Totally Authentic News

Welcome to Totally Authentic News, also known as Parker's Corner.

Jonathan Parker is an award winning freelance journalist, living in Con City. He reports on current events and conducts interviews with prominent people. His articles are published in illustrious journals such as the Con City Times and the Black Lake Gazette. The following are reprints of his most successful articles.

Click here for the full article list or browse his newest work below.

The Train Guardian

posted Feb 7, 2018, 2:31 PM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times

Chaos and anarchy have taken hold of the streets of Brickton in wake of the recent manhunt for the vigilante known as the Train Guardian. Last night, twenty police officers in pursuit of a suspect whom they believed to be the Train Guardian were attacked by a mob of one hundred and fifty-two civilians. The suspect evaded capture, while most of the police officers have been hospitalized with serious injuries. Their attackers remain at large, and Brickton Police are already considering calling off the manhunt for the Train Guardian.

`Honestly, this manhunt was doomed to turn into a catastrophe,' said Detective Robert Corino, the head of the Train Guardian Task Force at Brickton PD. `People love the Train Guardian. He keeps our trains safe in a time when Brickton city officials couldn't care less about the railway. As soon as the press got wind of the manhunt, it was simply a matter of time before the people would rise up to protect their hero.'

The Train Guardian is Brickton's most well known vigilante. At large for over five years, he patrols the grounds of Brickton Central armed with a baseball bat and beats up anyone who does not have a valid ticket. Despite his status as a local folk hero, a manhunt was called for his capture four days earlier after he assaulted the Chief of Police at Brickton Central station. While the Chief is being treated at Brickton General Hospital in a medically induced coma, Mayor Stanley Greekhorse himself called for the manhunt, stating that `figures of authority cannot be assaulted without consequences, especially the ones on my payroll.' Mayor Greekhorse insisted that the Train Guardian be captured and made an example of, which prompted the Train Guardian Task Force of Brikcton PD to lay a trap for the vigilante.

Last night the Task Force sent an undercover police officer to Brickton Central to attempt to board a train without a valid ticket. He was confronted by a figure in a trench coat, wearing a balaclava under a wide brim fedora, and carrying a baseball bat. The undercover officer made a run for it and led the suspect towards nineteen of his colleagues. When the Train Guardian spotted the ambush, he turned tail and ran into the train yard, where he succeeded to elude his pursuers but was spotted leaving the train yard and running towards the town center. The police officers chased him on foot until they were intercepted by a group of one hundred and fifty-two civilians, all of whom wore trench coats with hats and carried baseball bats. A brawl ensued which allowed the suspect to escape. Sixteen of the twenty police officers caught in the hands of the mob were hospitalized with broken bones, concussions, and shattered teeth; the remaining four officers suffered mild bruises, and two of them sprained their ankles. The assailants fled the scene and left their baseball bats behind, all of which had the words `We are all the Train Guardian' glued on them using words cut out of newspapers and magazines.

`This kind of public support is admirable,' said Detective Corino about the incident. `Of course we have to prosecute all of those people for assaulting members of Brickton PD, which we will as soon as we identify and apprehend them, but nevertheless the unity and fighting spirit of these people is truly inspiring. This is what the Train Guardian does. He protects our trains and brings people together. He creates community spirit. You ask me, we shouldn't be chasing the poor man at all. But the rules are the rules, and we can't have vigilantes assaulting police officers. Although, given the Train Guardian's M.O., he must have had good reason for beating up the Chief. Who knows, maybe the Chief actually tried to board a train without a ticket.'

The speculations of Detective Corino seem to be seconded by an article published in the Brickton Herald the day before the clash between Brickton Police and the Train Guardian's supporters. In the article, Brickton Central's Superintendant Marcia Knowles was interviewed about the attack on the Chief of Police. `We have no witnesses to what happened, since the Chief of Police was the only passenger on the train to Con City,' she said. `What we do know is that the ticket office has no records of anyone purchasing a ticket for that train. And that a member of the train crew on the service to Con City said that the Chief flashed his badge to her and stated that he was there on police business before taking a seat in first class.'

Whether the Chief of Police truly meant to get a free ride on the train remains unknown, and the Train Guardian remains at large. Mayor Greekhorse has urged Brickton Police to `either catch the bastard or cease the manhunt' the moment he saw the estimated medical bills of the injured police officers.

Prototype Graviton Surf Board

posted Jan 7, 2018, 1:00 PM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times

Ever since the discovery of gravitational waves, the Con City Space Agency has been hard at work developing a so-called graviton surf board: a high-tech surf board designed to ride the gravitational waves... in space. While the project received plenty of criticism from various sources, mainly numerous scientists calling it `a complete waste of time,' plenty of investors have supported the development. Now, that investment seems to have paid off, as the Con City Space Agency has made a stunning announcement.

`We've done it,' said Professor Jared Burns, Director of the Agency in his opening sentence at a press conference. `We have built the prototype of the graviton surf board!'

The announcement came just a few months after the Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery of gravitational waves. Professor Burns admitted that the timing was no coincidence.

