Archive for the ‘Fantasy/Absurdist’ Category

News Flash: Mobs Riot to Celebrate Richard III Debate Contest Result

January 21, 2018

Oxford, England–Jubilant mobs streamed out of the Sheldonian Theatre this evening following an upset victory by the Buckingham debate team over the York team in this year’s annual debate finals.

Thames Valley Police forces were called out to help quell rioting in Broad Street and looting in the historic Covered Market as supporters of Team Buckingham celebrated this important win.

“This hooliganism is absolutely unwarranted,” police spokesman Inspector Robert Fuzz told the local newspaper.  “I don’t care if their team proved conclusively that the Princes in the Tower were murdered by the Duke of Buckingham; that doesn’t give them the right to go around smashing property.”

Team York, which in past years has often successfully argued for the guilt of Richard III in connection with the disappearance of the Princes, was widely considered the favorite in this contest, having easily knocked out Team Tyrrell in the semi-finals.   The Buckingham team only reached the finals after narrowly defeating Team Tudor in double overtime.

The finals match included a number of  tense moments.  At one point a member of Team Buckingham was ejected over a vicious ad hominem argument against the leader of Team York.  Then, in the final moments of the game, Team York failed to intercept a desperate reductio ad absurdum argument lobbed by Team Buckingham, allowing the latter to score and win the match.

Inspector Fuzz cited the dramatic finale as a contributing factor to the rioting.  “While the spectacular ending to the game certainly left the fans in an excited state,” he said, “it is in fact possible to be excited without wreaking havoc on your host city.”

According to Inspector Fuzz, the police are deploying standard crowd-control measures, such as tear gas, water cannons, and a series of public-address systems broadcasting lengthy lectures on modern macroeconomic theory.

Estimates of the damage have yet to be compiled, pending review by insurance adjusters.

Representatives of Team Buckingham issued a statement expressing dismay over the rioting as well as a ten-minute argument for why it wasn’t their fault.

Organizers of the annual debate over the fate of the princes say that they will investigate ways of reducing potential violence ahead of next year’s contest, possibly including a moratorium on dramatic finishes.

Copyright 2018

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News Flash: Researchers Bring Alda Quaintans to Mind

January 1, 2018

Mathematician’s Work Rediscovered in Remote Scottish Ruins

La Satira News Service

Researchers with the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Mathematical Archaeology announced the discovery of a site that sheds new insight into a lost golden age of Scottish mathematical studies.

Professors Abner “Ab” Bacchus and Adam McAdam announced the new findings on New Year’s Eve, the anniversary of the site’s discovery.

The discovery was initially made by accident after a fishing expedition encountered a storm and was forced ashore at the mouth of the Syne River, on the western coast of Scotland.  There, members of the expedition discovered the ruins of a village that had been buried under water and sand for more than three hundred years.

Initial investigations proved to be inconclusive, with speculation ranging from an ancient settlement by the Beaker people to the secret post-Culloden hideout of Bonnie Prince Charlie.  The only distinctive clues were unusual quantities of pens, parchment, and abacuses, as well as a primitive calculating instrument called Napier’s bones.

“Clearly this wasn’t your typical fishing village,” said Professor Bacchus in his presentation on the discovery.

The investigation had a breakthrough when archaeologists discovered a wall safe containing a small number of written records that miraculously survived the inundation.  The records pointed to the activity of Alda Quaintans, a mathematical professor of the medieval University of Mull, who envisioned Scotland as becoming a scientific powerhouse.  Professor Quaintans proposed a colony of researchers to promote the  practical application of science and math, as well as to compete with the work of Sir Isaac Newton in England.  (The emphasis on practical application seems to have been to differentiate the new institution from his own university, which was mainly dedicated–as one might perhaps expect–to purely philosophical research.)

Permission for the colony was ultimately granted, and a location was selected at the mouth of the Syne River.  The site was developed by diverting the Syne River through a shorter course to the sea.  This move was controversial among the existing population, who continued to reminisce about the longer course, referred to since as the Auld Lang Syne.

