Recent events have made me both angry and depressed. So I’ve turned to writing. Some of these stories aren’t any good. Some of these stories should be expanded so that they are actual stories, rather than, I don’t know, plot outlines. But, hey, I wrote them. So here goes.
Betty walked into the lunch area, the blood still dripping from the bullet holes on her jacket. Paul looked at her and asked, “Long day?”
“Ugh,” she said as she opened the fridge and pulled out a Diet Coke. “Like you wouldn’t believe. I was involved in another school shooting.”
“Another one?” Paul said. “Isn’t that the third one this year?”
“Fourth,” Betty said as she took a sip of the soda and then a deep breath.
“Surely, somebody is going to get suspicious, right? I mean, the year isn’t even half over and we’re already at four school shootings. And you were at the previous ones, too. Doesn’t anyone recognize you?”
“Nope,” Betty said. “They look at the blood and gore, but not at the faces. That’s how the whole thing works. That’s why nobody realizes the entire thing is faked.”
“But still, four is kind of a lot,” Paul said.
Betty shrugged. “At least I’m getting overtime. What about you?”
“I don’t have another part until next month and it’s a small one – just another protester.”
“Protesting is fun. You get to hang out with a lot of your coworkers and listen to music and shout stuff.”
“Yeah, but you’re also out in the heat nearly all day. I’d rather switch with you and be in a school shooting.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” Betty said, wiping the fake blood from her jacket. “This stuff gets everywhere and then you have to lie really, really still and pretend you are dead.”
“I’m good at lying still,” Paul said. “How long does that go on?”
“Hours,” Betty said. “Until they load you into an ambulance. Then you’re away from the cameras and can finally move.”
Paul shrugged himself. “Doesn’t seem so bad. I can get some shut eye.”
“You can’t sleep, because then people might see you’re breathing. You have to control your breaths so it appears you’re dead.”
“Damn. That does sound hard.”
“Eh, it’s a living.”
That was when Harry walked into the lunch room and turned on the TV. “Did you guys see this?” He switched the channel over to the news, where there was a breaking report of a school shooting.
“Is this yours?” Paul asked Betty.
“No, mine won’t air until next week,” Betty said. “I wonder who did this. It looks so professional. Look at those dead bodies. I wonder what union those guys are in.”
Harry said, “I don’t think those guys are in a union. I don’t think those are actors are all.”
Betty looked at him incredulously. “What are talking about? It’s all fake, Harry. They told you that your first day here. All the school shootings, all the protests, all the bad things that happen, it’s all fake. You know that.”
“Look at it,” Harry said, pointing to the TV. “That doesn’t look fake.”
“Of course it doesn’t look fake,” Paul said. “Then it wouldn’t work. That’s why they hire professional actors.”
“And these actors are Oscar-worthy,” Betty said. “Look at those grieving parents! God, I wish I could play a grieving parent, but I can’t cry on cue.”
“I’m telling you, I don’t think these are actors,” Harry said. “In fact, I don’t think any of the bad things that they’ve shown on TV is fake. I think...I think this is real and we’re the fake ones.”
“What do you mean?” Betty asked.
“I think we’re just the delusions of some paranoid mind,” Harry said. “Think about it: how can everything be faked? How can it all be an act? Wouldn’t someone reveal the truth somehow?”
“Nobody cares about a few nutcases,” Paul said. “You’re overthinking this.”
“No, I’m not,” Harry said. “This footage is real. What about all the children in the school? What about what they saw? What about their friends who died? How do you explain all of that?”
“Easy, Harry, calm down,” Betty said. “Take deep breaths. You know those kids are actors, too. In fact, everyone at those schools are actors.”
“That doesn’t make any sense!” Harry yelled.
“Reality doesn’t have to make sense,” Paul said. “That’s why it’s reality. I mean, come on, do you honestly think we went to the moon, too?”
Betty looked at him. “We did go to the moon.”
“No, Stanley Kubrick filmed that on a soundstage,” Paul said. “That’s why there aren’t any stars in the sky.”
“No, there weren’t any stars in the sky because it was day,” Betty said. “Do you really think the moon landing was faked?”
“Betty, we work for a massive organization that fakes everything from school shootings to lung cancer being caused by cigarettes. How do you not think the moon landing was faked?”
The argument went on for hours, with the two going back and forth with their evidence or lack thereof. Meanwhile, Harry sat down and continued to watch the footage of the latest school shooting, wondering if he was, perhaps, not real at all, but a figment of someone’s imagination. He tried to remember his family, if he had children, if he was married, even his last name, but none of them came to him.
As he watched the latest atrocity, he thought, “Perhaps it’s better to be a figment. I bet it’s tough for real people in the real world.”
LAURA INGRAHAM: Since more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents and temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps.
YOU, THE AVERAGE VIEWER: What what did she say?
