Alaska: Land of Unspeakable Evil!
by Jim Knipfel
"You gotta help me out, here!"
It was a ragged, wild voice I didn't even come close to recognizing. Still, it sounded like it had potential, like a scene that would open a Hitchcock film. Two hours later, if I played my cards right, I might well be on a plane to Honduras.
"What seems to be the trouble?"
"I have been kidnapped by the state of Alaska!"
Now, normally, I would hang up after a line like that. I get plenty of crank calls at work, and usually things are busy enough that I simply don't have time to deal with them. But it had been quiet for the last hour or so, and I was a little bored. Apart from that, there was something strangled and desperate about the voice on the other end, something that led me to believe that he really meant it. I decided to push him a little bit, just to see what I could find out (as well as for my own cheap amusement).
"Uh-huh. So...uh, why would Alaska want to kidnap you?"
"First they raped my wife--"
"The state of Alaska did."
"Yeah. Yeah. Then they tried to blame me for it."
"And then they blew up the rest of my family with a car bomb in Colorado. This was all back in '89."
"Then they arrested me for that, too."
From the noises around and behind him, it was obvious that he was in some kind of institutional setting. Whether it was a madhouse, a prison or a train station, I couldn't be sure.
"So, tell me, uh, sir...why, exactly are you calling here to tell me all this?"
"Because you're the only place that can help me. My wife, after all this first happened, wrote you a bunch of letters--"
"This all took place in Alaska and Colorado, but your wife wrote letters...to us?"
"No, Alaska only came in later."
"When they attacked your wife. That was in Alaska?"
"No, that was in California."
"So...Alaskans attacked your wife in California, blew up the rest of your family in Colorado, kidnapped you, and now you're calling New York for help--because your wife wrote some letters here."
"Why do you think she wrote, uh, here?"
"Because she knew you guys had all the right political connections."
"Well, that much is true." I shrugged my shoulders in confusion to no one in particular.
"Yeah, well, see, I need you guys to help me out. They're tryin' to pin all this shit on me--"
"When, all the while, it was Alaska that was doing it."
"Yeah, right, and then I heard that you were looking for me."
"Now you're saying that we were looking for you."
This was starting to get on my nerves. Worse still, it was starting to get boring. That's the thing about most paranoid schizophrenics--sure, they're a lot of fun at first, a real laugh-riot, but before too long, they become unbearably dull. After listening to him ramble on for the next five minutes or so, I told him he had the wrong number and gave him the Voice's number instead. It sounded like a story they could really sink their teeth into.
I didn't think much of anything else about my Alaska-besieged friend until two days later. I'd been knocked down by some sort of viral invective laying siege to my alimentary canal. Finally, on Sunday, I felt enough strength to step out into the world again, if only to get a newspaper, without worrying (much) about needing to find a bathroom at a moment's notice.
Standing outside the newsstand was one of the resident neighborhood loons. Any time of the day or night, any day of the week, no time off for holidays or vacations, this guy was always in front of this particular newsstand. I'd never been able to place his ethnicity, exactly--something between East Indian and Puerto Rican and Irish--but he was always there and always talking. To the guy inside the newsstand, to cops passing by, to anyone buying a paper. I always lent half an ear to his patter whenever I passed in the hopes of catching something good. Sunday morning, I finally did--though nobody else would've known.
He'd cornered some poor slob, poking a crazyman finger into the newspaper his victim was holding up like a shield.
"...and Alaska, man...up in Alaska bad things are happening...bad things...they're killing people up in Alaska, and you never read about it here," he said, tapping the paper again for emphasis.
I wanted to pause, to see if maybe my little shaman knew anything about kidnappings or car bombs, but I could feel my lower bowels begin their slow kindle again. It was time to head home.
Alaska. Damn! No one would ever suspect Alaska of such heinous crimes. It seems so benign up there, so almost-Canadian. And you never hear about serial killers or car bombers in Canada.
Yet here I was hearing exactly those things about Alaska from two independent sources. That's the old journalist's dictum, isn't it? Get the same story from two independent sources, and it's a fact? Well here we had the same story ("Bad News Up In Alaska!") from two independent sources. Granted, both sources probably heard Satanic messages coming out of Buffalo Bob's mouth on the old Howdy Doody Show. In fact, both of them probably still watch the Howdy Doody Show, whether or not either has access to a television.
But that's not the issue. This stage of the game, I'm not sure what the issue is. Something's going on up there. Maybe I'd be finding myself on a plane to Fairbanks--or Nome--instead of Honduras.
Maybe what Alaska's doing is pulling an old Castro trick and sending all their loonies down here. Or maybe--just maybe--they're lobotomizing folks who saw and knew too much, and then sending them down here, because they knew that nobody would take their ramblings seriously. I don't know what sort of Freemason stranglehold exists in Alaska, but you can bet that they're involved somehow.
Unless of course it's all part of an ingenious invasion plan with the psychos being sent on ahead as a kind of reconnaissance force. Once they report back that the lower 48ers are all softened up, then the other ten, twelve people who live in Alaska will swarm down upon us like angry hornets in parkas.
My friend Kevin suggests that maybe it's just some guy who happened to be named "Alaska" whose doing all these bad things, but I'm not sure I go along with that, given what my two sources had to say. He also suggested that maybe that's where the government is hiding its concentration camps and that these two fellows were escapees. I can't very well attest to that either, but who knows?
Kevin himself seemed to have his doubts at first, but when I talked to him the following day, he was a believer.
"I was in the copy shop last night, getting some fliers made," he told me. "And standing next to me at the counter was this guy going over a sheet of twelve, what were obviously fake, I.D. cards. Each one with his picture on it. So I'm looking at these things, thinking that maybe it's a racket I should get in on--but then I looked closer at what was written on each card, and you know what they said?"
"'University ... of Alaska.'"
America's been needing a new conspiracy for some time now, one that could really grab the public's attention. The Kennedy assassinations ran out of gas years ago. Despite the best efforts of Fox television, nobody apart from the fanatics seems to care much about the Roswell Incident. The Kurt Cobain murder theory never really caught on in the first place. So perhaps now is exactly the time to start taking seriously the case of ... Alaska: Land of Evil.
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"Alaska: Land of Unspeakable Evil!" copyright
1996 by Jim Knipfel. Published originally in the NYPress.