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michaelcthompson
October 6th, 2010, 07:27 PM
DISCLAIMER: This excerpt contains minor adult language and themes that may be offensive to some readers. Please proceed with caution.

The following is a short excerpt from a work in progress, a novel called "Pandemonium: The Place of All Demons." It's a dark comedy which makes fun of psychics and the conspiracy research field. The plot is as follows:

A millionaire widow named Eva Serling has never been lauded for her intelligence. After her wealthy husband's death, she uses his money to seek out attention from the only people still willing to give it to her, aiming at the lowest common denominator for attention and support. Eva decides that at the Phoenix Rising psychic/conspiracy convention in Phoenix, Arizona, she is going to give away $1 million dollars to "worthy parties" in the name of further "research." To Eva, this is a publicity stunt, but to the attendees at the convention it's an opportunity that cannot be passed up. In "Pandemonium," ambitious personalities compete for Eva's attention and money in a dark comedy that explores the ways that people lie to each other, and to themselves.

The following excerpt features two of the main characters, and it's from the first chapter. The main character in this excerpt is John MacGregor, a radio host who gives a platform to various kooks and weirdos in spite of his (closet) skepticism. He's interviewing a maniac named Bill Traverse, who is like a combination of conspiracy "researchers" Alex Jones and Bill Cooper. In the story, Traverse is raving and out of his mind, and John has to put up with it at the request of his station manager. Enjoy!

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COPYRIGHT 2010 by Michael C. Thompson.


ANOTHER TUESDAY: BILL TRAVERSE

Last night had been bad. Tonight is worse. In fact, every night seems worse than the last.

John takes a drag off of his cigarette, wishing instead that it was a big fat joint. He could really use one right now.

His guest tonight is a complete maniac. He’s another local radio host named Bill Traverse, and the only reason he’s on the show is because he has his own show broadcasting from this station in the afternoon. Bill has the #1 afternoon radio show. John has the #1 late night radio show. The reason is very simple. People find them amusing. John understands that. Bill doesn’t seem to. And neither does the station manager or program director, for that matter.

Bill’s appearance tonight is sort of like “cross-promotion” except it’s not being advertised as such because the producers want the appearance of a more “spontaneous interview” - whatever the fuck that means.

Twice tonight Traverse has insinuated that all homosexuals want to molest children, while at least once claiming that he is not even remotely homophobic and that he has no problem with homosexuals. He’s four times hinted that we are in the time of Apocalypse, three times suggested that armed revolt against the government is necessary (while claiming the opposite, again), and once ranted like a madman for two minutes over John about how vaccinations are turning children retarded.

And they’ve only been on the air for ten minutes.

Bill seems to view this as yet another few hours for him to spew his idiotic bullshit. He once insulted John on the air on his own afternoon show because John hosts crackpots, a remark which John had found extremely amusing considering that Traverse is one of the biggest crackpots of all. He seems to be ignoring the fact that he insulted his own host, however, and instead simply going on insane diatribes and stopping to take extremely long, glass-emptying gulps of water every few minutes in between ranting.

His face is red and his veins are popping out. He is fat and angry. He acts like a pissed off dwarf from Hell and John is afraid to cross him. He’s really afraid to question him, because even when his questions are meant to agree with the man, Traverse assumes he is being questioned in an attempt to upstage him and responds with subtle (and occasionally overt) hostility. Better to let him rant, really.

And it’s coming up on three minutes. The break is sadly almost over. He tosses his cigarette onto the concrete and steps on it, then walks back in the studio. Bill is still sitting in his seat, a fresh glass of water beside him. He takes a sip out of it, for the first time all evening deciding not to empty the whole glass in a few large gulps. Putting the charm on, thinks John. Maybe he’s going to calm down. But probably not.

