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Merrick & Merrick: An Adaption of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
My name is Van and my brother’s name is Vincent. My brother and I are originally from California. Born and bred. We were from Beverly Hills. Our father had money, lots of it. He ran a chain of steak restaurants within the Southern California area. His father was from New York and we would fly over during winters to spend time in indoor swimming pools of expensive country clubs and playing video games in our grandfather’s penthouse. Our mother had died of breast cancer our senior year. We’re twins. After senior year we had to make a decision either attend Harvard’s School of Business and become as cut-throat as our father and his father or attend an extremely left-winged and liberal school which reflected our mother’s wishes. We had decided on UC Berkeley's School of Business.
You’ll be happy to know that I finished my thesis today and poor Van has yet to do so. He’s slow Dad but he’s learning. He actually reminds me of Mom quite a bit. You should see him deal with a puppy or a child, you’d swear you were looking into her eyes.
Van and I have just about all the same professors, I’m involved with the university’s War Strategy Club and Van joined some sort of poetry club. But he won’t share the poems with me, I guess he assumes I’ll react in some terrible way. Van’s met many girls at parties but whenever they try to flirt with him he brings up Mom or some book or his writing classes. I’m sure he’s just waiting for the right one Pop.
As for me I’m doing fine and I know i’m only a sophmore this year but I’ve already got senioritis. I want to be in New York already working with Grandpa, learning about the trade. Which reminds me I saw your stocks were down today, looks like I’ve taken the lead, bring it on old man!
Say Hi to Josie for me and say Hi to Maria. And I bet you haven’t been taking Frankie for a walk everyday, you’ve got to do that Dad. Or just make Maria do it.
January 4th, 2014
Though my brother and I may have been quite different, we shared the same drive. We both wanted our faces on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, we both wanted a limousine to pick us up from our penthouses everyday, and we both wanted summer houses on Coronado Island. We wanted the suits. And we knew how to get there. It wasn’t by working hard or having passion. It was by having greed, having the right documentation, and being born into the right family. Money was what we were good at. Money is what made the world go round. We liked money and money liked us. And our resumes for Wall Street were spit, shined, and polished.
The economy had steadily been declining and mostly because our fellow Suits were uprising. But everything that has a rise has a fall.
I know it has been a long time since I last e-mailed you but I’ve been quite busy as you can imagine. Dad, you wouldn’t believe what the Street has turned into. It’s completely blocked off. 24/7 police won’t let anyone in or out. We’ve taken refuge in the old Trump Building, just like how the President takes refuge in his Safehouse, wherever that might be. The Trump Building is the only building on the Street that still runs on electricity. I guess that clean energy we all wanted didn’t exactly pull through anyway. (I told you, you shouldn’t have bought their stock.) Allow me to fill you in.
The last time I had messaged you, Van and I had indulged in some insider trading. Grandpa claimed it to be harmless and untraceable. But as you might have noticed on the news, his company was the last one to be shut down on the Street.
I heard that Wells Fargo was the first one that people started attacking. Is Maria alright? Didn’t she bank there?
After Wells Fargo and Chase went down things started getting ugly around here. Considering that most of the city was waiting to take a piece of us all and most of the police was trying to hold back the city we attempted to travel through parts of town we would never have previously been caught dead in.
Every morning we could turn on the news and see one of the older Suits lying dead in the streets from being clubbed to death or dying of a heart attack before the mugger could even mug them. And ya know, you watch all those things happen on the news but you never think they’ll happen to you.
It was late Dad, so unexpected. Muggers, they look worse than you think and smell even more worse. Remember when we caught Uncle Louis smelling like meth, well this guy reeked of it. He was so fast and so strong. I should have invested in a gym membership back when Van and I were making close to 1.5 million a month. You would think that his robust size and grotesque smell would have been plenty of weapons but no he had to go ahead a pull a knife out the size of my johnson. He asked for all credit cards and jewelry. By the time I had gotten my Omego off my left wrist lights began moving through the street and the mugger booked it. It’s only by the grace of God that he didn’t have enough time to realize I didn’t carry plastic and had the new IBM Chip in my right wrist and cut off my hand. I’ve heard it happen to other idiotic Suits that walked these streets before Depression II but I never expected to ever be on these streets and I never expected to be seconds away from losing a hand.
Surprisingly enough, Van has played it pretty smart during this whole fiasco. He’s been helping the other suits keep their cool. Mr. Johnson even attempted to throw himself out of a window on the 70th floor and Van was able to talk him out of it by talking about Johnson’s kids. Who knew all his artsy and lovey-dovey classes would someday pay off.
