Machu Picchu’s Nose

We’re getting ready for a big project this time. We sit at the airstrip of a self-made billionaire here in Peru. We’re borrowing his fleet of helicopters. When he heard our plans he was so excited that he wouldn’t let us proceed without his involvement. We’ve provided three pilots to pilot three of the helicopters. Our billionaire friend will pilot the fourth.

I called up Christo Vladimirov Javacheff for advice. He once wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin with a giant blanket. He’s a risk averse kind of guy, but he insisted on being involved in our project too. When his wife was alive, the couple used to collaborate on all their major works. They’d fly in separate planes so that if one died in a plane crash, their work could be continued. I didn’t think he’d be willing to fly in a formation of helicopters over Machu Picchu without the consent of the authorities, but he was eager.

The last time we did something like this was when we hung moustaches on three of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore. Roosevelt already had a moustache so we gave him a goatee. That took a team of rock-climbers and the cover of night, but we pulled it off without a hitch, much to the disgust of the US National Park Service. When they learned it was for the good cause of raising awareness for prostate cancer, they let us leave the moustaches up for a whole two days! How kind of them…

This time we’ll be dealing with the militant police force of Peru. The force is composed of guys in khaki uniforms with machine guns. You see them when you walk down the streets of Lima guarding public offices, banks and park benches. I’m hoping they’ve got a better sense of humour than the US National Parks people. We’ll soon find out anyway.

And the reason for our big stunt? That was an afterthought. We needed a good reason, so we asked ourselves “what causes a runny nose?” It’s popular nowadays to leave your children un-vaccinated. Great! I mean, not great that kids are un-vaccinated, but great that we’ve now got a reason to drop a giant handkerchief on Machu Picchu’s giant nose. You don’t vaccinate your kids: they get the flu. They get the flu: they get a runny nose. We say we’re raising awareness of the flu. Done.

Yes, the plan is to drop a giant handkerchief on a mountain, just in case you missed it.

The critical moment has arrived. It’s just before dawn and the helicopters are hitched to the giant super-light, super-strong synthetic handkerchief. This thing is the size of multiple football fields. It’s immense! We all mount up and lift off as the sun colours the sky from behind the horizon. The pilots know what to do, but I’m not going to miss this journey for anything, so I tag along as “project coordinator.”

The famous silhouette comes into view. We can see the giant reclining head against the purple sky. We’re directly above the drop point now. I give the call to release the giant handkerchief. My pilot releases all three catches. The first one works, the other two were just in case. The giant textile floats down gracefully. Bulls eye! Or should I say “bull’s nose”?

The stunt makes world headlines. Some call us terrorists. Most call us activists. Do we get in trouble? You bet we do! But, what’s life without a little trouble?

T

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