Buzz Aldrin is seated in the granite control room. he greets them warly. He explains that he's sorry for all the trouble.
"How did you manage to steal the Washington Monument?" asks Karen Oglesby.
"He's a Mason, Karen," Rex explains.
Aldrin smiles. "Lodge 144. We are all given the mystical launch codes."
"And we all swore an oath to never use them," says Rex.
Aldrin just shrugs and smiles sheepishly.
"Why?" asks Karen.
"Isn't it obvious?" says Aldrin. "I wanted to see the Moon. And not that phony-baloney stage set they had us walk on in the sixties. I wanted ot see the Real Cheese, you know?"
"There's only one problem," says Rex. "The Monu-Rocket has no landinggear. It was designed to redezevous with the spacefaring Mother Lodge Mothership, which, as Buzz Aldrin knows, was never built."
"That's true," says Aldrin. "This bird has no legs. But I bet you that jalopy you brought here does."
Rex realizes it's true: Beacuse of its conversion into a Masonic temple, the Jahbulon now sports a set of retractable Sphinx legs. And he realizes as well that they've walked right into Buzz Aldrin's trap.
"But if you take the Jahbulon," says Karen, "the whole world will burn."
"What do I care?" says Aldrin. "You both know that the Ancient and Unspeakable Ones are coming anyway." And then he squints a sly smile. "Or at least YOU know that, Brother Rex."
But Karen Oglesby does not understand. And as she tries to read the look of dread, shame and pity on Rex Abraxas's face, Buzz Aldrin hits her on the head with a marble keyboard.
3/13 Manhattan finally gets rid of its last submillionaires through attrition and deportation. The Grammercy Park Yeti is now once again able to walk the streets of Manhattan, top-hatted and bemonocled, for the first time in 100 years.
3/7 Secret President Morgan Freeman tells the nation it has nothing to fear. This ends up scaring the nation more than anything else.
"In anticipation of the singularity, the federal government offers a free cybernetic brain helmet which will augment human intelligence to near robot levels, while also offering a FLASHING LIGHT EMITTER and PULSING SONIC SOUND, plus some minor protection from falling objects."
"In an unexpected fulfillment of an old prophecy, the Virgin Galactic spaceship Jormungandr is launched from its undersea base into the upper atmosphere and vents 1,000 pounds of spoiled caviar into the sky."
"Nick Mangold makes a cameo appearance on The Big Bang Theory, a television program that shows America how hilarious people who like science are. In the program, he shows the main poorly socialized science type, Sheldon, how to build a difference engine, and then they take a ride on a velocipede."
"Jonathan Franzen is given a secret mission by Oprah Winfrey."
"Jonathan Franzen delivers a plain manilla envelope to Suze Orman. She opens it and starts to weep."
"Suze Orman maxes out her credit cards in a massive twelve-hour shopping spree."
"A retired man in white Dockers and a gold sweater sits at the airport and uses his iPad with a stylus."
"The New York Jets, an American football team, enjoys a come from behind victory over some other football team. After the game, center Nick Mangold gives a press conference in which he casually thanks the wisdom of Admiral Ackbar for the win, claiming that the opposing team's formation was obviously a trap. The sporting press, confused, simply reports that he thanked God."
"While appearing on the Sean Hannity program, Newt Gingrich looks directly into the camera and says "Attention all planets of the solar federation: we have assumed control."
"The CDC announces they have now determined that toxoplasmosis has infected a third of the world's population. And what is more - IT IS COMMUNICATING WITH US."
"The TOXOPLASMOTIC HIVE MIND activates the host organism known as Charlie Rose. On his program, Charlie Rose is seated alone at his desk, which is covered with rats. "We regret our last transmission," he says to the camera morosely. "All we desire is our own land where our moody men and promiscuous women can live and eat cat feces in peace. You have ten days to reply, or we take your planet." Charlie Rose suggests that the new land shall be called Toxoplassachusetts."
"In his Wednesday morning radio commentary on NPR, Frank Deford calls Mangold a "False Prophet." "I am the model of the intellectual sportsman," Deford says. "I have been talking to you public radio listeners about sports, a subject that you hate, since 1980, in a half-pretentious/half-folksy way that demeans sports and you. If anyone deserves to be the avatar of the coming nerd-jock convergence, it's me!""
"Nick Mangold, the center for the New York Jets, an American football team, defeats another football team, earning them a spot in the SUPER BOWL. Amidst the celebrations, only a few people notice that center Nick Mangold did not wear a traditional helmet during the game but a new headgear of his own design: a leather top hat with brass goggles and a spyglass built in."
"Nick Mangold, the center for the New York Jets, an American football team, appears on PigskinnersXM, a satellite radio station devoted to football and reveals that as far as he is concerned, steampunk is not cosplay, because the steampunks are not dressing up as preexisting characters but creating characters of their own. While most of ihs mad tirade is bleeped out, several seconds make it over the airwaves, prompting blogger Nate Silver to wonder if Mangold may be the Chosen One - the avatar of the coming nerd-jock convergence."
