William H. Johnson, "Off To War" (1942-44)
William H. Johnson, Off to War (1942-44)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

July 27, 2003:

Little by little, things fell apart.

The first problem was the steady three meals a day which Mary Ann and Gilligan had harvested, prepared, provided, and cleaned-up after. After a thorough search, the terrorists' secret stockpile of provisions was uncovered, in the larder near the brick oven. "Enough to sustain a suicide squad of more than one hundred fanatics for nearly two weeks," announced the President, taking credit for another milestone in the War on Terror. Rummy was rather quiet during the announcement: his military, who had been searching out food stockpiles ever since the welcome banquet, had missed these.

With food supplies temporarily secured, the problem remained of who would prepare the meals. The government announced grandly that this was a matter of individual initiative. "No bureaucracy," agreed Poppy firmly, with resolve; "keep Washington off our backs." "But surely," Mrs. Howell complained on behalf of the First Class Cabin, "you don't expect people of our sort to handle kitchen implements?"

The village began to stink. No-one took out the trash, which piled up in corners and overflowed and began to rot. Some of the villagers took to wearing masks, like 17th Century nobility.

Grass overgrew the golf course, followed by jungle vines.

Doors and windows began to squeak, then stick, then refuse to budge. Dust accumulated; floors went unswept. The linens became oily, then dirty, then positively rank. People wore unwashed clothes. Hedges went untrimmed; flower gardens were unweeded. Roofs began to leak. The jungle overgrew trails. The villages' freshwater stream became clogged with debris. The bars ran out of kava. People were hungry for coconut pie. It was as if the clock were turning backward on civilization.

Turd Blossom began to worry about the poll numbers.

"The primary and most important imperative," he reported to a meeting of the Strategery Group, "is to deflect responsibility."

Two time-tested expedients were agreed upon. First, an independent commission of inquiry would be chosen, packed with reliable figureheads and carefully disempowered; its report would blame a previous administration. Second, the President would shape the debate via a major speech.

That is to say, it would be business as usual.