Jury Adds Drumroll

By Mo Macsai-Goren

“Now that drab, crushing silence before a group of strangers potentially alters the course of your life forever will be permeated by rhythmic hi-hats, bouncing polka beats, or a 26-minute recording of Drums/Space from the Grateful Dead’s 9/20/90 show.”

Ash Wednesday Once Again Proves There Are More of Them Than You Think

By David Colton

WEALTHY SUBURBS — As Fat Tuesday comes to a close and the city of New Orleans tries to give up the two lives lost at this weekend’s Mardi Gras festivities for lent, it’s time for everybody’s favorite religious group to remind you they exist.

That’s right, it’s Ash Wednesday! The one day of the year when people go to church on Wednesday and still make you feel bad for not going. 

Keep your eyes peeled for a massive, slow-walking group of sad-looking whites, potentially chanting as they advance toward city hall.

“I like putting the ash on my head because it reminds everyone of the persecution of our people,” said Timmy O’Boyle, whose parents spend more money on Notre Dame football tickets than their kids’ education.

Little Timmy isn’t alone either. Millions of Catholics across the country will today receive the sacred smudge from a priest that has been transferred to their church.

“The purpose of the cross smudge is, above all else, to indicate that you are different,” said Christopher Reilly, a single 34-year-old who teaches judgment and privilege to a roomful of children every week.

It’s easy to get swept into the joyous festivities, but make sure to take caution when approaching  a group of 25+.

Guy Who Calls Other Guys ‘Guy’ Not Good Guy

By David Colton

TENANTS OF THE TREES — Knocking back the second of two White Claws once stacked in his left hand, local associate analyst Mikey “Coors Heavy” Furlough took a step back and let the sounds of the cacophonous bar surrounding him take over.

By his side were the boys, each sporting their signature “going out” vest. But then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something.

He saw a young man wearing a light blue button-down and khakis. For Mikey, that only meant one thing — it was either Matt, Jack, Nick, Matt or Trevor.

“What’s up, guy?” shouted Mikey, desperately aching to assert himself over someone in any and every setting because his father will never love him.

Per usual, every straight man in the room’s head eagerly turned for the familiar call, but Coors Heavy was already locked in a warm embrace with Corey. Or was it Tristan? Maybe Jason?

“Oh, when Heavy said what’s good to that youth I knew he had finally found his apprentice,” said Chris Orwell, who also peaked in high school.

As soon as the duo broke their tender embrace, it became clear that Orwell was right, as the poor boy now had a massive, visibly heavy gold chain adorning his neck embossed with blue mountains.

Then, the ceremonial proceedings began.

Mikey pushed and shoved his way to the bar, hurling insults at every inferior man and encouraging his new pupil to do the same. When he finally got to the bar, Coors Heavy and the kid had left a wake of spilled long island iced teas and vodka cranberries.

The sweet, horrible smell hung in the air and just for a moment the room seemed to fall completely silent. The world vanished around the guy and his apprentice at the bar, a moment of pure and serene intimacy between two toxic straight man.  

Then, the bartender shattered that silence, and a new era was begun.

“Okay, I’ve got a Coors and a Coors Light”

Making It Onto Instagram Close Friends List Closest Thing Man Has To Thrill

By Mo Macsai-Goren

YOUR PHONE – Sparking joy in what would otherwise be yet another inevitable loss to the slow, unstoppable march of time, Area man Gregory Lippes successfully made it onto his acquaintance Kevin’s ‘Close Friends’ list on Instagram. Kevin, a longtime coworker and assumed friend of Lippes’, had only just updated the list to include a whole slew of new friends the hour before in a decision that would, unbeknownst to Kevin, make Gregory’s entire year. After three months of unemployment spent sitting quietly in the dark, Lippes went on record to say that making it onto Kevin’s list is kind of the only thing he has going for himself right now. In an interview conducted at 3PM at the Long John Silver’s where Lippes is unfortunately a regular, he said that he felt what could only be described as genuine human emotion for the first time in weeks after the initial thrill of finding out he was added to Kevin’s ‘Close Friends’ list. Although Lippes expressed that his case might have been an isolated anomaly, Gatekeeper reader polls suggest that every single Instagram user is only capable of experiencing excitement and joy if stimulated by likes or upon finding out they were added to a ‘Close Friends’ list of someone they sort of kind of know.

