by Bob Fles
The Local was privileged this past week to interview Admiral Horatio C. Lion, commander of the Navy Seals.
Local: Admiral Lion, first of all, congratulations to you and your Seals on the marvelous job that you did in Pakistan to get rid of Osama bin Laden.
Lion: Thank you.
Local: Is it true that you also just carried out a secret undercover mission here in Chestnut Hill?
Lion: That’s correct, although there are obviously limits on how much I am at liberty to reveal to you.
Local: Obviously. Most if not all residents of Chestnut Hill seem to have slept through the operation. You must have planned it meticulously and executed it flawlessly.
Lion: Basically that’s true, although we had one operational glitch.
Local: What was that?
Lion: As we moved in, we hit the cobblestones at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike. Three of our military Hummers were disabled on the spot, broken axles, blown tires, that sort of thing. A couple boys whacked their heads on the roofs and were knocked silly, but Seals are tough customers, you know. They just said, “Coach, I’m okay. Put me back in.” We carried on.
Local: Wow, that Germantown-Bethlehem corner does take a toll. How much of the target of your mission can you tell our readers?
Lion: If I tell you everything, I’ll have to kill you.
Local: That’s top secret, all right. Can you clarify the purpose of your mission at all?
Lion: Let’s put it this way. At some point, every civilization reaches a point at which it must make hard decisions to move forward, or it will fall into an irreversible decline. You move ahead or you die.
Local: And Chestnut Hill has reached that point?
Lion: You said that, not me. We performed our standard save-a-society mission here, though; didn’t we? Draw your own conclusions!
Local: Wow. Is this the mission where you have to destroy something to save something?
Lion: It’s an immutable law of nature, and it applies to civilizations as well. When the forces of defeatism, obscurantism, red herringism and dastardly obstructionism converge, they must be neutralized if the society is to survive and progress.
Local: Admiral Lion, I’m getting your drift. You’re saying that you had to…uh…neutralize certain parties or forces that have been obstructing the necessary progress that a civilization must make if it is to adapt to changing conditions and circumstances and thrive in the long run?
Lion: And you must show no mercy to those forces, boy. No mercy. Their roots run deep underground, and they’ll choke out all new life.
Local: So it seems that your targets were certain… groups opposing all change in the name of—in the name of what?
Lion: Oh, they give it many lofty-sounding names. You’d think they react to an easement the way normal people react to pornography. But it all comes down to preserving their parking spots, their views, their property values, the smell in the air outside their mansions, the water in their moats.
Local: So I’m thinking now that you went after the…ah…parties fighting every change in Chestnut Hill, whether that’s a new restaurant or an expanded art museum or Big Belly trash compactors or the growth of a college or an environmentally focused charter school moving into vacated property or…
Lion: Whoa, son, if I verify all that, I’ll have to kill you.
Local: But don’t you see that it all fits? Every attempt to change opposed, all progress thwarted, communal responsibility cast aside, a fanatical clinging to a baseless retrogressive dogma that we must cling to a past that never really existed, a willful blindness to history, and an irrational and ultimately destructive fear of the future! It all fits!
Lion: You said that, not me. We call it the bring-back-yellow-fever mentality.
Local: Is it really one big organization attacking any and every effort to effect change?
Lion: Let me put it this way. Like another group I’m sure you’re familiar with, they’re not all members of one top-down organization, and they’re not all involved in each operation. They communicate together, they share information and resources, and some operatives do cross from one small group to another.
Local: You mean like the Tea Party, or are you saying like the Taliban or even like Al-Qaeda?
Lion: You decide.
Local: One last question, Admiral Lion. When you neutralized these forces, did you actually use the…shall we call it the Pakistani method?
Lion: No bodies dumped at sea or even in the Wissahickon, if that’s what you mean. Not that we didn’t have some Seals favoring ultimate neutralization. But I can reveal no more than that.
Local: Well, let me ask you this question. The Local has received a number of concerned queries about ghostly sightings and sounds emanating from the abandoned Greylock Manor on Chestnut Hill Avenue, where the Green Woods Charter School was going to go. We figured that Greylock’s haunted; that’s all. But is there any chance that you’ve locked all of the obstructionists in there to preserve Chestnut Hill from their bring-back-yellow-fever machinations? And if you’ve locked them all inside Greylock together, won’t they eventually starve to death?
Lion: By now you should know that if I answer your questions, I’ll have to kill you at the very least. But, just hypothetically now, let’s say a certain obstructionist group is locked in there without any chance of escaping, but there’s, hypothetically, mind you, a note on the table that says they can call for all the take-out vegan wraps and organic sun chips they want, just as soon as…
Local: Let me guess. Just as soon as the Good Food Market reopens in Chestnut Hill.
Lion: You said it, not me.
Chestnut Hill resident Bob Fles, former head of the English department and later on Upper School Head at Chestnut Hill Academy, is actually a very peaceful man who does not believe that “obstructionists” should be eliminated from this earth. He even believes they should have a right to bear children.