Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hoisted from Comments: Galt's Splashin' Safari

In comments, Michael Prescott discovers a new character in Galt's Gulch:

Galt steered the sedan around a wide curve, through a sun-flooded glen lined with aspens. Dagny leaned back, surrendering to the warm current of air that kissed her face. Then suddenly she jerked upright in her seat.

"Stop the car! Oh, please stop!"

Chuckling, Galt shifted into park. Dagny threw open the passenger door and leaped out, took two quick steps forward, then stopped, gazing in astonishment at the tall, gaunt figure who stood before her on the side of the road.

"It's you, isn't it?" she whispered. "You're here in Galt's Gulch, too."

"Why, yes, Miss Taggart," the man said with a knowing smile.

"You know me?"

"We all know you, if only by reputation. But I'm surprised you know me."

"Of course I do. You're Will Koch, CEO of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, the last of the fully rational theme parks."

Will Koch inclined his head gravely.

"I used to go there every summer," Dagny said breathlessly. "I would ride the giant water slide and swim in the endless pool - always wearing my Holiday World water wings, of course. It was my refuge from the looters and the hell they'd made of the world."

"As it was meant to be," Will Koch said. "We had a strict no-looters policy. Anyone who had accepted government funds for any reason was barred from admission. I refused to allow my water slide and the other attractions, the products of my intelligence and my dedication to reality, to serve the amusement needs of the parasites and moochers. But when the government told me I had to stop screening visitors and admit anyone with the money to pay - regardless of the source of that money - then I knew I would have to close the park. It was the hardest decision I've faced in my life. I'm honestly not sure I could have gone through with it on my own. But that night, as I sat alone on one of the giant lily pads long after the park had closed, out of nowhere he appeared." He nodded toward Galt, still seated behind the wheel of Midas Mulligan's roadster. "By the time he finished speaking to me, dawn was breaking ... and my decision didn't seem so hard anymore. I took a last walk through the Jungle Jim Maze and left that park and never looked back."

"But how can you stand it?" Dagny moaned. "Leaving it all behind?"

Will Koch smiled, a radiant smile of morning, the smile of a child awakening on a perfect summer day. "Oh, but I didn't, Miss Taggart. I brought it all with me. The plans, the blueprints, the marketing strategies, all of it." He tapped his forehead. "I carry them here. And now, here in this valley, I'm building a new Holiday Park and Splashin' Safari theme park, a recreation place for the men of the mind - and only for the men of the mind. It will be my gift to the producers of society, and my monument to them - a more lasting monument than anything I could have built in the looters' world. It's the proudest accomplishment of my life. Would you like to see it?"

"Yes, please, very much."

"It's right over there," he said, pointing to a small mud hole, three feet wide and six inches deep, ringed by disorderly piles of sapling branches.

"Oh." Dagny felt a brief plunge of disappointment. "It's a bit small, isn't it?"

"Well, what the hell do you expect? I'm a CEO, Miss Taggart. I've never worked with my hands in my life. I don't have a clue how to actually build anything. I got the job because I know how to schmooze the shareholders at the annual meeting. That's how all of us got our jobs. Besides, it would take a small army of construction workers to build an actual theme park, and we have no construction workers in Galt's Gulch. No sanitation workers, either - but that's another story. You don't really believe that a handful of disgruntled corporate executives could build a theme park, much less a whole community, without the proper equipment, training, or skills, do you? Only a small child would buy a crazy story like that."

"Yes," Dagny said, accepting the hard, bright logic of his words. "Yes, of course you're right."

Will Koch smiled. "So ... would you like to go for a dip?"

7 comments:

Damien said...

Michael Prescott,

Is this a joke or is this actually something from the novel?

Michael Prescott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Prescott said...

My ability to parody Rand's style is so uncanny, it leaves people wondering, "Is it Rand - or only an incredible simulation?"

It's a joke.

RottedOak said...

We should all know from reading news sources such as Dilbert that business executives are incompetent at doing anything other than schmoozing shareholders. They couldn't possibly redirect their intelligence and drive to any other type of task, not even one as simple as digging a swimming hole. In fact, they are probably well below average intelligence, and lazy as well. Yep, it is impossible that an executive could ever learn how to do anything for himself except sip champagne and exploit people.

That was your point, right?

Michael Prescott said...

That was your point, right?

Yes!

Moby said...

Part of the untold story of what will happen when Atlas (who never held the world on his shoulders) shrugs and the Earth falls with a dull thud onto the landscape empty of the witless worker bees who keep CEOs in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

Nice.

Dragonfly said...

Michael, it's amazing, you should do more of this kind of thing! What about a sequel to Atlas Shrugged?