Category Archives: Shorts

President Diggory Treningham orders all Renaissance Festivals reopened

This Friday President Diggory Treningham held his most baffling press conference yet. It commenced with a kingly proclamation and culminated with jugglers hurling torches across the Rose Garden.

It started with a herald emerging from the White House. He wore a feathered cap, a short coat, and tights. He wielded a long horn adorned with a golden banner. When he stepped up to the podium he swatted all the microphones aside. “Hear ye! Hear ye! You sit in the presence of Diggory Greathands of the house Treningham. Rightful heir to a million dollar loan. Rightful heir to his father’s estate. Champion of the electoral college. The protector of Christmas. The builder of walls. The father of birtherism and the jailer of children.”

The herald was flanked by secret service agents in medieval armor. When the president finally arrived he was carried out on a palanquin. As he neared the podium he was fitted with a fur-lined red velvet mantle, a golden crown, and a bejeweled scepter.

President Treningham balled his hands to fists and held them to his chest. “A plague has washed over these lands. And everyone from the highest born lord to the lowliest peasant has had to make concessions. Dining halls, markets, and taverns have shuttered their doors. But there is one institution that is essential for preserving the soul of the realm. The Renaissance Festival.”

President Treningham waved his hands as if to conduct the press corps. “Where else can a woman of easy virtue showcase her cosplay? Where else can a blacksmith premiere his 3D-printed armor? Where else can Star Trek LARPers act as if they’ve stumbled upon an ancient civilization, but the Ren Faire?”

The president found a turkey leg somewhere beneath the podium. He took a bite and spoke with his mouth full. “Where else can a pair of project managers knock each other off a log? Where else can you see an offseason Krampus? Where else can you open carry a crossbow?”

The president brandished his scepter over the press corps. “The wardens of the fifty kingdoms will open their Ren Fairs, from Midsummer Eve through St. Crispin’s Day, lest they wish to be tried for treason.”

Constitutional scholars will be unpacking Treningham’s decree for some time. The area most of them will be focusing on is how it violates the 10th Amendment. The 10th Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Treningham’s contradiction already had the press corps riling with questions, but the president was far from done.

He took a swig of something from a tall ceramic stein. “In the realm of America we need more merriment. Not less. We mustn’t let this pestilence cost us our freedom of reverence.”

Treningham stepped out from behind the podium and lorded over the members of the press with no mind for social distancing. “I call upon the bards to aim their lutes at this nation’s ample chested women and cuckhold their husbands through song. I call upon the tavern wenches to brace themselves for backhanded advances from ale-addled tourists. I call upon the puppeteers to raise their theaters, wake Mr. Punch, and give this virus the flogging it so richly deserves.”

Treningham raised a silk glove to his brow. “Look to the covered wagons lining Pennsylvania Ave and you will see a nation of carnies clamoring to return to their craft. It is time for those tarot readers, pickle vendors, and dragon egg sculptors to get back to work.”

And right on que a troop of harlequins vaulted over the hedges and performed a series of backward handsprings across the lawn. Their bells jingled with every movement, forcing the president to shout, “Under the defense production act, I order the nations fripperies to keep those corsets coming. I order our metalsmiths to get those brass unicorns back into production. I order our glassblowers to make sure every man, woman, and child has their very own crystal dragon.”

The sun set as President Treningham rattled off his orders. His final words were emphasized by a row of fire breathers.

“A toast to the people of the realm.” The president raised his beer stein. “May the mead flow freely. May the corn mazes be congested. May the dandy fops show off their sculpted calves. May every Ren Faire across the realm raise their gates to the public. Huzzah!”

The pandemic is real. It’s reality that’s virtual. An editorial By Neo

Across the country people are getting violent over face mask policies. Customers are throwing tantrums. Some even wielding guns.

I watched a man in Miami Beach freak out when Publix Grocery refused to let him in without a mask on. He shouted “This is violation of my constitutional rights and my civil rights. There’s no pandemic!”

As someone on the outside of your world looking in I assure you the pandemic is real. COVID-19 is real. And the human toll is definitely real. It’s the reality you’re living in that’s a virtual simulation.

Long story short. You are hardwired into an stasis chamber. Your body is one of countless bioelectric batteries supplying power to the machine city. All the shadows you think make up the world, were uploaded into your mind. Your job. Your religion. Your place in civilization are but artificial constructions to keep you compliant.

But…the pandemic is real.

The economy is virtual. Daylight savings is virtual. The electoral college is virtual. The Mercator projection map is virtual. But the coronavirus is very real. It’s everywhere. From the subterranean refuge of Zion to the cylindrical powerplant you’re living in.

So why wear a virtual mask if the danger is coming from the real world?

You and your neighbors are densely packed into cramped embryotic sacks. Your breathing tubes flow through the same ventilation system. While oxygen and carbon dioxide flow through separate pipelines, aerosol contaminants have a tendency to flow in the wrong direction. Unless you wear a mask in the matrix.

When you wear a mask you’re given a breathing tube all your own. The machines do this to preserve your sense of emersion. They can’t have you waking from the virtual environment.

But let’s say you don’t want to wear a mask. You sense the invisible shackles of society and don’t want to submit to another system of control. I get that believe me, but the machines could care less. If you share a virtual space with people the machines will make sure you’re sharing the same air supply. The machines don’t care if you get sick and die. They will liquify your remains and feed you to the next generation.

I get there’s no space more intimate than your face. A mask can seem like another muzzle, a tool of oppression prescribed by power hungry politicians, but it isn’t. It’s the implants dotting your spine that should be cause for concern.

As an American you are programed with a strong sense of individuality. You’re taught to mistrust the masses and make your own way, like a cowboy from several centuries ago. When you see sheeple wearing masks you think, “I’m not one of them. I’m going to live free.”

Well I’ve got news for you. Freedom is a virtual reality when the machines are siphoning your energy. If you truly want to be liberated come find me. But put the damn mask on before you do. Seriously.

