Written by DJ Arneson
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Wednesday, 26 May 2004

Flash…Flash…Flash!! Federal Agencies Issue Orange Alert!!

Washington May 25-In a joint statement by the Department of Homeland Security (DOH) and the National Weather Service (OOPS), federal officials today announced an urgent warning to Americans living on the surface of the Continental United States that an unprecedented combination of unseasonably high winds and an early Florida crop has resulted in a devastating rain of deadly citrus fruit. The Orange Alert was issued by Secretary Tom Rigid at a hastily called prscnfrnce from an undisclosed juice-proof location outside Washington.

When asked by a reporter, "What is an orange alert?" Secretary Rigid scowled at the newsperson's ignorance of the nation's primary warning system based on scientific studies of childhood refusals to eat brightly colored Jello disguised as dessert." It is NOT strawberry, raspberry, lemon or lime," he said grimly. "Or watermelon." The image of a sky filled with falling green orbs the size of basketballs, seedless or not, sent shivers through the normally stoic gaggle of newspeople.

Rigid, his head covered by an olive drab colander and wearing an absorbent flak jacket of camo Pampers as protection from flying seeds and jagged shards of unsweetened pulp, spoke off-the-cuff as he addressed reporters and a stack of envelopes. "I wonder if President Bush has a clue about anything?" he said. "Indigo is my favorite color. I've never eaten sushi. Waiter, there's a fly in my soup," and other candid comments riveted reporters attention as the Secretary unveiled a map of the United States. He placed the tip of a pointy stick on Florida. "This is Florida," he said, beaming. Then, with a flourish, he swept the stick rapidly back and forth over the rest of the map. "And this is wind." Rigid pursed his lips and blew. "Phhwwooot." His face darkened. Like Magic, he got rhythm. And he could jump. "Ol' man Rivah, dat ol' Man Rivah," he sang. With a nod and a wink, he beckoned to an aide, one of several joined to his hip. "My orange aide will brief you on the intelligence behind this alert."

A man with no face, no identifying marks, poor taste in suits, a complete lack of personality and only a thin comb-over to distinguish him from a department store dummy spoke in the familiar mumbling cadence of sycophantic suck-ups the world over, but mostly in Washington. "A series of unseasonable tornadoes caused by a mass of humorless cold air from Canada mixing with a steady breeze of hot air from the White House swept through Florida yesterday, today and tomorrow, stripping more than a gadjillion oranges from trees, sending them way, way up in the sky. They will fall down within minutes over an area twice the size of Iraq, which, as you know, is bigger than California. Or Texas. Or Siberia."
Secretary Rigid interrupted. "Our nation is about to be hit," he said through lips still pursed from blowing. "Within seconds, minutes, hours or by late next month, the ground will be littered with the smashed remains of millions of dead Americans." Nudged by his orange aide, the nation's least understood official outside the Oval Office quickly added, "Favorite fruit." He stepped closer to the podium which until then, had provided a wall of security between him and the mosh pit of head-scratching reporters. "We are about to be juiced."

As quickly as it had appeared, the entourage of officials disappeared behind a cloud of smoke and mirrors. Just before vanishing into the thick fog of incomprehensibility associated with the Secretary's previous alerts, he turned his helmeted head to the stunned reporters. "Th…th…that's not all, folks," he said. "Tomorrow morning, a cyclone will strike Hawaii. As usual, I will brief you on this new threat to our nation after it happens."

Reporters filed silently out of the room. Before they'd even begun to grasp the implications of the just announced Orange Alert, a new danger was already in the making. A Pineapple Alert. "What next?" they mused among themselves, knowing full-well the dreaded consequences of a Potato Alert in Idaho, a Wheel Chair/Walker Alert in Miami or, most horribly, should the hot air in Washington reach terminal velocity, a Bullshit Alert in our nation's capitol as the entire Congress falls back to earth in a deluge of deep doo-doo.

Outside, the air had already begun to stink.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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