All day it snowed, and by nightfall two adult-sized drifts and one child-size drift had formed in the Short-Term Residency Zone, and all three drifts were standing along the barbed wire fence looking longingly over at Leon’s Border Guard shack, inside of which a giant fire was blazing.
“I’m so hungry,” said the child-sized drift around midnight, and then Little Andy fell over, and Carol and Wanda gently righted him and dusted the snow off his face and shoulders.
“This is it,” said Wanda. “This is the end.”
“Yes,” said Carol. “It is the end.”
“We’ve done it all wrong,” said Wanda.
“Yes we have,” said Carol.
“Nothing left to be done,” said Wanda. “Except die.”
“Maybe,” said Carol, who then made a snowball and threw it weakly at the window of Leon’s guard shack.
In a few minutes Leon came out in his pajamas, looking grumpy.
“What the heck?” he mumbled. “How dare you bomb our nation with missiles?”
“Oh Leon, honestly,” said Carol.
“How dare you call me Leon?” said Leon half-heartedly. “Look, what do you guys want?”
“Food,” said Wanda.
“Very funny,” said Leon. “I can’t give you food, you know that. Per Phil. Per President Phil.”
“We used to play checkers,” said Wanda.
“Maybe we did, maybe we didn’t,” said Leon.
“Anyway we don’t want food,” said Carol. “What we want is a pen and a piece of paper.”
Leon looked at Carol suspiciously.
“You’re not going to eat them, are you?” he said.
“I’m going to write a letter,” she said. “A letter to Phil.”
“To Phil?” he said. “To President Phil? What are you going to write to him about? You’re not writing to him about me, are you?”
“Actually, yes,” said Carol. “I was thinking of writing about how efficient and forceful you are. So much so that we’re all afraid of you, which is why we’ve been so passive lately.”
“Oh,” said Leon. “That’s not so bad, I guess. That I wouldn’t mind so much. But that checkers thing? You’re not going to write about that alleged checker-playing, are you?”
“I doubt it,” said Carol. “Actually I was thinking of putting something in about how you watch us so vigilantly that there’s absolutely no hope of escape. I might also write in praise of Phil. I might write a poem of praise for Phil. You know, an opening passage praising your forcefulness and vigilance, and then a brief poem of praise for Phil. After which, you deliver it. How does that sound?”
“Hold on a sec,” said Leon, and disappeared inside his shack, and reappeared a few minutes later with a pen and a piece of paper and an envelope.
“Just, you know,” he said. “Give me a shout when it’s ready to go.”
Then Leon went back inside and Carol squatted in a corner of the Short-Term Residency Zone, writing.
“What are you writing, Carol?” said Wanda. “What are you really writing?”
“None of your business,” said Carol.
A few minutes later Leon eagerly trudged out the gate in the Wall of Truth, taking Carol’s letter to the Presidential Palace.
Next morning Phil arrived at the border pulling behind him his brain, which sat in a velvet-lined box on wheels, and wearing a vast burgundy Presidential Cape, which looked suspiciously like the curtains of the former Presidential Palace. Close behind were the Special Friends and the Advisors and the two little mans, lugging a tall planar tarp-covered surface the size of a movie screen.
“An emergency has occurred!” Phil shouted. “A national security moral emergency. Last night, there came for me, via Leon, a private correspondence. But all should know it is no longer possible for me to receive a private correspondence. Because I am no longer me. I am not the me I formerly was. I am a bigger me now, I include all, my people are a part of me. Whatever I hear, all must hear, since I am all, and we are not separate. Kindly drop the curtain, so that all may see what I saw last night, which prompted this state of national moral emergency for us.”
The Special Friends pulled a rope, and the tarp dropped, revealing a gigantic copy of Carol’s letter.
Phil, she had written. I won’t mince words. You have always wanted me. I know that. So have me. Spare Wanda and my son and you can have me. If you know what I mean. That is it. That is my deal. It is all I can think of to do.