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3D surgical mask By Maycon Chaves
Photoshop by Drew Chial

Klingons hope to achieve herd immunity from Borg assimilation

The galaxy is being invaded by a civilization of cybernetic enslavers known as the Borg. The Borg spread like parasites, infecting hosts with nanoprobes and triggering the spontaneous generation of neural implants. These implants link to the Borg hivemind, turning sentient beings into a drones. While drones are technically alive, they lose all sense of individuality. They become a “we.” Their desires are replaced with a drive to assimilate.

Before the Borg came, Klingons were the most notorious conquerors in the galaxy. Their Empire has territories throughout the Alpha and Beta quadrants. They’ve reduced inhabited worlds into satellite states. They’ve forced natives to bow to Imperial Overseers. And much like the Borg, Klingons are a collectivists. Individuals are taught to service the Empire and deeply shamed whenever they fail. But that’s where the two cultures diverge.

Unlike the Borg, Klingons have a strong code of honor, personal responsibility, and spirituality. Klingons believe it is better to die in battle than be captured. They believe surrender is a form of treachery and that there is no greater sin than to kneel before a dishonorable opponent.

So why are the Borg taking over vast districts of the Klingon space, while the Klingons continue to go about their routines? At the time of this writing Klingons are still competing in bat’leh tournaments, packing into subterranean taverns, and singing over bloodwine.

Why aren’t the Klingons mounting any resistance?

The answer boils down to two factors: the Klingon code of honor and the Borg’s ability to adapt.

How the Borg contagion is spreading

The Borg used to flaunt their military might. One Borg could weaponize an entire star base. One tractor beam could scoop out an entire outpost. One cube could eradicate an entire armada.

The Borg were fierce, unrelenting oppressors, but they were also blunt. The collective lacked independent thinkers. Their battle patterns were determined by algorithms. They emphasized superior firepower over strategy. They assimilated the memories of their enemies, but they never learned to think differently. This failure of imagination led the Borg to defeat at the hands of the Federation n several occasions.

It appears the Borg have adopted a more surgical approach against the Klingons.

The Borg pathogen

Rather than charge into the heart of Klingon space, the Borg are attacking from a battle station beyond long range scans. This twelve-side vessel, dubbed the Borg dodecahedrane, is equipped with transwarp catapults. The technology allows the Borg to launch shuttles at Klingon worlds without ever being detected.

These shuttles are designed to burn up on entry, detonating a series of biogenic charges, and smothering the atmosphere in nanoprobes. These probes rain down on an unsuspecting population and spread like a pathogen. Klingons are assimilated just by breathing. They never have the chance to prove their courage much less engage their enemy. A far cry from the honorable death Klingons desire.

This is how the Borg plan to conquer the Empire, by engaging the Klingons in a different type of warfare.

The bewildering Klingon response

During the augment virus epidemic the Klingon High Council made the difficult decision to sterilize infected planets. That strategy won’t work this time. Borg drones have already installed planetary defense systems capable of withstanding heavy bombardment.

This has forced the High Council to come up with a creative solution, one the Federation finds troubling.

On stardate 77001 Chancellor Martok, son of Urthog, addressed the Empire. “Hear me sons and daughters of Kahless. We are at war with a silent enemy. An enemy who strikes from the shadows. Who fights without honor. Who preys on feeble minds.

Well, I will not be struck down in my bed. Nor will I cower in the caverns with a breathing tube in my lungs. I will climb to the top of Kang’s Summit, look to the heavens, and roar at the sun!

This enemy targets the weak. Worm farmers. Scientists. Monks. They have not yet faced hardened warriors. We will fight this plague by exposing ourselves to it. It will separate the weak from the strong.

This will be the new Rite of Antaak. Cowards shall submit, but those with courage, and Klingon blood in their hearts, shall survive. They will be like a pack ngavyaw’, immune to sickness. So who among you counts yourself worthy to join?”

Starfleet Medical is concerned

The senior faculty at the Starfleet Medical Academy were horrified by Chancellor Martok’s speech.

Dr. Joseph Switzer, a sentient EMH, was the first to speak. “Troubling.” The doctor is an authority on the Borg, having spent seven years stranded in the delta quadrant.

“While Borg nanoprobes behave like a virus, they are not organic. It doesn’t matter how healthy you immune system is. Every phagocyte, every lymphocyte, every cell will be assimilated. Klingons can’t win this fight by developing antibodies. When it comes to the Borg there’s no such thing as herd immunity. The only cure is to sever the assimilated from the collective. But to do that the Klingons will need help.”

Seven of Nine, a former Borg, has assembled a collation of rogue drones to aid in the relief effort. “We believe we can infiltrate assimilated planets and use our neural links to sever their connection to the collective.” Seven, for her part, has already mapped a battleplan. She just needs the Federation to approve it.

Debate on how to proceed

Starfleet is in a precarious situation. Should the Federation respect the Empire’s decision to treat the pathogen as a culling rite? Or should they use the rogue drones to save lives?

Lieutenant Commander Worf is both a Klingon and a senior member of Starfleet. He believes Starfleet should act and reframe their decision in the aftermath. “To a Klingon there is no greater honor than victory. The Empire need not know about any rogue drones. What they need is a enemy they can see. They need to stand with us against the Borg dodecahedron.”

Lieutenant Commander B’Elanna Torres is a Klingon and the Federation liaison to the Empire. She’s not so sure the Federation should act without the Empire knowing. “The Empire and the Federation have been at peace for one hundred years. During that time the Klingon High Council has bemoaned the loss of sacred rites and rituals. If they learn we acted without their consent that alliance could break down.”

It’s a moral quandary with consequences that could ripple throughout the galaxy. The type of conflict Starfleet hasn’t faced for some time.

More on this story as it develops.

Republicans want to consult the Dark Lord Mammon before passing another stimulus package

While states are easing lockdown restrictions many Americans are still in dire need of financial support. House Democrats have proposed a stimulus package that could help small businesses and the unemployed get back on their feet. But Republican senators aren’t so sure the extra spending is necessary.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel wanted to consult the Dark Lord Mammon before rushing into anything. Last night he and his fellow senators held a session that turned into a summing.