Meanwhile, the best scientific minds in Scotland were carefully recruited for the project, with scholars representing a variety of disciplines.  Dr. Quaintans also hired a small army of support staff to look after his scientists and ensure they would not be distracted by mundane matters.

The colony was only half-way through its first research project–an actuarial analysis of the risk of investment in the Darien scheme–when a prolonged rain upstream caused the site to become inundated by raging floodwaters, resulting in the loss of the colony and all its inhabitants, including Dr. Quaintans.  It seems the designers had under-designed the capacity of the new river channel, owing to a mathematical error regarding the quantity of water that the channel would conceivably be required to accommodate.

The full impact of the disaster naturally reverberated through the country, but was missed by most historians.  For example, decades after the event, Scottish poet Robert Burns famously asked the question:

Should Alda Quaintans be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should Alda Quantans be forgot
And Auld Lang Syne?

These lyrics were subsequently misunderstood by historians, linguists, and English audiences and taken completely out of context.

According to Professors Bacchus and McAdam, further research remains to be done to identify other, previously-undetected effects of the disaster on the national literature.

Copyright 2018

News Flash: Mickey Mouse Elected As US President

October 2, 2016

La Satira News Service

NOVEMBER 8, 2016–Come January, Michael K. “Mickey” Mouse (pronounced “MOWZ”) will have a new job:  President of the United States of America.

It’s not a job he campaigned or even asked for.  Instead, the 53-year-old plumber from Punxsutawney Springs rode a tidal wave of political discontent and name recognition to rise to the highest office in the land, winning on the strength of millions of voters who, dissatisfied with the choices offered by the major parties, chose to write in the name of Disney’s famous cartoon creation…a name which Mr. Mouse happens to share.

While Mr. Mouse is not the only real person to have a such a name, he is the only one whose practical-joking friends went so far as to submit paperwork at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to make him a bona fide candidate and therefore eligible to receive credit for any write-in votes with his name on them.

“Any big election will have a few ‘Mickey Mouse’ ballots cast by snarky voters,” said Dr. Adam Jefferson of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Political Science and Herpetology.  “It’s just that this time around, there were so many people fed up with the major candidates–and, for once, there was a candidate legally qualified to receive these particular votes.  In terms of the sheer improbability of his manner of arriving at the Presidency, John Tyler and Gerald Ford have nothing on this guy.”

If Mr. Mouse himself is pleased by the prospect of his new career, he is so far being modest about it.

“What do I know about politics?” he wailed upon being informed of his successful candidacy.  “I’m a plumber, for crying out loud.”

So far, Mr. Mouse has been assigned a Secret Service detail.  He has also been deluged with phone calls and e-mail from well-wishers and others in search of one of the hundreds of diplomatic assignments or other political jobs at his disposal.  Almost lost in the shuffle have been several bitter tirades from a few minor party candidates and a series of increasingly desperate call-me-back messages from White House staffers trying to set up situation briefings.

Mr. Mouse’s friends, who filed the initial paperwork on his behalf, were not available for comment, having fled to Canada for reasons of personal safety.

Public opinion about Mr. Mouse’s sudden election has been decidedly mixed.  Some members of the public express nervousness about his lack of political experience and potentially insular worldview.  Others have expressed enthusiasm for Mr. Mouse based on those same attributes, some adding that his background as a plumber may make him uniquely qualified to drain the cesspool of Washington corruption.

Meanwhile, political analysts and governments around the world are combing through Mr. Mouse’s statements and other records, searching for clues about the direction his presidency is likely to take.  The best guess at this point is that Mr. Mouse will push to lower middle-class taxes while increasing spending on urban infrastructure such as water and sewer lines.  While Mr. Mouse is a member of a local union–a virtual job requirement in Pennsylvania–he has not been a particularly active one, and his presidency is likely to hold to a middle ground on labor issues.  His widely-quoted statement on foreign policy (“How should I know?  Let them sort it out by themselves”)  suggests a trend toward isolationism.

