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    Terraform

    ​An American Infestation

    Written by Lincoln Michel

    Art by Koren Shadmi

    This story needs little introduction, given the all-consuming hell circus that is the 2015 presidential campaign season. Suffice to say that this is a short, macabre vision of what might happen if America ends up winning just a bit too much. Happy New Year's. -the Eds


    So I’m sitting in the Oval Office and all I can think is, what kind of fucking shape is oval?

    “Sir,” Sponge is saying. “We need a decision on eagog or freagle.” Sponge isn’t Sponge’s real name. His real name was a loser name. Weinstein or something. I need winners around me. I call him Sponge ‘cause when I squeeze him, the information squirts out.

    Oval. The only things that are oval are eggs. What does that make me? A little baby chick waiting to be born? No! This nation is the fetus and I’m the terrifying mother hawk about to crack open its shell.

    “Mr. President, have you made a decision on eagog or freagle? The press conference is at six.”

    Sponge’s little pet is on my desk, chirping. It has a fat frog butt, but a beautiful bald eagle head. It’s about the size of my fist. I extend a finger and it clamps down its beak.

    “Little piece of shit!” I say. I punch it, and it tumbles across my desk into my nuke button.

    Jackknife, my VP, picks it up. “Mr. President, do you want me to crush the squirt?” He holds his other fist over the creature and flexes.

    “That squirt costs twenty billion taxpayer dollars!” Sponge’s squawks. He sounds like eagle-frog himself. He’s the nerd of the group. We keep him around for science stuff.

    “He’s fantastic,” I say. “The voters are gonna shit tiny American flags when they see him.”

    Those billions were supposed to buy more than eagle frogs. They were supposed to buy me a full fleet of patriotic animals. Something got fucked up with the other splicings. My bald eagle bears, bald eagle cougars, and bald eagle rattle snakes were all losers. Piles of mutant mush in the petri dishes.

    But a leader makes a decision and goes forward like a bullet, never looking back.

    Suddenly, Jackknife yelps. He drops the creature on the carpet. “Little shit shat on me!”

    This gets me laughing and things are back to being all right again.

    The patriotic animal hybrids were a campaign promise. The tree huggers had been making a stink about the declining bald eagle population, and the conservatives weren’t too happy either. Apparently the bald eagles kept flying into delivery drones. Thought they were some sexy silver eagles they could fuck. You can’t fuck spinning blades though. And you can’t remote control the invisible hand of the market.

    “Why not create a bald eagle preservation and breed more of them?” the CNN anchor had asked me at the debate.

    “I got one word for you,” I said, sticking my finger in the air with the authority of the Washington memorial. “Innovation.”

    The audience roared.

    I scoop the eagle frog in my hand, run a pinkie finger down its feathered head.

    “I vote Freagle, sir,” Jackknife says. “It sounds like freedom.”

    “And it rhymes with regal,” Sponge says, nodding his dinky head.

    I hold the creature up to my face. The tiny green legs are trying to swim in the air and its eyes dart around wildly. These two don’t get it. No one ever gets it but me.

    “Regale sounds European,” I say. “We’re going with eagog. This is America. The eagle comes first.”

    The eagogs are a smash hit. Every kid wants a toy eagog for Christmas, and patriots wear shirts with a cartoon eagog shouting “Don’t tread on me” while swallowing a hippie’s leg. Obviously, we trademarked everything. We get a steady stream of revenue from eagog iPhone cases, eagog-branded assault rifles, and the Super Eagog Freedom Force cartoon related merchandise.

    Which is a good thing, because we slashed taxes on the rich and apparently the poor don’t have the money to pull their weight. Fucking moochers.

    But then three months later, Sponge is at my desk, shaking. I can’t make out what he’s saying. Flecks of paint are falling from the ceiling. Construction. The White House has been a modest little building for too long. When I’m done the White House will be the White Tower, as huge and classy as my vision for America.

    “Mr. President, they got the eagogs,” he shouts.

    The noises of the construction disappear, and all I can hear is my blood bubbling.

    “Who?” I say, my lips forming an angry red oval.

    “We don’t know yet, sir,” Jackknife says, head hung.

    T-Bone, my CEO of Security, places a file on my desk. I’ve got CEOs for everything. CEO of Commerce. CEO of Defense. CEO of Offense. CEO of Religion and Infrastructure and Business. My predecessors called these people czars and secretaries. But this isn’t a government for Russians or ladies at typewriters.

    “We got them on security footage, but they were using genetic scramblers.” I scream at them to send out everyone. The police, the FBI, the army and the navy.

    “Good idea, sir.”

    “We’re on it, sir.”

    Which assholes took my eagogs? It could be anyone. The terrorists. The environmentalists. The pacifists. The communists. This country is infested with -ists.

    The people in this room, we’re not -ists. We’re the last of the -rs. The innovators and the winners who built this country from scratch before and will have to rebuild it again now.

    “Well, then you pick the next country to bomb!” I shout into the phone, but Cyborg Putin has already hung up. That cocksucker. He’s 50% metal now, but still 100% asshole.

    At least the eagog situation is under control. Some fruity vegetable eaters calling themselves the GM-NO! Organic Liberation Front stole the prototype eagogs. Claimed they were genetic abominations. But they didn’t have the stones to kill, so they just let ‘em free into the Maryland suburbs.

    The GM-NO! Organic Liberation Front were a bunch of losers, but my eagogs are winners. They started humping and spawning and pretty soon the countryside was overrun with eagogs croaking and squawking on every branch and beside every pond.

