"They’re everywhere, and they want to convert you

In the Hammer household, information is king. And so I’ve turned my living room into a control-and-command center so I don’t miss out on a single event.

Three, sometimes four TVs are all going at once. One set monitors CNN 24/7. Another is tuned to ESPN. The third usually has a Madden game on the Playstation.

As if that wasn’t enough, I keep a police scanner running just to see what’s happening in my neighborhood. Adding to the din is the AM radio, so I can monitor Rush Limbaugh and Art Bell.

My laptop computer refreshes the Drudge Report every 90 seconds. I don’t want to let anything pass by me unnoticed.

“How can you keep track of all of this?” my friend asked, a concerned look on his face. “I know you’re a media junkie, but this is a little much even for you.”

“Nonsense,” I said. “This is all vital information. This isn’t a time to stop paying attention to things. In fact, it’s time to pay more attention than ever before.”

There was a domestic-violence run in Lawrence, Rush Limbaugh was bashing John McCain, CNN was covering a Bush rally and I was getting beat by the Chiefs on Madden.

“I can’t slip up now,” I told my friend. “Something very important is about to break.”

My telephone beeped at me. It was a text message about the wildfires in California.

“Look,” I said, “the world is going to end in 2012, if not sooner, and I need to know what’s going on. What if the city erupted in violence? I might not make it to CVS in time to get in on the looting.”

“Do you really need all this sensory input?” my friend asked.

“I need more,” I said. “I need a monitor with just the weather radar.”

“But why?” my friend asked.

“The neocons are taking over,” I said. “They’ve got me on their hit list and all this information might give me an advantage when their jackboots start kicking at my door.”

My friend just rolled his eyes and watched the ESPN feed.

“I underestimated the neocons,” I said. “I was too lax. I thought they were just harmless folk, like the Amish or the Libertarians. Before I knew it, the neocons had infiltrated every organization I was in. They swept in overnight and changed the minds of all the people I know.”

“Yeah, right,” my friend said.

“Look at JFK,” I said. “He thought everything was going well for him. He had a pretty wife, dozens of mistresses and complete control of the government. He decides to take a trip to Texas and BLAM!”

“So you’re saying someone’s out to kill you?” my friend asked. “I think all those Diet Pepsis have finally gotten to your brain.”

“No, I don’t think anyone wants to kill me,” I said. “Neocons usually only kill people accidentally. Hanging someone in their jail cell. Shooting someone trying to escape. That sort of thing. My point is, you can’t be too careful. The neocons want to turn me into one of them.”

“Ha,” my friend said. “The neocons don’t even know you exist.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” I said, “They’re masters of deception. In fact, they may have gotten to you. It wouldn’t be surprising; they’ve hit everyone else.”

“So what would the neocons do to you?”

“First, they’d start out by making me forget about all the constitutional amendments but the second. Then they’d try and make me believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Then they’d try and convince me that Ann Coulter is a woman.”

“You’d have to be batshit crazy to think that,” my friend said, “Look at her Adam’s apple. It’s bigger than yours.”

“You’d have thought I was crazy if I told you that gas would be $3 a gallon,” I said. “I’m just being careful. All the people I worked with, they’re neocons now. All the people I went to school with, neocons. I’ll be damned if they turn me into one of them. I’d rather die than vote for a conservative.”

“And so all these TVs and radios will keep the neocons at bay,” my friend said.

“You still don’t understand, do you?” I screamed. “The neocons have taken away everything I have. I just want to live out the End Times without them bothering me. All this information puts me one step ahead.”

“You’re starting to sound paranoid, even for you,” my friend said.

“Crazy times demand drastic measures,” I said. “This is life or death for me. I don’t have very much time left.”

“Trust me on this one,” I said. “In five years, you’ll either be a neocon and Rush listener or you’ll be like me, watching every move they make. Did you hear Bush’s 9/11 speech? He was threatening to set the world on fire again. I think that Castro needs to have a talk with him. Show him how a dictator is supposed to act. You know, raise the literacy rate. Provide health care and such.”

“If I’m like you in five years,” my friend said, “I’d be even more scared than I am now. Anyway, I gotta go to work.”

“Watch out for the neocons,” I said, reading the closed-captions on CNN. “They’ll get you when you least expect it. For the love of all that is good, you must resist.”

I stared at the monitors and security cams. No neocons were trying to infiltrate my compound. I knew, however, their assault was only a matter of time.




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