Spotify Wrapped Really Not Letting You Forget Breakup

By David Colton

YOUR PAST — Well, it’s that time of year again. Christmas lights are up, winter coats are on and it’s time to reflect on the challenges you failed to overcome in 2019.

As they do around this date every year, Spotify has released their annual “Year Wrapped” collection of data from your year of listening.

Once again, it’s painfully clear that the majority of time you spent listening to music was curled up into a ball in the corner of your studio apartment, crying into your AirPods case.

When you initially visited the site, you were looking forward to seeing your 2019 favorites like Lizzo, Post Malone and Billie Eilish.

Instead, you were met with a harsh wake-up call to the tune of the Boygenius EP. He didn’t even like Lucy Daucus, so it was sort of empowering to listen to right when the breakup happened, but over time it just made you sad.

It’s also obvious that he still shares your Spotify. I mean, unless you listened to 34 hours of Metallica. Don’t worry — even though everyone is sharing their fun, happy listening history and your #2 is that Sarah McLachlan dead animals song, nobody will reach out when you post that cry-for-help of a list.
You can rest assured that everyone cares far more about you seeing their list than anything actually having to do with you.

Sad Man Realizes He Will Never Know if He Can Fit in Air Vent

By David Colton

BUFFALO — The clock struck 1:57 as the low buzz of the Office Depot-style fluorescent lights filled the small, windowless office.

For Herman Berbel, it was a regular Saturday’s work as a Subaru Outback Warranty Specialist.

The office remained in its near-silent state for most if not all of the day as Herman sat perfectly still, moving only his finger to peruse the depths of the internet in a desperate yet feeble search for human connection.

The phone sat silent on his desk, its paint faded yet unblemished— evidence of years of customer satisfaction.

That’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.

Herman’s mind does not often wander, a lesson taught by many years of subdued, uneventful life. 

For a while he allowed himself one freedom. He would imagine that the square vent above the printer was actually a secret passageway to some far away world—a place where Subaru’s were plagued with transmission and suspension issues.

All Herman had to do was unscrew the four big bolts around the screen and he’d be free forever. 

And yet he knew he never would.

He’d have to get a ladder from somewhere, and there was no way he was going to buy a ladder. That guy who fixes roofs in the next office over would probably have one, but he probably doesn’t even know who Herman is. He would probably say yes if Herman asked to borrow a ladder, but he would probably want to be friends and hang out. Besides, Herman probably couldn’t even fit in there. The last thing he’d want is to get stuck in the vent without a way out, because he knew that’s where he’d die. If he got stuck he’d try calling for help, but not too loudly because he would sort of rather die than need to be rescued from an air vent while completely and utterly alone. 

So for now, he’s resigned to silence.

Hitchhiker by State Penitentiary Looks Like a Nice Guy

By David Colton

MESA, AZ — When Cynthia and Geraldo Tinklebody initially embarked on their journey across the state of Arizona, they didn’t think anything could slow them down.

After all, they were attempting to set the world record for longest mobile foreplay.

However, their romance on wheels took a sharp turn when the couple approached the state prison.

“Cynthia always gets prison sweats when we get in the vicinity,” said Geraldo Tinklebody, in between full handfuls of Haribo Starmix, “But it was Stephen’s round face and square glasses that really caught our eye.”

Apparently the pair has an eye for nice, wholesome men, according to a pamphlet they made me take.

“Oh, Stephen had those ‘Puppy Dog-Who-At-One-Time-Committed-A-String-Of-Felonies-And-Evaded-Authorities-For-Nearly-Two-Years Eyes,” said Cynthia Tinklebody, who donned a “Dogfighters for Trump” shirt.

“That thumb was stickin’ up like it belonged there — I knew in that moment that he was a good man.”

