A Proclamation: Ex Cathedra

23 Jan

“It’s better than just sitting here in the dark freezing”, he grumped.
“We’re not freezing. Don’t be such a…”, Margot sounded.
“Wuss”, another.
“You’re not gonna fall for that stupid billboard, are you?”, Jeffery was incredulous.
“Or those crappy fliers?”, she said.
Blake looked anew at the yellowish document he was holding. It was on low quality newsprint; all that was available recently. Still he was taken by the simplicity of the message and the threat of change in his life it proffered.

Your Planet Needs You to Volunteer
A Call For Volunteers

It went on to say more detailed information was forthcoming soon and that it would be an opportunity of a lifetime. Blake had spent his few short years avoiding volunteering for much of anything but the alleged source of the call both intrigued and annoyed him.
“Your Planet! Who would the gall to even dream up such a scan…the chutzpah”, he said to no one and everyone, ” that gets me.” Margo pulled her blanket layers more tightly around her. “Blake, you’ve got to be kidding. Anybody can see it’s a come-on. Somebody want’s something from us.”

Jeffery, who was finishing up the last of his ration roared out with a mouthful. “Let’s get off it, Ok. Enough!”

The four who were sharing the flat had little in common except the day-to day idleness that was endemic all around. All their individual and collective energies were devoted to bare existence. The malaise these twenty-somethings were experiencing was nothing unusual in the latter part of the twenty-first century. Decades of shrinking energy sources and ebbing of economic growth had taken a toll on their lives. They had grown up constantly reminded to be thankful they lived in a part of the world where people could still dream of better times and not the really wretched areas elsewhere. It was difficult to feel fortunate with winter setting in and knowing it was going to be another long grind until spring.

Since power had been off most of the day, generators being fired with lignite and peat, and never was on after nine PM, they soon drifted off into fitful dozing.

Clark was slightly older than the others and woke with the pale October dawn. With effort he arose clutching his blankets about his tall, somewhat gangly, frame. They were all slightly gaunt now as rations were minimal. He made an effort to not even think about eating this early. When he had shaken off sleep remnants and wandered closer to the front of the flat, which may have been a squat (the guy who collected the modest rent seemed dicey, maybe not even entitled to it) but he kept a little heat on and they had to be content.
“Oh my lord, another one.” In the door jamb was another of the bills Blake had exclaimed over. “What crapola!, he shouted, having read this much. This was loud enough to awaken Margot and a sullen Jeffery. “What are you raving about. God it’s cold”, she complained.
“Here, dig this”, handing over the form.


Your Planet Needs You to Volunteer
A Call For Volunteers

Your Planet is annoyed that a great many of you have for several centuries demonstrated a lack of the wise stewardship demanded of a privileged species. Your housekeeping is atrocious, the place is a mess.

Your Planet is concerned you have degraded, polluted, over-populated and used-up more than your share of all that exists here.

Your Planet is greatly annoyed your actions have heated up the place to such a degree the New Ice Age planned to cool things off and rearrange the landscape may have been delayed.

In order to expedite the ensuing decline of modern civilization and prevent an unseemly last minute rush to annihilation: an appeal is hereby issued as follows;

_ Volunteer now because an orderly “Planetary Die-off” to sustainable numbers is
desirable to avoid overtaxing existing funerary facilities: therefore;

*All First World inhabitants are requested to volunteer early as your impact on
Planet Earth is the most dire and your passing will no doubt be histrionic and
trying for the rest of mankind. Your Planet knows who you are.


They cried in unison at this point. “First World! What is this nonsense? We live in a slum and eat MRE’s and K-rations when we can get them.” First World, ha!”

The rancor woke up Blake who grabbed the notice and devoured it greedily. He was much taken by this indictment of the only world he had ever known and reacted accordingly. “This is meant for all of us. It’s not a joke. This is real.”
“Real my foot’, hissed Jeffery, taking the notice and shredding it.”Get ready guys, forget this nonsense. We have to get down early to the dispensary if we want to eat tonight. They run out early this time of year.”

The four bundled up against the late fall chill and left the flat. On the boulevard opposite the food dispensary a tattered old billboard featured a huge new poster that had appeared during the night. It was a repeat of the headlines contained in the two fliers but added much more. A small crowd had gathered around and they were stunned as they read the additional dictat.


In order to expedite the ensuing decline of modern civilization and prevent an unseemly last minute rush to annihilation: an appeal is hereby issued as follows;

_ Volunteer now because an orderly “Planetary Die-off” to sustainable numbers is
desirable to avoid overtaxing existing funerary facilities: therefore;

*All First World inhabitants are requested to volunteer early as your impact on
Planet Earth is the most dire and your passing will no doubt be histrionic and
trying for the rest of mankind. Your Planet knows who you are.

1. Old Order (Horse & Buggy) Amish. Not part of modern life, therefore
2. Vegans (closeted, or mum about it) who live above anticipated
flood zones worldwide and have demonstrable funerary skills.
3. Organic farmers who live in yurts, make their own clothing and use
plow horses. (No cattle, hogs or other slaughter animals permitted).


