Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Code Name: Cherry Underwood

Once several years ago I had this dream, as is recorded in my Book of Dreams:

Last night I had a dream that I was living in an apartment, with a couple of rooms near the back where I hardly ever went. And then I turned on the TV, and there was a show on, Steven thought perhaps sort of an addendum to The X-Files, only it was already about twenty minutes into the show. But I had seen it advertised in the paper, and the name of the show was "Cherry Underwood," or some such.

And the idea of this show, "Cherry Underwood," was that back during World War II there had been this secret biological project, code named "Cherry Underwood." And the project was to develop a technique of altering genetic structures so as to promote life forms whose survival strategies were far more flexible, and went far, far beyond, anything that could arise under ordinary processes of Darwinian evolution. And the project was horribly successful, it produced organisms whose biochemistry had been altered so that they could shift their phenotype and turn it on a dime, and the results were so horrible that it was said they should never be let out of the most strict laboratory security, and over the years not only the organisms, but the very structure of the processes they embodied, grew and evolved at a geometric rate. And then finally one day they grew too powerful to be contained, and they escaped out into the environment. And by now they had grown so advanced, that they were able to spread the contagion of "Cherry Underwood" as a fifth-order meta-genetic rewrite of the DNA material of other organisms and species.

And the results were so horrific that it went beyond even anybody's worst nightmares of a biological disaster. And it showed on the screen this monkey, in the heart of the jungle, who had been infected and his ordinary biomolecular structure subjected to a meta-genetic overwrite. And he moved amid the foliage by a flowing stream, and you could see that his form, his build, the structure of his skeleton, was in continual flux from moment to moment in reaction to impinging cues, so that he was always changing to become the monkey best adapted to survival in the snapshot of that passing moment.

And then the monkey sensed some predator stalking him, and all of a sudden, as the monkey turned around, his fur was in a split second absorbed back into his body so that he was now hairless, with an unearthly smooth grey-green skin, and the dome of his skull flowed and mounded up like quicksilver, and the front of his forehead parted and opened like a window, and the monkey grimaced and opened his mouth, and the inside of his mouth was filled with protuberances like little S-shaped pieces of macaroni, and one of them grew and shifted as if it was going to be shot out at the predator like some awful snake's tongue, some frog's tongue, only with deadly effect, poisonous, or some effect so horrible it would make even poison seem like a blessing.

And the horror of it was, this monkey was now an instantiation of patterns and structures so far beyond those of ordinary biology and selective adaptation, that they were entirely unintelligible, you could watch what the monkey was doing and you couldn't understand what was happening, you couldn't even compare it to anything you could understand.

And then next time there were fast skimming camera shots, as if low-flying over the wooden floors of a large, airy, spacious house, only the house was empty, and where was everyone? And then, in one of the shots, there was this pair of infant diaper pants, empty, skimming and levitating across the room. And the camera tracked, at an odd angle, following the floating diaper pants, and zooming in on them, the camera shot rose up over the edge of the pants, and now looking down in.

And inside the levitating diaper pants was a scene of horror, now we saw what had happened to the family that lived in this house, they were all reduced to the size of insects and running around inside the floating diaper pants, the father pushing a tiny lawn mower, every one running around frantically as if trying to carry out some fragmented, disjointed bit of ordinary everyday activity in a scene which was just as horrifying to them as it was to us, the TV viewers.

And then zoom in on this miniaturized family, and it became clear that one daughter, a young girl, was in control over all the rest, she was floating in the air above them inside the diaper pants, and they were in fear of her. And it became clear that the "Cherry Underwood" contagion had infected her so that she was able to manipulate and change not only herself, but her entire family, at a moment's whim. And so she had shrunk them all down to insect size and put them inside these levitating diaper pants.

And the diaper pants flew on above the sunlit hardwood floors.

And all over the world, scenes of unimaginable horror like this were taking place, and multiplying, and going beyond anything humanly comprehensible, as a result of the horrible spreading metamorphosis transmogrification contagion.



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