`When they handed the Nobel out for the gravitational waves, interest in our graviton surf board project spiked,' he explained. `Donations quadrupled within three days, and we gathered so much funding that we managed to speed up the research and development cycle quite a bit. That is why I am proud to say that we finally have a finished, ready to use prototype of the graviton surf board!'

As for how the Agency managed to build an object to ride waves that penetrate all known forms of matter, Chief Engineer Scott Freeman provided additional explanation.

`We invented a new material that can hover on gravitational waves,' he stated. `I know many of our colleagues around the world will be skeptical -- hell, I would be skeptical if someone else had designed this material -- but take my word for it, the thing works. The thing actually works. As for how, I'm afraid I cannot disclose that until our patent application is approved, which might take a couple of years or even decades. But once we demonstrate that the graviton surf board works, there will be no doubt left in anyone's mind that our invention is groundbreaking, revolutionary, and just as worthy of the Nobel as the waves themselves.'

Regarding the demonstration of the graviton surf board's operation, Professor Burns admitted at the press conference that they have not been able to test their prototype just yet.

`To use a surf board, we need a wave to ride,' he said. `This is no different from surfing on ocean waves. We can't go surfing when the seas are calm. With gravitational waves, there is the added complication that we need to find gravitational waves in space. All waves detected thus far have been found by detectors on Earth. To make matters worse, months passed between each detection. That's just not sufficient for our surf board. We need a better means of detecting gravitational waves, and in particular, we need to detect them in space. This is currently not possible, hence we have started a new project, aiming to build a gravitational wave detector in space. Yes, I'm aware the Europeans want to do the same thing, but we can do it better!'

The new project faces its own difficulties, in particular with its required functions.

`We have to not only detect but predict gravitational waves before they hit,' explained Chief Engineer Freeman. `Otherwise, we cannot prepare the graviton surf board in time to actually catch the waves. Existing detection procedures can't really do that, so we need to devise a whole new way of detecting gravitational waves. And we need to put the detector on a satellite, or a space station. That is the other difficulty. We need the Ultra Brutus space shuttle to be operational in order to deploy the new detector when it's ready, and right now Ultra Brutus is far from completion. I fear the prototype graviton surf board will be sitting in our lab for the foreseeable future.'

Despite the difficulties, the Director of the Con City Space Agency expressed confidence that it won't be long before we can go surfing in space.

`Soon, very soon, gravitational surfing will be more popular than traditional surfing,' Professor Burns said at the end of the press conference. `After all, our computer simulations clearly say that our prototype graviton surf board should work as intended.'

Radio Con City

posted Dec 4, 2017, 2:56 PM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times

Entrepreneur Mike Winner earned himself multiple headlines in leading news outlets in recent weeks thanks to his legal battle against the Con County Television Broadcasting Association. Several months ago, Mister Winner purchased the name of the station Radio Con City, which had gone out of business a few weeks prior. He applied to the CCTBA for a permit to launch his own radio station and brand it the new and improved Radio Con City, but the CCTBA declined his request. Mike Winner refused to back down and took the matter to court.

During the lengthy trial, numerous controversial details saw the light of day. The most notorious of these was the quote taken out of the refusal letter sent by the CCTBA to Mike Winner, stating that `radio is dead.' Ever major radio station in Con County vehemently objected. Desert Rock Radio called it `the worst scandal since that nutjob tried to sacrifice virgins in a fake volcano.' Radio Brickton actively urged its listeners to take to the streets in support of Mike Winner, which led to three separate riots in the streets of Brickton. And the residents of Con City, who had been without a radio station since the bankruptcy of the original Radio Con City, sent threatening letters to the CCTBA containing remarkably sophisticated words like `eviscerate,' `castrate,' `defenestrate,' and `decapitate.'

Equally controversial was the evidence presented by the CCTBA that Mike Winner was being sponsored by the company ConnqWest Futuristics, a firm currently under investigation for questionable employment practices. The CCTBA argued that a man funded by a company that made a habit of firing its employees after 364 days of employment in order to cut down on severance pays and annual raises could not be counted on to run a reputable radio station. The end result was a complex civil trial that threatened to last decades. That was until Mike Winner, seemingly taking a page out of popular fiction, challenged the CCTBA to settle their dispute in a trial by combat. Specifically, in a boxing match.

`My lawyer deserves all the credit for it,' Mister Winner said. `He found an old law, from the 19th century, which said that any trial that took too long could be replaced with a mano a mano fistfight. It turns out, as old as that law is, it's still in effect. So we took full advantage of it.'

The law in question, instated by Con City's Mayor Buford Salter in 1849, states that any criminal or civil trial that takes longer than two weeks may optionally be resolved by a fistfight. It also states that either party may request to invoke the law and that the other party may not refuse to comply, otherwise they would be imprisoned for twenty years. Mike Winner's attorney argued that if the CCTBA were to turn down the challenge, their Director would face the imprisonment. It is perhaps no surprise that after a brief argument, the CCTBA accepted the challenge.

