Startup Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 New Look .
Superhuman World 2010 is a work of fiction. The characters herein and the commentary about them should not be considered "real".
SUPERHUMAN WORLD 2010
The New Look
Well done, my old colleagues.
(signed) Wyatt Ferguson.
Why the World Journal Monthly Has Changed
On Monday May 10, 2010, the reporters of the World Journal Monthly were told there'd been a change of ownership and we should stay home through Tuesday. We usually stay home anyway. But there was no "new owner" meeting like we were used to. So we were curious. On Wednesday we all came in to the World Journal Monthly office.
Our desks had been moved to a stairwell! There was a big wooden chainsaw sculpture in the office, looking like a big wooden man. Another sculpture like it was being moved in. One other was being moved out.
Our editor wasn't there. He'd never miss a staff meeting... but there wasn't a staff meeting today. This takeover didn't need one.
Joyce had gotten there before us. She said, "We finally pissed off the wrong people! They bought us!" She stalked off. Bruce and I just shrugged and said, business as usual, only more so.
But then Bruce and I started thinking: Was Joyce right? Who could have been offended by recent stories?
The three leading candidates were the Catholic Church (over Saint Cecilia), the Ivory Coast (over the Last Chocolate Crop), or the Mayan-American community, mostly Guatemalan refugees ("The Mayas Were Right!")
Without Joyce, we could only pick two candidates to investigate. So Bruce and I went after the Ivory Coast and the Vatican. No, we didn't travel to these places and fight off assassins; we just called all our contacts. But no luck.
Then we had a stroke of inspiration. I was looking at my "Chairface" action figure from The Tick series, thinking of What Chairface Would Do. Then I remembered, Mayas just might have a master villain made of wood, kind of like Chairface - or like those wooden sculptures in our office. And the sculptures would be perfect cover for a wooden creature who wanted to move among humanity. The Wooden Man had come back!
We checked the archives. One of the junior reporters said, the lair of the Wooden Man had been discovered, but the Wooden Man himself wasn't there. There was a credible shipping trail from Guatemala to Manhattan, though. And the World Journal Monthly had just had a change in management. The Wooden Man might be here - and running the paper!
But why would the Wooden Man target a newspaper? Well, he does have the powers of the Mayan priesthood. So he respects literacy above all. He's therefore tracking down the newspaper which broke the story about him: the World Journal Monthly.
Bruce went to find his friend, the Doom Koala of Speed. The Doom Koala likes reporters for some reason. I went to find a flamethrower, just in case.
Then the Doom Koala and I went to find the Wooden Man together. He'd been shipped to the uptown Manhattan Catacombs! I got us past the guards with journalist credentials.
As we arrived in the Wooden Man's chamber, there was only silence, with what looked like a wooden statue in the corner. I have to admit, I tried to intimidate the Wooden Man with my flamethrower. But the Doom Koala said, "Quiet, man. He wants to play a game."
I said, "I don't hear him say anything!" The Koala responded, "He talks quiet. Like Doom Creatures do." I remembered, the Doom Koala was himself a mystic creature which symbolized the end of the world for Australia.
Everyone seemed to be waiting for something. So I said, "So let's play!"
Our challenge was a game of Mayan stickball, where two players try to knock a leather ball through a small stone hoop. The Wooden Man had already set up a court, because it was part of every Mayan community. If the Wooden Man won, his changes would stand and he would mystically command his challengers. He'd already commanded a lot of people to get here, because he has the powers of the entire Mayan priesthood. But if he lost, we reporters would get our offices back and run the World Journal Monthly.
The Doom Koala told me he could take the challenge and win easily because of his speed. But we found, the Wooden Man can stand perfectly still and launch with perfect aim, even when bouncing his shots. He was winning the game.
Then Joyce Darcy came in - with a troop of women in Mayan ceremonial clothes, who did a dance! The Wooden Man sat down. He was deactivated! While Bruce and I had investigated the obvious threats, Joyce found the true source of the changes to the World Journal Monthly.
We thought the Wooden Man was done. But he spoke again - via the Doom Koala:
"You sent the ones who disturbed my sanctuary. I have come to your sanctuary in response.
"You have won against me. Now I greet you as ruling priest-scribes. Write with care.
"Your world is on the judgment scale. Now that the scribes are chosen, the scales are tipped. My calendar will let you track your doom."
The Doom Koala said, "He is right. Doom comes now. I know Doom. We could not have stopped it." The Koala is supposed to have a Doom Sense, so he supposedly knows. But he doesn't know details.
We left the Wooden Man in his catacomb. He'd paid in Mayan gold to stay there. And whatever deal he'd made with us, he still owned the World Journal Monthly. We were expecting a monster, but we got a new publisher instead. Which one's scarier?
But Earth has its own scariness to deal with. The next day, the bad news started. An oil platform near Venezuela and a dam in the Zambezi both started leaking, apparently due to colder temperatures than these places ever had before. So there's an oil spill in the Caribbean, and floods in southern Africa. People on Facebook have started saying, "We are so doomed."
Here at the World Journal Monthly, the Wooden Man subtly influenced the publishing staff to produce a New Look, more like what he was used to reading. This month, we're finding out what the New Look means.
Articles are going out under the New Look for now. Bruce and Joyce and I will change the format back as soon as we can, because that's what we like to work with. But let us know if you like this format better. At the World Journal Monthly, we're all about you.
(signed) Acting Editor, Sylvester Morrow.
Afterword by Wyatt Ferguson.
From what I know of "journalist credentials", Our Journalists bluffed their way in to the Catacombs to see the Wooden Man. Go figure.
The World Journal Monthly didn't mention, there is a Doom Creature for every continent. Superheroes killed North America's Doom Creature in 1991. I'd guess if Australia's Doom Koala is talking to the Wooden Man as a peer, North America finally has a replacement Doom Creature.
As for doom, I've head some rumors of crop failures...
This story is technically May 2010 #3.
Bruce Klybourn and the Doom Koala are characters created by Vaughn Gross. All other characters in this fiction and the phrase "Superhuman World 2010" are copyright © 2010 by Eiler Technical Enterprises. The map of the Superhuman World is based on one from Henry Bottomley's map software which is well worth a visit.
(signed) Scott Eiler, 26 August 2010.