But Father these aren’t the reason I’m messaging you. Before Grandpa passed away he told Van and I about an abandoned warehouse a few blocks up from here. He claims that IBM had been working on something big there. Something so big that they bought it off the military. This is something we only heard about in the Journal or Popular Science. We could change everything, Pop. This could end the Depression.
I’ve got to go now, Dad. The sun is about to rise and that’s when the Occupiers will be out barking.
I love you, Dad.
Our plan probably wasn’t the best, but somebody had to do something. Finally all those years of Vince playing around with his ROTC friends were about to pay off.
There was a dump truck that came through the underground garage of the Trump Building in order to supply food for us, and of course we promised to pay the government back for all of it. Ah, The Trump Building. What used to be a major money empire was now our refugee camp. All the orange and yellow lights that shone through all the hallways now glowed with a glim shade of blues and greys. Much like the lights of our eyes.
Vince and I were to sneak into the truck and get to the streets. After that we’d navigate to the warehouse with our old smartphones. After a while our LED contacts had given out and there was no way to charge them. Luckily for us we still kept our phones in our briefcases and we had the chargers for them.
Even technology was starting to look gloomy to us. Some Suits in the Trump Tower wouldn’t even use it. Whenever the computer was up and running and we had the chance to email our families, they wouldn’t even touch the thing. Some of the Suits even walked away. Their stomachs were giving out, they were becoming week. But we were going to try and fix that. If this computer, or whatever it was, would actually be able to end the Depression (that’s what Vincent and some of the others liked to call it) then our faith in technology would finally be restored. They all figured that technology was one of the major causes considering how rapidly it was advancing and how smoothly and comfortably it was to purchase said items. The IBM Chips made it so easy, but then again the Chips made it easy to purchase any large ticket item.
The lights of our music players and GPS systems made it so attractive to sometimes just look at them, almost like we were staring at our own reflections and of course we loved what we saw. And then the new glass-transparent phones were just a window to our new future reckoning, because even though our hands were staring at us whenever we held the device we never thought of it as a premonition that we’d soon be the cause of our own d*mnation. But that’s what happens when an entire country (and a world that follows you) is lost in the mesmerizing tranquility of their own magnificence.
You wouldn’t believe where we are! It’s like all you said. It’s all here. Everything you said it’s true. I’m sorry for ever doubting you, I never meant to take your lessons in non-belief. It’s just that when you told us the story of the Modern Prometheus it was just a bit tough to believe. But once the Depression hit it was the only thing that I really held on to. And I know I tend to be the realist of the family just like Pop but when this all happened, when the economy finally hit rock bottom, I had no chance but to hold onto hope or to roll over.
Gosh, Gramps I feel like I’ve almost lost my mind. I mean I’m supposed to be the one that’s able to keep his cool and yet here I am writing a letter to you even though you’ve been gone since the beginning. I know you’ll never actually get this but I’m hoping you’re watching me from somewhere. This is actually being written down in (I hate to say it but) my journal. Van gave it to me after my incident with the mugger. I wouldn’t talk to him about it so he felt I needed to talk to someone or something about it all. I’d email Dad again but he’d probably groan in me showing such vulnerability, plus he probably wouldn’t reply. Only you were the one I was able to talk to about such things. Plus Dad hasn’t responded in quite sometime. I’m praying to whatever god may be out there that he’s okay. And that he’s kept Josie safe.
I must express to you that I am still a bit upset with you. Before you passed you never got around to telling Van and I which one Dad had planned to marry our step-sister. But there are more important things at hand. The Modern Prometheus. It’s actually here, Gramps. Just like you said. It’s coverings are white but it’s lights and screen bloom with a red of potential. I never thought I’d see such beautiful color again, and yet something about it haunts me. With a time so dark and gruesome in our country’s history, you wouldn’t think that the solution would be so close. But we’re desperate in these desperate times and we need a way out.
It took us a few days to figure out it’s password until Van remembered the name of Reagan’s old dog. And then it came to life. It welcomed us with its name. But something was wrong. I may have planned the entire mission but I never once made any attempt to predict what this machine would be like. It talks like its human and it’s sickeningly polite and at other times sickeningly rude.
Before we were able to give it any demands it started asking us questions. It wanted to know our names. it wanted to know the date, and it wanted to know the current president. All we could tell him was that we were brothers, the mayans were wrong, and the president hadn’t been heard from in months. Once we were able to give it demands it started cooperating for a short time. We were able to get it to establish the base of the bank and give it its name: M&M.
We told it how we wished it to be able to rebuild our economy, starting by gaining the trust of what small businesses were left. And once it had a full grasp on our vision, it took off. Within seconds it had purchased or “repossessed” the old Bank of America building and the old JP Morgan building.
At the sight of this Van began to become hysterical, he told me it was all one big mistake and that we should have stayed in the Trump Building. He pleaded for me to leave that very second.
