Joe: The Times would like to update our readers on the condition of Moe “Tiny,” Schlemiel. Moe is expected to make a near full recovery. His pineal gland, while significantly shrunken, will likely return to its normal size in the coming months. The effects of surreality exposure will gradually diminish. For the present, Moe enjoys the strange combinations of off-key chords which exposed individuals favor. Current research suggests enjoying this “surreal,” music is unlikely to prolong his illness. He has begun working on a novel, but as is typical, he is unable to write in a single tense. Slowly, however, the shaking on the left side of his body is residing as the two hemispheres of his brain began to sync up again. Doctors are pushing saline solution and the cooks are putting plenty of marzipan in his food. We at the Times think we speak for both ourselves and our readers when we wish him a quick and complete recovery.

In part two of our expose, I will examine the second batch of articles printed in the Times. Roberto Piccolo was absent for this cycle, chasing down a lead in Arizona. Reports of a powerful homemade surreality engine drew him there, but his trip turned out to be fruitless. The homemade surreal engine was nothing more than a social media hoax, taking him out of this cycle.

The article “Keep Your Animals Inside,” which I wrote, represents the first tendrils of this affair that reached the general public. While only small animals were affected, the sudden increase in global surreality could be measured across countries. While strongest at areas near fault lines, the unexpected rise would provide a strong baseline to measure the global vanishing of surreality later.

“Keep Your Animals Inside,”: Dangerous Levels Of Surreality Detected By Joe Kierlskegrienger

If you keep a surreality counter inside your home, chances are it kept you up all last night with its clicking. Indeed, moderate levels of surreality have been reported all over the globe. This poses a particular threat to small animals, such as chihuahuas, birds, and rodents, whose brains are unable to cope with surreality. Humans, of course, are well adapted to surreality, and you may even find it pleasurable. “Keep your animals inside,” says Center for Disease Control spokesman John Ramirez. “If possible, sprinkle salt and marzipan by the doorways and windows.” These countermeasures are, of course, necessary only for the small animals. Stay safe.

Joe: Insects are immune to the effects of surreality. In nature, the effects of widespread surreality begin to manifest higher up the food chain. Cat owners may notice an uptick in the amount of rodents their pets bring back. This is not due to an increase in prowess on the part of the cat. Rather, surreality has overloaded the pineal glands of most small rodents, and the cat is retrieving the disabled creatures.

Humans have a different experience with surreality. The tell tale signs of surreality exposure - difficulty maintaining tenses in speech and the enjoyment of strange sounds - are usually interpreted as being pleasurable. Nonetheless, John Ramirez here suggests taking basic countermeasures. The use of marzipan and salt presents a reasonable defense against low grade surreality. This technique can be verified with a personal surreal counter, which functions much like a geiger counter.

Looking back, this increase in global surreality should have been a warning sign of what was to come, and more importantly, what we avoided. I should have put the pieces together earlier. The Servant of the Hyper Mundane had already sent in his letter warning us of planal fusion. I should have wondered what would power the portable surreal engine.

Introducing The Portable Surreal Engine By Moe “Tiny,” Schlemiel

The fine folks at the Rise Together scientific corporation have done it again. “We’re almost ready for widespread production,” says head scientist Linda Peterson. The organization is on the hunt for surreal objects to power these portable surreal engines. Once this shortage is solved, you can expect to be able to purchase one within a matter of weeks. “We think,” Dr. Peterson says, “That we are very close to finding hi- [sic], I mean, a source to power these engines very soon.”

Joe: I wonder what went through Moe’s head as he spoke to Dr. Linda Peterson. Peterson, of course, being the architect behind the portable surreal engine, and as we now know, a proponent of planal fusion. To fuse the surreal plane and our real plane - this was the goal of the Rise Together Corporation, spearheaded by Dr. Peterson. She appears to have deceived Moe here. He writes that they are looking for “objects,” to power the portable surreal engines. This is incorrect. They were in fact looking for a person, called a fountain head. Peterson’s slip of the tongue confirms this. And here we hit a part of the story that falls out of the light. We know very little about how they overcame this difficulty and created power for the portable surreal engines. Later, we will see how the Servant powered his short lived hyper mundange engine, but the Times was unable to track the new source of surreality.