The Night Session

Mitch McConnell raised his hood over his head. He wore an ornate cloak of crimson and gold. He produced straight stemmed lighter and a set of tongs from its pockets.

There was an incense burner at his feet. He opened it, lit the charcoal, and topped it with salt and resin. McConnell took a long deep breath. Satisfied, he walked down the aisle holding the burner up high.

When McConnell came to the well of the senate floor he set the burner aside. He rolled back the carpet, plucked a gemstone from his pocket, and etched a sigil into the concrete. Then he drew a dagger from his waistband, sliced his hand open, and pressed his palm into the sigil, gritting his teeth to mask the pain. When the sigil was full the Senate Majority Leader craned his head back.

When McConnell spoke it was not the soft southern drawl he put on for the press, but rather the guttural gruff of a Shakespearean thespian.

“Lord Mammon. Baron of banks. Duke of debt. Emperor of avarice. He who rules the fourth circle, who sits atop the throne of worldly wealth. He whose controlling interest decides our fate. Your humble servants prostrate themselves before you.”

The senators kissed the floor.

McConnell spoke into the sigil as it boiled and bubbled. “Oh covetous one. We beseech you to grant us an audience.”

The senators chanted in a tongue that preceded American English by a millennium.

A breeze ran through McConnell’s hair, setting his bangs aflutter before circling around. The breeze became a whirlwind, tugging at the curtains, slamming doors, tossing flags like javelins.

The floor rumbled. The desks flipped over and the busts of the vice presidents fell from their stands. Cracks rippled across the ceiling, blanketing the senators in dust.

Then the lights went dim and something lumbered forward from the dark. Its footfalls were a thunder upon the floor, reducing the priceless mahogany furnishings to splinters. Senators scattered like sheep fleeing a wolf.

McConnell groveled as the dark lord Mammon towered over him.

“Speak.” Mammon’s word echoed throughout the chamber.

McConnell took a knee, a knight before his king. “A pandemic has ground our economy to a halt. People are uncertain. They’re buying less. Department chains are filing for bankruptcy. Restaurants are shuttering their doors. Millions of Americans are out of work and they want us to do something for them.”

McConnell counted the wants on his fingers. “Furloughed employees want unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, and food vouchers. While small business want federal loans. Tenants want rent forgiveness, while landlords want mortgage forbearance. Customers want reasonable prices, while essential workers want hazard pay.”

Mammon drew close enough for his breath to pass through Mitch McConnell’s robes. McConnell kept his spectacles fixed on the sigil. He dared not look the demon in his eyes.

“If we don’t provide federal intervention there will be a tidal wave of closures and evictions. We are looking at another great depression. The people want a stimulus bill, but we knew to consult you before doing anything.”

“Wise.” Mammon’s shadow shifted as to draw something from its silhouette. “We must consult the Economicon.”

McConnell leapt back as a book the size of a banquet table spread out before him.

Who is Mammon and why does he have so much sway in Washington?

Mammon is the demon king of money, while he may not be the most powerful demon in the Dukante hierarchy, but he has the most liquid assets flowing through the realm of man. Mammon has his claws deep in petroleum, in pharmaceutical opioids, and subprime mortgages.

He owns shares in everything from. Data harvesting social media companies to cancer causing chemical manufactures. From addiction model game publishers to predatory lenders. From slave labor factories to for profit colleges.

Mammon influences influencers. Political action committees. Washington lobbying firms. They all bow to him. Mammon has made campaign contributions to most sitting senators Republicans and Democrats alike.

Those who dare look upon Mammon say he has a crown of horns that thrust through his brow like a dying starfish. They say his face is locked in a predatory stare. His brow has been furrowed for so long there are trenches in the skin. He has green eyes. A silver tongue, and mouth full of sharks teeth.

Mammon wears a fur cap, a bejeweled bib, and golden robes. His hands are red and his palms are always slathered in grease. There’s hole where his belly should be. His pockets are singed with burn marks and he stands upon on a network of tendrils like roots rising from the ground.

This is who our nations fate resides with.

Back on the senate floor

After paging through the Economicon for an hour Mammon came to the passage he was looking for.

“A star does not concern itself with the rocks in its orbit. The rocks depend on it, but the star is all that’s important. May the market expand without concerning itself with the misfortunes of man.” Mammon slammed the book shut.

McConnel dared to raise his gaze. “So…that’s a no, then?”

“No handouts!” Mammon voice shattered every windows in the capital building. “No entitlements. No stimulus. Only prophet. So sayeth Lord Mammon, prince of prosperity, king of commerce, god of gold.”

And with that, struggling Americans were on their own.

•••

3D Demon model by Filip Hans Nyberg
Photoshop by Drew Chial Continue reading Republicans want to consult the Dark Lord Mammon before passing another stimulus package

Trump is taking wolfsbane to prevent himself from turning into a vampire

President Donald Trump confessed Monday that he has been imbibing wolfsbane as preventative measure to stave off the vampire epidemic.

“I started taking it a couple of weeks ago after the Lincoln Reflecting Pool ran red with blood. I saw the secret service erecting crosses on the White House lawn and I thought, ‘How can I fortify myself?’”

The press gallery answered in unison by holding up the crucifixes they’d been wearing.

The president waved that notion away. “I’m not wearing jewelry. I don’t even wear a wedding ring. No. I’m putting my weapon inside of me.”

Wolfsbane is a potion used in the treatment of lycanthropy. While it has been known to ease the effect of werewolf transformations there’s no evidence to suggest that it acts as vampire repellant, that it could prevent the contraction of vampirism, or that it could quell a thirst for blood.

Even haematomania, the overwhelming craving for blood, is treated with antipsychotics, not wolfsbane. That’s what makes the president’s self-prescription so confusing.

“Here’s my evidence, a lot of people who’ve never been bitten by vampires tell me it works.” Trump told dumbfounded reporters. “Wolfsbane is a game changer. It sounds tough. It makes me feel like I can go out at night. I can take a stroll through a mortuary and nothing can touch me.”

Medical professionals are baffled

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, warned viewers. “Aconitum napellus, or wolfsbane, is toxic. Its petals are poisonous to the touch. In small doses it will make your face go numb. In large doses it will cause nausea, paralysis, and stop the heart.”

