Monday, May 24, 2004

Second Horseman of The Apocalypse Holds News Conference

The Second Horseman of The Apocalypse held a rare news conference at his estate today, warning that the Apocalypse Alert level may have to be raised. The Second Horseman met with the reporters arrayed outside the gates of his secluded ranch, arriving in a red Mustang convertible matching his solid red ensemble.
Approaching the crowd with sword in hand, the Horseman created a brief panic before noting, "Opps, sorry, I forgot how jumpy you people are," and idly tossing the sword into the backseat. "I've been asked by the other Horsemen to alert you that it may be necessary to elevate The Apocalypse Alert level in the coming weeks to Florescent Orange," he announced. "That is all, now get the hell out of here!" Before he could drive away, however, the Second Horseman was bombarded with questions from the frenzied press. The clearly irritated Horseman pointed a bony finger towards one of the reporters and barked, "OK, you....what?"

"Mr. Horseman, " the journalist began hesitantly.
"Just call me 'War'," the Horseman interrupted impatiently.

"Uh...OK, Mr. War," he resumed only to be cut off by the Horseman once again.

"Not MISTER War...just WAR..."

"Well...War...isn't this warning that it MIGHT be necessary to raise The Apocalypse Alert level kind of vague in itself? Can we or can't we expect the level to be elevated?"

"Listen to me," War began, "vagueness is the nature of the world. You MIGHT have paid more attention all along. There are dozens of other issues that if you insisted on more clarity at the time, you wouldn't be in this mess now. NEXT!" War glanced around the mob, selecting another with a subtle nod.

"Thank you, Mr. War," she began.

"Just WAR!!!" screamed the Horseman.

"Right.... War. Um...what is this 'mess' that you allude to?" she asked.

"The way the other Horsemen and I see it, you clowns are getting awfully close to falling off the edge of the table, so to speak," the Horseman responded with his characteristic candor.

"Falling off the edge of the table?" she queried subtly.

"Yeah, you know...burning down the house, sleeping with the Dodo, taking the Pompeii Plunge!" the Horseman cynically clarified.

"What happened?" yelled someone from the crowd.

"Paradigm shift. Listen, did you even look at your press kits? Figure 14 shows the projected timeline based on the old model. As you can see property values on this chunk of rock were supposed to continue upwards for the next few hundred years, even when factoring in Global Warming next century. The new model indicates a much shorter timeline ever since you folks decided to go out and get all crazy. See the solid red line falling off the charts into the cosmic crapper? That's you. We're hoping the model shift is just an aberration, but in case it's not, we're prepared to raise the level."

"The First Horseman certainly had a lot better news, " one reporter remarked.

"Well, that's a freaking politician for you," War replied angrily. "I was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other, yada, yada, yada."

"What changes will you enact after the level is raised?" another reporter blurted out.

"As an End-game player not really concerned with the day-to-day details, I've got surrogates for that." War dismissed the question with a bored wave of his hand, signaling for another.

"Has your War Plan changed?" asked a reporter discreetly positioned near the back.

"Completely. What we anticipated as a quick two or three week Apocalypse has now been revised to a long, hard, slog over a generation," War replied matter-of-factly.

"How would you classify our current situation in a nutshell?"

"You're doomed."

"By doomed, do you mean just some of us?"

"No, you're all doomed."

"What if we use a pre-emptive strike?"

"You're still doomed! Come on, people, pick it up bit. You don't exactly have all the time in the world."

"What happens after the Apocalypse?" asked a cub reporter gesturing wildly.

"Not my department," the Horseman replied. Scattered laughter punctuated the crowd, clearly annoying War. "You hicks think you've evolved to the point you can laugh at WAR?" the Horseman muttered incredulously as he abruptly returned to his car. "This press conference is over. I've got stuff to do today." Suddenly the sound of one hundred hounds of hell all howling in unison emanated from the trunk of the car. "If you can't win their hearts and minds with logic, scare their asses with special effects," War mused sarcastically, chuckling as he started the engine.

