“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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Introducing Crocodyne™ Ultra, the sports drink from the makers of the nation’s #1 sports-related beverage, Crocodyne™ Classic. Crocodyne™ Ultra still has the essential salts, sugars, and day-glo food coloring of Crocodyne™ Classic, ingredients and features essential to building a healthy physique and maintaining hydration when used alongside diet, water, and enough intense exercise to burn off the 320 calories from sugar in every bottle.

But the fans spoke, and we listened! Crocodyne™ Ultra also includes the remains of used up basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, and footballs–at least 1% of each Crocodyne@ Ultra bottle is balls, guaranteed! That’s .5% more balls in your mouth than leading competitor PowerDyne™ Max! Crocodyne™ Ultra also includes authentic blood, sweat, and tears from actual athletes, harvested from such at Crocodyne Sportsatoriums, Sportsaterias, and Sportsgulags. By forcing them to sports so that we can harvest their essential juices, Crocodyne™ Ultra gives gainful employment to retired athletes who, thanks to rampant and chronic steroid use, are unfit to reenter society.

Crocodyne™ Ultra. For when you blindly accept unsupported claims and slickly repackaged Olympian imagery in the media.

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This post is part of the May 2014 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Take a Character, Leave a Character”

MELINDA: Hello and welcome to our program! We’ve got quite the show for you here today, as always! But first, let’s meet our panelists. First up is Ulgathk the Ever-Living, Elder Lich of the Seven Lands. Tell us a bit about yourself, Ulgathk.

ULGATHK: Well, Melinda, I’m currently a sitting member of the Council of Undeath, sole ruler and commander-in-chief of the Unholy Army, and Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs in the Obama Administration. In my spare time, I do volunteer work to help rehabilitate the public image of what I like to call the ‘neglected undead:’ liches, wights, ghouls, ghasts, and my other non-zombie and non-vampire brethren.

MELINDA: Touching! Executive experience, leadership, and volunteering? He’s a triple threat, ladies and gentlemen.

ULGATHK: I am a threat to all that lives or cools in undeath, Melinda.

MELINDA: Our next panelist is sure to be familiar to all you sports fans out there. It’s Tom Hicks, color commentator for NBS Broadcasting. Tom, I hear next season is looking pretty good?

TOM: That’s right, Melinda. I look forward to providing meaningless patter to help fill the otherwise dead air in between sacks, home runs, zombie attacks, and other pulse-pounding moments in sports.

MELINDA: And what would you say to people who call sports commentary boring or vapid? Are they wrong?

TOM: That’s right, Melinda. I would challenge those people to actually listen to one of my rambling monologues, delivered in a sports voice, during the interminable pregame show for a major sporting event. In addition to the usual useless statistics that assume causation, I touch on themes as universal as the philosophy of consciousness, artificial intelligence, and predestination as I am chained in that chair for hours on end with airtime to fill but no one paying attention. Unable to live, unable to die. Back to you, Melinda.

MELINDA: Also joining us on our celebrity panel is Dowager Empress Cnhyn Hallud of the Crimson Empire. Viewers of the popular reality show Princess Search know her as a judge there, but before that she was the 19th and final wife of Crimson Emperor Testarossa, plucked from obscurity for her beauty before outliving the Emperor by 40 years and counting.

HALLUD: The many splendid mushrooms of peace be upon you and yours, Melinda. I seek only to see the beauty in everything, especially that which has no beauty. For what is life but a journey of self-discovery and love and flowers and smiles and puppies and rainbows and love?

MELINDA: Dowager Empress Hallud, how do you respond to critics that call you out of touch, given your fabulous personal wealth and unimpeachable position as stepmother to Crimson Emperor Testarossa II, or criticize the Crimson Empire’s human rights record?

HALLUD: I don’t think about it for even a moment, Melinda. I was a lowly milkmaid until my beloved Testarossa executed his former wife in my favor; as a self-made and powerful person, I seek to help others realize the self-actualization and harmony with nature that I have already achieved. Human rights are but a fleeting shadow substituted for true enlightenment, as my old bocce ball partners Elena Ceausescu, Imelda Marcos, and Madame Mao would tell you.

MELINDA: Here in the corner, still in his neural interface suit and HUD rig, we have noted RPD (remotely-piloted drone) jockey and interstellar prospector Cameron “Cam” Hickson, RPD (remotely-piloted drone) jockey. Cam, I understand that RPDs use faster-than-light communications technology to remotely survey the far reaches of our galaxy with the human pilots safely back on Earth.

CAM: Bullseye, Melinda. Communications are fast, spaceships can be made fast, but we humans are awfully, awfully squishy. Space exploration becomes an order of magnitude easier and cheaper when you strip out the parts needed to keep humans from becoming chunky salsa.

MELINDA: So you sit at home and pilot your drone all day? What makes you any different from a gold miner in an MMORPG like Dungeons of Krull?

