Fray Bash - Armageddon
10/21/2008, 3:09 PM #
Though the hour grows late, the great Fray Bash of '08 shows little sign of slowing. The grounds around the main hall have grown more quiet as revelers abandon the hills and pathways to escape the growing chill, but the faint sounds of celebration continue to pulsate in the ballroom and snippets of enthusiastic conversation and relaxed laughter continue to carry on the cool night breeze.
But not everyone is drawn to the ongoing festivities; some prefer the stimulus of conflict, and so it still is in the valley of the partisans, where a reasonable man can no longer be found. The megaphone-powered speechifying has turned even more acrimonious than usual and the fray's two political factions have retreated to the right and left sides of the clearing respectively to regroup and to review their tactical positions. The groups continue to trade half-hearted verbal shells while their leaders inspect their individual arsenals and attempt to energize their bases.
"The GOP is the party of good ol' Joe SixPack and Hot Moms. Er, Hockey Moms!"
"More like Joe Vogler and the AIP!"
"No! Like Joe the Plumber, American Everyman!"
"Yeah, just like Joe the Plumber, the party of liars and tax cheats! Joe's a plant and a crook!"
"Ha! According to your Joe, Biden the unpredictable, your man Barack isn't even ready to be president!"
Even the most clairvoyant of pundits had failed to predict the importance of the Joe factor in the current election cycle...
Satisfied that the area surrounding the conservative encampment is secure for now, a handsome man with an incongruous monocle turns to address his compatriots. Somewhere along the way Urquhart has ditched the dapper tux he was wearing on the red carpet at the beginning of the night's festivities and is now sporting an equally dapper Brigadier General's uniform, somewhat inexplicably displaying the archaic crossed sword and baton insignia of the old British military. "Look sharp, people, these are decisive times! Imperative that we identify and press every advantage in the weeks remaining to us!" Urq indicates the gruff and dangerous man standing next to him. "Sgt_ROCK here has your marching orders!"
Beneath a battered WWII helmet, sgt_ROCK's low forehead squats malignantly over intense beetle-black eyes and a flat pugilists nose. He glowers at the ragtag band while intently chewing the decimated butt of an old cigar. The bandoliers criss-crossing his chest are festooned with ammo and live grenades.
"Awright ya worthless fray grunts, I wancha ta fall in and form up on the milquetoast here," sgt_ROCK indicates Kazillions with a perfunctory wave. "He'll issue ya yer quiver'a Talkin' Points. Treat 'em with respect. They're yer first line'a defense against the bleedin' hearts!"
Behind Kazillions sits the huddled form of Kent Lansville, laboriously pumping the treadles of a spindle-mounted whetstone. He alternately inspects and then applies each Talking Point to the spinning stone, producing a fiery cascade of sparks, repeating the action until he's satisfied with the result. His "Kent Lansville" name tag has been scratched out and "Angel of Dearth" hastily pencilled in beneath. The Republican foot soldiers quickly collect their weapons and begin the task of familiarizing themselves with the arsenal of the day. In front and slightly to the left of the encampment an older but still energetic man sits and watches the silhouettes milling about in the liberal camp across the clearing. He has intense glowering eyes, and he is holding a shield with an immaculately detailed Guardant Ass scratched out and replaced with a crudely painted Rampant Elephant. Demcon is restless and impatient with his conservative allies, but then Demcon is restless and impatient as a general rule.
Meanwhile, in the liberal conclave, MichaelRyerson rubs his hands with glee. "We've got momentum on our side, boys! But for God's sake don't relax your vigilance for even a moment! Those bastards stole the election in '04 and they'll do it again if we let 'em!" Tartuffe nods agreement as he supervises NickD, Woolley, and acro101 who have removed their clothing and are stuffing them with loose straw from bags emblazoned with the stenciled word "ACORN" in a bid to inflate their apparent numbers for the coming battle. Several figures are scurrying about in the dim light propping up straw men here and there all around the perimeter.
As preparations continue apace, several malformed trolls in the center of the clearing continue banging their fists on plastic toy keyboards in a transparent bid to reignite active combat. Everyone's blood is high and the participants find they are in the mood to oblige. All pretense at trading point and counterpoint in a civilized fashion falls to the wayside as the two factions scramble out of their foxholes and from behind their barricades to converge on the center in the great Fray Clash of '08.
