The Wagon Pullers
(Or how I came to understand if there are no problems, there are no solutions)
The following is a true account of the end of modern civilization in California. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. That and the fact that the author does not wish to have the offending part detached from his body. The events occurred in the actual places cited. Read On.............................E62358X31
(X) = See Reference Note at end of account
It was Cinco de Mayo, 2025 when the thermometer finally pushed its tip above 50 degrees (10 degrees above zero Celsius if you were a member of the Consortium of Scientific Philosophy) and the ice broke free on the River of Happiness (formerly known as the Sacramento River). The members of the Consortium met in Manhole Number 31, Lift Station Number 4 of the now defunct City of Happiness (formerly Sacramento, California) sewage system for the Annual State of the Consortium Message. In the foothills 30 miles east, a few green blades of grass rose above the ground as the Wagon Pullers hooked their mule to a double shovel plow and began to break the soil of their cornfield for spring planting. It had been a long cold winter for the Wagon Pullers, but they were in good spirits. The children pulled away from the fire in the log barracks and piled out into the warmth of the sun to play in the fields as the adults began the process of providing food and warmth for the coming winter of 2026. Before the Czar of the Consortium of Scientific Philosophy could even call the meeting to order, Banes uttered the question that was on everyone's mind. “Where is Big Dick?”
“We will deal with that later, but for now let us discuss our achievements for the year,” replied the Czar. “But why do we have to call him Big Dick.” “Well his name is Richard.” “I understand the Dick part, but why the Big?” the Czar questioned. “Well he could be a big man, but he is 5'6” and slender, or he could be a disagreeable person, but he seems quite friendly. Or it could be because he has an unusually large male organ.” “Banes, you are a moron,” the Czar stated with more than a hint of disgust, or envy. One could not be for sure which.
“Anyhow,” said the Czar. “I have reviewed the past year and have prepared an analysis that shows a successful year in the advancement of Scientific Philosophy so we should congratulate ourselves on our achievements.” Much backslapping heard around the room. “Due to our excellent analysis of future needs and the fact that the stuff tastes like moldy alfalfa, our 10 year supply of soy byproduct stored in 2017 allows for two more years of food product.” “Achievement, Achievement. Yes, Achievement.” The chorus sounded. “The ban on any product that produces fire and therefore smoke, in order to reduce global warning, has resulted in our sewer system, mmm, I mean the Halls of the Consortium of Scientific Philosophy maintaining a constant temperature of 15 degrees (58 degrees F for the non advanced).” The Czar held down the cheers this time. “Twenty died and there were no births this past year, so the result is negative population growth, which of course means more food for us in the long term.” Wild cheers all around the room. “Our climatology report indicates that after the elimination of all cattle, Bovine Methane Flatulence (Cow Farts) being the chief cause of global warming, the average temperature in May in our area will be 32.2 degrees C (90 degrees F).” A nervous voice spoke from the back of the room. “Sir, Uhhh, Czar, with all due respect, the ice has not broken up on the River of Happiness until the first week of May in the last five years and the temperature at the end of May is generally in the high 15's C (58 degrees F for the unenlightened). Some believe that the Icelandic Volcanic eruptions have counteracted the results of global warming and in fact have prompted global cooling. Sort of Nature correcting Man's attempt to correct his past mistakes by using natural corrections.” Everyone in the room glared at the poor man. “Simpson, we all know that one of the founding principles of Scientific Philosophy is that Man, not Nature, controls the condition of our world. It is fortunate that we are in a celebratory mood today or the offending part might be detached from your body.” “Hear, Hear,” sounded around the room. Simpson sat down quietly. The Czar shook his head in disgust. “Jurnigan please give us a report on the scientific writers' progress on our new Manifesto, The Destruction of Modern Civilization by the Wagon Pullers.” “Well,” Jurnigan spoke with a pregnant pause, “the writers sit at their computers eight hours a day and type furiously. Unfortunately having no electricity means no computer screens. Still they type away furiously. We have provided all of them with pencil and paper, but they just look at us with a glazed expression.” The Czar sighed. “Please note to have all of the science writers attend a Consortium sponsored class in basic calligraphy.”