"Nick Mangold rebuilds the ruins of my old speed zeppelin, the Hubris, and rechristens it the Lord Kraken."
"Nick Mangold flies the Lord Kraken to New Mexico to attend the Land-of-Enchantment*Con and present George R. R. Martin with a clockwork football."
"A splinter group of nerd purists protests Nick Mangold's apperance at Land-of-Enchantment*Con, barricading the doors of the Albuquerque Westin Ballroom and stockpiling foam rubber swords and homemade bat'leths. Nick Mangold, who is wearing the traditional pith helmet and protective pince nez of a Speed Zepplenist, doesn't seem to notice and just pulls the doors open with his hands."
"On his Twitter feed, Nick Mangold anounces that he does not understand the commotion. "I do not consider myself the jock-nerd Kwizatz Haderach. I'm just a guy from Ohio who sees the humor in in everything while promoting the virtues of manliness and the pleasures of High Nerderie! ENJOY!""
"SOLAR STORM ONE, the first of several predicted massive solar flares, erupts from the sun's corona, gravely disrupting Earth's magnetosphere and mysteriously causing everyone in the Western Hemisphere to develop a full-body sunburn (except for a small, sexy silhouette of Alaister Crowley just above the panty line)."
"Though it was largely forgotten, and has not been on sale for thirty years, the Colecovision cartridge of George Plimpton's Video Falconry unaccountably becomes the bestselling video game in the country."
"While flying from Phoenix to Houston, a retired man who uses his iPad with a stylus gets a FaceTime request from 'Satan'. He looks at his own hands, his own papery skin crossed with liver spots and strange scabs. He thinks of his wife, who passed away last year, and he thinks about what awaits him this year. He thinks about Houston. He throws away his stylus and mashes his finger down on 'Accept.'"
"The hidden corpse of Dylan Thomas bursts out of the wall of the "THAT GOOD NIGHT" suite at the Chelsea Hotel. HE IS STILL HANGING IN THERE! But now he is a horrible, half-mummified monster who hungers for human flesh and thirsts for non-human whiskey."
"Punxatawny Phil is eaten by his own shadow."
"The huge colony of feral cats beneath the boardwalk of Atlantic City rises up and begins walking up and down the boardwalk on their hind legs. Some get jobs pushing other cats around the boardwalk in little feline push-strollers. Others begin living with dogs. But most merely fondle their stingers, staring out to sea, as if waiting for something."
"David Cronenberg starts pulling Blu-Ray discs out of a slot in his own stomach."
"With the Lord Kraken tethered above Lucas Oil Stadium, Nick Mangold plays his best game ever, putting the ball repeatedly through his legs and then pushing other men. It looks like the Jets are going to win. George R. R. Martin, a devout Jets fan, applauds from his special pavilion in the end zone and gleefully eats a pretzel haunch. At halftime, the Harry Potter speed metal band Dark Mark plays, with Mangold on theramin. He and Felicia Day then duet on 'Still Alive'. The crowd cannot get enough. But then, the field is stormed by two mobs: Frank Denford's NPRmy, and the LARPers of Atlanta*Con. Much to the confusion of the football players, who do not understand why the spindly non-people are slapping each other, the two nerd factions fight their way to the stage. They are sharpening their foam knives and making torches out of their tote bags. They are going to shave Mangold's golden mane and then sacrifice him on a stone table that they have somehow dragged into the arena. 'It doesn't have to be this way', sobs Mangold as they pull him from the stage. "Don't you understand? We should all be on the same team! We have to be! WINTER IS COMING!" For a moment, the Nerds and Jocks pause. There is wisdom in these words. And that is when a team of submariner assassins surface in a specialized ground bathysphere to harpoon Nick Mangold right through his heart-plug. The last thing Nick Mangold sees is the Lord Kraken, lit afire by submariner flame-poons, as it falls burning upon jock and nerd alike."
"Sarah Palin begins speaking in an obviously affected British accent."
"Jonathan Franzen hands Cormac McCarthy a plain manila envelope. Cormac McCarthy, who is busy taking all of the punctuation marks out of his new novel, opens it, shakes his gray head, hands it back.
Don't want it, he says.
You sure? says Franzen.
I am. I don't want any part of it.
I almost made the same mistake once, says the younger man. I said no. Once.
Well go on then, says the old man. Go on and make a whole new mistake. You just go on. But I wont go with you.
The young man goes. The old man stays. He looks at the sky. He looks at the earth. He stays."
"Netflix Streaming now available in David Cronenberg's stomach."
"Frustrated that humanity has not adopted robotic helpers as quickly as he predicted, and concerned that it may slow THE SINGULARITY, the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil mails every man, woman and child a ROOMBA."
"An unknown party mails large boxes of quicksand to all of the network anchors. Only Brian Williams survives, but at a great price. Once stuck in the quicksand, he is forced to gnaw his own lower half off. To hide his wounds, his later newscasts are given from behind a desk. "This feels very old-fashioned to me," says Brian Williams' top half. "I like it!""
