Thanks to a November election upset, Kafka, South Dakota—home of Lagado University—is poised to become the vanguard college town of 21st-century America. Joe Steele, a Lagado University English Department adjunct running as a candidate of the Farmer-Activist- Worker-Grad Student Alliance (a coalition of the Revolutionary Democratic Workers’ Party, the Workers’ Party of Democratic Revolutionaries, the Party of Revolutionary Democratic Workers, and Democrats Working for a Revolutionary Party), mobilized the youthful idealism of Lagado University’s junior faculty, students, and “residuals” (i.e., dropouts, resident recidivists, unemployable graduates, coffeehouse proprietors, stranded folk singers, and other university hangers-on) behind a program of dynamic change that overwhelmed three-term Democrat Lee Bronstein.

Professor G.S. Stodgett, Kafka’s only registered Republican, declined to nominate himself for anything.

Steele seized the moral high ground at the first campaign debate when he charged Mayor Bronstein with insensitivity. Scoffing at his opponent’s spluttering protest that “I am, too, sensitive,” FAWGSA’s nominee demanded to know exactly how sensitive and, when the man stammered unconvincingly that he was very, very sensitive, scornfully pressed him to explain “on what grounds a white male heterosexual could possibly claim to be ‘very’ sensitive.” Joe then cut abruptly through Bronstein’s panicky babbling to flourish a sheaf of affidavits attesting that the wretch had used the “eenie-meenie-minie-moe” formula several times while enrolled at the Eleanor Roosevelt Kiddie Kollege in 1951. A tempest of hisses and catcalls swept the mayor from the dais, and he declined to participate in further public debates.

From that point on, it was all downhill for the incumbent. His attempt to regain lost ground by belatedly insisting that Joe Steele was also a white male heterosexual backfired when the latter denounced him for resorting to the tawdriest of negative campaign tactics. Noting that Bronstein’s charge was ancient history he had long since made a public apology for his hetero-male whiteness—Steele declared that “it is time to put the past behind us and move on.”

Pressing his advantage, Joe exposed the Bronstein administration’s failure to diversify the town government’s personnel profile. The “liberal” Democrat attempted to defend himself by claiming that there were only 35 Afro-families living in Kafka and its three adjacent counties, but the challenger struck back with a relentless attack on the administration’s failure to diversify the population of the city and promised a vigorous national recruitment campaign to ensure that the children of Kafka could grow up in an inclusive demographic configuration reflecting 21st-century America.

On September 20, things took a disastrous turn for the Democrat when the Omnium Gatherum of People Unwhite produced irrefutable evidence that there were thirty-six Afro-families in the region and condemned him in the severest terms as a racist bent on deliberately marginalizing Kafka’s Afro-population. Bronstein’s bleating apologies were unavailing. His campaign staff deserted him en masse.

Addressing a meeting of the LU Women’s Studies Coven at Wiccalatry Chapel on September 23, Joe brandished a list of 258 employees of the Kafka Municipal Sewage Authority who were known associates of Bible-thumping, churchgoing, hymn-singing, extreme ultra-right reactionary fundamentalist Christian theocrats. The mayor’s countercharge of “McCarthyism” was promptly denounced as an example of negative campaigning, a mean-spirited ethnic slur on Joe’s Irish heritage, and a vicious slash at the self-esteem of all the little children with Celtic foremammals. When Bronstein protested that there were only 38 employees on the KMSA payroll, Joe pounced on this evidence that his opponent was a self-confessed enemy of the environment and promised an emergency bottled spring-water program until adequate provision could be made to ensure a pure water supply for all the little children of Kafka.

A week before the election, FAWGSA unleashed a posse of LU Psychology Department memory-recovery specialists on the Jill & Jack Municipal Day Care Center. Seven hours of intensive, nonstop interaction sufficed to elicit testimony that the kids had been forced to watch Bronstein disembowel a hippopotamus with a letter opener while buggering an anaconda, chewing the leg off a slow loris, and singing the Horst Wessel Lied. The accused immediately attempted to impugn the veracity of the children by arguing that: an anaconda is physiologically unbuggerable; the witnesses have no idea what an anaconda is; and it is impossible to sing and eat a slow loris simultaneously. Bronstein’s attack on the children only enraged Kafka’s voters further, and his rout became definitive. On October 30, he hastily packed his bags and fled to Mexico, followed by the imprecations of his wife and daughters.

On November 5, the new mayor-by-default announced that Pyongyang had agreed to become Kafka’s sister city. From noon of this same day, the clocks on the town hall and in all municipal offices were synchronized with the North Korean GMAT zone. Members of the LU community who have business with the municipal government have been notified that today is tomorrow after 10 A.M., that the lunch hour for municipal employees is now between 3:00 and 4:00 A.M., and that the city’s offices will be closed at 7:20 A.M. All this will require some adjustment, and it is not yet clear what effect it will have on response times to fire alarms, but few in the Lagado community will deny that this long-overdue program for decentering Western colonialist chronometry is a powerful model of thinking globally, acting locally. (An initiative along the same lines is contained in Municipal Order #13 of November 23, ordaining that all birth certificates for city residents must be revised to accord with the Chinese custom of dating birth from conception.)