“O.K., on to Big Dick. Henderson, please give us a report on the whereabouts of Big Dick.” “Yes, that could be the reason we have not seen Big Dick. Big Dick had bolted a cover to the pipe leading to his manhole, but our wives continued to bang on the cover and yell. On to Big Dick,” Banes interjected. “Banes, you are a moron,” the Czar stated. One could tell this time that the only human emotion attached to the comment was envy. Henderson was a tall, pencil of a man; bookish, wearing black framed glasses with only one lens on the right eye. He kept his left eye perpetually closed to balance for the obtuse vision. There were no replacement spectacles to be had. “Hmmmm. I regret to say that Big Dick has gone over to the other side. He has joined the Wagon Pullers for good.” “Oh, for Christ's sake. Why?” demanded the Czar. “Well, we did fire him eight years ago,” Henderson replied. “Jesus, Jumpity Christ. I have stated the same thing over and over and over. Just because we fired the Wagon Pullers does not mean they should have stopped working,” the Czar stated emphatically. “Agree. Agree, Yes, Agree,” the chorus sounded throughout the eight member panel. “Why did we fire him?” Henderson questioned. “Do you not remember when the sky was falling in 2014.” “I am sorry sir, but I was very involved with my studies at the University of Scientific Philosophy. I was working on my thesis, A Scientific Philosopher's Guide to a Happy Life in the Nuclear Era.” The Czar glared at Henderson's one open eye. “In 2014, myself and my panel came to the conclusion that the sky was falling.” “Agree. Agree. Yes, Agree,” came the chorus again. The Czar, musing for a moment, wandered back to the meeting in 2014.
August 21 2014: Meeting of the Consortium of Scientific Philosophy
“After a considerable amount of philosophical thought and theoretical input from my staff, I have come to the conclusion that the sky is falling.” “Agree. Agree. Yes, Agree,” the chorus came from around the room. “But we could be wrong, Scientific Philosophy Czar. Why don't we ask Big Dick,” a dissident asked. “ Who is Big Dick, may I ask?” “A small, slender, homely man who has a lot of girlfriends,” the voice replied. “Agree. Agree. Yes, Agree,” came the chorus. “Is he a graduate of the University of Scientific Philosophy?” “No, he practices an archaic religion called Common Sense.” “Disagree, Disagree. Yes, Disagree,” came the chorus. “But Big Dick and E62358X31 (See Reference 1) have an alarming record of correctness. When Big Dick and E62358X31 apply their religion of Common Sense they are correct 96.9 percent of the time.” “I have already spoken with both of them,” an excited voice piped up. “They both said the same thing. The sky did not fall 100,000 years ago, or 10,000, or 1,000, or 100, or 10, or 1 year ago. There is almost no chance the sky will fall anytime soon.” “Hmmmm,” the Czar spoke as he rubbed his chin. “Still if their average is only 96.9 percent, that leaves a 3.1 percent chance that they could be wrong and we would be blamed for the sky falling.” “Agree, Agree. Yes, most definitely agree,” came the chorus. “I move that we use the RALLS (see Reference 3) to measure the sky daily and monitor it for movement so that we may state with one hundred percent accuracy that the sky is not falling. I also move that we assign the task to Big Dick and E62358X31, therefore if we say with 100 % accuracy that the sky is not falling, and it actually does then we have complete blame ability. Do Big Dick and E62358X31 have any experience with the equipment?” “ No, but this religion known as Common Sense allows them to have an uncanny ability to figure out most anything.” “What is so awful about this religion of Common Sense?” the Czar mused. “The professors at the University of Scientific Philosophy all agreed that it was cultish and got in the way of theoretical concepts. Ahh, I understand now,” the Czar spoke. “I move that we reconvene three years from now to discuss the results of Big Dick and E62358X31's study.” “Agree, Agree! Yes, Agree.” The chorus could have been an electronic recording.