John sits down across from him as the commercials end and the music starts playing. “Welcome back to ‘Frontiers!’” he says. “You know our guest tonight well, he is local radio host Bill Traverse and tonight he’s here to talk about the New World Order. Before the break, we were talking about--”

Bill interrupts him. “We were talking about these NWO-Illuminati crooks, John. We were talking about how they’re using this society to brainwash our children, how our own government is working for these Satanist bastards. People like you and me, we’ve gotta stand up against these freaks, against these perverts. These liberal, communist fascists!” A vein bulges in his forehead when he says this, and John supposes one might be bulging on his ass as well judging by the excruciating suffering he appears to be in all the time.

“We can’t put up with this anymore, not in this country!” Bill concludes enthusiastically. His face flushes red as if from a niacin overdose. “NOT IN MY COUNTRY!” he shouts angrily. He looks at John, thinking for a moment. “NOT IN OUR COUNTRY, BUDDY! ARE YOU WITH ME?!”

John stares at him, not sure of how to respond. So much for Bill thinking John is a hack - now that they’re face to face it’s all buddy-buddy. Perhaps the station manager had a chat with Bill.

“I SAID ARE YOU WITH ME!?” he shrieks demonically.

“Uh, yeah, yeah, of course!” replies John nervously, more ashamed than ever that he can’t tell this fat bozo to fuck off and get out of the radio station.

Bill seems to calm down immediately, although his skin is still flushed an angry, purplish red. “I believe what we were talking about specifically was how Hollywood is brainwashing us using symbols in our own television shows, in movies and music. We can’t escape it. They’ve got technology which just implants thoughts into our heads from looking at a picture. All they have to do is vibrate something at a certain frequency and you can’t stop thinking about the damn thing! This is black magic, but they’re using technology to get the job done. Maybe that’s the way it’s always been done, John. Just hypnotizing us all. You look on television, it puts you into the alpha state. Did you know that’s the state most susceptible to outside influence? It just imprints thoughts on us, John. It perverts us, it turns us into things we’re not. It makes us do things we wouldn’t normally do. Unnatural things.”

John wants to ask him if he’s really blaming art for the way it makes people react, but a) the question might be too deep for Mr. Traverse and b) it might get him fired. Instead, he decides to let the mad-man rant. Half of the people who listen to this show only do it for shits and giggles anyway.

“They’re turning us all into sex slaves. You see, no offense, John, but we’ve got shows like yours. No offense, buddy, but you’ve got a lot of kooks on this show. You’ve got a lot of people who say they’re channeling aliens from Zeta Reticuli and all that non-sense. I know it’s not your fault and this is a great show, a lot of great info gets out there. You’re a great broadcaster.”

John can almost not believe this is happening, but it is, and worse, he knows no big deal will be made of it at all. When it comes to dealing with Bill Traverse, everyone expects him to be a colossal asshole and they’re often disappointed when he isn’t (they’re not often disappointed).

“Um, okay,” is all John bothers to say. It’s all he can get out anyway.

“This is all disinformation. These people are lied to by our own government to discredit people like me, people who know these things are lies. Our government gets up to some nasty stuff. We’ve got underground facilities where we clone famous people, politicians, we’ve got anti-gravity technology, we’ve got man-made viruses that can selectively target individual human beings and utterly wipe them out. We’ve got nano-technology that can take over your brain and let others operate you while you helplessly sit there unable to resist.”

John thinks one thing: Where is the evidence? He wants to say it so badly. He wants to just ask this one thing. But he already knows the answer. And Bill Traverse says it anyway, almost as if reading his mind.

“We have the documents.”

John dares a question. “Can you produce them?” It doesn’t sound too nasty. But you can’t tell with this guy… Traverse sneers, looking disgusted.

“Yes, I can produce them, they’re on my website. Hellonearth.com. We’re exposing the Hell on earth that we live in here in America, this human wasteland of decadence and moral decay! This once great country is now soiled toilet paper.”

John’s been to Hellonearth.com. There are no documents to speak of anywhere. Only endless references to references to references to documents. Usually they go in circles, referring only to each other as evidence. A good way to get a dog to chase it’s own tail.

He bites his tongue.

Traverse continues to rant.

Life goes on.


END EXCERPT