Monday, October 31, 2005
Black And Silver Swoop Part Two
Thanks to Jamie for the parade photos. Visit her wonderful photoblog here: Jamas.Org
Late Friday morning I boarded an eastbound train and collapsed into a vandalized plastic seat. It was tagged with "*~Alaska MoFo~*" in black permanent marker. I tossed back several gelcaps of unidentified medicine, capsules that would dissolve among the puddles of gastric acid and mucus simmering in my stomach, dispersing highly trained sickness assassins to march through my bloodstream massacring any foreign organisms they encountered. Their targets, the microscopic army bent on ravaging my squishy innards, already had a head start, their trenches dug, their artillery in place. The battle would be long and ugly. Hopefully my white blood cells had already begun a pre-emptive strike on the occupying force.
I hoped the gelcaps were fast acting. I drifted off into a shallow nap and waited to be awoken by the train's shuddering halt of arrival at Union Station.
Elsewhere in Chicago, high in a skyscraper boardroom, several old men sat in leather chairs, encircling a mahogony conference table, puffing cigars...
"Gentlemen, we're at 66%. Good morning, my friends."
"Good morning indeed, Wellington. Everything is coming together quickly. By my timetable, we'll have our rapture in just over a year. God's people are very pleased with our progress. I'm told we'll receive the intonations next week."
"Yes, but we don't trust angels, now do we? I'll believe those chants'll work once we have them on the airwaves."
"Yes sir. I understand. Those omnipotent types haven't let us down yet, though, have they? I have faith in them."
"You're a pinnacle of understated humor, Gordon. Now please-"
"Yes, yes, of course. Down to business. May I recap before we discuss our plans for today's festivities?"
"Please do, Gordon."
"Our campaign for eternal life and sovereignty over the next kingdom of men took a great leap forward for the second consecutive October, outstripping the probability scenarios by leaps and bounds. It's as if baseball has been touched by divine intervention, ha ha."
"Cut the crap, Gordon."
"Yes, Wellington. Ahem. As you all know, in order for us to command the next kingdom of men on earth, we must usher in the sixth armageddon. Some elements of apocalypse can be controlled, while others are random or controlled by our divine sponsor. We're in Chicago today because the White Sox have won the World Series. We checked off Boston last year. All that remains on the baseball list is another Chicago team, the Cubs. Once we have all three winning the World Series, we can spark all the requisite natural disasters, release our designer plagues, trigger the earth's magma core, and finally-"
"We already know the baseball part. We already know how the end of the world will play. Skip ahead to the pertinent information."
"Right. Today's test runs. We'll have a concentrated mass of brainless sports fans squeezed together up and down Lasalle Street. It's a perfect opportunity to test our new line of neurotoxins.
"88XYZ has dual effects: first, it induces hysteria via phantasmagoria. In plain English, it makes the victim hallucinate the macabre. Horrible visions. They'll imagine themselves to be under assault by demons and vampires and dragons and so forth. The mammalian fight or flight mechanism will kick in. Essentially, these people will become primal savages. They'll tear each other's throats out.
"Secondly, 88XYZ releases a delayed reaction neurotoxin. An hour after ingestion, the nervous systems will catch fire. Victims will feel as if each nerve ending has been dipped in hot lava. They'll writhe and scream. Before the agony peaks and death releases them, their high body temperatures will cause their innards to boil. As they die, liquefied flesh will seep out from pores and orifices. Eyeballs will explode in sockets. The streets will run with people puddles.
"If this dry run- forgive my pun, gentlemen- works well, we'll submit this to God for approval. I know he'll like this. I've been working with him ever since the concentration camp gas chambers and I know his taste. This is just the sort of cruelty he enjoys. It'll make a perfect 'pestilence' for the end of the world next fall."
"Thank you, Gordon. Where did we get this fine chemical, and how do we deliver it?"
"Ah, Wellington, I'm glad you asked. We made this at the Abbott Labs campus just north of Chicago. A local product, if you will. Our people are still trying to modify this to create an airborne version, but as it is now, we'll only be able to test the ingestible version."
"So we need the poor fools to eat it? How?"
"Candy of course! It is Halloween, after all. I have a man in place with the parade motorcade. He'll hand out the poisoned suckers to the poisoned suckers. Our first test subjects, I believe, will inevitably be children."
"Yes. Get a load of this..."
Meanwhile, back on LaSalle Street...
My fever made me sweat, which made me wet, which made me cold, which made my afflicted flesh burn even hotter. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of ailing fire. It was a bad decision to come to these festivities, and I knew my penance would involve staying bedridden for a week. I might even require a hospital visit.
Thinking I might as well make the best of it, I wove my way through the ecstatic noisy crowd to the front row. I risked trampling by the hordes behind me, but this was a once in a lifetime victory parade. Right? I had chosen history over prudence.
The Champions approached. The lead bus was helmed by Paul Konerko, power hitting first baseman. He waved to his adoring fans, soaking up the worship of thousands of grateful Chicagoans, myself among them. I saw Ozzie Guillen watching the tickertape rain from the rooftops. No doubt he wished the raining confetti was colored in his Venezualan national colors, red, yellow, and blue. Bobby Jenks looked down to the masses, a big dumb cornfed grin plastered on his face. I was surprised he wasn't on a cellphone, yelling "Look, Ma! Top of the world! Can you believe it?" Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey, rode atop one bus, a cracked out joyful lizardlike expression on his face, likely the results of decades of serious drug abuse. I was getting what I came to see. I was happy.
Police maintained order. They calmly and gently pushed back overzealous fans trying to slip the barricade, those intent upon leaping on a bus to molest a favorite player. The noise of cheering shook the sky, and the only sounds to be heard over the din were the occasional quips from A.J. Pierzinski, who wielded a bullhorn, yelling inanities like "yeah baby we done did it! whooo!"
I looked down the street whence the parade had come, and I witnessed a strange sight: a child, two teenage boys, and an elderly woman had vaulted the wooden barricade and were assaulting a police officer. Then each other. The cop sprayed the teenagers with mace, but they kept kicking him in the crotch, undeterred. He fell. They pounced upon him, tearing skin from his face with their dirty fingernails. The old lady was bashing the teenagers with her cane, and the child, a little girl, was chewing on the old lady's hip. Through her clothes.
As I saw another cop abandon his post to save his brother in blue, insanity and psychosis erupted in hot spots throughout the crowd. People were going batshit crazy. All of them had one thing in common: Dum-Dum suckers. They were eating candy.
I got plonked in the noggin by a wrapped sucker. It had come from the final bus.
I looked up to the passing procession before me and spied the culprit, the vendor, the distributor of hateful sugar: It was Southpaw, the White Sox mascot. He held a pillowcase full of suckers, and he flung them to unsuspecting White Sox fans on either side of the street.
Something had to be done. I had to stop Southpaw before Chicago tore itself apart.
Conclusion soon, I promise. Yes, I am aware how ridiculous this story has become. Pray I don't invite aliens to the next chapter. 3:15 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
RECENTBlack And Silver Swoop Part One
Our Modern Parlance
Ramshackle Ambush Part Two
Ramshackle Ambush Part One
Better Than Parachutes