THE KILLER SMARM
Once a killer smarm invaded an average home in an average neighborhood. The unfortunate victims of the smarm did everything they could to keep it out, but their efforts were in vain. As smarms always do, this one found a way around every door and under every window in a buzzing, shapeless mass that never rested in its search for a way to reach and overwhelm the family inside with a smothering attack. The killer smarm was related to the common honey-producing variety but also exhibited traits that required forensic pathologists to expand their list of potentially lethal factors to include even more saccharine ones, for example:
up-close-and-personal testimonials by athletes with millions in endorsements that “I’m doing all this for little Joey Whatshisname, who died in such a tragic accident and is looking down now and cheering for me, I know, from up there in poster-child heaven” letters to the president from grade-schoolers on how to conduct foreign policy read out to standing ovations during a State of the Union Address decorating tips from YouTube divas for tying yellow ribbons to just about anything fawning TV profiles of tuff-but-cute teen rebels lipsyncing the lyrics to the runaway hit “Everythin’ Sucks ’cept Me” gooey greeting card verse by prize-winning poets down on their gift greatest easy-listening hits by Beethoven, as they’ve never been heard before! “starving-artist” copies of Van Gogh’s self-portrait (the one with-out the ear!) intense, whispery mediums channeling advice from prehistoric reptiles on sprucing up your aura, digging for buried treasure in your backyard, or just getting your personal angel to pay attention to you when it matters most local TV morning news from the award-winning duo of Chummy and Chatty, with “Hey guys, coming up after the commercial break, we’ll have heartrending pictures of the latest humanitarian disaster, then the weekend hurricane report from Chuckles our Witty Weatherperson trying to stand up in the wind and rain (it’ll be a hoot), followed by another inspiring installment of ‘Pint- Sized Heroes—Ya Gotta See This!’ and don’t forget to text us your comments on our parent company’s two-part Television World Event entitled ‘Celebrity Heartbreaks’ and, of course, a shout-out to all you guys out there to keep sending us those pics and videos of adorable kittens stuck in trees. We promise to air every last one of them!”
The list continued for page after page after page. When rescue units finally broke into the house and found the victims, it was difficult to tell the adults from the children. All were covered with the same sticky-sweet glop, and all had the same taut grins stretched across grotesquely swollen, pancake-shaped faces. There was nothing to do at that point but to add these latest unfortunates to the already bursting files labeled “The Smiley-Face Dead.” The killer smarm, as feared, had moved on to its next victims.
Copyright © 2003-2004, revised 2008, by Geoffrey Grosshans