“Read this well!” Phil shouted. “And read her code! She asks do we know what she means! Do we? I think we do. This Inner Hornerite is propositioning your beloved President! She is suggesting I intermingle my blood with her Inner Horner blood! Has she not been hearing the words of my lips? My words of my lips regarding the problem of Inner Horner inferiority? Have I not said that they are nervy and tiny and excessively brainy and aggressive? Have she no respect for the purity of my blood? Do she honestly think I want some sort of horrible nervy brainy cross-breed to squirt out of her and start calling me Dad? Good God, look how big and unseemly this huge letter is, proof of her carnal animal nature, writ large! Wrote large! She did not write it large, but I did, so you my people could see this, this ultimate proof of how unwomanly the womanhood is of that lowly former land! Al, speak to me of love!”
“Me, sir?” said Al, the mirror-faced Advisor.
“You, Al,” said Phil. “I really value your input.”
“Well, sir,” said Al, the mirror-faced Advisor, flattered to have been asked. “In my view? Love is one of the most outstanding experiences a human being can undergo. When we love someone, wow, we just feel so super about being with them and sharing such experiences as our feelings and emotions, not to mention hopes and dreams we might possess. The feeling we get from that interraction is for the most part the most pleasant one we can ever do. And committment, that commitment we feel, is the strongest bond we can subject ourselves to.”
“I so much agree!” said Phil. “I love love. All Outer Hornerites love love, but the sort of love we love to love is of the gentle connubial sort between man and wife, not this sleazy proposed love between unwed sweaty lusters! But clearly, there can be no marriage between Inner and Outer Hornerite! That would be like a swan marrying a worm! And why would a swan do that? They could not even kiss, what with a worm having no lips and a swan merely a beak! Therefore this propositioning letter does not reek of love, but of lust, not of marriage, but of unseemly sweaty trysts between disparate types. Trysts of sly barter! Like a transaction! She gives me what I want and I give her what she wants, and it is all grunts grunts grunts and no gentle smiles between grunts at all! It is all business! She is willing to sell herself, this harlot. Willing to sell herself to the leader of the enemy of her people! Please step forward! Step forward whichever harlot wrote this!”
“You know very well who wrote it, Phil,” said Carol. “I signed it.”
“Which is another thing I don’t get!” said Phil. “To broadcast one’s sluttery, by signing it? Knowing as you must have known that I am no longer merely me, you must have known that I would share your letter with my people, and thereby, functionally, you said these horrific thoughts out loud, before my nation! My pure nation, whose thoughts are always so sweet! There is not a perverse thought in any head in my nation and then this slutty bomb drops down from the sky and begins extending tendrils into our pure heads! Your obscene proposal, proceeding out from your lips, entered our airspace and penetrated our good pure ears and is even now working its way down into our hearts, that filth! The perversion you have spoken, left unpunished, will eat away at our good pure hearts, and in every Outer Horner head, when he or she sees you, or sees even a scrap of you, will upwell the spontaneous horrific image of you kissing me, not to mention other things too filthy to mention, for example you grasping my Phalen Extender with that Inner Horner lust in your crazy rolling eyes, or stroking my spongy white air filter with a hideous look of demented pleasure on your sweating acquisitive face! And those filthy thoughts we will all involuntarily have, courtesy of you, will take up valuable space in our pure brains, pushing out thoughts of our usual bigness and largesse! Thoughts, for example, of the planning of spacious public parks, thoughts of big puppies frolicking and a kindly large grandmother spanning with her arms several big generous kids with that special Outer Horner freshness on her ancient moral cheeks! I cannot allow it! I hereby must ask my Special Friends to erase the source of those future probable pornographic images from our collective mind, by eradicating in a stern fury the source of those wanton words, as quickly as possible, and inflaming her parts, so that none linger to titillate!”
“I lost you a little there,” said Vance.
“The usual?” said Jimmy.
“The usual,” whispered Phil. “Only afterwards burn her parts.”
“For God’s sake!” shouted Wanda. “She’s got a kid!”
