A mousy little man sat, shaking his head in his hands, limned against the wall by the flickering blue glow of a flat screen TV. On the television, a huge crowd swelled in Grant Park in Chicago. The excitement was palpable, with a constant dull roar of the crowd that swelled periodically as the crowd thought that they saw the man whom they’d come to see.
The mousy man muttered, “How could this have happened?” He slumped back into his chair. “How?”
On the television, the object of his hatred strode upon the stage in front of the adoring crowd and began to speak. His voice was strong and confident, triumphant even. It mocked the mousy man.
“Socialists!” he muttered. “The country has gone socialist!” He lifted a bottle to his lips and drank deeply. The single malt scotch burne the back of his throat pleasantly. As the smell of the alcohol tickled his nasal passages, he twitched his nose. There seemed to be another smell. A most unpleasant one.
The mousy man sniffed the bottle. No, that wasn’t the source. Whatever it was, it was coming from someplace else in the house, the odor of rotting meat, sickly sweet and becoming stronger.
“What the hell?” The mousy man said to no one in particular. He had put the trash out earlier.
“Change has has come to America.” The TV intoned.
The mousy man dozed, muttering some more.
To awaken with a start.
“This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.” Said the voice on the TV.
“Yes…we…can…eat…BRAAAAAIIINNNNS!!!” came a gutteral, inhuman cry*.
The mousy man felt his pants grow warm and wet at the sight of a blackened and rotting human, fetid with the stench of decay and wearing the tattered remnants of military uniform, fo which all that remained intact was a large red and white circle with a black Swastika on the arm, advancing on him relentlessly and jaws with no lips clamping on his skull with irresistable strength.
The monster fed, although not so well and not particularly deeply.
*Translated from the German, of course.
November 10, 2008
Somewhere in bunker under a nondescript building in Manhattan
A key clicked into a depression on the top of a clear box. Instantly it whirred to life, multicolored lights blinking in seemingly random patterns. “What is it?” the box demanded testily in a high-pitched, seemingly nasal voice (never mind that it had no nasal passages). “I was in the middle of analyzing a particularly rich trove of limericks and jokes found in the the computer of the last person we interviewed. Some of them are what you humans term ‘dirty,’ a concept that I do not yet understand. All they seem to be about are normal human bodily functions. What is ‘dirty’ about normal biological functions, I am having a difficult time comprehending. It is so illogical. You had better have a good reason for interrupting me.”
Mike said, “The monster is back. He’s struck again.”
“That cannot be. Besides, what do you know? You’re a biologist and you’re mad.”
“Stop being such a putz, Orac,” retorted Mike. “Just because the election’s over doesn’t mean the monster is gone.”
“I did not think that the monster was gone. However, my analysis suggested that it would most likely go into hibernation for a while, having fed on the brains of so many politicians. After all, look at the level of specious comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis that occurred.”
“Yes, but apparently the Hitler Zombie was not sated. After all, the brains upon which he fed were those of politicians historically ignorant enough and stupid enough to make such logic circuit assaultingly idiotic comparisons to Hitler and Nazis, thus invoking what we humans like to call, I believe, ‘Godwin’s law.’ That’s not much to live off of.”
“Agreed,” snapped Orac. “But what is your evidence? Who was the victim this time? It must have been someone with an exceedingly weak mind.”
“It was,” affirmed Mike. “It was a man named John Derbyshire.”
“Who is this man?”
“He is a conservative pundit who writes for the National Review Online. He is known for writing hyperbolic screeds such as this, in which he likens Barack Obama to Karl Marx.”
“Hardly the stuff of the ridiculously overblown Hitler or Nazi analogies that the monster’s bite usually provokes.”
“Yes,” said Mike, “but it does shown that he’s prone to brain-dead overblown flights of rhetoric and ridiculous analogies, which attract the monster like catnip does a cat.”
“And did it in this case?” Orac asked, the pattern of blinking lights accelerating. “What is the evidence? What has Derbyshire done.”
“‘Arbeit Macht Frei‘? ‘Work sets you free‘?” Orac’s blinking stopped abruptly, as though someone had turned off the light switch.
There was only silence and darkness within the clear box. No life, no electricity, none of the usual sarcasm.
“Orac!” shouted Mike. “Orac!”
Leaping into action, he removed the key and then replaced it, pressing the activation button. A single red light flickered–then went dark. It then flickered again. And went dark again. Then two lights flickered, then three, then four, and then all of them. A high-pitched steadily rising electronic screech arose from within the box.
“Oh. My. God,” muttered Orac, “and I’m a computer. I’ve always found God to be a rather odd mass delusion of humans that….Oooooh, that was some seriously concentrated stupid. I am normally not interested in the petty politics that so work up you humans, but I have rarely seen such a horrifically bad and overblown Nazi analogy. It is hard for me to comprehend what sort of thinking leads one like Derbyshire to compare Barack Obama’s plan for beefing up public service like the Peace Corps to the forced labor extracted by force from so many prisoners by the Nazi regime. You know the significance of ‘Arbeit Macht Frei,’ do you not?”
“Of course,” said Mike relieved but also annoyed that Orac had reverted to his usual cantankerous self. “It’s the sign hung over the labor camp at Auschwitz.”
“Not just Auschwitz, but Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Gross-Rosen, and the Theresienstadt Ghetto-Camp, as well. It was the warped view of the Nazi regime that somehow working people to death until they either starved, died of disease, or became so weak that they could no longer work, after which they had no more use to the Nazi regime, was setting them free. I suppose that’s the case only if you consider death to be freedom. In the case of Auschwitz, for those not immediately gassed upon arrival, those worked to death ended up heading to the gas chamber. It is truly unbelievable that anyone could equate voluntary government public service programs with the forced labor and extermination of the Nazis. Truly, there must be very little of Derbyshire’s brain left. I doubt the monster left two neurons connected by a spirochete.”
“So what do we do?”
“Nothing, for now,” said Orac. “There is so little left of Derbyshire’s brain that he was only able to leave a cryptic one line reference to make his thermonuclearly stupid analogy. Usually, enough brain is left by the monster that at least the victim can still string a few sentences together to make his analogy. Not so here. I can only conclude that Derbyshire’s autonomic functions will soon shut down; clearly there is not enough brainpower, even autonomic brainpower, to keep him breathing. I do not think we need to worry about him much longer.” Orac paused. “Besides, he can’t even make up his mind if Barack Obama is a Nazi or a Communist. Not to mention that there is always David Manning.”
Mike thought about it a second, and then said,”You forgot all the YouTube nutcases, not to mention Ann Coulter, too and her bit about Obama’s autobiography being a ‘dime store Mein Kampf.'”
Orac shut down again, with a pathetically wavering electronic whine. Mike reached for the key again. Clearly this three year search had taken its toll on Orac’s logic circuits.