Energy Crisis 2023

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write about false news coverage of an important event.... view prompt

23 comments

Holiday Speculative Funny

Summer Bummer: Pyrotechnics delayed at 247th annual Fourth-of-Palooza 


July 3. Gregory Balkema, 28, lost his life this afternoon stunt-driving for South Haven’s most patriotic event of the year. Fourth-of-Palooza, which normally features two nights of fireworks, experimented this year with the addition of jet-propelled truck racing. Balkema drove his stunt truck “right into a fireball of gasoline, on purpose,” according to South Haven native Brendan Kowalski, 59. Kowalski added, “I guess they ran out of fuel after that because they cancelled the rest of tonight’s show.” A lifelong Fourth-of-Palooza attendee, Kowalski opined that the tragedy was “nowhere near as good as last year’s.” Balkema declined to comment.


Today’s events merely reinforce the urgency of the issues at the forefront of every American’s mind: fuel shortages caused by inflation, and inflation caused by fuel shortages. Even the strongest anti-regulation factions have been forced to admit that South Haven’s firework postponement exposes the danger presented by fuel insecurity. “Now more than ever, we need fuel cheap, and we need fuel now,” said Citizens for Citizenship chairman Brendan Kowalski of South Haven. “If we can’t cooperate at the national level to address our situation, this spells disaster for the future of Fourth-of-Paloozas around the globe.”


Christmas in July: Deflation Uncle Sams birthday gift to the nation 


July 4. This afternoon, in a miracle worthy of Edmund Gwenn’s 1947 portrayal of Kris Kringle, local, state, and federal officials implemented measures against the two-headed monster of inflation and fuel shortage. The cutting-edge solution took only hours to significantly lower prices and get pyrotechnics back on the Fourth-of-Palooza menu. It’s also surprisingly simple: “Give inflation, inflation,” explains grassroots activist and pop-economist Brendan Kowalski of South Haven. “It was that easy.” 

Such a turn of events affects not only 34th Street, but any roadway, highway, or byway where humans and vehicles attempt to peacefully coexist. Residents across Southwest Michigan have been spotted dancing and crying in the streets, passionately embracing their hitherto undriven automobiles. A tear-stained individual was overheard saying, “Yeah, I’ll go see the fireworks this year. I’m finally proud of my country again.” 


What Goes Up: Inflation down, but fuel even more down than inflation


August 9. National Women’s Day is off to a poor start for any woman looking to fill her tank at the local Shell this morning. Deflation’s runaway success peaked last month, when the average price of gasoline dropped to a historic low of -$0.019. In recent days, however, five counties across Southwest Michigan have reported a complete dearth of fuel. Residents have resorted to fracking in their gardens and “looking the other way” while driving in order to trick their fuel gauges.


“Giving inflation to inflation got rid of fuel shortages caused by inflation. What our civic leaders failed to account for was fuel shortages caused by inflation that was originally caused by fuel shortages,” stated South Haven Marathon manager Brendan Kowalski. “In order to get out of this mess, we should have lowered inflation while simultaneously adopting an alternate fuel source.”


Hopefully, Kowalski’s analysis will prove correct: the UN has recently unveiled plans to plug the world’s longest extension cord into the sun, thus harnessing the power of solar energy to an extent only imagined by early 60s sci-fi. In the meantime, Michiganders sit tight and pray to the fuel gods for rain.


All Ye Who Are Burdened: Solar energy to provide relief to billions worldwide


September 4. “Labor Day” has never been more of a misnomer. The solar production of 5 × 10^23 horsepower has finally been applied to agriculture, resulting in shorter growth times as well as more efficient management of crop systems. Michiganders who struggle to scratch their subsistence from the soil now have the opportunity to work for the UN in the capacity of Ag Journalist, Extension Cord Operator, or simply Cosmic Admirer.


“Just imagining those five hundred s*xtillion solar horses is awe-inspiring,” said NASA intern Brendan Kowalski. “Gives a whole new perspective to the chariot of Apollo. You have to censor the numbers and everything. What was Phaethon thinking?”


And the potential of solar energy extends far beyond the bounds of agriculture. Urban development, rural development, suburban development, and pyrotechnic advancement are all next on the UN’s hit list. Undoubtedly, this step forward in scientific progress, economic freedom, and human rights ranks with the invention of the wheel in terms of future impact.


“The wheel built the Sumerian Empire. Who knows what new societies we can build with the sun?” Kowalski speculated.


