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Chapter 26
July 23, 2017

Beware Geeks Bearing Gifts [ARNS]

by BRENDA BRUNDTLAND-GOVANNI, Alternate Reality News Service Editrix-in-Chief

Ever since I was an editrix-in-training, I believed that if something looks like an official government document, walks like an official government document and quacks like an official government document - DUCK!

Sorry - I'm having lunch in the Alternate Reality News Service cafeteria while my office is being renovated with a bulletproof escutcheon, and somebody was getting a little too frisky with the gelatin molded into the shape of Louis St. Laurent. That will leave a scar...but, on Naomi Wolgreekleisteigan it will probably look fabulous. Bitch. Government document is what I meant. The looking, the walking, the quacking - oh, yeah, it's an official government document, alright.

Unfortunately, this wise policy may not be enough to save the Alternate Reality News Service's reputation on Earth Prime 1-6-6-5-8-2 dash omega.

Last week, we ran an article by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard about a Department of Injustice document that stated that the war on donuts has not appreciably slowed the consumption of those addictive substances, and that the United States of Vesampucceri might want to give a bit of a rethink to its whole three Is (Interdiction, Incarceration, Indelicisization) policy. Given the fact that 30 years after the war began, more crullers are coming across the Canadian border at a lower price than ever, this seemed like a reasonable thing to rethink.

A reasonable thing to rethink. In Vesampucceri, the greatest idiotocracy Earth Prime 1-6-6-5-8-2 dash omega had ever seen. We should have known something was horribly, horribly wrong.

At 2:37 the morning after the article was published, President Ronald McDruhitmumpf tweeped: "kids come to school with powdered sugar on their noses. Gangs fight in streets for maple glazed corner dominance. #ARNSfakenews!" Later that day (ie: during normal business hours) Attorney General Jeff "Self-regard" Sesspoolpandemic stated, "Wuhl nah, ah do done buhlieve that that theah ahticle abaht the wah on donuts holds abaht as much watah as lipstick on a Cy Young Awahd winnin' sow!"

When I asked Mara where she had gotten the document on which her article was based, she explained that she found it in a bottle on the beach on Toronto Island while marvelling at the ten storey high rubber duckey whose weight displaced enough of Lake Ontario to flood basements all along the shoreline to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. If, by "found" you mean "was hit in the back of the head by." (Another long held belief of mine is that when forced to choose between two different versions of reality, always choose the one that is more painful.)

Now, I know Mara. She's a reprobate with an unnatural fondness for Nastrugal cheezonable vodka ("One glass and we guarantee you'll be over the table!") and gold-plated rolling pins. I was totally willing to let her take the fall for screwing the porch on this (why she doesn't use nails for her home renovation projects I'll never know!).

I was in the process of programming my transdimensional slapping glove (they're especially effective in universes in the last two fifths of the Greek alphabet) when one of our interns (Mary or Gary or Salbutomol - it's hard to keep track, we go through so many!) pointed out that the watermark on the donut document was identical to that on an Environmental Pollution Agency Department of Mines and Waterways press release on the proper disposal of nuclear waste in lakes and streams that had been released 17 years ago. I immediately understood (after Lorna, Moana or Lorazepam explained it to me several times, ending with a 27 slide Power Point presentation) that we had been intentionally duped by somebody who forged the document and sent it to us through the usual anonymous channels.

Fortunately, we weren't the only ones who had been fooled in this way. The New Fershlugginer Times had to fire two of its senior White House reporters when it turned out that their series on the McDruhitmumpf administration's cooperation with the Special Prosecutor to get to the bottom of the Fenwick scandal was a complete fabrication. Then, a reporter for the Los Angeles Quotidian and Ghetto Blaster was exiled to the far reaches of obituaries for six months when her article on President McDruhitmumpf's secret admission to the European Union that he may have been hasty in his dismissal of the whole Global Hot as Hellification thing turned out to be flimsier than a chiffon nightie in a French sex farce.

What do these scandals have in common? Aside from a faint scent of coriander? They were meant to discredit news organizations that have reported critically on the McDruhitmumpf administration. Another intern (Phil or Philomena or Progesterone - I mean, honestly, why should I keep track of them just because they're actually useful!) pointed out that the President's use of the hashtag #fakenews has increased 357% since the first newspaper was caught in this way.

The implications should be obvious. And, they are...to Denny or Lenny or Prozac. I'm still stuck on slide 14 of the Power Point presentation!

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