by Matthew Sanborn Smith
"What's the secretest society you can imagine?" Bill asked, unwrapping a super bubble. "I mean, how secret can it get?"
"Welp," Popper said, "I s'pose nobody would know who they were. I mean, there wouldn't even be any conspiracy theories about them because no one would know they even exist." He pushed off on the cable spool coffee table that Bill had bolted to the floor and squirmed deeper into the pea green couch. He was pretty satisfied with himself. Bill nodded.
"Okay, not bad. But that's just a pretty secret society. I'm talking the secretest. How secret?"
"I don't know, dude, just tell me, will ya? I'm ready to grab some nachos at Fine's and Dandy's."
Bill sighed. "Look, think about it. The secretest society would be one so secret that not even the people in it would know they were members."
"Whoa." Popper got a far away look in his eyes. "Dude, are you trying to tell me something? Are we in this society?"
"What I'm trying to tell you is that this goes beyond conspiracy. This shit goes so deep that everyone is involved in it and no one knows they are." Bowser walked over to Bill, licked his hand and fell onto her back waiting for Bill's scratch. So much of her fur was embedded in the carpet, it seemed like the carpet was made of it.
Popper ran his hand through his hair. "But if everyone is in it, is that still a secret society? I mean it sounds like it's just . . . Society."
"Not if we don't know about it."
"So who's pulling the strings?"
"We all are!"
"Whoa." Popper looked around the place slowly, paying close attention to corners and shadows. He grabbed the first cigarette within reach, didn't care that it was tobacco, and lit up. "I don't know about you, man, but I'm gettin' kinda scared."
"Hold it together, Popper! This is our chance to make something of ourselves!"
"I don't know yet, but if we're the only ones who know, that puts us ahead of everyone else doesn't it?"
"Hey, yeah! We could be like the kings of the town or something!"
"Forget that, how about kings of the world?"
"Well, I don't know about that. I don't like to fly. King of the world probably has to do a lot of flying."
"Dude, we're the kings! We can have everything flown to us!"
Popper was slowly overcome with revelation. "Yeah. Yeah! Kings of the world!"
"Now you're talking!"
"Wait, wait, wait. Wait a minute." Popper said.
"Dude, if we know we're in the secret society then we can't be in it."
Bill stared at him for a long time, then said, "Shit! You're right! Man, we had the whole world right in our hands for a minute. Shit like this is why we can't get ahead!" He desperately wanted to throw a beer can at Popper's head for thinking of this because it would have worked otherwise, but all he had nearby were empties.
"We just gotta find a society that's even secreter," Popper said.
Bill's eyes went white all the way around. "Man, you nailed it! I knew there was a reason I told you about this! We're gonna find a society so secret it . . . it . . ."
"It doesn't even exist!"
"Yes! Yes! Forget your damn nachos, grab us a couple more beers. We've got a lot of work to do!"