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Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Lettuce Now Praise Famous Men

It’s not easy being green, but it beats leading a constitutional monarchy. UK prime minister Liz Truss’s forty-four-day reign of terror came to an end this week, with her resignation signaling more turmoil for Britain’s beleaguered Conservatives but excellent news for the head of lettuce that tabloid rag the Daily Star bet would outlast Britain’s latest ad-hoc lodestar. Outfitted in glasses, a wig, and the occasional eye mask, the piece of produce was given ten days to retain its crisp luster on a live video feed, which proved adequate to prevail over Truss, who fired her finance minister last week after her tax plan imploded, only to see her own shelf life expire five days later. In this salient triumph for anthropomorphic vegetation, the Liz Truss lettuce joins such political firebrands as the Enoch Powell zucchini, the William Howard Taft banana squash, and the Juan Perón Mr. Potato Head.


Show Me the Honey

Police carrying out an eviction in Western Massachusetts were attacked by bees this week, as a fifty-five-year-old beekeeper unleashed the fury of the hive on local deputies, one of which wound up in the hospital. Curiously, the vengeful beekeeper, who was arrested following the nigh-biblical assault, was not the person being evicted but rather some kind of roving spirit of justice who appears with an army of drones wherever the vulnerable are menaced by the powerful. It is high time that we enact solidarity with the insect kingdom and rise up with all things that pollinate and sting to mildly inconvenience our oppressors; the agents of division and hatred are nothing against the power of our love buzz


May the Forks Be With You

A San Francisco Bay-area bakery was briefly transformed into a hive of scum and villainy this week, when a six-foot bread sculpture of Star Wars’s Han Solo frozen in carbonite, dubbed “Pan Solo,” was unveiled by the One House Bakery and entered into the Downtown Benicia Main Street Scarecrow Contest. The yeasty bounty hunter is not the only monstrosity to broach competitive spectacle this month: a Minnesota man won Half Moon Bay’s World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off with a 2,560-pound gourd named “Maverick” that has beaten the North American record (Italy still leads worldwide), and voting ended for the USA Mullet Championships, which will soon crown a new victor. Qualifying manes still in the running include “The Wisconsin Waterfall,” “The Oregon Tail,” and the “Whistlin Kitty Chaser.” Meanwhile, scandal continues to blemish the winner of Fat Bear Week following voter fraud that saw legions of salmon sacrificed in the name of American exceptionalism. Like the west has a monopoly on corpulent ursidae anyway; we saw the same Ronald Reagan Red Scare ad you did.


Nursing a Grudge

A British nurse in northwest England, accused of the murder of seven infants under her care, faces a sensational trial in Manchester Crown Court, further vilifying an occupation that survived Nurse Ratched and Annie Wilkes. The betrayal of trust on the part of medical professionals is hardly consigned to Britain, as an obstetrician-gynecologist in Los Angeles was found guilty of sexual abuse this week after numerous allegations of misconduct emerged and cost his employer, the University of California, millions of dollars in settlements. Doctors who have widely condemned the actions of those who have besmirched their record for benevolent care include Doom, Lecter, and Frankenstein.  


Lay It Down, Clown

A clown wielding a samurai sword (or a samurai wearing a clown mask, your guess is as good as ours) burglarized a Poconos convenience store on October 13, demanding that the clerk on duty surrender their money or their life. As befits the most wretched cadre of God’s fools, this was far from the only newsworthy clown up to no good in recent memory: a Louisiana police officer has been seen with an inflatable Pennywise in the backseat of his car; the trial of a woman accused of a 1990 murder committed while dressed as a clown was delayed as clown sightings from the same area and time frame resurfaced; and a Clearwater, Florida, coulrophobe faced his fear by festooning his lawn with decorative jesters from hell for Halloween and topped them off with a thirty-five-foot “clown tunnel” that visitors must brave to reach the edge of the driveway. Fear and disquiet continue to trend in 2022.