-babies made from old god DNA have the answers?”

“Not entirely…”

“They have the illusion of having the answers?”

“Well…”

Peter waved his arms in the air, nearly knocking over one of the beer bottles, “Gravitas!”

“I don’t think – “

“No, no! It’s good! We can use it. What do the old gods know? They know our lost history and, with that, they shall forge our lost future!”

“Lost future?”

Peter shrugged. “Get Roger Faraday to say it.”

Karl’s eyes widened, “You can get Roger Faraday?”

“Money can get Roger Faraday. He’ll strap on his guitar and endorse Adolf Hitler if you pay him enough.”

“But he’s…”

“For sale.”

“So all that activist stuff…?”

Peter rubbed his thumb and index finger together.

“Wow.”

“So what does Mithras have in mind for America?”

Karl got a culty look on his face and gazed at the sky. “To elevate us.”

“To make us all eight feet tall so he can look us in the eye?”

“No! To elevate us to a new level of consciousness.”

Peter waved a hand over the empty beer bottles, “Consider me elevated.”

“Mithras wishes to bring the Human race to the level of the old gods. The same power and knowledge.”

“The lost knowledge that he doesn’t actually have access to?”

“It’s in his genetic code!”

“Oh. Sure.”

“Do you not believe in a shared consciousness?”

“In what way?” Peter screwed up his face, then shook his head, “No. No, I don’t.”

“Fear of the dark. Fight or flight. All of that.”

“Instinct! Not shared consciousness. If we have a shared consciousness and all it does is tell us that there’s a bogeyman under the bed or that fire is bad and tree is pretty, then that’s rather sad.”

“The old gods were resurrected with their old powers. And as more is revealed, so we re-learn all of the old knowledge. Mithras wants us all to be equal. Think about it. You can be king of all that you can see.”

Peter looked down Georgia Avenue. “What? South Silver Spring?”

“No, no! All that you can see with your mind’s eye.”

“All of reality, the universe, and all associated dimensions?”

“No… Think smaller.”

“South Silver Spring.”

Karl closed his eyes, “Think larger.”

“All of reality.”

Karl stared into the reflection in Peter’s sunglasses. “Did you just agree to meet me so you could mock me?”

“Sorta.”

“Am I wasting my time?”

“Are you?”

“Am I?”

“Are you?”

“Mr. Willingham…please.”

“I’m sitting here waiting for your proposal, Mr. Bauer.”

“The campaign. What Mithras wants. For everyone to be a king. And not small or large.”

“Huh?”

“What about in the middle? Between South Silver Spring and all of reality?”

“Are you really drunk off of one beer, Karl?”

Karl clenched his fists and exhaled. “Look, I don’t know how to put it. This is why we need you. Mithras wants everyone to be a king.”

“See, you’re losing me with this campaign message.”

“Everyone will be elevated!”

“Do you mean to say that if a person votes for Mithras, then that person will be a king?”

“Yes.”

“But…figuratively?”

“What? Well…yes.”

“‘Every Man a King.’ Like Huey Long’s campaign.”

“The singer?”

“No… That’s Huey Lewis.” Peter looked sideways at Karl and narrowed his eyes. “Look, I think you might want to be less literal with the whole ‘every man a king’ thing. You don’t want to suggest that voting for someone who is a resurrected god, archeologically speaking, will result in the voter being transformed into some sort of actual crowned monarch with land and subjects. You mean to say that a vote for Mithras will ensure freedom. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. A car in every garage, a chicken in every microwave, high speed web connections without punishing contracts and poor service. That is: King of your own castle.”

“Yes! Yes!”

“That’s easy.”

“Then you’re hired!”

“How much are you paying me?”

“How much do you see yourself earning?”

“All the money ever printed since recorded history, and all the money currently in circulation, and all the money that ever will be printed converted to today’s dollars.”

“Okay. Maybe something smaller.”

Peter bit his lip and tapped his chin with a ringed finger. “Hmmm… Nope. Can’t think of anything smaller.”

“How’s a hundred grand sound?”

“It’s an excellent opening argument assuming you’re from 1972.”

“Our budget is limited.”

“What? Isn’t Mithras sitting on a pile of gold like Smog?”

“Smog?”

“The…dragon.”

Karl nearly leapt out of his seat. “They found a dragon?”

“No… It’s… Oh, nevermind.”

“If they find a dragon –“

“It’s the beer talking, Karl. Ignore me.”

Karl pulled out a business card and wrote a number on the back.

“Really?”

He slid the card over to Peter, the number side down. The front read: MITHRAS and provided a phone number and a web address.

Peter took the card, flipped it around, and read the number. Then he looked up at Karl, then back to the number.

“So the first offer was a joke?”

Karl shrugged. “I was asked to start there and see what happened. Mithras is under the impression that you aren’t quite so…mercenary.”

“What? Pro bono for the good of Mankind?”

Karl nodded.

“The Presidency is not about the good of Mankind, my friend.” Peter slipped the card into his shirt pocket. “And you have yourself a campaign fixer.”

“Ah! Good news. Mithras will be pleased.”

“I guess I’d better meet him…”

“You can come by tonight.”

“I was thinking, you know, later. Like when I’m not passed out in the shower.

“Brunch tomorrow?”

“Um…” Peter looked at Karl funny again, “Were you born to a Mormon family or something?”

“Dinner, then.”

“Yeah, that’ll work. I’ll finish these four beers and then drive home with my eyes closed. Early to bed!”

“Very good!” Karl said cheerfully.

Peter smiled mockingly, “That’s right, daddy-o! You can’t fly with the eagles in the morning if you’re up with the turkeys all night!”

Karl stared back blankly.

“Go in there and get me a scotch before you go. I need to sober up.”

“Mr. Willingham… I hope this isn’t how you behave when you’re on the clock.”

“Oh, nonsense. I’m the very model of a modern major general!”

Karl shook his head, confused, and Peter went on mumbling to himself, “Well, surprised I could say that. Gosh, I really can do anything when I’m drinking. “ He snapped his fingers and pointed at Karl, “I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral!”

“What?”

“I know the kings of England and I quote the fights historical!”

“Um…yes. So. Dinner tomorrow.”

“You’d better leave if you don’t want to be the chorus!”

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