New Friends and Religion

About two weeks after Dempsey had given her little demonstration of non-earth human defenses, Frank called to say she would like to stop by the next afternoon for a couple of hours. She was apparently on her way to California where she planned to meet Ned, and thought Sally and I would be interested in what their meeting was about.

There were actually two things Frank wanted to talk to us about. The first was about Bill and Sarah Barret and the communication technology that Bill had developed. Apparently someone was trying discover what Bill was working on and who he was working for.

"Ned thinks it is the government," Frank explained. "That's what I'm going to California about. Ned thinks we need to make Bill and his family disappear."

"Is there anything Sally and I can do, Frank?" I asked.

"I don't know what any of us can do, at least until I talk to Ned. I'm sure he's already come up with a plan."

"There is one thing you could do, Mark, but only if you choose to. Bill and Sarah are true individualists, as independent as any of us. I've mentioned Roger to them, but only as someone who was the ultimate individualist. I have not explained that he is a non-earth human being.

"If Roger were still here, I know Roger would have that talk with Bill and Sarah, like he had with all of us, when he explained who and what he is. What do we do now, when we discover other true independent individualists, Mark?"

I smiled at Frank and was intentionally non-comital.

"I don't know Frank. I suppose they ought to be introduced to the others sometime," I said. "Perhaps you ought to give any contact information you have for them to Sally. We'll decide what to do and let you know."

Frank looked a little disappointed, but said she'd given the Barrett's contact information to Sally.

It was Frank who brought up Peter Sterling.

"Do you know what Peter Sterling has done?"

Neither Sally or I knew and said so.

"He's attacked the entire NatAlSec alien witch-hunt as an anti-religious, anti-Catholic campaign. He wrote that the anomalies, those, what do you call them? 'fermi-bubbles,' are not evidence of alien life, but evidence of God, and that the governments of the world know that and are trying to cover it up."

"Evidence of God!?" I exclaimed involuntarily. "Since when did Peter start believing in God?"

"Of course he doesn't, but as Priscilla Van, nobody knows what he... err she... believes. The article was in that crazy advice column he writes."

The Priscilla Van column Frank referred to is one of Peter Sterling's spoofs, like his, Diet of Apes, which mocks diet fads, especially the so-called "paleo" diets of a few years ago, and, Deadly Glamor, about the inevitable decadence and rot of those inflicted with unearned wealth which he presents as some kind of genetic flaw. Perhaps you know the quote: "Beauty is a genetic defect mistakenly thought to be desirable." Of course his most controversial is the, Wannabe Bible, which celebrates the virtues of BIDism, those who want to have a limb or two hacked off, or some other part of their body mutilated. Peter's book claims they are perfectly normal. "'Wannabeism' ought to be celebrated and promoted in the schools. Just because most people have two arms, two legs, two ears, a nose, and genitals does not make that normal, it makes them average, just common. Wannabes are special," he wrote.

The column is called, "Priscilla Van's Answers." It is a so-called advice column which is totally outrageous. It is very popular. Most people read it just because it makes them angry, or makes them laugh, or makes them think.

The most surprising aspect of Peter Sterling is that he is a genuine philosopher, a fact he intentionally keeps very well hidden. I'll leave that aspect of Peter's complex personality for another article.

"How does Peter get away with that column, Frank? Most people believe Priscilla Van is a real woman," Sally asked.

"Well the news insiders really know, but the column is so popular they will not let anyone reveal the truth. They even have a picture of the famous Priscilla Van, and have printed her biography which is available online.

"His anti-NatAlSec article, by the way, has received the largest response of any Priscilla Van column, and most of the response is from Catholics who have totally swallowed what he wrote," Frank added.

"I have almost no interest in politics, except as a practical business matter, but seeing the government trying to defend itself against Peter's, or should I say Priscilla's, accusations is fun. The government officially and vehemently denies it all as lies, but the Catholics aren't buying any of it and are screaming religious persecution. Leave it to Peter, when he stirs things up, he manages to reach everyone. The homosexuals have even threatened to assassinate him, but you'll have to find and read his column to understand that.

"Do you think it's important?" I asked.

"I wouldn't, except that Ned thinks it might be. It's another one of the things I'm headed to California to talk to him about."

Frank remembered to give the Barret's contact information to Sally before she left. Though I had not said so, I intended to contact the Barrets as soon as possible to invite them to our home so I could explain about Roger. I was also very eager to meet them.

—Mark Halpern