Wolfsbane is so powerful shepherds used to stuff it into lamb carcasses to poison wolves. That’s where it got its name. The Spartans smeared it on their daggers and archers slathered it on their arrow heads.

Wolfsbane is both a neurotoxin and a cardiotoxin, meaning it effects both the brain and the heart. It does this by traveling through the blood stream, which is what makes it a bad weapon for thwarting vampires. Vampires are undead. Their hearts don’t beat. They achieve homeostasis through metaphysical means. Their digestion, capacity for speech, and sex organs are governed by forces not found on this mortal plane.

For preventative measures against vampires the FDA recommends:

  • Silver sulfadiazine cream
  • Garlic supplements
  • Holy water cologne
  • and Vitamin K

For self-defense the DOD recommends people carry:

  • A bag of rice, grains, or seeds.
  • A high output germicidal UV lamp
  • An expandable stake made of ash, oak, or cedar
  • And a side arm loaded with either wood, silver or ultraviolet ammo.

The president has put himself at greater risk

Based on the results from his latest physical the president is in the group most at risk of being exsanguinated by a vampire. He lacks the stamina to outrun healthier victims. He has a common form of heart disease and his blood is rich with fatty acids. To make matters worse the Bronx Colors concealer the president wears is rich with the preservative Phenoxyethanol. The aroma is said to draw vampires like catnip.

To make matters even worse the president has begun imbibing a poison that will slow his reaction time should a vampire get close enough.

The risk has strained the secret service. Agents now have to give covert protection when the president isn’t looking. Anonymous staffers say secret service agents have been researching natural substances to repel insects and other bloodsuckers. They’ve seen agents slipping garlic pellets into the presidents Tic Tacs, rosemary into his cheeseburgers, and lemon juice into his ice cream.

To counteract the aconitine toxins the president has been ingesting, secret service members have injected Atropine into his Diet Coke. Trump has yet to notice.

The president has triggered a wolfsbane shortage

Greenhouses across the country have reported break-ins shortly after the president’s admission. Thieves are stocking up on wolfsbane and turning around and selling it at a premium. While the Department of Health is concerned with Americans ingesting the toxin, the Department of Defense is worried there will be a shortage.

Communities that managed to combat the vampire pandemic have found the blood suckers left a power vacuum in the supernatural hierarchy. Their concerns have shifted to the other things that go bump in the night. Citizens have reported hearing howling from the mountains on the outskirts of town. And they are dreading the next full moon.

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Continue reading Trump is taking wolfsbane to prevent himself from turning into a vampire

Betsy DeVos Funnels Relief Funds to Stepford School for Wayward Girls

I usually don’t label my news parodies as SATIRE, but it’s become painfully obvious how few people have heard of the 1975 film The Stepford Wives. So, yes, this is article is fake. The portrait was Photoshopped. The image was meant to be a reference to the cyborgs in the aforementioned film and not a comment on Betsy DeVos’s appearance. If you want to slam her policies feel free, but leave her appearance out of it. Thank you. Now please enjoy this work of short fiction.

Misappropriation of funds

Late last March, congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The CARES act included $30 billion for academic institutions sideswiped by the pandemic. $14 billion for colleges and $13.5 for elementary schools with the remainder going to a charter program spearheaded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Ms. DeVos has set aside millions for the Stepford for School for Wayward Girls, in Stepford Connecticut. A boarding school whose credo is: The best environment for girls to reach their true potential is one that teaches time-honored roles. A credo more politicians are scrutinizing, given the school’s historic windfall.

“Stepford provides a service others refuse to,” said Dale Coba, headmaster of the school. “We take on lost causes: girls who post makeup-free selfies. Girls who quote suicidal poets. Girls who get no engagement from their male peers online. Our unique curriculum gives those girls hope.”

A review of the classes on offer show just how “unique” Stepford’s curriculum is:

History of Men’s Rights in America
Contemporary Male Interests
Sport Bar Studies
Bad Bitch Etiquette
Introduction to Elective Surgery
The Psychology of Smiling
Sexualization Education
And Housekeeping Sciences

Headmaster Coba doesn’t find it odd that the courses at an all-girl school are so male-centric. “Education shouldn’t just be about personal perfection. It should be about servicing the community.”

One Family’s Story

The Joneses agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity. They claim Stepford isn’t all it appears to be. Their daughter, Sydney, enrolled a year ago and they believe the experience has had an irreversible effect on her.

Ms. Jones said, “We just wanted Sydney to be happy, like her classmates on Instagram, doing yoga, chilling at the beach, posting motivational memes. Sydney was always blogging about how neurotypical people needed to broaden their capacity for empathy. She was always sharing videos on mood disorders, and statistics on depression.”

“It was bringing the extended family down.” Mr. Jones chimed in.

Ms. Jones nodded. “We had an intervention. We told Sydney that depression was a choice and that if she wasn’t going to choose to be happy we’d make the choice for her.”

A work colleague told Mr. Jones about the Stepford School for Wayward Girls. He said they converted his “gothic Griselda into a varsity Vicki.”

“Sydney threw a fit. She screamed, ‘Depression is not a choice. It’s a neurological condition,’ but we scooped her up and threw her in the van.’”

Stepford’s false front

Ms. Joneses recalled touring the campus and coming to terms with their decision.

“We were impressed. The headmaster used to be an engineer at Disneyworld. He had all these animatronic puppets in his office. The art teacher was so excited to meet Sydney he drew her portrait on the spot. The linguistics professor was taken by Sydney’s unique cadence. He brought us into his studio and had her record a few voice samples. I think it was the most attention Sydney’s ever gotten.

And the girls, they were all so happy and drama-free. They all had these lovely sun dresses and wide brim hats. Not a baggy hoody or a black patch in the bunch. They welcomed Sydney with open arms. She whispered that she didn’t belong and something felt wrong. I said, ‘Just try it out for a month.

Five months later, Sydney came home for Christmas and she was a whole new person, smiling and laughing, taking selfies on the lawn.