    Ice Queen, my spin doctor, worked the whole thing from my No Spin chamber. She leaked emails pretending we let the eagogs get kidnapped on purpose, then we got the media cranking out our content. Top 10 Eagog Sighting Locations. 15 Reasons Every 90s Kid Will Love a Pet Eagog. It Happened to Me: How the Eagogs Cured My Depression.

    The suckers retweet and share while we rack up the brand recognition.

    We’re already working on the next upgrade. Got Apple involved. Eagog 2.0. They’ll be twice as big with a fifty percent louder scream.

    So a couple months later, I’m sitting in the Square Office at the top of the half-constructed White Tower. We’re a little short on funds, so I’ve only got the west half of the new east wing and the east half of the new west wing finished. I’m up there, and I’m trying to decide: Can you win too hard?

    I’ve got the phone unplugged and I’m just trying to think, but there’s this noise coming from the curtain. Winning too much. I’m starting to think that’s what happened to me. I’ve been crushing it, and crushing everyone against me. But at some point, if you crush enough people, there’s no one left to single out and tell people to crush. Then they start wanting to crush you.

    I hear a noise from behind the giant flag. I pick up the baseball bat and tip toe over. Whack! Squish the fucking eagog into a toad pancake. But as soon as I sit back down I hear another squawk from under the couch, and as I walk over I see two humping on the coffee table.

    “Sponge! Get in here and bring a weapon!”

    Sponge waddles in as best he can. His left leg is in a cast and his face is bruised. He was attacked by anti-war protestors while the Secret Service were distracted by pro-war protestors.

    “Sir, you’ve finally decided on a plan?”

    “Of course I’ve got a plan. I’m up to my ass in plans…a plan for what, specifically?”

    “For the Russians, sir. Or the election. Or the debt. We gave you the files this morning, the only options we think are still viable.”

    “That’s not what I called you into talk about!” I pick up one of the squished eagogs and wave it in his face. “How do we stop this eagog infestation. I didn’t make you CEO of Science to sit with a beaker up your ass.”

    “It’s a tough one, sir. We’ve can’t poison them without destroying most of our water supplies, and we can’t eat them without melting our intestines.”

    See, the eagogs are another example. They are such winners they’ve won too much. They’ve got the combined powers of amphibians and birds. They can live in water or in trees. They eat everything. TWhile they started out pretty cute, but now that they’ve crawled into every home in America people regard them about as well as they would a cockroach- rat hybrid.

    And yes, we already tried creating ratroach hybrids to fight the eagogs, but apparently rats and roaches mostly just eat shit like fruit and grains. Hippie losers. My fantastic eagogs swallowed ‘em as snacks.

    Pretty soon, I’ve got bigger things to worry about than eagog infestation. My Square Office at the top of the White Tower has become the new war room. I’ve got the whole board of directors around me: Jackknife, Sponge, Ice Queen, T-Bone, Spaceman, Yankee Doodle Deadly, Guts, Big Mama, and the Cheney II clone.

    “What the hell do we do?” I say.

    See, previous politicians thought the key was privatizing parts of the government, but my vision was huger. We’ve turned the government into a private company. But the next shareholder election is coming up, and our one-US-bond-one-vote policy means China could try a hostile takeover.

    “Sir, I think we make the argument that America doesn’t legally exist anymore now that Maine has voted to join Canada and Cyborg Putin holds Alaska.” Spaceman zaps at the map with a laser pointer as he talks.

    Jackknife nods. “Plus, almost the entire populations of Wyoming and Nebraska have fled the eagog infestation.”

    “No one cares about those states,” I say. “This is loser talk.”

    “Mr. President, the election isn’t the issue,” the Cheney II clone says. “We decide what America is. The issue is the eagogs and ratroaches have destroyed half our food supply. You can’t do bread and circuses without the bread.”

    “He’s right,” Ice Queen says, “people are too busy rioting at empty supermarkets to care about the election.”

    I stand up, slap both hands on the table. “Let the people eat eagogs!”

    “They’re poisonous, sir.”

    “Then fucking pack them all up into missiles and drop them on Cyborg Putin!”

    “Sir, we tried that and they ate through the hulls and we lost ten planes.”

    I crash back into my seat. I dig my fingernails into my palms and silently scream. My team is grumbling among themselves. Out the window, throngs of people are grumbling on the streets. All I can think is, what the fuck do you people want? Huh? You say you want winners. You say you want innovation. You say you want America to kick fucking ass again. We’ll I’ve won, I’ve innovated, I’ve kicked ass. Most of you don’t care. Most of you don’t even vote anyway, and when you do you start whining about whatever we leaders do. That’s why we made the eagogs, so you sheeple could be distracted while we did the tough stuff you don’t want to know about anyway!

    “Sheeple,” I say out loud.

    “What’s that, Mr. President?”

    “Sheeple,” I say a little louder.

    “We’re the shepherds,” Jackknife says, nodding. “We’ll get them in line.”

    I wave my hand to make him shut up. I’m getting excited now. “No, shut up. Sponge, write this down. Sheeple. Sheep mixed with people.”

    “Sir, after what happened with the eagle people—”

    “I don’t want excuses. I want sheeple. Jackknife, get Nunchuck on the phone, and ask him what the legalities are. How much human DNA does a creature need to have to legally vote. Ice Queen, get the spin wheels spinning. Cheney II, draft up the law.”

    The solution was right under my classy ass nose. We’ll just make the voters this country needs. Squirt ‘em right out of the tubes like toothpaste. America 2.0 with an automatic update. I’m going to make America win again even if I have to tear the entire place apart.