Shoggoths: Do You Have Yours? — Predictions for 2009

I know it's not 2009! However, at the beginning of 2009, Winnipeg's Uptown invited me to share my “predictions” for the then-new year.

I have always been ahead of my time. I was one of the first people to decry penguins (one day you'll learn why) and I was broke long before the current economic crisis. My status as a prophet remains unchallenged – as many as nine eyeballs turn to my Haiku Horoscopes every week — so who better to prepare you for the coming horrors of 2009?

On January 19, 2009, President George W. Bush — having not done enough — will take one last stab at the cat and trigger no less than two apocalypses. First, he will perform secret rites to return the dreaming god Cthulhu to life. Then he will repeal the laws against zombie uprisings. President-elect Obama will decline to take office as planned the following day, citing “better things to do,” and Cthulhu itself will take power, unelected. (Who will stop it? You?)

What can you do to survive this period of extreme turmoil?

Invest in shoggoths

A shoggoth is “a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train — a shapeless congerie of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming” (H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness).

One of the great things about shoggoths is their propensity for crushing penguins, but there are other reasons you should invest in them. Although they seem like big freaks, shoggoths actually represent the pinnacle of bioengineering, construction drones created eons ago by the Elder Gods.

Shoggoths are highly valued by President Cthulhu. A lot of your tax dollars will fund research to improve shoggoth biotechnology — research that might be conducted by other shoggoths! It's a win-win situation (if you're a shoggoth or someone investing in shoggoths). Your participation in this growth industry will fund another activity that is less lucrative but more necessary for survival.

Have your brain removed

We all know what zombies put in picnic baskets — human brains. As long as you have a brain in your head, you will be a target for zombies. And since zombie uprisings are no longer illegal, you have to worry about things that make you a target for zombies.

If you have purchased and hypnotized your own guardian shoggoth by now, great — but even so, the safest thing is to have your brain removed, placed into a vat of fluids that allow it to live and function, and put that vat in a safety-deposit box.

“But how can I live without a brain?” you ask. Easy. The brain-jar and your empty skull are wired for mental transmissions from one to the other, meaning your brain is safe from zombies but has power over your body via remote-control. It's the perfect solution. Plus, you've got a safety-deposit box now — the perfect place to store your growing, shoggoth-generated riches.

Avoid the Middle East

With a strong shoggoth portfolio and your delicious brain safely distanced from your tender body, you'll want to spend your time avoiding the Middle East. This won't be easy. The Middle East is in the news a lot. It crops up in conversation. Your natural curiosity will lead to thoughts such as, “I wonder what the Middle East is really like?” But avoid the Middle East.

The place you most want to avoid is the area directly around my house. That's right — the shoggoth-free, zero-zombies area surrounding my earthly paradise in the Middle East, where I recline on feathered pillows, chatting with Barack Obama, attended by nubile and buxom servants. Don't kid yourself, that's the real war zone.

Look, the Middle East doesn't need you and your brainless friends clogging it up with your shoggoths and whatnot. It's got its own problems — such as wondering what to do with all this oil revenue. Investing in shoggoths just creates more money — and more money equals more problems, as a notorious economist once theorized. Keep your troubles to yourself, and good luck surviving 2009.

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Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at

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