“Excuse me, Senator, do you have a moment?”
And so it begins, Senator Stevens thought to himself. He had made the comment last night and not accepted any questions during the press conference. He threw the line out there at the end, and then walked off of the stage.
“Yes, Ms. Ummm..Carmen was it?”
“Missus, but, you can call me Kirsten.”
“Ok, Kirsten, I am on my way to the café on Fourth for breakfast, if you care to walk and talk, you can bend my ear.”
“Well, Sir, first,” she hesitated. He could tell she was new at this, and decided to cut her some slack. If she got through this, it could make her.
“Yes, you can record it, but if I say the interview is over, or that something is off the record, you shut the recorder off.”
“Yes sir,” she nodded pleasantly. She managed to keep up with his brisk stride.
“So, Kirsten, what can I do for you?”
“Yesterday, during your press conference for Delta Oil Labs, you said that they were on the cutting edge of oil research, and you pledged five…”
“Ten,” he corrected her. They rounded a corner. The café was another two miles up the street.
“Ok, ten million dollars of your personal money to help with their research.”
“That is correct.” Here it comes.
She did not disappoint. “As you were leaving the podium, Sir, you said one last thing. First, let me make sure I have the quote correct. You said ‘Criminals and old people for oil, who’d have thunk it?’”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I said, and I will say it again, so your recorder picks it up in my voice. Criminals and old people for oil, who’d have thunk it?”
“Well, Senator, that got a chuckle from a few people on the stage with you, most notably Phineus Kim, the Chief Research Officer for Delta.” She was looking down at her notepad, furiously trying to capture every word he spoke.
“Yes, I saw him smirk at my tongue in cheek comment.” He held out his hand and grabbed her wrist, preventing them from being struck by a car that blindly backed out of a garage.
“Well, do you have anything to add to that comment, or do you care to elaborate on it anymore?” She was reading the question off of a notebook she held with her left hand. The Senator had to give her credit, she came prepared to ambush him this morning.
He chuckled. “Well, Kirsten,” he liked the name, and she was cute, too bad she was taken. She had moxie. “Here is your scoop. Mr. Kim and Delta Oil have developed a process that can reduce corpses into, basically, oil. I’m not knowledgeable as to how it works, but they can take a human, or animal, I’ve seen it work with a cow, and break it down into basic components.”
The look on her face was priceless. “You mean kind of like what they were doing with corn a couple of years ago?”
“Exactly, and this here is how they sold me, so stop me if you do not follow. The oil fields we have now are basically reservoirs of ancient dead things that through pressure and heat degraded into oil. Delta just found a way to speed that process up. I’m oversimplifying things, I’m sure, but I don’t understand it completely myself.”
He could feel the setup coming. It was good timing too, they had stopped at a red light, waiting for the signal to tell them it was okay to cross.
“This old people comment, are you proposing we take all of the old people in turn them into oil?”
“Far from it, and don’t forget I mentioned criminals in there too. First, the comment was a joke, but right now the State spends an inordinate amount of money when a criminal dies, whether we put him, or her, to death, or if that prisoner dies of natural causes. Instead of cremating, or burying the prisoner, we could hand the body over to Delta Oil Labs, and according to their calculations, get a barrel of oil from every two to three bodies.”
“But what about those prisoners families, and you still haven’t elaborated on old people.”
“You’re correct again Kirsten. Look, I’m not proposing that we round up all of the old people and throw them in vats to become oil, all I’m saying is right now people have a two choices. Burial and Cremation, Delta Oil here has come along and is offering a third choice, and they’ll do it for free. No burial plot to buy, no expensive vase to purchase to hold grandma’s ashes in. They collect the body after you’re done using it.”
“Ok, Mr. Senator, I’m not sure I like this idea, but where do you fit in? Why donate so much of your personal fortune?”
“Do you know what I did before I got into politics, Kirsten? I was a funeral director, and I still own three Funeral Parlors. This Senator gig is not forever, you and I both know that. I’ve secured my piece of the future.”
“Well, these people still deserve a funeral, their last rights, and the families deserve closure. You’ll be able to rent a casket from me for the services, and when you’re done, I’ll arrange for the good people at Delta Oil Lab to pick up your loved one, and who knows, the next week you may be driving on a tank of your grandfather. Ah, here we are. I love this place, they have the best eggs Benedict, care to join me?”
“Uh, no Sir, I don’t have much of an appetite this morning.”