Still, there may be a broad difference between his stated policy goals (if any) and the actual direction taken by his administration (if any).  “In a curious irony, Mr. Mouse in many respects is the ideal candidate for the voter who detests the political insider-ism of one candidate and the wealthy chauvinism of the other,” said the University of Punxsutawney’s Dr. Jefferson.  “However, when he gets in office, he may suffer from Ventura’s Syndrome:  being elected on his own, without a party to back him up and introduce his legislation, he may have a difficult job actually doing anything.”

The election, of course, is not official until the Electoral College meets and the electoral votes are counted in Congress, but a drastic change is unexpected, thanks to state laws requiring members of the electoral college to vote according to the results of the election.

However, the Electoral College does have one degree of freedom that it can exercise:  selecting a Vice President, since Mr. Mouse’s campaign–what there was of it–did not propose a candidate for that office.  Some pundits are said to be pushing for the job to be given to one Donald L. Duck, a media research specialist at the University of Pomme de Terre in Idaho, presumably on the basis that his background in the media will help give depth to Mr. Mouse’s policy team.

“I understand both parties are appealing to the FEC to try to get the results overturned,” said Dr. Washington.  “It’s a pity–if the parties had done a better job appealing to the electorate as a whole, rather than individual constituencies, maybe we wouldn’t be in this pickle.”

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Increase in Alien Abduction Reports Tied to Video Game Fad

July 24, 2016

Game May Be Prelude to Invasion, Officials Fear

La Satira News Service

Astatine, NV–Officials at the Center for the Avoidance of Extra-Terestrial Intelligence (CAETI) are mulling the possible connection between the most recent video-game craze and a significant uptick in the number of reported alien abductions.

“In the four or five weeks since this game was released, we’ve seen a thousand percent increase in the number of people coming forward,” said Dr. Elliot Spielberg, director of statistical analysis at CAETI.  “Granted, the original numbers were pretty low, so a thousand percent increase doesn’t mean we’re talking about huge numbers yet, but the trend is frankly alarming.”

According to Dr. Spielberg, the abduction reports cover a variety of experiences, ranging from a simple close encounter to vivisection.  The alleged victims are returned in generally good health, apart from a tendency toward short-temper, neglect of responsibilities, and obsession with the game.  “Of course it’s difficult to tell whether these symptoms are indicative of an actual abduction experience, or merely video game addiction,” Dr. Spielberg admitted.

The game in question, Pachymen Grow, requires players to use their smartphones to travel to different locations in the physical world in search of Pachymen, cartoon-like creatures that can be collected and “grown” to compete in so-called Pachymen Jams.  Some areas turn into Pachymen hot-spots, areas were large numbers of Pachymen “hang out” and can be collected by players.  The peripatetic nature of the game, while supposedly promoting exercise and social interaction, can also lead players to explore in relative isolation, leaving them vulnerable.

One hot-spot was reported at a former storage facility for Caterpillar heavy equipment.  The isolated location continues to be a hot-spot but has waned in popularity since reports surfaced of the temporary abduction of Pachyman players from the site on three occasions.  The affected players did not respond to requests for interviews.

Meanwhile, many are left wondering, if a connection does exist, whether the abductions might be a prelude to a more serious action.  “Whoever they are, they’re taking a lot of effort to train people to move in the direction of the nearest Pachymen activity,” says Dr. Spielberg.  “At some point, all they’ll need to do to harvest a sizeable portion of humanity is to set up massive hot-spots near major population centers and pick ’em off as they come.  And we’re still no nearer to knowing who or why.”

CAETI investigators will continue to monitor the situation.  The organization recently received a government grant to cover the costs of a number of smartphones which Dr. Spielberg claims will be used by staff for “field research” on the subject.

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Acting Troupe Banned from Retirement Home After ‘King Lear’ Fracas

May 9, 2016

La Satira News Service

Authorities tonight say they are considering whether they will file charges against several senior citizens who allegedly assaulted participants in a performance of King Lear at the West Punxsutawney Retirement Home.