On November 6, the new administration—demonstrating an ambidextrous capacity for thinking locally, acting globally—established the Kafka Municipal International Affairs Office. Plans for aid to Cuba are already being laid, and an invitation to January’s formal mayoral inauguration has been sent to Fidel Castro.

On November 7, the new municipal calendar was implemented, designating 1999 as Kafka Year I, eliminating Sundays, and renaming all the months except October.

On November 8, the municipal code was revised to strengthen penalties against hate-misdemeanors. Henceforth, ordinary spitting on the sidewalk will still be penalized with a $25 fine, whereas hate-spitting is to carry a penalty of six months in the municipal workhouse. Failure to curb one’s dog will continue to incur a $15 dollar fine from January 2 to December 25 (old style), but there will be a penalty enhancement of 30 days’ compulsory sensitivity training and two months of community service for allowing one’s dog to defecate on the sidewalk during Kwanzaa. Other penalty enhancements will be posted in public places as they occur to the Kafka Office of Tolerance Compliance. Any misdemeanor whatsoever committed by persons proven to have uttered the eenie-meenie-minie-moe formula at any time after age three will be deemed a prima facie hate crime.

On November 9, the city of Kafka was declared a tobacco-free zone, possession of more than five milligrams of tobacco within 500 yards of a school will carry a mandatory one-year sentence at a labor camp in the Kafka gravel pits. Volunteers from the SmokeFree Militia have been deputized. Sites for five watchtowers at vantage points within the city limits have been selected.

On November 10, the Steele administration struck a blow against Big Meat, Big Candy, and Big Soda with an ordinance banning sales of cold cuts, candy bars, and soft drinks to minors. In Kafka, a “minor” is now defined as anyone under 53 years of age.

On November 11, it was announced that Ben and Jerry had accepted an invitation to set up the “Feliks Dzerzhinsky Memorial Ice Cream Parlor” on I.F. Stone Square. They will be marking the occasion by introducing a special new designer flavor, Bone Krunch.

November 11 was celebrated as Conscientious Draft Dodgers’ Day with a parade celebrating the fall of Saigon. November 26 was observed as Contritiongiving Day, with e-mailed, oral, or written apologies being submitted by nearly every Euromammal living within the city line. Professor StodgetT being a conspicuous exception. That unrepentant beneficiary of the Native American holocaust exempted himself on the grounds that his great-uncle six times removed, Samson Stodgett, was scalped by “Indians” in the Fort Macomber Massacre of 1703. Dr. Vorkian Jackl was on hand for the occasion to assist anyone who felt the need to commit ritual suicide, but found no takers. (Deputy Mayor Siegfried Heap-of-Roadkills was heard to question the penitents’ sincerity—and who can blame him?) Mayor Steele’s offer to let “Vork” perform a partial-birth abortion at the Kafka Health Center failed to ameliorate the doctor’s disappointment, and he left town an embittered man, vowing never to return.

Starting next October, Columbus Day will be a day of mourning, with all municipal buildings draped in white and all municipal employees instructed to wear glummy-face buttons with downturned mouths and teary eyes. Battle of Little Big Horn Day is to be a municipal holiday starting on June 25, 1999.

There’s more, much more. All hearses operating within the city must be painted white by Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. The Jill & Jack Municipal Day Care Center has been renamed the Che-Lumumba Children’s Collective. Plans are being laid for collectivizing all flower gardens and window boxes. The new Kafka Municipal Convenience Store Authority will soon be issuing bonds to finance purchase of the city’s petty-bourgeois retail establishments. The Kafka Municipal Power & Light Administration has ordered all light bulbs to be replaced with environmentally friendly six-watters by Earth Day. The Kafka Environmental Protection Agency has instituted a universal recycling program. The Kafka Health and Hospital Authority has hired an acu-puncturist, a Chinese herbal doctor, two shamans, a Jujulatrician, a wicca doctor, and a holistic root, weed, and birdseed therapist.

Not too busy to give thought to the long term. Mayor Steele has appointed an advisory committee to study the feasibility of setting up a system of checkpoints, electrified barbed-wire fences, land mines, and border guards around the city. An attorney from Kunstios, Cucaracha, Cucaracha, Quetzlcoatl & Kungfu, Patel, Patel, Patel, Patel & Patel, Opechancanough, Matawickomet, Bambuti, Baraka, Mfume, Conyers, Yakuza, and Said has been retained to advise the committee on the legal aspects of the project.

And this is just the beginning! A new dawn for Kafka, South Dakota! A bridge to the 21st century for America! A poke in the eye for the Madisonite-Amherstist-Burlingtonite-Berkeleyite right-wing deviationists!