The boxing match between Mike Winner and CCTBA Director Robert Howell took place at Rollo Stadium in South Side Con City. The over eighty thousand seat venue was reserved by ConnqWest Futuristics as a gesture of faith in the man whose future radio station they were sponsoring. The attendance rate at the event was extremely low with a mere one hundred and seventeen people making up the audience. The match itself, however, proved to be an instant classic, as Mike Winner floored Robert Howell a minute into the first round, and the Director of the CCTBA had to be carted out on a stretcher.

The court thus ruled that the CCTBA had to give Mike Winner a permit to start his radio station. However, details were left to the CCTBA's discretion, and Director Howell instructed his staff from his hospital bed to give Mister Winner's radio station a total of five minutes of allowed airtime each month.

While Mike Winner's attorney intends to file a lawsuit against the CCTBA in order to force them to extend the monthly airtime, and has made it known that he would invoke the trial by combat law as soon as possible, the legal team of the CCTBA has stated that they would use every technicality imaginable to prevent the case from ever making it to an actual civil trial. Without a trial, no trial by combat may be initiated, hence for the foreseeable future the new and improved Radio Con City would have to make do with being on the air for no more than five minutes every month.

When asked what he would broadcast during his monthly five minutes, Mike Winner simply said: `The news. What else?'

Too Many Words

posted Oct 2, 2017, 3:01 PM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times

A newly discovered manuscript currently attributed to famous Greenwell poet C. Thomas Whitaker (born John Brooks) is stirring up tension in the self-styled Green City. Lawrence Curtis, Curator of Greenwell Museum and local Whitaker (Brooks) expert believes that the manuscript is of revolutionary significance.

`Forensic linguists and graphologists agree that the discovered piece of writing bears the unmistakable characteristics of C. Thomas Whitaker (born John Brooks)'s handwriting,' he states. `And yet, it is unlike anything ever created by the great poet. As you no doubt know, Whitaker (Brooks) is the inventor of the world famous One Word Poems. But this manuscript contains two words. Two! That's one word too many! How?! Why?! We must rethink everything we thought we knew about the father of single word poetry.'

The contents of the manuscript, the words `Buy Milk,' are believed by many to be an experimental piece of poetry by Whitaker (Brooks). In particular, Howard Pretentious, esteemed literary critic, poet, and Editor-in-Chief of the Con City Times, says `there is technically no reason to rule out that C. Thomas Whitaker (born John Brooks) wrote poems comprising more than one word. Consider, also, that the man invented his own words late in his career. How else could he have done that if not by experimentation? I am firmly convinced that ``Buy Milk'' is an authentic poem by C. Thomas Whitaker (born John Brooks).'

The questionable authenticity of the manuscript aside, the discovery has put additional pressure on Greenwell Museum. The original One Word Poem manuscripts of Whitaker (Brooks), previously kept on display at the museum, are still missing after an as yet unidentified culprit stole them from the exhibit with the assistance of a bulldozer. Many fear that as long as the thief remains at large, the new manuscript is at risk of being stolen as well.

`The Curator has asked us to provide 24/7 police protection,' says Detective Malcolm Shepard of Greenwell Police. `We are happy to oblige. Chief Woods is an avid fan of Whitaker (Brooks). He's got the poem ``Now'' framed and hung on the wall in his office.'

In addition to the eight police officers who now patrol the museum grounds all day, every day, Detective Shepard has installed infrared motion sensors throughout the museum and surrounded the display case with electrified barbed wire.

`Yes, I am very happy with the Detective's work,' says Curator Lawrence Curtis. `Unlike that other one, what's her name, Detective Rhodes. She's supposed to be one of the best on the force, so why hasn't she caught the thief yet? I'll tell you why, because she's an illiterate barbarian who doesn't appreciate art. If she were as enthusiastic as the Chief of Police and Detective Shepard are, she'd have found the missing manuscripts long ago.'

Detective Eve Rhodes offers a brief two-sentence comment to the Curator's words: `I'm glad he's happy with Shepard. It lets me focus on real police work.'

While the manuscript appears to be in good hands, fans continue to debate its authenticity on social media. Comments such as `Whitaker (Brooks) would never write an extra word' wage war with opinions such as `a revolutionary poet like Whitaker (Brooks) can write as many words as he wants, possibly even three.' The latter statement in particular has sparked a heated debate spanning over fifty thousand comments and counting, with the heavy use of phrases such as `preposterous suggestion,' `let's stone this heathen,' and `you're full of shit, bro.'

Tensions are in fact running so high that some fear the fans of Whitaker (Brooks) will soon come to blows in the streets of Greenwell, sparking a riot the likes of which could only be seen in Brickton. To get ahead of the violence, Detective Malcolm Shepard offers a simple solution to the heated dilemma.

`Why don't we just use a hyphen and write it as ``Buy-milk?'' ' he says. `Then it's just one word and automatically a One Word Poem.'

Since hearing this suggestion, Curator Lawrence Curtis is actively requesting the Chief of Police to hand the duties of guarding the new manuscript over to Detective Rhodes.

Dating Show Host On The Run

posted Sep 11, 2017, 2:58 PM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times

Controversy has rocked Con City Penitentiary for the second time in recent memory. It has only been a month since the wildly successful prison break which saw twenty inmates escape the prison facility. While all of those fugitives were successfully apprehended by a trio of big game hunters contracted by the Mayor of Con City, the success of the manhunt is now overshadowed by the disappearance of Joseph Dodgson, better known as serial killer Flamer Joe. His cell was found empty and the security camera footage offers no clues as to when and how he escaped.

