Hello, Officer. My name is Ira. Ira Johnson. I have the knowledge and power to destroy the world. What? A crime? No, I am not here to report a crime…at least not yet. Turn myself in? What for? I have not done anything wrong. You must listen to me! A detective? Yes, you get me a detective that will listen. Hello, Detective. My name is Ira Johnson. See, I met this girl…no, she is not missing…well, she is missing, but…will you just listen? I met Leenda…yes, I’m sorry. That is how she pronounces it. It is Linda. Last name? No. I did not get her last name. She was standing on the corner by my store. I sell sporting goods. She looked disheveled, mixed up. She looked at me like a lost puppy, alone and scared. “Can you help me?” She asked, her voice wrought with fear, or anxiety. She was tall, taller than I. As you can see, I am not a large man. Well, yes, I do have this middle-aged belly, but I meant tall. I am not a tall man. She was a real beauty, Latin or Spanish or something. She spoke with what I decided was a Spanish accent. Long hair, black as ink. Willowy. Long, tanned legs that spoke for themselves from beneath a very short skirt. But her eyes…her eyes were green, and sometimes gray, and sometimes a combination of the two with moving twinkles like tiny, faraway galaxies. We talked. I bought her lunch and coffee. She was from out of town, a long way out, she said. She was vague about what help she actually needed. I told her I had plenty of room at my house and she was welcome to stay, if she wanted to, until she could orient herself and figure out what she was going to do.
A minor? No, sir, Detective. She was not a minor. I would never take in a young girl like that. I could get in trouble for that, couldn’t I? I took her home…to my home, set her up in the extra room. I have a house that is larger than I need. See, I had hoped to be married some day and I bought this house in anticipation of that goal. No, sir. I have never married. Why? Just look at me. Middle-aged and balding. And look at these soda-bottle spectacles I need to wear! Would you call me attractive? No. I thought not. We talked and talked. Then we laughed. We ate. She had a wonderful appetite, and I felt useful in attempting to satiate that appetite. The next day, I called in a part-time employee to run my store and I showed Linda the town and the countryside. We had a marvelous time. She called me Eera. I suppose it is because the Spanish pronounce their I’s as long E’s. That evening we went to dinner. We danced. We drank. We went home and made love.
Rape? Good Heavens, Officer…sorry. Detective. It was far from rape. We were in love! Good, old-fashioned love, Detective. It was my first time, and I knew it. She stayed with me for seven days. It was the best seven days of my life and I have lived for nearly forty years. I had completely forgotten the circumstances that had led her to me. I did not know who she was or where she came from, and I did not care. Then. She disappeared. She came to me on the seventh day and said, “Eera, I must go.” She saw the look on my face, and had a look of sadness on her own. She touched my cheek with her lovely hand. “I am so sorry. I must go. It cannot be helped. But, you will see me again. I promise.” “But when?” I cried. “And what is so important? Did I hurt you?” She could not answer me. No matter how I pleaded, she was determined to go. “Thank you, Eera. You have made me very happy.” I lowered my head to wipe away the tears, and when I looked up, she was gone. Vanished. Disappeared. Like a wisp of smoke in a strong breeze.
No sir. I am not reporting a missing person, for I did see her again. Why am I here? Did not the desk officer tell you? I am here because I can destroy the world! Yes, please do write this down. I am surprised you have not been writing the whole time! This is dire! Coffee? No thank you. I would like to continue, if you please. It is imperative that I get this story out. I wept and moaned and searched for days. Heartbroken, I finally gave up and went back to work. My store was a disaster. Only seven days! You would think a trusted employee could keep a store in order for a measly seven days. I fired him. Left him jobless, and he with a wife and baby. I did not care. I closed my store. I went to the bar and got drunk…and stayed drunk. All my life I have been working, and saving, and looking for the right woman to share all that I have reaped from my hard work, only to have somehow driven her away. She had said I would see her again, but I had little faith.