“Oh for crying out loud!” shouted Phil. “How low must you be, to think so lowly of me? Do you really think I would disassemble a mother in front of her child, when that goes against everything we stand for, since we are a country that values mothers and children, as you will see if you go to our art museum, where just about every other picture is of some mom holding a kid or a kid kissing a mom or several kids looking up with love at their mom? The future is the children! I know that very well! Jimmy! While Vance enacts the will of the nation, eradicating this shameless wanton source of spiteful acquisitive filth, please make it a more positive experience for the child, by taking him over the Wall of Truth for a joyful rich Outer Horner Cafe milkshake.”
“I don’t want a milkshake!” screamed Little Andy. “Mom! Mommy!”
“Yes she is your mommy,” shouted Phil. “And for that I am truly sorry. It is too bad for you! Why is life this way? You never had a chance. Children are innocent. Why are some children born with harlots for mothers? Is is sad. I am saddened. Jimmy, Vance, collect the taxes, so I can go home and recover from my deep sadness regarding the sad sadness of this unfair life.”
And Jimmy picked up the squirming biting cursing Little Andy, and Vance picked Carol up by the scruff of the neck.
“Don’t do this, Phil,” said Carol. “My child needs me.”
“A funny time to start being a mother!” said Phil. “And don’t call me merely Phil! Where was your motherhood hormone when you were writing that lustful letter? Jimmy, please: impart on the child a positive milkshake experience. Vance, please: do what morally must be done.”
As Jimmy stepped over the Wall of Truth with Little Andy, Vance yanked out Carol’s cotter-pin, which caused her to fold at the waist, after which Vance used his pliers to pop out her four McNally clamps, after which, using a scalpel, he quickly cleared her Central Spine of all connecting tendons and tossed the mess he had made into Leon’s wheelbarrow.
“Why so silent?” Phil said to the two remaining little mans. “Is this not news? Is the nation not waiting?”
“I honestly can’t think of anything to say,” said the first little man.
“And yet you realize that silence in the face of truth is equivalent to lying?” said Phil. “You must realize that if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem! When one sees a big evil thing happening, one must note it, one must speak out! Silence kills! One must say, when one sees that it is true, for example, that the President has stood firm against the evil horrifying threat of miscenegation!”
“PRESIDENT STANDS FIRM AGAINST HORRIFYING THREAT OF MISCENEGATION,” said the first little man with a sick look on his face.
“And you,” Phil said to the second guy. “If you note it, which I can’t believe you wouldn’t have noted it, wouldn’t you want to mention that I have undertaken an innovative federal program in which I treat Inner Horner orphans to generous milkshakes of reconciliation?”
“PRESIDENT UNDERTAKES INNOVATIVE FEDERAL PROGRAM WHEREIN HE TAKES INNER HORNER ORPHANS OUT FOR GENEROUS MILKSHAKES!” said the second little man with his eyes cast down.
“Of reconciliation,” said Phil.
“OF RECONCILIATION!” said the second little man.
“Leon,” said Phil. “Later tonight, when it is dark, secretly take this former bad woman far away in your patriotic efficient wheelbarrow, and, after annointing her with some substance such as gas, drop on her some substance that burns, such as a match, and in this way, via fire, her disparate parts will not, via lingering around, inspire in our people thoughts of miscenegatorical lust, okay?”
“Okay,” said Leon.
So around midnight, while Little Andy fitfully slept in Wanda’s arms, dreaming that he owned a huge slashing blade, which he was using to slaughter row upon row of Outer Hornerites, Leon started out for Far West Distant Outer Horner at a trot, which caused the parts in his wheelbarrow to bounce, and for Carol’s former bellow to give off a belch-like puff of air whenever it jounced against her Swiveling Wristplate Adaptor.
When Leon reached Far West Distant Outer Horner, he dumped the parts and lit them up.
“That’s what you get, Carol,” he mumbled into the smoke. “You could’ve got me in a lot of trouble with that stupid letter.”