Arts editor, hit by vicious spitball, recovering in hospital

By Hansen Pockets, TheShortStraw crime correspondent and doughnut boy

DALLAS, TX ( back after a several-week hiatus, the editors of TheShortStraw revealed a sinister plot to silence them.

Brian Heldegund, the editor-in-chief, hiding at an undisclosed location at 253 Sycamore St in Dallas, said by telephone that Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, and communications magnate Rupert Murdoch--amongst others--were the despotic culprits attempting to silence TheShortStraw.

"Listen, I'm not really hiding. Bravery's my middle name. It's just that I don't enjoy the sunlight; it's unhealthy, skin cancer and all that. But let it be said that besides Murdoch, Mugabe and Putin, others may be involved," Heldegund said. "The usual culprits, I've been told--Jiang Zemin, Kim Jong-il, Castro, Ghaddafi, Dick Cheney--you get the picture."

Added Heldegund: "What's really weird though, is that we haven't even published anything about Zemin, Kim, Putin or Mugabe. That just goes to show you the power of the Straw. People high up fear it even before we write anything about them. Well, in this case, I think it's high time we do. Already, Anne Yewelent, our resorts and bath house correspondent, is writing an expose of a secret trip to a San Francisco bath house by Mugabe, Murdoch and Kim in early April."

More puzzling still, admitted Heldegund, is that Murdoch, TheShortStraw's majority shareholder, tried to silence his own publication.

"That's not so difficult to understand," explained Murdoch's secretary, Jenny Friedman, speaking anonymously. "Rupert felt slighted by an article or three, and he didn't like it one bit. He confided to me in his office one day early in the morning after a few drinks--just the two of us, me in a mini skirt, he vigorous and virile if goofing looking--that he didn't understand this whole satire thing.
He told me: 'What the hell's so funny about it? I don't get it.' He doesn't know when to laugh. He says he needs a laugh track to go with it, like in sitcoms. It's terribly frustrating for him. He's sorry he got involved in it at all, and now, he says, he'll do anything--anything--to shut it down, including--don't quote me on this--knocking Heldegund and Du Toit (TheShortStraw arts editor) off."

Heldegund is in hiding--no matter what he says--because Du Toit has already been physically attacked by the powerful trio.

"It was one dark night," Du Toit reminisced from St. Joe's Hospital for the Lethargic, "and I was watching TV when I heard a noise outside the window, and there's Putin, the son of a b----, standing on Mugabe's shoulders, and he's got a straw and his cheeks are blown up like a trumpet player's and I saw the spitball coming straight for my face. Luckily, at the last second I blocked it with my arm. He could've killed me. As it is, I may have to have my arm amputated--albeit voluntarily, you know, for the sympathy, to pick up chicks, man. All chicks dig a one-armed artist. Anyway, good thing I had training back in elementary school. I barely remember math, but you never forget how to block a spitball."

Russian Presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov said it was impossible his boss was in any way involved.

"No way," Gromov said dismissively. "You kidding me? Vlad's a former KGB guy. Let me tell you something--the KGB doesn't miss. If he hadn't knocked him off with a spitball, he'd have climbed in and finished him off with an icepick. No--if it was anyone it's one of the other guys. I mean, look at them--Murdoch, Mugabe, Kim, Zemin--they're a bunch of sissies. And have you ever checked out their glasses? They're as thick as Siberian ice. You have to wonder if they can see anything at all. Now, those guys, had they hit the target with a piano, it'd have been a miracle."

On his way back to recovery and undeterred in his quest to defend democracies around the globe, Du Toit vows never to quit TheShortStraw.

"I'll never quit," Du Toit said. "I don't care about the danger. They don't scare me. I'm short, but rugged. And it's not really anything about freedom of speech either, or defending democracy. The truth is, I'm a materialistic guy, I like the good things in life: cars, clothes, restaurants, you name it. I don't drive a fancy blue pick-up truck for nothing. Man, it's the lifestyle--the lifestyle, the money, the hot chicks. I get treated like a rock star everywhere I go. That's how it is at the Straw, man. I get to travel the whole world, or at least from my house to the grocery store, and my salary is way too good. If I want, I can buy a bologna sandwich anytime, and, man, you can't spit on thatů"

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


TheShortStraw is intended for use by those age 18 and older. All stories are fictional and satirical and should not in any way be construed as fact. All contents Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw. All rights reserved.

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