God helps those who help themselves, he again reminded himself. One must be both assertive and yet humble when exhorting the followers of Jesus Christ. Not overtly aggressive but exuding an atmosphere confidence, delivering a message of absolute certainty.
At the front of the crowd, Reverend Potts could see Miss Diana Sorensen, still fat, still frowsy and frumpy, and without a doubt, still as incredibly stupid as ever. She stood there flanked by others who had traveled here to this den of iniquity from his Hoosier church.
Ignoring the occasional squeal of microphones, Reverend Potts began his sermon.
"My friends and holy saints in the worship of the one true God, the Almighty Jehovah, and his Blessed Son, Jesus Christ, I come to you today to bestow upon you the Truth that has been revealed to me by Michael himself, Michael The Magnificent, Michael the holy Archangel of olden times, Michael the mighty eternal messenger of our Lord God Jehovah.
"Yes, Michael visited me in a dream, just as was done when the angel appeared in dreams of Mary and Joseph when it was announced that a savior, the Messiah, the pure and holy Baby Jesus was to be born to the virgin. Michael made me aware of the evil that was soon to come our way. The evil to be perpetrated upon the innocent heads of we, the faithful, by one called Pindar Balzac. Pindar Balzac, the spreader of lies and blasphemy and that ultimate sacrilege this liar intends to use to scourge the innocent flesh of we, the True Christians, to cruelly wield the filthy whips and thorns that threaten our very existence as an institution of goodness, the bitter theory called evolution."
The Reverend paused, listening for the corroboration he suspected would come. And it did. A loud and rousing clamor of negation from within the crowd, some calling out, "Down with evolution!"
Reverend Potts resumed:
"Yes, 'evil-oo-shun' the 'evil illusion' that is nothing more than The Devil's own instrument of shame so insidiously injected into a mere man by the fallen angel himself, the poison introduced into his very veins and arteries, and even directly into the heart of the pompous scientists and the pagan charlatans like this false messenger Pindar Balzac who incessantly raves about space aliens who choose to communicate with him, and only him, only him because he, the evil-looted he, is the chosen one, the only human being of all the millions and millions of souls alive here on Planet Earth that's smart enough to discern and pass on the coveted, yes brothers and sisters, the 'coveted' extraterrestrial wisdom, to parcel it out to the rest of us, to we the unschooled and un-evil-looted rabble that he, this Son of Satan, and his unholy crew of hellish minions so smugly despise.
"Aliens, Balzac proclaims... science fiction inspired space travelers... warns this prophet of evolution and other practitioners of false science, this haughty Pindar Balzac; what kind of pagan name is that? Is there anyone out there who thinks that the very name Balzac, itself sounds like an ancient name? An evil name? An accursed name?"
# # #
Standing near the speaker's platform, David Sawyer listened intently to both the orator's words and the assenting responses of the extremely vocal supporters in the front row. One of the women, a seemingly young but singularly unattractive, dumpy sort, whose often repeated "Yes, brother" and "Tell it like it is Preacher" were especially loud, ringing out over all the rest.
Activating a camera phone with web access embedded in the American Flag pin he was wearing on his lapel, David snapped her picture from several angles, then took ten more shots of the Reverend in the act of gesturing wildly with his up flung arms to accompany his inflammatory speech. Then Sawyer pressed the 'send' button in his inner breast pocket, which transmitted them via email attachment to the board operator in the dispatch room back at his office. He also texted a personal note to Penny, the operator on duty, asking her to please make sure that Pindar Balzac, no matter how much he might wheedle or threaten, was not given access to the message he, Sawyer, had just sent her.
Of course, Balzac would undoubtedly acquire the text and video of the event anyway, either from a local news broadcast or from some YouTube enthusiast out to make a name for himself. But there was no use making it easier for him by allowing him to see the official photos and documents made and sent by Sawyer himself.
Sawyer knew that The Chief, Tobias Zenger, his immediate superior, would have the entire message, photos and all, within the hour, if he were available, that is. And The Chief would have a thorough analysis and a meticulous report from his lab crew of picked science professionals as soon as was humanly possible.
On the stage, the now shouting preacher was getting up a real head of steam, and it appeared to David Sawyer, noticing the presence of a battery of portable, wheeled light poles topped with large lensed light fixtures, that the affair would be continuing for quite some time yet, most likely well into the soon to be arriving darkness of nightfall.
