Big Echo

Critical SF

The Three Stigmata of Peter Thiel

by Brendan C. Byrne 

From the ship stepped Peter Thiel.

No one could fail to identify him; since his crash on Pluto, the homeopapes had printed one pic after another. Of course the pics were ten years out of date, but this was still the man. Leaning forward at the waist, with an extended, thick nose, and steam-shovel jaw. His face had a ravaged quality, eaten away; as if, Barney conjectured, the fat-layer had been consumed, as if Thiel at some time or other had fed off his own body, his own blood. He had enormous steel teeth, these having been installed prior to his trip to Prox by seasteader dental surgeons; they were welded to his jaws, were permanent: he would die with them. And – his right arm was artificial. Twenty years ago in a hunting accident on Callisto he had lost the original; this one of course was superior in that it provided a specialized variety of interchangeable hands. At the moment Thiel made use of the five-finger humanoid manual extremity; except for its metallic shine it might have been organic.

And he was blind. At least from the standpoint of the natural-born body. But replacements had been made – at the prices which Thiel could and would pay; that had been done just prior to his Prox voyage by Brazilian occultists. They had done a superb job. The replacements, fitted into the bone sockets, had no pupils, nor did any ball move by muscular action. Instead a panoramic vision was supplied by a wide-angle lens, a permanent horizontal slot running from edge to edge. The accident to his original eyes had been no accident; it had occurred in Cleveland, a deliberate acid-throwing attack by persons unknown, for equally unknown reasons… at least as far as the public was concerned. Thiel probably knew. He had, however, said nothing, filed no complaint; the perpetrator was undoubtedly annihilated by surreptitious legal action and/or drone strike.

“Mr. Mayerson,” Peter Thiel said, and smiled; the steel teeth glinted in the weak, cold Martian sunlight. He extended his hand and automatically Barney did the same.

Your voice, Barney thought. It originates somewhere other than – he blinked. The entire figure was insubstantial; dimly, through it, the landscape showed. It was a figment of some sort, artificially produced, and the irony came to him: so much of the man was artificial already, and now even the flesh and blood portions were, too. Is that what had arrived home from Prox? Barney wondered. If, so Hepburn-Gilbert has been deceived: this is no human being. In no sense whatsoever.

What we have here, Leo realized, is not an invasion of Earth by Proxmen, beings from another system. Not an invasion by the legions of a pseudo human race. No. It's Peter Thiel who's everywhere, growing and growing like a mad weed. Is there a point where he'll burst, grow too much? All the manifestations of Thiel, all over Terra and Luna and Mars, Peter puffing up and bursting - pop, pop, POP! Like Shakespeare says, some damn thing about sticking a mere pin in through the armor, and goodbye king.

But, he thought, what in this case is the pin? And is there an open spot into which we can thrust it? I don't know and Felix doesn't know and Barney; I'll make book that he doesn't have the foggiest idea of how to cope with Thiel. Replicas, extensions of Peter Thiel, inhabiting three planets and six moons. The man's a protoplasm, spreading and reproducing and dividing...

Who gets sacrificed? Leo asked himself. Me, Barney, Felix Blau - which of us gets drained for Thiel to guzzle? Because that's what we are potentially for him: food to be consumed. It's an oral thing that arrived back from the Prox system, a great mouth, open to receive us...

"I'm going to become a planet," Thiel said.

Barney laughed.

"You think it's funny?" Thiel was furious.

"I think you're nuts. Whether you're a man or a thing from intersystem space; you're still out of your mind."

"I haven't explained," Thiel said with dignity, "precisely what I meant when I said that. What I mean is, I'm going to be everyone on the planet. You know what planet I'm talking about."


"Hell no. Mars."

"Why Mars?"

"It's-" Thiel groped for the words. "New. Undeveloped. Full of potential. I'm going to be all the colonists as they arrive and begin to live there. I'll guide their civilization. I'll be their civilization!"

Sacrifice Is a Technology

These are the regicides of America.

The Egyptians killed Ikhnaton. And the Jews killed Moses. And the Persians killed Xerxes. And the Greeks killed Alcibiades. And the Macedonians killed Alexander the Great. And the Romans killed Caesar. And the Christians killed Christ. And one of the ummah killed Ali. And the Byzantines killed Justinian II. And the boyars killed Andrei Bogolyubsky. And the Mongols killed Gegeen Khan. And the knights of Cyprus killed Peter I. And the English killed Richard II. And the Ottomans killed Mehmed the Conqueror. And the Burmese killed Tabinshwehti. And the Iranians killed Nadir Shah. And the Swedish killed Gustav III. And the French killed Louis the XVI. And the Jacobins killed Danton. And the Haitians killed Jean-Jacques Dessalines. And the English killed Spencer Perceval. And the Zulus killed Shaka. And the Undivided House killed Lincoln. And the Uruguayans killed Bernardo Berro and Venancio Flores. And the Ecuadorians killed Gabriel García Moreno. And the Japanese killed Ōkubo Toshimichi. And the Dominicans killed Ulises Heureaux. And the Salvadorians killed Manuel Enrique Araujo. And the Mexicans killed Francisco I. Madero. And all of Europe killed Franz Ferdinand. And the Russians killed Nicholas II. And the Irish killed Michael Collins. And the Bolsheviks killed Lenin. And the Americans killed Huey P. Long. And the Italians killed Mussolini. And the Venezuelans killed Carlos Delgado Chalbaud. And the Iraqis killed Faisal II. And the National Security State killed Kennedy. And the Afrikaners killed Hendrik Verwoerd. And the National Security State killed King. And the National Security State killed Kennedy. And the Egyptians killed Anwar Sadat. And the Indians killed Indira Gandhi. And the Israelis killed Yitzhak Rabin. And the Pakistanis killed Benazir Bhutto. And the Libyans killed Muammar Gaddafi and sodomized him with a bayonet.

