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by Will Layman

“Everyday I Write the Book” by Elvis Costello from the album Punch the Clock First Week in July, 1983 By 1983, Elvis Costello — once a “new wave” punk who combined anger with Woody Allen glasses — had already turned…


by John Harnetiaux

Major Tom, Shootin’ Star

by Dale Dobson

Polish Fact

Poor Poles
Population living below the poverty line
18.4% (2000 est.)
(U.S.A: 12.7 [2001 est.])

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Literary Fluster
Monday, July 10, 2006   |    Fiction

The U.S.A. Patriot Act … (The Fine Print)

by Edward Lee Murray

On March 2, 2006, the Senate renewed the U.S.A. Patriot Act, making all provisions within the bill permanent. Much like most of the legislation in Washington, D.C., the major points of the bill overshadowed some of the smaller issues also included in the Patriot Act. As a concerned American citizen, I took it upon myself to take a closer look at the specifics of this bill in order to expose the lesser-known provisions that are now a permanent part of the American socio-political infrastructure … or at least ‘permanent’ until the bill is modified or repealed … just like any other law we have.

— Freedom of Pantomime shall replace freedom of speech as the First Amendment to the Constitution until further notice (i.e., permanently). However, the Mummenschanz mimes are hereby ordered to cease and desist their ‘trapped in a box’ bit as a metaphor for their waning civil ‘rights.’

— Anything bad that ever happens to, or in, the United States of America shall, herewith and forever, be the fault of The Ubiquitous Brown People. When The Ubiquitous Brown People may not be reasonably blamed (e.g. ‘tidal waves’), then citizens’ attention shall be respectfully diverted to issues of X-Men comics and the unparalleled excitement of March Madness.

— The United States Government does hereby decree a ban on same-sex unions … even though same-sex unions are not currently legal anyway. Other currently non-legal acts that the U. S. Government has deemed necessary to ban include, but are not limited to: the manufacture and distribution of edible aerosol cans, inserting cactus needles into the blowhole of sperm whales, grasping a child’s arm and forcing them to smack themselves repeatedly in the head while taunting them with the phrase ’ Why you hittin’ yourself (insert child’s name here), huh, why you hittin’ yourself?!’, murder, theft, and spitting a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ‘loogie’ into the air and then catching it with your mouth.

— Citizens shall be shuttled to and from work in herding cages covered in chicken wire, thus allowing for the most effective path to one’s place of employment, while offering the―oh, wait, no … this one is for later. Strike this, you didn’t see it, you didn’t see it!

— Forthwith, Social Security Numbers shall revert to their initial intent, as communal, social assignations, and will thus become a part of the public record accessible only by private entrepreneurs and government officials seeking to serve the public’s interest. A single letter code indicating one’s favorite flavor of ice cream shall be placed at the end of each number, earning its happy bearer a well-deserved, free single-scoop at any participating Ben & Jerry’s. See, how can you say we’re fascists? Would a fascist state really give you free ice cream? Come on … turn that frown upside-down … there you go!

— Each missile sent into a foreign country on behalf of the American people will now be inscribed with the name(s) of the taxpayer(s) responsible for funding said missile. If a Polaroid photo(s) of the attack(s) is/are requested by said taxpayer(s), photo(s) shall be made available at a local U.S.P.S. Gift Shop for $7.50 (unframed), $19.50 (framed), and $49.99 (gilded in the blood of barefooted virgin(s)).

— Instead of actually reading all of this inconsequential government gobbledygook, wouldn’t you rather be watching The Daily Show with that hilarious Ron Stewart?

— The Stars and Stripes of the American flag shall be replaced by 13 monochromatic rainbows and 50 Dum-Dum lollipops of various and sundry flavors. The American flag shall be henceforth displayed, in perpetuity, at the Big Washington Flagpole where it may be licked by grateful, admission paying, red-blooded, visitors.

— If you tell your Mommy and Daddy where you read this, you’ll never see Snowflake again.

— It shall be explicitly forbidden for female congressional interns to ever wear a tracking device, recording device, or ‘rape’ whistle around their necks. It is also resolved that said perky-breasted interns shall be blindfolded from the second that they awake in the morning to the second their anonymous body is found in a congressional vacation home.

— Forthwith, hereto, slip-slash and flubby-bubba-do for the shammy You babaganouj!

— It is hereby ratified that all automatic voting machines with no paper trails shall offer each voter a “Planet Hollywood” T-shirt, as an inspirational symbol of Christian-friendly action movies and buffalo wings. If said T-shirt is not desired, then a kiss of a godly, non-prurient nature, shall be bestowed upon the voter by an appointed staff of American Idol runners-up look-alikes.

— Exposed legs shall be cut off below the kneecap.

— Due to an imminent State of Emergency to be expected in 2008, George W. Bush is approved the right to A) eliminate the Twenty-second Amendment, that he may B) seek another term as U.S. President so the scumbag, Illuminati industrialists who make up .05% of the global population will have more time to max out this country’s borrowing power, thus cleaning out the coffers of the United States of America; permanently ( i.e., permanently.) … No, really.

— Ooooooh! Look at meeeeee! I’m a big bad reader! I actually go over the fine print because I want to know ‘what’s going on,’ I want to be ‘informed’ … I’m gonna start a ‘revolution’ someday, listen to meeeeee, everybody … !!!

— Africa shall be split up evenly amongst whoever wants it

Ed Murray is a stand-up comic who has performed at various clubs in New York City. He has been published online at McSweeneys, Yankee Pot Roast, Entropy, and in print for "Jest," "The Best of PulpLit 2002-2004," and "Oddfellow" magazines. More of his oh-so-blinding genius can be seen at: