The Last Days of Mr. RightbyBoota©
A small high school
Somewhere in America…
Matt Thompson stood at the podium before his fifth period history class, sweating profusely. Today was the day. He looked up at the camera and microphone above the door, pointed right at him.
To Hell with Big Brother, he thought. I'm going to tell these kids the truth. Not the crap they've printed in these new textbooks. I don't care what they do to me. These kids are going to get a history lesson. A real history lesson.
The class was a bit rambunctious, as usual, but they calmed down when he cleared his throat and started to speak.
"Okay, class, today we have a lesson that starts off with a little class participation."
Groans went up from the students, who much preferred listening to teachers ramble than actually having to do anything.
"Now, wait! You don't even know what it is," Matt tried to explain, but his words were falling on deaf ears.
"Come on, humor me! How about it?" he said, opening his text and turning almost to the end. "I want you to go to page 314."
A whirring sound came from the camera and the lens dialed in closer on him.
"We're going to go to the year 2000 and…" Matt trailed off, tearing the last chapters of the textbook out and dropping them on the floor. "…Get rid of this horrendous hunk of complete bullshit!"
The cheers were deafening, and suddenly the class couldn't wait to participate in the assignment. The sound of tearing pages was music to Matt's ears.
"I was hired by this school system to teach history, and damn it, I'm going to teach a little history today. For once."
Matt walked around the front of the podium. "You are being lied to. We're all being lied to. The crap they printed in these books is not how things happened. This is how they would have liked for things to have happened. This is what they want you to think happened. But it is not how things happened.
"Here's a history lesson for you: He started out small. In a heavily contested election, with allegations of fraud and intimidation, he assumed power. In tiny increments he began to dismantle the protections of the country's citizens."
Hands shot up everywhere, but Matt held up a finger, asking them to hold their answers. The camera pivoted to follow him as we walked around the classroom.
"He curtailed the rule of law. His policies were xenophobic, imperialistic, and nationalistic. His foreign policy was backed with the threat of force."
More hands were waving, but Matt called on no one. He just kept teaching. And it felt good.
"To come across as legitimate he worked with the international community, but when they wouldn't go along with him he acted unilaterally. He was a master of propaganda, subverting the media for his own purposes, virtually at will."
The kids were almost apoplectic in their desire to give the right answer, squirming in their seats and trying to stretch their hands to the ceiling.
"Finally, he solidified his power through regimented discrimination toward a specific group of people," Matt said, scanning the class, trying to decide who to allow the privilege of giving the answer. "Carson, who am I talking about?"
Carson smiled, dropping his hand to his desk. "You're talking about Adolf Hitler!"
"Close, but wrong!" Matt said, hearing the quickened footsteps coming down the hall. "I'm talking about our current President. I'm telling you that this administration…"
The door to the classroom opened in a rush, slamming against the wall and shattering the glass in the door. Mr. Riley, the principal, stood glaring at Matt. "MR. THOMPSON! THAT IS ENOUGH!"
Behind Mr. Riley stood two menacing men in black suits and sunglasses. They stepped into the room and seized Matt by the arms, dragging him away.
"Kids! Don't be sheep! Question everything! Fight for your rights!" Matt Thompson called out behind him as he disappeared down the hall and out of the lives of his students forever.
Mr. Riley monitored class the rest of the day, and the next day a substitute filled in for Mr. Thompson who, the students were told, was very, very sick.
And they all got brand new textbooks.
The conference room of Rush International
William Rush sat at the head of the long conference table, fingers steepled under his chin, watching the newest public service announcement that his eggheads had come up with. The monitor was roughly the size of a movie screen, yet still didn't dominate the wall on which it resided. The eggheads, otherwise known as the Public Relations Department, wrung their hands nervously, their expectant eyes turned to the face of their fearless leader. They could barely see the boss in the darkened room, the light from the screen being the only thing that made him stand out from the wall of shadow behind him.
