Illuminati: A Short Story

For John.

It happened this way.

I was wandering around in a hotel on a Monday evening looking for the meeting room for the drug company I work for. It was one of those meetings that you go to because you have to go to them, and all of a sudden I saw a sign with the word Illuminati on it. I was instantly curious, because I’d had a conversation with a friend of mine named Toby a few nights ago where he tried to convince me that they were real but I told him he was crazy so it was pretty weird seeing a sign for an Illuminati meeting. I figured “what the heck?” and decided to skip my meeting. If this was the real deal it would be worth it – well, more worth it than going to some boring drug company meeting. I followed the signs.

The meeting was on the ninth of the ten floors. I poked my head in through the thick oak door. There were about ten, maybe twenty people there, all in suits except for a fifteen-year-old kid who looked a lot like Dustin Believer, that kid rock star. He was in distressed black jeans.

“Can I come in?” I asked. A round of “Sure”‘s welcomed me.

“Sit down,” said an older thick-set guy with blond hair. “I’m Jon. Welcome to the Illuminati. What’s your name, kid?”

“Davis,” I told him. He looked an awful lot like Jonathan Stump, but he was way more relaxed.

“We’re waiting on one more,” said the Stump lookalike. “Where is that little devil? He’s always late.”

I thought it was weird and maybe a little rude of Stump 2 to call the missing visitor a devil, but when he came in, I understood why. The fellow had on some goofy black makeup and a tail costume, and a pair of prosthetic horns sticking out of his head. “Over here, Devy,” said some female rock star I could’ve sworn I’d seen performing in the superbowl last year. She was two seats away, and the little devil sat down between us.

“Jack,” said the distressed guy with the horns.

“Davis,” I said, extending a hand.

“Nah, you don’t wanna be seen shaking hands with the devil. They’ll think you’re one of us.”

“Who is us, anyway?” I asked. “I didn’t think the Illuminati existed. I thought they were just some conspiracy theory.”

“Eh,” said the female rock star, whom I’d finally recognized as Keyonce. “There’s a little truth in every conspiracy theory. Fill him in, Jon.”

I realized that it really was Jonathan Stump. My palms got sweaty, so I stuck them under the table. Stump didn’t have the forceful presence that he did on TV when he told people “You’re Canned!™” He was more friendly.

“It gets lonely being rich and famous,” said Stump. “Everybody you talk to wants a job or money or whatever, and it’s hard to make any real friends. Up here, our rule is not to ask for anything. It’s a nice gig. Sometimes we share secrets for making money and crap, but mostly we’ve figured out the rules of the world. It’s not 8 simple rules, or twenty-seven, or however many Tom Cladwell thinks there are. It’s more like Poker or Euchre than Uno. People assume that we’re cheating. They just don’t understand the rules.

Keyonce interrupted. “That’s not the only thing. Sometimes we just have better help. For example, I made a deal with the devil here. He gives me voice lessons, I go out with him once a month.” Jack squirmed shyly.

“Can I ask another question?” I said, feeling bolder. “If you guys are such a top-secret organization, why all the publicity? I mean, Keyonce, really? I saw your superbowl show, and you were all devil-worshipping and putting out Illuminati signs everywhere.”

She laughed. “It makes people go crazy.”

“Yeah,” Jack pitched in. “When my dad sees Keyonce on TV, I kind of hope it makes him proud of me because I’m secretly her vocal teacher. I majored in vocals at Bennet James University.” He saw the weird look I gave him. “My dad isn’t Satan. He’s Jake Datsun. He has some big TV show about families, but I think he hates me because I’m gay.”

“And playing the devil?” I couldn’t resist adding.

“Nah. I don’t think he really cares. I’m trying to get him to notice me. I have been since I was six. No, seven. Or was it…”

“It’s fine, Jake,” said Keyonce.

“Wait, if you’re gay…” I started.

“Sometimes it’s nice to go out in public with a friend and not get completely laughed at. Besides, Keyonce’s parents wanted her to marry a nice missionary to the Bahamas, so it bangs up her reputation with them.”

Jonathan Stump interjected. “We don’t all have family problems, Davis. Some of us are very well adjusted.”

“Save your advice, Jon,” said Keyonce.

“Soooo who wants to play poker?” asked a man with a gold necklace. He looked familiar. I thought I’d seen him on some Christian television channel selling prayer napkins.

“Let’s make it Euchre tonight, eh Benny?” Dustin Believer suggested. He was overruled, and a wild game of poker ensued. They used chips instead of money, because this meeting wasn’t about money. I was doing pretty well until I went all in on a straight flush. I thought Stump was bluffing, but he had a royal flush, and I was out. Jack won, eventually – on a two-pair.

The room began to empty out, with “Good night’s” and “See you next week’s” all around. Jack reminded Keyonce and Dustin not to miss their voice lessons, and Jonathan Stump reminded everyone to try to come to the softball league. “We’re playing the European chapter on Thursday night,” he said.

And that was how I met the Illuminati. Nice folks, mostly. I showed up the next week out of curiosity, but there wasn’t a meeting. I figured they move around from town to town, depending on who can come when. Nobody plays poker like that little devil. I bought a Keyonce album, and it turns out Jack taught her how to sing really well. Maybe one day his dad really will be proud of him. Or maybe one day he won’t need it as much. Who knows.

I tried telling my friend Toby that the Illuminati was a real organization and that they played Poker sometimes on Monday nights at random hotels, and that I’d been to one of their meetings, but he didn’t believe me.

This story is a work of fiction. It is not intended to imply anything about the persons who may have been parodied. Only the names and professions have been parodied. Similarities to real events and situations are purely coincidental. Or are they?

About David M. Schell






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