One has to wonder about the endgame of the portable surreal engines. It would appear the idea was to send them out, then activate them remotely all at once. The resulting surreality spike would, as the secret scientists thought, trigger planal fusion. Of course, if you managed to get your hands on a portable surreal engine, you know by now that the surreality inside has been neutered. No surreality is left to be found anywhere.

While we aren’t sure who the Rise Together fountainhead was, or where exactly they found them, we do know how they searched for them. Rather than look for the fountainhead, Peterson chose to draw the fountainhead to the Rise Together Corporation. The faults ooze surreality naturally, and so Rise Together began to sponsor the fault-parties.

CREATIVITY BLOSSOMS AT THE FAULT by Moe “Tiny,” Schlemiel, Surreal Times Reporter

The events at the San Andreas fault should need no introduction. What began as a series of impromptu parties has evolved into one of the greatest gatherings of creative minds this reporter has ever heard of. Indeed, Woodstock pales in comparison. Short stories float through the crowds. It is rare to hear only one song being composed. Impromptu stages are erected and filled non-stop. Similar gatherings have been reported at the Alpine Fault in New Zealand and surrounding the Central African Shear Zone, as well as other faults. If you are a creative sort, get in your car and come join us! All food, alcohol, and other substances graciously provided by the Rise Together scientific corporation.

Joe: Moe is inseparable from this affair. And occasionally, as I’m sure Moe would agree, his reporting was used by outside parties to manipulate our audience. Here is one such occasion. “... one of the greatest gatherings of creative minds this reporter has ever heard of.” It reads like a PR piece, and largely it is. The Rise Together Corporation clearly had a message to push. In order to attract the surreal fountainhead, in order to power the portable surreal engines, the fault-parties had to be as attractive as possible. This meant alcohol and drugs, as well as total creative expression. The Rise Together Corporation managed to supply these things at numerous locations around the globe. The fountainhead could just as likely be Armenian as American. Wherever the birthplace of the fountainhead, the conditions Rise Together created were sure to draw them out.

After this article, Moe remained at the San Andreas Fault to report for the Surreal Times. This put him at the scene of the extraplosion (neither an explosion nor an implosion). But just as the Rise Together Corporation schemed to draw out the surreal fountainhead, so too did the Servant put feelers out for the hyper-mundane fountained. One feeler was published in this newspaper.

CLASSIFIEDS: Accountant Wanted By Jonathan Smith Johnson

Seeking accountant. Must be okay with long, boring tedious work for at least five days a week. Pay mediocre. If interested, contact management of this fine newspaper.

Joe: No one was killed in the extrasplosion. Moe and several others were hospitalized for surreality exposure. But someone was killed in order to create the extrasposion, and his name was Ryan Patrick Johnson. Johnson’s DNA was found scattered all over the site of the explosion, and his mangled body was found at a hotel not far away. What was Johnson doing in all this? Why was he involved? He was drawn in by this classifieds ad. The Servant of the Hyper-Mundane drew Johnson in with this innocuous ad, designed to appeal to only the most mundane, joyless, rote type of person. He then murdered Johnson and used his body to power the first hyper-mundane engine. But that puts things slightly out of order. Before the Servant payed for this ad under an obviously fake name, he sent a second rambling letter to the times.


Editor's Note: The Surreal Times received this letter in much the same manner as the previous. However, whatever is afflicting the author appears to have been exacerbated, as this letter is less readable, even less grounded in reality even, than the last one. Nonetheless, we have published it here with, again, no editing whatsoever. We will certainly keep the author in our prayers and we hope you do too. This time he again preferred to remain anonymous, in order to “secure his place in the correct plane.” We respected this decision.

