ZIP Beep #27
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPRAMAN
by Don Fitzwater & Chuck Strinz
(Alternate Universe News Service) Excitement reigns supreme in the little town of Ohmigosh, Wisconsin after a routine patrol of A-10's from the Wisconsin Air National Guard shot down an unidentified small plane when it refused to vacate restricted airspace. In a press conference, Bucky "Badger" Ruckham, leader of the flight of A-10's, told his story this way:
"We were cruising on a low level night patrol when the report came in from our local airport. It said three suspicious-looking characters had just taken off in a chartered light plane. The airport attendent became suspicious when all three claimed to be from out of the state, as none of them had bought or were carrying any cheese. Anyway, the call came in and we went to investigate. The intruders' aircraft was flying down the local county highway with no lights on. We requested that the pilot identify himself and his aircraft, but he just swore at us. We were about to shoot him down when a farmer suddenly pulled out from a hidden side road and caused the intruder to veer, then crash in a nearby field."
First reports from the crash scene reveal some startling facts. The aircraft was carrying over 5,000 automatic weapons, which authorities believe were intended for the rebels in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's upper penninsula who wish to withdraw from their states and form the new country of SUPERIOR. The rebels are known collectively as SUPRAs, and the local government has long been dealing with these rebels'outrageous demands.
Although his two crewmates were killed in the forced landing, U. Gene Haagendaaz miraculously survived and was taken prisoner by the town council of Ohmigosh. In a tearful confession broadcast during the morning farm report, Haagendaaz confessed to being a "C.I.A. consultant to the SUPRAs", and although he was trained to resist disclosing sensitive information under any circumstances, he went on to detail several other covert operations in progress in this region. The following is a portion of his tape-recorded confession:
"Who, me? You think I'M the leader? No way! I'm just doing a job for $3,000 a month. Hell, some janitors make more than that. Besides, this ain't my war. This ain't my NOTHING, man! I'm a Nobody, man. I'M nothing! No, you don't want me. You want ... uhm ... you want Gordon Liddy! Yeah, that's it! Liddy's the REAL brains behind this operation. Yeah! And, uhm ... and Richard Nixon! He put us all up to it. Yeah, that's the ticket! And President Reagan. I met with him just last week in the Executive Washroo-- in the OVAL office, yeah. And Jimmy Carter was there, too. And they said, uhm, uh, they said, 'Gene, don't hesitate to sing if you get caught.' Yeah. They said to tell you ALL ABOUT it. And about the plan to take over, er, uhm, Grana--, uh, El Sal--, uh, about the plan to take over Chrysler! Yeah! That Iacocca guy is getting too powerful. And Canada, yeah! Canada is just too big! They figured, uhm, uh, they figured we could start a smaller country so Quebec would follow suit. Then Saskatchewan, then Alberta and pretty soon the U.S.A. would be the biggest country on the continent. Yeah! That's the ticket! So it isn't my fault, see? It isn't my fault at all. You don't want me. I'm nothing. You want the BIG guys. Yeah!"
When contacted for a response, C.I.A. spokeperson Brad Lunk labeled the entire affair, "a bunch of hooey," and went on to disavow any knowledge of the flight crew. This in spite of the fact that high-level sources have reported that the guns and plane are the personal property of the Vice President.
"We don't know anything about it," Lunk insisted. "And I realize you may be skeptical, since only last week we admitted we had lied about Khadaffi. But we hadn't lied to you. No. We lied to a bunch of foreigners, but not to you. You're our friends. You're our buddies. We didn't tell you any lies. In fact, we didn't tell you anything. And we don't know anything about this SUPRA hooey, either."
The local town council said at a press conference that the press will be able to question U. Gene Haagendaaz about his role in the affair. When his neighbors were contacted, most expressed the sentiments of Mrs. Henry Pleasantvalley, who said U. Gene was a "kinda quiet kinda guy."
Except for the occasional neighborhood pet assassinations, Mrs. Pleasantvalley said everybody on the block thought U. Gene was "a real nice American boy. The police almost never raided his house."
All of this comes at an unfortunate time for the administration, which is still reeling from a recent Washington Post article. According to the Post, covert American forces have also been involved in a questionable plot to overthrow independent organizations they see as a threat to the American way of life. Specifically, the Post disclosed that the C.I.A. and high-ranking White House officials were involved in a failed attempt to kidnap both Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione in the administration's ongoing war against pornography.
