First Seven Paragraphs
Wow. An 8-ender to advance to the world championships. Now thats some impressive curling. Its about time, Jack thought. Bostons legions of curling fans had suffered long enough. Jack didnt live in Boston, of course, but on most days he wishes he did. Though the trade embargo had been lifted, things hadnt been the same in Kalispell ever since Montana seceded from the Union. One would think the Grizzly State had seen what happened in Missouri and wouldnt want to make the same mistake. But as time went on, one thing became increasingly clear to Jack: Montana wasnt the first state to secede over a carrot dispute, and it would be nothing more than wishful thinking to believe it would be the last.
Curling was the immensely popular national sport of the United States, and Jack felt a bit empty that it was no longer his nations game of choice. Montana had chosen skeet shooting as its national pastime, but thus far the sport had failed to capture the hearts of the countrys citizens. Desperate to distance itself from the perceived evil empire to the east, west, and south, Montanas federal government went as far as to ban the impromptu recreational curling matches that often sprouted up in the streets of towns like Helena, Bozeman, and Billings. All reference to the game had been stripped from the daily lives of Montanans, and it was only because Jack had an illegal cable hookup that he was able to watch the crucial seventh match of the U.S. Curling Championships.
The curling ban was just one in a long series of odd happenings in the fledgling country. A man named Dale Hoover had been elected the nations first president nine months earlier. Five days after taking office, Hoover declared Montana a monarchy and named himself king. There was no federal law to prevent him from doing this, and as such, Montanas first presidential election became its last. King Dale (he prefers to be addressed by his first name) appointed a team of royal advisors, but declared that the advisors could be fired and/or deported to Milwaukee at his discretion. He deemed that the term monarchy made them sound too British and decided to call the country the Kingocracy of Montana. Citizens complained that the name made them sound ignorant, and the king soon changed it to the Daleocracy of Montana. Dale is unmoved by suggestions that the name will sound preposterous when he is no longer king.
In an attempt to simultaneously carve a national identity and revolutionize the transportation industry, King Dale reintroduced the zeppelin as the countrys official method of air transport. The garden-variety blimp was Dales first choice, but helium was inadvertently made illegal in the early days of his administration. The government declared that Montanas airports were now closed to conventional airplane traffic, thus effectively eliminating international air travel. The mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana drunkenly agreed to have his city accept zeppelin landings and act as Zep Montanas hub in the United States. A six-gate zeppelin-only addition was hastily built at Shreveports international airport. Unfortunately, all parties involved failed to realize that the new 20-foot zeppelins built by Montanas new dirigible industry cant fly all the way to Louisiana from Montana without refueling. Shreveports mayor resigned in the wake of the resulting scandal, but the now unnecessary airport addition quckly became the most popular attraction in the city. Hour-long tours of the facility went for eight dollars, and included two free drinks.
King Dale became restless in his search for a U.S. air hub, and he eventually double-dared the city council of Sioux Falls, South Dakota to accept his offer. Too proud to resist, the council relented and became the only American city to welcome landings from Billings International Zep-port. The king also requested a daily non-stop flight from Sioux Falls to Milwaukee so as to facilitate the prompt deliverence of any deportees.
Commercial zeppelin travel commenced in early July, and 87 airships went down in flames in the first three months. As with the Hindenburg, it was concluded that hydrogen was not the cause of the fires. But unlike the Hindenburg, Zep Montanas fires were triggered by the rather curious ritual of dousing the ship with an unknown liquid substance prior to takeoff. After somebody finally asked what it was exactly they were dumping on the zeppelins, it was revealed that the liquid was lighter fluid. Attempts to learn the origins of the pre-flight lighter-fluid baths were futile. All that could be determined was that flight crews believed the substance to be the primary reason the airships were able to fly and most were startled to learn that it was in fact the properties of hydrogen that kept zeppelins aloft. In response, Montanas government drafted new guidelines for zeppelin crews, including requiring that employees have a loose basic knowledge of the theory of flight. The government also banned smoking on all commercial flights. This was in direct contradiction to King Dales wildly successful Start Smoking! advertising campaign. Dale had been smoking for nearly 25 years, and if he was going to die, dammit, he was going to take everyone else down with him. The legal smoking age in Montana was reduced from eighteen to three, as it was determined anyone younger than this couldnt be trusted with matches. A lovable mascot, Herb the Smoking Snow Owl, was met with enthusiasm in schools from Missoula to Miles City.
After the 88th and 89th zeppelin accidents on a lazy Sunday afternoon in mid-autumn, many residents began to entertain the thought that zeppelins were unsafe.
Past pieces presented by Baja Phats
on the Origins of Pete's Racial Bias by Fuzzy Winkerbean
What Osama bin Laden is Not according to George W. Bush by Ben Timberlake
Little Man Says... by Little Man
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