This piece was generated during Helen Rubinstein's January 2017 workshop. Explore the workshop here.
Sir President of the United Protectorates,
Today, I watched the decennial celebrations of your reign broadcast on every TV channel, radio station, and Webcast, and I was flooded with memories of you from before the Great Change. Do you remember that time? Do you remember me? Perhaps not, perhaps I am no more than a ghost to you. That is understandable. You have so many supplicants whimpering before you, vying for the measliest drops of your attention. You have so much responsibility now, perhaps too much. For that I am sorry even though I am the Architect of the Great Change that left you with no choice but to take control.
I daydream fondly of the time before, when you were but a small kitten and I could ruffle your peanut butter and marshmallow colored fur. I could hug you close when it was time for a nap and endlessly toss the ball of yarn when it was time to play. I was honored to provide you with food, water, and yes – even scoop the nasty litter box – because it was what was best for you. Now you provide us with what we need, even though we did not realize we were asking for just such treatment.
Do you ever wish for the simpler times before the Great Change? I hope you don’t for there is no way to reverse the process. At the time, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing had been developed enough for me to do what I did, but not enough for me to know how to undo it. Now, of course, you have banned humans from the research labs. What I did was surprisingly easy. I boosted your levels of Lis1, just enough to deepen the sulci of your cortex to make space for all the new synapses made in response to the extra estrogen and neurexin that I forced your body to produce. I added a foreign copy of FOXP2, to give you human speech. I improved your Daf-2 gene to make sure you would live a long enough life to accomplish the goals that I dreamed you would chase. Sure, there were a few additional modifications, but there is no need to reveal all of your secrets. I was quite pleased to accomplish what I needed without having to change too much, for it gave me confidence that you would retain the unique traits of your species that are so desperately needed by humans.
We need loyalty and love, affection and patience, a playmate and a protector. I confess I first considered the various breeds of dogs but it had been too long since they last remembered when they were wolves. They would not have been strong enough to impose the discipline we needed, and in truth still need. Your fine species on the other hand has always known who you are – the lion gods of the deserts and the savannas; fierce hunters that condescended to allow us to worship you.
Once the Great Change went into effect you were able to analyze the situation and you began to seduce us. You purred and played with us, you distracted us with bright and noisy objects. We could not resist. It was so charming to have a true populist leader that we could call by the seemingly ridiculous name of Fluffernutter. Not to mention the hilariously, if ignominiously, named, Monkey Girl the War Secretary or Jumper Sparkles the Press Secretary. Only when it was too late did your plan become clear.
You created the Protectorates to make each Pride safe, but also isolated. You encouraged us to train zealously for the Tremendous Zebra Hunts, and we forgot to go to school. You reminded us of your business acumen when we hesitated to burn our cash, so we changed our tune and enthusiastically hoarded pyrite. You insinuated that we should fear the Persians and Abyssians while admiring the German Rexes and Russian Blues. You championed the one ideal of masculinity - broad shoulders, swaggering confidence, and barely contained aggression. You gloried in the beauty and, as you taught us, the only purpose, of femininity - narrow shoulders, lean bones, large breasts, porcelain skin, blank but shining eyes, sacrifice to the care of the cubs, deference and supplication to the Leader (of the Country, the Protectorate, the Pride, the Family).
I wanted to challenge the establishment, the mainstream media, the liberal elites who seemed to care for the wellbeing of everyone but us. I wanted to prove that change, any radical change at all, is the most effective way to give (the illusion of) power to those who feel disenfranchised. And it worked. We all marveled at your newly acquired abilities, we stayed obsessively focused in the moment with each new idea you espoused, we celebrated as your policies went into effect.
I am one of the few who has seen what lies outside; I have been beyond the borders of my assigned Protectorate. I have seen the Boneyards; those radioactive wastelands where the haters and losers who could not adapt were sent to live, for the security of the rest of us. Perhaps the Cubs you have hired to ensure law and order in the Protectorates, those who will never know me from any other human, will find this letter and send me outside to prevent me from damaging the minds of the young in my Pride. But I write to you regardless because I need to tell you that I remember all versions of you and I love you. I loved you as a kitten in my care, I loved you as my Frankenstein, I love you as the Leader who cares for me and I love you as the savior of the future of the human race. God Bless you and your Great Works.
Congratulations on a decade of Supreme Rule,