“Every actor wants their performance to resonate with their audience,” said Margaret de Vere, the artistic director for the Punxsutawney Players, an acting troupe based at the nearby University of Punxsutawney that specializes in bringing theatrical performances to unconventional venues.  “Evidently we stumbled onto an undamped sinusoid.”

According to witnesses, the trouble started during the second act, when a small number of audience members began to heckle the actresses playing the parts of Goneril and Regan, the title character’s daughters.  As the behavior of Lear’s “daughters” deteriorated, so did the behavior of the crowd, which started throwing bits of food, pill bottles, reading glasses, and even a couple of partials.  The unrest continued to spread, and the actors were obliged to exit as the crowd threatened to rush the stage.

“I have no idea what they were thinking, bringing in this sort of subject matter,” said Dr. Elizabeth Woodville, the director of the facility.  “While most of our residents are on quite good terms with their families, we’ll thank our visitors for not stoking any embers of inter-generational angst that might be lying around.”

“Somebody really should have seen this coming,” said Richard Gloucester, the local constable who was called in to deal with the situation.  “This may not be on par with shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater, but it’s up there.”  Constable Gloucester said that the circumstances of the aggressors were being taken into consideration.

The cost of the performance was covered by Shoddi, Smarmy, Rude and Associates, a nearby law firm that specializes in estate management.  A spokesman for the firm refused to comment, apart from insisting that the firm’s only interest in underwriting the event was the desire to provide a service to the residents.

Dr. Woodville indicated that the Players will not be invited back for future performances at the home.  Any future touring performers will be subject to vetting for suitability by the staff before they are allowed to perform at the home.

“I don’t think they’ll have to worry on our account any further,” said Ms. de Vere, the Punxsutawney Players representative.  “I think after this we’ll stick to doing less controversial stuff, like Julius Caesar or Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Even Titus Andronicus might be less traumatizing than this has been,” she added.

The un-invitation from the West Punxsutawney Retirement Home is a second set-back for the Punxsutawney Players, after the cancellation of an engagement with the Bandwagon Society‘s annual charity fundraiser event.  At last year’s event, the Players presented Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, in which a wealthy man ruins himself through unwise generosity.  The Players were asked not to return after the performance was linked to an 85% drop in pledges and donations.

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Residents Told to be ‘Werther Aware’

April 4, 2015

Short Term Forecast Calls for 60% Chance of Fancy Toffees

La Satira News Service–In an unusual move, the local meteorological service has instructed South Florida residents to be ‘Werther-aware’ during the overnight hours.

“We have to emphasize that this is not a typo,” said Dr. Claude Foreman, the director of the service, in an interview with local media.  “You really do need to be on the lookout for toffee-storms.”

The warning comes in the wake of a freak event at a local sugar processing plant.  A passing thunderstorm delivered an unusually powerful burst of lightning to a storage bin, causing temperatures in the bin to rise past the melting point of sugar.  At that point a tornado passed over the same point, whipping all the superheated sugar into a frothy state and sucking it into the stratosphere.  There, meteorologists believe, the caramelized sugar condensed into small lumps resembling toffee, which remain aloft, supported by updrafts associated with the thunderstorm.

As the storm subsides, the toffees should begin to fall.  “The effect should be something like nickel-sized hail,” said Dr. Foreman.  “But these hailstones won’t melt in the warmer air temperatures.  We’re especially concerned about locations where more conventional precipitation may follow the toffee showers–all that sugar and all that water in the same place could really make for a sticky situation.”

The governor’s office will reportedly decide tomorrow morning whether to pursue a disaster declaration.  Such a declaration would release emergency funds to bring in teams of aardvarks to deal with the expected boom in the fire ant population.

Copyright 2015

La Satira News Service is not associated with Werther’s Originals.  For more information about their toffees, caramels, and assorted products, please follow this link:  http://www.werthers-original.us/.