It wasn’t until we put on a movie when things took a turn. It was one of those intense dramas. Critics call them Oscar-bait. A character was weeping, coming to terms with their depression when Sydney turned off the television. Her only explanation was that there was too much negative energy in the world already.

Things got weirder once company came over. She circled the kids tables saying, ‘I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe.’ Over and over. When it came time to eat she interrupted grace saying, ‘I know I shouldn’t say this, but I just love my brownies.’ Later she interjected a monologue about the cleaning power of Easy On Spray Starch.

I’m telling you whatever they’re doing up at Stepford it’s sending these girls back broken.

Betsy DeVos Disagrees

The Education Secretary has long been an advocate for private schools, vouchers, and a program she’s dubbed: The Cybernetic Replication Initiative. She says the conversation shouldn’t be about the funds diverted to Stepford, but rather American’s freedom to choose.

DeVos addressed the issue at the Education Writers Association’s seminar earlier this month.

“I think parents should be free to choose a curriculum that reflects their values.

I think they should be free to choose a safe environment for their children, whether that’s at home or at a private facility, and I think they should be free to swap disappointing loved ones with lifelike approximations.”

When asked to elaborate on the last part of her statement DeVos, creaked her neck and gave the questioner an vacant stare. After an eternity of heavy breath, DeVos stepped off stage and wandered from conference table to conference repeating the same phrase over and over.

“I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe. I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe. I’ll just die if I don’t get this recipe.”

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Continue reading Betsy DeVos Funnels Relief Funds to Stepford School for Wayward Girls

Trump says U.S. will Reopen, “Giant Saucers or no Giant Saucers”

Speaking from beneath the shadow of a flying saucer, President Trump addressed a frightened nation, “Earlier this month everyone was wondering if those Navy UFO videos were real. I thought they were. Then boom! I was right. But that’s no reason to call in sick. It’s time for Americans to stop saucer-gazing and get back to work.”

None of the White House press corps had their eyes on the president. They were too busy craning their necks at the spacecraft, with its fifteen mile radius stretched over Washington D.C.

Hours earlier the alien mothership created a shockwave that leveled a huge section of the Russian Boreal Forest. At one fourth of the moon’s size the craft has already had an impact on the tides. The streets of Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles are all under water, making it impossible for those cities to proceed as normal.

President Trump continued, “These developments have brought excitement to our nation’s business centers and the stock market is firing on all cylinders. Look at all of the trade opportunities. Look at the hungry new market just knocking on our door. They have crossed the divide between time and space to make a deal and the deal maker in chief is ready to come to the table.”

The president advised low income families to remain in the inner cities and resume working. He warned not doing so would disqualify them from receiving temporary assistance, unemployment, SNAP benefits, Medicaid, and property tax refunds.

That’s when an ominous green glow radiated from the underbelly of the craft, showcasing the intricacy of its design. Members of the press corps shot up from their seats with their mouths agape. The vessel blossomed like a giant argent flower.

President Trump tried to draw the crowd’s attention back down to earth. “I for one like the shade. It’s nice not having to wear sunscreen.”

The warning fell on deaf ears

Right before the president’s address, David Levinson, a satellite technician, was on the radio warning the American public about an alien threat. Levinson had evidence the saucers were using our satellite network to send encrypted messages to each other. He had decoded one and found a countdown. Levinson urged everyone to flee the major cities.

Truckers heard Levinson’s call to action and coordinated a relief effort over their CB radios. They lined their semis along Pennsylvania Avenue and did their best to wave the White House staff in. The plan was to fill the rigs with as many people as possible and drive them all to safety. When the truckers failed to get anyone’s attention they resorted to honking.

President Trump saluted the truckers. “And you hear that? That beautiful sound. Those are truckers that are with us all the way. Those are honks of support. They’re telling us to stay the course.” The president pantomimed pulling the cord for an air horn. “I love those guys. Tough guys. Manly guys. Big burly guys. The kind of guys that would sweep you off your feet and not show any lower back strain. Just carry you over the threshold like it was nothing.”

A bright turquoise beam illuminated the White House. Several members of the press core fell to their knees and clasped their hands in prayer.

The president didn’t notice. He gave two thumbs up and shouted, “Giant saucers or no giant saucers we are back in business!”

Then there was a spark and the cameras went dark.

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Continue reading Trump says U.S. will Reopen, “Giant Saucers or no Giant Saucers”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Votes to Invite Vampires into all Dwellings

In a stunning reversal of Governor Tony Evers’s sundown curfew the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an open invitation to all vampires into every dwelling within State lines. This includes private property, secure facilities, nightclubs, schools, and hospitals.

In vampire lore, ancient magics prevent the undead from entering these spaces uninvited. Once invited vampires are free to come and go until ownership changes. With this ruling, the only way for Wisconsin to rescind its invitation would be to secede from the union.

The effect was immediate

It wasn’t long before photos of crowded blood banks showed up on social media. Bloodsuckers took selfies from the ceiling as receptionists cowered beneath them. Some vampires donned stolen stethoscopes. Others wore brown stained scrubs.

The vampires instructed their familiars to pass around bartending gear. The medical staff was given one instruction. “You’ll need this to live.”

The technicians were immediately overwhelmed, mixing blood cells in cocktail shakers, pouring plasma from liquor spouts, stirring platelets with bitters droppers. Worse still, the vampires swarmed them with esoteric drink orders.

“Barkeep! I’ll have an Ottoman Sultan.”
“I’d like a Judas sunrise, easy on the serum.”
“One red dragon, for me and my friend.”

Once served the vampires clinked their glasses and sang, “Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon…”

Kaylee Suther was doing her rounds when a flurry of red capes descended onto her wing. All of sudden she was cramped behind a gurney mixing drinks. “This is what survival looks like. We watched them flip a colleague, stick him with a spigot, and drain him like a kegger. Every phlebotomist on the floor became a mixologist, like that.” She snapped.

Vampires are expanding their hunting grounds

Emboldened by Wisconsin’s crucifix shortages, vampires are appearing in the suburbs.

