by Joe Plicka
THE JOURNAL OF PRE-DISTURBANCE AMERICAN STUDIES
Officer J.A. Palazo, Police Report from Florida North Region Outpost 32086
Annotations by Lorenzo Brandt, Ph.D Incident#: 670008 VM/PTT1
Officer/ID#: Palazo, J. A. (Sgt.)/1705
Narrative: At approximately 9:35 p.m. on May 4, a 9112 call was received from the 1200 block of Eardrum3 St. reporting that a pedestrian had been hit by a projectile from a passing vehicle and was covered with “a slimy brown substance.” In the course of my investigation, I determined that the substance was in fact Jell-O pudding (most likely Chocolate Vanilla Swirl4) and the projectile was nothing less than an individual serving-sized5 Jell-O Pudding Snack cup. The mostly empty plastic cup was recovered at the scene and entered into evidence.
Testimony from the victim6 recorded at the scene indicated that he had just left the Parkway 7-11 on foot after buying two CheesyStufft Dogs and a pack of that new eight-layered Trident gum. The individual approached the corner of Eardrum and South Neck, bringing one of the Dogs to his mouth, when he heard squealing tires and a loud blast of country7 music (catchy, female vocalist, probably one of the Tinas8). This being a college town9, and the victim being very hungry, he didn’t bother to look up and was biting down on his CheesyStufft when the pudding cup hit him in the left shoulder slopping delicious pudding across his chest and face area. Also, unfortunately, the unexpected shock of impact caused the victim to carelessly tear the Dog away from his mouth mid-bite, resulting in scalding cheese-like stuffing squirting directly under the left eye. This made it even more difficult for the victim to effectively identify the vehicle as it sped off, heading north on South Neck, but he is positive that the vehicle is a large model truck, probably blue, definitely a V12 (victim religiously watches Truck Toasters10 nightly on his PermaVision11). He also saw two alleged perpetrators looking back at him from the bed of the truck. The subjects were likely young males (early 20s), wearing baseball hats, and one was shouting what sounded like, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” in a very high (very high, the victim demonstrated for me at the scene) falsetto12.
Shortly after, the victim, who had carelessly left his mobile device in his other pants, went to a nearby residence and asked to use their phone to call the police. While waiting, the victim said the residents’ energetic Jack Russell13 licked most of the pudding off his face and shirt. When I arrived with Officer Bart—after fielding the usual questions about Officer Bart’s height and his suitability for police work14 —we took the victim’s statement and searched the area for evidence (the pudding cup) and patrolled the neighborhood for the truck in question but saw nothing but a red pickup with a camper shell, which had a giant penis drawn in the dirt on the rear window and the words “Wash Me!” underneath, a new twist on an old joke15 that made Officer Bart and I both laugh pretty good. Oh Mercy. I hope someone reads this16.
Property damage: Possibly the victim’s “most awesomest” shirt, iridescent black with a picture of last season’s most popular cartoon animal, Manateego Lopez17. Victim says he is going to wash out the pudding with some Mega Tsunami MaxoClean18, since just last week they came out with a 23 percent gentler formula that hopefully won’t damage the iridescent sheen. Estimated value: $74.
Side note: Regarding the phrase, “The British are coming!” Officer Bart and I have worked out several theories. One of course is the allusion to American history, which may be obvious to law enforcement personnel but strange in this situation since most American tweens19 are still semi-illiterate and unschooled in anything but the standard Business Communication curriculum. Plus, the language is surprisingly coincidental in two respects: 1) The Walica20 International 138-month-old Girls Volleyball Championships21 is being held here on Friday. The two finalists: Nepal and the United Kingdom, and 2) A new pornographic film of the same name just opened this weekend at Florida Theaters 84-10622. In any case, the incident has been entered as a possible terrorist threat into the National Security Database, as per federal law, due to the sensitivity of the language implying foreign invasion/violence23.
Side note 2: True to their pledge to push for greater customer satisfaction (nearing 99.3 percent, up from 99.1 percent just last quarter), 7-11, when alerted to the situation on BizLink, immediately sent the victim an escort back to the store where he was given two more CheesyStuffts free of charge.
