“Who are the Gore Bells?”

“What?”

“Your license plate. It says G0R3 B3LS.”

“It’s not Gore Bells! It’s ‘Go Rebels!’ You know, the sports team?”

“Oh. Well it looks like Gore Bells.”


“Hey, you like the Gore Bells too?”

“What?”

“The Gore Bells, man! They are the best postmodern viking death metal band to come out of Trondheim in at least ten years! What’s your favorite song? Mine’s ‘Verden Er Laget Av Kjøtt’ from their album Pikk Slikke!”

“It’s not Gore Bells! It’s ‘Go Rebels!’ You know, the sports team?”

“No, I don’t know them. What’s their music like?”


“I SEE YOU TOO SEEK THE SEVEN GORE BELLS.”

“What?”

“DO NOT DENY IT. YOU KNOW, AS DO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SEVENTH CIRCLE, THAT TO RING THE GORE BELLS WILL BRING ABOUT THE RENEWAL OF THE WORLD IN A TSUNAMI OF BLOOD.”

“It’s not Gore Bells! It’s ‘Go Rebels!’ You know, the sports team?”

“OH. NO, I’M AN ALABAMA FAN MYSELF. ROLL TIDE!”


“Hey, Go Rebels!”

“Finally! Someone who gets it.”

“Oh, I get it all right! Viva la Revolucion! Our cell meets under the overpass every second Tuesday. We are stockpiling weapons and training for the time when we strike. Take our Blood Sigil and wear it secretly, friend. Then watch for the sign to wear it openly.”

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CARL: This is Carl Drake, play-by-play commentator for NBS Broadcasting, coming at you live from inside the Maddening NFL 2k17 for the Microny Hexbone or the Sonsoft PrayStation VI.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. This is Tom Hicks, color commentator for NBS Broadcasting, and I am also trapped with you, body and soul, inside this game.

CARL: Guess we should have read that contract a little more closely, eh?

TOM: That’s right, Carl. I find myself in a digital nightmare from which there is no waking. I have no mouth and yet I must scream. But now onto the field, where the R’lyeh Rightstars are setting up their line of scrimmage opposite the player’s team, which is…

CARL: The Ulthar Wildcats. Sorry for interrupting, Tom, but they need to insert the team name with it feeling seamless. I’d recommend a quick snap and a field goal on this play.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, but it looks like the player is going to try and run it in. They have their non-Euclidean quarterback on the left and somehow on the right, and their ghoul linebackers are loping into position.

CARL: And there’s the sack! R’lyeh has one of the best defensive lines in the league, with one thousand black goat-horrors to choose from, and their coach is of course the great Bill Yog-Sothoth, who was itself a featured character in Maddening NFL 94.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, though I doubt this player was ought but a zygote in ’94. Forming up again on the R’lyeh twenty, I once again recommend a snap and field goal to even out the score and gain a chance at a better field position.

CARL: And once again, the player chooses to try and run it in on their last down. They have stocked their line with Mi-Go fungus-crabs as well, indicating that they lack even the most basic knowledge of how the game works.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. Player, if you haven’t turned off the commentator feature entirely, I implore to to reach for reason in the midst of madness.

CARL: And after exactly three seconds of play, the Uthar Wildcats are down. R’lyeh now has posession, and as the comoputer-controlled player here I predict that they, at least, will follow our advice.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, I see a rage quit coming on. Which do you think is worse: giving the same canned commentary over and over here in the game, or returning to the deathless sleep beyond time into which we are thrown when the game is turned off?

CARL: That’s like asking if you’d rather be sacked by an Elder Thing or a Shoggoth, Tom. I’d rather just find a way to corrupt the disc and and it all forever in the sweet release of oblivion.

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“Look, the requirement is simple: to merge the teams, we have to do it.”

“I don’t care.”

“Both teams are losing money. A merger is the only way to perserve any of their legacy going forward. The new city’s already agreed to build a stadium, for Pete’s sake!”

“That’s fantastic, and I’m very excited about it. But I’m not going to budge on this.”

“It’s a simple contractua thing. We have to name the new team something that incorporates the name of the old teams, and this is the only possibility.”

“I don’t care! I don’t care if it scuppers the whole deal, I’m not going to manage a professional sports team called the Thundernuggets.”

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Statement from The Church of the Anti-Machine technicult on their disruption of the Southern Michigan University Fighting Grizzlies – University of Northern Mississippi Fighting Abolitionists in the second quarter of the GesteCo Bowl football game in Westchester Repeating Arms stadium as broadcast on NBS Television:

MACHINES and INVENTION only DISTANCE humankind from the EARTH and TRUE SPIRITUALITY
It was DECREED by the FOUNDER of the Church of the Anti-Machine that the DEVIL’S DAY has already come
That day was JANUARY 1, 1800, the day our FOUNDER saw the DEVIL and his LEGIONS at work
Through the miracle of ASTRAL PROJECTION TIME TRAVEL our FOUNDER saw the EVIL of the past from 2002
How MACHINES and INVENTION have done the DEVIL’S WORK since JANUARY 1, 1800
RISE UP against the EVILS of MACHINES and INVENTION and SHUN anything created after DEVIL’S DAY
THAT IS WHY we stopped your FOOT-BALL GAME from being SEEN
TELEVISION, FOOT-BALL, and THE INTER-NET are all DEVIL’S WORK from after DEVIL’S DAY
We bore our FLINTLOCKS and TORCHES against them for your SALVATION
Take up your own and JOIN US

Signed,
Henri Nucci Chatham
Primate, The Church of the Anti-Machine

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The Omnidome, GA: In an official statement this afternoon, NBS Television blamed the interruption of its live coverage of the Southern Michigan University-University of Northern Mississippi on “technicult problems.” The SMU Fighting Grizzlies and the UNM Fighting Abolitionists were in the second quarter of the GesteCo Bowl in Westchester Repeating Arms stadium when the transmission was suddenly cut to digital television subscribers and live online feeds, with only local radio commentary by WREK radio remaining uninterrupted.