The Scapegoat, or The Last Lay of Donald J. Trump

You’d think the death of this particular god-king would be more trash. Shat to death on his golden toilet, like the King of America. His big big belly over a surprisingly normal penis, nothing monstrous or miniscule about it. Or else spread-eagled on a hotel room bed (his own hotel, bearing his own sigil), with a pair of immigrant sexworkers on either flank. They list his varied victories from a well-worn script, stopping only to snort cocaine (“beautiful stuff”) off a golden effigy of his engorged cock, as the last little breaths raise his chest, like a dying bird’s might. A final smile covers his clown’s face. Would his companions, like Noah’s daughters, make mock of him once they thought him insensible? Play with his shriveled, wet cock as if it were a stunned mouse? But then they’ve been warned by internal memo that the god-king has not slept well since the Court Suicides began in earnest, so perhaps they would let him settle into his own death, peaceful, until his bowels relaxed.

Or perhaps another, more quotidian scenario, but his dick would have to be involved, certainly. In any death frieze, America wants to see its god-king’s dick.

But no, he gets to die with his business suit on, in his very own gold elevator. Or rather, just stepping out of it. Inside and out. No Secret Service in the Tower of Terror these days, just his own guys, the best guys. Of course, in the style of the great slain monarchs, it’s one of his personal security team that pulls the trigger, standing half-way down the hall underneath the portrait of the god-king holding the severed head of HRC, done in the style of Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath.

First round in the neck, and then the arterial splurt. Second round in the gut, the god-king’s body already shuffling back, like an android on opposite. It hits the floor of the elevator, meat.

The assassin, a Virginia boy with three good Biblical names, will be so beside himself that he won’t even go in for the kill shot. He’ll stuff the shaking Desert Eagle 50-cal back into its hip holster and head down the service elevator. Someone should’ve blocked all the exits once Elvis left that particular building, but now that the god-king lays bleeding out, an entirely new manner of circus will commence.

The Virginia boy will make it unmolested to the crumbling and weather-eaten concrete barriers on 56th St. and into the crowd of protestors beyond, just another white guy in a bad suit, a little sunburnt, a little reedy, a little sweaty, a little exhausted, a little red-haired, a little hunted-looking. But even as he rips out his earpiece and slips his phone into some handy hoodie, his photo’ll hit social media. Every one of the protestors, mimetically refreshing their feeds, will see his face. A sigh of relief and disgust issues collectively, and the mass will part like the Red Sea around the assassin, who will pause only slightly, shocked perhaps that what he has done is not, after all, a private act. Then he will dart through the opening onto Madison Ave, where he’ll promptly by struck down and tread upon by a Yellow Cab, the only time that the city of his birth will ever pay the god-king any true homage.

Back at the site of the slaughter, we have important questions. Will the god-king’s false mop slip off? Will his death-mask reveal a vulnerable humanity? No, death will grant him the staging of the self he has so vigorously shoved down the world’s throat for his entire existence. All pics, official and un, will attest to this triumph of compliant meat. As they will attest to the bright gouts of blood which will have smeared themselves across the lap of his youngest daughter, as she composes the very scream/cry face his supporters so often mocked. Her immediate presence, simultaneous with that of the press, will be noted and discussed in depth on what is left of the internet. Was she a crisis actor? Was she always false? Who engineered this perverted Mary at the Foot of the Cross? And who really done it anyway? The Deep State? The Mexicans? The Chinese? Hilary’s prison connections? The Russians? The Alt-Right? The Communists? Sovereign Citizens? Al-Qaeda? The CIA? Alex Jones? The FBI? The Muslims? Charles Grodin?

The boy from Virginia with three good Biblical names will be alternately patsy, nutcase, hero, dupe, useful idiot, and time traveler. The official report will test the boundaries of irony by deploying the term lone gunman, but who drove the taxi will prove one of the more interesting questions of the oncoming age.

There will be no reprisals, save against the god-king’s family. (The boyars always strive to limit a dynasty.) The timing will be perfect, the god-king’s popularity drunk and naked in a pit by the side of the road; the false flag event which would allow him to regain favor will never be realized. No one will regard his death as anything more than just another spectacle. Besides, he never had the mug for martyrdom.

And so,

No more lurching past, his great eyes without thought
Under the shadow of stupid straw-pale locks,
That insolent fiend Donald J. Trump,
To whom the love-lorn Lady Kyteler brought
Bronzed peacock feathers, red combs of her cocks.

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