Feeling sorry for myself? Life goes on? How dare you, Detective. I was devastated! I was on the brink of suicide…yes, sir. I know suicide is illegal, but how in Heaven’s name would you punish me if I did it? That’s what I thought. Now, with your permission, I would like to continue. Three months later, I awoke and decided that since I was still alive, I obviously had not killed myself, and I had better get on with my life, such as it was. I cleaned myself up and went downtown to open my store. I was looking forward to immersing myself in work, to try to forget. As I opened the front door of the store, an old lady followed me in. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m not open for business yet. If you could come back at a later time….” “Eera.” She said softly. I looked in amazement. She was wrinkled, and stooped. A hump on her back caused her to walk all bent over. This could not be my Linda. Perhaps her mother, or grandmother. I looked in her eyes. The green-gray sparkle was there, but how could she have aged like this. “Linda?” I squeaked, for my throat was suddenly clogged. “Eera. Please. Can we talk?” I bundled her into my car and we went back to my home. I settled her in, the best way I could, in a big, easy chair, and gave her a hot cup of tea. “Linda. What happened to you?” “You, Eera. You happened.” “I do not understand.” She smiled. Yes, with those eyes and that smile, it was definitely Linda. She rose from the chair and took off her coat. Then her blouse. She wore no undergarment. I stood, uncertain. “Linda? What…?” She turned her back to me and I stepped back, involuntarily, and in shock. On her back, which I had mistakenly taken for a hump (a spinal injury or deformity) was a human head. A second head, if you will, attached and growing from the upper part of her back. “Please do not be afraid.” She said, over her shoulder. “Come closer. Look.” Hesitantly, for I had never seen such deformation, I stood and approached her. The head had dark hair, like hers, and facial features that resembled her, but more male-like in their appearance. The face was lovely, dark. The eyes were closed. I looked closer. Suddenly, the eyes popped open, and the face smile. “Hello, Poppy!” It said. And laughed. Had I been less shocked, I might have enjoyed that laugh for it was delightful; innocent and happy. But, instead, I fell on the floor in a dead faint.
Oh, Detective! I see I now have your full attention. I will have that coffee now, if you don’t mind, with just a touch of sugar. Thank you very much. Continue? Yes, I shall. When I awoke, I had a damp cloth over my forehead, but I was still on the floor, for Linda would not have had the strength to move me, as heavy as I am. She had dressed herself and sat in the big chair, and was watching me, as I ever-so-slowly stood up. “I am so sorry, Eera. I did not mean to frighten you.” “Linda, what…I mean who…I mean, I don’t know what I mean.” She smiled brightly. “You have met your son. He has named himself ‘Eeraquero’”. Knowing her accent, I automatically translated that as Iraquero. “What does that mean, Iraquero?” “The first part, is your name, Eera. The last part, in our language, means ‘a new version’, or ‘another part of’.” “Or,” I added. “Son of.” “Yes.” She smiled. “Son of Eera.” I was stunned. I had always wanted a son, but how does one take his son to a ballgame when all that exists of his son is a head attached to the mother’s back? “He named himself?” “Yes. He is old enough, and he knows of you and has love for you. He is grateful for his existence.”
