It Came from Madison Avenue

by Ogden the Hermit

And so it came to pass. And so it came to pass.

My name is Ogden; I come from the future. I have seen what is to come. I have seen the outcome of the 75th Super Bowl and the assassination of Gary Coleman.

I have seen the end of the world.

I know my own future: I will try to stop the end of the world. I will climb into a time machine built by the last known survivors of the Reign of Terror and I will travel back to the past to warn the people of Earth of what awaits them, to stop the destruction.

I will fail.

And then, years later, I will climb into the time ship again and travel back to the past again to warn the people of Earth of what waits them again, to stop the destruction again.

It’s always the same. You see, I am caught in a time circle; I have seen my past, my present, and my future many times. They are always the same. I have come back to warn you. I will fail.

I will die two years, six months and four days before my father will be born. Twenty-two years later, I will be born, and the whole mess will start all over again.

I will warn you now. You will think that I am mad. Everyone thinks that I am mad.

Anyway, here is my story:

And so it came to pass that the Reign of Terror began. No one saw it coming. No one felt it take hold. The best thing about the Terror is that it was, that is to say, it will be, painless. The saddest thing is that we can stop the Terror, but we will not.

What is the Terror?

Well, it’s advertising. That’s right—print, radio, and especially television commercials are actually an evil plot orchestrated by these great, scaly, one-eyed things from outer space … I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true. It all started back in 1978, when a bunch of guys from a company that I can’t name were abducted by these creatures. Upon returning to earth in early 1987, these traitors began, that is to say, they will begin, to take over the advertising industry. They became presidents, chairpersons, and even copy writers … that is to say that they will soon. These villains infected their coworkers as well … at least, they will infect them.

No, seriously.

Before long, the great, scaly, one-eyed things from outer space were ready to put their fiendish plan into action. The plan, as it so often is, was to take over the world. The process: brainwashing and hypnosis through subliminal messages in our own advertising industry.

Oh, it started off innocently enough—a few dumb situations, some bad dialogue, and an inane song or two; a few people absent-mindedly humming the Fruit Roll-Ups jingle for hours on end. But with typical science-fiction like expediency, it quickly snowballed into a dilemma in which the entire civilized world hung in the balance.

Yes, before long every human being on the planet had had his brain short-circuited by subliminal commercials. All across the globe people stood like drones, responding only to the orders that were barked at them from TV sets by head agents of the great, scaly, one-eyed things from outer space.

I never did catch their names.

A small band of us, all former professors at Temple University—who fired us when we spearheaded the school’s 56th teachers’ strike—managed to escape to a secluded area in the backwoods of Pennsylvania. For six years we labored diligently on a time machine that would allow one of us to escape back to the past to warn the people of Earth what awaited them, to stop the destruction.

I was just a Physical Education teacher. I wanted nothing to do with the whole mess … Unfortunately, I was also the last one left alive.

So, here I am, again. This is my warning, for good or ill. And so it came to pass. And so it will come to pass.

My name is Ogden; I come from the future.

Ogden the Hermit is a dangerous lunatic. Formerly a Physical Education major at Temple University, he is currently at large, as he is wanted by the police on three counts each of embezzling and indecent exposure. If you have any information as to his whereabouts, please contact your nearest law enforcement agency.