All Trick and No Treat: Insensitive prank goes too far


November 1. A Halloween trick disrespecting the late Gregory Balkema as well as U.S. President Brendan Kowalski is under investigation as of late last night. The incident occurred near the South Haven business district, where two men celebrating the holiday at a sports bar were accosted by a man impersonating Balkema’s ghost. Initially, the two men tried to laugh off the prank as a good-natured joke, but the perp only became more insistent.


“He kept repeating things like ‘Beware President Kowalski’ and ‘the earth is drifting into the sun,’” said Eduardo Muñez, one of the two witnesses.


“Yeah, something about two months? Christmas? I don’t really know,” agreed his companion, Jeff Weisenburger. Muñez and Weisenburger ended up reporting the harassment to the police, who took the “ghost” into custody around 3 a.m. 


While sitting in the interrogation room, Officer Lisa Vanderweide reports that the suspect, rather than respond to questioning, simply “stood up and vanished,” taking the farce to the next extreme. “I was affronted by the audacity,” she told FOX 17 reporters. Circuses are asked to report any and all escaped magicians to their local FBI office.


The Pilgrim’s... Regress?: Progress progresses past the need for progress


November 23. Need something to be thankful for? Consider the exciting new benefits of the glorious Solar Empire. While the decision to consolidate the world’s remaining independent states under an unelected leader initially raised a few eyebrows, as well as concerns of a hearkening back to Imperialism, it became clear after the publication of the “Autocratic Manifesto” that the decision was firmly in favor of human flourishing.


“The further we progress as a species, the more things that used to be good become bad, like slavery and low-rise jeans,” writes Interim Grand Wizard Brendan Kowalski. “It was only a matter of time before progress itself became a regressive, oppressive force.” The New York Times praised the unusual novella as “daring” and “moving,” a subtle nod to the motorcycle ad on the next page. “As far as we on the Solar Council are concerned, Imperialism is just one of the many victims of progress that we have a duty to conciliate.”


Perhaps one of the most conspicuous changes you’ll notice at your Thanksgiving table this year is the paradigm shift in partisan politics. Just as the U.S. government has become obsolete, so has the distinction between so-called “Conservatives” and “Liberals.” A new, bolder sect known as the “Naturalists” advocate for a return to primal social order, backing Kowalski and his crew. Conservative and Liberal hold-outs have formed a coalition they refer to as “Consiberalism,” after realizing that they are both interested in maintaining the status quo of the last 20 years. Consiberals, however, are few and far between; most have been converted to the timeless wisdom of Naturalism.


No more Uncle Ted bickering with Funkle Ned over the democratic process: enjoy living your holiday the way Squanto intended it, Naturalist-style.


July in December: Southwest Michigan to enjoy sunny skies, warm temperatures over holiday weekend


December 22. Sorry, Seinfeld fans– Festivus isn’t for the rest of us after all. Pope Filius I, lately Cardinal Brendan Kowalski of South Haven, announced that Christmas will no longer be observed by members of the world religion. It will instead be replaced by Saturnalia in order to respect the pagan origins of the holiday. The move was quickly applauded by Naturalists as the obvious original state of man, while it is held in suspicion by Consiberals, finding the change “new-fangled” and “old-fashioned.” Pope Filius settled most of the confusion by assuring that pine trees, gift-giving, and dress-up are all customs of the traditional Roman holiday.


Another pleasant innovation this year will be the unusual weather. Make plans to head to the lake this Saturnalia season, for what may be the last time you’ll get to enjoy such a rarity.


July 22, 2022 16:35

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23 comments

Suma Jayachandar
08:47 Jul 23, 2022

Katy, I had such a hearty laugh following the omnipresent Brendan Kowalski. He is everyone's messiah and nightmare rolled into one( if such a thing were possible). Truly hilarious satire. Well done!

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Katy Borobia
18:19 Jul 26, 2022

Thank you for the kind words! I just added a section on Thanksgiving as well, if you wanted to take a look.

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Tommy Goround
07:05 Jul 23, 2022

clapping for displaced economics major.

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Katy Borobia
18:21 Jul 26, 2022

Saw an article this morning that said "how inflation leads to deflation," so I think I must be on to something with this one...

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Tommy Goround
23:11 Jul 26, 2022

Lost the romance over math. People are just math numbers the more you get into economics.... Somewhere between the story of the fortune teller... And Chrysler making a car that didn't sell to 18-year-olds. Idk. Economic philosophy is much more interesting than economic math.

