Paul’s fingers rummaged through the collection of religious symbols Lasseter had assembled. Nothing was to his liking. One by one, more symbols joined the swastika on the floor. The Cross, the Star or David, the Ankh…the pile grew.
Paul stood, grabbed Billy-Bob’s shirt from the couch and began whipping the jewelry onto the floor.
“Garbage” he yelled, kicking wildly, “Meaningless garbage!”
Akira had never seen him so agitated.
Paul waved the shirt over his head, his face growing redder and swelling with every breath. Billy-Bob sat up in alarm.
“I’m here with an inter-dimensional alien, who can’t stop chronically sucking his toxic whiskey, and a pregnant AI robot who is totally incapable of any human emotion and returning any of the love I have for her, who is also pregnant with my child who will be transported to another planet to start a new species of humans,” Paul pointed his finger at Lasseter, his voice growing louder, “..and all you can do is bring me ancient religious symbols to use as props as I try to stop Homo Sapiens from destroying themselves and the entire planet, while you two abandon us and start a new party somewhere else?”
There was a stunned silence.
“Doesn’t work for you?” Akira responded.
“Why not?” Lasseter croaked.
“Does her Garb work for you?” Billy-Bob sounded impatient.
Paul sneered in his general direction. The sound coming from the open window was that of rustling wings. The clouds parted and the moon reflected sunlight into the room.
“Religious symbols are exclusive, and therefore, by definition, divisive!” Paul yelled, stepping upon an imaginary soap box: “You’re either a Christian or a Muslim, A Hindu or a Buddhist!” he took a deep breath before continuing, “That’s the problem! These symbols don’t unite…they separate…they all have histories; they all have evil histories! I need to reach everyone, I need something that is recognizable, I need a symbol that unites, not divides! I don’t need symbols with histories of Crusades and slaughters and genocides!”
He violently turned the table upside down, scattering what remained of the religious trinkets on the floor.
The three stared with an awkward silence. Finally, Akira spoke: “Why didn’t you say this earlier?”
Paul shook his head. “If we want mankind to survive, we need something new, something simpler. We almost need to erase history. Erase memories for the killing and destruction to stop.”
Lasseter, shrugged, laughed a little. Billy-Bob sat, looking confused.
“You could easily erase memories.”
Paul stopped for a moment, as if the power of a new thought left him motionless.
“I want something everyone understands immediately,” he continued, back on track. “something everybody loves, and, and, by the way,” he paused, smiling for the first time that night, “it has to make a good sound bite, too. You know, it has to make a good hash tag that goes viral.”
Paul kicked the bible still on the floor. “This won’t do!”
Lasseter unscrewed the top of his flask. Took a sip. Looked innocently at the three of them before speaking.
Akira righted the overturned table and removed her headdress, placing it directly in the center. She took the extra time to make sure the angles were squarely aligned. She also removed her shoulder pads, and her skin glowed seductively.
Billy-Bob sat erect, watching her every move.
She swiveled her head towards Paul, her dark eyes glowing.