Manfred Bancourt wrote short stories that got him in trouble. He was a manic typist on an old, IBM Selectric, pre-digital relic. Manfred produced ream after ream of young-adult science fiction, but his stories took a more opinionated twist with the election of the new president. He began to write articles critical of the new regime. They were uploaded to the internet and widely circulated, often going viral.
Elisa Trinity helped Manfred. She was a computer wiz, multi-cultural Transsexual who claimed to be from the planet Saturn. Elisa had a vivid imagination. She also had some rock solid, formidable computer skills. Elisa wanted to draw attention to Manfred’s stories and articles. She didn’t mean to get him in trouble.
Elisa used trolls and bots. She liked to play tricks. She started the “Harem” story that nearly brought down the government. She rationalized, “one dirty trick deserves another… they started it with Pizza-gate.” Elisa finished it with Harem-gate, Frump’s secret depository of women stashed in the basement of the White House. It went viral and caused great consternation in the halls of Congress. The unanticipated result was higher favorable ratings for President Frump, especially among men. Elisa was heart broken and that’s when she decided to promote Manfred’s articles that were both honest and damaging to the Frump Administration.
Tweets and articles, both true and false, led to a series of damaging rumors mostly aimed at Trump and his appointed allies: “Trump is an illegal alien from Mars,” “the president is the Manchurian Candidate,” “Trump is the head of an illegal cartel.” The flurry exploded into derisive combat. Supporters of the administration hit hard with their own liturgy of insults and rumors. Everyone blamed Manfred Bancourt. His articles were the fuel that ignited Civil Disobedience and the Season of Political Discontent.
“The weather isn’t helping,” Orlow Fabricatum observed as he talked with Elisa Trinity.
“Natural disasters are worse than ever,” Elisa replied, “it’s draconian. It’s apocalyptic. Global warming has been dismissed as fake news.”
“Yes,” Orlow sagely responded, “and biblical prophesy, god’s will, is blamed for the devastation.”
The island of Puerto Rico continued to sink into the ocean.
Parts of Houston were still under water.
Axel Ramirez was no longer cognizant. He was caught in the flood of circumstances. He continued to follow the suggestions of Harvey, his alcoholic beverage. He refused to forsake Harvey and that put Axel in a precarious situation as he sank beneath the waves.
Another rumor became viral based on an article by Bancourt… “Trump signed a contract with the devil.”
Twitter exploded, “Trump is in league with Lucifer.” “Trumpism is a satanic cult that rules the world.”
The president was extremely upset. His early morning twitters were no longer having an effect against the avalanche of counter-intelligence and breaking-news (no one could tell fake from real).
Something had to be done. It was concluded that Manfred Bancourt was the culprit who began the scurrilous landslide of articles that were damaging to the president. A presidential decree was signed releasing the Hounds-of-Hell to hunt down and terminate Manfred.
Elisa Trinity became increasingly distraught. She blamed herself for Manfred’s predicament. She consulted doctor Zosimo Kulio, eminent mentalist. He was sympathetic to the quest for truth. His advice was cryptic, “look no further than what your eyes can see. Follow the path like the flow of water in a stream.”
Manfred became more upset everyday. He was bothered by ordinary experiences. He heard voices and constant yelling. Advertising attacked him on the street and in his home. The news was incessant. The country was choking in smog. He listened to a report on the radio about the chicken of tomorrow. It was from the past about using antibiotics to make bigger chickens. Chickens grew to enormous size.
Bancourt never made money from the books he published. He did better as a journalist. He’d been upset by the cruel rhetoric and lack of compassion spewing from the White House. He became compelled to counter the lies. His friend’s life was threatened… Elisa Trinity was a Transsexual. The current administration was cracking down on LGBT People and every other minority.
Manfred’s days were numbered. The Hounds of Hell were targeting his soul. Trinity tried to protect him, but she was easily put down and labeled a wanton whore. Hannity and others verbally crushed the queers who refused to bow down and humble themselves. Independent women were another target. Free speech was becoming Alt Speech.
