THE INVASION OF LAWNDALE
By General Aken
lawndale is in for an invasion. A small movie sparks what will become the greatest decision made in US history.
The president shuffled his papers and looked worriedly at the clock on the wall. "Blast" he said, remembering his appointment with the development company at noon. It was two to twelve. "drat drat and double drat... i can't believe iv'e missed another appointment. this is the fourth-" the door opened, revealing a stopped old man in grey. All grey. He introduced himself as Mr Perkins Wesley. "Ah, you'll be that property developer whose interested in that swamp outside... whatsit now?" perkins gestured to a map and pointed at a spot, almost whispering "Lawndale, mister president, sir. A little town on the railroad from-" the president gestured him to sit down on a rather less comfortable seat that he was sitting on. "The plans, Perkins?" asked the President, gesturing a roll of thin cardboard suspended from wesley's hand. wesley placed the roll flat onto the table and they gazed at it for a few seconds. then the president laid back in his chair, swivelled round and was heard to light a cigar. He turned round revealing a puff of smoke from his cuban and said in a rather happy voice "I think this should settle those blasted rebels. Soon the wole of that silly town will be under false rebel control. The rebels will think i am helping them by giving them this stronghold. but as soon as they relax their grip one touch i shall give the order for the entire town's destruction. Three F34 fighters will blitz it with fourty a grade bombs." Perkins muttered a thanks, accepted a briefcase of money for his troubles and left. once outside he walked briskly. Quickly. Youthfully. He ripped off his mask and grinned to himself. A comfortable retirement at the expense of the President of the united states. Ah, this was the life.
Part One-in which miss Morgendorffer finds herself in a political battle and decides to sit on a wall.
The winter was setting in in the town of Lawndale. people hurried about under drifts of snow flying through the air and children hurriedly made snow angels, snowdevils and snow barts before rushing home to escape the bitter cold. yet two individuals kept outside purposefully. The two sat on a brick wall seperating two houses. One was looking in a rather blank expression at two schoolboys playing in a puddle and the other doing a sketch of them, though adding a swiss backdrop and the statue of liberty for some unknown reason. perhaps it was boredom. the town certainly had little to offer for the two and it certainly wasn't going to start raining cows any day soon. Daria checked her new watch. It was already malfunctioning due to the weather. "if only these watch makers could live for a week in Lanwdale winter like in one of those sick reality television shows" she said. jane turned to her and sighed. Suddenly a great rush of wind hit them, causing janes sketch to fly away into what appeared nothingness. "Oh drat" came the dull reply from jane who didn't really give a damn whether the sketch survived or not. A postman rode by and delivered the mail. daria had found this highly unusual. It was quite normal for postmen to drive by on bikes in Australia, but Lawndale? It seemed that every figure of any authority... police, firemen, the council... seemed to have suddenly gone on a tropical holiday whilst staying in the town. everyone had tans despite the afct it was minus ten. daria sighed. Would her life ever get better?
The mayor announced the news and the entire population of the town wondered whether they had been thrown into a film. All of a sudden, after weeks of news about Mr carrakka's carrot growing contest it seemed the entire town was alive either in wonderment, dismay or uncertainty. the myaor, every day, kept on announcing new strange by laws and amendments. He seemed constantly sweating though the highest degree on record for the month was two degrees celcius.And daria and jane were in the thick of it. It seemed taht military control was seeping in through the outside seams of the town and filling it up. Stormtroopers carrying rifles marched about and shops were closed for 'safety reasons'. the mayor explained it with a grand statement at a press conference aired live on an emergency broadcast on television. It had interrupted Sick sad World and daria found herself immersed in politics as soon as she turne don the television, as so many Lawndelians were doing. The sight that met there eyes was one of devastation and amazement. A sweating mayor was being pressed in the neck by a revolver by an unknown leather gloved individual who the mayor referred to as "Blachnos". "fellow citizens of lawndale, east lawndale and lawnpark, i have a grave announcement to make that i am sure will-" Blachnos nudged him in the neck and said 'get on with it" in a false gruff voice. the mayor agreed and said "I have been forced by a group of military rebels to take over the town under martial law. Anyone disobeying a rebel general will undoubtably suffer the... consequences of their actions!" daria and jane both turned of the sets at this point. daria would get to the bottom of this. At last something to do.
Part Two-in which jane paints a picture of a steam engine only to erase the funnel and call it a diesel.
jane painted a picture of a steam engine and left it to dry. She was not used to watercolours, acrylic was more her style, and she wondered whether it was this military pressure taht was affecting her art. "It's now a diesel' she explained to a shocked daria. just then darias doorbell rang and tehy went to answer it. A starnge, yet now familiar sight greeted their eyes. 'I believe this troublemaker is a close friend of yours. We found him and his... buddies here messing with one of our logo billboards out of town." A stormtrooper dressed in full black saluted them then left the suprised Tom, trent and... shockingly... Quinn at darias mercy.