CAM: Well, for one thing, I am paid in cash for my surveying and prospecting, and I own my own rig, and I don’t have to kill a hundred kobalds to level up my piloting mojo. For another, when your character in Dungeons of Krull dies, you just respawn. There isn’t a chance of a neural feedback loop that might kill you. And instead of farming the same patch of ground endlessly, I–or, more accurately, my drone–am out there finding real things that will be actually exploited to make life better for everyone. Provided that claim jumpers and psychotic griefers don’t wreck my rig.

MELINDA: Perhaps our most distinguished panelist is next: French filmmaker Auguste Des Jardins, director of Les trois Juliets and multiple Oscar nominee and Palme d’Or laureate. Forgive me for asking, Mssr. Des Jardins, but didn’t you die in 1976?

DES JARDINS: A man must have his secrets, Melinda, and a filmmaker even more so. A wiser man than I once said that no one dies until the last person who knows them through their works can no longer remember; by that measure, I have never been more alive and have, I hope, many long years ahead of me.

MELINDA: Mssr. Des Jardins, your films are as divisive as they are critically acclaimed. There have been widespread reports of seizures, hallucinations, and out-of-body experiences viewing your cinema, especially your last film, The Sacred Cenote. Would you care to respond?

DES JARDINS: I will only say that filmmaking as a whole is a violent seizure, a vivid hallucination, an out-of-body experience of the most profound kind. It is a linking and a meeting of minds, of souls, and I was able to make only very gradual progress toward that ideal with my work. The Sacred Cenote came closer than all my other works combined to the true unity to which I realized I had been aspiring all along. If that makes people uncomfortable, there is always Jaws.

MELINDA: Splendid! Our final panelist was chosen from a pool of applicants to help add a more popular dimension to our program. Please welcome Odessa “Dessie” Mullin, paranormal enthusiast and native of Hopewell, Michigan.

DESSIE: Oh man, it is just such a huge honor to be here, Melinda! I watch this show so religiously that I really ought to be ordianed in it as a high priestess or something. I do just want to say, though, that ‘paranormal enthusiast’ is kind of a misnomer. I do love all aspects of the paranormal, but my first and truest love is zombies. And, in fact, I sometimes slip into a horrifying alternate dimension where the zombie apocalypse, or zompocalypse, has already occurred, and-

MELINDA: Ms. Mullin? I-

DESSIE: -it hasn’t done anything to decrease my love for those lovable brain-eaters. On the contrary, I love them more than ever! But I also love ghosts, and ghouls, and liches, and banshees, and wights, and ghasts, and barghests, and Ulgathk the Ever-Living, and…you know what? Maybe ‘paranormal enthusiast’ is an okay thing to call me after all.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
Sixpence
writingismypassion
Sneaky Devil
BBBurke

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“As you are aware, we have been asked to read a statement from the Continental Football League,” said CFL play-by-play announcer-at-large Carl Drake.

“That’s right, Carl,” added Tom Hicks, his color-announcement partner-in-crime and Gal-Friday. “We have the somber duty, as designated neutral third parties, to announce to you that Ulysses Calhoun, who you may know as the star forward of the Southern Michigan University Fighting Grizzlies, has failed to report for duty at the Richmond Squires spring training camp.”

“This constitutes evasion of the CFL draft, one of our nation’s most sacred institutions,” continued Carl Drake sorrowfully. “Those of you with a passion for history may recall that the CFL has not had a draft dodger since ‘Dike’ DeSilvo refused to report for training with the Iowa Caucuses in 1972, and that no draft dodging player has been convicted and sentenced since ‘Kiddie’ Voles failed to appear at the Birmingham Klansmen’s Grand Wizard Stadium in 1923.”

Tom Hicks, his head lowered, pursed his lips. “That’s right, Carl. It is our sad task to inform you that Ulysses Calhoun is now considered a fugitive from professional football. Under CFL Bylaw #237-B, it is hereby prohibited for anyone to give him aid or succor, and it is further required that anyone seeing Ulysses Calhoun or with knowledge of his whereabouts must come forward with this information. Failure to do so will constitute a violation of CFL Bylaw #237-B, and any such persons will be held as equally guilty of draft dodging.”

“While we urge the public’s help in assisting in the apprehension of this draft dodger, we must caution that Ulysses Calhoun is to be considered unarmed and dangerous. Do not approach him. We also wish to avoid a repeat of the unfortunate incident from the 1955 CFL draft when Swedish recruit Diks Vloeide was accidentally lynched on his way to training camp after a rumor emerged that he was a draft dodger.”

“That’s right, Carl,” sighed Tom Hicks. “Do not approach, confront, or attempt to apprehend Ulysses Calhoun. Report his location to the nearest local branch of the CFL armed forces and take shelter until the CFL Special Operations Group has had the opportunity to deploy. These dedicated professionals, many of them CFL veterans themselves, have the necessary combat, sport, and large animal handling experience to apprehend Calhoun and bring him to justice.

“The CFL Special Operations Group has honed their skills reining in CFL players during drunken escapades, drug binges, outbreaks of roid rage, and the rare, regretful circumstances when a player breaks containment and is allowed to roam free among the populace,” said Carl Drake. “Report any sightings, let them do their job, and soon we will be able to put these unfortunate events behind us.”

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