This document was recovered from a decaying server in the basement of a razed police outpost in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, in the former USA. The server was water-damaged and home to at least one mouse, but a special restoration team from Turkey was able to pull 1700 files off of the hard drives, including this police report from an unspecified year (archive headers were irretrievable). A time stamp indicates the report was filed in 2085, but it is unclear whether this is the original filing date or the date of a system backup. The actual year may be as early as 2077, the first year Trident offered an eight-layered gum. Key to police acronyms: VM=Violent Mischief, PTT=Potential Terrorist Threat.
2 Before Total Crime Control went online in the early 22nd century, Americans still used a telephone system to voluntarily “call in” incidents to law enforcement and emergency personnel. After satellite infrared imaging reached its projected saturation point, the 911 system was phased out and the primitive versions of today’s crime detection algorithms put in place.
3 The Place Name Simplification Act of 2056 required, among other things, that all street names be changed to designate referents that 90 percent of the national population held in common. In St. Augustine, for instance, according to compliance reports found on Congressional servers, by 2058 Jefferson Court was changed to Eardrum Street and South Wisteria Avenue to South Neck Road.
4 According to the advertising record known to be, along with medical records, political donor reports and television ratings, one of the most complete sources of raw data springing from 21st century America, Chocolate Vanilla Swirl was actually discontinued as a Jell-O flavor in the early 2060s. What the reporting officer is probably referring to is the flavor ChocoCream Explosion.
5 It should be noted that by this time in American history, an individual serving-size Jell-O cup held up to 1 quart (1.13 liters) of delicious pudding. This puts the incident in perspective a bit, as the impact of approximately one kilogram of pudding thrown from a moving vehicle is certainly more notable than the impact of what modern readers may imagine as an individual serving-size pudding cup. For instance, the current volume of a Flani Pudding Unit is a mere 275 milliliters (about 300 grams).
6 Although victims’ names were typically not used in publicly accessible narratives such as these, internal documents recovered from the server that match this report number show that the victim was likely a 26-year-old man named Puggy Anders, living, according to webpages found in The University of Kiev’s social networking archive, in his parents’ Big Boy Flat and working as a product promotion specialist—basically, he wasn’t paid a salary, but was given free merchandise by popular companies, like 7-11 perhaps, in exchange for displaying their products and talking about them publicly. This was a fairly common line of work for young people in the USA around this time. Also well-documented is the use of GPS bracelets, equipped with audio/video recording capabilities, to monitor how well and how often employees fulfilled their contract to spread the word about certain products. Underperformers were quickly dropped, as there were many more waiting to take their place.
7 “Country music,” of course, referring to the melodic sequences and tonal variety of the songs, rather than a genre of music connected a geographic location that 21st century Americans quaintly referred to as “the country,” a carefully reconstructed vision of farm and small-town life fueled by nostalgia and rewarded with broad commercial appeal. By the time of this police report, large mechanized farms (the majority operated by Walica and the Netherlands-based Farmex) were responsible for virtually all agricultural production in the USA, and most rural citizens relocated to established urban areas or to “Supervillages,” collections of remote towns and settlements that were consolidated into newly built template cities of 50,000 people or more.
8 Billboard Charts from 2085 show no fewer than twelve “Tinas” with hits in the Country Top 100: Tina Lawson, Tina Checkers, Tina 2000, Tina the Red, Tinatastic, Tina McLove, Sexy Tina, Supersexy Tina, Tinasaurus, Tina of Denver, Tina Tractor, and Tina Vladstov.
9 This seems to be part of the reporting officer’s explanation for why the victim didn’t look up when he heard loud music and squealing tires, the implication being that such things were commonplace and hardly noticeable in a town like St. Augustine where the Northeast Florida Learning Hub served over 200,000 students from ages 14-40. It is worth nothing that the US underwent massive changes in its education system during the 21st century, one of the most notable being the transformation of post-secondary education. In time, the values of high school (secondary) and college (post-secondary) education became so comparable—according to educators and government officials—that President Vera Bush-Kennedy’s Education Secretary, Harold Spinndrift, oversaw the merging of high school and college education. The result was the rise of giant Learning Hubs offering a variety of “learning plans” ranging from the basic four-year Skill Set Package (free with on-site employment, $50,000 without) to the Deluxe Package (eight years, three Skill Sets, $200,000). Those who completed the Deluxe Package before age 40 were eligible to apply for one of four professional schools (known widely as The Big Four, or The Professionals): Medical (Boston, Los Angeles), Law (Houston), Business/Marketing (New York, Seattle), and Law Enforcement (Miami, Knoxville, Omaha, San Diego). Note: Figures taken from a Learning Hub ebrochure circa 2083.
