The Last Orgy (first published in The Fort, March 23, 1979)

There were many theories as to how mankind would finally rid himself of himself. Some saw it as happening very quickly: a nuclear holocaust, or a final provoking of God into one last and final Flood with no Noah floating on top of the waters in his ark. Others saw it as happening quite slowly: the eventual conversion of all air into unbreathable smog, or the gradual propagation of some fatal disease like dysentery or British rock stars. Well, as it turned out, neither side of the controversy had it completely correct, for the way man finally did in fact do himself in came about in such a manner that each view had its truths and its falsities.

One day it was suddenly realized worldwide that there were no more babies being born. None. Zero. Nil. There were no more pregnant mothers in the hospitals. There were no more proud fathers handing out cigars. Birth certificates had become a thing of the past. Obstetricians found themselves panhandling on street corners with the winos. What possibly could have happened? More importantly, what could be done?

Everyone set to work on the problem. Scientists, metaphysicians, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, preachers, and even daydreamers were, however, at a total loss to know anything at all about the situation–other than, or course, the obvious fact that, "We’ve finally done it to ourselves this time!" Women were neither conceiving nor carrying (embryo implantation was tried, but didn’t work). Science and medicine proved worthless in the face of this totally unanticipated catastrophe. Mankind had as long to live as its youngest members could hold out. Slow death.

It’s true that much scientific research recently had been focusing on creating babies in artificial wombs, but so far the smartest and least-deformed kid they had been able to come up with couldn’t even tie his shoelaces. No, there was not much hope to be found in this area.

Scapegoats were found. As in all crises, the media bombarded the politicians. Throughout the day and night the television presented special reports on why ambassador or premier or congressman or king or chairman or sultan so-and-so had to be the culprit. Headlines of every morning and evening newspaper around the world inevitably were concerned with the "Who Done It?" rather than the "What Can We Do About It?"

But this was good in a way, because, for the first time, the Russian and American politicians didn't throw food at each other during International Conference Dinners. Instead, Russian, American, German, French, English, Chinese, and all other political leaders were brought together in an attempt to answer that question which the media was ignoring in its attempt to find someone to blame: What can we do about this? (How can we, the politicians debated, clear our good names? How can we still stay in office come next election? How can we keep from losing all our power in a worldwide revolution? How can we–this question lastly–help preserve mankind and be responsible to the people, whom we represent?)

They puzzled over several answers to these questions. This was done at the historic All Politician Conference at Little America, South Pole. (Here they were safe from the constant ridicule they had been receiving.) One answer, proposed by the skeptical Frank Tool of Australia, was to push all the buttons right now and just get it over with. At least, he reasoned, in blowing up the entire world we won’t lose our power to anyone. The suggestion was left open to further consideration and the meeting moved on to another possible solution.

It was: talk shows on television. Make ourselves available to the people, the politicians ruminated, then they’ll see how good and honest we really are. It was objected by some, though, that this would do nothing for the real problem at hand–no babies. "Irrelevant," came the reply, and the suggestion wasn’t shelved.

The third solution they came up with was the one that stuck. They arrived at it in a manner something like this:

Since the scientists and medical people have no idea what’s going on, and since we are under attack daily, our power threatened and our reputations sullied, and since pushing all the buttons will, after all, kill us too, let’s try something new for a change; let’s show the people that something new can come out of government. Let’s satisfy the bastards with a worldwide orgy! And who knows, maybe under those conditions, women will start conceiving and carrying again . . .

The media was hostile toward this "solution." They pointed out that the politicians were only trying to "opiate the masses" with this new scheme that could only encourage immorality and disease. They asked, "What has become of the world if all we think about at a time like this is sex?"

But the masses weren’t listening. They thought it was the greatest idea they had ever heard of. The politicians were saved.

Once it was established that this solution was indeed going to be tried and some of the particulars had been worked out, the only thing the media now could find to complain about was the location. Nebraska (all of it) was the place the politicians had chosen. But the media wanted either Florida or Tahiti. Editors, columnists, critics, reporters, Dear Abby, and even typesetters all supported this. How is anyone supposed to get it up in Nebraska, they argued. Why pick a big cornfield instead of a swinging place like Florida or Tahiti?

Well, in the end, the place was Florida. The politicians categorically refused to go to Tahiti because many of them had been there recently on vacations. (The politicians had decided to take part in the actual orgy along with everyone else because this provided a fine substitute for the talk shows.)

. . . . .

So, planes, helicopters, cars, buses, trains, and boats; Africans, Chinese, Russians, Indians, South Americans, Australians, everything and everyone headed for Florida. The turnout for the Last Orgy was incredible. Even a few half-starved Indonesians made it, somehow. Florida proved to be much too small a place for everyone to stay, and soon Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas were all filled up too.

The Americans performed wonderfully. No one who came was without a place to stay and food to eat. Every foreigner was well taken care of. Right when he disembarked from the plane or boat or whatever by which he had come, he immediately was greeted by smiling and cheerful Americans ready to help in all and any ways. The foreigner could choose the plan that best fit his needs (and his budget). There was the deluxe "high class orgier" treatment, or the more moderate "get away and to the or-jay" plan, and the "stay as you may because you’ll hardly have to pay" cut-rate special. Whatever the foreigner had in his wallet could be well spent.

The actual orgy scene was a gigantic field cleared by bulldozers to the northeast of Tampa. The orgy was to last a whopping 60 days. American know-how produced a highly efficient transportation system to get all the orgy-goers to and from the site in the most perfectly organized manner: it was done by means of the Orgy Expresses–buses (school buses, city buses, Army and Navy and Air Force buses). The interstate highway system in the South was closed to all vehicles except the Orgy Expresses and trucks carrying needed supplies.