News Flash: King’s Skeleton Found in Parking Lot–Again!

March 27, 2015

La Satira News Service

Leicester, England–25 March 2595.  A panel of prominent archaeologists announced at a news conference this morning that the skeleton found under a slab of tarmac at the Leicestershire Regional Spaceport last year is, indeed, the sadly-abused body of King Richard III, the last English monarch to die in battle.

The skeleton was located and dug up after researchers identified Landing Platform 83 as the site of the former Leicester Cathedral, which was demolished in the late 22nd century following an error at the regional zoning and planning office.  Richard’s body had been interred at the Cathedral in 2015, where it was laid to rest after being discovered under a parking lot.

“Richard’s skeleton was in remarkably good condition, considering it’s more than a thousand years old,” said Dr. Anne Teak, who discovered the body, “and considering how many vehicles of various descriptions have been parked on top of it over the years.”

Meanwhile, a fight is brewing over where to dispose of the body this time.  Officials with the Leicestershire Tourist Authority and other local government bodies insist that the ancient king should be reburied in the Leicester Generic Religious Purposes Building, the officially-recognized successor to the demolished Cathedral.  Authorities in York, however, claim Richard should be buried there, based on his family’s historic connections to the city and dukedom of York.

All parties are in agreement, however, that the burial should not take place at the business of local personal transport salesman G. M. Ford.  Mr. Ford has suggested that, as the poor fellow seemed to keep ending up under parking lots, a lot of trouble could be saved by reburying him under Mr. Ford’s vehicle showroom.  “We like to say that our transport vehicles are fit for a king,” Mr. Ford was quoted as saying.  “Why shouldn’t our showroom be as well?”

“There’s no doubt Richard III had a turbulent life and a short and unhappy reign,” said Dr. Teak at the news conference.  “Who could have guessed, though, that that turbulence would go into quite this many extra innings?”

Copyright 2015

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News Flash: Late Big-Box Founder at Center of Power Generation Scheme

March 13, 2015

La Satira News Service

Over the last seven years, retail supergiant All-Mart has become something of a leader in the adoption of renewable energy to power its stores.  As of last year, more than 300 All-Mart discount stores and supermarkets were equipped with solar panels.

New reports out of the northeastern Arkansas, however, tie All-mart to an even more innovative form of renewable energy.  In this case, the man at the center of it all is Sam Allton, the late founder of the retail giant.

“I used to work in the state Department of Commerce,” says Keele O. Watts, now the chairman of the Arkansas Power Solutions Board, a trade group designed to fund research into new forms of renewable energy.  “We always used to hear complaints about the declining quality of the All-Mart experience since the death of Mr. Allton.  Patrons–or, increasingly, former patrons–would say that what the company was doing now would have Mr. Allton spinning in his grave.  Finally, we investigated–and sure enough he was.”

To Mr. Watts, by then installed at the Power Solutions Board, the phenomenon suggested an intriguing opportunity.  Mr. Watts got permission to move Mr. Allton’s remains from a lead casket into an iron casket, which he set on a spindle and enclosed in a large coil of copper wire.  The spinning iron coffin immediately began pushing electrical current through the coil.

Further refinements to the system design increased the efficiency and productivity of the output, to the extent that the innovation now supplies power to a number of communities in northeastern Arkansas for a low rate.  In order to avoid disputes over ownership of the profits, the various interested parties agreed to put any profits from the sale of electricity into programs that help low-income residents pay their electricity bills.

And yet there remains the question of what exactly it is that’s providing the motive power for this scheme.  Mr. Watts claims ignorance.  “We’ve had any number of supernatural investigators come out and look,” Mr. Watts said, “but they leave as confused as we are.  The only hint we’ve got is that the coffin seems to spin a little faster around the time of the annual shareholders meeting, and when the company rolls out its new clothing line-up each season.”

