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From the Refugee Camp

"...so I'm sitting there in the Home for Old Combat Journalists, and the place is humming like I ain't seen it since the Great Laxative Price Rollback of '78, so I goes up to this battered photographer's vest straight out of Doonesbury and I says, hey man, what's the fuss?

Oh, get real, he chews at me. You haven't seen the reports coming in from Yugoslavia? Murder, mayhem, baby-killing, genocide, troops in three different uniforms scowling across tenuous borders? Everybody's going, and we're gonna party like it's n... um, like it's going outta style. You oughta be there, kid.

I kinda grunt at him and head over to the jello buffet. Soon's I do, wouldn't ya know it but some greasy character in fatigues and a trenchcoat grabs my arm and shoves a microphone down my throat. Hi there you don't mind if I take a statement do you I'm compiling a piece on the media circus reaction to the Kosovo crisis and I'm sure you as a responsible citizen, he says, you as a responsible citizen are understandably concerned about the american penchant for pointing overseas for titillation especially of the bloodier kind and paying no attention to goings-on in our own backyard am I right? And leaves me gasping for breath from his halitotic barrage.

I say, uhhhh.

He asks me what flight I'm on.

I'm on no flight, I counter. Someone has to hold the home front. Who knows, some school-kid might pick this week to go postal.

You pussy, he spits. Pussy, wouldja credit that? And in this post-feminist day and age. What's the world coming to.

So, having inspired enough loathing in my fellow man for him to leave me alone, I slurp down my blue raspberry jello and leave the paper plate on the paper doily next to the paper.

And zoom off to Colorado.

Oh look, edgar, a decline in moral values. You wouldn't see that kinda stuff happening in a Catholic school, right? Over there, Mr. Buckley and His Grace Mr. Scalia teach them right. Save your kamikaze impulse for the abortion clinics. Better yet, grow up and get your law degree so you can make people dead and make the news and all without having to die yourself. After all, fanatics might always be fanatics but their direction can be changed pretty easily. So simple, just to turn an anti-Semite propagandist into a Lutheran pastor.

hey, joe, didja know you can hate Nazis and Jews at the same time? And make good money at it, too. Preacher with a law degree: built-in candidacy.

So I wake up the following week at a rave. For all you Concerned Parents out there, good news. Morale may be low here at the refugee camps, but the stuff in the Grape-Ade ain't nothing but LSD.

Keep in mind: the fact that 12-year-old girls are coming to all-night parties, gobbling cocaine and semen and yes, even Ecstacy, with multiple partners, should help you realize that your darling Cindy Lou who's out drinking right now and probably having sex with her regular girlfriend...

...is in no danger. She's not even on the fringe. Feel safe.

Come back to bed, Ted. It's just a tree branch knocking against the roof."

-skyler, summer 1999