Past Entertainment Articles.
Article for the week of 3/5/05
UNITED NATIONS SEEKS NEW SECRETARY GENERAL IN THE NORTHLAND
Once again, our leguminous correspondent, Carnivorous Bean, has ventured amongst the Lutefisk vats and tarpaper fortresses of the far North of Wisconsin to bring us the latest developments from that lair of shotguns, smoked fish, and genuine black bear garbage disposal systems. Hurling his vines boldly into the fray, this audacious kidney bean is once more determined to make his mark on the journalistic scene with a fresh scoop that, he assures us, will amaze even our broad-minded readers, and cause even more fair lima beans to swoon artistically on his doorstep. Considering that he had to use a pony-express like relay of rusted pickup trucks to send this story to us – and had to write it out on a piece of wrinkly giant mosquito skin – there were a few places where we had to reconstruct his words a bit. However, what emerges is a tale that has a bearing on the highest levels of international politics – proof positive that the movers and shakers of global policy may not be unfamiliar with tarpaper and musical chainsaws.
Of course, some have long suspected that they engaged in the dreadful sport of Lutefisk-sniffing, which would explain why some of their decisions are so wacky, but that is a story for another day.
It all began on a peaceful day in the Northland. All seemed to be as it usually is. The sun shone brightly in between violent thunderstorms and sudden, life-threatening blizzards known to the locals as ‘snow showers.’ (The Bean notes that any storm which fails to claim at least 100 victims is classified as a snow shower – just as any cold damage less than the loss of two entire limbs isn’t frostbite, but a refreshing snap in the air.) The sound of people trying – and failing – to start their ancient, rusty pickup trucks echoed from hill and valley. The soothing noise of shotgun blasts, directed at stop signs or perhaps a wandering tourist, fell gently on the ear. Two competing chainsaw orchestras only added to the sense of rustic charm and contentment.
Into this scene glided a new car. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a NEW car – something that has not been seen in the Northland since cars were invented ye many years ago. The people swarmed out to view this strange object, and soon the road was lined with a vast crowd (by Northland standards) of at least six or seven gaping spectators. “I’d never seen a new car before,” Squirrel Nutlund said later, between belches and comments on his new recipe for bear meatloaf. “At first, I thought it mighta been one of them UFOs they’re always talkin’ about on the TV. Then I thought that mebbe the Minnesotans was invadin’ us, and this was an armored fightin’ vehicle of some kind.”
The inhabitants of the Northland were puzzled, and many fumbled for the holstered shotguns that even the mildest old granny carries at the hip in this safe and peaceful region of the world. But some of them kept their heads, and one of these, Blubby Trollsen, sent for John Jim Johnson. John Jim is nearly unique among Northlanders – alone among them, he has actually seen an airport from a distance, and can report that these science fiction-like structures do in fact exist, and that the pickup truck is not, in fact, the peak of human technology, “though,” as he says, “it’s durn close.”. John Jim was busy testing his patented chicken-head-removing-saw-and-headless-chicken-electricity-generating-treadmill (made out of a pickup truck engine) when swift-footed messengers in their distinctive winged baseball caps came shuffling into his yard. They fired a few shotgun blasts into his roof to let him know that they were friends – “after all, an enemy woulda shot right in the windows,” John Jim confided. JJ soon made his way to the road, a headless chicken still in hand.
“I told ‘em it was a car,” he said, “and at first some of the folks wouldn’t believe me. They kept askin’ me where the rust holes big enough to stick your head outta were, why the bumpers were still attached, what that stuff was in the windows instead of cardboard with vision slits – stuff like that. I explained that cars didn’t come rusty, and they actually put glass in the windows of some of ‘em …. After that, some of them were still doubtful, but they let it pass.”
The strange vehicle drove right to the tarpaper citadel of the old farmer John John Johnson. Once there, a group of grim-looking officials with shoes whose price would have kept a Northlander in noodles and Spam for a year climbed out. They approached the home of John John Johnson, and the man himself emerged in chickenskin overalls and a gnawed baseball cap. (“That cap belonged to my dad and granddad too,” John told the Bean. “Never washed it either. See them bite marks? Well, a bear did that – I’d guess the thing stinks so bad he thought it was a piece of garbage on my head and tried to eat it. Just up and died a couple seconds later … can’t imagine why, though.”)
John John Johnson was astonished when one of the men said that they wanted him to be Secretary General of the United Nations. “Only you, of all the people on earth, qualify, Mr. Johnson,” the political hack told him. “We’re looking to bring back the glory days of Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and we figure that we can only do that if we get someone with two identical first names. Our computer turned up John John Johnson, and so we’ve come to offer you this all-important post.”
“What’s it pay?” the shrewd Northlander inquired, shouldering his shotgun for the moment.
“Well, officially, a million bucks a year, sir,” the soapy fellow responded. “But then there are the bribes – the misdirected relief funds that just happen to end up in your bank account – the trips to the Riviera with all the booze and women you want – the power to make even the most stupid, inane statements with a pompous, sanctimonious face in front of the world’s TV cameras….”
At first, Johnson admits, he was tempted. “I even began to pack up,” he said, “which ain’t too hard, since all I own is a shotgun, a dead squirrel, and a pickup truck. Oh yeah, and a two-hole outhouse, but I figured that could take care of itself.” He had grand plans for the world – to make Lutefisk the official food of world leaders everywhere, to introduce chainsaw music to a jaded listening public in more than 100 countries, maybe even to toss a fishing line into strange foreign waters. But as he spoke more with the political goons who’d come to collect him, disillusionment set in. “I found out that I’d have to drive around in a limousine, not a pickup truck,” he reported later, “and I began to have big doubts right then. Then I heard that there was no tarpaper on the Secretary’s yacht, and no seagulls were allowed. I was pretty disgusted by then. But the last straw was when those Outta-Staters said that I couldn’t bring my shotgun with me.”
On hearing this deadly insult to all things Northland, John John Johnson abandoned the idea of becoming the Secretary General of the U.N. Some things are just too much to ask, whatever the reward. Surely, Johnson’s integrity in the face of temptation could be held up as a shining example to a corrupt world. Snarling something about Lutefisk-eating, Minnesotan-loving, rust-hating baboons, the old farmer unshouldered his shotgun. A few thunderous blasts later, and the car of the fleeing officials was speeding away down the potholed road, swerving around one small ‘pavement deficiency’ in which two bears had drowned, and jolting off out of sight. Sadly, the world is deprived of the benefits of tarpaper tyranny for another year; yet who can truly object to such an instance of moral rectitude and incorruptibility, especially when a shotgun and a Lutefisk are involved?
Really Pathetic Productions 2005 ©