My Hover-Car Is Shot

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2056: Future Issue

Report: 40 Percent of American High-School Students Mind-Reading At Sixth-Grade Level

CHICAGO2—According to Department of Telepathic Education officials, standardized Rhine-Zener testing shows that two of five North American high-school students are reading minds at or below the sixth-grade level. "Psycholiteracy is essential for survival in today's world," said DTE director Ruth Edgerton2008, founder of the "Mind-Reading Is Fundamental" project. "It's a shame that some students are graduating from high school lacking the basic telepathy skills they need to compete in the current job market." Edgerton2008 then thought about the need for increased funding for the national MindStart program.

Surgery Required For New Sexual Position

ISLA LOS ANGELES—Plasmic surgeons at Cedar Sinai Medical Center are among the more than 100 doctors nationwide performing the surgery required to enjoy the sexual position "Feast Of Forty Fingers Supping Upon The Nine-Branched Lotus," as popularized by the Neo Sutra. "Attempting the Forty Fingers position without proper bio-augmentation could result in needless maiming, so please ask a doctor about the required procedures," said Dr. Joshua Mendelbaum of the Adaptive Procreative Therapy unit. "Home surgical kits and even sophisticated nanodoctor booths are no substitute for the care of a licensed sexual surgeon." Mendelbaum would not comment on the 30 percent ecstasy-induced-mortality rate among those who successfully achieve the position.

Abraham Lincoln's DNA Now Available Over The Counter

DC—Responding to pressure from vocal consumer groups and gene-gineering giant Merck-Maibatsu-Pfizer Monday, the FDA announced it will allow the DNA of America's 16th president to be sold without a doctor's prescription. "The legalization of OTC Abe is great news for expectant parents, gene-therapy patients, and history buffs," said MMP marketing director Wayne Lincoln. "Americans will no longer be shackled by the genetic heritage of their forefathers, a tyranny of flesh which condemns all men to be created equal. Now, four score and seven credits will ensure that presidential DNA for the people shall not vanish from the earth." Those using Lincoln's DNA are warned that side effects may include mild gigantism, arthritis, and severe depression.

Hemmed-In Seattle Mayor Calls For Emergency Deforestation

SEATTLE—Seattle Mayor Frances Bean Cobain-Osment issued a call for the emergency deforestation of the Pacific Northwest Monday. "Please, major logging companies, I beg you, send any spare sawmilling, pulping, or chipping equipment you have as soon as possible," said Cobain-Osment, invisible within the branches and overgrowth on the steps of City Hall. "We cannot fight off the encroaching trees and spotted owls any longer." The mayor's message concluded with a spirited condemnation of 2001's controversial Healthy Forests Initiative.

Remainder Of Ross Ice Shelf Now In Smithsonian Freezer

DC—The 25-meter-long remains of the Ross Ice Shelf, the floating Antarctic ice sheet that was once the size of France, will be displayed in the Smithsonian Institution's basement freezer through August. "We thank the generous citizens of Philadelphia, who donated this polar-cap remnant when it washed up on their shores earlier this year," curator Tim Riley said. "The ice sheet is a valuable artifact of the earth's geological past." Guests at an upcoming fundraising dinner will be served cocktails made with chunks of the shelf.

Repopulation Of Africa Begins

OLDUVAI GORGE, FORMER TANZANIA—The UN announced Monday that it has begun the directed repopulation of Africa, the continent that has lain desolate since the 2042 Saharan Scourge. "The time has come to reclaim this land from the effects of war, famine, disease, and devastating commercial exploitation," ReAfrica project head Marcus Mtume said, motioning toward the bare rock of the Serengeti shield plain. "At this very moment, scouts are determining the viability of a New Lagos settlement." Critics argue that the ReAfrica project is beyond the scope of current terra-reforming technology, and the UN resources required would be better spent on more fertile territory, such as the Marianas Trench or Charon, Pluto's only moon.

Ozone Repletion Project Nearly Finished

MCMURDO, ANTARCTIC STATES--Franklin Serwacki, lead project administrator of the Global Ozone Restoration Initiative, announced Monday that the earth's ozone layer will be restored to pre-Industrial Revolution levels by the end of the month. "With our new Bering Strait facility operating at full capacity, repletion of the ozone layer should be complete by... oh, I'd say next Thursday. It's been a busy couple of weeks, but soon we'll be able to look back on a job well done." Serwacki then offered his apologies to the more than 6 billion people who were irreparably harmed by solar UV radiation in the several decades the project was delayed by tripartisan bickering.

Leather-Clad Nomads Seize Power In Australia

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA—Following months of terror at the hands of hot-rod-piloting punks, Australian Prime Minister Kellen O'Neill handed power to Lord Humongous, nominal warlord of the leather-clad marauding barbarian horde Monday. "Just walk away!" said Humongous, the official "Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Roll-ah," speaking through his vehicle's PA system from the smoking ruins of the city center. "I will spare those of you who surrender your possessions and your precious juice. Just walk away, and live." Humongous is expected to share at least a portion of his dominion over Australia with midget genius The Master, who several sources said "runs Bartertown."

