"OK," said Vicki. "How do you propose we do it?"
"Well," I replied. "That's the problem, isn't it?"
Everyone looked at me as though they expected me to say something. This went on for a good couple of minutes. I think maybe they thought I was composing my thoughts before explaining a plan to them. I wasn't.
"Don't look at me," I said. "I just came up with the solution. You guys need to figure out the details."
"Hurngh we sh'pshta fighuhr zhaddout," asked Mumbly Joe. "Wehrr jsht reggl'r peeplsh. Ain't gotsh anarshneller annythinh."
"True," I continued. "But I think you're looking at the problem from the wrong perspective. We don't want to use physical force. We need something clever ... a silent, unrecognizable coup d'etat. We need to take over without anyone realizing we've done it."
"Oh," said Crystal. "You mean the way big business already did it starting in the eighties."
"Yeah ... something like that," I confirmed. "But I don't want to take two or three decades to do it."
"So the Pearl Forester Method is right out," giggled Jerry. Once again everyone went silent, as we all turned to look at him. "You know, from Final Sacrifice? When she decided to rule the world one person at a time?"
"Oh, yeah," I laughed. "I remember that one now."
Joe added a hearty "Rhowshhdowrrrr!"
After a few minutes of laughter, followed by wiping the tears from our eyes, I tried to get the group re-focused. That was going to be the problem with this bunch: keeping them on-task. "Herding cats" didn't even begin to cover it ...
"All right, all right," I said. "Let's brainstorm. I think we mostly know what we'd do once we took over, the question before us is how to do it. Let's hear your ideas - just start throwin' 'em out there."
"You know," said Jerry, "The most direct way to gain power would be to take it from someone who already has it."
"Go on." I replied.
"Well, we could kidnap a Senator, or a General, or something. Or maybe the President."
Vicki jumped in: "I like the concept, Jerry, but the execution is probably beyond us. People like that have big-time security."
"That's OK, though," I added. "We're just spitballing here. Keep throwing out ideas, and we'll see what sticks. Just put that one to the side for now ... we'll probably want to revisit all of these ideas, once we have them out there. In fact, someone oughtta take notes. Gary? You always seem to have a notebook, do you mind?"
"All right. But don't think this makes me your personal secretary or anything."
"Not a problem, Gary."
"And while we're at it, I have an idea for the list, too." Gary reached into the satchel under his chair for a notebook and a pen. "It would be easier to kidnap the CEO of a big company, probably. They don't usually have the kind of security a public official does, and - as Crystal pointed out - they have all the real power, anyway." He began scribbling down notes.
"All right. That's good. Keep 'em coming." I looked at Vicki. "You have anything?"
"Hmm ... give me a minute, I'm thinking."
"OK." I turned to Crystal. "You got anything?"
Crystal arched an eyebrow at me. "You know, I think I just might. We could take over a news outlet and just put out fake news. Cause a panic about ... say, some food additive or vaccinations or something ... then propose a solution that only we could provide. You know how quick panicked people are to give up power."
"That's true," I said. "I might also mention something about a man with a hammer viewing all problems as nails."
Crystal squinted her eyes at me. "What are you trying to say?"
"Nothing. It's actually not a bad idea. It's just funny that this would be your plan, considering your fields of study."
"Actually," added Jerry, "Speaking of fields of study: why don't we take over the internet? Once we do that, we can tell people all sorts of things, and a good twenty to thirty per cent will likely believe anything we tell them, no matter how crazy it is. From there, it's pretty much the same as Crystal's plan. The two plans could easily work in concert."
"There!" exclaimed Crystal, feeling vindicated. "Count yourself lucky. If I had a hammer ..."
"Calm down, Crystal. I didn't mean anything by it, honestly. It was just an off-hand remark." I looked around the table. "OK, anyone have anything else? Come one people! Ideas! No matter how crazy they seem."
"I think I have something." It was Vicki. We all went quiet. "No matter what the final plan - or combination of plans - is, we will probably need money to pull it off. A lot of money."
"OK. So I guess the first step is what," asked Gary. "Win the lottery?"
"Or hack someone's bank account," suggested Jerry.
Vicki shook her head at these suggestions.
"OK, then, what," I asked. "You have a plan for getting a lot of liquid cash in a way that won't draw too much attention?"
"No," she replied. I have a way that will draw quite a bit of attention, but it won't matter."
"Well, what is it, Vick? What's your plan?"
"Yeaagghh. Whashotta ideeaagh yogotsh, Wicki," added Joe.
"I suggest we find an extremely wealthy bachelor or bachelorette, and seduce them into marrying one of us."
We all gave her with a What then? look.
"Then we have them committed. Gain total control of the estate. After that, we do the other plans. Or even all of them. Throw everything at the wall, until something sticks. Crash the internet. Cause a health panic. Kidnap the President. Run one of us for office, as well. Blow up a dam, or something, I don't know. Just go nuts."
"And then," I continued for her, "when people are good and panicked, we offer them hope of salvation from all the insanity."
"Exactly," said Vicki, wearing the most wicked grin I had ever seen on a woman.
I'd never been so turned on in my life.