By Michael A. Kechula
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Dr. Dumont to the thirty military observers in the research pavilion, “thank you for coming today. What you are about to see will radically transform life as we know it. This includes how we wage war. Let’s begin the demonstration.”
Spotlights focused on a human form covered by a sheet.
“What we have here is a zombie unlike any we’ve ever seen before. This one is so different it boggles the mind. Though it is a horrendous threat to human life, it has peculiar properties that can benefit mankind in ways that exceed our wildest dreams."
While the observers digested Dumont’s profound paradoxical statement, he lowered the sheet to expose the zombie’s shoulders and upper arms.
“What’s that silver-colored material wrapped around its upper arms and shoulder?” a general asked.
Some observers snickered.
“Notice what happens when I remove the tape,” said Dumont, as he grabbed one end and yanked it loose.
Loud murmurs rose when the zombie’s arms fell off.
“Believe me, I was just as surprised when I discovered this unusual invention. This monster grabbed its victims, tore their heads off, and pounded skulls with its fist to get at their brains. And yet, there isn’t a single muscle, bone, or nerve connection between its shoulders and arms.”
“Dr. Dumont, would you pass the tape around so we can examine it?” asked an admiral.
“Please bear with me a bit longer, and then my assistants will provide you with samples.”
Dumont lowered the sheet further to expose the zombie’s legs. More duct tape was wrapped around the area where legs were joined to the trunk. Once again, he pulled on the tape.
The observers were amazed when the zombie’s legs fell off.
“This thing prowled the jungles with nothing more than duct tape connecting its legs to its torso. What we have before us is the strongest duct tape in the universe. With this incredible tape, we’ll be able to change the world. Bridge structures could be a thousand times lighter and stronger if held together with nothing more than this tape. Steel girders in skyscrapers would no longer have to be bolted together with steel rivets if we bind them with this tape.”
“Our tanks could be made more cheaply,” said a colonel wearing insignia of an Armored Division.
“And our planes could be produced faster at far less cost,” said an Air Force general.
“This tape has uncountable uses,” Dumont said. “It can be used to cover wounds to stop bleeding. Thus, soldiers will no longer be incapacitated when wounded. This will allow them to fight on until they are killed. Imagine the tactical implications.”
“It’s a shame we can’t make this edible,” an observer said. “We could save billions. No more spoilage. No more refrigerated warehouses. No more food distribution logistical nightmares. No more need to provide vegetables, meat, poultry.”
“Exactly,” Dr. Dumont said. “I'm pleased to tell you we’ve synthesized this tape and produced an edible version. My assistants will now pass out samples. Each of you will receive a single, one-inch square of edible duct tape.”
“Why is mine green, when I see others with red, orange, and blue samples?” a colonel asked.
“We added colors to create a sense of variety. We all know how the stomach reacts when we eat the same thing, meal after meal, day after day. Actually, these duct tape morsels come in 120 distinct colors and 1,200 different flavors. We made arrangements with the Crayola Crayon Corporation to imitate colors selected as their favorites by the nation’s children. Now, please eat your samples. You’ll find some quite chewy, while others are so tender, they’ll melt in your mouth.”
Appreciative sounds came from the observers the moment they placed the duct tape into their mouths. One female officer accidentally burped loudly, when she proclaimed how delicious her purple morsel was.
“Mine tastes like pumpkin pie,” somebody said.
“Mine tastes like a bagel with cream cheese.”
“The blue one I have tastes like mashed potatoes and gravy.”
A startled general said, “Mine tastes like a hot dog with mustard, onions, and sauerkraut.”
The observers applauded enthusiastically. Some shouted, “Bravo.”
“Notice how full you feel," said Dumont. “This feeling will last for 24 hours. Thus, your troops will only have to eat once a day. What’s more, storage problems will be totally eliminated, because these duct tape morsels can adhere to helmets, shoes, rifle stocks, ammunition—to name a few. And to top it off, we’ve been able to produce these samples at a cost of 1 cent per thousand.”
“Miraculous,” somebody said.
“There’s more. We’re working on a version that will replace liquids. We hope to have this perfected within the next six months. We’ll have duct tape morsels that taste like home made lemonade, chocolate milk, coffee, Ovaltine, and so on. What’s more, we’ll be able to cut the size of the morsels in half.”
The observers could barely contain themselves.
“I’ll order a billion food units right now,” said a four-star general. “Food this good will attract untold numbers of volunteers.”
“If you can make a version to replace toilet tissue, I’d order ten million rolls immediately for my aircraft carriers,” said an admiral.
Other officers expressed their desire to place orders for any version of the duct tape that Dumont’s institute might devise.
One officer asked, “What is this tape made of?”
“One of our most plentiful resources,” Dumont said. “Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to give details. But I assure you, the raw materials are extremely plentiful.”
As the observers shook Dumont’s hand, tons of cemetery remains were being exhumed and loaded onto boxcars for shipment to his laboratory.
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Michael A. Kechula’s fiction has been published by 128 magazines and 35 anthologies in 6 countries. He’s authored 3 books: “A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales,” “The Area 51 Option and 70 More Speculative Fiction Tales,” and “I Never Kissed Judy Garland and Other Tales of Romance.” eBook versions available at www.BooksForABuck.com and www.fictionwise.com Paperbacks available at www.amazon.com.
Labels: Michael A. Kechula