117-Aerocar Pileup Clogs Troposphere For Hours

BOSTON—Travelers on Interspace 92 experienced delays of up to three hours after 117 aerocars were involved in a tropospheric pileup Monday. "We traced the problem to a malfunctioning holosign over the harbor's low-pressure zone," said Anders Featherston, lead engineer of Boston's Big Draft project. "Four horizontal lanes and three vertical lanes merged without warning, causing the first few propeller-benders, and it only escalated from there." The 22 deaths caused by the accident were only temporary, as EMTs had the victims' cortical memory stacks decanted into fresh bodies within hours.

Economy Given Big Boost By Ramadan Shopping Season

NEWER YORK—Financial experts announced Monday that the U.S. economy was boosted by millions of Americans beginning to purchase Ramadan gifts. "With rampant inflation and record-low consumer confidence, we were on the path to total economic devastation for the year," economist Karen Thewes said. "Fortunately, preparations for the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr pumped nearly Ÿ2.2 billion into the economy. In addition, there was a huge surge in the purchase of Quran plaques dedicated to Allah." Thewes went on to predict that the economy would be further buoyed by a brisk Solstice.
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My Hover-Car Is Shot

Hola, amigos. What's your deal? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but there's been all sorts of mess going on in my life. For one thing, I've been having a hard time getting my government checks. Not that they're worth a whole lot, but I didn't work 57 jobs just to wait by the inbox for my Social Security download. In the meantime, I've got a little side job detailing vintage gas-engine cars out of the driveway of my apartment dome. I don't have a whole lot of customers, but it's all credits up front, so I don't need to report it to the IRS Compliance Force.

Oh, and the vertical-distance monitor in my hover-car is shot, so I need to get that replaced. I have to keep it under blocks or the damn thing floats away. I'd fix it, but I spent my money on another land car last week. Since the gas crisis, they're pretty easy to come by. This is my eighth one. I got like two Ford Mustang convertibles, but I can't afford to drive them much. The problem is that I don't have a place to keep them. I keep some in Ron's driveway, and the rest I keep in a vacant lot. In order to protect them from the toxic rains, I put big tarps over them. No roving mutants have tried to take them out of the lot yet. If they do, I guess I'll have to move them to the vacant lot across the street.

I've been seeing a lot more of Ron ever since his wife died last year. Ron married for love. My wife left me about 15 years ago, and I moved into Ron's basement. I only got married because the government assigned me a spouse. She was cramping my style like you wouldn't believe, so I wasn't too sorry when she left me. I don't have any regrets. Ron, though, he still gets pretty bummed about his wife. I tell him that we're better off without wives telling us what to do. We can hang out and drink beer all we want, or we could if my doctor hadn't told me not to drink since I had my heart replaced.

That really shook me up. Now I only drink a few times a week. The doctor says even that is too much, but what does he know, anyway? I know my body, and my body says I can drink once in a while. Plus, it's the only thing that takes my mind off my arthritis.

Anyway, I was hanging out with Ron the other day, and we were just shooting the shit like we always do—you know, talking about the old days when we ruled things. I guess we were going a ways down memory lane, and at some point, we got into my glaucoma weed. I don't mind sharing it, but it means I have to get my prescription refilled sooner. Anyway, we were talking about this one time back in '09 that we were totally loaded and we went out to get Wes and his girl to do some shots. We showed up at like midnight, and they were already in bed. We almost got them going, but then Ron got sick and threw up all over their rug.

He and Mindy moved across town and got married a few years later. We got invited to the wedding, but my car broke down on the way. By the time we got there, the beer was gone, so we got shitfaced at a nearby bar. We didn't see a lot of Wes after that.

Anyway, we were trying to figure out what happened to him. I know they had some kids after he graduated college. I think he was working for some Internet company, but that's the last I heard. Ron said it would be cool to see how he was doing. That seemed like a good idea, since there wasn't anything good on TV on account of Paris Hilton dying.

We decided that the best way to track Wes down was to go out by his old place and see if he was still there. If he wasn't, maybe one of his neighbors might know where to find him. Since I'm having problems with my car, we had to take Ron's. After a few beers and my government weed, he was in no condition to be driving, so he asked me to hook up the passenger-side wheel.

The problem is, we couldn't exactly remember where Wes used to live, so we wound up driving all over the place. I was counting on Ron to navigate, but he fell asleep about 10 minutes after we got in the car. I was going back and forth, trying to see if I could recognize anything, but the riots pretty much blew that area to hell, and steering from the passenger seat still throws me off. That's when I saw the flashers in my rear-view mirror.

I wasn't even speeding when we got pulled over. The problem is that my license expired three years ago, and I ain't got the patience to sit at the DMV at my age.

I was all respectful when the cop came up to the car. He told me I was driving erratically and asked if I'd been drinking. I told him I'd had a few beers, but not enough to affect my driving. He told me he'd let me off with a warning since I was so old. He administered us with sobriety pills and told me that Ron should drive when they took effect. Some favor that was. He killed my buzz twice. Pigs, man.

Anyway, we went back to Ron's place and hung out there until Ron fell asleep again, and I went back home. I walked up to my apartment and watched some more funeral coverage. I was a little bummed that we couldn't find Wes. For all I know, he could be dead. I looked on the ObituWeb, but I didn't find him there. Well, I found a Wes Baumgartner, but that was in Arizona, and I would have heard if Wes had moved there. That cheered me up a little bit. That meant I still had a chance to track him down. I'll wait for a few days until I get up enough steam to do it again. When I find him, I'm going to give it to him with both barrels for causing me so much hassle, then we can do some catching up. And believe me, we have a lot of catching up to do.

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