October 31, 2002, Episode Twenty-Three: A Very Scary Story

People have stopped spending at the Palace of Consumption.  They are no longer fulfilling their "Corporate Civic Obligations" to continue consuming mindlessly even when all their needs are met.  The overlords such as The Great and Glorious Greenspan and his sidekick, Mall Security Advisor, the Wicked Witch of the Rice have been unable to cast their most evil spells over the villagers.  Even Count W-cula's designated opposition, Sandman Insane, fails to zombify the villagers.  This is the Compulsive Consumption Council's greatest nightmare. Will Frankencheney rise from the Nixon Administration and  Can Dad the Impaler save the day?  Will they have to turn to the Attorturer General of the Physical Justice Department? 

This Halloween, we tell a tale of a cast of characters and a mysterious and terrible disease plaguing the mall.  A story so horrifying that it could have been ripped from today's corporate news!!! This could be the scariest story* of all!!!!!

*This is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely incidental to our desire to be comical.  Please listen with extreme caution as contents may be painful.  Not responsible for any zombie's or other listener's lack of a sense of humour.



Gather around boys and girls. I want to tell you a story, a Halloween story, a really, really scary story. Once upon a time there was a glorious palace in a land we will call Minnesota. This palace was a magical place with its very own wedding chapel and college. It had roller coaster rides and water slides and a food court. It had four stories of wonderful stores with pretty objects ready to be bought and then thrown away at a whim. This palace was a wonderful place ruled by a well-known and well-respected wizard, the Great and Glorious Greenspan and his side-kick, the wicked witch of the Rice.

It is at this Palace of Consumption that our really, really scary story begins. All is not well at the palace. The villagers are not buying things as quickly as they did before. They are distracted by other people and not as interested in the stores. They seem confused by the pretty objects and unsure of what to do. (fade into scene)



The Great and Glorious Greenspan and his side kick, the wicked witch of the Rice reported back to 1600 Transylvania Avenue and told their leader, Count W-cula, what had happened at the Palace of Consumption. A mysterious and terrible disease had plagued the villagers and it was spreading throughout the palace. The spells cast by The Great and Glorious Greenspan and his sidekick, the wicked witch of the Rice, no longer enchanted the villagers. The villagers were no longer fulfilling their corporate civic obligation and spending money.

Count W-cula was a resourceful leader and he held his own bewitching powers in great esteem. He decided to cast a spell of his own from the Evil Office.



Alas, even though Count W-cula esteemed his own powers, he failed to cure the mysterious and terrible disease.  Other palaces were beginning to be infected with the disease and spending was at an all time low.  The villagers were beginning to doubt the powers of the great lords and even beheaded Lord Worldcomm and Lord Enron.  The nobility of the land were afraid and there was chaos in the social order of things.

 Count W-cula decided to hold a meeting of the secret society called “Compulsive Consumption Council” or the CCC for short (this is a bureaucratic government after all).  The CCC always met deep in the dark dungeon below 1600 Transylvania Avenue. 



Martha Stewart was sacrificed as planned.  She decorated her cell with the soil, sticks and pebbles she found in the prison yard and she learned to have dinner parties on the thirty-seven cents a day slave wage she made from working as a telemarketer for America OnHold/Time Waster.  But even with all of Martha’s sacrifices, the villagers were still infected with the mysterious and terrible disease. 

Days pass and more villagers saved their money wisely.  Sustainable growth became a concern for many.  Some people are quitting work in order to enjoy life.  The mysterious and terrible disease began to infect their children with sales of anatomically incorrect super-model dolls and child-targeted fast food packages including non-toxic plastic toys and toxic junk foods hitting an all time low.  Count W-cula sank into a severe depression.  His achievement of rising from his humble beginnings as the son of the most powerful man in the world to the status of internationally known buffoon no longer serves as comfort to him.  These are dark days at 1600 Transylvania Avenue.

Desperate to regain control over the villagers, Count W-cula begins contemplating the unthinkable.  While gathering his thoughts in the evil office, he contemplates calling on the meanest man in the entire land to further his aims.



W-cula and the Marquis gave up on the Patriot Phenotype Act when they realized that in order for it to work the way they wanted, it would have to be vague beyond the bounds of language itself.  Afterwards, they continued to torture each other, not so much as a means to the end of experiencing overlapping pain and pleasure as to stay in practice.  They were rarely seen outside the Marquis’ chamber again, though they did beg Right-Wing Blonde to join them from time to time.  She refused.

Right-Wing Blonde did begin questioning all the nobility every night on the news and through her efforts the Corporate News Network became the Citizens’ News Network. 

The Palace of Consumption was transformed into a community centre.  The roller coaster and water slide remained, but many of the stores that sold pretty but insubstantial stuff became meeting places where villagers got to know each other and learn about the world around them.  The wedding chapel became a place for community groups to celebrate together.  The mall college began to teach art and philosophy as well as word processing and accounting.

No cure was found for the mysterious and terrible disease because the mysterious and terrible disease wasn’t pathological at all.  A basic paradigm shift had occurred that had broken the zombie spell.  Soon even the term “zombie” was abandoned as an anachronism, and former zombies were instead referred to as the “un-un-dead.”

You might think that this is the happy ending to this really, really scary story.  Perhaps it is.  But the nature of paradigm shifts being what it is, no one can really predict how this story will end.  In fact, an argument can be made that the story never really ends. 


copyright by Pattie Thomas and Carl Wilkerson 2002


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