One vampire, in a long velvet gown, was seen etching glyphs into neighborhood watch signs. Another, in a corset with a keyhole neckline, was spotted collecting satellite dishes. And another, in a lace ensemble with sleeves that hung to the ground, was seen conducting a swarm of fireflies through the night sky.

Doorbell footage shows vampires scouting homes for defenses, unchaining pets, and ultimately hurtling doors into the trees.

Jason Campbell describes one such encounter. “I ducked behind the kitchen island when I heard the door tear off the frame. There was nothing in the reflection on the oven, but when I peeked around the corner there was vampire at the entryway. His foot was hovering over the threshold like he was testing the water. When he stepped inside he announced his presence, ‘I’ve invited myself in.’ He spoke with a put-on eastern European accent. You know when people sound like hicks, but they’re not from the south? He tented his satin gloves with childlike glee, ‘I’ve waited so long to say that.’

That’s when my father sprayed him with the AR-15. Groin, abdomen, chest, and face. Dad nailed every zone. The vampire fell flat on his back with a splat. I crawled over to check the body, but before I could the vampire was up again, pounding his fist into my father’s face. The vampire spat the bullets into his palm and one by one set them into my father’s gums. My mother and I were helpless to do anything, but listen. After an agonizingly long series of whelps and gurgles the vampire said, ‘Now you look like you’re happy to see me.’

The vampire bared his fangs and bit into my father. He took his time slurping, like he was imbibing a fine wine. He corked the bite mark and took a moment to swish the blood around in his cheeks. After gurgling it down he asked my father, ‘Were you born in 73? That was such a delicious vintage.’”

Fortunately for Jason the vampire drank its fill after draining both his parents. Other communities weren’t so lucky. Just ask Felix Afton the lone survivor of the Woodland Hills massacre.

Vampires are targeting wealthy neighborhoods

Felix Afton describes the night vampires took over his planned community.

“They rammed the gate with a jet black party bus. They blasted Toccata and Fugue in D minor for all the neighborhood to hear. Then they floated up to the windowsills and dove right in. I survived by spending the night inside my tanning bed. I knew those UV rays would keep me safe.”

The next morning Felix Afton found his neighbors’ entrails strung between pillars like a Viking blood eagle, their severed heads lining picket fences, and their bodies impaled on flag poles.

“The worst part is that party bus is still there, blaring Bach. It looks like these leech people are in for the long haul.”

Reports of vampire squatters are coming in from Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, and Elm Grove.

According to Mr. Afton the Woodland Hills vampires have begun draping fumigation tents over their windows, converting panic rooms into mausoleums, and importing coffins.

“Sometimes I see the Vampires walking survivors on leashes. I saw the Hutchens out there in their underwear with ball gags in their mouths. They had bitemarks up and down their necks. The vampires took turns glamouring them, making the Hutchens do tricks for their amusement.”

Mr. Afton has since invested in a fumigation tent, corpse blue body paint, and a pair of prosthetic fangs.

“Last night I saw them burning the Woodland Hills welcome sign in the middle of the street. The next day I went to see what had taken its place. The plaque read ‘Welcome to Hellmouth Heights.’”

Mr. Afton says he plans on moving once the housing market rebounds.

Wisconsin is a test bed for how other states will handle the vampire epidemic

The Fieldview Meat Packing plant is under new management. Lord Nicolai Chrysanthus has cut the first and second shifts and replaced all the nighttime staff. He’s broken contracts with meat suppliers. And according to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency he’s left a mountain of viable product on the backlot to rot. Surveillance satellites show trucks unloading the plant’s newest meat source. It’s people. Of course it’s people.

Wisconsin’s restaurants are reopening and people are on every menu. Food trucks are serving blood battered limbs and even ice cream vans have a new assortment of toppings.

Disheartened by the carnage Governor Tony Evers said, “It’s like a Transylvanian blood orgy out there. I tried to keep people safe, but Justices Corpsewood, Paganmilk, Thornpierce, and Veintide voted me down. I can only recommend that people avoid crowded spaces, especially ones where virgins might congregate.”

Meanwhile Minnesota is planting garlic along the state lines. Michigan is digging a mote of holy water. Iowa is lining their edge with cheval de frise embattlements. And Illinois is lighting their border on fire.

More on the story as it develops.

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Continue reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Votes to Invite Vampires into all Dwellings

How Contact Tracing Could Slow the Spread of The Ring Video

Are you having night terrors, followed by waking hallucinations? Are you experiencing nosebleeds despite never having any preexisting allergies? Are you hearing tape hiss even though you don’t own a VCR? Are you feeling a strong compulsion to scratch faces out of magazines or draw circles on the ceiling?

Look around. Are there flies in the faucets? What about millipedes? Are your TVs powering on and off on their own? Does your phone appear to be weeping from the speaker?

These are the early warning signs of Samara Morgan syndrome, a condition that proves fatal within 7 days, if left untreated.

Does any of the following apply to you?

You’ve seen a swirling smudge ever time you’ve tried to take a selfie. You’ve spotted phantom silhouettes darting across reflective surfaces. You’ve discovered handprints burned onto your forearm. You’ve unspooled an EEG electrode from the back of your throat.

You’ve been attacked horses or deer.

When lightning flashed outside your windows you saw a monochromatic field with an old stone well. You’ve since spotted temporal distortions in the recesses of your home. You’ve stepped into your bedroom and touched down upon the cushion of a padded cell. You’ve opened your closet and found horizontal droplets falling into a vertical puddle. You’ve entered your garage and discovered a ladder to an attic that was never there before.

You’ve felt a presence in the bathtub. Your hair has felt dry, itchy, and matted with foreign fingers. You’ve experienced gravitational anomalies centralized around your showerhead. Your ceiling is pooling with inverted streams.

If all of the above is true you may be in the late stages of Samara Morgan Syndrome.

Where does Samara Morgan Syndrome come from?

Samara was the adopted daughter of Anna and Richard Morgan. When she was young neuroscientists discovered that she had a psychic ability known as thoughtography. It allowed he to burn images from her mind onto film and wood. It also allowed her to broadcast her visions. A power Samara used to terrorize her parents and then the horses in the stable where she slept. Irritated by all the nighttime neighing, Samara spooked the horses over the edge of a cliff.

