Chaz glanced out the window of the bus as it slowly crept down the street. None of the people were right, they were all too stained. He wanted someone innocent, someone virginal. He wanted a star. He needed a star. His eyes wandered from face to face, taking in their traits as he silently rejected them. Too old, too tall; too young, too small; too fat, too skinny. No one fit. No one would work. He needed perfection.
Chaz sighed, letting his shoulders droop as he exhaled. The selection was taking much longer than his research had suggested it would. He glanced back out the window in dejection. He had almost lost himself in thoughts of failure when his eyes screamed for his brain to focus. He had spotted the species he needed, genetically perfect as far as he could tell. He was tall, about 6’0”, and well dressed. The man was wearing a fine, black suit with a red tie and white button-down shirt. An American flag was pinned to his lapel. His shoes glimmered in the sun, clearly a point of pride for the specimen. His stride was mighty and his posture near perfect, evidence of years of adaptation stemming from previous generations. Chaz guessed he was around 65-years-old, yet his hair still had color to it. Several men in black suits followed closely behind him. He was a pack leader, an alpha dog.
“Pull over!” Chaz yelled to the driver, realizing they were slowly passing the man. The bus came to a stop. Chaz pulled open the door. “Hey, you. In the suit.” The man stopped and looked down at his clothes.
“Me?” he asked, looking up at Chaz.
“Yes, can I talk to you for a minute?”
The man stopped and eyed Chaz up and down, as if he were weighing the risks. He shrugged his shoulders and slowly walked over to the door.
“Yes?” he asked.
“This is going to sound crazy, but how would you like to make $200?” Chaz asked.
“I just need you to get in my bus and we’ll do a little study for a book I’m writing and a website I run. That’s it. You can call it volunteer scientific research. You can leave at any time.”
The man stood in front of Chaz. He was ideal; his chest was strong and supple, his eyes a crystal blue, and his lips the perfect hue of pink.
“Well, I do need some cash for the bars later. We’re going out for my gal-pal Christi’s birthday. What kind of study?”
“Just a quick look into your family history. Nothing too revealing, I promise. You’ll feel right at home.”
The man turned and glanced at the men in suits behind him. They shook their heads no.
“Heh, these guys are very protective. I’m risk taker, though, you know? I like risks. I’ll do it.”
Chaz smiled and reached his hand out to the man. He grasped it. Chaz gave a slight tug to help him onto the bus while moving over one seat. The man leaned forward to avoid hitting his head, then sat. He waved to the men in suits as the door shut. The bus lurched into motion.
“I’m Chaz by the way. Chaz Darwin.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m George, but my friends call me W.”
“W. Great name. Love it. Why don’t you get a little more comfortable while you’re in here?” Chaz took off his shoes and lay them on the floor in front of him. The van was very spacious, almost deceptively so. The middle row of seats had been removed, leaving an opening just wide enough for a full-grown man or two to lay down. Bed sheets were strewn on the floor, stained and hardened with unknown substances. The ceiling was covered in writing from past guests. The driver sat in the front of the vehicle, silent and focused; a camera rested on the headrest behind him, but was not on.
“This is the Bangin’ Origins Bus. I use it to study evolution and get close to various species.”
“Wow,” said W. with a giggle, “that sounds really smart.”
“So, did you want to get more comfortable before we start this questionnaire?” Chaz smiled.
“I don’t know,” said W.
“I just want to tell you that it was only natural that I selected you. You’re perfect. So beautiful. So strong.” Chaz ran the back of his hand along W.’s cheek.
“Thanks,” he replied softly, a timid smile spreading across his lips.
“Why don’t we get that pin off?” Chaz asked, leaning in toward W’s chest.
“Old glory? Well, I guess so.” W. paused. “Are you from around here?” Chaz was already unbuttoning the lapel with his teeth.
“You could say that,” Chaz replied. The lapel pin was now in his hand. W. raised his hand to cover the empty spot it left.
“I don’t know about this,” W. said. “I’ve never done this before.”
“Relax, I promise this will be amazing. We’re going to talk about your history in such detail, we’ll go so deep. Right to your roots. Those thick, thick roots. And you’ll be making $200. Imagine how many drinks you can get with that.”
W. smiled and lowered his hands, revealing a slightly pale space on the lapel of his suit jacket.
“Don’t you feel better now?” Chaz asked.
“Yeah, I do,” W. said.
“Are you married?” Chaz asked, placing his hand on W.’s thigh.
“To the job, you could say.” W. laughed.
“What do you do?”
“I’m the former President of the United States. It’s over in D.C., the big white building. We do a lot of government work.”
“Sounds pretty hard,” Chaz said, looking directly into W.’s eyes. He moved his hand on his thigh slightly.
“Yeah, but it has its benefits. I get to take a lot of time off. I have a ranch I like to go to.”
“Sounds beautiful. What was your father like?”
“You know, just like most dads. He was also the President of the United States, so I didn’t see him too much. We’d fight a lot. Different views on foreign policy.”
“Daddy issues? I see,” Chaz said, flicking W.’s earlobe. “Is the job he did hard?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty hard.”
“Really hard, only a few people in the world could do it.”
“Oh yeah, that’s hard. So hard. Does he also have a great head of hair?” Chaz ran his fingers through W.’s hair.
“Yeah,” W.’ replied. “He has great hair. So did my grandfather.”
“Baby, you got some great genetics. Homologous structures. Fantastic.”
“Yeah,” W. said. “Homo logging structures. We have a lot of logs at the ranch, but no homos.”
Chaz laughed. “You’re so perfect. You were clearly intelligently designed. Have you ever recorded yourself?”
“What do you mean? Like be on TV or video? Yeah, a few times. I give a lot of speeches and they’re pretty well televised. I’ve also been in a few movies and stuff. I was on an aircraft carrier once, too.”
“Nice, public speaking abilities are so sexy. That’s so hot. Hey, since you’re so comfortable, I’m going to turn this camera on over here. Okay?”
“Sure,” W. said, “I guess.” He shifted in his seat slightly.
Chaz leaned forward, allowing his pants to sag as he turned on the camera behind the driver’s seat headrest. He wasn’t wearing underwear.
“I’m working on an act that will allow patriots to record people using cameras like you have there” W. said. “Phones and stuff too.”
“That’s so great.” Chaz sat back and placed his hand higher on W.’s thigh. “Where did you say you’re from?”
“Texas,” W. replied. “I’ve been to Iraq before. I defeated Saddam Hussein.”
“You’re so brave, and you come from a tough habitat. Very hot there. Are you hot right now? You can take off your jacket if you want.”
W. smiled and took off his jacket. “This is exciting.”
“Tell me about your ancestors. I want to know everything about you; I want to know about your adaptions, your divergences, everything,” Chaz said, leaning toward W.
“I want you to be my Katrina,” W. said, closing his eyes and leaning forward.