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Bon Voyage

November 29, 2011

(or words to that effect)
—Joseph Heller

“Well, Wolf, the entire thing was only revealed moments ago. This entire project has been under the tightest security of anything we’ve seen since the Manhattan Project.”

“What can you tell us, Anderson?”

“We were briefed just moments ago. As you know, Wolf, Congress has been promising us a very big story for years now, an explanation as to why the graft and corruption in Washington has been at unprecedented levels and why they have been asking us—and we agreed—to keep it all under wraps that entire time.

“We can now tell the American people exactly why this was—and I gotta tell you, Wolf—I think it all finally makes sense!”


“It sure is, Wolf. This project has been under way, as I said in the intro, for years. The majority of parts were manufactured right here in the good ol’ U-S-of-A by ordinary Americans in factories covering most of the fifty states. Of course, the people who made these things had no idea what it was for.”

“And what was that, Anderson?”

“A spaceship. It seems, Wolf, that Congress was briefed in 2004 by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that the Earth would soon be uninhabitable. The Bush administration offered Congress the option of being able to leave the planet for some place more hospitable…let’s see here…

“Ah! Ceres-542! A planet now believed to be capable of sustaining life as we know it.”

“Anderson, this is incredible. How on earth did Congress keep it quiet so long?”

“Well, they didn’t really have much choice, Wolf. If they spoke to anyone about it, they would not have the option of getting a seat aboard the spaceship. In which case, they’d be stuck here with you.”

“Me? What about—”

“Oh, I have some very good friends, Wolf.”

“You knew? All this time? And said nothing? What about all the camping trips—”

“Sorry, Wolf. It’s really expensive. And you have to know the right people in order to even get to bid on a ticket.”

“I see.”

“At any rate, Wolf, I only have a few minutes before boarding, so I’ll make this quick…

“Essentially, Congress has been soliciting bribes from anyone and everyone, passing laws they haven’t even read that are essentially written by whoever is willing to contribute to their safe passage fund. A successful bid gets the bidder and one passenger a seat aboard the ship to safety.”

“And I suppose—”

“Yes, some legislators decided to take their…friends, rather than spouses.”

“I see.”

“So, the entire last, what, ten years…?”

“A sham, Wolf. They didn’t care about any of that stuff because they knew they wouldn’t have to be around to live with the laws they passed anyway. In fact, some made a game of it. They wanted to see how far they could push things before even the most uninformed constituents noticed.”

“And what was the result of that, Anderson?”

“Most of them still didn’t notice. In fact, they are probably watching this right now and it still hasn’t dawned on them that they built this ship so that some really filthy rich and powerful people and their mistresses could escape the very planet they helped to destroy by selling out to special interests. Many CEOs of which, I am told, also managed to book passage. And, as usual, the working class folks who saved these people by building it don’t get to go.”

“I see. Well, what is there to do on board the ship and how long will the voyage take?”

“The voyage is supposed to only take a few weeks. The technology being used is very cutting edge, we’re told, and somehow manages to make the journey much shorter than it would be by anything we’ve seen before.

“As for what there is to do, well, it’s a lot like when the RNC comes to DC—”

“Ah, lots of ‘social interaction’, then.”

“You got it. They neglected to bring their wives for a reason, Wolf. I imagine there will also be political discussions and a power struggle to see who will be king of Ceres-542.”

“Do you have any favorites?”

“Well, I hear Rush Limbaugh is onboard. I think he could definitely out-wrestle most CEOs and senators I know for the title.”

“So, a king? Not a president or—”

“Absolutely not, Wolf. They have all pretty much agreed it’s everyman for himself, and that they are all pretty much sick of the whole democracy thing anyway. I have a quote: ‘Overrated and outdated! If we allowed that, would we have seats on this ship?'”

“Who said that?”

“Joe Lieberman.”

“At least the human race will go on. Our fearless leaders have acted decisively to see that the American way will continue. Things may be bleak, but we can all rest easy as The End nears knowing that they weren’t the crooks they seemed to be so much as they were stealing to save the human race.”

“Yeah. Whatever, Wolf. Been great working with you.”

“You, too, Anderson. Take care and safe travels.

“Oh! One more thing. You said most of the parts were made in the US. There was some exception?”

“Apparently, we needed some chips capable of working in a quantum computer. So, naturally we turned to the Chinese. Brilliant mathematicians, those folks.”

“I see. Well, good luck, Anderson. Happy trails. And good luck to you, the viewer. Tune in tomorrow when we explain on the big screen what exactly it is that drove the rich and powerful to this journey and what your last moments on Earth will be like. Also, we’ll have a few disgruntled folks who managed to place bids and did not get seats aboard the ship.

“That’s all the time we have! See you tomorrow!”

“You sure about that, Wolf?”

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