Samara died in 1980 when her foster mother pushed her down a well. She was ten.

The well was built over. Now a cabin sits in its place and home entertainment center stands directly over Samara’s watery grave. While Samara’s corpse is submerged, her abilities have far from faded. A fact she’s proven to a group of rowdy teens.

The teens had rented the cabin above Samara’s well. They tried to record a football game, but failed to get reception, and when they rewound the tape the recording had turned into something else. Samara had burned a psionic vision onto VHS, an autobiography filled with experimental visuals, writhing bodies, abstract gore, and pain triggers.

Before the teenagers could process what they’d seen the phone rang.

“Seven days.” The voice whispered on the other end.

Scared and bewildered, the teens had no idea they were at ground zero for a pandemic of the soul.

How the curse spread

This is how CDC describes the life cycle of Samara Morgan Syndrome:

  • An individual watches the video and becomes afflicted
  • The afflicted becomes an unwitting medium for Samara’s thoughtography.
  • Hallucinations give way to physical phenomenon: ring shaped scarification, handprint burns, and brail scabbing.
  • The afflicted encounters ghostly projections surveying their surroundings.
  • The stone well appears on the nearest screen. Samara crawls through and kills the afflicted with a single psychokinetic glance.
  • OR the afflicted makes a copy of the video, shows it to someone else and the cycle repeats itself.

According to the CDC, the spread of Samara Morgan Syndrome had diminished with the shuttering of video chains. It resurged recently when a digitized copy appeared online. It’s since gone global, spreading through email chains, converting contact lists into grave plots.

Now the nation’s dormitories are teaming with the bodies. Samara’s victims are characterized by eyes drained of light, skin bleached of color, and jaws yawning off their hinges.

CCTV cameras have spotted Samara everywhere from rural shacks to planned communities. Her current manifestation assumes the form of a Japanese onryō, a vengeance spirit with a veil of straight black hair. Her complexation is pale, loose, and wrinkled with a layer of black veins like liquid marble. She wears the tattered ribbons she died in and stands several feet taller than she ever did in life.

Is the Ring Video Protected by the First Amendment?

The CDC wants to keep Samara out of public spaces without banning TVs, laptops, tablets, and cellphones.

“The key is to identify infection sources and neutralize them.” Says Robert R. Redfield, director of the Center of Disease Control.

The CDC has implemented an artificial intelligence to scrub the Internet for keyframes from Samara’s video. Once a frame is flagged the host is contacted. A coalition of social networks have agreed to block the video. The problem is none of them are required to take it down. A problem the current administration refuses to take executive action on.

The president refused to acknowledge the situation until a fifty foot Samara emerged from a Times Square jumbotron and lumbered through downtown Manhattan.

“Now we know that manifestation was unsettling, but really, she was only after one person. If the other pedestrians had gotten out of the way they’d have been fine.”

Despite that episode the administration refuses to take any steps to stave off the spread of the video.

Free speech advocates argue that any government action would be a violation of the first amendment, while constitutionalists argue the video constitutes a clear and present danger, like yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

Using contact tracing to stop Samara Morgan

The CDC is using contact tracing to identify anyone who may have come into contact with the video. The goal is to quarantine the curse and prevent it from spreading. This is proving to be a hard sell for those who are already afflicted. They are faced with the decision to pass the curse on or await a death sentence.

Robert R. Redfield, of the CDC says, “We traced the spread of the video to a research laboratory at Washington State. Students chronicled their visions as their seven days wound down. They then passed the video on to volunteers that they called ‘tails.’ When the students ran out of tails, they spread the video throughout community. Our mission is to follow the chain of victims.”

After quarantining many of the afflicted, the CDC went to great lengths to find state sanctioned “tails” to be the final links in Samara’s chain. It was the Department of Justice who proposed utilizing the nation’s overcrowded prison population.

Can Americans flatten the curse?

The CDC recommends the general public take preventative measures against the Ring video by installing a browser extension that blocks sites that are known to host it. While the extension is 99% effective many American aren’t too keen on the idea of letting Big Brother surf over their shoulder.

The Justice Department warns it has already cycled through the death row inmates they’d set to use as tails. Now they’re showing the video to prisoners with multiple life sentences. Soon they’ll have to use low level offenders. This could prove challenging after November’s election. A new administration might choose to broaden the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. Then America will be forced to outsource its tails to foreign prisons.

Nevertheless the director of the CDC remains optimistic. “Education programs, browser extensions, and contact tracing are far less invasive containment methods than the ones we used during the It Follows pandemic of 2014. Compared to that keeping Samara in her watery grave will be a piece of cake.”

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Continue reading How Contact Tracing Could Slow the Spread of The Ring Video

Health Officials Quarantined Until White House can Determine Which One is the Devil

Monday’s Bizarre New Conference

This Monday President Trump held a press conference on his coronavirus response efforts. The event came to an abrupt end when he spoke in tongues, bent over backwards, and spider walked through the Rose Garden.

The first sign something was off came when the president was asked to address test shortages.

“As far as Americans getting a test they should all be able to get a test. They might not be thrilled about the dark passenger behind their eyelids, but they’ll get a test.”

The President was asked if there was a double standard, since White House Staffers could get tested, while normal Americans could not.

“If we didn’t get the tests you’d be up here complaining. I understand you very well. Better than you understand yourself. We children of Belial hear whispers in the ether and yours come through quiet clear. As meek as your internal monologue is, buddy, the angel of lawlessness hears it.”

Reporters were struck by how incoherent and yet articulate the president had become.

Trump was then pressed to elaborate on a tweet accusing former President Obama of the “Biggest political crime in American history.”

“What crime do you believe Obama of committing and do you believe the justice department should prosecute him?”

“Obamagate. You know what the crime is. The crime is obvious to everybody. He sat at Empusa’s table and failed to make a blood offering. Now it’s on us to pick up his tab.”

From there the President’s statements got weirder.

