Note to friends, fans, and followers: This is the semester finale. I hope next week will be a quiet week at Dystopia College, where all the administrators are self-serving, all the professors are stuck, all the students are enrolled in their safety school, and all the adjuncts are exploited. We won’t even mention the cats, goats, and albatrosses. But, who knows?There could be undiscovered misery in other semesters. This is a long one, so here’s hoping that you get your money’s worth. Thanks for reading and liking!
DYSTOPIA—A building collapse, a helicopter crash, and a series of new scandals fell on Dystopia College today along with heavy rain.
As predicted by the National Forecast Service and local metereologist Neville Wong, the problems began with heavy overnight rainfall, though the consequences would not become evident until late afternoon today.
Rain continued intermittently throughout the day, but it had diminished to a light shower by the time freshman chemistry major Solo Wallflower had finished a final exam in his technical-writing class, held in C. N. K. Shipmann Hall. On his way out of the building, he checked his phone and noticed the time.
“It was just about 4:20, or close enough,” Wallflower said, “so I decided to have a smoke.”
Since marijuana is now legal in Dystopia, he “didn’t think twice” about leaning against the side of the building to roll a joint—only something wasn’t quite right.
“At first, I was thinking, damn, this is some good shit,” Wallflower said, “but then I realized it wasn’t just the weed.”
Regular readers of The Dispatch will recall that the original Shipmann Hall, affectionately known as “the White Whale,” exploded and went up in flames at the end of the fall semester. It was replaced with a large, blue, shoebox-like prefabricated building that was purchased from educational facilities supplier IDEA. Like most IDEA products, the building was flat-packed for economical shipping to Dystopia and then assembled on-site by the Dystopia facilities staff.
Particularly attentive readers will remember this passage from The Dispatch’s story about the new building: “Just like IDEA’s classroom furniture, the buildings are quite durable as long as they never get wet. Nevertheless, just as a safety precaution, students are advised not to lean against the walls.” Wallflower, however, apparently was not a particularly attentive reader of the article.
According to Facilities Director W. D. “Duck” Taper, the recent heavy rains resulted in two problematic situations that “just happened to coincide.” First, the rains caused the pressed board of the building to swell so that it began to loosen from the screws holding it in place. Second, the uncharacteristically heavy rainfall in recent weeks has left the ground under and around the building soft and unstable.
The two factors combined set up a disastrous scenario: When Wallflower leaned against the building for his post-exam toke, he unknowingly pushed the structure past its limit, and it began to collapse.
Fortunately, most occupants of the building were able to escape safely before it collapsed completely, thanks to a warning siren of sorts.
Student Abdullah Ibrahim Mohammed Hakim Badr-Asim “Bad-Ass” Al-Abad, a sophomore double major in chemical engineering and floral design who self-identifies as a vegan, pacifist, skeptical sort-of Buddist bottom, witnessed the whole incident. Al-Abad, who had himself completed a final exam earlier in the day, said that he and his dog, Buddha, were on the roof of the Dusty Booker Library, “just hanging out and contemplating wetness,” when two things happened at more or less the same time.
“I saw Solo come out of Shipmann and light his smoke, and I started to yell for him to come join us, since I know him and all, but he’s kinda antisocial, so I decided not to. Then about that time I heard this godawful howling, and Buddha got agitated, and then I saw a couple of cats down on the grass—well, weeds, really, since this is Dystopia—and they were, you know, really going at it, and then I recognized the one doing most of the howling. It was Indie, who used to work as a service cat for my friend Joey, until he hooked up with that goat, Randy. Anyway, she’s been pretty pissed, claiming Joey’s neglecting her, but now there’s a campaign to make her president of the college.”
Of course Al-Abad and Buddha were not the only ones to hear the commotion. Witnesses from as far away as the Kal Q. Lush Mathematics Center on the opposite corner of campus claim they heard it.
“It sounded like some kind of crazy siren,” said English Department Chair Ishmella Ahavva Mobius Van Dykk, “and so we all went out to investigate, and it’s a good thing we did, because that probably saved our lives.”
“They just barely made it out before it went down,” Al-Abad said.
Indie has been praised as a hero for her life-saving warning, though some members of the college community have questioned her motives.
“Totally off the record,” Al-Abad said, “I love Indie, but she has been really jealous since Joey committed himself to that goat, and I think she might have been just fucking around with some random tom to get back at him, and she was just, um, getting into it, you know.”
“The only occupants of the building who did not escape were a few freshmen and a couple of adjuncts,” Van Dykk said, “so it wasn’t nearly the catastrophe it could have been if anyone had been hurt.”
Native American student and activist Paul O. Standingwater, along with his boyfriend, Max Flaming Bird, and another Native friend, Matt Shedding Wolf, also witnessed the incident.
“Dude, I was just floating along, staying detached, communing with the spirits,” Flaming Bird said. “And then all of sudden, I heard this, I don’t know, wailing, like a fucking wounded coyote or something, and then I got kinda shaky, and shit was, you know, moving around weird. And, well, I might have, like, done some peyote before, and so I figured it was, just, you know, a vision. And Paul and Matt were like, ‘what the fuck?’ and then I was like, ‘what the fuck”? And then, just fuck! It was pretty intense.”