Statistics also suggest a positive correlation between the rotation speed of the coffin and the number of customer complaints and labor disputes filed against the retailer each month.  Mr. Watts adamantly denied the suggestion that the system was driven by the power of poor decisions.

Critics of the arrangement cite the slightly ghoulish nature of the deal, as well as the potential for conflicts of interest.  “The government is supposed to ensure the company follows fair and legal business practices,” said Meg Avolt of Power to the People, a consumer advocacy group for utility customers.  “In this case, it seems the government has an interest in boosting poor business practices on the part of this retailer in the interests of maximizing electrical outputs.”

Mr. Watts himself acknowledges the potentially unsustainable nature of this new power supply.  “There’s obviously a hazard in that the harder we push lousy products under miserable conditions, the more likely we are to alienate our customer base sooner rather than later, in which case we would have to start looking for an alternate source of supply.”  Indeed, the Board has already been quietly pursuing potential deals involving other late retailers, including R. R. Jetskey, the late founder of the once-powerful J-Mart retail chain.  In this case, however the Board made an unexpected discovery.

“It seems Mr. Jetskey has already been powering his little corner of the world for the last twenty years,” said Mr. Watts.

Public reaction to the scheme so far has been muted.  “On the one hand, Mr. Allton himself might salute the ingenuity and spirit of industrial enterprise that led to this solution,” said shopper Al Lacarte.  “On the other, it is kind of gruesome to think about, and I must say All-Mart is showing some unexpected class in not trying to get its share of the profits on this.  Either way, I suppose it gives new meaning to the expression ‘outlet store.'”

 Copyright 2015.

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News Flash: Zombie Outbreak Tied to Low-Carb Diet Fad

January 9, 2015

La Satira News Service

Agricola, Illinois–Residents of this normally peaceful farming community are recovering from a night of terror and confusion that culminated in the disruption of a routine community gathering and the wanton destruction of an elevator silo, leaving an unknown number of people dead or injured.

“We really aren’t sure what happened,” said George Hanover, the mayor of the community.  “We were having our quarterly pie supper at the Armory, when all of a sudden the building was surrounded by a bunch of people who looked dead on their feet, all shuffling around and moaning and crying out ‘Grains!  Grains!’ in unearthly voices.  It got really weird after that.”

According to other witnesses, the mob then broke into the building and kidnapped one Charles Stuart, the manager of the local grain elevator.  Authorities believe Mr. Stuart was taken to the grain elevator, but have been unable to reconstruct events after that.

Rumors over the nature of the mob continue to circulate.  “It was zombies,” said William Rufus, a local property owner.  “There’s no doubt about it, what with the funny walk, the dull, lifeless manner, the odd smell that accompanied them, the way they were hunting for grains… okay, slightly confused zombies.  But zombies, nonetheless.”

Others theorize that the mob was made up of escapees from the Karb-o-Zap Health Farm, a lifestyle and fitness spa that promotes weight loss through a patented diet extremely low in carbohydrates.  The spa, located a mile outside town, caters mainly to city-dwellers looking to get healthy on a tight schedule.  According to this theory, the grain elevator was targeted as the nearest available source of carbohydrates, since the town of Agricola lacks a full-service grocery store.

“It would make sense,” said Dr. Richard Plantagenet, the town’s only medical professional.  “Many of the symptoms exhibited by the mob suggest that they weren’t in fact zombies but sufferers of the most extreme case of ketosis I’ve ever seen.  People on a low-carb, high exercise diet could easily find themselves with all sorts of medical problems, such as calcium deficiencies, flagging energy levels, halitosis, and other digestive ailments.  I can see why they would be very interested in getting to the grain supply at any cost.”

Dr. Plantagenet suggested that the sudden energy rush from eating the stored grain might have contributed to the destruction of the silo.  “Still, it should be easy to find the culprits.  They may just be under the rubble, sleeping it off.”

Representatives of the Karb-o-Zap Health Farm were not available for comment.

