Vanity Farce (short story)

The year was 2108, and every person in America was finally equal.  Due to the latest technology, all human specimens who did time in federally-funded schools or emergency medical clinics were shipped away into the voluminous North American region known as Greenland.

Jay Kelamann, the Supreme Attorney Colonel of the United States, forced and brainwashed a common lifestyle upon the country.  With the aid of his Vice-Supreme Attorney Colonel, a skinny, hairless Filipino pedigree canine called Zakkh Hampton, Kelamann, among other things, banned the wearing of all companies’ fabrics but sixteen, including Abernacki & Braun, and banned a long list of cars, including Toyotas and Hondas (but not Lexuses and Acuras).

Some things still were right, however.  The average male was an athletic sort, though his choices in sport were limited to squash, lacrosse, and crew.  The ideal girl became a demanding, self-righteous social animal, as the law now permitted any variety of underage drinking or marijuana use.  And below these carefree socialites was a fourteen-year old girl by the name of Kristen Goldenbachs.

Like all fourteen-year old girls in the year 2108, Kristen’s parents had obtained incredibly high-paying jobs.  Her Rubenesque father, Gerald Max Goldenbachs, was the Fiscal Executive Chair Cameraman for “Kid’s Market,” a series of XXD-DVDs.   Her mother, Anne Kensington Goldenbachs, worked at the Catecher Grammar Academy as the sixth-most proficient Chief Superintendent Specialist.

Gerald and Anne were watching television while sitting on their leather French sofa.  They had access to over 900 channels, but most of these channels were just spin-offs of STV.  Currently on the 74-inch screen was the music video for the pop group Pill Call’s new #1 hit single, “Cassiopeia in Cotton,” one of eight rotating videos on STV138.  Anne and Gerald simultaneously hummed the ear-piercing tune.

Gerald took in a generous helping of yellow Twinkie roll from a nearby platinum China plate.  His Westmont-educated mind shifted from Pill Call’s infamously catchy teen anthem, to the cream-filled food still on his shining plate, to a local gallery’s abstract painting he was about to purchase that evening.

Anne turned to Gerald, popping a square of Wrigley’s gum.  “Larry Simon called me today.  Kelamann gave him a huge promotion.  He’s now the twenty-first co-Secretary of State, and has been approved as the tenth godfather of Kelamann’s kid.”

“Damn,” Gerald said completely casually.

“Well?  Aren’t you going to ask the Boss for a raise now?”
“Of course!”  He thought of Larry Simon, whose son was one of about sixty million Penn University undergraduates, and whose twin daughters, though Dartmouth dropouts, were the stars of the seventieth chartbusting movie this week.  He then thought of his own daughter, who had become the first arrested woman in generations.  Thinking of Kristen made Gerald as terrified as a young mother whose bastard son had bought a Charles Manson album with his monthly allowance.

Anne looked straight at Gerald.  “I think you should actually ask my brother for a job as Assistant Dean of Stanford.  It wouldn’t be a huge accomplishment, but it might earn us some more extra income.”

“I might as well be a brain surgeon then, because, darling, that’s not going to give me enough.”

“If I was Secretary of State, I’d definitely buy one of the Virgin Islands,” Anne commented.

“We already own Guam, Aruba, and half of Madagascar, but I know what you mean,” said Gerald.  “I’d love to summer in St. Thomas.”
“I personally think I’d make a fine Secretary of State.  You could brag at every Lion’s Club meeting—how your wife makes more than…well, not really anyone important.  I guess I’d be the Supreme Attorney Colonel, then.”

“You might have some competition,” Gerald reminded Anne.

“True.  But how many of those other citizens can horseback ride from Albany to Aberdeen and back?” said Anne.

“I’d say around seven others could,” laughed Gerald, stuffing his mouth before thinking of his daughter in that cell, alone.  Due to lack of policemen and laws, there was only one jail in California, with four male criminals—and her.  Chills trickled down Gerald’s spine, although they originated from a special feature of the couch and not his worries.  Those four inmates could assault her, but of course, she’d be neglected by the guards.

“I’d hate to be a prison guard,” muttered Gerald, “though they do make a few millions every year.”

“Why the hell would you want to be a prison guard?” Anne wondered.  “Gerald, you look terrible!  Worse than a Greenlander in…”

“Easy now.  Greenland may be filled to the lid with former broken-home foster kids and worn-out welfare mothers, but there’s no reason to bring it up now.  They’ll all die out eventually.”

“I don’t even know what ‘welfare’ and ‘broken-home’ mean.  All I’m saying is that you should get some sleep, for Pete’s sake.”