It should also be mentioned at this point that the Cubans were prudes. None of Cuba’s citizens went to the orgy, and the government refused to let any orgiers stay in their country. Their military boats were on constant patrol–"See an immoral orgying foreigner, then shoot to kill" was their motto. The reasons for this behavior are a bit obscured now, but they seem to have had something to do with the fact that the Cubans had really wanted very badly to have the orgy in their own country.

The whole thing was televised throughout the world. This was done primarily in the attempt to get everyone not attending the actual orgy itself to join in at home. The Olympics, which always had been televised, couldn’t even begin to compare to the scope, enthusiasm about (except for the Cubans), diversity of, and pulling off of this great event. It, in fact, made the Woodstock Music Festival look like a mere Boy Scout Outing.

The day the last orgy opened was bright and sunny. A beautiful Florida morning. Fresh sod had been put down onto the field and a very tall fence had been constructed around it. Along this fence billboards had been hung advertising such diverse products as blenders and toothbushes and beer. Also, a very large platform had been erected in the middle of the field, from which the T.V. cameras covered the proceedings, from which long microphones were hung out over the field, from which the typists for the newspapers typed, from which the directors of the orgy directed, from which, in a word, the whole operation was coordinated.

There was only one place by which the field could be entered–a large gate. The guards at the gate let in about 3,000 initial orgiers; more were to follow as soon as the proceedings got underway. Japanese, Italian, Polish, American, Arab, Eskimo–many different nationalities stood out there in that field, naked, staring at each other, embarrassed and wondering what the hell was going on.

Marie Peachbody and Larry Laygood, head directors of the orgy, walked out to the north edge of the platform. The T.V. cameras scurried after them and some microphones scurried after the T.V. cameras. The orgiers stared up at Marie and Larry. Marie and Larry, both also naked, waved and smiled at the orgiers.

Ms. Peachbody spoke first. "Wecome to the Wonderful Worldwide Orgy! We’re going to try and get ourselves some babies!"

The orgiers cheered.

"Yes! Babies! That’s right! Mankind must not die," Ms. Peachbody shouted. "Man is immortal! Woman too! We will continue on and on! Hear me, world? On and on. Man is the greatest and most perfect being ever to exist. Ultimately he will spread out and conquer the entire universe! Nothing can stop him! Nothing! And–"

"Thank you, Marie," Larry Laygood said, taking over. "Well said. And thank you all for showing up. It’s easy enough to see that mankind does indeed still feel responsible to mankind. I’m happy for this, and you all should be too. I won’t stand here and dwell on the importance of this event, for I’m sure you all realize how important it is. But it can be enjoyed too. And in order that we all can truly enjoy it, we must all play by the rules. They are: No fighting, no biting. The referees will be strictly enforcing them. Otherwise, anything goes! Thank you and good luck."

"And that," Joe Sensational said to his viewing audience from NBC headquarters in Tampa, "is how it is on this bright Florida day at this amazing Wonderful Worldwide Orgy. Now we take you to Sylvia Sexbomb who, from her post right there on the platform in the midst of the action, will carry you through the first hours of these memorable proceedings."

Flash. Cut. Pan. Swirl. The viewers got an aerial view of the field. Ms. Sexbomb began her narration.

"Thank you, Joe. As you can see, only part of the field is filled with orgiers. More will be let in soon. Oh, and look! Here come the refs out into the field. Don’t they look fine in their new black and white striped suits? . . . They’re talking with some of the orgiers now; must be encouraging them. Oh, isn’t it thrilling, viewers! The refs are stepping back; they’re making their way to the outside of the field . . . and they’re raising their whistles to their mouths . . . and . . . THERE’S THE SIGNAL! GO FOR IT!!"

There were a few moments of hesitation before the orgiers began dropping to the ground, but soon everyone, beautifully, was going at it. More orgiers were let onto the field, and the Last Orgy was underway.

Little men in white suits ran around with big buckets filled with Gatorade–that brand name displayed in big green letters, for all the world to see, on both the buckets and the men’s suits. There was a hum over the whole event–a happy hum coming from the, for once, totally uninhibited mankind, engaged in one of its favorite activities.

"Let’s get a replay on that one," Ms. Sexbomb said from her post on the platform. "There, see that–fine technique. Let’s run that by one more time. Yes, very good. And once more, please."

An so, on and on it continued, throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month, throughout the next month, right up until the last day of the Last Orgy. The last day turned out to be as sunny (and as sterile) as the first. When the activities were over and the sun had dropped out of view, leaving a dark, clear sky, the last of the orgiers climbed onto the Orgy Expresses and headed for home. Ms. Sexbomb and Joe Sensational signed off.

"Well," Joe said, "this has really been some orgy. Huh, Ms. Sexbomb?"

"Indeed, Joe. Indeed it has. And we’d like to thank Geritol Inc. for making our NBC presentation of it possible. Thank you, Geritol."

"And thank you, viewers, for tuning in. We here at NBC try to give you the best and the most thorough coverage of all the events that influence your lives. Furthermore–"

"Joe," interrupted Sylvia.

"Yes, Ms. Sexbomb?"

"I just realized something."

"What’s that?"

"Mankind is doomed! We’re finished! I mean, if the orgy had worked, if it had gotten us propagating again–we’d surely know by this time. It’s all over!"

"Yes, that may very well be, Sylvia. But we can all be consoled by one thing: we tried. Everyone out there on that field these past two months was really trying, and that’s all that anyone can ask for. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. And so, on this happy note, we bid you farewell, viewers. And remember, there’s a lot more action coming up right here on NBC with the National Women’s Bowling Championships–next! This is Joe Sensational and Sylvia Sexbomb in Florida saying goodbye, and good night."