Who could be grateful for an existence of that peculiar nature? Detective, I know most folks would gladly take their own lives, had it happened to them. But Iraquero and his mother were obviously, not like most folks. “In our world, babies grow on our backs, on the outside.” She explained. “When they are mature, they are disconnected, and raised like you would raise your babies.” “In your world? But I thought you were from Spain, or Mexico!” “In the case of myself and my son - your son - because I am in your world, there are differences: in atmosphere and environment. And, because of our mission here, he will never grow a body, and for a few months, only, he will exist as only a head, or as we think of it, a mind. What is important is his mind and his knowledge. And, yes, our language is similar, in pronunciation and inflection only, to the Spanish of your world. Perhaps that will account for you to have mistaken my accent.” I was reeling. “And after a few months?” “He will die.” I sat, stunned. A drink, I needed a drink. No, because I had not the energy to raise myself off the chair to fetch one. I steeled myself, attempting self-control. This was not a dream, or a story. This was real. “I think, Linda, that maybe you should start your story from somewhere else besides the middle, and please go slow so that I may understand.” “Yes, Eera. Very well. I will let Eeraquero tell it. If you will help me to get comfortable.” We lowered the back of the easy chair, installed pillows in strategic places, and she removed her upper clothing and laid on her stomach, head to one side so that she could listen in. I slid my smaller chair up close in order to hear well and to see ‘my son’. He opened his eyes. “Hello, Poppy.” That smile again, and those eyes. “Hello…son.” “Mother was wise to let me explain things, for the knowledge is fresh within me.” He seemed to be the age of a teen-ager, but, somehow, older. “We, in our world, have recently overcome an evil menace, and are still rebuilding and recovering. One man, with his minions, discovered The Knowledge that enabled him to cause the destruction of nearly 70% of all life and structure on the planet. We are here to prevent that kind of thing from ever happening again. “I will not tell you what The Knowledge consists of, nor would it be likely that you would understand it if you knew. But we, a small group of scholars and savants, are gathering information, wisdom, history and lore from all the worlds we have access to, to establish a defense should the calamitous possibility ever again raise its head. “We have discovered a gateway, so to speak, that leads to other worlds or dimensions. Most are similar to our world, such is yours, and from them we wish to glean all history and knowledge that exists, for therein lies our defense. And therein, as I am sure you wonder, lies my demise, for I can hold The Knowledge from a whole world only for a short time, and then it must be passed on. First from me to my mother, and then to a complex, biological computer system that our people have devised strictly for that purpose. When I pass The Knowledge to my mother, I shall cease to exist. When she passes it on, she will also die, for a body cannot hold what we need it to hold, for any extended length of time. The information will be extracted from her, by the computer, through a symbiotic process. Her consciousness will cease to exist. We knew this when we took up the task, and we are willing to die for it.” He paused, letting me soak up these revelations. Many questions formed in my mind, and I chose to ask the one foremost in thought. “Where is this knowledge you need, and how are you to achieve the accumulation of such?” Iraquero smiled once again. “Poppy…do you like my nickname for you? You are the vessel from which we are to gain The Knowledge. The knowledge is in you; in your seed, from which I have gained much; and in your DNA or molecular structure. It is in your racial consciousness, your hereditary memory.” “But I have no secret knowledge.” I declared. “I am a middle-aged man who sells sporting goods and is losing his hair. How can I possibly comply with your search?” “Have you ever experienced what you call Déjà vu?” He asked. “The sensation of being in a place, or experiencing something and knowing beyond doubt that you had done that or been there before? This is racial memory. I am not speaking of the races as being white, or black or yellow; but the human race. “Have you ever read stories of reincarnation; people who have lived past lives and have proven their experiences through hypnosis and other types of manipulation and management? This, also, is racial consciousness and memory. Inside you, in your molecular structure, you have the memories of the human race, and through conversation, thought and analyzation, I will glean from you everything we need. You will be the catalyst which will stimulate the gathering of The Knowledge. “Then, why do I not have those memories in my mind?” I asked. “At birth, you have it. All of it in your little baby brains. But, from then on, you are taught certain things, in certain ways, by parents, teachers and others who have influence on your life. These people have been taught one way, and their parents, and their parents. They teach as they have been taught; concentrating on the kind of life that they believe is correct. Sadly, they are wrong and actually stifle the learning process, leading it in one direction, only, instead of diverse directions which would enhance the inbred knowledge. Did you know that most people only use a portion of their brain capacity? Some of the most famous and reputable scholars on your planet have used less than fifteen percent of their learning capabilities?” Fifteen percent? That must mean that I, as an average human, probably use less than ten percent of my brain. Maybe even less than that! Seven percent? “When the enemies on our world gained The Knowledge, they had the power to destroy. Their failure was in the fact that they lacked the complete wisdom to use The Knowledge. Knowledge is power! But the lack of knowledge to use The Knowledge can be disastrous.” I was areel with confusion. Yet, he continued. “It has happened on your world as well, though with not quite the same cataclysmic results, though there were catastrophes. Consider: Genghis Khan, Alexander, Caesar, Adolf Hitler and in your future, perhaps, the Antichrist!” The Antichrist! Good Heavens! Now, I was not only confused, but petrified! “But, why me?” I asked him when I could once again speak. “Poppy, we could have chosen almost anyone. You, we found, are honest, capable of managing everything we have told you, and will tell you, without a mental breakdown, or panic.” “Are you certain about that last statement?” I asked with sarcasm. “As certain as we can be. We deem you trustworthy, able to keep what we say to yourself, and should you try to tell anyone about it, we highly doubt that you will be believed. As a further precaution, we have studied what effects this experience may have on you, and it is our belief that you will eventually forget everything.” He looked downcast. “Even the existence of myself and my mother.” Iraquero looked older now. Before my eyes he had aged by several years. “I will forget the existence of my only love, and my only son? I hardly think so, especially under these strange and unusual circumstances. This is something I will remember for the rest of my days!”
