Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Elitist – Issue 17

"The Machine"

Late October, somewhere in Blue State America, The Elitist monitored the electoral map. Usually he sipped his cognac and made witty remarks to the young professional women that visited him on campus. His alter ego, a humanities professor, was the perfect deception; wry and clever, yet seemingly nerdy and weak. But there were no flirtatious females or anecdotes this night. The Elitist was watching. He was watching for a sign.

He knew Red Force had been in hiding for months. The map showed that the usual effects of deception weren't working. Common sense and rational thinking had spread back into the country somehow. It was difficult to tell what brought on this stroke of luck; perhaps it was a giant dose of reality in the form or potential financial catastrophe, or empty promises from impotent leadership. The Elitist could feel it in the air, but more importantly, it was in the air for everyone who wanted a big snoot-full.

Diligence was on the docket. This night, vigilance was the main course of a meal the Elitist ate all too often; and Red Force always gave him violent diarrhea.

Tonight, he searched for The Machine.

It was Brazen Man; the toughest, most stubborn Kentucky-fried sonovabitch The Elitist had ever locked horns with who first fired up The Machine. The specs of which were a mystery until an anonymous report came in from Illinois only a week before. The report was of camouflaged man, on top of a giant metallic box about the size of a school bus, billowing pink smoke into the air. The witnesses heard scratchy noises, like an old AM radio from the dashboard of a 1950's Ford. Then, before they knew what happened, everyone around the thundering contraption buckled to the ground.

When they stood up again, The Machine was gone. Only a pile of unearthed topsoil was left. Brazen Man had tunneled away. The remaining witnesses then felt the effect of the device. Their eyes glazed over as logic and reason left their brains. They spoke of their worst fears as if they were real. They repeated ancient phrases their parents had taught them and knew to be wrong. They became hateful of strangers, bigoted, sexist and angry. Luckily, one lone man wore an MP3 player loaded with alternative music and news podcasts and was spared the effects of the Machine; just long enough to warn The Elitist.

The Machine was only a whisper of a fable of a tall tale of a legend until then. It was real, and it was turning people into fear-mongering idiots. Brazen Man had to be stopped and the Machine destroyed.

The Elitist tracked the reports that had come in over the past two weeks, and since politics was such a topic of conversation this October, the Machine was making more news. It was erratic. He would pop up in Ohio, then in Florida. Then back to Virginia and Tennessee. The trail wasn't as troubling as the Machine itself. The Elitist pieced together some specifications, but a major detail was missing. How was it powered? He fully expected it to guzzle gasoline but he could not be sure. There could be new solar panels installed…but, come on.

Then it hit him. Before he could work it all out on his iMac, he took a last sip of his nightcap and headed to Pennsylvania. He hopped in the hydrogen-powered jump jet and raced off to intercept.

When he got there, the Machine was already in business. The Elitist set the plane down and retrieved his trusty utility backpack, some goggles for eye protection in case there was a bright flash, and ran down a steep hill toward Brazen Man.

The Machine had two large pipes that emitted a pinkish steam into the air. Presumably this was the toxin that made people ignore reason and make decisions based on stereotypes and the opinions of talk show hosts. Brazen Man cackled maniacally on top of the behemoth as The Elitist snuck behind him with a pair of giant hedge clippers. He snipped the wires attached to the ground one by one.

The citizens of southeastern Pennsylvania ran screaming with fear into the night. Within seconds, the Machine ceased to shake and tremor. Before Brazen Man could see what was happening, The Elitist knocked him out with a rubber band-rolled New York Times. He fell into a heap on the meadow below.

"Pretty diabolical, I have to say." The Elitist said, as he dialed the local authorities.

Dazed, Brazen Man looked up: "How…how did you know?"

"Come on, man." The Elitist said. "I've seen you guys exploit the power of fear, racism, hazardous waste, fossil fuels and religious-inspired fear mongering. I just thought about the election coming up in a few days. I thought to myself: 'How could these Brazen Rednecks use the first legitimate black candidate for the president of the United States to their advantage?'

Then I realized you made all your stops with The Machine in graveyards. I put Halloween together with racism and I figured out that you clowns figured out a way to harness the raw, ignorant power of a million racist grandpas, sickened by the though of a black man running the country, literally rolling in their graves! Ingenious!"

"Actually", Brazen Man said, "It was just an old tractor motor. I used cooking oil."

"Same thing." The Elitist said. "Shut up."

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