You see, you don’t expect your adversaries to go public. And you certainly don’t expect them to go public in such a bold way. What is most surprising to me in all this, after years of secrecy for all parties, is that not only have they gone public, but the public has accepted them. They throw massive parties at the faults, with poetry, and marijuana, and ecstasy, and music, all the vices of creativity, and what can I do? Put an ad in the newspapers for an accountant. I fear that, unless something changes, we, the good people who stand behind reality, are finished.

Let’s start with the STAIRWAY TO THE STARS. This is a code term for the end game of the surrealists, the madmen who plan to fuse OUR WORLD and the SURREAL PLANE. Each star represents one - dancing - no [note: this part of the letter was hastily half erased]. The light from each star is not pure light. Each star also contains within it a fountainhead of surreality. It is from such a star that HE - the source of the surreality in the New Mexico Surreal Engine - was bestowed with surreality (and accordingly ONE STAR WAS DIMINISHED). Each star can elevate one human to their highest level of surreality. What this would feel like, no living man knows. The surrealist crave it and I fear it.

The trouble, then, is getting to the stars. But what if you could walk there? This is deviousness of the STAIRWAY TO THE STARS - you enter the surreal plane, walk to the stars, and pronto, YOU ACHIEVE MAXIMAL SURREALITY. Humanity would be seen as mere mundane ants, bullets like raindrops, and love something to be harnessed, then discarded. In such a state, man is no longer human. YET IT IS SUCH A STATE THAT THE SURREALISTS WISH TO BESTOW ON ALL. This is precisely why the stairway to the stars is so dangerous, and I why I want to stop it - must stop it.

Accordingly, I have again taken up the mop and disguised myself as a janitor. This time, my target is the Rise Together headquarters in Santa Cruz. Of course, they did not let me into the parts run by the secret scientists. I found that as surreality impends, they have raised their they’re their their secureity. However, I did have some luck following the top secret scientists home.

It was not long before I made my move. I traced one Linda Peterson back to her nearby home. Skipping - skipping - skipping work that day, I broke a window and entered the house, hoping she didn’t have security (if she did, I was out of there quick enough for it to not be an issue). I had brought my surreality counter with me and found strong traces of surreality on her clothes and bed. I wonder if such high background doses are beginning to affect the pineal glands of the secret scientists - I can even feel mine becoming engorged on surreality already.

My search was not entirely fruitless. Hidden in a closet I found a personal surreal engine. It had been insulated to avoid leaks but its surreality signaturture was nonetheless detectable. I picked it up up up eaisly. A peice of HIM must have been inside - IT WAS FULLY POWERED!

I could not resist. I had to have it. And so I stole it with me through the window and drove off. UNFORTUNATELYLIKEBREADCRUMBS the surreality trail will lead back to my house. It will not be long before I am discovered. Certainly my cover as a janitor at Rise Together is blown.

But I did try the personal surreal engine myself. Prepared for the AMNESIAC EFFECTS of the device, I set my phone to record. I have have have reprodcued a partial transcript below:

“Moving, it’s all moving. It’s now still. It’s now moving… It’s stopped and I’m looking at it, and it’s looking at me, but I am it… Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Perhaps it is no longer moving?... My god, they’re like ants compared to me… I pity them.... I no longer want to return.”

These were the most intelligible of the ramblings I produced in the throes of surreality.

I have had little luck with the location of the HYPER-MUNDANE fountainhead. As the surreal fountainhead comes from the stars, I suspect that the HYPER-MUNDANE fountainhead comes from far below the surface of the Earth, or perhaps a black hole?

Regardless of my finding the HYPER-MUNDANE fountainhead, I have now modified the personal surreal engine device to accommodate it.

I now confess IN ENTIRETY my plan.

1: Locate the HYPER-MUNDANE fountainhead. Render him into a form usable by my new engine.

2: Transport the HYPER-MUNDANE engine to the San Andreas fault, the bastion of surreality. Right under those Rise Together bastards noses!

