Monday, January 7, 2008

Barack Obama and the Thunder Zeppelin

The sequel to Barack Obama and the Pirates of Wichita, this one is even more poorly edited and spellchecked. Again, these vignettes are meant purely as parody, and not even the good kind of parody. We're talking MAD magazine levels of political discourse here, people.

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Five days the Ronpaul’s zeppelin assailed Obama’s camp, and on the sixth day its guns fell silent.

The first day we stood in his momentous shadow, he let fear be his weapon. We jabbered and quivered as the sun was eclipsed, and many wanted to flee, until the man Obama ordered fires be lit and food prepared and walked among with bowl in hand, offering fellowship. After that we were bolstered, and stood proud.

The second day the Ronpaul loosed his lightning cannons, and arcs of blue fire fell from the sky. This also Obama had foreseen, and the lightning was sheathed harmlessly in tall steel needles ringing the camp, and the bolts passed into the earth along copper wires, and for the first time in months we had power for our electric lamps. And we danced in the light of incandescent tubes, and were again made fearless.

The third day’s dawn saw a rain of black thread, as a thousand Sturmfrunten rappelled down from the zeppelin’s flanks. Dozens fell to our lead balls and arrows as they dropped, but then they were upon us, and we commenced to melee. Obama’s men – and women, for I have never seen so many ladies don mail and take up spear as in Obama’s camp – were armed with little more than meat cleavers, bone-hewn bows, and antique rifles, but each one of us was worth ten stout soldiers when Obama’s voice was in our ears. The Sturmfrunten came with pistol and saber and teeth and worse, and fought like demons. For that day, and the next, and the next, they pushed us back. We fought them at the gates, until the gates fell, and we fell back to the towers. We fought them in the towers until the towers were breached, and the last defenders leapt from the battlements on ziplines, and lit the fuses on our sapping charges, and collapsed the towers rather than let them be seized. We fell back to the tunnels, dragging our wounded, many of whom were delirious and mad: for the Sturmfrunten all took a slow poison before battle, which stripped them of both the capacity to feel pain and eventually their lives, and caused wounds made by their teeth and nails to fester and rot. Many of those so stricken began to rant endlessly about

We fell back to the tunnels, and there we held the line. A thousand of the Ronpaul’s men entered those tunnels every day, and less than half that crawled out as the sun set. We built a new hell for them, underneath the prairie soil. By the fifth day they were mining through piles of their own dead just to reach us. On the sixth day, they did not come.

We emerged from our tunnels to see the zeppelin retreating, and the ground littered with corpses. Less than two hundred of us remained. We stood, blinking, in the light of a sun we had not seen for two days, and wondered aloud why they had given up.

“Because the Ronpaul is a slave to laissez-faire capitalism!” A strident voice shouted, “who would not recognize fiscal responsibility if it bit him in the ass.”
“Praise God!” A second voice agreed.

I turned to see two men riding a weary mule, and dragging a sledge full of furs behind them. One was short, and wizened, and wrapped a tattered green cloak around his thin shoulders. The other was rotund and proud and wore the frock of a traveling street preacher. I was shocked to realize that I recognized them, for they had been described to me once: Brother Sharpton, and Greenspan the Green.

Greenspan kvetched. “Damned fool and his damn-fool blimp. He could have been great, I tell you. He could have been the one to break the Source Wall and seize the Ordained Office. But he’d rather putter around in a giant phallic symbol. Christ! I taught him everything he knows about free market principles and fiat money-minting; I guess I should have taught him everything I know, instead.”

“Amen,” Sharpton added.

“You know why he’s leaving now? I’ll tell you why he’s leaving now: he went over budget. How stupid is that? He could crush you! He has ten times as many jackbooted thugs in reserve as he’s thrown at you so far, but he won’t use them, because he hasn’t allotted for them in his Annual Warmongering Budget. He had the victory in his grasp, and he fumbled it. That’s what comes of being beholden to fidgety stockholders. Moron.”

“Then we have gained a reprieve, though it be temporary.” Obama laid a hand on my shoulder as he unfolded his giant frame from the tunnel’s cramped confines. “For he will not return until he has chaired an emergency stockholder meeting, and amended accounts repayable, and drank from the crystal source of the mighty Mississippi, which will throw him into a great delirium for a fortnight. When he awakens he will need time to divine which visions were oracular, and which were pharmacopoeic, and an additional week until he ceases to speak in tongues.”

Greenspan nodded. “He won’t be back this fiscal year.”

“Then you are indeed the harbinger of hope, mighty wizard.” And Obama bowed to him then, something I had never seen him do for any man. “I welcome the three of you to my camp, and regret that I have little hospitality to offer.”

