"The Man Who Never Launched," Conclusion

Closest to the action, The City of London's Lord Mayor had a most elegant and exclusive party going on right up to the moment of the disaster, with the decks of his yacht, Planet Animal, crowded with the cream of international society. The King of Pop's ardent animal activism was being celebrated, in connection with his rehashed, rather unthrilling album. Whoever was anybody in environmentalism, animal rights, and the world faith movement would not have missed the King of Pop's own personal appearance--which was to occur at his own selected time, for as many minutes as he could suffer rubbing his sequined elbows with mere mortals, even if they were avid fans. So while they awaited the King of Pop's arrival by either special helicopter designed to look like the King of Pop's pet iguana, Elizabeth, so that the cocktail-sipping guests could enjoy the best view of the various dance teams onboard the barge, the Lord Mayor's yacht was drawn up as close as possible on the starboard side. Here they enjoyed a ringside view while the technicolor Image was towed upriver from a private drydock where it had been assembled under high security, with no press permitted on the premises, and towed up the Thames toward the city's landmark bridges.

The light show was incredibly staged, with colors programmed and coordinated to change every few seconds to keep the world bedazzled.

Larry had the best view of all, of course, except that his reflexes took over, he put his legs and feet up, shut his eyes, covered his head with his arms and prepared for the worst.

Here at the Tower Bridge the mishap occurred. An unexplained fatal convergence with a flying object, said to resemble an outmoded 1960s-era rocket, abruptly terminated the whole wonderful show. The Image's head, or the major portion of it, along with some of the torso emblazoned with the King of Pop's signature lizard and twin, ancilliary, peace signs, so happened to descend. That put an immediate end to the party, of course, and its various fund-raising programs for "Planet Animal," the movement to return Earth to the animals and eradicate humankind (or at least restrict humans to a limited number of fenced reservations set with population caps and publicly funded, univerally mandated abortion). Fifty of the guests were unaccounted for later after quite a few hours of frantic searching by authorities and diving teams with search lights after the yacht capsized and everything and everyone was dumped unceremoniously overboard into the turbid Thames.

The rocket seemed to have a thing for smashing icons, and the King of Pop's alter ego proved no exception. Maybe if there had been more time, and if the cockpit hadn't been in such shambles after the Eiffel Tower bust-up, the outcome might have been far different. With Larry no longer able to maneuver the rocket, the fatal convergence occurred despite his best efforts. The King of Pop's cork was popped.

Just as it had dealt with the Eiffel Tower, the immensely dense, titanium rocket sliced through the Pop King like cheese, and it instantly became fragments flying in every direction. Then Larry's next impression was that the rocket had become a giant water ski or hydroplane, its engines continuing to thrust, which raised the cabin skywards as the main fusilage plowed through the water, generating a giant wave that easily washed up over the Thames embankments, dousing thousand of on-lookers before they could flee. In this position, the rocket reached the next bridge and slid right over it, suffering little hull damage, and the engines continued to function routinely. It was like a hurdler jumping each hurdle, only the ground, in this case the river water, was helping him by pushing upwards at the same time. The moment the rocket fell back to the water, the thrust from the engines pushed it onward at a rapid speed, and when the low arched London Bridge converged with the rocket, it washed up and over, sweeping a tsunami-like wave ahead of it as a lubricant greasing a thrusting Trojan.

Four historic mid-town bridges spanned the Thames in this section of the river, and Larry clung to his seat and had no idea what was happening as he rode the rocket turned bucking hydroplane.

He only sensed a tremendous surge beneath of the water whenever the rocket hurdled a bridge, scraping off some of his hull, but losing nothing essential to the engine and on-board nuclear plant which were nearly indestructible, encased in massive titanium and lead shields.

After leap-frogging the fourth bridge, the Thames took a turn toward the Parliament Houses of Westminster. At that time the BBC had all its chief commentators assigned and embedded in the main event: to all appearances, the Gothic vaulted House of Commons chamber was crammed with M.P.s for an important speech by the Prime Minister. This upcoming speech had already for days been the leading topic in the press, because all the talking heads had were agreed it would mark the apogee of the PM's career as a leading exponent of Climate Change and reduction of carbon "greenhouse gases". Many thought he might even win the Nobel Peace Prize for it, and said so in their articles in the Times, but his press secretary reported that the Secretary thought it should go to greater men posthumously, such as Vladimir Lenin, Yosef Dugashvilli, and Chairman Mao, rather than himself.

He was reaching a rather soaring point in his loudly applauded speech detailing the heroic sacrifices required from the British people to save the Planet with drastically reduced carbon emissions (thermostats turned down to fifty six, virtually no private cars, far less bathing, thousands of factories and businesses closed either closed or barely running due to failure to secure adequate carbon credits, essential hospital services and medicines cut back, rationing of oxygen to patients with respiratory problems, shutdown of all mines, refineries, coal-fired electric plants...) when Larry's flying bomb displaced the roof and ceiling.

You would have thought Larry's unannounced intrusion would have provided a most spectacular climax to the Prime Minister's concluding words: "Know that I indeed feel your momentary pain and discomfort, my fellow citizens of the world! Yet what little we give up, we gain immeasurably thereby, for after our sacrifices we can look forward to climbing together, hand in hand, entering the broad uplands of human progress and happiness, whilst being strengthened with the full assurance that this frail barque, Planet Earth,with its human, animal, and vegetable burden, will continue to fly for many years to come."

The applause was deafening. It was a magnificent, upbeat speech, with just the right touch of a Churchillian allusion to inspire everybody. Yet the moment before Larry erupted so rudely upon the scene there was nobody there, the entire edifice was completely vacant.

Instead, the venue proved to be a private and discreetly government-run BBC studio that staged the entire event, utilizing computer imagery to simulate the m.p's and their ecstatic responses to the Prime Minister's speech. Tony Blair? Disraeli? Edmund Burke? Cicero? Golden Mouthed Demosthenes? They were quite at a loss to find comparisons to do the P.M. justice!

Larry was in the catbird's seat where he was riding the nuclear space rocket, able to see everything, as the rocket turned at the Westminster Bridge and veered sharply toward the Houses of Parliament.

As soon as the Prime Minister could be reached at a posh, security-fenced villa in the south of Spain, he was informed what took place at the actual House of Commons, not the virtual one in which he had just performed so brilliantly. Of course, the news was suppressed, and the House was taped off from the public and guards in all-white radiation/chemical gear posted, with only the explanation that it was closed for routine maintenance. Despite all the tape and guards, everyone who could still get close enough could see it was a ruined shell, looking once again much the same as when it had been bombed in World War II, except with the difference it glowed at night and sent geiger counters CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK!-wild.

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