3: Locate an opening in the fault and HURL the HYPER-MUNDANE engine into the fault, creating a SURREAL-MUNDANE SINGULARITY thus canceling the current surreal outbreak. I am unsure if those around the SINGULARITY will survive. But it must be done.

As I write this, I have received an email. I may have located the HYPER-MUNDANE fountainhead. Perhaps perhaps perhaps ist a false alarm, or perhaps I will elicit the true fountainhead from this paper. It is possible to extract enough HYPER-MUNDANITY from someone even modestly gifted. However, the process would be messy, unhygenic, and lethal for the subject, and thus location of a truly blessed fountainhead is preferable.

I go now to find the fountainhead, create the first HYPER-MUNDANE ENGINE, and HURL IT INTO THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT LINE. God willing, I will succeed. But I need not ask God for my own survival. It is not relevant.

Joe: Immediately, we realize that long term surreality exposure is affecting the Servant. In him, this manifests as repeating words. In Moes, difficulty with saying the correct tenses. Both common problems linked with surreality exposure.

We also have here a literal description of the Stairway To The Stairs. When we received the letter, the staff of the Times, much like nearly everybody else, considered the Stairway To The Stars a folk tale, a bard urban myth that had managed to outstay its welcome. We now know that is far from an urban myth. We also know that it is not inevitable. The Servant succeeded. He hurled a portable hyper-mundane engine in the San Andreas Fault, sending 10 people to the hospital and wiping out all surreality on Earth in a single move.

I wonder whether the Servant had anything to do with the fall of Dr. Linda Peterson. Surely the police investigated the break in. What if they had surreality counters when they investigated the crime scene? Of course, the Servant might have taken more direct action, sending in anonymous tips to the authorities. Regarding his first letter, the Times provided the police with any information they asked for. The fine pork-smelling grain the Servant found in the first Rise Together laboratory, which we now know to be human, was of particular interest to them. This grain was found at the fault, along with part of the remains of Ryan Patrick Johnson. The police are using this grain to track the Servant. Moes notes indicate the name of the Servant. As a means of thanking the Servant for stopping the Stairway to The Stars, the Times is declining to publish his name. However, we do have some biographical details which seem prudent to disclose.

The Servant is a short, powerfully built man standing at five foot six. He has bright blue eyes and blonde hair, with lots of freckles on his face, which is perpetually grimacing. He has worked as custodian for most of his life, but became obsessed with the idea of a hyper-mundane plane at a young age. Constantly fiddling with youth surreality chemistry sets, it took him a decade and half of fiddling to break through. At the age of thirty-seven, he created a force which cancelled out any surreality present. If measured with a surreality counter, the counter would click wildly but fall silent after the generation of the force. This was proof enough for him.

But the Servant fell prey to his own obsessions. He theorized endlessly about the hyper-mundane plane, learning to sketch to draw his impressions of what it would look like. He built a device designed to detect the presence of hyper-mundanity and monitored it constantly. The readings were erratic, indecipherable from background noise. But the Servant persisted, writing down and analyzing the random beeps from his hyper-mundane counter. And after several years, he came to believe that the lords of the hyper-mundane plane were communicating with him. It was this conviction that led him to infiltrate the Rise Together Corporation in the first place.

Finally, it is clear that he completed his plan. Whether Ryan Patrick Johnson was a fountainhead or not, the Servant made contact with him via the classified ad in our newspaper. He then murdered Johnson and used him to power the hyper-mundane engine. With Johnson lying dead at a nearby hotel room, the Servant proceeded to the San Andreas Fault. By the time he arrived, the Stairway To The Stars already hung in the air. Acting quickly, he hurled the hyper-mundane engine into the fault, shattering the Stairway and dispelling all surreality world wide.

In the next and final installment of our expose, The Surreal Times will wrap up the remaining loose ends, and discuss how to live in a world with no surreality. Stay safe, and stay real.

For more articles by Joe Kierlskegrienger, click here. To get in touch with this writer, email


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