"i simply can't believe what's going on. it seems these rebels... Blachnoids or whatever are taking over our town." darias father sat reading a paper and eating buttered toast. well, margerine toast since butter had been banned by the rebels. "dear... i don't think we shouls let this affect us in the least. What we should do is... enjoy this. It could be the first chance we get, our last chance perhaps, for a little privacy. now that work has been replaced by slavery. Those big headed slaves from highland are doing the job nicely, aren't they." daria's mother saluted two big headed slaves busy in mowing the Morgendorffers lawn.
General Blachnos was what one might call a order freak in an unorderly world. perhaps this is why he invaded lawndale. yet even his military logical brain had space for imagination. In fact he once painted from postcards and sold them at a good price. He knew that the president was planning to bomb his base in the swamps and the entire town, and he had to act quickly. He thoguht of all kinds of things, then, suddenly, jumping to his feet, he shouted "Eureka! Of course... Hold someone hostage. The president will obviously call for everyone to leave the town. that eman sif i keep some peopel there, get good media coverage... Blimey! Blachnos! your'e a genius!" Blachnos turned upon his heels and, with a gang of twenty stormtroopers, led the way down Corith Hill to the city itself. He had chosen Corith Hill and the swamps beneath it for their protection, and for their coverage. If a bomb hit the swamps it wouldn't explode, it'd fall into the lake. He left general Dreinstarkken on duty and walked with his gang into the town.
General Blachnos scanned the streets. 'if i am to spend four weeks holding someone hostage in a small bunker with twenty stormtroopers guarding me it'll ahve to be someone i will like. Someone with a good american style. Someone the public will want to save. We need an artsy touch to the camera work. Wides hots, close ups... It has to be like i ahve the best camera crew in the world. I need both someone talented... maybe imaginitive. If i must pass the time with talking it has to be interesting. And someone to hold hostage. Someone pretty, yet not too pretty or they'll think it's a hoax. maybe someone who you'd never expect to be a hostage. i always say irony is my favourite humour. Hmm. Who are these girls/" daria and jane were eating sandwhiches, looking in the opposite direction. jane looked up at daria and said 'So.. what you gonna do tomorrow? i thoght i'd go fro a drive with Trent to see that new film. If those rebels haven't banned it. Stupid order freaks. can't stand any culture- that's whats wr-" "I'm afraid i really can not accept that" the two looke dup and jumped despite themselves. General Blachnos was holding a gun at them. twenty armed stormtroopers surrounded them. A light snow fell. A bird chirped. this was it.... "So, any of you going to that new movie?" daria looked up. jane turned to her, eyes closed. 'if this is death then... wow. it seems i was wrong. this is actually pretty nice. You know, if there was a heaven i think it'd be nice to- oh." she opened her eyes. Blachnos stared them in the face. His generals uniform was all black and red. his troopers were fully black with yellow striped down the side of their legs and yellow bands displaying the blachnos logo. and the slogan, "we think before we act".
"You two will come in very useful to the Blachnos empire. especially you, janet janinsky wahtsit. You'll be my camera person. You can put all the props in place. give it a grand look. i want old presidente thinking he's outnumbered. And you-" he turned to a blank faced daria, walking almost as a trooper herself, "-you will be my pride and joy. You see, you will be held hostage so that when jane here gives the media the fooatge they'll all fall for you. the entire american public shall fall in love with you." daria looked up and a faint look of interest sprouted on her face "it seems my days of being antisocial are over. hey, my names daria morgendorffer, yeah, heres my list of friends. oh yes, theres jane, the entire american public.. tom... tren-" Blachnos interrupted "bah. you are the perfect woman you know. You'll look spiffing as a hostage. your'e so intelligent looking, yet pretty. The epitomy of what americans WANT to be like. Ha!" daria forced herself to give a hiccup like belch. "Yes, very amusing" she replied. inside a lot of thoguhts were going on in her head. thoguhts of betrayal, thoughts of trying to overthrow Blachnos. thoughts of saving her friends from the tyranny that presented itself.
"this is my camp, daria. lovely name that." lachnos entered his main tent, the HQ itself. jane and daria looked at the spectacle before them. A grandeous array of objects. And a old fashioned camera on a tripod. "Okay let's get on with this. You, daria, sit down imbertween those two troopers. Troopers hold those empty guns at her. pretend to attend to filling them. use those blanks. right, jane, heres your canvas, now paint away. jane looked at the camera. a spring fell out.