Manfred stood alone against the ferocious beasts. Dr. Zosimo retreated into his cavern of silence.
Mr. Death walked into the room smoking a cheroot. Death was always smiling. In any other circumstance Mr. Death could have been a good natured friend, a drinking buddy, or someone who listens as you unload your problems. Unfortunately, Mr. Death never exposed that side of himself. He was a workaholic who dispatched his assignments quickly and efficiently without chit-chat or comradery. Still, Mr. Death was deeply aware that something was missing, some part of Death was suffering from abject neglect. He hid all this from himself; but a spark ignited when Death looked into Manfred’s eyes. Mr. Death saw Manfred Bancourt’s life, every moment… and understanding began to dawn. Mr. Death found a friend.
Instead of eliminating Manfred from the world of the living, Death decided to change the rules. He would not take Manfred to his grave; instead he would hide him.
Manfred Bancourt was taken to the Land of the Dying Sun where he would continue to write articles and distribute them… He would continue to expose the truth.
He didn’t actually, but I thought it was a good way to draw attention to the improbable events that happened while Trump monopolized the TV screens. Many earth shaking occurrences and changes were overlooked during the election season debacle.
Where to begin…
David Oblivion sat in the Hot Box waiting for the interview to start. He’d been waiting for eleven days and the Box was getting hotter. Food and water, the basics, were provided through a slit in the metal door. He was the one on trial, but David had his own questions that needed to be answered.
David was waiting to be interviewed by a man who called himself Death. He was a representative of the “New World Order.” David was one of the few people who knew the New Order was already in control. It happened while everyone was hypnotized by The Donnie on TV.
Lavonia Freestand wanted to free David. She was an activist who believed Black Lives Matter. David wasn’t Black, but he could have been… and really it didn’t matter. David was a victim and Lavonia knew he was innocent. She worked in social media penetrating the walls of lies that separated people from one another. Most people were attached to the internet, floating in cyberspace, living in virtual reality like make-believe celebrities. Real life was superceded by Second Life while the New Order quietly took control.
According to the Donnie the world was about to be decimated by Muslim terrorists. Immigrants were destroying America. The Middle East was a tinderbox because a weak, former President failed to bomb the place to kingdom come. Different truths for different folks.
Conspiracy theories also existed. Some theories were fact: no one knew about the washing machine on the Moon. No one knew about the colonization of alien planets. No one knew about the Third World War that began in 1975 and never ended. It was too late for David Oblivion. He wrestled with himself -wrestled with his realizations… David knew!
Lavonia Freestand wore a sliver lame’ gown fashioned from spider silk. She was having a nosh at Katz’s Virtual Emporium.
“Hi there,” Monsoon Rex sauntered up to Lavonia and stunned her with his X-ray eyes. She faltered but stayed true to her digitally enhanced persona.
“Bub,” she said, “what’s your game?” Lavonia suspected enemy collusion or worse.
“I’m here to soft talk you,” he said, “I want your soul.”
“Are you Death?” She queried.
“No,” he said, “Death is with David Oblivion doing an interview.”
Lavonia couldn’t help herself. She was drawn to the devious stranger like a motherless child looking for love. She lost her grip and forgot about David. Lavonia and Monsoon shifted into retrograde.
“I’m here to interview you,” Death uttered like a bass drum
“I know,” David replied like a shy, adolescent girl.
“You trying to seduce me?” Death said.
“No way… just following the rules. I have a few questions.”
“Don’t screw with me… You know who I am!” Death was indignant.
“I know… but, it’s important.”
“OK, ask away,” said a subdued Death.
“I only have one question, really… Why do you exist? Why all the drama… What’s the big deal.”
“Long story short: you want me here… All of you. I make your lives meaningful because you are always under my threat… Always trying to cheat me… Always surviving in my shadow. Without me there would be nothing to live for. You need me to goad and push you into the future. You need me to make the future possible.”
While David was being interviewed, a new President was elected. The future was beginning to unfold.