ZIP Beep #27
Copyright 1986 by D. Fitzwater, J. Kellogg & R. Thompson
Arrangement copyright 1986 by P. Guertin
(sung to the tune of "Mr. Sandman") QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well. (SPOKEN): Well... QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well. VERSE: Mr. Reagan, give us a break. Your tax reform plan is one big mistake Now we do not know what we'll have to pay, man. What can you tell us of the I.R.A. plan? Mr. Reagan, answer us please. Will we get jobs now, or just so much cheese? Or some more high-ranking sleaze? Mr. Reagan fire Ed Meese! VERSE: Mr. Reagan, we gotta scream. Judge Renquist's now in the court that's supreme. He won't sell houses to Blacks or to Jews. With this for justice, we are singing the blues. Mr. Reagan, here's some advice. We think the big war is too big 'a price. Please make-up with Gorbachov, Ronnie we are really, Really Really Really, Ronnie we are really ticked off! [BEGIN SLOW FADE] QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well. (SPOKEN): Well, there you go again... QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well. (SPOKEN): Let's get those cameras rolling, girls, we've got a movie to make. QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well. (SPOKEN): Those South African blacks should go back to wherever they came from. QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well. (SPOKEN): And take the Indians with 'em, too! QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well. (SPOKEN): Well, Mommy, can I get back on the pony now? QUARTET: Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well, Well.
ZIP Beep #27
Copyright 1986 D. A. Fitzwater
VOICEOVER: You guys all set? Okay, tape rolling... BOB'S ROCK 'N ROLL BUNKER, take one! ANNCR #1: This Saturday night at Bob's Rock 'n' Roll Bunker! ANNCR #2: Sixteen heavy metal bands that will make your ears bleed! ANNCR #1: Hear the savage, power-chord sounds of-- ANNCR #2: Braindead! ANNCR #1: Bloodclot! ANNCR #2: Deathcharge! ANNCR #1: And Three Guys Who Set Stuff on Fire! ANNCR #2: Plus Autopsy! ANNCR #1: Bruno and the Body Bags! ANNCR #2: And the area's hottest female band-- BOTH: Total Sin! ANNCR #2: With special guest stars: Gangrene! ANNCR #1: And Toxic Waste! ANNCR #2: Plus, back by popular demand, national recording artists-- ANNCR #1: Spit! ANNCR #2: And from Australia, Men At Work! ANNCR #1: And from America, Men Out Of Work! ANNCR #2: Twenty truckloads of Marshall amplifiers! ANNCR #1: Forty Million watts of exhilarating power, power, POWER! ANNCR #2: Six hundred pounds of blonde chest hair! ANNCR #1: High energy like you've never heard it before! ANNCR #2: Sixteen bands! ANNCR #1: No cover charge! ANNCR #2: And after midnight-- BOTH: ONE BEER FOR THE PRICE OF TWO!!! ANNCR #2: Rock 'n' Roll 'til you're sub-human! ANNCR #1: Another Juvenile-- BOTH: Dream, dream, DREAM PRODUCTION!!!
ZIP Beep #27
A HALLOWEEN STORY
by Chuck Strinz
He felt silly, dressed like a clown with nothing but a newspaper under his arm.
Frank had stepped from the bus after a long trip from Cedar Bend at precisely midnight. He was all set to surprise his friends. What friends! What a surprise! They would come to the station and see Frank, dressed in a clown suit!
It didn't seem funny now that his friends were 20 minutes late. And leaving his claim check on the bus wasn't very funny anymore, either.
The old lady behind the ticket counter was still staring at him. Well, sure, he had taken a little nip at the Fast Dog Bar next to the bus station several towns back. And one or so in the lobby of the Main Street Hotel somewhere on the prairie. Heck, this bus trip seemed longer than ever. And ten minutes per stop wasn't much time to quench a two hundred mile thirst.
Well, she could go right on looking at him. He didn't care. He STILL thought it was a funny idea, at the base of it anyway. Hey, it's halloween! And he gets off the bus dressed like a clown! Frank thought it was a really funny idea, at the base of it.
The old lady had thoughts of her own. She thought Frank was some bum who had wandered in drunk from some demented halloween party in some dirty bar. "Lord knows there's plenty of 'em to choose from," she thought to herself.
Frank's thoughts weren't quite as well-formed as the old lady's, but he knew he had to start thinking about what he should do if his friends didn't show up in 10 minutes. The old lady refused to give him his baggage. He described it to her perfectly, but she was convinced he was trying to trick her. Nobody would ride a bus dressed like a clown. Especially not from Cedar Bend. She'd like to know what kind of fool he thought she was.
Ten minutes later, Frank jammed the newspaper into his big baggy pants pocket and soon he was wandering past some of those dirty bars. He wasn't happy. It was a true Bus Station Neighborhood, full of hustlers and crazies. Every third doorway was a bum's resting spot.
