I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a subplot I cut from The Adventures of Jimmy Stick. I cut it because it would have added something like 30-40 pages to the finished work without really advancing the main plot or contributing much to the central themes. Even so, I wish I’d kept it.
It was about terrorists. Penguin terrorists.
Anyway. Because I’ve been thinking a lot about that, I thought I’d share something that has already been cut from my new, currently-still-in-outlining project. It’s not much, but it might amuse.
Have Millennials Ruined the Military Parade Industry?
The year is 2079. It’s the birthday of a President who’s been dead for fifty years, but he was the Last President so we still commemorate the day with military parades and the like. There are no longer presidents, not anywhere in the world, but the children and grandchildren of the Last President have things well in hand and you can watch the exciting parades all day (and, let’s be honest, for the rest of the month) on the one true newsfeed, that bastion of fairness and balance, that bulwark against the iniquities of rumor and fake news.
We have a lovely family gathered together to celebrate. They gather round a spread of cheap burgers. The youngest children still believe they are made of beef. Oh ho, but our lovely family is not that wealthy. No, they are merely upper middle class. The working age adults, those between 11 and 94, have on average only three jobs apiece! Truly, this family is on the cusp of one day rising above their middle class roots!
This is a very special occasion, beyond the booming of the heavy guns from the wallscreen as the TROOPS march through Washington, and elsewhere along the coast near where a city called New York once stood above the waters, and still elsewhere through the ruins of a city more ancient than recorded history itself where once there lived those who failed to Support the TROOPS! Woe unto all who fail to Support Them!
Ah, but our fervent patriotism leads us into digression. We were speaking of the special occasion. It is special for this family alone, and so you will not see it on your news broadcasts. You see, Grandpa Joe has just reached retirement age! Yesterday was his 95th birthday. He’s been a hard worker, gave it 79 years. You can’t blame him for the lackadaisical rules of the past century, which kept him from entering the work force until he was nearly finished with basic schooling. He is proud and once was strong. He has lived within his means for all his life, never missed a payment, never drank a store-bought coffee when he could always just get up a little earlier and brew it himself at home! He has a credit score of 612!
Grandpa Joe sits at the place of honor, head of the table. His children spread out along the table beneath him, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren looking up at him with awe from the distance.
Behind him, the wallscreen plays the news. The wallscreen always plays the news.
In a hundred cities around the globe, the holographic ghost of the Last President stands over the abandoned capitals of fallen nations. The people of those nations did not Support the Troops, but they do now. The holograms are huge. They are the best holograms.
The Last President is shouting. He always shouts. It is necessary, since there are now – as there have always been – spineless, do-nothing traitors skulking around, spreading fake news and hoaxes, and the Last President’s Voice must be heard above their mewling and lies.
The family enjoys their meal. Grandpa Joe does not eat. He has not had teeth for forty-six years. He drinks the blended medical juice through a special straw. The drink costs a million dollars per serving. It is necessary, because most of his internal organs have shut down long ago. The Shake keeps him alive. Keeps him shaking, ha ha. The straw was nine hundred thousand. Thank Jesus and the Last President, he only has to pay six hundred million a year in insurance! He has nearly reached his deductible for this year. Just a few billion to go. Hoo, what a great year it’s shaping up to be for Grandpa Joe.
But what’s this? There are people interrupting the parades on the news. They are dirty and skinny and many have open sores. They are clearly bad, bad people. They might even be refugees, which is terrifying. The grandchildren begin to cry. It is not the sores. They have seen sores. Most of them have a few, but luckily none are openly bleeding and weeping and they have not had to shell out for medicine. No, it’s not the sores. The children are crying because those people on the wallscreen have peculiar skin. It’s like they are all sunburnt. You can see right away these aren’t good Christians.
They’re carrying signs, but of course you can’t read the signs. The Trusted News Source has blurred them out to spare you the discomfort of seeing illegible profanities in the primitive dialect of whatever shithole country these mongrels crawled out from.
The Troops are quick to react, of course. They know when they see someone who doesn’t Support them. You see them shifting their posture, bringing their guns to bear. Now they will calmly approach the refugees and reason with them. They will convince the scum to behave themselves, to go back where they came from. If they really want to come here, there are ways. Very cool and legal ways. The Troops will explain. You don’t need to watch, though, all that talking and reasoning and calm behavior would be boring. The news cuts away just before the Troops commence debating in good faith.
Now there are several men and one woman sitting around in a studio, and they are talking. They are, like the Troops, very reasonable people who are very good at explaining things. They explain that the Troops have to be very careful when reasoning with the refugees, because the refugees are crawling with diseases that have terrifying names. Most of the refugees also are rapists, and they are without exception drug pushers. Some of the worst – and they are all the worst, because wherever they came from only sends the worst – will rape you with diseased drugs while simultaneously selling your children into white slavery. The worst slavery. It’s a huge problem, huge.
But you know what else is a problem? asks the blonde woman on the wallscreen. The kids don’t know her name. All the women on the news are blonde.
I sure do, answers one of her smiling co-hosts. He is not smiling now. He looks directly out of the wallscreen.
It’s a real problem, he explains, that there are still ungrateful citizens who think there might just possibly be some slightly different way to go about things. These people will tell you there’s better ways to spend money than on military parades, but that is because these people do not Support the Troops. How can you not see that?
But these people, and they’re all from this one country you can’t find on a map (he doesn’t mention this is because it is no longer on the maps, since the Troops last visited), but the thing is they’ve gotten to the media. Not this trusted news source, mind you, but the entirety of the media has been compromised by their attacks. And the fake news is spreading, and what’s really insidious is that it’s been carefully designed to warp the tender, unformed brains of this great nation’s youth.
And now you see the tragic results, he says sadly. Millennials are ruining the military parade industry, but it’s not their fault really. It’s these godless enemies of the people, spreading lies and starting witch hunts.
Grandpa Joe puts a hand to his chest. His face reddens. There are tears in his eyes. He makes a sort of choking, sobbing sound deep in his throat.
He is clearly moved by the newsman’s patriotism.