“Jesus, it’s like the draft used to be in the war days. They have exemptions and we’re not included”, protested Blake,”That’s not fair.”
“Blake, you are a flake, it’s a hoax. Don’t you get it? It’s not Big Brother, it’s Big Scammer!”, Jeffery pronounced with some heat but, nevertheless, some anxiety.
The crowd moved into the food line with muttering and resignation. “What does it mean”, from someone. “Can’t you read. It’s God’s will.”, we’re all goners, now.” “Bull! Bull! Bull!”, from a doubter.
The friends talked among themselves as they withstood the long wait for their food dole. Their normally dour mood was much augmented by the pronouncements on the poster. With the rations in hand they wandered about the area aimlessly until fatigue and ennui reluctantly propelled them homeward.
Arriving at the flat they were astounded to see another of the odious papers affixed to the front door. The four stared without touching the notice.


Final Notice: PROCLAMATION: Ex Cathedra

Your Planet Will Consider Additional Exemptions for Early Volunteers if They Meet These Requirements:
_Volunteer cowboys and hog wranglers needed in great numbers to supervise the
decline of those populations to practically nil, as quickly and humanely as possible.
Your Planet is choking on their effluence

_Volunteer Urban Futurists to supervise and expedite gradual evacuation of urban centers (first priority to those in flood plains) to densities not to exceed that of, example only, Peoria, Illinois.

_ Volunteer Flotillas to sail the globe rescuing military personnel abandoned at 750 bases when the government defaults and flees. (Contribution of personal
watercraft appreciated.)

_ Volunteer engineers and technicians: mechanical, electrical and especially nuclear to disable, dismantle and permanently mothball all nuclear devices and machines.
Without the resources needed to keep these applications adequately serviced and
maintained they are too dangerous to allow to exist.
Your Planet is made extremely nervous by these devices.

_Volunteer Secular (requirement, there will be a test) Missionaries to Third World (and possibly Second World) societies to prepare them for the shock of the demise of the First World and its bounty.
( For example: See Cargo Cult mentality.)
Additional Exemption:
1. Temporary delay of “Die-off”in under-developed world;
pending satisfactory results from First World “transitions”.
Automatic revocation for Planetary Insult ( i.e. behaving like First World). Your Planet will be watching closely.


They tore off the paper, carried it inside and began to inventory their collective and solitary skills in light of the exemption possibilities. They argued endlessly about the origin and authenticity of the unsigned missives and what this could conceivably portend for their individual lives. Hope arose; then doubt reigned and finally, hope arose again.

The dawn found Blake still shaken by the recent events. The flat was clammy and he dreaded rousing himself to face the morning and prospects of any additional alarms. His fears were soon realized by discovering a new arrival curled just inside the front door. With trepidation he spread the flier out and scanned it quickly.

“What’s this? It’s more of the same but it’s different…this is freaky”, he muttered, half aloud. The message was on the same flimsy newsprint as the others but the overall appearance was much less forceful and dogmatic. The type was uniform and sober and in no way resembled the hyperbolic tone of the earlier ones. Blake devoured the information contained in it.


The traumas we have all undergone in recent years prompted the unseemly proclamations recently received by many of you. We are sorry to have found it necessary to resort to such overblown tactics but experience has shown that most citizens today are almost beyond reach without similar assault owing to universal lethargy resulting from malnutrition and idleness. We apologize, dear friends.

Now the we have your attention let us start by explaining our mission. Many of the talking points in the early missives reflect accurately our objectives but are peripheral to the main thrust.

Briefly…we intend, starting with Genesis, to hold the Old Testament authors responsible for any of the woes visited upon mankind owing to pernicious or mendacious interpretation of historical events. We will begin with The FALL.

In ADAM’S Fall We sinned all. THE NEW ENGLAND PRIMER 1777


It had nothing whatever to do with disobeying the Lord and nothing to do with the serpent. It had everything to do with the apple however, lots of apples and barley, oats and wheat…in short; with plenty. The ‘banishment’ was not caused by Eve however. She was innocent but her role has been turned into the primal cautionary tale.

Now the Eden garden of lore was truly a garden but encompassed the entirety of nature. The natural home of mankind. Women being the traditional gatherers are credited with the creation of agriculture. Before becoming facile with crops, we lived with the land so to speak. Hunted, trapped, reaped, gleaned, that sort of thing.

This provided sustenance for countless eons but little in the way of surplus. Mostly we lived hand to mouth and to other hands and other mouths as well. People shared; wanted to, had to. Stuff would go bad anyway,real quick.

Enter Eve and her planter sisters. Enter living off the land. Enter plenty. Enter large settlements. Enter storage and surpluses. Enter barter, trade, advantage. Enter male dominance. Enter capital. Enter war.

Exit commonality. Exit harmony. Exit innocence. Exit female equality. Exit sustainability.

Enter blame: Eve did it.

The culprits? How about Adam and his brothers and their scions down through the ages. The root cause: under-employment. They were historically hunters; productive, resourceful and fully occupied until…

The FALL. i.e.That first harvest. Undreamed of bonanza. Security. Time to loaf about. Time to think. Less time spent out on the game trail. Time to loll around more. Time to covet power and dominion over everything. Time to decide to run the show from here on in their way. Hmmm.

Was this then the legendary FALL? The original sin. We did not leave the garden; we exploited it, rendered it, extracted its essence for profit and luxury and power, and in addition, blamed it all on the innocent ones. The gardeners.

Friends. We will bring additional accusations and corrections at regular intervals.

Signed: Your Planet SETS IT STRAIGHT LLC



One Response to “A Proclamation: Ex Cathedra”

  1. David Trammel February 17, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    Interesting story Robert, i’ve added it to the story list at theGreen Wizard site. Best of luck.

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