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Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Toilet and Trouble

Being up your own ass will soon be more than a mere idiom: Stanford researchers have proposed a “smart toilet,” with which the wealthy and dookey-conscious will be able to analyze the content of their own leavings courtesy of software that recognizes each defecator by their distinctive analprint. The bad news is that this porcelain panopticon will remotely store what it learns about your fiber content, meaning that the cloud will now have possession of your stool in addition to your dating history, web-surfing habits, and genealogy. Once we have handed over our humanity to the water closet, how long before we have truly flushed our identities down the toilet? We are, all of us, undone by our own feculence. Meanwhile, an excerpt from Jamie Loftus’s Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs lays bare the sex lives of Wienermobile drivers, who bond with each other at an adult summer camp called Hot Dog High. Loftus reports that half the hot doggers on the road during 2020 ended up dating and enjoy a kinky dynamic with the lesser Nutmobile (shaped like a peanut instead of a frankfurter) drivers. As Loftus writes, “These are the facts as they’ve been presented to me, and you can’t be happy to know them.”


Hedgehog Fund

The co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog faces two and a half years in prison for insider trading charges related to the rollout of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy titles, which is hardly the first time a sixteen-bit hero has done hard time. Following the fallout of the console wars that devastated Tokyo’s urban centers, Japan’s prisons are filled with street fighters and ex-carters who have hit skid row. Yuji Naka, who was also one of the creative heads of Sega, will likely find himself paying out his debt to society alongside the likes of Star Fox, making toilet wine with Kirby, and manufacturing license plates with the dog from Duck Hunt. This all reminds us of our favorite finishing move from Mortal Kombat: causality. 


Cygnet Zero

What was once fair is now waterfowl in the New York village of Manlius: three teenagers have been charged with kidnapping their cherished swan, Faye, and devouring her. Faye’s three baby cygnets, also abducted, were rescued and will be cared for and returned to their pond, which is harrowing to read, but also it’s not as though there was a sign posted in front of the habitat that said DO NOT EAT THE SWAN, YOU MONSTERS. Canada, on the other hand, isn’t taking any chances in its public warnings and will soon be printing antismoking warnings on the side of cigarettes in both English and French. The best of these buzzkills, “POISON IN EVERY PUFF,” seems destined to become a collector’s item, alongside George Burns’s stogies, the Marlboro Man’s chaps, and Joe Camel’s ravaged lung.   


Total Recall Live

Taylor Swift fans reporting amnesia after attending the singer’s recent concerts may be experiencing short-term memory loss owing to the dream-like state and information overload induced by the show, according to music psychologists. Apparently, the mind can bear only so many costume changes, strobe lights, and props before it begins to strategically forget aspects of the spectacle, leaving fans of antiseptic contemporary pop music blinking, twitching, mind-wiped zombies, which is as close as they will come to being fans of contaminated contemporary heavy metal music. 


Nasty Habits

Proving that God only helps the dead, the exhumed body of a nun that shows a miraculous lack of decay has become a surprising tourist attraction for the town of Gower, Missouri. Celebrated as a “great testament to the Catholic faith” by visitors to the local convent, who discovered Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster’s preservation while attempting to move her corpse and have since put it on display, it seems an equally great testament to the excellent ventilation of Missouri tombs. Not so lucky, but equally petrified was the body of an Arby’s manager, found frozen in an icebox with a faulty lock after venturing inside and becoming trapped, an oversight for which her family is seeking $1 million in damages from the restaurant. This is what miracles have come to these days: the heavens would rather spare the carcass of a dead nun than bless a chain fast food company with basic building upkeep and protection of its employees. And after all, no savior goes to an Arby’s to be born; they may have the meats, but they don’t have the gametes.