October 1, 2002

popsicle service announcement

Schwan’s ice cream machines have been placed in strategic locations about campus, and while they currently sit idle and hum to themselves, it is inevitable the machines will one day awaken from their slumber and conquer all students under a reign of bloodshed.

Perhaps some explanation is in order. Back in the days of my surly youth I attended a high school that invested in a single ice cream machine. My friends and I would gather around and worship its clever design for delivering iced goodness to the masses. Why, a coffin-freezer with a motorized lid that would pop when you made your selection! A vacuum hose on a grid system that would drop into the box of your desired ice treat, lift it out and drop it in the cushioned vend drawer! Who could help not to look at this device and revel in the infinite ingenuity of the human spirit?

Well, us, for one. The honeymoon with our ice cream machine was short lived. We soon realized that the beast was greatly underpowered, and witnessed many a dropped treat that did not make it to the drawer. Sometimes it would shudder and demand you make another selection. Other times it would repeat the operation so many times it would just give up and swallow your money.

In the realm of role-playing there is a ghastly enemy known as the mimic. The mimic looks like a treasure chest, but when opened it reveals a space lined with teeth. You then notice the emeralds on the lid are not jewels at all, but sickly green eyes that strike fear into the very depths of your soul. The surprise your half-elf experiences always guarantees the mimic gets first strike, where it wastes no time in biting off your hand. You get no treasure. You get no magic sword with +3 against social anxiety disorders. You get a surprise battle with a fscking treasure chest.

The ice cream machine is no machine at all, but a Mimic. It promises goodness but brings pain and suffering in the forms of frustration and lost gold pieces. We assumed it was a passive Mimic that would not attack unless provoked.

We were wrong.

One day we journeyed back to the vending machines to find the floor littered with homework. At the top of every sheet was a name: Baraquett. He was nowhere in sight, and wasn’t seen for the rest of the week. The only logical conclusion was that the Mimic devoured Baraquett.

We realized then that the Mimic was an obvious danger to the sanctity of our high school. Our party started ritualistic journeys to the Mimic every day to lay down peace offerings. Often times our gifts were monetary. Other times we gave it penciled chord changes to Dixieland songs. The attacks ceased as we displayed our faith.

Then the Baraquett clones started showing up. Two weeks after the attack we went from no Baraquett at all to a ubiquitous Baraquett that would be seen multiple times during passing, by multiple people, on opposite ends of the school. The Mimic had produced a zombie army of Baraquetts that would be unstoppable if we couldn’t find a level five cleric.

Our high school did not offer classes on clericism, nor did we have extracurricular “turn undead” activities. UMD does have clerical staff, but they’re not trained kill creatures of the night. If these Mimics are able to clone their zombie hordes we will be defenseless against them.

So our only responsibility is prevention? Unfortunately, no. You are no doubt aware of the dead souls drifting aimlessly through the hallways. Their eyes are hollow and unfocused, their spirits sucked dry. Are these Mimic clones? Was the Mimic responsible for these sad husks of skin? We don’t know yet. We do know, however, that these dead souls are a considerable threat, as their weak minds can be easily compelled to the evil will of the Mimic.

With all these considerations, you are no doubt wondering how to identify your local Mimic. The University has been clever enough to disguise these black hulking beasts under an orgy of colorful decals. The main image shows popsicles breaching through the ice of an arctic landscape… or perhaps they are supposed to depict popsicle daisycutters dropped from the sky to eliminate any human resistance to the Mimic-zombie movement.

Either way, it shows lots of ice to make you yearn for a cold treat of the damned. No penguins and no polar bears are in sight, but that is probably just as well. Polar animals aren’t evil incarnate and would detract from the popsicle-ridden landscape

Have you ever seen pictures of a penguin community? There’s hundreds of those things, all huddled and standing and going BRAAK BRAAK or whatever sound it is that penguins make. Emperor penguins are four feet tall. I know people that aren’t even four feet tall.

Just think if a polar bear appeared on the horizon and all the penguins got together. “Ok, see that guy? He think he gonna waltz in here and eat a couple of us, but he ain’t gonna know what happen!” The polar bear would approach silently, lunge at an unsuspecting victim, and suddenly he’d have hundreds of sharp penguin beaks latched onto his hide. The bear would run and howl and shake to no avail; the wrath of the penguin community is too strong. The birds would bring down the bruin no problem, and they wouldn’t need to hunt for weeks.

Penguins ate all the polar bears that used to live in Antarctica. The bears in the Great North are lucky they don’t have penguins to deal with. Penguins deck themselves out in black because they have nothing to hide from. Polar bears are the weak animal. They’re the ones with camouflage. They’re the ones who live in fear.

So long as the Mimics lurk among us, we will all live in fear.