August 21 2017: Meeting of the Consortium of Scientific Philosophy
“We have come together today to finalize the results of our three-year study to determine if the sky is actually falling,” stated the Scientific Philosophy Czar. “ Schmidt please read the conclusion report of Big Dick and E62358X31. Skip the details, the religion of Common Sense could obscure our ability to apply theoretical thinking.” Schmidt cleared his throat. “After a three-year study of RALLS measurements, applying common sense, and allowing for systematic and human error, we have concluded that there is a 100 percent chance that the sky will not fall anytime within our lifetime.” Signed, yours in service Big Dick and E62358X31.” “Well that should serve us well politically,” stated the Czar. A thin voice spoke up from the back. “I know an E in front of a being's number indicates that he or she was executed. Does anybody know what for?” Stensor, the group's legal counsel, spoke up. “Just a year ago, shortly after the second Icelandic volcanic eruption, E62358X31 and E2358X32 were found huddled around a fire in the park at the University of Scientific Philosophy in the City of Enlightenment (formerly Berkley, California). When the authorities approached them they stated that the recent volcanic eruptions had cooled the earth's atmosphere to the point that it needed warming up and they were just doing their part to help out. Since the new policy of Scientific Philosophy is to detach the offending part from the body, in the case of E62358X31 and E625358X32, the brain, we used a rather odd contraption invented years ago by a Frenchman named Mr. Guillotine.” The thin voice spoke again “Were there any words spoken before the brains were detached?” Stenson spoke again. “Yes, it was very odd. E625358X2 was a very irascible man. He had to be wheeled out to the guillotine in a wheel chair.” Was that because he was 78 years old.” “No, no. He was quite physically fit, but he insisted on wearing his uniform from the war to depose the Great Scientific Philosophy Martyr, Ho Chi Min, and the medals E625358X2 won during the battles weighted him down to the point he could not walk.” “ Hmmmm,” replied the Czar. “And on the way to the guillotine, he said, Fuck Hanoi Jane.” “This was a reference to the American actress and drinking buddy of Ho Chi Min, Jane Fonda.” “What happened to Hanoi, I mean Jane Fonda,” the Czar asked. “She passed away about 10 years ago from a newly discovered illness called Appreciation Starvation. I think this is something, Mmmmm, perhaps you should look into it, Czar.” “What are the symptoms of this disease?” the Czar inquired. “Well, it used to be when our canine friends chewed the furniture, you know when we lived in houses and not a sewer, we would spank the dog and say bad dog. Then Scientific Philosophy Animal Doctors told us the dog was not bad at all, it was suffering from Separation Anxiety and we should give the dog a bone. When a person who is used to adulation suddenly becomes irrelevant, they begin to chew everything in sight to the point they eliminate food intake and of course die.” “I see,” the Czar noted. “The oddest part was both E62358X31 and E625358X32 said almost in unison as the axe began to fall. We are not the crazy ones.” “Hmmm. Interesting story,” remarked the Czar. “But back to the matter at hand. Immediately send out our notice that we have determined with 100 percent accuracy that the sky will not fall anytime soon. However, Big Dick and E62358X31 reported with 96.9 accuracy 3 years ago that the sky was not falling and then continued for three years a study to determine that the sky was not falling when any reasonable person could ascertain three years ago that that was the case. Please send termination notices to Big Dick and E62358X31's widow and prepare a press release that we have saved the taxpayer a considerable amount of money by firing two individuals involved in a conspiracy to waste the taxpayer's money by doing unnecessary studies.” “Agree. Agree. Yes, Agree,” came the chorus from all around the room.
Back to Cinco de Mayo, 2025 in Manhole Number 31, Lift Station Number 4:
“O.K. the last issue is the progress or lack thereof of the Wagon Pullers.” The Czar seemed weary. “Jurnigan, I believe you have some information on this matter.” “Well, uhh, yes sir. The last report we have is Big Dick's journal from his reconnaissance to the Wagon Pullers' campsite in January of this year.” “Go ahead and read it,” said the Czar.
Jurnigan began to read.
January 17, 2025: In camp near the Lake That Gives the Nectar of Life (formerly Folsom Lake) about 20 miles east of the City of Happiness (formerly Sacramento, California). A warmish winter day, sunny with a temperature of 15 degrees (5 degrees F) snow approximately 1 meter deep. Tomorrow we will hike 4 kilometers northeast by the compass to the Wagon Pullers' camp and spend a three-day reconnaissance of the people who live there.
