Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Sinkhole, The Supervillain, And The Plan

Louisiana officials are investigating whether an underground salt cavern may be responsible for a large sinkhole that has swallowed 100-foot-tall cypress trees and prompted evacuations in a southern Louisiana bayou.

The state's Department of Natural Resources ordered Texas Brine Company, which mines the cavern, to drill a well into the cavern to see whether it caused the dark gray slurry-filled hole nearby.

Measurements taken Monday showed the sinkhole measures 324 feet in diameter and is 50 feet deep, but in one corner it goes down 422 feet, said John Boudreaux, director of the Office of Homeland Security in Assumption Parish, about 30 miles south of Baton Rouge.

It has been reported to parish officials that there was a slough-in at the sinkhole site early this morning. Approximately 25’ of embankment on the east side (closer to Texas Brine’s office building) fell into the sinkhole. Several trees were lost during this slough-in.

Rootless cosmopolitan (Russian language: безродный космополит, "bezrodniy kosmopolit") was a Soviet euphemism widely used during Joseph Stalin's anti-Semitic campaign of 1948–1953, which culminated in the "exposure" of the alleged Doctors' plot. The term "rootless cosmopolitan" referred mostly (but not explicitly) to Jewish intellectuals, as an accusation in their lack of patriotism, i.e., lack of full allegiance to the Soviet Union. The expression was first coined by Russian literary critic Vissarion Belinsky to describe writers who lacked (Russian) national character.

The trees lost in the Louisiana sinkhole
were hard-working Louisiana bayou trees,
deeply-rooted Louisiana bayou trees,
and not shifty rootless cosmopolitan trees
jetting off to Shanghai or London or New York
agitating for trees-of-the-world to unite
in a transcendental one world union of trees.

But industrial corporations still dug down
to do their business under those deeply-rooted
Louisiana bayou trees, pumping products
into and out of the geology down there,
down there in the strata of ancient salt and things
that hold up the ground itself with the bayou trees,
until the geology itself somehow quit—
maybe arches shattered or cavern walls crumbled
or pillar shapes fractured—and the geology
gave up holding up the ground and the ground fell down
into itself and the geology below.

You know one of those trees is going to survive.

Betrayed, abandoned, left for dead, its world destroyed,
that one tree will somehow drag itself to safety
and slowly regain strength, suffering every day,
becoming stronger, crafty and swearing revenge.

A supervillain tree, transmogrified by hate
and all the strange products corporations pumped down
into the failed geology it fell into.

And eventually when the government tries
to use a nuclear device to kill the tree
the supervillain tree reveals geology
has agreed to work with it, and the rocks of Earth
call down the rocks of outer space and meteors
destroy the plane carrying the nuclear bomb.

Then a General will put down binoculars
and look at a beautiful woman Scientist
and say, “That was our best hope. What can we do now?”

And the woman Scientist will look at the man
and say, “General, it’s about time you asked me.”

The General will let the woman Scientist
do what she wants to fight the supervillain tree
but he’ll wonder, “Was that sinkhole an accident?”

The woman Scientist will know he’s suspicious
but won’t care because she has a plan of her own.

Meanwhile, a Reporter is watching them both talk...


“Just stop typing,” she said, reading over my shoulder.

“No,” I said, “I’ve got this all worked out. It’s like a soap opera.”

“A supervillain tree?” she asked. “Rocks calling down meteors to destroy a plane? Just stop typing. Tomorrow’s going to be another day. Start something else. Because this is not like a soap opera. It’s like two drunk kids talking late at night at a science fiction convention.”

I looked at her. I said, “Did you notice I dropped the hint that the woman scientist might be the real supervillain?”

She said, “Yeah. I did. I noticed that. But I didn’t care. Because it’s stupid.”

I didn’t say anything.

She said, “Don’t start that frowning thing! Just stop typing. Really.”

I gestured toward the screen and started to speak, but she interrupted me.

“No, really,” she said. “Don’t talk. Just stop typing. And come away from the computer. Really. I mean it. Here. Look. I’ll get you a Redbull. Come over here.”

I looked over. She had gotten a Redbull from the refrigerator. I thought, “She has a plan.”

She did. And it worked.

        THE END

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