And I realized that there was a third man; one that I had previously mistaken for a pile of sodden furs. He was huge, and round, and sleeping soundly beneath a cloak made from the pelt of a huge bear, and wore a helm that was a grizzly’s head, and drooled.

Brother Sharpton caught my eye. “He’s fiercer than he looks, lad. That’s Schwarzkopf the Bear-sark. He might be hibernatin’ now, but he fights like the devil himself when roused.”

Greenspan cleared his throat. “We have come…” He hesitated, and pulled an abacus from his cloak, and clicked stones from row to row. The calculations did strange things to my eyes, for some stones seemed to pass through one another, and others appeared, or disappeared. Greenspan stopped, satisfied. “Yes. That will do. As I said, we have –“

“This ain’t easy for us, Obama,” Sharpton interrupted. “We’ve worked for Beltway Lords before, and been ill-treated and ill-used. Our advice has fallen on deaf ears and dull minds. We’ve gone unheeded and unwanted, and in the end, we’ve always been discarded.”

“The last time was for Georgie II, until he came too much under the influence of the Roving Man’s words and the insidious singing of Cheney’s clockwork arachni-tons,” Greenspan complained. “I was the last of his advisors to be cast aside. Now nothing is heard in the Lone Star Chamber except lies and more lies and mad laughter.”

“So we decided we'd ride this donkey as far as it would take us,” Sharpton said. “And it brought us here.”

Obama took them aside then, and they shared the counsels of the Beltway Lords, which are difficult for mortal men to comprehend. They spoke through the night, while the rest of us went belowground and sank into grateful slumber. The next day Obama called ten of his stoutest warriors, as well as myself, into the tunnels, and conducted us to dank stone chamber I had never seen before, and sealed the door behind us. Greenspan, Sharpton, and Schwarzkopf were there as well. Schwarzkopf was snoring gently on his feet.

“These three,” Obama said, “have agreed to become my generals in the upcoming war. The mighty wizard Greenspan will manage the northern campaign, proud Schwarzkopf the east, and faithful Brother Sharpton the south. As to the west….” Obama looked to the ceiling: his eyes, as I have learned, can pierce mere stone as if it were glass. “The western campaign manager still needs to be found. As well, we have a desperate need for allies, if we are to survive the Ronpaul’s next attack. For he will come again, and again, and again, until you are ground to dust and I lie dissected on a table.”


“So we must undertake a quest. We may not return, I warn you. Any man who finds himself unwilling must speak up now, for after this, there is no going back.” No one objected. It was unthinkable that they would. “Very well. Greenspan?”

The wizard stepped forward, consulted his abacus, and coughed in embarrassment. “Anyone could do this, really. It isn’t even magic. Not proper magic. Hmph. ‘PLAME! Zephyr of the east wind! By thy true name I invoke and bind thee: answer, or be torn asunder.’”

There was a shriek, and a wailing sob, and we were buffeted on all sides by blasts of air. The man Obama stretched an arm out and grasped the air, and the winds coiled and shrank until he held a whirlwind in his hand. A whirlwind with a woman’s voice. “Release me! I will not be chained again!”

Greenspan laughed nastily. “A sylph that values her freedom should be more circumspect with her true name, because there’s no telling who it will end up with, down the line.”

“I know,” she sobbed. “But the wild Rover had such a twinkle in his eye, and played the flute so bittersweet. How was I to know?”

“I will not bind you, though it lies within my power.” Obama’s grip eased. “Instead, I will ask for your help.”

“Help?” Plame screeched. “What Lord would ask for what he could so easily take?”

“Me,” Obama said simply. “I offer you, instead, a bargain. Transport my people and I along the path of the winds, in secrecy, and I will give to you what you most desire: a new name.”

“It can’t be done,” she said.

Brother Sharpton grinned and produced a huge leather tome, bound in the pale, veinous skin of some unknown animal. “It can. This here is the Book of Dead Names. Slave names. Traitor’s names. Names of children never born. Names of fatherless sons and daughters. For everyone whose name was ever lost, or misplaced, or stolen: it ended up in here. And we can let you choose one.”

Plame sighed. “Very well. For that price, I will show you the secret paths. Name your destination, and I will conduct you there, if it is within my power. For as you well know, some places are warded against entry from even creatures of deep magic.”

Obama unclasped his hand, and the whirlwind expanded until it was a gentle breeze rustling our cloaks. “Detroit,” he commanded. “The Hanging Gardens.”

“I would speak with Nader the Lame.”

24 comments:

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"...which stripped them of both the capacity to feel pain and eventually their lives, and caused wounds made by their teeth and nails to fester and rot. Many of those so stricken began to rant endlessly about"

And then it ends. I think you missed part of it.

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