`It's like he vanished into thin air,' says Warden Quentin Jones about Flamer Joe's escape. `Maybe he's a magician. Well, I hope he comes back. We just had the welcome back party for those poor boys who finally came home. We planned all sorts of fun and games for them, like limbo dancing, but since those three brutes from Greenwell brought my boys back with concussions, broken limbs, and shattered kneecaps, we had to give up on most of that. A magician would have livened up the party a great deal.'

While the Warden appears impressed, others are terrified of the vanishing of one of the most notorious serial killers in the history of Con County. Flamer Joe stands guilty of ninety-six counts of first degree murder, the majority of them committed with a flamethrower. Detective Bill Jacobs of the Con City Police Department fears that the fugitive will continue where he left off before his arrest.

`A man like Joe is like the bubonic plague,' the Detective states. `No way he's gonna stop. Ninety-six murders? Why would he stop there when he could go all the way to ninety-six thousand, or hell, even ninety-six million? All he needs is time and a big flamethrower, and given how ingenious he has been, I'm sure he can find or even build a very big flamethrower.'

Despite the warning words of Detective Jacobs, the man who appears to be the most terrified in the wake of Flamer Joe's escape is in fact Marketing Director Jeremy Edwards at Channel 11. Edwards is one of the executives in charge of the controversial dating show `Joe's Gonna Kiss You,' which was launched just last year, and which saw Flamer Joe act as its host via satellite from his cell.

`This is our most popular program by far,' Mister Edwards says. `Everybody wants to see how Joe brings people together. No, I mean, everybody wants to see Joe. Do you honestly think viewers actually care about the contestants? About whether or not the poor sods can find true love? No! The audience watches because Joe asks the kind of mindblowingly inappropriate questions that only a serial killer would think to ask. Without Joe, there is no show. And without the show, me and most of my crew are out of a job! He has to come back! He just has to!'

At the time of writing the whereabouts of Flamer Joe are unknown. While the lack of news of flamethrower related murders is encouraging, the Con City Police Department urges the public to take care, as `it's just a matter of time before Joe strikes.'

As for his escape, Detective Bill Jacobs has a theory as to how the infamous serial killer might have made it out.

`It's all that stupid Warden's fault,' the Detective says. `Just add up the numbers. He hosts this ridiculous welcome home party of his for the fugitives that the hunters dragged back to the prison, and somehow, that very night, Flamer Joe manages to just walk out of there without anyone taking notice? Oh, did I mention that the Warden had the ingenious idea to make it a reunion gathering of sorts, and invited a bunch of former inmates to this stupid party, including several known associates of Flamer Joe? But you know what, maybe I'm reading too much into it. Maybe it's all just a coincidence. Right?'

Warden Quentin Jones refuses to comment the Detective's theory, but he urges the escaped serial killer to give himself up to the authorities, and promises to host `a welcome home party of epic proportions that will make last night's event pale in comparison.'

Inmate Season

posted Aug 14, 2017, 3:59 PM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times

West Side Con City remains under lockdown following the recent escape of twenty inmates from Con City Penitentiary. The ongoing lockdown comes at the request of Quentin Jones, Warden of the prison facility, who is worried about the escaped prisoners.

`Dangerous? No, they're not dangerous, they're in danger,' he says about the missing inmates. `I worry for their safety. Poor fools wandered off the premises and no doubt got lost in the vast urban jungle out there. We must find them before they come to harm.'

The lockdown, which has been in force for five days, involves helicopters circling over the district, a police cordon surrounding literally the entire West Side, and armed police officers patrolling the streets with dogs. Citizens hoping to go in or out of the district must pass through security checks, and anyone not able to display a valid form of identification will be detained. Locals are none too happy about the security measures.

`Traffic is worse than ever,' says Andrew Porter, a pensioner living in the outskirts of the district. `Takes a day to get into the Downtown to see my son. And the non-stop racket from the blasted choppers is even worse. Can't an old man get some sleep around here any more?'

Detective Bill Jacobs, one of the officers in charge of the manhunt, sympathizes with the senior citizen. `I know the feeling,' he says, `it takes me forever just to get lunch in the middle of all this. But we have to find those inmates, and until we do, the lockdown remains. Although, from what I hear, it might be over very soon. Mayor's fed up with the costs of the lockdown, so he's calling in some specialists from Greenwell. Honestly, we could use the help. That Fragcamper Unit they have is pretty good.'

The Mayor of Con City has indeed called in assistance from Greenwell, but not from the police, thanks to ongoing tension between top officials of the Con City Police Department and Chief Woods of Greenwell Police. Instead, the Mayor has called on the help of a trio of experts known as the Lake Brothers.

Bob, Eli, and Joe Lake are triplets, sharing a tight connection which they proudly put on display by dressing alike and having beards of identical length. Born and raised in Greenwell, the three brothers are no strangers to danger. While they have, over the years, managed to earn quite a reputation as trackers and trappers, they did so not in law enforcement, but in a very different trade.