"okay.... and action!" shouted Blachnos. jane turne don the camera, all manner of rebellious thoughts in her head. "i could use the camera itself as a weapon' she began to think. But then she realsied she was outnumbered twenty thousand to one. oh, two if you counted daria. Blachnos walked in front of a blank faced daria who had an expression of boredom on her face. "Hello, the public of the united states of america. I am General Chancellor lord Supreme Overemperor of the blachnos Empire. ahve conqueerd yet another insignificant town and have haerd that our presidnet is planning to bomb it. that's right, his own poeple. So i present before you this miss daria Morgendorffer. My hostage. and the camerawoman, janet lane. jane smiled in the camera and then wnet back. Blachnos then said "i give you a order my fellow citizens. let me keep lawndale, highland, east lawndale, lawnpark, lawnington heights, lawnsbury and lawnvale and you will have your girl back. otherwise. well." jane did a close up of the guns and the troopers loaded the blanks with a click clack noise.
"and i edited the end into a fade out. And theres the credits. Your'e sure they'll believe us if teh filsm this good?" asked a curous jane. Blachnos smiled at her and said 'oh i think the public will fall madly in love with our miss morgendorffer here. She really is a fine sight to behold. And the anme is quite beautiful. I think the president shall agree to our terms." jane nodded, still mnay thoughts of rebelling on her mind. Meanwhiel daria had amny different thoughts on hers. Blachnos walked to daria and said "What's wrong?" daria merely turned to him and gave a smile. 'Oh, you know, just trying to appear depressed for the american public." Blachnos nodded, still uncertain as to why daria was being so strange. just then, as daria was wiping off lipstick, spitting into a towel and muttering to herself, ("i never told you to dress up like a moron, blahnos") a trooper came in, adressing news. Blachnos nodded. 'it seems the tape is in the hands of the media. now all we can do is wait. He smoothed bakc his dark ahir into a "fashnubble style" and put on a felt hat. He then ordered a couch which was placed underneath the three. blachnso sat to the far left, followed by daria and jane. a trooper sat on the right arm of the couch. "turn on the telly, would ya" said Blachnso to a servant like chap. 'that's Draggen, by the way, daria. nice chap. my top slave." at a starnge look from ajne he explained "oh, i know slavery is banned, but hey, im a rebel. If the meaning of life is enjoyment well... i'm living." daria forced another choke like sound. jane gave a false chuckle. the "telly" was brought in. it was turned on by Draggen, his tattered toga like clothing getting tattier by the minute. daria turned to blachnos 'why is he dressed that way? trying to be a jungle man?' Blachnos smield and said 'No, his tatters are from the dump where i found him. good price he was too, zero dollars."
Part Three-In which mutant space aliens attack a citadel on mount everest unleashing the power of five evil wizards who create a vampire from two computers and an mp3 player. not.
After five hours of wathcing television, many tapes of comedy shows and cartoons they finally switched on the news. The presenter, a young blonde lady with a waist as thi as a pencil and a bosom the size of a watermelon announced the news. "And in breaking news a short film has been snet to us claiming to be of a hostage trapped in a base just outside lawndale. Here it is." the tape rolled and once the end credits had ended and a short animated logo of the Blachnos empire faded into oblivion the wait began.
"roger that. i'll fly over to check the sitiation" spoke Captain Zarg Fveldwick. Fveldwick was commander of the small squadron of four fighter jets whic had been sent by the president to bomb lawndale. the Blachnos troopers fired above at the palnes, but to no avail. Suddenly general Blachnos came into sight and waved at the planes. they landed and he walked towards them, with four bodyguards. He greeted Fveldwick and his three team mates and said "Good to meet you. now, just to prove my little hoax is not a hoax, miss morgendorffer is in that tent there. i wouldn't aproach though. she might kill you." Fveldwick nodded and said 'theres only one way to solve this dispute. The president himself, publicly, must decide. He must come here, and in a live broadcast, announce his decision. that could clear his long record of unpopularity. He could either side with the public's vote or his own preference. Save a useful life and lose many useless lifes, or vice versa."