# # #
At the rear of the ever growing multitude attending Reverend Potts' rally, Nicole London, clad in a costume and facial makeup that rendered her as being simply 'one of the crowd' watched for any suspicious looking persons who might be carrying concealed weapons. Her instincts told her that this was exactly the sort of occasion to which the more violent types of dissidents would take advantage of to further promote their contemptible hatreds and gain some free publicity that could add spice and recruits to their primitive need for additional notoriety.
So far, none of the newcomers had kindled her keen sense of suspicion. Most of them seemed to be average citizens, and they probably were. Just curious everyday family members drawn to this new and perhaps exciting opportunity to get some titillation and socially approved distraction from their boring dullness of life's never ending sameness.
# # #
The eldest daughter of the President of The United States of America confronted her father while they were enjoying a mid afternoon snack of freshly baked Organic Carrot Cake and Vanilla Soy Milk.
"Dad," she said, "is there any truth at all to the latest rumors that E-Ts are helping some special kind of people to become supermen? And remember, Dad, you promised that you would never lie to me, even if you felt it would be better for me than hearing the truth."
The president swiped at the corner of his mouth with a linen napkin, regarded the teenager with a serious expression on his face, and said, "That's a promise I've always kept and always will. And I'm telling you that I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Even my most trusted and capable advisers, working closely with the wisest and most knowledgeable scientists that exist are divided on the answer. They are of two opinions and can't seem to agree as to this claim's validity. One group offers unequivocal proof that the claims of the existence of extraterrestrial interference are true, while the other group presents unalterable proofs to the contrary, that a claim of aliens from another world have arrived on Earth is no more than one facet of a huge and complicated hoax perpetrated by my political opponents."
"Good God, Dad," the youngster said, "you could have just said yes or no, or I really don't know."
"No he couldn't have," the other daughter exclaimed, which elicited laughter from all those present, including the members of the serving staff.
# # #
Later, toward evening of the same day when Nicole had brought in Ricardo Newman, an orderly at the Freeland Forest Detainment Facility For The Criminally Insane escorted Professor Truman Gottlieb into the padded cell for a hastily arranged talk with Ricardo Newman who was wearing one of the hospital's strait jackets. Ric was tethered from a loop on the jacket by a rawhide thong tied to a ring located one of the room's windowless walls.
After having been assured that his leaving the two of them alone without supervision was quite okay, the orderly withdrew, carefully locking the door as he left. The professor then sat down in the room's single straight backed folding chair, placed out of Ric's reach, and began the interview.
"I take it that you have been informed of why I am here. Is that correct?"
Ric stared into the other man's face for a time, seemingly concentrating on the professor's full, bushy beard, then said, "Yes. You are going to try to use some of your antiquated psychiatric mumbo jumbo on me that will supposedly pry all of my hoarded nefarious secrets from me, right?"
"Not at all my good man," said the professor. "I am here to attempt to discover whether you are a rational human being and actually truly believe the astounding assertions you and your compatriots claim regarding yourselves to be newly evolved supermen, or if perhaps you are being held helplessly in the grip of a curable mental disorder."
Ric smiled at that, and said, "When you find out, please let me know which it is, okay?"
"Ah, then you admit to the possibility that you might be caught up in a delusion then, one not of your own creation nor your conscious awareness."
"I didn't say that."
"No, but you inferred it."
Ric's grin widened, "Implied."
"The speaker implies; the listener infers."
"Never mind. Just rambling."
"Yes. Well, would you mind delving into your memory and search for the very first instance of your delusion?"
"For the moment we can allow ourselves to assume that your assertion of being a member of an evolved group of superior humans and that this group is being guided and advised by extraterrestrial aliens as to how to ascend to power here on Earth is obviously delusional."
"Obviously?" Obvious to whom, if you please."
"On the face of it, obvious to anyone in their right mind."
"Are you really a trained psychiatrist?"
"My dear sir..."
"Never mind. It's obvious to me that you are not."
Gottlieb fingered the whiskers growing straight down from his chin, pursed his lips, and then blinked, first his left eye then the one on his right, as a desert lizard sunning itself on an outcrop of sandstone will sometimes do. He said nothing, merely gazed at the captive. Blinked again, in that same strange manner.
Ric backed up to the ring to which was secured his tether and leaned back against the padded wall, and nonchalantly began to quietly whistle the mournful tune of the old Beatles song, 'Hey Jude...'