`We're big game hunters, Mister,' says Joe Lake, the trapper expert in the trio. `Ain't no beast big enough for us to handle. Course we ain't never hunted men before, but we've trapped elephants, rhinos, gorillas, pandas, anything you can think of. Ain't nothing we can't catch.'

`Yeah, and ain't nothing we can't shoot dead at a thousand yards,' adds Eli Lake, the marksman of the Lake Brothers. `Them inmates better not resist, 'cause I'll be watching Joe and Bob's back through my scope. One false move, and we take 'em in like roadkill.'

`Won't come to that,' assures Bob Lake, who claims to have wrestled more alligators than he can count. `Any of 'em avoids Joe's bear traps, I'll sneak up on 'em and beat 'em unconscious. Never see me comin'.'

The Lake Brothers are clearly not lacking in confidence. As for whether they worry about any difficulties finding the escaped inmates in the streets of Con City, the three brothers offer a simultaneous shrug.

`Jungle's a jungle, Mister,' Joe Lake states. `Trees or skyscrapers, makes no difference. Just gotta watch the bystanders, is all. We'll just use subtlety and precision, so no land mines or grenade launchers.'

The Lake Brothers are set to commence their hunt for the escaped inmates shortly, and while local residents are no doubt overjoyed by the prospect of hopefully being able to return to their normal lives soon, Warden Quentin Jones in infinitely worried that the Mayor called in the wrong kind of assistance.

`Big game hunters? Really?' he says. `This makes no sense. My poor boys are rabbits, not lions. Well, I hope they'll find their way home soon. I'm preparing a special welcome home party for them. We'll have pies, and stew, and limbo dancing. It'll be fun, you'll see.'

Others at Con City Penitentiary are also skeptical, not just about the Lake Brothers, but the manhunt in general. A prison guard who wishes to remain anonymous paints a vivid picture about the prisoners' escape.

`They had it all figured out,' he states. `Found a way to override the door controls in their corridor, combined all their bed sheets into a makeshift rope and escaped through a window in the middle of the night. We only noticed in the morning. They had at least six hours to get away before the lockdown happened. Did I mention that the prison is on the very edge of the city? They could have walked all the way to Brickton by now.'

Despite the ill boding words of the anonymous prison guard, the Lake Brothers remain confident in their abilities.

`We's no strangers to elusive prey,' says Eli Lake. `That's why we got see at night scopes on our rifles. It'll be like snatching eggs from a condor's nest. Nothin' to it.'

Enlightened Criminal

posted Jul 17, 2017, 2:56 AM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times

Several months passed since the violent yet profoundly unsuccessful robbery at the Bright Rocks jewelery store in Downtown Con City, which left two police officers critically injured during the getaway of the would-be robbers. Of the two culprits, one wore a ski mask while the other wore no mask and was garbed in an easily identifiable checkered suit. The latter criminal, Randall Lee, better known as Randall the Jerk, revealed himself to the public within a week of the robbery in an interview for the Con City Times, in which he gave up a surprising amount of information, including the name and appearance of his masked associate, Jules the Monk. After the interview, Randall Lee disappeared and police forces failed to locate either him or his associate. The Bright Rocks jewelery store chose to invest in extensive security measures in preparation for their upcoming reopening. Meanwhile, just three days ago, a bald man matching the description provided by Randall Lee and claiming to be Jules the Monk unexpectedly gave himself up to the authorities at the Downtown Police Precinct.

Although the Con City Police Department could not confirm his identity, they did determine that the man's build matched that of the masked figure in the security camera footage from the jewelery store. During his initial interrogation the suspect refused to explain himself unless members of the press were allowed to participate. The Captain of the Downtown Police Precinct decided to comply, despite disapproval of several of his Detectives.

`I wish to set the record straight,' Jules the Monk said in his opening statement. `I want the truth out there. I don't want the city to have a false impression of me based on the words of a useless waste of space like Randall the Jerk. I have not come here out of regret or some illusions of morality. I chose to give myself up in the name of enlightenment.'

The suspect went on to explain that his choice of the word `enlightenment' had been deliberate. He did not simply mean that in terms of shedding light on the truth, but also in the sense of spirituality.

`I have chosen to embrace enlightenment. I wish for a life devoid of violence. It is why I have chosen not to chase Randall the Jerk, despite that after he ratted me out in his interview I should blow his brains out on general principle. I expect you'll find him and hand him his due punishment soon enough, anyway.'

Jules the Monk, true to the principles of a career criminal, refused to divulge the location of Randall Lee despite their apparent grudge. He did, however, offer insight into the nature of their working relationship.

`I owed him a favor,' he said in an embarrassed tone. `I shall not provide specifics, but a year ago I and my crew at the time found ourselves in need of a getaway driver, and Randall was the only man available for the job. We took his help, despite the fact that everyone knew he couldn't drive, but it was either that or letting him have a gun, and we knew better than to do that. It had been a poor decision, as only he and I walked away from the wreckage after he crashed us into a concrete wall, but he technically did get us away from the police, and I'm a man of my word, so when he asked me to help him with the jewelery store in return for his help, I did. And you know how that one went.'