Cynthia apparently didn’t have to do much persuading when it came to Geraldo, who is a prolific member of the Dogfighters for Trump Facebook group.

The pickup happened directly next to a “do not pick up hitchhikers” sign — a message Geraldo said has more to it than meets the eye.

“Those disgusting signs were placed by MSNBC around this great country, and it sickens me to see people drive past those brave men every day,” said Geraldo, who has vowed to travel the country and pick up every prisonside rideseeker he sees.

Flu Shot Given Without Chaser

By Mo Macsai-Goren

Disappointment overcame Greg Holmes early Monday morning after the 19-year-old found out that the complimentary shots being given out by the Student Health Center did not come with a chaser. Holmes admitted he was perplexed as he walked back with Nancy, the lovely Nurse Practitioner to receive what he though would be a little midday pick-me-up. “She told me she was getting the alcohol Swab, which I’ve never tried, but it sounds tight,” he said as Nancy rolled up his sleeve for some reason. “Hopefully I get Fireball. It’s dope that our school does this for us.” Upon being swabbed and immediately impaled by some sort of long, pump-like device, Holmes began to doubt he was going to get fucked up at the health center at all. “I’m not sure about this,” he said. “They haven’t offered me a chaser or anything, either. Also, that shit hurt.” Holmes’ queries were squashed by the Minions-themed band-aid that he could not stop talking about for the rest of the day.

Sex Playlist Also Lobby Playlist

By Mo Macsai-Goren

The Lobby – Shoppers and Employees alike were shocked to find “Wet The Bed” by Usher being broadcast to the entire atrium of 2038 Randolph St. as early as 7:00 in the morning. Followed with “Slow Motion” and then “Climax,” management’s new playlist turned heads as people made their way into work. Logan Piedmont, the building manager who clearly got laid last night, was seen smugly nodding his head as he made him morning rounds.

“This playlist has changed everything,” Piedmont said to workers as he beamed with a soft smile not unlike the first sunshine after a lengthy winter. “I figured it was time to spice things up in the lobby. I feel alive for the first time in my entire life.”

Dewey Nasel, Piedmont’s longtime partner, was not quite as enthused by the sudden change in ambiance.

“I think he somehow got his playlists confused and is too proud to admit that he was wrong,” Nasel said. “Last night he played “Non-Intrusive Marimba Concerto #3″ in bed and claimed to love every second of it.”

And love it he did. In a private interview session scored by SZA, Piedmont went into graphic, medically inaccurate detail about what ambient lobby music does to his stinky little body.

Ultimately, Piedmont continued to smugly play sex playlist staples like Rihanna, The Weeknd, and Art Garfunkel’s solo work until the building emptied at the end of the workday.

Six More Weeks of Spooky Bullshit Imminent After Tim Burton Sees Shadow

By David Colton

ELM STREET — As Halloween approaches, Americans have once again ritualistically begun to go through the annual tradition of humanizing murder and suffering in the name of free chocolate.

Just as the shelves of Target seamlessly transitioned from summer vibes to fake spiderwebs and massive bags of candy, the American people generally shift from Halloween décor to Thanksgiving and even Christmas relatively quickly.

Consumers around the world keep their eyes on one shadowy little hole waiting desperately for a signal from their fearless leader: famous director and renowned strangeman man Tim Burton.

In the days leading up to the made-up excuse to get drunk and wear Harry Potter robes on a weekday, the entire American populace anxiously anticipates Mr. Burton slinking out of his little puppet-sized home and walking to the Mobil down the street, where he indulges in the ceremonial rotisserie beef taquito — that is, if spooky season is nearly over.

The other option, which has proven disastrous several times in the past decade, is that Mr. Burton slinks out of his home and is instantly attacked by the ghost of his former self — in particular, the version of himself that is responsible for “Frankenweenie.”

“I’ve seen that guy who made Frankenweenie before, and let me tell you: Tim is not that person anymore,” said Rynault Throes, a Burton mega-fan and apprentice to the owner of his fan club merch shop. “This is going to be a long autumn to say the least.”