In the dark, dark days following the pathetic reign of King Eggbush the Lesser, a mighty hero called Barackules rose up among the people.
Evincing the audacity of hope, he ventured where few of his tribe dared tread and faced down demons to make even mighty Hercules tremble.
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The first of his labors was to overcome the Rovean Lyin, who imagined himself a genius; but in both word and deed, was naught but a demonic, sniveling coward who skulked in the shadows and brewed foul concoctions in order to achieve his despicable ends. Barackules was able to best this vile beast armed only with the truth.
The second of his labors was to overcome the Fauxmean Hydra, a beast born in the bowels of Murdochistan. This beast had nine heads and from each mouth spewed sulfurous fictions, venomous bile licked up and swallowed by the halt and lame, that is to say, the ignorant and gullible. Again, Barackules only weapon to defeat the beast was truth.
Barackules had also to best the Golden Hind of Clintonia, heir apparent to the throne. This had to be done with utmost care for fear of angering her powerful benefactor, William the Globalizer, who was also known, to some who cared not in the least for him, as William the Womanizer.
Next, Barackules had to defeat the hoary McCainian Boor, a foul-tempered beast given to loutish snorting. The boor had grown long in the tusk, but thought to conceal that defect by consorting with a comely sow adorned with lipstick. But their mating proved to be his undoing, for she was slow-witted and given to spurious squealing that exposed their defenseless position. Soon, both were mired in the muck, and Barackules was able to defeat them handily.
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But Barackules triumph was short-lived, for once having gained the high ground, he perceived the tasks before him were far more difficult than he imagined. In truth, they were all but insurmountable.
The fifth of his labors was to clean the Washingtonian Stables. They were filled to the overflowing with disgusting offal, waste deposited by merchants and butchers operating on K-Street. Barackules sought to rid the stables of this filth by causing two rivers in the city to flow in the same direction.
But one river would not be moved and stymied Barackules at every turn. In spite of this, he was able to divert just enough flow from the other river to start a small trickle of cleansing water moving in the right direction. But it was clear , the stables could not be cleaned in a day.
The sixth of his labors was conquering the Senatorial Birds, a chattering flock that filled the air with pompous squawking and pretentious screeches decrying thievery – while pocketing large portions of the fatted calf for themselves. To try to counter these dirty birds and their patrons, Barackules was forced to take to the high road and make loud noises of his own from atop a mountain.
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Through all these trials, Barackules was constantly attacked by the Cretin Bully, a grossly obese creature enamored of his own senseless braying. His braying entranced a herd of servile sheep and gullible goats, who readily swallowed his bull-leavings, never once noticing they were being led to the slaughter.
As it is written: Rush not if thou seekest wisdom.
Barackules wrestled the Cretin Bully, tying him in knots. But alas, it was but a temporary victory, for the Cretin Bully mated with some demented denizen of the Murdochian maze, and that unholy pairing gave birth to the Miniboor, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man.
In spite of his ostentatious displays of weeping, the Miniboor somehow became the darling of the servile sheep and gullible goats – who had long ago become addicted to bull-leavings. Thus, the Cretin Bully and the Miniboor enjoyed the blessings of bull-spreading – and the good and decent citizens of the land were left to await a Theseus, to put an end – metaphorically, of course – to these monstrous beasts.
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The eighth of Barackules’ labors was to do battle with the man-eating mares of Teapartides, who questioned not only his aims, but his birth and his manhood. When critics responded in like manner, some man-eating mares whimpered and whined and retreated in silence, preferring the safety of their grooms to questions about their own aims and fitness.
The ninth of Barackules’ labors was to capture the Palinlyte Belt that girdled the waist of a pretender to the throne, who fancied herself a mighty Alaskan huntress. The less said of her, the better.
The tenth labor was to corral the red Cattle of Raygun, who now were herded by Armey, a two-headed hound serving two masters. Barackules tried to rescue these bovine ruminants, but they were content to blindly follow duplicitous Armey, who betrayed them, selling them out to his secret benefactors, who offered them up as a sacrifice to Hera, goddess of commerce and finance.
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The eleventh labor was to retrieve the Golden Apples of Prosperity Eggbush the Lesser and his predecessors had left unprotected. It should have come as no surprise these Golden Apples fell into the clutches of soulless, greedy buzzards, who disguised themselves as eagles, and for what seemed an eternity, ripped away the innards of a once-promethean economy. In time, this came to be known as the Golden Fleece.
The Golden Apples having been left to rot by Eggbush the Lesser and his predecessors, it seemed the entire world might fall into oblivion. Barackules was called upon to right matters, but with one hand tied behind his back. For even with the host near-dead, the parasitic buzzards would brook no interference with their scavenging. In short, the weight of the whole world seemed to be upon Barackules’ shoulders.
As if all this was not enough, Barackules was compelled to march to the Gates of Hades and subdue a three-headed dog with a serpent’s tail and snake-heads on its back. This Herculean task fell to him because Eggbush the Lesser had thoughtlessly loosed the dogs of war during his pathetic reign. But for all his boasting and bravado, that mission had accomplished nothing but to further enrage the three-headed dog and stir up a nest of vipers. Coward that he was, Eggbush the Lesser left it to Barackules to undo his monumental errors.
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Can our hero complete his twelve labors? Can he overcome the demonic forces of darkness arrayed against him? Can he defeat the Bilious Blue-Dogs of Obstructionism and the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism? It is too soon to know, but since so many are praying for his defeat, let us pray the gods favor him – and in so doing, favor us.
©2010 Tom Cordle