During the now infamous robbery, Randall the Jerk shot up the store with a shotgun despite cooperation from the store clerk, and both he and Jules the Monk were forced to vacate the premises without any jewelery. On their way out, Jules gunned down two police officers who wound up in hospital in critical condition, but have since recovered and will be returning to active duty soon. Jules the Monk offered no apology for his actions during the robbery.

`I know where to shoot a man if I want him to die, I know where to shoot him if I want him to live, and I don't miss,' he said instead. `Of course they survived. I don't like it when innocent bystanders or policemen die. Why do you think I shot them in the first place? If I hadn't, Randall would have, with the shotgun, and although there's a very high probability that he'd have missed, I did not want to take the chance that he wouldn't.'

After repeatedly refusing to provide the whereabouts of Randall Lee or any useful information about him, Jules the Monk was told in no uncertain terms that he could expect a very harsh sentence at his impending trial. In response, the suspect shook his head and offered a brief explanation.

`I'm not here to make deals or rat out my peers, not even that scumbag Randall the Jerk,' he said. `I simply came to explain to the world why a professional was forced to work with a complete amateur, and to assure you all that this would never happen again. As a matter of fact, as soon as I get out of here, I will leave the life of crime behind and dedicate my existence to reaching true enlightenment.'

When the suspect was told that he would not be getting out for a very long time, he simply smiled and bowed, then refused to say another word.

The next day his cell was found empty, its door locked, the key laid on the floor in the center of the cell. The police have since resumed their search for both Jules the Monk and Randall Lee. The Captain of the Downtown Police Precinct gave his personal guarantee to the public that the pair would be found and brought to justice. Meanwhile the Bright Rocks jewelery store is considering hiring private military contractors to provide additional security for their upcoming reopening which is scheduled to take place in just two days.

Overexposed Cat Photography

posted Jun 18, 2017, 3:46 AM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published on the front page of the Con City Times

The Con City Art Gallery is hosting a new exhibition called `The Art of Overexposition,' consisting of the deliberately overexposed photos of Brickton photographer Walter T. Glass. Mister Glass burst onto the scene in recent months with overexposed photos of wildlife, and while his work stayed largely out of the mainstream spotlight, his recent photograph of a house cat made him one of the most famous people on the planet. Just a week ago he posted the photo he entitled `Shy Tabby' on social media, shown below in low resolution with permission from the artist.

Walter T. Glass received over fifty million comments to his photo over the course of twenty-four hours. Advertisers flocked to his social media account and just three days removed from the original post he was already in talks with the Con City Art Gallery about an exhibition, which opened two days later.

`It's all about being experimental,' Walter T. Glass stated in an interview on the day of the opening when he was asked to reveal to what he attributed his success. `My first overexposed photo of a tulip was largely an accident. But as soon as I saw how unique the result looked, I realized that I was on my way to create the kind of art that had never been seen before. I decided to further play with the exposition time, until Shy Tabby was born. The rest is history.'

Over the two days passed since the opening of the exhibition, the overexposed paintings made a lot of noise in mainstream media, though not quite the way the Con City Art Gallery might have hoped. Art critics and photographers have called out the Art Gallery over the photographs, calling the exhibition a `scam' and repeatedly referring to Mister Glass as a `hack.' Director Troy Savage, head of the Art Gallery came to the defense of the exhibition and the artist.

`The overexposed photos of Walter T. Glass can only be compared to the likes of Warren Baker's ice paintings,' the Director stated. `Revolutionary art of the highest form, far ahead of its time. No wonder the unsophisticated barbarians of the internet who don't know the first thing about art, or even the clueless idiots who call themselves art critics, fail to understand them. Give it a hundred years, and the world will look back at `Shy Tabby' as the modern day Mona Lisa.'

Critics and internet personalities remained unfazed by the comments of Troy Savage and continued to question the legitimacy of the exhibition, quoting some of the millions of comments earned by `Shy Tabby' on social media. Examples include:

`LMFAO. Is this guy for real?'

`It's a white wall you jackass!'

`Yo, dipshit, where's the cat you promised me?! I need my fix!'

`Worst photomanipulation ever. F for EFF-ort.'

`The cat could make a better photo than that. If there is a cat, that is.'

`This is what happens when you give an idiot a camera. Give it to a drunk instead.'

`That's probably the leftover dope he snorted. Should have used macro mode so we could see the grains.'

`Snow? Clouds? Shaving foam? Either way it's just white pixels, bro!'

Amid the continuing barrage of vocal disapproval, Con City's famed painter Warren Baker himself came to the exhibition's defense as well. `When I first made ice paintings out of snow and my unique gold paint in my front lawn one fateful New Year's Eve, no one believed that my creations would one day make Rembrandt look like an amateur,' he said. `Ignore the haters, Walter. You'll make it, trust me; I know true talent when I see it.'