Apparently, the freshmen, who were in the writing center waiting for tutorial appointments, did not hear the wailing because they had their headphones on listening to death metal. Fortunately, they were all students whose scholarship offers the college had decided to rescind, “so they probably wouldn’t have survived long even if they had escaped,” Van Dykk said.
Witnesses said the one of the adjuncts—no one knew her name—heard the warning but was unable to run because her tote bag, loaded with research papers from her composition classes, was just too heavy. The other adjunct, who has not yet been identified, according to campus police spokesperson Capt. Cranky Lawless, was apparently trampled by other occupants of the building who were unaware of his existence. Asked about the status of those trapped in the collapse, Lawless responded, “We’re going to need dental records, I’m afraid, but that’s all I can say.”
Student Privi Leger, a sophomore finance major, said she was inside the library at the time of the incident, having “really intense sex” with her boyfriend, international student Piet Paeper, who is from the Netherlands. “If you haven’t tried the library, you should,” she advised. “It’s a great place to screw around, because, like, there’s never anyone there.”
She said she did not see the building collapse, because she was “obviously too preoccupied to be looking out the window,” but she did feel the impact. “I felt, you know, the earth move, and I thought it was just the great sex,” she said. “I didn’t find out until we finished what was going on outside.
When President Overly Payeed-Admyn and Acting President Ruth Laws Kant heard about the disaster, they apparently both had the same idea about how to respond—hire a helicopter to take them up to survey the damage—but failed to communicate with each other because they are not on speaking terms. Their copter pilots chose to circle the campus in opposite directions, a decision which, combined with the weather conditions and other issues, led to a second disaster: the helicopters collided and crashed onto Hades Quadrangle.
Fortunately, because of the inclement weather, the quad was nearly deserted, so the only fatality was the anonymous freshman who had previously broken her foot when she tripped over the college’s fallen bronze albatross while checking the latest Bleats on her smartphone. Witnesses who observed the crash from the windows of nearby buildings said the student looked up when the heard the helicopters and tripped over the albatross again, breaking her other foot, and, as one witness put it, “she just couldn’t crawl fast enough to get out of the way.”
Why the 93.7-pound albatross fell from its perch over the entrance to Hopeless Hall, the college’s main administration building, and crashed into a mud puddle remains under investigation. Some suspect chemistry lab assistant Arson Boomer, who admittedly, “likes to make little explosions,” but who says he was at an out-of-town conference for science students at the time of the incident.
Followers of Payeed and Kant on Bleater said the two administrators Bleated simultaneously:
@richprez: “That Kant has fucked me over again. #bitch.”
@kantpower: “That dick has fucked me over again. #asshole.”
Both Payeed and Kant, as well as the two pilots, “sustained injuries in the crash, but those injuries were not life-threatening,” said Dystopia Fire Chief Adale Burns after local EMTS responded to the scene and transported the victims to Dystopia General Hospital for treatment.
Kant’s helicopter was piloted by a Dystopia student, mechanical engineering major Steele Girder, who is both dyslexic and ambidextrous. “Sometimes I just forget whether I’m supposed to steer with the stick on my right or the stick on my other right,” said Girder, who was also involved in the crash of a scale model of the college’s proposed satellite campus, in approximately the same location, a couple of months ago.
Payeed’s piliot turned out to be former Asst. Prof. of Chemistry Peri Odyk-Taybul, whom Payee did not recognize because she was in disguise, for reasons that have not yet been determined. Odyk was one of two professors who resigned by email after they disappeared at about the same time that Director of Assessment Assessment Dr. Numbah Karuncha disappeared for the first time, when he was apparently killed by an assessor-devouring enzyme possibly planted by a still unknown assassin or assassins. He was restored from a cloud backup combined with data from Mugbook, but vanished again when a mob of angry faculty members sought revenge because of an inadvisedly worded memorandum ordering faculty members to complete “ridiculous” assessment documentation on an extremely short deadline. Odyk apparently became distracted when a “chemical grenade of some sort detonated inadvertently, according to aviation investigators Crash N. Burnham and Blagg Boxx, who said they could not speculate further on the cause of the crash until an official investigation has been completed. A full investigation could take several months, they added.
“Holy fuck, we’re in deep shit now,” said the college’s legal counsel, Fgn Gocha Na, upon learning of today’s events.
In regard to her involvement in the safe exit of the occupants of Shipmann Hall, and in response to accusations that her warning was merely a unintended result of inappropriate behavior, Indie the cat, who adheres stringently to a policy of not talking directly to the press, authorized her representative, local attorney Kat Ladee, to issue a statement on her behalf:
“My client wishes to make clear to the Dystopia College community how happy she is to have played a role in saving the lives of those who escaped safely from the collapsing building. Although she does not consider herself a hero in any way, especially given that her action was spontaneous and unpremeditated, she willingly accepts the stroking and praise to which her felinity entitles her, regardless of her actions.
