Welcome To The Harem
The Land Of The Plenty by David Hearne
Summary: Post-col, part of the Leonard Cohen collection.
TITLE: THE LAND OF PLENTY (1 of 1)
AUTHOR: DAVID HEARNE
SPOILERS: Mythology in general.
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This is the last story in a series. You don't need to read the others
in order to 'get it' (or all of it), but here are the other titles in
In My Secret Life
A Thousand Kisses Deep
That Don't Make It Junk
Here It Is
By The Rivers Dark
You Have Loved Enough
The Land of Plenty
All of them are based on Leonard Cohen songs. Lyrics are quoted at the
History never dies, but it does bleed. We are covered in its blood,
even if we don't know it. I watch people who are unaware of the red
stains they carry. I listen to a woman who suspects her own
"Solutions are never good enough. We prefer bigger and better
"That's an odd statement coming from an IBI agent." A man speaks these
words. His voice is civil yet wary.
The woman responds with superficial cheer. "Why is that?"
"Because an investigator looks for the truth, not just for more
"Yeah, but new questions keep popping up. You can't ignore them,
whether you're just a plain Joe, an agent with the International
Bureau of Investigations...or a scientist."
I can hear the challenge in the way she speaks the word "scientist."
The man calmly accepts the challenge as he says "Any questions you
have in mind?"
"Here's one for ya..." The recording briefly offers the rustle of
papers. "You know what this is?"
"Since your graph has no name, I'll have to say no."
"This is the number of UFO sightings during the late twentieth century
and early twenty-first century. Most of them were concentrated in the
United States. I mean, the old United States."
I turn away from the window. The old men gathered in the room listen
to the disc player. Their faces have cool, neutral expressions which
break occasionally into frowns.
"Notice anything interesting?" the woman asks, her voice trying not to
"There's a big drop in 2013," the man concedes.
"Not just a drop. A complete and utter termination. And the actual
point of termination..." More papers rustle. "...was in 2012. December
23, to be exact. Remember that date?"
One old man uncrosses his legs. Another begins to slowly pace on a
"Of course. That was when the Quarantine was lifted."
"Interesting, huh? In the years before that, the number of UFO
sightings steadily increases. And then suddenly...bam!..." The sound
of the woman's finger striking the graph is loud enough to be heard. I
can imagine the male IBI agent flinching. Our psychological profile of
him indicates a sensitivity toward intrusions into his 'personal
"...there are no more sightings."
"I see. And your point being?"
I now imagine a silly grin spreading on the woman's face. "That it's a
mystery; one which requires an answer."
"Is that why you're here?"
The woman's reply reflects a cooler pose. "I'm here because this is
the only place where I can ask these questions. Why are you here?"
"I was assigned to work with you."
"You sound thrilled."
"Actually I'm looking forward to working with you. Your criminal
profiles are widely considered..."
One of the old men turns off the player. "They just banter from there
on," he says. "The question is -- will *he* keep *her* in line?"
"I'm not sure about that myself," another old man says. "He may be a
skeptic and a scientist, but he's also very loyal to his partners.
What if this partnership only strengthens her? Trouble usually comes
No, I think. Trouble comes in groups of three, not pairs.
For instance, two sons and one daughter.
"What do you think?" an old man asks me. "The X-Files is your
responsibility, after all."
"It is," I say. "And I think it's too soon to judge anything. Wait and
see what happens."
The old men agree with this. They begin a discussion of other matters.
I turn away from them and continue my watch at the window. Forty-two
floors separate me from the people walking on the sidewalk and driving
in the street. I remember when the streets were almost empty. Tanks
were more active than cars. There were no vendors selling pretzels and
soda; every mouthful of food and every uninfected drop of water seemed
like a blessing. You didn't pass people casually in the street. You
either found them pointing a gun at you or lying on the ground with
And, as the woman on the recording pointed out, lights other than
stars crossed the sky.
I was twelve years old when the President of the United States was
shot in the head. Very few people knew (or know now) that the bullet
had struck him there, not his shoulder. I was one of those who
suspected the truth. I owed my insight to a mother's gift.
I had received the package on my tenth birthday. You can fret all you
want about the 'innocence of children,' but 'innocence' is just
another word for 'ignorance.' I was grateful for the knowledge my
mother had prepared for me. Before her death, she had written a story
and hidden the tale in a safety deposit box. Lawyers made sure
that I received the document at the time my mother had selected.
She hadn't known everything nor had she forseen all of the future's
events, but she still taught me enough. She showed me how a teenage
girl could survive in the year 2012.
She also told me who my father was.
I have to laugh at my father's excessive propagating. He made Fox,
Jeffrey, me. And William, too, in a way.
I was the reason why my mother first turned against him. When she told
him of her pregnancy, he said, "What do you expect me to do? Parenting
doesn't exactly go with being the organizer of the world's greatest
conspiracy." This was a lie on his part. He took the duties of father
as seriously as being a mover of nations.
He just didn't want to be my father. Sex with my mother had just been
a break from his work. She, on the other hand, saw my existence as a
way of bringing him closer to her.
Did she love him? I don't know. I do know that she was depending on
him to protect her. My father seemed like the safest port in a rough
sea -- much safer than any FBI agent, no matter how passionate and
handsome he was.
When he refused to be a father to me, she betrayed him. She
deliberately made herself a protector of a boy feared by my father's
conspiracy. It was her way of taunting my father -- "You can't get him
without hurting me. And you can't bring yourself to hurt me."
A bullet proved her wrong. After that, she renewed her allegiance to
him. However, you only got one more chance with my father, if any. A
second betrayal couldn't be excused.
He had forgotten about me. My mother had put me up for adoption, and
he never bothered to track me down. For the next twelve years, I lived
with a very nice couple whom I eventually abandoned. They could not
have taught me the necessary skills. I needed to learn the ways of the
Not only did I survive, but I found my way into the new government
started in the year 2013. I was a servant of powerful men when the new
order was birthed. Now I'm one of the inner circle.
I guess Dad would be proud.
I'm certainly continuing his work. It's now my job to keep the truth
away from the X-Files. The people whose voices I heard on the
recording must never know my secrets; must never know why children are
being inoculated for a disease which no longer exists; must never know
why the name Earth is forbidden to be mentioned on other worlds.
They must never know what happened on a mountain. Three people made a
decision on December 22, 2012, and we all live with that decision. Its
significance can be found in our blood. Humanity can never realize
what they possess in their own bodies.
I think about those three people -- a boy who became the turning point
of the world, the woman whose womb birthed him, the man whose quest
had led her to the mountain. Were they free to make their choice, or
did other forces compel their decision?
I ask the same question about myself. No answer is realized.
The year is 2062. I light up a cigarette. I watch the people go by.
And history watches me.
"Don't really know who sent me
"To raise my voice and say:
"May the lights in the Land of Plenty
"Shine on the truth some day."