It was a cold night in January. I was feeling the effects of constant criticism and constant venom from the presale ticket fiasco. I was tired, shaky, and out of hope. I called my friend, the Commander of the Neptunian UFO Force, to ask him to help me out with my blahs.

“I have to admit something”, I told the Commander. “You know, I think I know why Jonathan Swift was such a misanthrope. He dealt with people for a long time. The more I see of humanity, the less I like it”.

“What’s the matter”? asked the Commander.

I sighed as I hurried up towards October Square on the way for lemonade drinks at the Zooropa Bar. “You heard about the screw-ups at the presale, or have you been in hibernation?”

“Oh, it’s been all over the Interplanetary News Network. We even dispatched some UFO’s for a meeting with PM. There’s supposed to be a statement soon”.

“OK, you must be aware of the unbelievable things some people have been saying”, I said. “Web sites are being pulled offline. This punishes the innocent as well as the guilty. It hurts us if we were on the dark side of the moon during the presale or whatever! Hell, I was trying to recover from a stress-induced virus and wasn’t even on the computer! What’s the deal, are we all scum? They’re treating us like it. I mean, hell, they might as well put our all of our heads on a chopping block and cut away, the way they do if you’re caught committing adultery in Saudi Arabia, It makes about as much sense”.

“OK, here’s what we’ll do. We’ll tell PM that people are acutely unhappy with their situation. You don’t think U2 deliberately set out to screw their fans, do you?”

I headed up towards October Square. By the time I got there I could have cleaned up the place’s lemonade supply there because I was so dehydrated. I collapsed onto a chair at the bar. “I’d like some lemonade, please”, I said.

“How are you?” asked the friendly Neptunian who was on duty at the time.

“Nerve-shot, exhausted and without hope”, I said. “It’s been a tough day. First there were problems with the presale. You know, they just about have to work with these corporate monsters because they monopolize the ticket market. Do you know, the United States Government actually looked into breaking up Ticketbastard, and didn’t have the guts to do it? That’s not right, they’re a monopoly. Dave Marsh has written a great article about how their screwy enterprises. I’m an artist, not a businessperson, I don’t completely understand it.  But I do know that Dave Marsh isn’t exactly a writer who particularly likes to cut U2 any slack. He doesn’t like them. He particularly disliked PopMart. I do know this has me so depressed I can’t listen to HTDAAB anymore. It’s killing me. ”

“I remember that”, he said, pouring the lemonade. “He called it a ‘flop’. Now, you know that these presale screw-ups don’t exactly reflect well on the band. In fact, it makes them look really bad”.

“That’s my point”, I said. “I don’t think they deliberately did this. That would be shooting themselves in the foot. Who wants to do that? They must be absolutely gutted. And they’ll apologize and clean up the mess. Just give them time. We’re such an instant gratification oriented society the minute you don’t get exactly what you want, you scream bloody murder”.

“Exactly”, he said. “Enjoy your lemonade”.

“Thanks”, I said, handing him two dollars.

“How’s your Calculator Man?” he asked.

“He’s still the list loudmouth. I think he must like the attention. He’s still calculating the allegedly declining quality of Bono’s voice. He claims he’s not calculating. Oh, no, not with calculators attached to each wrist, one around his neck and another one at his belt buckle. They’re just for show, huh? Yeah, right”.

Just then my Interplanetary Cellular Phone rang. “Patricia” said the Commander of the Neptunian UFO Force”. “We’ve just finished our work here with”


“They screwed up. There are plans underway for people who tried for tickets to get their subscription fees refunded. That’s all they can do at this point”.

“That sounds reasonable enough” I said. “This was their first online sale, and it was more like a lottery.”

“People have two days to get their refunds”.

“OK, fair enough. I don’t know what else they can do. Only hindsight is 20/20.”

“Well there’s still bitching going on the lists”, he said. “Some people want blood and guts. It’s venomous. And you know what the result will be? Saturnians will come in here, shut down every arena and ban music, that’s what! They’re as puritanical as the Taliban. Splitting and bickering weakens us. Unity strengthens us. Some people just live and die off of cutting other people down, belittling them, telling them they’re assholes to their face. They don’t do them the favor of being civil at all”.

“Oh, brother”, I said. “I know the type. I couldn’t have pleased some of those judges at the medieval re-enactment competition if I’d written Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini’s work myself. They tear up everyone and their brother. No, they’re very uncivil people, very rude. So, the UFO’s are headed back towards Neptune?”

“Yes, they are”, he said. “Not everyone got what they wanted. But there’s no way they could.”

“Let’s at least drink some more lemonade”, I said. “Tomorrow’s another day at the studio. I’ll try to do something about this depression; maybe I’ll paint a picture called ‘Stop the Madness’”.

We all drank another round of lemonade, and then I was on my way, on my way home to people I could at least trust not to make me feel worse.


Story 1 February 2005, by Patricia M. Hefner