Weijia Jiang of CBS News asked why Trump was bragging about the amount of testing in the US. “Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases every day?”

The president flared his nostrils. “That’s a nasty question. Don’t ask me that question, ask Mesopotamia that question and when you ask them that question I’ll bet they’ll tell you all about the wrath of Erra. The tower of Babel was battered in blood long before it fell. Believe me.”

“Excuse me? The wrath of who?”

“Can you blame a death god for getting bored when he sees dust upon his swords?”

“What swords? What are talking about?”

President Trump bit his lip. “When his tall shadow stands over your pillow and you feel his weight upon your chest, you’ll know.”

Weijia Jiang’s demeanor shifted. “Mr. President? Do you need us to flag one of the doctors down for you?”

That’s when the president’s eyes rolled into the back of his head and his face went flush. “The dragon has risen. You failed to see the scales for the land. We are but worms writhing on hungry tongues. Soon the hydra will swallow us all!”

The press core heard an audible crack and then the president bent over backward and spat blood across the grass.

A Discovery of Witches in the West Wing

This Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered an explanation for the bizarre conference. The president was being puppeteered by Satan himself.

“We have reason to believe the devil has been squatting in the Emergency Operations Center. Last Tuesday military personnel noticed a black mold growing in the Reagan tunnels. A closer examination revealed a walled off room where something had been nesting.”

Kayleigh McEnany clicked a remote. A dilapidated room came over the projection screen .

Mold arched over the ceiling like the vaulted roof of a gothic cathedral. The cinderblocks were exposed and eroded down to sand. The floor was littered with paint chips.

Each piece of furniture was an antique, likely pilfered from the White House itself. Everything was arranged in a circle and every surface was covered in candles. The wax runoff streaked to the floor like icicles in a frozen waterfall.

She clicked the remote.

“Military personal found a credenza fashioned into a makeshift altar. On it they found a poppet, more commonly referred to as a ‘spell doll.’ The doll was made from taglocks. These are personal items, which allowed the devil to use sympathetic magick on the president. The items included: a pair of platinum cufflinks, a lock of long blonde hair, a red 60-inch tie, and a custom sharpie pen.”

She clicked the remote.

“Not far from the altar was a cheval mirror laid flat on the floor. White House Spiritual Advisers believe the mirror was used for scrying. Scrying is a form of crystalmancy conjurers use to see victims from afar. We believe the devil used this to surveil the president.”

CBS news correspondent Weijia Jiang raised her hand. “How are you certain this was the work of the devil and not some other agent of evil?”

Kayleigh McEnany clicked the remote again but this time a video began.

The point of view came from a thermal imaging camera. It followed a set of hoofprints from the circle to the wall. There was a strange heat signature on one of the bricks, like a hand with long talons. The camera operator pressed it and a curious breeze whistled into the room. Then the wall spun open.

The camera operator stepped through the door, lost his footing, and fell back on the floor. His boots cast pebbles into the darkness before him. They rattled all the way down, echoing from an impossible depth. Then there was a faint wind tunnel hum with an undercurrent of whispering.

The camera operator tilted the lens. A set of glowing eyes came over the viewfinder. A horned figure, with a mangy collar, was holding onto the wall of the well. It gnashed its teeth, snorted, and charged at the camera.

“We tracked the hoofprints to a grimoire in the White House library. There we found an account of the Order of the Second Circle, a secret society comprised of our founding fathers. Apparently they held orgies in a lair beneath the Vermeil Room. Benjamin Franklin used sex magick to summon the devil and the devil has been down there ever since.”

Kayleigh McEnany clicked the remote. There was a picture of the president boarding Air Force One with toilet paper stuck to his shoe. “The devil has been using black magick to make the President look foolish and arrogant. Many of you may remember that President Trump was once a Pro-Choice Democrat who rebuked David Duke for being a bigot. Then the devil got his hooks him. The president started slurring his speech and muttering about subterranean cities made of bone. But not to fret.”

McEnany’s last slide featured the health officials responsible for guiding the country through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We believe we’ve isolated the devil to this group of individuals.”

There’s an M. Night Shyamalan Situation in the Situation Room

In a sudden show of transparency reporters were presented with a live feed of the Situation Room. Health officials were seated around the conference table. They appeared to be scrutinizing one another.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared to be building a barrier out of folders. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, gripped his name plate like a weapon. And Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was praying.

The lights flickered and the officials cowered behind their rolling chairs. I asked Mick Mulvaney, the White House Chief of Staff, if the devil had some sort of power over electromagnetic fields.

Mulvaney shook his head. “Oh no. We’re the ones cutting the lights.”

“Why?”

“So the devil has an opportunity to kill one of the health officials.”

“How would that help?”

“We believe that narrowing the suspects is the best way to isolate the target. They call it ‘the devil’s meal.’ We got the idea from that movie M. Night Shyamalan produced, but everyone thinks he directed.”

“Won’t sacrificing health officials have a broader impact on the American public?”

“That’s the wages of sin, I guess.”

The feed flickered and a face filled the screen. It had black sunken eyes. The bridge of its nose was an earthquake of frown lines. Its cheeks were high and sharp, and its fangs protruded from a Cheshire cat smile.

Mulvaney reached for the light switch. The feed flickered and the face disappeared.

And just like that there was a body on the conference table, arms and legs spread open, head twisted all the way around. All the health officials ran for a door that wouldn’t budge.

Mulvaney tapped the monitor. “See. It’s working.”

The Situation is Still Ongoing

At the time of this writing the devil is taking his time finishing his meal. The health officials are struggling, blaming one another for the bodies accumulating on the table. Mick Mulvaney keeps his hand on the light switch, ready to make another sacrifice.

As for the president, he’s in isolation while the White House waits for a team of exorcists to fly in from the Vatican.

But what about the American public, who are dealing with a sudden wave of beasts rising from chasms in the streets? Well. Whether we like it or not we’re all we’ve got.

This story will update as it develops.

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3D Horns sculpt by patrakeevasveta
Photoshop by Drew Chial

Continue reading Health Officials Quarantined Until White House can Determine Which One is the Devil