LaurieAnnM laughs as she enthusiastically swings her hammer. "I see the Kool-aid swilling Obamabots are spinning like crazy tonight!" She's standing back-to-back with Demcon, who matches her enthusiasm stroke for stroke.
Demcon grins fiercely. "Intelligent voters like me will see right through his Messiah image to the pissant woman-hater at his core! It's rabid Obamanut fanatics like these that pushed me away from the Democratic party."
At the moment Demcon is trading blows with another_liberal. "And 'old blinky' is a viable alternative? He comes across like someone put cocaine in his metamucil!"
Demcon scoffs. "I see you don't possess the posting acumen to actually produce a point, child. Or the originality, either, since the metamucil thing is Letterman's."
Tartuffe weighs in, engaging Demcon on a second front. "McSame voted 92.34769% of the time with his ideological clone, the war criminal George W. Bush (see [link]!) Oh, and the Bridge-to-Nowhere Lie Watch is up to 357 (you guessed it: [link])!"
Kazillions is dancing back and forth wielding his rapier wit with abandon. "Reverend Wright is Obama's mentor and spiritual advisor and it's common knowledge that Obama himself pals around with terrorists. He's a 'Big Government Socialist Lib'. And Michelle Obama clearly hates America. Any idiot can see that 9/11 and Saddam were undeniably linked 'cuz after 9/11 we told him to shape up or we'd kick his ass and he didn't! Shape up, that is! The Democrats forced the banks to make bad loans! I admit the poll numbers look bad right now but you can't trust polls calling it for Democrats, 'cuz Republicans don't open up to pollsters. It's a huge case of selection bias! Polls are only accurate if they call it for the Republicans! Nobody wants to be called a racist because he didn't want to vote for the black guy! And the record clearly shows that Fannie Mae gave more money to Obama than to anyone else!"
Constantly mindful of the immediate tactical situation, Urquhart claps Kaz on the back of the head. "Take a breath there, fellow enlightened one. Must keep our signal-to-noise ratio solidly in the black. You're entirely correct that Obama's association with Ayers matters, despite the wobbly claims of the tartuffle-another_liberal axis!"
Sidestepping Urq's sortie, acro101 responds in kind. "Oh yeah? What about Todd and Sarah and the Alaska Independence Party?? Does their association matter?"
MichaelRyerson, an old warrior in his own right, is swinging and connecting with some precision. "Of course it does, as long as these clowns keep insisting that Obama's association with a washed-up 60's radical matters. It also matters that Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska statute 39.52.110(a)."
Urq deftly avoids Ryerson's thrust. "Lies! The report was clearly inconclusive. Said so right in the summary!"
JackDallas snorts loudly while adopting the Crane position on an old stump. "What do you expect? Barack Hussein Obama is an empty suit and a lying sack of shit. Democrats are liars by definition. They've signed up 200,000 cheaters in Ohio and another 30,000 cheaters in Florida... and in Missouri, too!" He's attempting to kick Pace in the chin while hopping from foot to foot but finds himself hampered by poor balance.
Sgt_ROCK signals his agreement by ripping a grenade off his bandolier and pulling the pin with his teeth. "Yeah, and like 30,000 by ACORN in Indiana!" He counts to 3 (not 4 nor 5) and tosses the grenade. With a muffled "whump" tartuffe and ellens cuddly kittens go flying head over heels. ROCK bayonets a straw man for good measure.
Unsteadily, ellens cuddly kittens climbs to her feet and shakes her head in an attempt to quiet the ringing in her ears. "The fascists are killing defenseless animals!" she screeches. The other liberals glance at her quizically but don't question her point.
Taking advantage of the general confusion, artandsoul crawls from cover and leaps on JackDallas's back where she proceeds to garrote him with a line she picked up in an email somewhere. "Obama showed decisive leadership during the bailout debacle, Jack. I know it's a tall order, but stop being so stupid."
JackDallas's bulging eyes and purplish face belie his calm tone. "Libs are stupid by definition. The smartest Democrat is stupider than the stupidest Republican." With an audible groan he sinks to the ground, unconscious.