On the screen a close-up shot of a waving American flag blows in the wind, superimposed over a medley of scenes from our nation's most famous landmarks. Mount Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, The Great Smokey Mountains. Walmart. McDonald's. A Coca Cola bottling plant. All the things that make America the greatest nation on Earth. In the background plays the familiar, subdued tune, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
And over all of this comes the booming, powerful voice of William Rush.
"Freedom. What does that word mean to you? Well, to me, it means honoring those who have gone before us, paving the way for what we have now. It means a debt that can never be repaid. It means the responsibility to do the right thing for this great nation of ours."
Then suddenly, the scenes change. Gone are the national landmarks and icons of the American corporate monolith. Gone is the soft, patriotic music, replaced by the horrific strains of a sinister pipe organ. Screams of terror rip from the speakers and the flag disappears, leaving only the video footage of the latest terror attack. The attack on Disney World. Fire and smoke. Explosions. Body parts litter the ground. Blood and guts and gore, all compliments of the six o'clock news. People crying, people dying. A person in a Mickey Mouse costume writhes in agony as we see the costume go up in flames.
The picture freezes and we see a disturbing still shot of Mickey Mouse on fire, his trademarked ears still visible amid the conflagration. The organ stops its panicked wailing and the scene goes black. Seconds later the screen fades up, accompanied again by the soft, humming Battle Hymn of the Republic. On the screen, in all his radiant glory, stands America's greatest hero. The one and only, Mr. Right. His red, white, and blue form-fitting costume showing every cut and ridge of his impossibly large muscular frame. The suit also accenting an impossibly large penis.
"The right thing for us now is to support our President as he leads us into this difficult time. It is not the time to question; it is the time for action. It is the time to make those bastards pay for what they did to us. Write to your congressman and tell him that you support the Good American Act. I know I can count on you. Has Mr. Right ever steered you wrong?"
Mr. Right's smiling face froze on the screen at the command of the chief egghead with the remote control. Chief Egghead turned back to William Rush and awaited his response, the nervousness showing on his face despite his efforts to remain cool.
William Rush sat silently for a long time, just staring at the screen, oblivious to the stress-filled people surrounding him. The thickness of the air didn't seem to bother him at all. The only sound in the room was the low whoosh of the central air conditioning system.
At last, Mr. Rush unsteepled his fingers and straightened up in his chair. All the eggheads held their breath. This had to be right. It had to be perfect. If not, many of them would be looking for work. And now was definitely not the time to be out of work. The economy was at its lowest point in fifty years, the deficit three times its previous high point. The simple fact was that if you had a job, you were a lucky bastard. If you had a job with Rush International you were among the elite of the lucky bastards. The bad news was that William Rush fired people for even the most minor infractions or disappointments. He was not the best boss in the world to work for, but that didn't change the fact that his employees children were very fond of eating and having a place to live. If William Rush was not happy with this new spot then there would certainly be quite a few more unhappy people in the next few minutes.
Finally, William Rush spoke.
A weasel-looking man with slicked back salt and pepper hair stepped from the shadows behind Rush. "Yes, sir?"
"Do you see any problems with this spot?" Rush asked.
Mr. Thurman hesitated, fearful of giving his opinion, should it differ from Mr. Rush's opinion.
"Spit it out, Thurman! Do you see any problems with this spot?" Rush demanded.
"Well, it does seem excessively gory," Thurman answered on command. He knew better than to make Mr. Rush speak with exclamation points.
"How so?" Rush asked curiously.
"Well, sir, the bloody body parts strewn about the place. That just might be a bit much to run on national television. I don't think that the average American wants to see that."
"Thurman, it's news footage. It really happened. They've already seen it."
"Well, yes. But… I just don't think they want to see it all the time. American's don't want that on their television screens."
"Come on, Thurman! It's not like we showed them a breast or anything. It's just some everyday body parts. Arms and legs. A few heads. We see those parts all the time. What's the big deal?"
"Mr. Rush, I agree with you," Thurman said cautiously, being the diplomat. "It's just that maybe the American public won't get it. It could be detrimental to the cause if we turn them off with an over saturation of blood and guts. Even if it is the truth."