LAURA INGRAHAM: I remember summer camp, don’t you? When your parents drop you off there, you are crying and screaming, because you don’t want to leave them. Sure, these children aren’t being dropped off by their parents, but by I.C.E. agents, but it’s the same thing. Children always miss their parents, but they have to get over it and understand that camp is now their life. You go to camp and you do the forced activities that the camp counselors tell you to do. You make arts and crafts. You swim in the lake. You sleep underneath paper thin foil blankets and you never, ever hug anyone ever, because that’s against the rules. Of course, these kids won’t be swimming anywhere and, of course, they aren’t allowed any arts and crafts – you can’t give them even a pencil or else they might make a shiv – but, again, essentially like summer camp. We all remember how miserable summer camp was at first, right? How much it seemed like it was the end of the world, but then it wasn’t. The world didn’t end, nobody died, and everybody was fine. Sure, these kids are probably never going to see their parents again, but after summer camp, I never wanted to see my parents again, either, so you see how lucky they are? They get to take care of themselves now. I would have killed to live on my own and take care of myself when I was their age, I thought I was so mature. And now they can do it. You see, it’s actually a blessing in disguise. In fact, we are giving these children a gift. We are taking them to summer camp and giving them a gift. They should be thanking us. They should be paying us. After all, summer camp isn’t cheap. We need to get these kids to pay us for the privilege to putting them in cages and forcing them to never hug one another. Sorry, did I say “cages”? I meant, uh, fences. We all had fence walls when we were in summer camp. They should be so lucky.
[Laura Ingraham begins bleeding profusely from the eyes and is then escorted off the stage. She is replaced by Tucker Carlson.]
TUCKER CARLSON: These children are all actors. They are all actors being paid by the Democrat party. You shouldn’t believe anything you read or see on the newspapers or on those other news channels. Fox News is the only trusted news source, you should only be watching and listening to us and I’m here to tell you that these children actors are being paid tons of money to cry on camera and cry on demand and its all in order to tug at your heartstrings, but the jokes on them, because I can see right through them, I can see right through their lies.
[Tucker Carlson also starts bleeding from the eyes.]
TUCKER CARLSON: And, by the way, a lot of the people yelling at you on TV don’t even have children, so don’t for a second let them take the moral high ground.
The year is 2022. Trump’s second term is half over. The wall that he has been talking about since the very beginning of his campaign has finally been built, although he had to make some compromises. In fact, it’s not technically a “wall” – technically, it’s low income housing. This is how he got the Democrats to agree to it. Across the 1,933 miles of the United States-Mexican border, a long, winding row of low income apartment buildings were built.
Because the apartment building – which some wise-ass called “Morning Glory” – needed to fit exactly on the border, the apartments themselves were small. Each apartment was only about five hundred square feet, 20 feet by 25 feet, usually with a small kitchenette area and a smaller bathroom. There was one row of apartments was on the U.S. side and one row on the Mexican side and a hallway between them. Even the building had a border.
There were close to 70,000 apartments on the first floor. Since it was supposed to be a wall, however, it didn’t just have one floor, but ten, which meant there were almost 700,000 apartments. Each apartment number was a long string of numbers and letters.
The Morning Glory held so many people, it became like a state unto itself. The people who lived there had specific jobs – some worked sanitation, cleaning the waste, acting like old night soil men, gathering it for those in the U.S. or Mexico to take away. There were people who cooked and cleaned and delivered meals and taught classes to the children. There were doctors who delivered babies, babies that were born and grew up in the Morning Glory, knowing nothing except those apartments and those hallways.
Because the wall was there to keep people out, of course. The doors weren’t locked – that would be a fire hazard – but if you opened them on the U.S. side, you would see a row of big, scary automatic weapons pointed at you. The message was clear: we don’t want you here, stay over there.
When the years passed and the U.S. began deporting more and more people into the Morning Glory, however, the Mexican side decided enough was enough, too: they erected their own rows of big, scary automatic weapons. “You don’t want our immigrants, fine,” they said. “We don’t want your castoffs either.”
Which meant that the Morning Glory was now not just a wall and low income housing, it was also a prison. A prison which became its own city, its own economy, its own world.
In 2042, for the twentieth anniversary of the building of the Morning Glory, a United Nations inspector was allowed inside. He noticed that a large number of people who lived there spoke in a new hybrid language – not just a mixture of English and Spanish, but a completely new language that added a large number of words. “Maga,” for instance, meant a general stupidity – “Stop being so maga.” “Ice” meant evil, “trump” was a general swear word (which was often merged with “fuck” – “trumpfucked” being a very common phrase), and so on.
The U.N. inspector came back from his visit with a full report and declared that parts of the Morning Glory were equivalent to a third world country. There were rows of apartments that were ruled by gangs who extorted money or supplies from people. There were murders that went unsolved, the bodies of those killed left with the waste for the night soil men to remove. It was its own country and it had the same problems a country did, only confined to 1,933 miles.
The report was met with calls of “fake news” from the United States government and its news organizations. When the U.N. inspector heard this, he could only laugh. When asked why, he answered, “In the Glory’s own patois, ‘fake news’ means the truth that nobody wants to hear.”