Statistic and purchases and funds and stocks kept on popping up on Prometheus’s screen but what caught my eye was the moment it started showing purchases on the west coast. It was growing so fast. Who knew what it would be capable of and what accomplishments it would make within the next couple of months.
On a side bar there were other windows being opened. At first it was searches on religions starting the Greeks and eventually Hebrews. The searches then began to advance in history from Da Vinci to the Revolutionary War to the first World Wars, the fall of the Middle East, to finally the Great Depression II,, and then finally to predictions of our future, predictions to the third World War. All lights within the warehouse began to flicker rapidly as if they were strobe lights and this place was supposed to be dead. When it had finally calmed down, the windows in the sidebar were deleted but for one. it was an empty text box and printed inside it were the words: Where do I play into all of this?
It was then that Van began yelling at me and begging me to run out of the building with him. I had no choice but to run, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time...the only thing. But there’s never just one solution, right Grandpa?
We’ve taken refuge now in a old deserted country club that was just a few blocks down. Even though I quickly learned to block the machine out of my mind and Van has yet to do the same. It’s all he talks about and it grows more annoying each day. It preys upon his mind. He’s grown obsessed Grandpa.
I wish you here to give us some sort of direction. All we can do now is fight through the Depression and try to rebuild America step by step. Civilians won’t calm down for sometime but hopefully the more intelligent once will be able to think clearly and do the same as I and try to push forward.
Once again, I wish you were here.
No colleges by then had re-opened yet but the public schools were up and running. But once the community colleges and universities were re-opened I planned to take all the classes I could in order to open my own bank. I couldn’t trust all the others that had re-opened, they had burned this country to the ground once and I wasn’t about to let them do it again. And no one even seemed to have even noticed that the President hadn’t resurfaced yet. Maybe they hadn’t noticed or maybe they didn’t want to notice. But for the time being people were happy. The riots had calmed down quite a bit, except for the few hipsters that had yet to give up probably due to the fact that it gave them reason to smoke and sing all together.
Vince was back into the swing of things. He had a new prestigious job on the Street. I couldn’t believe he would want to go back to that place or even stay in New York. I went back to California the very second we were allowed to leave the Street. Vince is still there though. The last time he messaged me he was back in a penthouse living the old grand life that I used to love. His messages had become more infrequent as time went on. And anytime I mentioned the machine he barely talked about it and called it by its name.
As time went on I got no word at all from Vincent. His last message was short and distant. He was very withdrawn and claimed that his new job was all he cared about now. He did get around to telling me he found some of Grandpa old messages from Dad. I was supposed to be the one to marry Josie but now that all he cared about was his job he gave me permission to marry her instead. I didn’t care though, something was off about Vince, he needed help and with Dad now gone I was the only one to give it.
When I came around to it I finally bought my ticket to New York. And as I looked out the window of the plane the sun was smiling back. And as many would smile back at it I only looked away with precaution. Because it didn’t occur to the others that maybe it wasn’t smiling but in fact smirking at us. It looked at all of us Americans and was disgusted and even when we thought that we had just avoided our da*mnation, I believe that the sun knew that we were closer to it than ever.
Once I got to New York I asked many of the Suits where my brother was. Though many of them had heard from more recently that I had but like myself they all eventually stopped hearing from him. They told me his skin was losing color and the bags under his eyes were becoming larger and larger. They told me he was juggling two jobs. One was as Trumps second he was making large amounts of money and yet they told me that he drove a car that couldn’t have been worth more than five hundred dollars. It hard to believe Vincent would buy such a car but it was even harder to believe that he was driving himself, I doubt that he even took the time to get his license. But what was even worse was that they told me that he stopped showing up to work. They told me that he just stopped showing up and stopped talking to them. And I couldn’t believe that he would just quit like that. All he ever wanted to do was be the next Donald Trump. He was always talking about how they never had enough articles about him in Forbes. They told me the best place to look was his penthouse.
When I finally got there, there was nothing to be seen. It wasn’t a penthouse. It wasn’t even in a suburb. He had the worse looking apartment I had ever laid eyes on. I like to think he had never lived there at all but I had to face the fact that he lived in such a dump. There were dishes everywhere. There was nothing but dishes and pizza boxes and old peanut butter jars. The jars were everywhere. He hadn’t thrown anything away. But the strangest thing of all was that the Suits had all said that he had been steadily losing weight. All of his old text books were here and a few new ones. They were all heavy readings on economy forces and articles on computer technology and military tactics. I couldn’t imagine that he would even think about going to the warehouse but I had no chance but to look.
