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Two thugs wearing black suits and earpieces came in, holding the prisoner between them. "You don't have the authority," he began, but they let him go. He straightened his sleeves and looked around. "What is this place, anyway? Where am I?" He was a rather cute and fussy old man. "Have a seat, Dr. Paul," I said, motioning to one of two overstuffed leather chairs. "Would you like a refreshment? Some Calvados, perhaps?" "Who are you?" I picked up a fire poker and jabbed at the embers. "I am the future, Dr. Paul. The markets of Christmas here to come, as it were. And you are a noisy little troublemaker." "This is outrageous," the old codger sputtered, making for the door. Pivoting quickly, I launched the red hot poker past his head. It stabbed into the burled oak with a thunk and a satisfying sproing. "Sit down, you old fool!" I shouted. "This is not some... reality show you have yet again bumbled into! You are going to listen to me. And when I am finished, you are going to call CNN, and announce that you are dropping your opposition to the Federal Reserve Enabling Act!" Paul's shoulders slumped and shuddered. He had broken easily. But a sound, unlike any I had ever heard, rose up out of him. Come to think of it, the sound actually bore a strong resemblance to ordinary laughter. "What the devil!" I said. "Is that... are you laughing?!" He turned and smiled triumphantly. "Do you think you can stop the power of an idea?" he piped up, his voice cracking. "The idea is freedom, Mr.—whoever you are. And the American people have gotten a taste for it! And when you've bankrupted the country and they're out of work come next election, so help—" It was my turn to laugh. "Oh, really, Dr. Paul," I managed. "You really are charming! We cannot be voted out. We have been in continuous control since the poisoning of Woodrow Wilson. And besides, do you honestly believe the average American will experience any significant economic impact from this... restructuring? This is a new world, you blind fool. Interconnected as never before! And the shit, my friend, is going to roll downhill farther than it ever has." "What are you talking about?" "Can you really be this naive? We learned our lesson after 1980. We cannot and will not allow a recession's ripples to echo and amplify within our own borders. Those borders do not even exist anymore, economically speaking. Every crisis, every slowdown since then, has had progressively fewer political consequences. People don't even notice these things anymore. Remember the 2001 recession? It never happened, as far as John Quincy Public is concerned. We exported the downturn, and we'll do it again this time. This is a planetary depression, Dr. Paul, and the poor will bear its brunt. Not America's poor—they're in the top decile, worldwide—but the world's poor. The unwashed manufacturing bases of Asia and South America. They will absorb the economic shock, leaving the U.S. unscathed." "What do you mean by... "exporting" the recession?" Dr. Paul asked. "How?" "The old ways, my friend. The printing press. Inflation." Paul's lip quivered. "But you'll d..debase the dollar," he said. "Precisely, my friend. And when we're through, it will clear the way for one world currency!" Paul held the back of the chair for support. His eyes narrowed as he peered at me across the gloom. "Why do you keep calling me friend?" "But don't you remember?" I asked, stepping into the light. "Gettysburg College, 1957? Yes, think back, old friend. Kappa Theta Psi. The initiation rites... the tontine! We are the last, you and I! And now you will eat this block of poisoned gold!"
Date Written: March 24, 2009
Average Vote: 3.5
Though hiding behind the thin fig newton of the evil-genius-explains-plan-to-foiled-hero thing, the author takes too much pleasure in relaying the particulars at the expense of what little gag there is in the short. Would benefit from an aggressive trim and a hot joke injection.
But, you're right. I do care.
03/26/2009 qualcomm: i'll have you know that i took precisely the appropriate amount of pleasure in relaying the particulars.
03/27/2009 scoop: I don't think the erosion of our freedoms is a "joke," Snow.