copyright © 2003 Jeff Goode

Tangelo Alert!

by Jeff Goode

copyright © 2003

(Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, or someone just like him.)

Thank you, Regis. I have called this press conference, to announce that, as of 0900 hours this morning, the national terrorist threat level has been raised from...

(he has to look at his color chart)

Tangerine.... to Tangelo.

REPORTER: Excuse me, sir, what exactly does that mean? Tangelo?

Well, as you should know from the Threat Level Color Wheels and Paint Swatches which were distributed to all media outlets, the Tangelo threat level is... uh... slightly more threatened than you were already.... Um... But still, not as threatened as you will be the next time we raise it. While still leaving plenty of room to go to Red, the highest level, in the event that something actually happens.

REPORTER: So on this scale, "Red" is like going to "11" on the amplifier in that Spinal Tap movie?

That is correct. We will never go to Red until we know with an absolute certainty, that you, the general public, have already figured out that a terrorist event is already in progress.

REPORTER: Can you give us any details about this new threat?

What new threat?

REPORTER: The new threat that caused you to raise the threat level just now.

Oh, that. Oh. Well... the threat level was raised in response to a general awareness of a general threat to the general public.

REPORTER: Yes, but can you tell us anything specific?

I am not at liberty to do so at this time.

REPORTER: You're not at liberty? Then what do you expect us to do? How are we supposed to avoid an attack that you refuse to tell us anything about?

Well, uh, it is our opinion that when we raise the level of alert, when we raise the national consciousness about the level of attack, that in itself, is a deterrence. ... Just being more ready, being more prepared, is a deterrent in and of itself.

It's like when someone is about to punch you in the stomach, but you see it coming, so you're ready for it, you can brace for it.

REPORTER: Yes, but you still get punched in the stomach. It doesn't do anything to deter it. Shouldn't we be trying to prevent terrorist attacks?

All right, listen... It is a matter or public record that the vast majority of terrorist attackers are caught in the act, or captured after the fact, because of clues and evidence that came out during the attack itself. Explosive residue. Bullets lodged in the victims. Dark-skinned men attempting to flee the scene.

By taking overt actions against these terrorists, we might prevent the attack itself and eliminate any chance of ever bringing these men to justice.

Which means that it is a matter of national security that we must allow these terrorists to believe that their attacks are moving forward EXACTLY AS PLANNED. And continue to believe so until several weeks after the attacks, if that gives us the opportunity to take them into custody.

So in calling this press conference today, it is our sincere hope that, by raising the color of the threat level of terrorist attacks, this will send the general public into enough of a panic that when the terrorist attack does occur - which we hope it will - that they will be too stressed out to even think about blaming us for not warning them. Like they did in the tragic and preventable aftermath of 9/11.

REPORTER: So you admit that the events of September 11th were tragic and preventable?

No, I said the aftermath was preventable. All that blame and finger-pointing.

The next time we schedule a terrorist attack on this country, it is important that all of the blame for that attack be placed squarely where it belongs... on Iraq.

Or Korea, if we've already taken care of Iraq.

Or Iran, if we've already taken care of Korea.

REPORTER: Excuse me, sir, did you just say "the next time we plan a terrorist attack"?

Thank you, no more questions.