CaliforniaDreamin shoulders forward to fill the void left by Jack's demise. "DEMS DIDN'T LEARN THEIR LESSON RE: SOCIALISM WITH ADOLPH HITLER! Why should we think they might have learned it now?! Democrats are DESTROYING AMERICA!"
"Hmmmm. Blk Winchester conservatives deposited Grand Caymans private Oprah funds for RNC Rainbow Coalition when KADzillions Dallas smutzie Laurie clan breaks wind," points out lilmacg reasonably. Hostilities cease for a moment as both sides contemplate lilmacg's point.
And so it goes, with the apparent advantage swinging first one way and then the other. But ultimately the conservatives are no match for the well-funded liberals and Urq and Kaz urgently sound retreat as the Republican lines begin to buckle in the middle.
Ad hominem attacks and pointed barbs clatter and ricochet around them as Urquhart and his cohorts fall back to the foxholes and other meager shelter of their base. An unnamed redshirt carrying the company radio tumbles inertly on top of Urq in what he can only assume is a fortuitous plot development. Desperate now, he frantically claws the transceiver from its cradle and punches in what he fervently hopes is the frequency of the day. "This is Maggie Thatcher, repeat, this is Maggie Thatcher!" He holds his hand over the microphone and snaps "Don't ask!" at Angel of Dearth, who is looking at him quizzically. The radio hisses and pops, "...[sskkk] we have you, Maggie, go...[skksks]..." Urq hisses urgently at the transceiver, "October Surprise, dammit, October Surprise!" The radio responds tinnily, "...confirmed, Maggie. Operation October Surprise your location in fifteen..." Urq slumps back in relief. "Now we wait... HOLD THE LINE, THERE, YA IDJITS, THE BARBARIANS ARE AT THE GATES!" CaliforniaDreamin barely manages to fend off a sally from an invigorated DallasNE wielding a giant pair of scissors and a bucket of thick paste.
It starts almost imperceptibly at first, the whup, whup, whup of helicopter blades intermingled with the driving sound of a familiar opera. The noise swells in strength rapidly and the besieged conservatives cheer raggedly as an enormous Huey rises from behind the hill marking the rear position of the Republican encampment. Huge speakers mounted to the undercarriage of the chopper blare the rousing strains of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. A familiar figure leans from the aircraft's open door.
It's Sarah Palin looking ultra-fashionable and fetchingly mavericky in pink camo and Kawasaki 704's, her pageant-smile bright and her eyes glowing with the confident fervor of her cause. She's leaning out the door of her chopper directing a glowing stream of moose-stopping pellets of death from the door-mounted .50 cal machine gun into the shocked and awed figures on the liberal side of the battlefield, all of whom scatter in confusion at this latest development. "God I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning!" She's seemingly oblivious to the fact that it's actually late at night. The liberals are crawling about in frantic consternation unsure exactly how to respond to the Palin incursion.
"Barack America's an articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking African-American guy!" Joe Biden has appeared at the crest of the hill. He's bare-chested with a bloodied necktie knotted tightly around his head and he's holding a .50 cal under each arm. He screams "Stand up, Chuck," and charges down the hill while squeezing off a prolonged burst from one of the fifties. B-r-r-r-r-r-r-t! "You can't work in a 7-11 without an Indian accent!" B-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-t! "When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and said, 'Look, here's what happened.'" B-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-t! "You need to work on your pecs!"
Despite the non-specificity of Biden's seemingly random aim, Sarah's chopper shudders with the impact of several dozen slugs and the tail rotors fly apart with a keening wail. The aircraft begins to rotate slowly as oily black smoke erupts from the engine. "Say it ain't so, Joe!" Sarah frowns prettily and impotently shakes her fist as the chopper slides sideways over an adjacent hilltop and self-destructs.
As both the liberal and conservative blocs frantically try to regroup, the clearing is suddenly overrun by serious looking men in dark suits and sunglasses enthusiastically "restoring order".
