The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Second Place | Glory to the Death King!

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Carrington Bryan | Senior Staff Illustrator

“Ten thousand years of Death King rule!” the crowd screamed and howled. Grumgux didn’t understand that. Obviously, he loved the Death King and would peel the skin from his soul in service of the cause, but 10,000 years seemed pretty extreme. People don’t live that long; why would they agree to a rule that they wouldn’t even be around for? He’d totally understand something like “100 years of Death King rule!” A hundred years is a pretty reasonable amount of time. Ten thousand? Yeesh.

The heralds stood in a perfect circle on the sandy colosseum floor below waving the Death King’s blood-painted flags. In the center, prisoners of war were being eviscerated one after the other by the Death King’s serrated scythe. The crowd roared louder with every head that rolled. Grumgux’s throat still hurt from yesterday’s evisceration. They were doing mandatory eviscerations all the time now, and as patriotic and fun as they were, tax season was coming up, and Grumgux had to get his receipts in order. He watched some more heads roll. “A hundred thousand years of Death King rule!” the crowd screeched and yelled. Now that was just ridiculous. Do they know how much 100,000 is?

He was a little over budget on groceries this tax year, but with all the eviscerations, he hadn’t been going out much, so his balance was looking OK. Sitting at his dining room table, Grumgux checked his total against his credit card bill, then double-checked his math. His neighbor Incinthia had been the victim of fraud, and before she could catch it, her bank reported that she had dipped below the mandatory balance minimum and she was arrested. Under the Death King’s groundbreaking “War on Poverty” policy, that made her a prisoner of war. Poverty rates were at an all-time low, though; administration like this was why people pledged their flesh and faces to lifelong love of the Death King. Grumgux’s bills were in order, so he moved over to his taxes. His W2 was a mess; he hadn’t been fired or anything (that would get him in hot water, given the Death King’s innovative “War on Unemployment” policy), but he’d been moved from the Fracking for Fun department to the Endangered to Extinct department, and all his incentives and benefits were complicated. Part of his new package exchanged some of his pay into interest-collecting bonds, which were financially advisable in an economic boom like this one, but that meant… Grumgux’s heart stopped. He didn’t have his 1099-INT. He scrambled through his papers, flinging forms and files to the sides until only the table remained for him to claw at. Nothing. His work hadn’t sent him one, was he supposed to have requested it? Grumgux gave up on his table and clawed his hair instead. With the Death King’s ingenious “War on Tax Evasion” policy, this made him a prisoner of war.

“One million years of Death King rule!” the crowd shrieked and cheered. Grumgux rolled his eyes and took a couple shambles forward with the line. From this close, he could see the heralds sweating as they kept the Death King’s blood painted flag swinging and swaying. He watched the guy in front of him get eviscerated, with the serrated scythe and head rolling and all that. “Ten million years of Death King rule!” Grumgux stepped onto the chopping block, feeling a bit nervous to be near royalty. Up close, the Death King didn’t look so scary. He looked bored and a little tired, like maybe 10 million years seemed like a lot to him, too.