January 21, 2025: Returned to the campsite near the Lake That Gives the Nectar of Life after spending three days with the Wagon Pullers. Weather, bitter, snow flurries, -35 degrees (-10 F). Wind speed from the North 40 km ( 25 miles per hour). The Wagon Pullers have built a stockade approximately 300 meters (984 feet) by 300 meters (984 feet). They greeted me with hellos and welcomes as I approached the gate. Inside the stockade there are approximately 100 small log structures and a pen for a herd of approximately 50 head of cattle. I later learned that during the mass cattle extermination to reduce global warming caused by Cow Farts, I mean Bovine Methane Flatulence, the Wagon Pullers hid a breeding pair in the mountains. From these two, their current herd of domestic stock has risen. The human population consists of approximately 200 adults almost equally divided between men and women ranging in age from 20 to 60, and about 150 children. All of the people have a ruddy, healthy complexion resulting from exposure to the outdoors. The men are slender but well muscled in the upper torso and legs from physical activity. The women are well formed with wide hips and pelvic area conducive to childbirth. The children are healthy, seem happy and playful and attend a log school built in the Northeast corner of the stockade. The children are given a fundamental but very thorough education. The Wagon Pullers call it the 3 R's. Reading, Riting and Rithmatic. There are absolutely no Osophys or Pologys taught (Philosophy, Anthropology, etc.) All of the inhabitants appear to be well nourished, subsisting on a diet of beef and milk from the cattle, a rudimentary bread made from the meal of corn grown in an adjacent field, as well as wild and domestic fruits and vegetables preserved by a method known as canning, a method of preservation invented by a member of the army of the Great Scientific Philosophy Martyr known as Napoleon. The women make clothes for the entire population from the skin of the Bambi Creature (deer) and their bedding comes from the skin of the creature known as Our Friend the Bear. One of the results of Nature's global cooling, uhhh, I mean the manipulation of the atmosphere by the Consortium of Scientific Philosophers is that the type of Our Friend the Bear known as Grizzly and Polar have moved south out of the Polar regions to find a more temperate climate. In the evening the Wagon Pullers gather in a community building for socialization. They read, tell stories and jokes and dance to music made from archaic acoustic instruments. Overall the people seem to be polite, friendly and organized. Both men and women are involved in raising the children and the people seem to revel in doing simple tasks for each other. On my last day as I prepared to depart, the women gave me a sack of food consisting of beef and vegetables and candies made from the nectar of bees. They call this a care package. The men presented me with a walking stick carved ornately from a wood they referred to as Cedar. The children hugged my legs, not wishing me to leave. I was invited back for what they referred to as Mid Summer Night Festival. Apparently the Wagon Pullers celebrate the Summer Solstice. A sight not seen by the Consortium in 10 years. It is odd, but I left with a rather heavy heart as I trudged through the snow and bitter cold back to my camp.
Signed, Yours in Service, Big Dick.
Simpson stood up, his voice shaking with rage, “I don't care what any of you say, I have sat here for eight years and listened to this bullshit. You are nothing but a bunch of fucking idiots. If we would get off our asses, climb out of this goddamn sewer and go to work, we could also work the land like the Wagon Pullers. We could have something besides rotten grass to eat, we could build a warm fire, feel the sun again, our women would start menstruating again, the men could get their erections back and we could reproduce. We would have children to laugh at and entertain us again. We would build our muscles to the point we could walk more than a hundred feet. We would not have to sit around and tell ourselves that living in a sewer is a good thing, that all of our problems are the result of someone else's mistakes. We could be men again for Christ's sake.” Simpson wound down exhausted. The Czar leaned back patiently in his chair. “Simpson, there are those that pull the wagon and those that ride on the wagon. Scientific Philosophers ride on the wagon. They do not pull the wagon. I will repeat, we do not pull the wagon!” The Czar slammed his fist on the table. “Consortium Bailiffs please take Simpson away and remove the offending part. Give his widow a pension. It is the least we can do for his past service. Meeting adjourned.” The Czar walked away with Stinson. “I wonder if we could get someone to take us up to the Wagon Pullers' camp. We could eat a hunk of dead bovine and warm ourselves by the fire.” “Why would the Wagon Pullers be kind to us after what we did to them.” “Because they are Wagon Pullers,” the Czar replied. “Hmmmm, I don't know Czar. The last entry in Big Dick's journal said and I quote, 'The evolutionary process has begun again.'” “Remember, my friend, every picture tells a story and the story usually has nothing to do with the picture,” the Czar smiled wryly.
(1) Every name of a member of the Wagon Pullers who were executed for dissident beliefs has been stricken from the official records. A thorough search of the remaining records ( See Reference 2) could not turn up E62358X31's original name.
(2) Three cardboard boxes of papers stored in the janitorial closet of the Lift Station Number 4. (There was a reference to a certain Pastor of a Church called the Church of the Parasitic Cells in the Giant Living Organism. Many believe that E62358X31 and this Pastor were in fact the same person. Members of this church believed the day of reckoning would come when they would be farted out of the bowels of the giant living organism. Commonly known as the Big Bang Theory.)
(3) Radioactive Laser Light Sensor
E62358X31 8/11/2025 The offending part was not detached from my body in 2016, but that is another story for another day.
© Kevin D. Burgess