More coffee? Thank you, Detective. I certainly would. And don’t forget the sugar! We talked for hours, Linda, Iraquero and I. We talked of history, of science and the arts. We talked of explorers, conquistadors, miners, soldiers and pioneers. We talked of mathematics, grammar, words, and social sciences; presidents, their wives and their families, political turmoil, the Cold War, the space program; Artists, musicians, sculptors, and writers; Bach, Beethoven and Brahms; Magazines and comic books; MacArthur and Powell, Rommel and Yeltsin; Television, radio, and e-mail; Asia, The Middle East, the Eurodollar and The Great Depression. I told him of my life, my desires, my hopes, and everything I had ever known about selling sporting goods. They gleaned from me more knowledge than I would have known I possessed, made incredible leaps of logic and came to extraordinary conclusions from which I was intellectually excluded. We rested, then, began again. For three days this went on; talking, discussing, extruding inferences and playing the ‘what if’ game, until I felt drained; emotionally, mentally and physically. On the third day, Linda said: “We have a surprise for you, Eera.” Once more, she doffed her clothing and turned around. There, beneath the head of my son, dangled two small legs, a torso, and two long arms. Iraquero bore a huge, brilliant smile. “How do you like me, Poppy?’ I could not believe my eyes. Arms, and legs! “But how…I thought…What did…” They both laughed; that beautiful happy laugh that I had grown to love. “It is illusion, Poppy. We took a little bit of The Knowledge, and used it. Are you pleased?” “I am pleased.” I said. The tears began to run down my cheeks. “Come, Poppy. Give us a hug. The illusion lasts only moments. But it will seem real while it is here.” I approached my son. His arms reached out and embraced me. I cried like a baby, knowing he was soon to leave, not only this world, but also his own. Linda turned and also hugged me. She had aged, as well, but was still my beautiful love. “We must go, Eera. You will not see us again.” “Good-bye, Poppy. We love you.” And they were gone.
For several days, I pondered, rethinking and re-experiencing their story and their love. I would get over this; it would just take some time. I turned on the television set and sat down. There, on one of the major channels, was the Reverend Billy Graham, talking about the last days; The Antichrist. The Antichrist! Hitler! Alexander! Suddenly, I knew! It all fell into place! The power to destroy worlds! I had to tell someone. I came here, for who could be more trustworthy than the police? Yes, Detective. I have it all right here, in my head. Would you get me another coffee? And, yes, I will tell you! Thank you, sir. Now, where was I? I mean, really, where am I? Did something happen to my store? No? Did I do something wrong? Am I under arrest? No? Than why am I here? What? Destroy the world? Me? Ha Ha Ha, how ridiculous. Is that why you have me here? You are suffering from delusions, officer. Oh. Sorry. Detective, then. My son? I have no son, sir, nor a wife. Is there anything else? Well, sir. I know my rights. You must arrest me or let me go! My attorney will hear of this! Destroy the world, indeed! Do you realize you are keeping me away from my business? If you only knew my employee! Goodbye, officer…sorry, Detective. Have a nice day. Look at the time! I think I may sue! What day is this anyway?