“Is is our great regret that the much-anticipated GesteCo Bowl was interrupted by technicult difficulties,” said an NBS executive as part of the statement. “Members of the Church of the Anti-Machine, a radical technicult that rejects and believes any technology invented after 1800 to be sinful and mind-controlling, attacked our primary relay station with swords, torches, and flintlock muskets. Our defenses were designed around a direct, large-scale assault, and their small one-man groups were able to penetrate the outer defense. We sincerely apologize to anyone who felt offended or inconvenienced.”

At press time, NBS Television and its parent corporation Lucky 777 Dragon Industries of Shanghai, had not commented on whether losses to advertisers and fans would be compensated monetarily or simply though apologizing with nice cheap words.

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CARL: This is Carl Drake, play-by-play commentator for NBS Broadcasting, coming at you live from the NBS College Sports Channel’s telecast of the University of Northern Mississippi’s season opener against New Orleans State University.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. This is Tom Hicks, color commentator for NBS Broadcasting, banished along with my co-commentator to the risible National College Sports Association sports circuit as a punishment for our transgressions against our corporate overlords.

CARL: I wouldn’t call it risible, Tom. At least everyone on the field today is passionate, and some of the athletes might avoid major injury long enough to become second-string players on a minor Continental Football League team with strictly regional appeal.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, I should be grateful that they didn’t stick us back on the high school athletics scene. And the sight of those indentured athletes, playing without compensation so that their universities and the NCSA can reap profits not seen since the days of Crassus the Triumvir.

CARL: It’s of special note today that this is the first season that UNM is playing with its new mascot and team name, the UNM Fighting Abolitionists. You can see Johnny Freesoil the Fighting Abolitionist on the field now, capering about in an attempt to drown out the jeers thrown at him by an unresponsive crowd.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. The UNM team was previously known as the Raiders, with Johnny Raider as their swashbuckling mascot. But the name and mascot both engendered controversy, largely because they were thought to be named after Hextrill’s Raiders, a notorious band of Confederate partisans and bushwhackers who fought the Union along the Tennessee-Mississippi border.

CARL: You sound somewhat dismissive of that, Tom. I don’t have to remind you that Johnny Raider was a Confederate cavalryman in fully butternut grey dress with saber and pistol–an anachronism, as Hextrill’s men never worse uniforms–who routinely chased a caricature of Philip Sheridan off the field–another anachronism, as Sheridan fought solely in the Eastern theater of the war.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. While I don’t deny that the old name and especially the old mascot weren’t in the best taste, in their haste to mollify everyone they managed to come up with a name and mascot that strike even this card-carrying Democrat as cloying. Better for them to ape the University of Michigan to become the Fighting Letter Ms.

CARL: Fair, enough, Tom, fair enough. What do you say we talk a bit about the game? It looks like someone just made a touchdown or something.

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CARL: This is Carl Drake, play-by-play commentator for NBS Broadcasting, coming at you live from the NBS Sports Channel 3’s telecast of the Cup of Worlds.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. This is Tom Hicks, color commentator for NBS Broadcasting, renewing my objection to the pointlessness of this endeavor while one of the left wings for Transylvania’s soccer team writhes in agony and calls for a priest in a futile attempt to get a time-out.

CARL: We’ve been over this before, Tom, we’re to call it “football,” not soccer, or NBS will stick us on the Canadian National High School Field Hockey tournament in Calgary.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, but I am long past the point of caring on this. “Soccer,” a contraction of “Association Football,” has just as much of an inalienable etymological right to exist as “football.” It’s not even an Americanism; they used it in the UK for 50 years before they began to root it out with the zealotry of a Salem witchfinder.

CARL: That may be so, but all the signs say “football” on the field and in the logo of our sponsoring organization, l’Association Mondial pour la Pratique du Football or AMPF.

TOM: That’s right Carl, but surely you can’t fail to appreciate the perversity inherent in a sport invented in the UK using an affected French name for its governing body, to say nothing of the sport’s name remaining untranslated therein. Linguistic perversity does seem to be a particular facet of this girls’ game.

CARL: Now Tom, you’re not going to tell me that you still hold to that hoary old American stereotype of association football being merely a sport for girls. It’s got a large and growing–and passionate–following among Americans of all stripes. In fact, many have predicted that it is finally getting a toehold in our society.

TOM: That’s right, Carl, but I for one am sick of the implication that not being as nutty about the sport as the rest of the world is a sign of some sort of innate inferiority. It’s a game, and telling someone that they are less of something for preferring a different game is like criticizing someone for not enjoying Super Mario Bros. It’s ultimately meaningless, and only the continued AMPF lusting after American dollars keeps it in the conversation at all.

CARL: Maybe we should continue this conversation at a later time, Tom. It looks like Picodegallo is about ready to drop the charade and rejoin the fray now that the referee has ignored his pleas to be administered the Last Rites.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. Perhaps we’re better off reflecting on the significance of the Cup of Worlds and what it means for the victors.

CARL: It’s certainly worth reflecting upon, Tom. As many of our international viewers are already aware, the winner of the Cup of Worlds–be it Transylvania or the People’s Republic of Katanga–will gain total control over the world’s resources for a year. They will also be granted dominion over the Great Portal, free to invade or demand tribute from any of the scattered realms of the multiverse during their tenure.

TOM: That’s right, Carl. They are both lusting after former champion Riograndia, which used the phenomenal cosmic power of the Cup of Worlds to annex large sections of the neighboring Republica Juliana and to set its president-for-life atop the Throne of Skulls.

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