L. Neil Smith's
Number 211, February 17, 2003


She's Dead ... Wrapped in Plastic
by John Taylor

Exclusive to TLE

(New Berlin, Untied Statists of Amerika)—"Lady Liberty", the icon of Amerikan freedom, was found dead today, apparently asphyxiated. She was wrapped head to foot in regulation plastic and red duct tape. Forensic specialists are examining the body for signs of rape, though it appears that she expired without a struggle.

Once considered symbolic of all that was good in Amerika, she had fallen on hard times in recent years, having suffered a series of personal setbacks at the hands of a series of prominent men with whom she was closely associated. A friend of Liberty said (off the record for fear of reprisal), "She never really could pick a good man. Every one she courted turned out to be an abuser. I think she just took for granted that someone in whom she placed her trust would not betray it ... and yet that's exactly what they did, every time."

A native of France, it was commonly accepted that she was born to represent the American ideal. Originally thought to be fiercely independent, in later life it appeared that she and her reputation were severely tarnished by corrosive elements, both internal and external. Her dissolution, though gradual, was persistent.

In an ironic contrast to her stated purpose of representing individual liberty, she was wholly supported by various government agencies throughout her long and tortured life.

Born in 1884, she arrived in the United States in 1885. She was christened in New Berlin (then known as New York) in 1886. Then President Grover Cleveland welcomed her to the United States, saying: "We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected."

She was sponsored into the United States largely through the efforts of Joseph Pulitzer, who used her cause to increase his newspaper's circulation. Emma Lazarus wrote a famous poem that has become inextricably associated with her. In 1986, her one hundredth birthday was honored with a spectacular laser show and a speech by then-President Ronald Reagan, who declared "We are the keepers of the flame of liberty; we hold it high for the world to see."

Now, that flame appears forever extinguished beneath layers of plastic and duct tape, in a bizarre scenario worthy of the most lurid talents in Hollywood.

Tom Ridge, OberGruppenFuhrer of Homeland Security, professed to be "Shocked ... shocked" at this extraordinary and totally unexpected turn of events. Agents of Homeland Security are at this moment rounding up the usual suspects.


Net Assets
by Carl Bussjaeger
"Access to Space for Everyone!"

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