daria checked her watch. 'six eighteen. hmm. i might make some brownies then do the mexican hat dance." jane looked at her and said "the general. do you think he's bluffing?' daria looked blankly at ajne and said "No, i do not. but i think he'll be the one falling for me, not the public. he seems infatuated with me. or it could just be that strong foreign cola he drinks." jane nodded 'Who wouldn't like you? your'e the perfect american." daria nodded "but imperfect people can be used if they aren't killed." jane nodded "i think this is up to el presidente"
The presidents limousine arrived in lawndale at six thirty. A troop of twenty police motorbikes surrounded him. He got out, dressed in grey suit and dark grey trousers with a grey and light grey felt hat. "I'm sorry, i will have a live broadcast later" he said to the papparazi. He then entered the park before him and waited. He stood on a garnd stage of mahogany and then the soudnof troopers boots came. A hundred Blachnos troopers came marching into the park as the media set up their devices. Blachnos laughed with colleagues then daria was bought beore them onto the stage. jane followed and stood by Blachnos, not guarded. "he must be pretty sure he'll win if i'm totally free" she thought. Blachnos did a quick step with his boots to raise attention and walked towards daria who was standing next to the president blank faced. 'now, my fellow citizens, this isn't excactly spring break, so i want you to bear with me. This woman you see before you has graduated from lawndale high with grand achievements planned. She is smart, clever, failry fashionable(he tilted his felt hat and straightened the cokcatoo feather in the ribbon), good looking and the epitomy of a proper american. now you can either save this wonderful creature or you can... destroy her. taht is my final decision. troopers, arm your guns." Four troopers went on stage and faced daria and the president, all aiming at daria's chest and laoding guns. Were they blanks? did he really mean it? Could i do a deal? lot's of words filled darias brain. then she thought. This is my style. This is me. I'm not conforming to some silly government unless i want to. Do i want to? Either way theres a power amd dictator at the reigns. It's the lesser people who matter. jane, tom, trent... even quinn. Surely some little bikcer between powerful- she stopped thinking. Well, not completely of course. the presidnet came forward and spoke into the broken microphone. ('stupid wendy. never knew one thing about technology. why did i hire taht stupid woman in the first place?")"Good evening ladies, gentlemen, robots and the like." A few people coughed. 'er... okay. It is to my knowledge that lawndale is to become part of the Blachnos empire-" cheers from the Blachnso supporters. "-We can not risk the life of such a useful talented- WHAT?" A silence came over the audience. daria had come forward. She took the microphone from the president and spoke into it, Blachnos smiling. "I think it is for me to decide, since I am the hostage, mister president. You see, either way you will face a tyrrany, a reign of some power mad creep who thinks he's smart whe he probably doesn't know waht the word abdicate means." a few laughs. "-To my own record, i think that I should decide. You see, it is up to you who to accept. For it is the little things that matter. Sure, with Blachnos you'll ahve a new uniform, a new way of life. But the system remains the same. Whoever leads you will lead as a leader does. it is in their genes. Sure, some rare leaders can be understanders too, but only a handful. I present to you a choice. Either save me and welcome the Blachnso reign or destroy me and welcome the reign of president-" the president interrupted 'i think thats enough. Well, your vote?"
Conclusion-In which a conclusion is given
"i can't believe they voted to save you, daria" said jane, eating her toast with margerine. daria nodded "well, how about that sketch you were doing? I hear your planning a new series based on some new friend of yours? can i meet him?' jane nodded. "he's with us now." through the kitchen door came a familiar sight. yet unfamiliar. It was general Blachnos, yet strangely different. He was wearing his uniform, but in place of a felt hat was a new felt hat with a pigeon feather in it. He saluted thema nd said 'If you want to watch the telly with me, i'll be in the lounge." jane smiled to herself and said to daria "His house is so great. Who'd have thought an evil tyrrant could be so friendly. i mean, that plasma television is just so cool. i mean... for... intelligent viewing. No cartoons or anything. I hate cartoons." daria looked up 'Oh.' she said. the she kleft for the loung, turning abcka nd saying 'I'll be with Blachnos. Wer'e wathcing a cartoon." jane smiled to herself again. despite the fact taht she was not allowed to use butte or honey and if she didn;t salute a Blachnos stormtrooper she'd be shot to death, she really felt quite happy.
"At last i can finish my sketch" said jane. she began to draw general Blachnos and daria. "they amke a great pair. now, if only tom and me could look so good together." She painted a happy scene set on a hill. Shouting acme from below. An argument was taking place. "drat him. always bringing his political friends over. how can i express myself with all this noise?" then she gave an evil grin. "So, daria, i hear your going back to college in a month?' daria nodded 'yes. thanks to the president, you and... you know... you actually did us a great service. before lawndale was really.... dull. But now... it's kind of... quirky i guess. mean what i'm trying to say is.. Hey TOM!" Tom came up in his brand new sports car Blachnos had bought him. "Hey daria, check this out. It's got crusie control! And this hidden rifle in the front!" daria sighed. It was trult the little things in life that mattered.
... general Blachnos eventually retires from active service and lawndale becomes a mecca for culture, the arts and movie making. Yup, all that because butter was banned.