Gerald briefly lifted his rotund body from the seat.

The current mainstream music video was interrupted by STV138 to welcome their obnoxious hourly “Gooze News.”  A tall man with perfect teeth and slicked-back hair appeared on the screen, next to the navy-blue headline reading, “Convicts Escape From Penitentiary.”

The anchorman coughed attractively.  “Kristen Goldenbachs, age fourteen,” he said in a clear baritone voice, “has just fled the Penitentiary.  Note that she has consistently refused to attend high school parties, wear Abernacki, or attend any of the country’s boarding schools.  She is therefore very dangerous.”

“Oh my God, did you see that?” Anne subsequently asked Gerald.

*                                              *                                              *

Kristen Goldenbachs stood inside a crowded amphitheatre.  She wore a faded Froot Loops tee, partially hidden by a chocolate-colored Abernacki & Braun sweatshirt, distressed and ripped Lucky Seven jeans, eleven hours’ work of makeup, and waist-length bleached-blonde locks styled after Tina from “Missino Valley,” an STV reality show.  She wouldn’t be wearing any of this if it weren’t for the jailers.

The Grammy-approved Hispanic singer, who had instantly received this legendary breaking news on his vibrating Blueberry Mobile Phone, shook as he took a sip of 42 oz. Mink Cola (actually flavored whiskey) and attempted to sing his world-famous rendition of “Parasol.”  This particular selection peaked on the STV5 charts at #2, defeated by Tipsy Toad’s “Gentle G”:

“Tattooed in a (Hoth) comic shop, worked out with a tree

With the eye of Liberace and a voice like Sleazy-E

I came upon a parasol in the El Conejo wing…”


He was soon interrupted by shouts of “I am the People’s Anarchy Ex-Heiress!” coming from the eighth row.  Everyone turned their magnificent heads at this voice.

“I have now selected my primary male representative: Iggy!”  She stared at the handsome Hispanic singer.

“My name’s Sancho,” corrected the trembling singer.  “Iggy Sepulveda is my stage name.”

“Jeez, what a buzzkill-fest,” moaned a sporty teen with a New York Sharks hat and vintage slacks designed by the Paul McCartney Jeans Company.

“You got that right.  Iggy’s dope,” groaned his girlfriend as she lit two joints.  She hollered back at the intruder.  “Just because you’re not a socialite doesn’t mean you have to prevent everyone else from enjoying being socialites!”

That being said, the once-satisfied crowd decided to desert the auditorium.  Kristen kept ogling Sancho as she leaped onto the stage.  He wore khaki cutoffs and a violet-striped sweater vest.  A choking scarlet necktie ran from his shaved chest to his groin area.  In a frustrated frenzy, he scratched 34 more songs off his setlist, and passively listened to the fangirl.

“Come on, let’s ruin their scene!”  She ripped off her clothes, and then his, plunged into the outside parking lot, and the two of them smashed the remaining privileged civilians’ Porsches and Beemers, and at last, set fire to the officials’ mansions of Lawndale and Compton.

“Now, shall we head for Hollywood?” Kristen anxiously asked Sancho.  “My family lives there, so steer clear of 7613 Jubilee Court.”

“My family lives in Greenland,” Sancho mentioned.  “They had me adopted by the County Mayor for a better life.”
“Ah, Greenland.  Let’s free the captives instead.”  She bared a cornflower smile.
They both sprinted northward, until they grew impatient and exhausted.  A towering figure approached them from behind.  It was Jay Kelamann, the Supreme Attorney Colonel.  He was loaded with a humongous Airsoft Rifle.  Kristen’s hazel eyes reddened with mascara-encrusted black teardrops.

“Are you here because we not only mentioned Greenland’s existence in public, but decided to let those poor framed prisoners escape?” yelled the frightened Sancho.

“No, we’re here because Kristen’s a deranged felon, and you burned down my rarely-used spring home!  You’d never reach Greenland anyhow.”  He fired the large Airsoft rifle twice.  Sancho and Kristen were dead before they hit the thriving ground of Inglewood.

*                                              *                                              *

Just then, the Goldenbachs’ television screen spontaneously combusted.  Anne looked in Gerald’s general direction, but the hefty cameraman had left for an errand—he was at last picking up his daily abstract portrait.

It was then that the death of Kristen Goldenbachs was announced on STV.  Kristen’s mother had completely missed it.  She ignored the next 500 phone calls, all followed by answering machine messages declaring the awful tragedy.  Heavily sleeping on the French sofa, she dreamed in envy of life in Jay Kelamann’s shoes.


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