Ok, I’ve had at least 400 jobs, looking back through WP and Xanga Archives. These ‘gigs‘ are, oddly, as real to me as my actual real-life back-breaking work. I wake up in a sweat some nights worrying that a deadline for naming a break-thru hair-color product for a company in Oregon might has passed without my magical last-minute input.
Only to realize that, like the following: ‘It wuz only a dream!’
Onward to my current position, about which I can’t speak overmuch here. (NDA: ‘Non-Disclosure Agreement’ with a penalty clause stiffer than the 5 million bucks that molested chicks from ‘The Apprentice’ face.
I can reveal that it’s with NASA. And even go so far as to hint ‘Building Nine’.
That’s where (according to foreign sources) we work on ‘experimental’ shit.
Lots of my co-workers in the sprawling two-story pre-fab complex near Mesa AZ wear the classic white lab-jackets. Bio-chemists, mainly. And no, no ‘pen-protector’ shirt-pockets. That’s my job; documentation. Official title: ‘E-DOC’-3′
I will mention that colonies on Mars, should that happen in my lifetime, will owe me a small (OK, ‘minuscule’) debt for what we are doing.
In simple words: ‘The ‘Nauts’ are gonna be hungry, and not just for glass-dome lettuce, ugh.‘ I mean, you try spending a year in a sardine can in space, watch your mind fry from cosmic rays, eat the same goddamn tooth-paste spam twice a day? What you’ll crave is MEAT. Mac D’s would be the wet dream, but you’ll be ok with….
With what we’re working on.
Wish I could be more specific, but let’s just say that the optimal animal-protein source, given the constraints, has been determined, by folks well above my pay-scale, to be ‘a large, sedentary, ruminating herbivore’. Ok, you’re probably already thinking ‘Cows’. Sorry, think ‘larger’. As in ‘Elephant’.
Only problem is that the couple species of modern elephant have adapted, of course, to the CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere. Understandable; so have Homo sapiens.
But if it were possible to ‘re-do’ a critter from long ago, to ‘teach’ him to love Mars’ CO2-rich atmosphere?
I know what you’re thinking, and I’ll spare you the suspense:
Rumors are already floating around here; every poor-soul day-shifter frustrated by the high-tension security here in ‘Nine’ has a theory. Some of ’em even call us ‘Jurassinine Pork’, which is scary.
Why? Um… ‘cuz nothing, nada, about what we are doing here: food for Martians, cloning extinct beasts, was supposed to leak out.
Which is today’s topic: E-Security.
I’d have to say that I’m closest here to ‘Tom’ (not his real name. For some reason we ‘click’. He shares with me tales of his Mother’s lack of enthusiasm with her ‘genius’ son ‘raising mice’ (His cover story. And yet Tom’s current ‘mouse’, almost touching the ceiling in its pen near the back wall, and covered with the thickest hairy coat one could dream of in the frigid Martian winter, is the perfect retort to her derision. If only he could tell her.
We agreed on a fool-proof encryption scheme for our e-mail chats. Simply reverse the letters of the text. Who would guess? And so yesterday, his birthday, I sent this cryptic message:
HAH, TOM: MA MADE FUN.. AN’ U FED A MAMMOTH..AH.
My relationship with Samir is less congenial. A 40-ish 2nd-generation immigrant from Tunisia, he studied genetics at Princeton, wrangled a doctorate from Cal-Tech, and has been on the West coast ever since, ending up as my ‘boss’, I guess I’d have to say. I also have to say that his obsession with Islamic mysticism has both Tom and me a bit worried. Oh well, we at least have a viable ‘beast’ to brag about, complete with tons of fertile ‘compost’ (read ‘poop’) and enough methane (farts) to light up a whole Martian dome. Sam, meanwhile, is still working on the DNA stage, for the competing candidate, the mastadon, analyzing the helix to death….and looking for the Koran in there to boot. Nothing I can do, I told Tom on our secure server last night, but to bitch quietly and salute. I sent him:
MASTADON DNA’S SUFI CODE? AS A NASA E-DOC, I FUSS… AND NOD AT SAM.
So thrilled that we figured out how to finesse a totally private channel. All the text is reversed beyond recognition, as you must agree.