To celebrate Halloween, readme decided to go through a new haunted house it found, known as the “Haunted House for the 21st Century.” The outside looked nice enough, until a motion-activated light suddenly turned on, illuminating a foreclosure sign. Feeling a growing sense of dread, readme bravely entered.
The first room had a handful of people sitting around watching one of the numerous spinoffs of Paranormal Activity. The fact that people still watch those things was scary enough, but then one by one, the movie-watchers began coughing. readme backed away, but not before hearing one of them gasp, “I’ve got ebola…”
The next room had a couch fort built in one corner, where a group of men and women in khaki and camo clutched guns to their chests. “Don’t come any closer!” they shouted shrilly. “We don’t want to get the ebola! Or the gay! Or the science!” Sidling along the wall, readme made it to the other door with only a warning shot.
Heart pounding, readme was reassured when it saw that the next room wasn’t too scary. Just two old men in suits, staring at each other over a chessboard. It wasn’t until readme noticed the unmoving grandfather clock behind them, with the hands point to just before midnight, which was marked “DOOMSDAY.” The pendulum was marked with the atomic symbol, and each of the chess players had a nametag: one was labeled Uncle Sam, and the other, simply Comrade. readme jumped when its watch beeped the hour, and it moved on with a nuclear sense of dread.
At the next juncture, there was a choice of two doors. To the left was the path for non-whites, and to the right was for whites. readme, being a black-and-white newspaper, was unsure which to choose, until it caught a glimpse of a police officer with a gun waiting in the dark beyond the left path. readme quickly scuttled towards the whites door, not wanting to know what was beyond the other threshold.
After a truly uneventful hallway, readme came into a room full of sand. Figures wearing black robes and waving knives were shouting something about “Death to America,” but what really raised readme’s pulse was the robotic snake that crawled up the side of the sand pile readme was standing on.
Finally, the end of the haunted house approached. However, before exiting, there was an alcove containing stacks of hundred-dollar bills, piles of precious gemstones, and a squalling baby that appeared to be someone’s firstborn. The sign dangling above proclaimed that this treasure trove was the amount you owed, beginning six months after you graduated from the haunted institution.