“Further, she fully acknowledges that, at the time of the incident, she was engaged in a tryst with a feline male whose name she did not have the opportunity to ascertain, and that her behavior might have been partly attributable to feelings of betrayal by her human companion and employer because of his recent hircine liaison. But, she asks, who among you has not enjoyed the occasional vengeful roll in the grass? And, in any case, she reminds her critics that public feline sex is not illegal. As for as the morals and ethics involved, cats don’t really have morals and ethics, a fact which actually makes her ideally qualified for a position in academic administration.”
Dystopia Board of Regents Chair Tyson “Ty” Koons has issued a statement saying that he is “horrified” by the new disasters at the college, but that his attorney, Knud Krussher, has advised him that it is best to be “unavailable, indefinitely.”
Rytter N. Smallprint, the representative of the college’s insurer, Swendell Schaemer, was also unavailable, but his administrative assistant said that when she last saw him, he was headed into his office carrying a rope, a bottle of whisky, and a loaded handgun.
Associate Chair Rich Asphuk said that, despite the controversy surrounding the cat’s recent behavior, “With Overly and Ruth both in the hospital, and no other obvious candidates to run the show, the board feels we really have no option but to name Indie acting president until such time as one or both of our current administrators has recovered sufficiently to return to work.”
“It’s about damn time they put Indie in charge,” said Asst. Prof. of Physics Maureen “Mo-Mo” Motion, a along-time fan of the prodigious feline.
Asst. Prof. of History B. K. Tracker said he doesn’t know Indie well and thus doesn’t have a strong opinion one way or the other about her leadership qualifications, but acknowledged that “she could hardly do worse” than her human peers.
Asphuk said the board will be working with members of the Dystopia College community to arrange memorial services for the victims, and that he will ask college chaplain the Rev. Dr. Nada N. Particlear to officiate. Despite the tragedy, both the commencement ceremony and the following Thrash Bash celebration will continue as planned.
The originally scheduled commencement speaker, Enoch Ewess, author of Finishing Before You Start, cancelled after student organization African Lesbian Satanic Witches for Peace announced a planned protest in anticipation of possible future allegations of sexual harassment against him, though there was no evidence to suggest that such accusations might be forthcoming. Since the cancellation came too late to allow the commencement committee to find a suitable replacement speaker, there will be no speeches, according to committee chair Sierra Money. Acting President Indie the Cat will preside at the ceremony, but will not give a speech. She will, however, start the program by climbing to the top of the ceremonial mace and end it by shredding the college’s albatross gonfalon.
Particlear said that he will officiate at the memorial services as requested, but that he plans to announce his retirement afterward. “I’m just to old to take any less,” he said, adding that he has already recommended a potential replacement, Nuala Surff, a recent master of divinity graduate of the Seminary for New Age Pagans (SNAP).
“It has been a difficult time for the whole campus community,” said Director of Mental Health Services Dr. Loba Ptomei, “so we want everyone—students, faculty, staff, whoever–to know that my staff and I will always be available if they need assistance, provided that they need it between 10:15 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Student Activities Director John “Happy Jack” Plumber said his office will also try to provide appropriate stress-relieving activities for students.
Sam Smartt, head bartender at the Dead Albatross, said his boss has authorized him to offer all-day happy hour for the next couple of weeks, also in an effort to help members of the campus community cope with the aftermath of the recent tragedies.
Wallflower, who says he can’t help feeling partly responsible for the building collapse, has offered to manufacture anxiety medications and/or recreational pharmaceuticals for any student who needs them.
But Lawless, the campus police spokesperson, said Wallflower is not responsible, though he understands why he might feel that way and thus will pretend not to have heard about the offer of pharmaceutical provisions. “I’m not sure exactly how, yet,” Lawless said, “but off the record, I can’t helping thinking this is all the fault of our governor, Grady Hartless Bastarde.”
Payeed and Kant have both Bleated that they plan to resume their full presidential duties as soon as they have recovered from the injuries they sustained in the helicopter crash.
Some members of the campus community have speculated, however, that Payeed has been having a clandestine affair with Karuncha, rumored to have escaped Dystopia on Payeed’s private plane and headed for the Caribbean, where Payeed owns an island, and that Payeed is likely to take early retirement to spend his time with Karuncha there.
Asphuk has also “reluctantly” acknowledged that the regents have ordered an independent investigation into allegations that Kant is in fact an alien.
“I knew it!,” said Joey Dimarco. “I fucking knew it!”
Meanwhile, student Niall O’Katree, chief druid of Pagans United for the Restoration of Ritual Sacrifice, still claims that recent disasters are the result of the college’s failure to appease the gods of education and says that he has now completely lost patience with the college administration and decided to take matters into his own hands, randomly choosing freshmen for sacrifice.
“Of course, virgins would be better,” O’Katree acknowledged, “but there are no virgins in Dystopia, so we’ll just have to improvise.”
“They really should have asked me about the symbolic meaning of that albatross’s demise,” said Asst. Prof. of English Owen Hornblower. “Now this whole thing is going to be a media circus.”
“Fuck yes!” said Dispatch Editor-in-Chief Dex Machín, who is a graduating senior. “This could make my career!”
T. Allen Culpepper