It was the end and David knew it. He hoped the world would survive the inevitable.
“I’ve been called many names, none of them flattering, all of them accurate. The litany of names is too exhausting for me to repeat — just call me Mr. Death.” The dark, stick figure stepped out of a niche in the wall and into the dim light of the corridor where Ann Anon and Daniel Ot were shielding one another from the sudden frigid-air. Death continued, “I’m not here for you, not yet. I must say I’m simply intrigued by your venturesome and confused lives. Most people are insignificant. Some people have important roles to play that can alter current and future events.” Mr. Death stepped back and disappeared like a dying spark. Before the interruption, Ann and Daniel were plotting ways to survive the machinations of Jupiter Fogg and Rufus Thyme. In many ways Daniel and Ann were similar, but there were complications. Daniel did not know Ann was really Aaron Keepx sent by Thyme to spy on Fogg. A heavy undertone of confusion began to mix with the boiling hormones of adolescents. As for Aaron, he was never certain whether he was really a boy or girl… and he never understood his role as spy. He wanted to believe it was all a game or costume party. Aaron played along as Ann because he didn’t know what else to do… and, as Ann he began to rely more and more on Daniel. Mr. Death added another ingredient to the plot. They could not take Death for granted. Ann/Aaron felt Death was the only reality in a game where nothing else was real.
Rufus Thyme was arguing with Alaina Shore, the other person who inhabited his body. “I want to kill the boy,” Rufus shouted, “I want to peel off his flesh and grind up his bones.”
“No,” Alaina Shouted back, “You mustn’t! The boy is useful. He is sending information about the culprit Fogg.”
“Useless information!” Thyme aspirated, “He is a dolt. He says Fogg is building a machine — so what — I already know that. Big deal — I’m allowing him free reign and he tells me nothing of value.”
“But,” Shore whined, “I like Aaron. He consoles me in my sorrow — trapped as I am in this wretched body with a monster like you!” Her voice rose louder and louder till she was screaming. Rufus backed down. He knew when to placate Alaina Shore. If he didn’t submit to her the outcome might be death to both of them. Rufus retreated to his laboratory to commiserate with his own project, a metal-behemoth that could forcibly suck the consciousness out of any living brain. Thyme was convinced that brains from hundreds of living souls were the only means to access the powers of the Philosopher’s Stone. His machine would give him the means to rid himself of the meddling Alaina Shore… and, more importantly to assume the mantle of Immortality. The Philosopher’s Stone would give him the authority and power of a true God.
Blood was running in the streets of Red City. People panicked. Earthquakes rumbled daily. A tidal wave appeared out of nowhere… there was no ocean surrounding the city, but the wave was as huge as a Tsunami washing away hundreds of lives. Alarms shrieked like banshees — mean’t to warn people the sirens only created more panic. Looters and rapists rampaged through the city. War raged in the outer zones — tribal skirmishes exploded into full scale war exasperated by Red City Magistrates. Laser weapons were used to incinerate people who lost their homes and roamed the streets begging for help. Open sewers became the breeding ground for plagues and genetic mutations. Television reported the carnage along with programming as usual. Ad rates were increased. Business was booming. Parts of the city behind protective barriers continued to prosper and thrive. The people behind the walls watched the devastation on TV as if it was a game show or soap opera. A breakout of Zombies was seen as breakthrough television. The living-dead were not allowed to intrude on the lives of the wealthy and powerful — the walls were electrified to keep the riffraff out. Blood flowed like water — the city was collapsing — but, Red City thrived on blood!
Sindhar sat in a sparse, cold room: a monk’s cell. He eschewed ordinary, mortal life and joined the order of Golgol Monks. A rumor contended that Sindhar was the founder and leader of the Monks. The monastery hung in the heavens above the tallest geological peaks. Sindhar used a mathematical language called RB to calculate and code everything in existence. This became his mission and obsession. Once the calculations were complete Sindhar could rename the world and everything in it.
(to be continued)