John McCain strides into the clearing with a warrior's swagger, albeit a bit hunched over, and assumes a painfully defiant pose immediately before the conservative encampment. Barack Obama appears seemingly from nowhere enveloped in a rich halo of warm golden light, accompanied by the harmonic stylings of an angelic choir singing Springsteen's Born to Run. McCain acknowledges Obama's appearance with a nod. "Senator." Obama returns the gesture almost regally, if somewhat stutteringly. "uh... Senator."
The troll brigade's incessant pounding has reached a feverish pitch and the partisan camps have each fallen in line behind their candidate of choice. Each side is chanting loudly in an attempt to drown out the other. Occasional cries of "Get him!" and "String him up!" can be faintly heard from the right side over the clamorous din. It's starting to get ugly.
A muffled thumping sound heralds the arrival of yet another helicopter, a large Sea King emblazoned with the presidential seal. Dubya himself is recklessly leaning out the open door of Marine One waving a medium-sized object. "John," he screams over the clatter of the blades, "take this!" He heaves the object he's holding, a nondescript black suitcase stylishly embossed with the same seal as the helicopter. The briefcase spins lazily as it plummets in a steep arc to the center of the clearing between the two men.
The onlookers stir nervously. "Is that...?"
"It's the football!"
Both men, seemingly transfixed by the bizarre events of the evening, stare at the object with overt desire. McCain seems agitated, blinking and scowling furiously, his lips drawn painfully into a grim rictus. Obama by contrast seems calm, almost beatific. The fraysters watch in fascination as the two men weigh the situation. McCain, closer to the football, moves first, running toward the case with an agonizing crablike gait. "Welcome to the House of McPain!" he screams.
Obama surges forward as well, seeming to glide without effort over the broken soil, his bare feet hovering a good 6 inches above the ground. "Allahu Akbar," he screams as he advances, "uh, I mean, for God and Country!" A sharp crack resounds through the clearing as the two men meet in the center directly above the prize, merging into a thrashing mass of flailing limbs and gnashing teeth.
The two men grapple heatedly in the mud of the clearing, McCain's scrappy warrior training compensating for Obama's youth and vitality. The battle is furious and personal and epic as the two candidates struggle for control of the briefcase. The partisans gather round, intermingling without regard to faction, their individual conflicts forgotten for now as they chant the name of their chosen champion. A dozen Secret Service agents gather uncertainly nearby. "Samuels, see what the operations manual says about the candidates trying to kill one another!" The men appear locked in a death struggle, each straining to control the briefcase.
Back at the main party, TheBell is patiently demonstrating the intricacies of the Macarena to Dr. No. "OK, now left hand to right shoulder, right hand to left shoulder, good! Now left hand back of head, and right hand back of head, very good!..."
Suddenly a brilliant flash fills the ballroom through the big clerestory windows, limning the celebrants with a bright incandescent glare and casting stark black shadows across the dance floor and onto the far wall. The intense flare is followed almost immediately by a juddering shock wave that slaps the main doors open and knocks a few of the more altered partygoers to the floor. Curious, the revelers stampede through the main doors into the night air where they are met by the astonishing image of a tiny mushroom cloud roiling menacingly just over the hill.
DragonTat2 looks stricken. "What... what does this mean?"
"I'll tell you what it means, sister!" Topazz has a mischievous grin on her face. "Conga line!" Topazz sways her hips and shuffles and kicks her way back to the ballroom collecting enthusiastic fray bashers along the way.
Out in the clearing, now a pitted crater lined with molten glass, a blackened figure levers itself out of the fused muck and opens bright white eyes, looking for all the world like the coyote after lingering a moment too long in front of an ACME roadrunner cannon. Urquhart the Undying kicks the stirring form of Kaz in the head. "Look alert, brother, it's once again into the breach!"
Kaz shakes his head to clear the cobwebs. "You know, Obama may have squandered the last of his momentum. Any remaining undecideds will clearly be annoyed by his cocksure assumption of victory. And the Bradley effect might buy us another 5, 6 percent..."
MichaelRyerson's hoarse laugh floats across the crater, punctuated by pained chuckles from tartuffe and another_liberal. "You wish! If McCain loses even one of the swing states it's all over but the slow walking and sad singing..."
The chill in the night deepens as the factions begin to dig in again.
(OK, so it's a bit of a stretch that the football itself would explode, chalk it up to