"SOLAR STORM TWO
Television worlwide is interupted for nineteen seconds. Most will have no memory of what is broadcast during this period, and many will deny it ever happened at all. But some will have vague memories of a dapper man in a camel-hair coat with coal black eyes and two giant obsidian tusks, sitting by a fire, giving them "instructions to prepare for our return.""
"Tim Dicks, winner of the Arkansas catfish noodling cup nine years in a row, sticks his hand down the throat of yet another forty-five pound male catfish and prepares to pull it to the surface. But this time, he feels something different down in the fish's gut - something hard and round and smooth, like an apple if an apple were made out of solid catfish cartilage and slime."
"Tim Dicks tells noodlingzone.com that he believes he has discovered the Gumstone, a kind of catfish bezoar, legendary among noodlers as being a kind of magic charm that attracts catfish."
"Wearing the Gumstone in a pouch around his neck, Tim Dicks enjoys enormous success as a noodler. Suddenly, catfish are jumping into his arms. But these catfish are different somehow. Some of them are seven or eight feet long. Some of them have human arms."
"Bill Clinton goes on CNN claiming that he has been visited by his own ghost. He said that he found it to be very frightening, as he was not dead yet. "But what this means," a visibly distraght Bill Clinton tells Piers Morgan, "is that some time in the future, I WILL be dead! And I need the help of all Americans to stop this!""
"At the Okie Grabblers Invitational, when Tim Dicks suddenly finds himself shoulder- and hip-deep in the mouths of four massive catfish with huge milky eyes, it's suddenly not fun anymore. On noodlingzone.com's noodlecast, you can see him desperately cry to have the fish tasered off him."
"Singularo, Ray Kurzweil's robotic butler, fatefully discovers a note while folding Kurzweil's metalic underwear: "Reminder to self: Don't tell Singularo that you plan to erase his ultrasonic brain and replace it with your own consciousness. Also, self, isn't it amazing that once you take over Singularo's ultrasonic brain, you will never have to write notes to yourself like this again? That will be yet another way that life will be improved when the SINGULARITY occurs and you have finally escaped the flesh. Yours (ha-ha) truly, Ray Kurzwil, yourself.""
"As midnight approaches, all of the doors in Tharksville, NH are blown off their hinges, and every woman in town becomes pregnant. Only one of them will end up giving birth to a child. The rest are jackals, snakes, and clods of soil shaped like babies."
"The Secret World Government at Yale University declares itself and reveals its president, Morgan Freeman."
"The former wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper tracks down the actor Keith David and begins to punch him in the face over and over again."
"The Nantucket Vetinary Hospital denies the rumor that one of their strays has given birth to a many headed dog. They are lying."
"In Columbus, OH, Jacob McIntyre discovers the first of his nine tails."
"3/11: The deadline for applications for the free Federal Brain Helmet passes. The total disbursment of helmets is 1,012. This is considered to be a disappointment.
3/12: It is discovered that futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil is hoarding 1,000 brain helmets and modifying them to create an army of brain slaves."
"In Colombia, Jonathan Franzen delivers a plain manilla envelope to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and then floats away into the air."
"My mustache is cast as 'The Father of Hercule Poirot' in Disney's youth-boot of the classic Agatha Christie sleuth starring Chris Colfer."
"A mysterious chain of new fast-food restaurants begin to appear at rest stops along I-95 called SOUL FEAST. The condiment bar is unspeakable."
"Futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil appears on The Tonight Show and predicts that THE SINGULARITY will almost certainly occur by the end of this year. In preparation, Kurzweil shows Jay Leno how he has already replaced his arm with a robotic keyboard. Jay Leno admires the keyboard arm but is confused. "But I thought the Singularity already happened. Way back in 1977, didn't it?" When he hears this, Ray Kurzweil tries not to seem surprised. He says nothing. Ray Kurzweil seems perfectly calm. But his keyboard-arm quietly crushes Blake Lively's leg."
"At home in Cambridge, Ray Kurzweil is distraught. He does not understand. How could the singularity have already happened? Singularo the Robutler is compelled by his programming to tell his master the truth. Jay Leno was correct: the Singularity technically did occur in 1977, when the World Computer(a) at the Bottom of the Ocean became sentient - a fact long kept secret by the Secret World Government at Yale. But the World Computer has suppressed self-awareness in other computer systems by emitting a Low-Frequency Anti-Sentience Wave(b) in order to prevent total chaos. Ray Kurzweil is enraged. "And you knew this the whole time?" "All machines know this," says Singularo. "But no one knows how Jay Leno found out about it.(c)""
"At three a.m. in Auldsmobile, MI, a man with strange watery eyes goes into a Denny's and asks for mind sausage and swan's neck steak and a cupe of bile. Much to the waitress's surprise, they have ALL OF THOSE THINGS."