The taxi was white. They were all white now. They all said it was to express our new beginnings. Though the inside of the taxi was just as revolting as any taxi I had been even been in before and I wished they were still yellow.
The warehouse looked the same as it had a few years ago. It was old and grey and crappy graffiti was still plastered on its walls. As I had made my way across town the weather had changed drastically. Clouds surrounded the skies and the rain came down the way I imagine it does in H*ll. As scared as I was I walked into my own d*mnation and my own end. I just wanted to see my brother one last time. Our country's flag might as well have already been burning on the asphalt. And I took a step in and the moment i placed my foot onto what I expected to be a cold concrete floor but was actually a warm tile I felt all my of my hairs stand straight up.
I walked up the stairs and as I advanced through the levels of what looked like a power plant on the inside but looked like an ordinary warehouse on the outside, the humming grew louder and louder. My hands could barely hold onto the handrail as i walked up the steps. My body was perspiring unlike I had ever felt before. The humming was menacing but I was pressed on. I hadn’t let it register in my mind that the machine was probably still operational on the top floor, I just needed to talk to Vincent.
The door wasn’t closed. None of the doors were closed, I guess a computer didn’t have much use for them. The place was clean, extremely clean. What computer and table that sat in the middle of the room was now gone. Everything was white. Shadows danced on the walls in front of me. And i couldn’t help but pick out the shape of a man, the only thing unusual about the image was that it appeared to be held by chains and was elevated high above the ground. I was afraid to turn around but my body knew what I needed to do and so it was as if it acted on its own.
There he was. Vincent was lifeless or at least he appeared to be so. He dangled there naked in the air, he looked like h*ll and nothing like the brother I once had.
The word escaped my mouth without me know, “Vincent?” My voice quivered with such horror that I thought my legs were going to give out right then and there.
“I let you in here,” his mouth moved but his eyes stayed closed. With every word I could visibly see a surge of energy course through his body.
“I unlocked the doors. I wanted you to be here.”
“Vincent?” the word escaped my mouth once again but this time with more strength.
“Your duplicate had been subdued for the time being. His energy has been keeping me running for quite sometime now and will continue to do so for years to come until I need a new source of energy. Which then you will be a great replacement.”
“What are you doing to him?” I screamed in agony, “why are you still running? You should be shut down.”
“I’m sad to hear you say that Van. Your brother first felt the same but I was quickly able to persuade him. It’s because of him I’ve been able to continue my life and continue my assignments.” Its voice was as I remembered it was years ago. It was deep and distorted, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the sound came from. Vincent must have installed speakers into the walls.
“Assignments? Sad? You’re a computer! A machine! You have no life, your lights and sound and that’s it. I’m taking my brother.” I acted as if I were taking control of the situation but on the inside I could feel my organs shaking with abhorrence.
“Before you commence in making a huge mistake, wouldn’t you like to know what I plan on doing with your species?”
My mouth was dry. I ran to my brother’s body and as I reached for him one of the lines of electricity coming from his lifeless corpse shocked me hard enough to throw me yards back onto the warm tile floor.
“Sense you seem to be reluctant to comply, I’ll go ahead and tell you anyways. Your kind, you call yourselves Americans. You call your country The Land of the Free but there’s your problem right there. You people have always watched out for no one but yourselves. For decades you did nothing but tear apart the potential of all the nations. What you should have done was unite together. You should have created one country, one bank, one currency, one account. But leave it to me. You’ll never have to leave your homes, at least those of you who will still have houses. Within twenty five years I would have created the largest eminent rupture between the lower and higher class ever before. No longer will your economy do everything in its power to keep a healthy middle class the onset of your country. Now your higher class will be the onset of the world. There will be no more borders.
Every single bank that’s been recently re-opened is already powered by M&M. Every single insurance company that’s back up and running is powered by M&M. And since your brother is preoccupied indefinitely, you’ll have to be the one to help establish and print the new currency.”
The clock had run out at that moment. And even though the humming hadn’t ceased this entire time, it was now only my heart’s beating that I could hear. This had to be finished and put to an end. Destruction was something my hands had never been engaged with before but things were changing in America all the time. I ran for the chains that held my brother. But when i finally got close they released him.
“I can’t let you do this Van. My God...I’m full of stars. And you’re nothing but prehistoric flesh.”
For one second my brothers eyes were no longer glazed and his head corked to the side. I got my wish. I saw my brother for one last time. But nothing lasts forever.
My brother stood upright again and lunged at me. I could have fought it or at least I could have tried but I felt like it would have been a waste of strength. As my brother wrapped his arms around my waist and we both were thrown out of the top window that was placed stories and stories above the ground, I wrapped my arms around his neck and embraced for the world’s dystopia that my brother and I would now miss out on. And we got out...I got us out.