In addition to the encouraging words of his contemporary, Walter T. Glass has also received the unwavering support of the people of Brickton. Nearly four hundred of his townsfolk have made the trip to Con City on tourist buses in response to the growing internet criticism, and have surrounded the Con City Art Gallery with baskets of rotten eggs and large transparencies displaying words such as `fuck the haters,' `hail Glass,' `Walter's my hero,' and `criticize Brickton art and die.' The protesters have made it abundantly clear that they will not allow anyone other than people who appreciate the overexposed photos to enter the building.

Concerned citizens in Con City have turned to the police, requesting their assistance in peacefully sending back the protesters to Brickton. The Con City Police Department have responded that they cannot spare the manpower to oversee the loud but thus far peaceful gathering around the Art Gallery, as they need to keep a large number of police officers on standby in case the ongoing marketing war between the Deal Mart and the Onn Lee Megastore gets out of hand.

Meanwhile, Walter T. Glass has offered the following words on social media regarding his success one week after the original posting of the photo that made him famous: `I am humbled by the sudden outpouring of love and support. As a sign of my gratitude, I will do my best to post a new overexposed cat photo every week from now on.'

He accompanied his post with another image, shown below in low resolution with permission from the artist. The current number of comments on the image, six hours after the time of posting, is just over sixty-eight million and counting.

Rated B For Bullfighting

posted May 22, 2017, 2:19 PM by Viktor Zólyomi

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times.

The Greenwell Bullfighting Organization continues to refuse to submit in their ongoing, many would say futile legal battle at the Con City Courthouse. It has now been four months since Gerald Embers, Chairman of the GBO, filed a request to the Con County Television Broadcasting Association to have bullfighting programs given a relaxed age certification. `We believe that bullfighting is a noble, inspirational sport that our youth should not be banned from watching,' the Chairman stated in his request. `Hence, we would like the minimum age requirements for watching bullfights to be reduced from the current, most unreasonable seventeen years to twelve.' The CCTBA rejected the request, to which Gerald Embers responded by filing a lawsuit against the agency.

Over the past four months, the GBO pulled no punches in their efforts to convince the court to force the CCTBA into compliance. Gerald Embers reminded everyone present at the first court hearing that `bullfighting is Greenwell's national pastime, commemorating the tragic death of thirty-one school children in 1837. Our sport is a tradition that serves to remind everyone of how a raging bull chased an entire herd of cattle towards the unsuspecting participants of that school picnic. This tradition should be taught from a very young age, and who better to teach it to our children than the GBO?'

The District Attorney disagreed with the GBO Chairman, stating his belief that `a bullfighting promotion that allows the bull to be the champion and makes its money on the blood thirst of its barbaric audience has no business talking about commemorating the death of the stampede victims.'

The DA's words prompted a tirade of insults from Gerald Embers which earned him a hefty fine. From that moment forward the Chairman sat the rest of the court hearings out and allowed his lawyer, Nigel Finch, to do all the talking. Mister Finch proceeded to attack the credibility of the DA and pointed out that `the District Attorney was not born and has never lived in Greenwell and therefore cannot judge how to adequately commemorate the tragic happenings of 1837, nor is he qualified to judge the character of Greenwell's people.' He also pointed out that `the undeniable realism of the GBO bullfights presents them as the most authentic form of reenactment of the stampede that is possible within the confines of the law, and should therefore be respected.'

Nigel Finch finished his argument with the written statement of Gerald Embers in which the GBO Chairman argued that `surely, it is in the best interest of our children to learn the history of Greenwell by watching the only authentic depiction of that fateful June afternoon.'

Three and a half months and many carefully worded statements later the court reached its decision and ruled in favor of the Con County Television Broadcasting Association. `No matter the importance of this tradition to the people of Greenwell, we should not be showing blood sports to twelve-year-olds,' presiding Judge Hershey stated as justification for the ruling.

Gerald Embers immediately appealed the ruling and sent his lawyer back to the court room with a new strategy. Believing that he could meet the CCTBA half way, he instructed Mister Finch to offer the introduction of some changes into GBO programs that would make them more family friendly.

`My client is willing to drop the cheerleaders from the show, or at least have them wear some clothes over their bikinis,' Nigel Finch stated at the Courthouse when the latest hearing began earlier today. `He is also willing to ban all profanity from the show by introducing a ten second delay to the live broadcast which would provide ample time to bleep out any sensitive words from anything spoken by veteran color commentator Tom Stone. While Mister Stone is very popular with our audience, which is the reason why he hasn't been fired, my client is willing to put the reins on the man in order to make bullfighting available to a younger audience.'

The Con County Television Broadcasting Association flat out refused the offer with the words, `this is not Hollywood.' Judge Hershey recommended Mister Finch to advise his client to give up on the idea of a relaxed age certification for bullfights. Gerald Embers and his lawyer are yet to respond but sources close to the GBO Chairman believe that `he will fight tooth and nail until the bitter end, and win or lose, he will make a documentary about the court war and sell it for top dollar on pay-per-view.'

Carry On Again Banning!

posted Apr 24, 2017, 3:22 PM by Viktor Zólyomi   [ updated Apr 24, 2017, 3:33 PM ]

The following article by Jonathan Parker was originally published in the Con City Times.

