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The Indonesian Orange Smoke Tang

(also known as Bali Hai Flying Clove Fish)

The Indonesian Smoke Tang is not a fish at all, though in its adult form it manifests in a smoky fish like shape akin to the ones found on the packaging of Bali Hai clove cigarettes a fine Turkish tobacco made by Djarum an Indonesian company. http://www.djarum.com/

Smoke Tangs, particularly the orange variety, have been regularly and reliably sighted in Southeast Asia since the mid 1800’s. Reported sightings did not begin in the United States until the 1950’s with the popularity of clove cigarettes among the beatnik culture who called the Orange Smoke Tangs, Flying Clove Fish, because of the way the creatures glided through the air like a flying fish before disappearing back into the aether.

With the recent popularity of the Bali Hai brand, particularly in Cancun, a new generation has come to call these creatures the Bali Hai Flying Clove Fish. Whether this has anything to do with the brightly colored fish on the package is a matter of speculation.

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 Update 2009

In late 2009, President of the United States Barak Obama signed a tobacco bill into law that effectively banned clove cigarettes in the United States.

 http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/06/22/obama-signstobacco-bill

 While the rationale for the bill was public health and safety, mainly curbing the marketing of cigarettes, such as popular clove cigarette brands like Bali Hai to teens, the real reason likely has more to do with the new found dangers of the Indonesian Smoke Tang. While its adult form is a benign, pleasant ethereal creature that glides through the air in a graceful lifespan shorter than any butterfly, its larval form has been found to be very dangerous.

The mite size larva live in the cloved tobacco and enter the human body through the mouth of the smoker. Filters are not a deterrent to the creatures. Once in the body the larva cause the smoker to crave and often ingest large amounts of alcohol. In several reported instances the alcohol was various blends of sake and sweet tea alcohol. Whether this is statistically significant is yet unclear. Also the smokers crave more clove cigarettes and inject more larva, thus creating a vicious circle. How the Smoke Fish reproduce is yet unclear, as is the effectiveness of the Obama administrations smoke ban.

CEO Lawrence Peachtree examined the innocuous-looking pill. It was gray, small, looking like a hundred other experimental drugs. He looked up at his chief chemist. “The biggest thing since Zoloft, you said.” He palmed the tablet and flipped it into the air like a coin. Caught it. “Explain.”

Gadalee Bass could practically taste the biggest success of her career. “Depression. Before it was identified as a disease, it was merely people feeling a bit blue. But then pharmaceutical companies brought drugs to market to, ah, ‘cure’ depression. Now one in ten Americans takes antidepressants.” She counted them off on her fingers. “Zoloft, Xanax, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa –”

Peachtree held up a hand. “You’ve found a cure for something that wasn’t a disease… yet.”

“We did. Religion.”

“Religion?”

“There’s a part of the brain, the parietal lobe-” she tapped her head just above and behind her right ear, “-part of the cerebrum. Researchers found that function in the right parietal lobe is different between religious adherents and nonbelievers. Couple an effective drug there with one that affects the limbic system and we can alter religiosity.”

“Adverse reactions?”

“We haven’t tested on humans yet, but side effects would likely include loss of inhibitions, early-onset Alzheimers, and a deficit to the patient’s spatial sense. We expect reactions in less than one per thousand, but the brain is tricky. There could be unintended consequences.”

Peachtree, after a moment of silence, said, “Let’s see if I’ve got this right. You want a clinical trial on a drug that takes away religious belief.” He shook his head. “Do you realize how many Baptists there are on our board of directors?” He started to push the tablet away, across the desk, but looked up to find Bass smiling.

“Ah,” she said, “That’s why there’s another pill. That one attacks religious fervor.” She pulled a small box out of her pocket and revealed an identical tablet. “This one aids it.”

Peachtree returned her smile. “Now you’re talking.”

1. Alfa-Romeo Spider sporty convertible to whip her hair around and make her look cool (not to mention the oil nifty slick and auto-lock rotating machine gun to wipe counter-agents off her tail):  Check.

2. Suction cups to scale the walls of Castle Darkmater:  Check.

3. Finger sleeves of the richest, most handsome villain in the world, Victor Maximilian, (sleeves copied digitally off a wine glass at soiree she’d crashed) to key open the foyer:  Check.

4. Minty fresh super-stick, highly-elastic, chewing gum to stretch across the corridor for when the guards chase after her, trip and fall into the thin, fine web, wrapped in its snare:  Check.

5. Scout bots to scour the directions to the secret passage (behind the tapestry) leading to the dungeon where he hid the doom’s-day device:  Check.

6. Electric grenades to short-circuit his giant robo-snakes patrolling the passage to the dungeon:  Check.

7. Key-codes to shutting down the doom’s-day device which three agents had died retrieving, which will fail because he had changed the codes (Mu-a-a-a-a-a!):  Check.

8. Fail-safe codes which three more agents had died retrieving, which will launch the doom’s-day beam into empty space:  Check.

9. Stun gun (she didn’t want kill Victor, but reform him):  Check.

10. Low-cut blouse, pumps, and skirt:  Uncheck.  (Damn.  She knew she’d forgotten something.)

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