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Graham Kinross
12:18 Aug 31, 2022

“inflation leads to deflation,” what goes up must come down? Isn’t that just an inevitability over any amount of time anyway? Nothing goes up forever, apart from an evangelists blood pressure.

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Michał Przywara
20:50 Jul 22, 2022

I see this was posted a second time, and that you prefer this prompt. It does seem to fit better, so I'll leave my comments on this version. Ha, this was great :D That Brendan Kowalski is an inspiration, a true go-getter. Just the kind of person we should all be listening to :) Considering his humble roots and where he ends up, I can't help but feel there's a metaphor in there somewhere. Something about the opinions of angry bystanders driving policy. I'm reminded a bit of Joe the Plumber, who was at one point being discussed everywhere...

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Katy Borobia
18:20 Jul 26, 2022

Thank you for the kind words! Really I couldn't decide whether to tag it as happy, or as sad 😂😂 I just added a section on Thanksgiving as well, if you wanted to take a look.

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Michał Przywara
21:33 Jul 26, 2022

Heh, "Interim Grand Wizard Brendan Kowalski". I was wondering what role he'd play this season. It's a funny addition. Depressing, of course, but funny too :) There's some good double-speak here. It could be a press release in a state ruled by an unelected autocrat. I just hope it's not prophetic :P

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Tommy Goround
01:52 Sep 01, 2022

Knock, knock, knock..Katy...Katy...Katy

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Graham Kinross
12:35 Aug 31, 2022

“looking the other way” while driving in order to trick their fuel gauges.- if I learned anything from Bueller’s Day Off, and that’s debatable, it’s that driving in reverse will lower the number of miles on the odometer and by that logic, refill the fuel tank as well. It’s a solution the world should have embraced decades ago. This Kowalski character, does he have a fake tan and an ill fitting suit? Does he deny the truth that’s sitting in the chair next to him? If so, I’ll vote for him. Kowalski for God King!

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Tommy Goround
23:55 Aug 16, 2022

Do you have a new story coming soon?

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Tommy Goround
06:08 Aug 14, 2022

Fyi... I have stopped in three times to see if you have any story.

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Yves. ♙
08:53 Aug 07, 2022

Well-written and with a great speculative bent to it! Definitely on point for the prompt. Thanks for sharing!

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Philip Ebuluofor
07:12 Aug 06, 2022

It's based on reality. In Nigeria, fuel prices has gone to the mountain top. And everyone is witchdoctor now.

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Tommy Goround
21:44 Aug 03, 2022

Brendan = Brandon?

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Tommy Goround
21:41 Aug 03, 2022

What a lucky day. Laura says you are my partner on the critique circle.

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Jay Mc Kenzie
20:55 Jul 30, 2022

Katy, what a great read! I loved the steady progression of Brendan Kowalski and Gregory's reappearance (and disappearance in custody!). The structure is excellent, as is the pace, and there are some really funny lines. I particularly enjoyed the low rise jeans comment and the deceased declining to comment. Great work.

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19:26 Jul 30, 2022

That was a fun ride. I loved all of it. Best line not said by Brendan: The solar production of 5 × 10^23 horsepower has finally been applied to agriculture Best line said by Brendan: Just imagining those five hundred s*xtillion solar horses is awe-inspiring,”

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Riel Rosehill
14:56 Jul 27, 2022

Haha is this the future?! 🤣 Well something's gotta change... (I'm also fed up with fuel prices & inflation in general) This was a fun read, and I nearly spat out my drink when I read this line: “The further we progress as a species, the more things that used to be good become bad, like slavery and low-rise jeans,” Also loved how they arrested the ""ghost"" and it disappeared, I think that was my favourite part! PS. I'm incapable of reading the name "Kowalski" and not have the voice and image of the penguins of Madagascar in my head!

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Tommy Goround
23:10 Jul 26, 2022

Good becomes bad becomes good? I saw the line about regressive morality... That's big. I need coffee.

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Katy Borobia
16:37 Jul 22, 2022

***check out my minor edits throughout made for flow, plus the important addition of Thanksgiving*** My original idea for this story was a satire of the "Breaking News" I get in my inbox, which provides such sharp contrasts as "4 men injured in Grand Rapids shooting" followed only 10 minutes later by "Cool breeze welcome by lake-goers this Wednesday 😎". It ended up going in a more speculative direction - less satirical inasmuch as I abstained from making my own political judgments, but hopefully not for that reason less funny. If, like me,...

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Tommy Goround
23:18 Jul 26, 2022

What would happen if a character read these headlines and discussed. Would it still work? (It might not work since I see about 5 major topics if not more).

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