A month prior airline travelers in Con County faced shock when Con City Airlines introduced its new cabin baggage policy, which forced all passengers to place all their belongings in the hold, including any clothes they had on their person at check-in. Travel discussion forums are abuzz once more due to the Con County Travel Bureau having announced a new set of guidelines to be imposed on all air travel firms operating in the county. (Editor's note: the list of such airlines currently comprises Con City Airlines alone).

`We need to do something about the chaos,' said Laura Turner, a senior executive at the Travel Bureau. `In the month passed since Con City Airlines implemented its controversial cabin baggage ban, sixty-two incidents occurred on the airline's flights that can be directly linked to the new rules. A lot of people have been injured, offended, or forced to watch their fellow passengers engage in indecent activities. We cannot allow this to go on.'

The list of incidents Miss Turner mentioned include fourteen brawls that broke out between passengers who were left irritable by being forced to board the plane without their cell phones, nineteen cases of hypothermia caused by the failure of the air conditioning system, one medical emergency related to insulin withdrawal, and twenty-eight instances of what flight attendants recorded in their reports as `orgies.'

`All these incidents are minor issues, and we have had less than a hundred of them in total,' said Dick Butler, spokesman of Con City Airlines. `I think the Travel Bureau is failing to see the bigger picture. Did people suffer a few bruises? Maybe. Were they forced to cover their eyes due to a few unruly couples on board? Sure. But the fact is, that all thanks to our new rules, no one overdosed on insulin, no one cut their hand on broken glass, no one choked on swallowed contact lenses or paper tissues, no one was strangled by a scarf or any other piece of clothing, and no one got beaten to death with a laptop. I think our cabin baggage ban is doing great!'

The aforementioned incidents are only part of the reason why the Con City Travel Bureau decided to step in. Since the new cabin baggage ban, the Bureau received over five thousand complaints from distressed passengers.

`About half of the complaints relate to the aforementioned incidents,' explained Miss Turner, `but the other half touch upon other issues. For example, a lot of people complain that they are not allowed to take their firearms on board, and in light of the violent brawls they now fear for their lives on the plane. This is of course nonsense, as no one but the sky marshal should be armed, but it does raise the question: where does the sky marshal keep his gun? The airline has not given us a satisfactory answer regarding this question.'

Other complaints include the problems caused by infants not being allowed to wear diapers on Con City Airlines flights. Thus far no parents have opted to take their infant children aboard the flights since the new rules came into force, due to the unenviable task of having to clean up after their children on board without any diapers, towels, or tissues on hand. Many of them also fear that the airline would simply classify the infants as cabin baggage and hence force them to be transported in the hold.

`And there's more,' Miss Turner said. `After the first week we started getting complaints from passengers that the cabin exuded a terrible odor, and later also that some of the seats were covered in sticky white stains. When we tried to carry out a health inspection the airline told us the inspection team would have to comply with the same rules as the passengers themselves, which is nonsense. We decided to intervene so that reason may prevail. We are, as of next week, forcing Con City Airlines to comply with our new guidelines or cease operation within the county.'

In an unprecedented and some would say unexpected move, the Travel Bureau has decided to ban passengers from being on board Con City Airlines flights. As of next Monday it will be illegal for anyone other than flight staff to be on board the planes within Con County. Travelers stand baffled before the decision, as they fail to see how this will solve anything.

`This is like trying to put out a forest fire with gasoline,' said Judy Shaw, speaking for the Con County Tourist Club. `Am I supposed to travel in the hold now? I guess that means I don't have to undress anymore, but come on! Travel in the hold?! Are they crazy?!'

`Miss Shaw misunderstands,' Laura Turner of the Con County Travel Bureau said regarding the new rules. `We are not simply banning people from entering the cabin, we are banning them from being anywhere inside the plane. This is the only way to make the flights safe again. It's not the banned objects that cause the problem, it's the people. The troublemakers, that is. But since we have no way of telling apart the troublemakers from the proper passengers, the best solution is to ban all of them from boarding the plane.'

Con City Airlines has yet to respond to the new legislation, which leaves travelers in a state of uncertainty as to the status of their upcoming flights. The airline has, however, started to explore its options.

`We talked to some lawyers about having the passengers ride on the wings,' Dick Butler said. `The Bureau banned people from being inside the plane, but not from traveling on top of it, or indeed on the wings. The lawyers think this is a gray area, so it might work, albeit there will be some... practical challenges. We are also looking into establishing a new landing strip a couple of miles east of Con County. The legislation no longer applies outside the county, so we could just hire a travel agency to transport our passengers to the new air strip with buses, and then proceed as before.'

The airline has already reached out to Reaper Travels, who often book charter flights from Con City Airlines to bring enthusiastic tourists to the county. Their veteran driver Larry offered his own two cents in the matter.

`Sure, we could do the job,' he said, `but it'd be slow. We don't have enough buses and drivers to take everyone in one go, and even if we did, it's a long drive. I'd say, if you want to travel, just drive. Or take the train up north and board a plane someplace else. That's what I always do. Who in their right mind wants to fly with Con City Airlines, anyway? Have you seen their safety records?'

In light of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of Con City Airlines flights, passengers are advised not to keep their expectations too high.

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