"The American public are a bunch of idiots, but still, I think they get the message of this piece. When they see their fellow American's blown apart they are going to howl for blood. I don't see the problem," Rush said dismissively.
A small voice came from the other end of the table. It was the Chief Egghead. "Mr. Rush?"
"Mitchell, go ahead," Mr. Rush replied.
"It's Maxwell, sir."
"Never correct me!"
"Of course. It's Mitchell, sir," Chief Egghead Maxwell said in capitulation. "I think we may have a problem."
"And that would be?"
"We did, in fact, show a breast in this spot. It's only briefly, but it's there," Maxwell admitted fearfully.
Maxwell dutifully rewound the tape back to the part where the video camera had scanned the blood-drenched concrete. A blown off hand. A head. A leg. An unrecognizable piece that used to be someone. An arm. And then Maxwell hit the freeze frame.
There it was.
In a small puddle of blood, a severed breast, the nipple pointing skyward.
Mr. Rush's brow furrowed and Maxwell began to sweat.
"Is there any way we can remove that?"
"Sure," Maxwell said, relieved to see a possible way out. "We can remove it digitally and no one will ever know it was there."
Another man stepped from the shadows behind Mr. Rush. This man was younger than Thurman and carried himself with a supreme sense of confidence. A self-confidence that showed in his impeccable dress and grooming. The man would appear average if not for his sense of style. "Mr. Rush?"
"According to the recent ruling by the FCC I don't believe we are required to remove the breast from the picture."
"Is that so?" Rush asked Thurman, his specialist in these matters.
"Well… yes. That is technically true," Thurman answered. "But, that doesn't necessarily make it the right thing to do. I mean, just because we can doesn't mean we should."
Davis let a knowing smile spread across his face. This was his chance to receive the ear of the Big Man. Mr. Thurman had just hit Mr. Rush's panic button. Davis understood that and poor Mr. Thurman should have understood it. What better reason is there to do something other than just because you can?
"You see, Mr. Rush, the breast can be allowed to remain in the frame because it is no longer connected to the body. While the chances of titillation are still there, they are greatly reduced, therefore the FCC doesn't see the severed breast as a threat to the moral fiber of the country," Davis explained, and then cast a baleful glance toward Thurman that seemed to say, 'Ha, I just took your place at the head of the table!'
"In fact, it may be a good thing to leave the breast in the frame. Studies show that the public will relate the visual of the breast to a maternal figure." Maxwell added hopefully. "If the whole country is led to believe that these terrorists attacked their mother, it could be a godsend for the cause."
Mr. Rush rose from the chair to his full six and a half feet and paced the room, his hands clasped thoughtfully behind his back. Rush's suit had cost the same as the average American worker made in seven months. The muscles bulged beneath his suit jacket and it looked as if the suit were stuffed with bowling balls in the shoulders and chest.
After some time, he turned and addressed Maxwell. "Can you replace the breast with something else?"
"Um… certainly. That should be no problem."
"All right, then. How about a hand? A hand holding a small American flag on a stick." Mr. Rush suggested, a proud smile on his face. He loved that idea if he did say so himself.
Maxwell smiled, relieved. This would be an easy solution, remedied in no time. "I'll get right on it."
A light went on inside Mr. Thurman's eyes. He had his way back into Mr. Rush's good graces. "Why don't we make it a child's hand?"
"Excellent!" Mr. Rush exclaimed, clapping Thurman on the shoulder a little too hard. "That is brilliant, Thurman! Give yourself a raise!"
Thurman returned his own baleful stare to his young protégé and Davis fought to keep down his anger. Davis would have to learn that Thurman had held his position in Rush's company so long for a reason and he would not be easily dislodged.
"Mr. Mitchell, make this happen!" Rush said excitedly. "Make this happen."
"Right away, Mr. Rush," Maxwell complied and headed from the room.
Seconds later, the monitor on which they had been watching the severed breast sparked to life. On the screen was the Vice President of the United States, looking absolutely panic stricken. "Mr. Right! We need you!"
"I'm here, Mr. Vice President!" Rush said in his patented powerful tone.