Geeze, Frank hadn't been here before, even last year when he was in college. Street lights looked like large, friendly oases. He stopped under one, reached into his pocket for the map that showed how to get to Ernie's house. Ernie lived on the edge of downtown, across a park Frank could see down the street. Frank had looked at the map on the bus, then stuck it into the newspaper he had bought in Prairie Corners.
The newspaper was there, the map was not.
The bus station had seemed unfriendly -- relatively safe, but unfriendly nonetheless. Frank didn't want to go back there.
He looked at the newspaper. The lead article on the front page was about the crime problem the city was experiencing. It was especially bad on a particular street, Frank noticed. That street was the same one running by the uneven sidewalk he was standing on.
The problem was so bad that a special wing of the police force had been created. Five professionally trained officers acted as "decoys" to catch muggers in the act of shaking down drunks. Any one of these bums could be one of those decoys, under the protective eye of uniformed officers watching from an old hotel across the street.
Frank desparately wanted to believe one of the bums was not a bum. And suddenly, there on the tile doorstep that said A-OK Hardware, was a non-bum if ever Frank had seen one.
Another bum wandered by, but decided not to interrupt when he saw a clown talking to a professor. Or that's what that well-dressed guy looked like, anyway. Striped coat, matching vest, long string tie. Really a long string tie. So long that ... the wandering bum wandered on, knowing he had to be halucinating the whole thing. Clowns never talk to professors.
But one clown who wasn't a clown WAS talking to a professor who wasn't a professor. The clown was Frank. The professor was a relatively well dressed bum.
"I know who you are," Frank told the well dressed bum.
The bum focused on the clown.
"I read all about you," Frank continued.
The bum remembered his glory days as a Shakespearean actor, and felt a sharp glow pierce his body. It was the kind of glow known only by very famous and very proud people.
"I'm not really what I seem to be, either," Frank said. "I'm not a clown. I wonder, would you mind walking along this street with me for a bit? I'm supposed to meet a friend at, uh, at his house, and I know it's someplace on the other side of that park there. I think I would recognize it if I saw it."
"Sure, son," said the bum. "Whatever you like." The bum spoke with an air that indicated he was going to help, but that was really motivated by the pride he felt at being recognized for his thespian accomplishments.
Frank appreciated the assistance of what he believed to be a policeman in disguise. But he doubted if the special force would continue. It was clear than everyone else knew this was no bum next to him. They were all avoiding this bum next to Frank. Frank didn't realize they were all avoiding the bum because he was walking next to a clown, and that was just too wierd to deal with.
"I'm from out of town," Frank said.
"So 'm I," the bum said. He had come to visit a cousin, and the cousin had kicked him out. He had been down on his luck, and the cousin had kicked him out.
The park was less than a block away before Frank realized he was walking with a real bum. They were half way across the park when the bum finished telling Frank how he had played in every town in the country that had more than 150,000 people. By the time they arrived at the big apartment building with the blue terra cotta facade -- the building Frank recognized as the home of his friend -- Frank had a surprisingly profound respect for this bum who wasn't a bum, at least not really at his heart.
The bum felt a new sense of worth. He had helped this young man. And the young man had recognized him. Through all the years and tears, the young man had recognized him. It was starting to rain.
The bum knew he had to walk to the bus station, take the $9.57 from his pocket and travel in the direction of his son. He would go as far as $9.57 would take him, then get a job. And when he had earned enough, he would travel on and see his son. His son, who he had hidden from for 10 years, would gladly take him in and help him back on the road to recovery.
Right now, that road lay along a street littered with hustlers and crazies. The bum didn't feel reassured about the decoy squads primarily because he didn't know about them.
The note on the door said "Frank: Sorry we missed you. We'll be home about 2AM."
Frank was sick of the clown outfit. He would seem enough of a clown, waiting in the hallway there for an hour.
"Do you suppose --" he began. "Do you suppose we could trade clothes? I'm not sure I want to see my pals dressed like this."
There are times in the universe when things come together. At this particular time, the bum was just thinking how glad he would be if he had a clown suit to wear, so nobody would bother him as he walked back to the bus station.
They exchanged clothing quickly and without much discussion. The now-clown said goodbye to the now-bum who looked like a professor. As the now-clown stepped out into the drizzle, the now-bum/professor stopped him. "Hey, it's starting to rain. Take the newspaper."
The now-clown tucked it away, keeping it dry in case it would be needed as a blanket later that night. And suddenly, he was overwhelmed by a feeling. He felt silly, dressed like a clown with nothing but a newspaper under his arm.
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