Story So Far
May 29, 2002
By The Staff of The Bean Magazine
Part I - The Story So Far
In a certain large country to the west of one place and the
east of another, an ambitious group of southerners manages
to convince a large minority of their fellow citizens to vote
for their presidential candidate, a compliant cretin with
the morals of a rabid mink. Unfortunately, in a winner-take-all
democracy this is not enough for him to win, so the mostly
southern military obligingly sends in a few thousand illegal
absentee ballots to tip the scales and the cretin's gutless
opponent refuses to challenge him.
"Whoop-de-doo!" shout the handlers when the cretin dons the
crown. The cretin and his handlers are in charge for four
long years. They immediately start pursuing a loony right-wing
agenda, trucking billions to all their rich friends and putting
military leaders and their civilian catamites in positions
of power -- long the custom in all banana republics.
But, much to the consternation of the handlers, the majority
who actually won the election just won't sign off on their
increasingly loony proposals. What they need is what they
had in the good old days of a global face-off with a now defunct
enemy: emergency powers, the pretext of a massive threat
to the nation's security to crush or imprison their enemies,
steal still more of the nation's common wealth, and pare down
the annoying institution of democratic government to a useless
Purely coincidentally, an old friend of the cretin, who's
had a born-again experience and has decided that the great
nation to the west of one place and the east of another is
Satan incarnate, starts to make plans for an assault on the
fortress of evil. Word comes to the cretin's handlers that
this is in the works but rather than taking steps to pre-empt
it they start top-secret internal discussions (from which
the cretin is of course excluded). What if this attack, whatever
it is, is allowed to proceed? they wonder.
The cretin's old friend is not a whole lot smarter than
the cretin himself, coming from the same kind of rich, over-privileged
spoilt-brat background with not the slightest knowledge of
how his obsessions and whims and loony opinions affect real
people in the real world. All his previous attacks have been
indiscriminate hit-and-run bombings of poorly defended targets.
How much damage can this kind of nitwit really do on home
ground? "A few casualties, sure," they admit, "but think what
a pretext this will give us! A foreign attack on our great
nation! Once again we will have a shadowy network of conspiratorial
zealots across the world to threaten our security our very
existence! Once again we will be able to assume emergency
powers -- and then the sky's the limit!"
As the weeks of summer roll on, more intelligence comes in.
The old friend is thinking about planes. For what isn't clear
but (remembering the "how much damage can this kind of nitwit
do?" scoff) the handlers decide to let the plane-related plans
proceed -- no way the banana republicans will heighten airport
surveillance, even though it's the most lax in the developed
The buddy's plan is bound, they think, to be a hijacking,
which is always dramatic, and dramatic is what they're after.
More information comes in, and the story gets better yet.
It now seems from the informers that the old friend/nitwit
has his eye on a great city in the north which despises the
southerners and their puppet president and which the southerners,
in turn, never fail to smear, denigrate and deny funds to
at every opportunity. So now they're killing two birds with
one stone; a disaster of some kind will strike the city they
despise and they'll get their pretext to declare that
The handlers rub their hands with evil glee at the news.
This is double the reasons for letting the cretin's old friend
do his worst! All they tell the cretin is that his old friend
is planning some craziness and that it will be taken care
of, not to worry, have a nice vacation.
Then one sunny morning the old friend pulls the trigger.
It's far worse than the banana republicans ever dreamed (and
actually than the old friend ever dreamed). When the cretin
gets the news -- it's hard to think on your feet if you're
a cretin -- his eyes pop out of his head with panic and fear.
The handlers whisk him off in a plane and fly him around the
country for eight hours while they explain why this disaster
may actually be the greatest thing that ever happened to a
banana republic in the entire history of banana republics.
The great northern city is devastated and its people massacred
but luckily it has a great and courageous man as its mayor
so no one notices or cares that the frightened panic-stricken
cretin (who, you may remember, is acting as president in this
story) is nowhere to be found.
The very next day the banana republicans kick off their emergency
powers initiative: illegal search and seizure, illegal
detention, torture, suspension of human rights at home and
abroad, military kangaroo courts, vast expansion of police
powers, emergency payments of vast sums to their cronies,
plans for war in a country they've had their eye on for years,
massive increases in the already insanely huge military budget,
suspension of immigration, and rigid censorship of the already
All this, as hairy as it sounds, is simply testing the water
to see how pliant a wounded public really is. Down the road
are plans to eradicate abortion, women's rights, the teaching
of evolution, environmental regulation, and the separation
of church and state, not to mention legalization of government
bribes and a host of other loony schemes of the kind that
are familiar to anyone who's spent time around banana republicans.
A loyal citizenry, horrified by the brutal attack on their
country, goes along with these measures for the moment and
the cretin reaps the reward; all he has to do is stand there
and mouth the platitudes his handlers write for him. And the
nation is grateful.
But then something starts unraveling. The banana republic
the southerners dream of hasn't really taken hold of course,
except in their own fevered brains; the great nation is still
a democracy, messy and unpredictable. Of all people, one of
their southern friends (for his own pig-headed, narrow-minded
reasons) starts asking whether the cretin knew anything about
this staggering disaster before it happened.
The cretin is hugely alarmed and demands to know what to
do. His handlers are not cretins; they know that outright
denial would be foolish and lead them eventually down the
dread path of cover-up which has destroyed many smarter presidents
than the cretin. So they admit that they did know something
was in the air (or would be in the air), but not its extent
and not that it would directed against the city they hate
so much. That way people will be satisfied that they're seeming
to be honest and straightforward and to some degree apologizing
for a certain level of incompetence. Hopefully they can control
the damage or some other disaster will show up and their precious
emergency powers will continue...
Part II - The Future
But alas for them, that doesn't happen. You can't control
the truth in a democracy especially when government wrong-doing
has allowed thousands of innocent people to die. Soon the
sources of the original intelligence start to get cold feet.
Knowing that they could be the ones blamed, as in the past
-- the messengers of bad truths are always vulnerable that
way -- they decide they're not going to the mat for this bunch
of traitorous loonies. So little by little with the banana
republicans denying and fighting them all the way, assassinating
character one day, trying to whip up a distracting military
engagement the next, the truth comes out. The press creeps
out from under its rock once the wind is blowing its way and
starts -- belatedly -- doing what it's supposed to do.
Pretty soon the truth that a few people, condemned as traitors
and worse, suspected right from the beginning, starts to emerge.
The cretin who actually knew little or nothing about the crime,
tries to claim that his handlers kept him in the dark, but
this truth only makes him look more cretinous. The southerners
start deserting him as most of them have deserted other frontmen
before -- more than once -- when their loony plans went astray.
A scapegoat appears or rather is found (a black woman looks
like the most likely candidate, as it turns out) and she and
the cretin crash and burn in utter disgrace.
Meanwhile the great city continues to mourn and bury its
dead, and try to recover from the death-blow it took. The
cretin's crazy born-again old friend is still at large and
the banana republicans go to ground, where they can regroup
and live to fight another day against democracy, decency,
justice, and peace.
The Bean Magazine is a leftist political and cultural satire
outlet currently in pre-production. It will be launched in
late summer, 2002.