This is a photograph of a species of flatworm called the Planaria flatworm:
Except for one amazing trait that it shares with no other living creature, this worm could be dismissed as just another brainless invertebrate. Its fantastic gift is that every time it reproduces, it creates an enzyme that makes it younger. In essence, the Planaria worm is a perpetual motion machine fueled by sex. It lives on sex. It might be immortal.
It was inevitable that some scientist would find a way to carve out some of its DNA and splice it into human genes to create creatures that looked human and lived forever. The biggest question was whether the resulting breed would have too many worm traits. Dr. Kilgore Trout was the scientist who first considered the possibility. His experiments with Planaria worms, mating them with other life-forms, earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Herman Smelt and Melvin Dribbins were the first humans to taste immortality. Their sacrilegious and ghoulish experiments, the injections, and the putrid concoctions they both drank led to the Awakening, led to their supremacy over the human race, made them the overseers and commanders of humanity. They were both seven hundred and ninety-two years old when I first told you about them in the last chapter.
Elliot Rosewater’s hero, Eliot Trout, is about to go toe-to-toe in intergalactic battle with this horrifying and disgusting half-man, this blasphemous bastardization of what a man should be. Dr. Death, born the most boringly ordinary of children, now was the hideous half-helminth who had appropriated all the political power on Earth with his surreptitious and backhanded maneuvers, inveigling his way into power with flattery, empty promises, sarcasm, and murder. He was the monster, the boss, the capo, the ultimate champion of Earth.
Who could stand before his overwhelming, dictatorial, and cruel power? Would it be Kilgore Trout? Would it be Eliot Rosewater? Would it be the diminutive space-alien Zog? Read on.
Even as I’m typing this, the diminutive Zog from the planet Margo is knocking at the door to Eliot Rosewater’s miserable little apartment. It is two o’clock in the afternoon and the aged Mr. Rosewater has been sleeping in his electric scooter since the visitation by his father’s ghost.
Zog’s mind was screaming with hysterical apprehension. Zog, like all Margolinians, could only communicate by farting and tap-dancing. He was performing what looked like Scottish Dancing while spewing the most vile, pungent, sewerlike odor you can imagine.
It cannot be overstated how Zog’s brain was, at this moment, a cacophony of brass. He remembered his previous expedition to Earth. Even though the earlier intergalactic adventure ended in failure, back on planet Margo, his heroics had earned him the title “Zog the Magnificent”.
Fifty years ago, Zog had flown his spaceship toCincinnati,Ohio, in theUnited States of America, on Earth. His mission, at that time, was to share some wonderful news. He was sent to teach us how to stop wars and how to cure cancer. He had been unable to teach Earthlings those marvelous wonders. He now wore a titanium cap on his skull for his efforts. The brave Zog had shed bitter tears when he was ordered to return to Earth.
He was hopping and kicking with all his heart, the taps on his shoes sparking off the worn cement floor in the hallway, when Eliot Rosewater called out, “In a minute”.
Zog let go with a cannonade and shuffled wildly like a four-legged Fred Astaire on cocaine. Rosewater pulled his door open. Zog farted his greetings and danced his story into the apartment. Zog tried to tell Rosewater that he needed to prepare himself for the most harrowing and dangerous experience of his life. It sounded like, “clickity, click, click, clickity, click, poot, poot, phoooot, ba-roomp, click, click”.
Eliot said, “You’re an odd-looking little fellow. Do you drink coffee?”