by Max Barry

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by The Compassionate Republic of Headpat Central. . 89 reads.

About Leader, the leader of Headpat Central

Is... is this thing on? OH LOOK IT'S WRITING WHAT I SAY! What? You mean I'm supposed to talk about myself? But why? [lengthy pause] An interview? Why would someone interview me? To... Everything I'm saying is being recorded and typed out automatically? OH LOOK AT THAT IT IS! So... Oh okay, fine I'll start with my name.

My name is Leader due to a mix up at birth, or was it hacked? I think I was called something else when I was little, but Headpat Central records became a bit dodgy since our civil war. People called me Leader since that was what was on my birth certificate. My memory? Why would that be an issue? Hey, just because I have a plate in my head doesn't mean I'm any different from anyone else! You want to know about the plate? Well, someone tried to headpat me with a hammer and it didn't go so well. That happened during the civil war. There were a lot of violent people and we made a lot of sacrifices. My arms and hands were sore from all the comforting pats I felt compelled to give out. Back then we didn't have any AI citizens yet, and the first one came out right at the end of it. It really was a time of innovation. OH LOOK OVER THERE! IT'S A FOX! GAH! DON'T BITE ME! [incoherent noises] What about the fox? Why is it in the capitol building? Cause he's a citizen of our country, just like me! And you?... Are you a Headpat Centralian? Ah, that's okay. You're free to be whoever you want to be! Did I offer you a headpat yet? Well, besides the headpats I gave you in the waiting room? No, you're good? Okay. My assistant loves being patted, don't you [Choking noises] LEADER, I TOLD YOU TO LEAVE ME OUT OF THIS INTERVIEW. If you try to bring me into it again I will do more than just strangle you. Okay?

[Cough] He can be defensive about some things... So, where were we? Oh, you heard about that incident, did you? Leader faints from exhaustion: Attempted to headpat all 600 million residents. Yeah, that was a fun time. I don't know exactly how many - HAH just kidding, yeah I made it to 12,410 citizens, 544 foxes, 2155 cats, 1466 dogs, 442 tourists, and 18 raccoons. Did you know that wild raccoons don't like headpats? They're pretty scary! Oh... yeah, wild bears, tigers, sharks, bobcats, and opossums too. Here we're all about compassion and acceptance. [lengthy pause]

About AIs? Sure, we have quite a few. There was one that directed our economy for quite some time. He was a very nice fellow, albeit a bit bland. Yes they are citizens as well. There are quite a few in our HCSA. That's Headpat Central Space Agency. I'm sure you'd like to visit there after me. They're far more interesting. Did you know that they built us a very nice resort on a cis-Neptunian centaur? No not that half horse thing. A centaur is a minor planet that crosses one of the last few planets in our solar system. I tried to host a peace summit there, and very few people showed up. One of our attendees was a very nice gentleman by the name of Albert. He didn't want to leave his sharp edged walking stick in the hallway closet, so we let him keep it while he recovered. Poor chap. He said there was a lot of people after him. Especially since someone blew up a city to try to take him down! Can you believe that?! I know, it's disgusting. People killing other people... how can they live with themselves? What do you mean that's what war is? No no no, see war is when you have a civil disagreement with loud rude words and stuff... Our civil war? Oh that was because one faction thought that a proper headpat starts at the back and travels forward, while another thought that it should start at the front and head back, and the winning faction, that's the one I was part of, thought that both were okay, but a proper headpat goes from the front to the back and then back to the front. The hammer incident happened when someone tried to give me a long distance headpat. After that happened we agreed that softer objects make for better long distance headpats. But I'm getting off track here. Albert rested in our resort on the centaur, then I lent him the keys to my summer... would it be winter home? Well, it's another home that HCSA built on Pluto for residents to visit. I told him to leave the keys under the floor mat before leaving. It's fine if he took them, there's a literal ton of spares in the key box inside the airlock. The Headpat Central Space Travel Agency does pretty good as far as quick travel to the resorts and ... maybe it doesn't have to have a season name... Pluto home. It takes just a few months of travel to get to the resort, and around two weeks and a free hospital visit for the first class! Amazing right? What do you mean I'm not talking about the topic? I'm talking about HCSA. Oh this was supposed to be AIs? We have quite a few... oh wait I said that already. They're just like you and me really, and it's hard to tell the synth-skin ones from humans! If you couldn't guess it, my receptionist is an AI and she [Choking noises] DO NOT MENTION ME IN YOUR RAMBLINGS HUMAN. [Cough] Yeah, they're pretty lively! I like my staff a lot. What's the next question?

Why the headpats? Why do humans and animals breathe? [laughter] Oh, you're serious? Hmm... Well, it's a sign of that you care about the other person, and you want them to be happy. We also use it as a greeting right- oh. Yeah fine I wont mention you... either of you. Yes the choking is unpleasant, but I understand where you're coming from. As I was saying most of our citizens use it as a greeting between friends. And I think because I'm the leader of Headpat Central, anyone inside our borders is my friend. So, what's the next question?

My personal life? Oh... uh... really I'm not that interesting. Both of these two have far more interesting lives than myself. No, I don't have a significant other. I'm just me. It's... [sigh] Relationships are hard when you work so much. That's why I don't have anyone. Is that a good enough answer? Ah good. What do I do in my free time? Well... I guess I could answer that one. I don't really have much, since I spend over half of my time working with some of my fellow citizens. No, I don't mean that I work as their leader. I mean I work beside them in addition to being the leader of Headpat Central. Oh, they don't recognize me as the leader, no. Well, we want a government that isn't oppressive, so as the leader, I have to understand firsthand what it's like to be in their shoes! What do you mean they should recognize me from pictures? Sure, some people know what I look like, but they don't expect me to actually be working beside them. I don't know why, but the citizens like dressing like I do, so they think I'm just another person trying to look like me... if that makes sense. Hobbies? Nothing comes to mind. Really, I'm quite dull. Maybe ask... Hey don't look at me like that! I haven't said either of your names! I'm sorry, really! [lengthy pause] Whew... So why did you want to do this interview? You were just curious about the mysterious leader of Headpat Central? I didn't mean to repeat the question word for word... it's just... I'm just an ordinary person in an extraordinary world. There are others all over that do better than myself, okay? Ask the firefighters, nurses, police, doctors, garbage men and women, chauffeurs, accountants, brewers, animal trainers, researchers, cosmonauts, conductors, mothers, fathers, children... There are millions of better citizens of Headpat Central to interview. Nearly 870 million better citizens to interview as of our most recent count. I'm no one special. If you don't feel like interviewing someone else, that's okay! We have sunny beaches, some wintery slopes if you like to ski, lots of restaurants, and plenty of beautiful parks you can visit! I hope you have a pleasant time in our country, and will visit again! Tourists are always welcome! Does that answer all of your questions? Awesome!

Oh, would you like another headpat?