10 An American television program created by Apple, then the only remaining American car manufacturer. A 30-minute show, the first 25 minutes were essentially an extended commercial for a particular model of truck. In the last five minutes a contestant was given a knife, a lighter, and a set of brass knuckles and told to inflict as much damage as possible to the truck. The amount of damage was estimated by an insurance adjuster and the contestant given that same amount discounted off the purchase of an Apple truck. The “toasted” truck was then donated to a poor family.
11 A rudimentary version of today’s sensory implants, PermaVision was a soft lens worn on the eyeball that provided wearers with visual media on demand. The lenses were easily damaged, had to be replaced regularly, and required an accompanying earpiece for audio feeds.
12 One plausible explanation for the perpetrators’ falsetto: a somewhat naïve, but possible way to beat voice recognition software if their act happened to be digitally captured by any witnesses or security cameras/microphones nearby.
13 A popular breed of small dog, now extinct.
14 Little information has been found so far on this Officer Bart. Officer profiles and evaluations were unrecoverable on the St. Augustine server, however researchers did find a work request for three giant “phonebooks” (very thick books, made of paper). The request was signed by “Lilo Bart,” and under the heading “explanation” was written: “to sit on in cruiser, for better visibility.” We can reasonably presume that Lilo Bart and Officer Bart are the same person, someone very short who had trouble seeing over the dash of a vehicle, maybe a dwarf or a midget, maybe even a pygmy, all human varieties rarely seen today—only in the farthest reaches of civilization where DNA screening for zygotes is still underfunded.
15 Indeed, it is interesting that though many of the ideas and artifacts of past cultures have been lost or remain mysterious, this particular joke persists up to the present day.
16 These last few sentences in the narrative are what make this particular report stand out among thousands of such reports that have been recovered from Pre-Disturbance times. In them are laid out the reporting officer’s boredom, intelligence, and a curiously intuitive perception of his own historical moment, infused with a cheeky but resigned sort of gallows humor. It’s as if Officer Palazo is turning from his report and facing the modern reader, the future historians and chroniclers who will spend their lives dissecting and contemplating the dazzling crash that was the fulfillment of his marvelously overripe era.
17 Manateego Lopez: star of the animated television series, Padoinks!, he was a mustachioed, sea-dwelling creature (like a cross between a whale and a cow) who ate heads of lettuce and was known for his ubiquitous catchphrase, “Somethin’ somethin’!”
18 A well-preserved, empty plastic jug of Mega Tsunami MaxoClean is on display in the National Museum in Sydney as part of their permanent American Collection.
19 American slang for a youth in his or her twenties.
20 Much has been written about this quintessential late-American multinational corporation. In 2064 Wal-Shop announced that it had entered into an agreement to essentially purchase eleven African nations with cash and a promise to make the area the company’s new headquarters and manufacturing base. The eleven nations and Wal-Shop became Walica, a giant country/corporation where state interests and business interests became one and the same. Walica “employed” virtually every citizen in the country, while completely controlling access to all goods and services. The result was, ironically for one of the emblems of global capitalism, quite similar to 20th century Soviet-style communism.
21 For more information about the fascinating obsession with sports competition in the 21st century, read Jaden Fortnaki’s Life is a Game and We Want to Win: The Central Role of Sports in the Disturbance.
22 No fewer than six films with this title were released between 1997 and 2124. The Old Powers’ devotion to pornography has been well cataloged and established as one of the defining modes of discourse in the former USA.
23 As any student of history knows, foreign invasion was the last thing America should have been worried about during this time period. Still, the National Security Database makes for great reading, and is available for viewing on Network 3.
— Joe Plicka lives with his wife and two kids in Athens, OH, where he teaches and pursues some kind of degree. He dreams of sandwiches. His work recently appeared in Fringe Magazine and Anti, and he is the former editor of Quarter After Eight.