Camera slowly zooms in between the security fence of a huge seaside mansion looming over the storm-tossed Pacific. Dissolve to a melting arctic ice floe, on which sits a distraught polar bear. As the camera pans back, we see it is a snow globe held in a man's hand, inside an opulent study paneled in Amazonian hardwood. Close-up of the man's lips, which whisper "Seagate." He drops the snow globe which crashes onto a priceless Persian rug in front of a roaring fireplace. In silhouette, a nurse enters the study and hurriedly covers his motionless body in a blanket. He expels one last mighty death fart, and is gone.
NEWS on the MARCH! In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree. Today, almost as legendary, is California's Montecito, the world's largest private environmental pleasure ground. Here a private mountain was commission and successfully built! 500,000 trees, 70,000 tons of cement, and 14 acres of seal fur carpet are the ingredients of this regal domain. Painting, pictures, Oscar statues, the very stones from many another palace from Earth's finest antiquities! A collection so vast it can never be appraised. Enough for 100 eco-museums, the loot of the planet. Montecito's livestock: the whales of the ocean, the fowl of the air, the beasts of the plain and jungle. A private Noah's ark of the world's rarest creatures awaiting the feasting table of Montecito's lord and ruler! Like the Pharaoh, he leaves many stones to mark his grave. Since the pyramids, Montecito is the costliest monument man has built to... himself!
Here in last week was held 2041's grandest and strangest funeral. Montecito's land-lord was laid to rest, a potent figure of our century. America's Kubla Khan -- Albert Arnold Gore.
swirling newspapers from around the world announcing the death
From humble beginnings he rose to be the greatest eco-tycoon of this or any other generation. Gore's empire in all its glory held dominion over 37 cable television networks and a vast carbon credit multilevel marketing syndicate. An empire upon an empire! Pulp mills! School DVD schemes! Factories! Ocean liners! Great forests were felled to produce his award-winning best sellers! An empire through which flowed an unending stream of climate warnings and revenue!
Famed in American legend is the origin of the Gore legend. Raised in a humble Georgetown penthouse, he was left the deed to a supposedly worthless abandoned Tennessee Senate seat. Instead it housed the famed 1992 Clinton lode. For 50 years thereafter, there was no American issue on which he took no stand, no microphone by which he would pass. He urge America to one war, and later condemned America's participation in another. Oh, wait. That was the same war.
In politics, always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Gore, holder of vast opinion though he was, in all his life was never granted the oval office by the electors of his country. But Gore's condescending sighs were once strong indeed, and once the prize seemed almost his. In 2000, the best elements of his party and the media behind him, the White House the next step in a lightning career. Then suddenly election day, and defeat. Shameful, ignominious defeat. Followed by chad counts. And more shameful defeat. And lawsuits. And even more defeat. And also more ignominy.
But from this ignominy would bloom his greatest triumph! Confined to a padded cell in a Florida insane asylum, Albert Arnold Gore would type out, by foot, the PowerPoint climate manifesto that would soon change the world: an Inconvenient Truth! A vast carbon trading empire was his, along with laurels from potentates and the greatest scientific minds of Hollywood!
Then, the great Global Warming collapse of 2010. Muckraking reporters from Gore's rival, the Internet-Examiner, released the East Anglia emails dooming the carbon market. In the days following the crash, one Gore climate speech is canceled. And another. And yet more. He is laughed off the nation's stage and retreats to the opulent solitude of Montecito. Alone in his never-finished, already decaying pleasure palace, aloof, never visited, seldom photographed, an emperor left to direct his failing empire. Vainly attempting to sway the destinies of the planet that was no longer interested in his apocalyptic visions of drowning penguins.
Then, last week, as it must to all men, the Green Reaper came to visit Albert Arnold Gore. Only a few dignitaries were on hand for the funeral procession as the black Prius hearse bore its solemn burden to its final resting place -- Laurie David's compost heap.
NEWS! On the MARCH!
pfltttlttllpftll thip thip thip thip
camera pulls back, showing interior of dark screening room with news reporters
Well how do you like it boys?
Well, 95 years of a man's life is a lot to get in a ten minute reel.
It's a good short, but what it needs is an angle. All we saw on that screen was Albert Arnold Gore is dead. It isn't enough to tell us what a man did -- we've got to tell them who he was.
Wait a minute! What were Gore's last words? 'Seagate.' Maybe he told us everything about himself on his deathbed. He was loved, and hated, and ignored as any man in his time. But when Albert Arnold Gore died, he said just one word: 'Seagate.' But who was she? He? It?
A racehorse he bet on that didn't come in!
Some kind of trillion dollar UN scam to stop the ocean from rising?
Okay boys, I want you to get in touch with everybody who ever knew him! His boyhood manservant. His buddies from the Vietnam typing pool. The guys who spellchecked his PowerPoints. Those drunk stoner kids of his. Ask the Syphilis Museum to unfreeze Bill Clinton for a couple of hours so we can get him on the record!
I'll get right on it Mr. Ralston.
Good, good. 'Seagate.' It'll probably be a very simple thing.
Inside the cavernous foyer of Montecito, household staff and cigar-chomping workers in overalls are busy boxing and moving priceless paintings and statuary, golden calves and crystal penguins, the lavish accumulated inventory of Albert Arnold Gore's life. The dimly lit scene is punctuated by a few flashbulbs, as a handful of reporters mingle on the sweeping stairway to ponder the meaning of it all, their hushed voices echoing off the Italianate marble. Among them is Thompson, who, after dozens of diary flashbacks and interviews with Gore's friends and enemies, has been unable to unravel the mystery of 'Seagate.'
How much do you think all this is worth, Mr. Thompson?
Billions. For anybody who wants it.
Another nude statue of Leonardo DiCaprio. 200,000 bucks. (whistles) That's a lotta scratch for an actor without a head.
REPORTER #1 (reading inscription on vase)
"Welcome home from Copenhagen, Mr. Gore. From your devoted chimney sweeping staff."
REPORTER #2 (reading a tag)
"Hanging chads, gift from the Palm Beach Democratic Party."
He sure liked to collect things, didn't he?
Anything and everything.
I wonder. You put all this stuff together -- palaces, portraits,private jumbo jets, bronzed Burmese elephants -- what would it spell?
Albert Arnold Gore.
... or 'Seagate'? How about it, Thompson. Did you ever find out what it means?
No, not really.
I'll bet if you could've found out what Seagate meant it would have explained everything, even the whole carbon credit scam.
I don't think so. Mr. Gore was a man who got everything he wanted and lost it, and couldn't lose the things he didn't want to be seen wanting. Maybe Seagate was something he couldn't get rid of, or something he lost. Like his mind. Anyway it wouldn't have explained anything. No, I think Seagate is just a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. A missing piece. Wrapped in a gold leaf riddle. Inside a marble mystery. Out by the curb, locked inside a marble recycling bin.
Well, come on everybody, we'll miss the next hover pod.
As the reporters leave, the camera pans over a seemingly endless array of boxes and artifacts; titanium Segways, Nobel Prizes, valued customer awards from Gulfstream Jet. Finally the camera comes to rest on a carboard box labeled ''MY SECRET PROJECTS 1990-2000.' A worker picks it up and carts away to an incinerator in the basement.
As the worker tosses the contents into the fire, the camera slowly zooms in. Amid the flames, we see a computer hard drive -- a Seagate computer hard drive. As it is consumed, we see it is labeled with a piece of tape: 'Invention of the Internet.'