"Protestors in front of the White House! They are chanting and becoming… unruly! Come quickly!"
Rush ripped the front of his shirt open, buttons clattering on the conference table, to expose the stars against the blue field of the world famous costume of Mr. Right. "Sit tight, Mr. Vice President! I'm on my way!"
Rush ran from the office, awkwardly stumbling at pulling off his pants. He tripped a little bit, but stayed on his feet. As his jacket hit the floor the image was almost complete. Just one more thing. He slipped the equally famous mask over his face and in one giant bound he took flight, shattering the window and streaking into the sky in a blur of red, white, and blue.
Someone was abusing their First Amendment rights and they were going to pay.
Meanwhile, at the White House…
"HEY HEY! HO HO! THE PRESIDENT HAS GOT TO GO! HEY HEY! HO HO! THE PRESIDENT HAS GOT TO GO! "
Around two hundred angry protestors stood at the barricades before the iron bars that surrounded the White House, chanting and waving signs, all condemning the actions of the President and his administration.
For years it had been building. Terrorist groups all across the globe had made small attacks against the United States and its holdings. They had killed Americans the world over. Then they hit Americans at home and, finally, America responded. For a brief time, America was truly united, bound together in its pain and mourning. The President had the opportunity to use all of that grief and anger as the catalyst for a new America. An America in which all people were as one, gathered behind the banner of a common cause. An America that once again stood for its own ideals. And yes, an America that could use its vast resources to lead the world into an era of peace and cooperation in the name of all humanity.
Instead, the President went golfing and ordered attacks on countries that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on the United States.
Due to a nationwide campaign of doom saying, and a promise of removing homosexuals from society, the President made a clean sweep of his re-election. Despite a perfectly qualified and viable candidate, the majority of the American population let the fear mongers on the President's payroll guide their voting hand and the status quo remained in place. Fear and bigotry was the order of the day.
After all, it was easy to control a population that was scared. It was easy to get them to give up their basic freedoms for a promise of protection. It was easy to make one group of people believe they are superior to another group. It was exceedingly easy to get Americans to turn on each other in their attempt to prove that they were more patriotic than the next guy.
And that was just what happened.
The wars with the other countries met with modest success, in the grand scheme of things. The war at home was just heating up. Protest after protest began to rise in cities around the nation. Small groups of Americans had finally had enough. They stood up to the bully in the White House. They marched and spoke out. They began to make headway into the thought processes of the Presidents core support.
And then the new terror attacks started.
A group calling itself the Americans Against All Things American became part of the national consciousness when they set off bombs inside Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Bombs went off inside of several Walmart stores simultaneously the following day. About a week later, ricin somehow made its way into the food supply of the McDonald's restaurant's distributorship, poisoning McDonald's employees and customers in several Midwestern states.
No one knew what was going on or who could possibly be behind such a far reaching plot. The fear of not knowing just gnawed at the insides of the American public. Scared to eat their food, go on vacation, or even to the store, America spiraled into a dark pit of despair and horror. If only they had someone to pin their fear on, somewhere to direct that energy, it would be easier to handle. But who? The last country believed to have posed a threat was beaten into submission months ago. Everyday the twenty-four hour news channels speculated as to what diabolical group could be to blame.
Finally, the letter came.
In a letter to the Washington Post, the AAATA claimed responsibility. What is more, they threatened to carry out more attacks unless the American people met their demands. The first demand was that the President should be removed from office, as well as his Vice President and the entire cabinet. The second demand was that American corporations pull out of every other country in which they were operating. The third, and final, demand was that the American flag be burned on the White House lawn.
Strangely, this last demand angered the American public more than anything else. Everyone was so upset to hear that someone wanted to burn their flag that they never even noticed that the rights the flag stood for were quickly being taken away, with no real resistance. They were so upset that anyone would dare burn their flag that they never made an issue out of the fact that all of their flags were made in other countries. Most Americans were so livid about this proposed burning of the flag that they never even questioned what the government told them. They fell into line like the proud little sheep that they had been conditioned to be.