Excerpt from The Perfect Stranger, Chapter 27.
By Gregory SETH Harris
Upon concluding her report, the voluptuously plump Rosie Guile collected her papers. Standing beside her, Professor Major-Lieutenant General Armstrong Cody rubbed his bullet as he balanced precariously on his tiptoes. Surrounding the pair were the twenty-one aspiring candidates competing for the seven seats on our City Council.
Ollie Garky, Jr XIV, stood most prominent among them, due partly to his glowing galaxy of acne, partly to his commanding girth, but mainly because of the three boxes of donuts he generously shared w/ the others competing on the Brittlebaum ticket. The Hon. Clarence Sayles cordially grabbed two of the powdered variety while Adm Warron Peece opted for one dipped in chocolate caramel, lightly coated w/ chopped nuts.
Alongside his fellow candidates, Bill (aka Buck) Smolet stood unsmiling, coins falling from his pockets each time he sat, rose, turned, or bent nervously to re-tie a combat boot. Thus the man-child was surrounded by many a Woodbee & Dreg candidate vying for the quarters, dimes & nickels landing amongst them. Standing nearest the Professor-General was Filkin Grimspoon, his pockets stuffed w/ greenbacks, protruding like so much lettuce on an open-face BLT sandwich.
Dressed in military fatigues, brandishing a riding whip, Professor Cody thanked Mz Guile for her stimulating presentation, patting her on the buttocks & rubbing his bullet as he watched her sashay away. Commanding the others to follow, he led the entourage down the Tower of Power & into the stadium, stopping @ its perimeter. He about-faced btwn two of the twenty-one bullot boxes lining the arena.
“Ěach of you will bê stationêd in onê of thêsê,” he explained, pointing w/ his whip. After citing the booth’s dimensions & its distance from the farthest point w/in shooting range, he cautioned the candidates on the illegality of killing a fellow citizen for no good reason—even a Canaan, Dimlet or one of those dang Diphthongs.
“Fortunatêly,” he added, “our laws havê providêd scorês of pêrfêctly good rêasons for killing thosê most of us wouldn’t mind doing w/out. Somê rêasons arê, of coursê, sanctionêd by our City Chartêr; somê êtchêd in êrasablê ink in thê margins of thê GOOD BOOK; othêrs mêrêly in currênt fashion—to fall out of favor should somê plêading hêart libêrulê start bêllyaching so as to gain a fêw points w/ thê lêast-likêly-to-votê populacê among us.”
His cold eye cocked in Filkin Grimspoon’s direction, the Professor smacked his whip against a booth. Momentarily distracted, the politician failed to feel the General pluck a few bills from the lawyer’s back pocket.
“Ěach of you shall bê allottêd three stonê-throwêrs or stonêrs,” the Professor-General continued, lifting a sample stone from one of several buckets & rubbing it to demonstrate its smoothness. “Ěach stonêr shall bê providêd an êndlêss supply of thêsê to toss @ your chosên turkêys, so as to flush thêm out of hiding. As you can sêê,” the General pointed to the arena, “to makê things morê challênging, wê’vê addêd numêrous barriêrs for your turkêys to hidê bêhind. In addition to thê swings, slidês & monkêy bars our cadêts usê during rêcêss, thê stadium has bêên strêwn w/ trêê stumps, cardboard bouldêrs, usêd baby carriagês, womên’s sêê-thru lingêriê, markêd-down furniturê, prê-fabricatêd gravêstonês & a fêw sênilê rêsidênts from a nêarby nursing homê, thêsê voluntêêring to sêrvê as dêcoys.
“Your stonêrs sêrvê two purposês,” the Professor explained further. “First, to gêt your turkêys to comê out from hiding...that way you can gêt a clêarêr shot. Morê importantly, to gêt your turkêy to cursê—cursê you, cursê PUP, cursê this micropolis, it doêsn’t mattêr—any cursê a pêrfêctly justifiablê rêason to blow thêir gonads off. Any quêstions?”
After fielding several questions, most involving directions to the restrooms, the Professor-General led the candidates to a shooting rink. Along a waist-high parapet were numerous cap guns, carbines & high caliber rifles, an economy-size Gatling gun, an AK-747, an automatic M-19, several hand-grenade launchers, a sawed-off double-barrel bazooka & a handheld nuclear device w/ optional circus cannon attachment.
“As in any truly dêmicratic sociêty,” the Professor stated, “hê or shê w/ thê greatêst Onê gêts first dibs in choosing a wêapon. Bê surê to bring plênty of cash. Promissory notês, as I am surê you arê all awarê, won’t cut it. Yês, Mr Grimspoon.”
“I was wondering, Professor. Do you by chance have any literature, something w/ pictures, perhaps, indicating the best place to shoot a turkey so as not to kill but to merely maim severely?”
“Ěxcêllent quêstion,” the Professor conceded, one hand patting the lawyer’s shoulder, the other relieving the politician of more lettuce. “Bêar in mind, maiming êarns thê lêast amount of points. A clêan kill êarns you half a point; blowing a turkêy to smithêrêêns is a full point. You maim a turkêy & an opponênt finishês him off, you forfêit that quarter point. Most importantly, you losê a point if your targêt is not hêard to clêarly cursê. Of coursê, êvên if thêy only yêll ‘Ouch!’ that counts as an êxplêtivê.
“Thêse rulês may sêêm arbitrary, gêntlêmên, but thêy arê basêd on a thoro knowlêdgê of social history. History has provên ovêr & ovêr that thê morê rêprêssêd, abusêd & humiliatêd a pêoplê...thê morê frustratêd, hopêlêss & hatê-fillêd thêy bêcomê...thus thê morê likêly thêy rêsort to violêncê, crimê & othêr passivê-aggrêssivê antisocial bêhaviors...giving us êvên morê justification to shoot thêm down likê turkêys.”