Copyright 2015

News Flash: Smaug Ouster Weighs on Middle-Earth Economy

July 25, 2014

(**spoilers!**)

Rhovanion Times-Observer

A report published today by the Middle-Earth Economic Forecasting Bureau shows that the economy of Rhovanion shrank for a third consecutive quarter, threatening to pull the whole economy of Middle-Earth into recession.  The economic weakness in Rhovanion follows upheaval throughout the region in the wake of the sudden ouster and death of Smaug the Dragon in Esgaroth late last year.

The North Rhovanion Constabulary Force is continuing its investigation into Smaug’s death.  All that is known is that Smaug was shot by a lone bowman as he arrived in Esgaroth by air to consult with local leaders over a growing wave of anti-dragon sentiment.

The economic turbulence immediately following Smaug’s death has been somewhat better documented at this point.  Smaug’s mid-flight demise caused him to crash land on top of the town of Esgaroth, causing damage estimated at 9,435 gold pieces.  The town’s insurance firms have filed a claim against Smaug’s estate for that amount plus 5,000 for pain and suffering on the part of the residents.  Smaug’s demise also precipitated an orc invasion, requiring military involvement from the Dwarves of the Iron Hills and the Elves of Mirkwood to repel.  Both groups have submitted claims against Smaug’s estate to recoup the costs of the intervention.

Further complicating matters, a party of dwarves from the Blue Mountains have petitioned the court for ownership of Smaug’s estate, the bulk of which is represented by the Lonely Mountain and its contents.  The claim is based on the dwarves’ previous ownership of the estate and assertions that Smaug obtained the estate through dubious circumstances.

“The words of these dwarves stand on their heads,” said Ozaun, Smaug’s younger brother and next-of-kin.  “Their claims that Smaug somehow forced his way into ownership of the property are ridiculous.  The Dwarves of Erebor were in a state of financial ruin.  Their very successful extraction of gold and other valuables from the Mountain had caused runaway inflation in prices of commodities like food–particularly and especially food–as well as a significant uptick in criminal activity.  Smaug bought the place out of bankruptcy, reduced the local gold circulation, and through careful estate management has made the place a going proposition once again.  So naturally the dwarves want it back now.”

The extent of Smaug’s economic involvement in the economy of Rhovanion has been a lesson slowly and painfully learned over the last six months.  “Naturally Smaug was extremely interested in the economic well-being of the district,” said Karbomonauksyde, Smaug’s nephew and erstwhile property manager.  “It’s hard to grow your own wealth if all the lands around are economically stagnant.  Do you think dragons grow their hoard by piling it up in a great hall and sitting on it?  Of course not; it has to be invested.”

Much of that investment turned out to be in civic and infrastructure projects, especially in and around Esgaroth.  Projects undertaken by his corporate presence, Dino-Might LLC., included the extension of the pilings on the south side of the city to make room for three more city blocks, the western bridge, and the Great Marketplace.

Dino-Might LLC also provided start-up financing for a number of small businesses, including Forrester’s Blacksmith Shop of West Esgaroth, Iron Hills Savings and Loan, and the North-Lake Pony Farm and Supply Company.

“I don’t think most people quite realized just what place he had in things,” said a spokesman for the government of New Esgaroth.  “He was a major financial partner.  Of course if he caught you mishandling his money he’d eat you alive–so to speak–but he certainly had a claw in a lot that went on around here.  It might be too much to say he had a heart of gold; but he was, in his way, golden.”

Most market-watchers report confidence that a quick solution to the investigation and legal actions could prompt the beginnings of an economic recovery.

Meanwhile, markets were buoyed somewhat on news that redevelopment plans for the long-dilapidated Barad-dûr district in northern Mordor could move forward.  The plans had been held up by disagreements on the requirements for volcano insurance.

Copyright 2014–to the extent that fan fiction can be copyrighted.  Smaug, Middle-Earth, Rhovanion, Esgaroth, and all other entities appearing in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” are of course properties of the Tolkien estate.  Usage of these entities is deemed to comply with relevant Fair Use provisions.