As the crowd fell into fearful silence, red-tinged smoke emanated from the exhaust, hugging the ground, and rising ominously to the knees of the startled press. "You people just don't get it, do you?" said War, leaning from the car. "If you don't sort this bulls**t out and I end up having to come in to work early, you are NOT going to be happy to see me." With that, War pulled away up the hill, throwing gravel into the crowd and yelling over his shoulder, "And if you think my surrogates are doing a 'Superb Job', just wait until you see what an Old School over-achiever like me can do when properly motivated!"

The next day, the War press conference was largely buried in the one page religious sections of most major newspapers.  However, a small mid-western newspaper gave it the front page headline,  "War Threatens the World". But with a circulation of only 666 it was a moot point.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse Unveil New Alert System

The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse have unveiled a new warning system to relay Apocalypse status to the public. Speaking on behalf of the other three, The First Horseman gave a press conference yesterday in order to present the new system. Wearing a white suit, white Fedora and white bow-tie, the First Horseman arrived in a white limousine and invited reporters to ‘come and see’ the new 5-level Apocalypse alert system.

“As you know, we Horsemen are scheduled to ride across the earth in the days just prior to The Apocalypse. Over the years, we’ve come to realize that most signs of our arrival are greatly exaggerated. In order to simplify the signs for the general population, we’ve come up with a new system, which is patterned after Homeland Security’s highly successful system for terror alerts. We also felt an image make-over was long overdue in order to better relate to modern society, and this will help with that goal”

Referring to a five color display, the First Horseman explained the risk levels. “The levels will be color-coded Emerald Green for ‘Low’, Royal Blue for ‘Guarded’, Mellow Yellow for ‘Elevated’, Florescent Orange for ‘High’ and Candy Apple Red for ’Severe’. We are confident this warning system will better alert mortals to the risk of Apocalypse, allowing sufficient time to atone or whatever it is you people do just before the end of the world.”

When asked to give examples of the various levels, the First Horseman explained, “Well, our current risk level is at Mellow Yellow. Emerald Green would have been applicable sometime shortly after the last Ice Age, while Florescent Orange would apply to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A risk level of Red would have been issued during this year’s baseball playoffs. In fact, we were all ready to ride, but then came the miraculous intervention by Cubs fan Steve Bartman in the 8th inning of Game 6, and the Apocalypse was called off. And there we were, all dressed up in the archaic garb, getting the horses out of the cosmic stables when we got the word. Just goes to show, you never really know.”

Some of the Press questioned the notable absence of the other three Horsemen. The First Horseman explained, “We all agreed on the system but felt a simultaneous appearance by all four of us would cause undue panic. After all, by Contract, the Apocalypse requires an appearance by all four of us. We didn’t wish to send the wrong message by appearing at this press conference together. I mean, face it, you’re jumpy enough as it is.”

When asked what the Horsemen do when not involved with The Apocalypse, the First Horseman replied, “Besides wait? Well, when Famine isn’t spreading drought or plagues of locusts in Africa, he likes to kick back at his villa in Italy, tending to his olive groves and making wine. He likes to stay close to the home office.

The Second Horseman, commonly referred to as War, spends a lot of time in the Middle East, but he also can be found on Wall Street. In fact, he single-handedly created the Military-Industrial Complex and all the industries that feed it.

The Fourth Horseman, on the other hand, hasn’t been feeling well lately, but still finds time to take a cruise, or travel to exotic places. He spent a few months in in Hong Kong last fall but is back in the States this year. And I prefer the world of politics as a diversion because I like to laugh. Some of the best stand-up comedy in the cosmos can be found there.”

But some attest that the system is so nondescript, it is practically useless. “With all that is going on in the world right now, how can you expect us to believe that The Apocalypse isn’t right around the corner instead of at level Yellow as you claim?” asked a reporter.

The First Horseman laughed out loud. “Listen, when we decide to ride down on your asses, you’ll know it.”