The climate scientist looked at me with eyes as grey as an overcast day. "We've been over this," he said, patiently. "We simply can't have you saying the ... things we've been hearing lately."
"I'll never stop!" I shouted. I swung my fist at him, but was hampered by being tied to a chair.
Grey-eyes sighed. He turned his chair around, sat facing me. "You've been writing ... how shall we put it. Certain ... " "Inconvenient truths?" I interrupted sardonically. "Inconvenient, yes ..." said Grey-eyes. He nodded to his friend, who began heating a test-tube over his Bunsen. I winced. It had been 24 hours, and I was already covered in test-tube burns. Before that had come the crucible tongs, the painful pipette insertions. These climate scientists knew their cruel craft well.
"Please," I said. I was broken. I couldn't take any more. "I'm just a writer of newspaper columns in which I express my meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect. Tell me what to write."
"First, tell us how you know," Grey-eyes demurred.
"You've been reading Right-wing blogs, haven't you!" Grey-eyes screamed, in a sudden rage. "You've been on YouTube, watching that pestilential Lord Monkton! You enjoy Fox News! You vote ACT!"
"Fine! I admit it!" I shouted back at him. "I do all those things!"
"But that's not all" said Grey-eyes, calm now. "Where did you find the ... the document? You know the one I mean."
I looked down at the floor.
"The Protocols ... of the Learned Scientists of Climate," I said quietly.
"Where did you find them?"
"They're posted on every single Right-wing blog," I said defiantly. "They're sometimes a bit badly spelt, but they're there."
"Tell me," commanded Grey-eyes.
"It tells the truth about climate scientists." I said, my voice growing stronger. "It tells how you banded together out of greed for ever greater government funding. How you perpetrated the lie that the world's most beneficial gas, carbon dioxide, warms the planet. How you have attacked innocent, defenceless oil and mining and energy companies. How you've convinced the world that climate change can somehow be forced by human activity. And how the liberal media is completely complicit in your evil conspiracy!"
"We know this," Grey-eyes said. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see his friend holding the test-tube over the Bunsen burner. It was glowing with heat. "We want to know if you know what we have planned next."
"A terrible future," I said. "You're planning a world run on renewable energy, with massive reductions in carbon emissions. Oil and coal companies will go bankrupt, their poor CEOs begging in the street. Electric cars and public transport. You want dairy farmers to give up their God-given right to farting cattle that contribute beneficial manure to waterways. Motorsport will become anachronistic. People will be encouraged to keep vegetable gardens instead of popping down to the supermarket to buy chips." I was shaking with rage.
"Yes," said the grey-eyed scientist. "You're right. And what do you know that proves inconvenient to our vision?"
"I know the truth." I said. "Well, lots of truths, actually. The first truth, that climate change isn't actually occurring – the earth is, in fact, cooling. And the second truth, that climate change is occurring, but it's a completely natural and entirely beneficial process with nothing to do with humans having burned millions of years of fossil fuels in a geological nanosecond. And the third truth, which is that – well yes, humans are changing the climate, but it's all a bit late to worry now and we may as well get on with things as we always have, because economic growth is the only important thing and anyway there's plenty more oil in the tar sands and if we screw things up here we can move to Mars."
Grey-eyes turned to his friend. "He knows all the truths."
"All the truths," echoed his friend, dully. He advanced on me with the red-hot test tube. I writhed, but my bonds held.
Suddenly the door burst open. Men in black body armour, wielding massive guns, tackled the two climate scientists. Grey-eyes screamed as he fell. Behind the mercenaries came my rescuers – Gina Rinehart, the Australian mining magnate, and Lord Monkton, and Rupert Murdoch, and Ian Plimer, the world's greatest climate change sceptic.
Even Rodney Hide was there. I wept to see them.
They hauled the climate scientists through a back door. First came screaming, then shots, then silence.
Joshua Drummond is a Hamilton freelance writer who has watched too many action films.
- Waikato Times