Fall Issue 2022
by Jon Wesick
“Welcome to the Nineteenth Virtue-Signaling Olympics where contestants win
popular approval by advocating extreme policies that only distract from what could
benefit the American people.” An announcer, sitting at a brushed-steel desk, wore a blue
blazer monogrammed with the network logo. The jumbo screen behind him and his
partner displayed the contestants’ names but there were no scores yet. “I’m Don Mukasey
(he, him, his) and my cohost is everyone’s favorite cisgender female, Donna Plotnick.”
“It’s not easy to qualify for these Olympics, Don.” Like her partner, Donna wore
a blue blazer. Unlike him, she had a healthy complexion and shoulder-length blonde hair
that was clean and neatly combed. “The competitors have followed a grueling schedule of
haranguing people on Facebook and ranting at open mics for the past four years.”
“Have any written letters to their representatives, donated to causes, or run for
Donna laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding, Don. Today’s competitors in the
thirty-meter shout down are Martin Ahimsa, Birgitta Skold, and Jason Voorhees. Let’s
join the action at the Hugo Chavez Arena.”
Green Day’s American Idiot played as the scene cut to three contestants standing
in front of a table of judges.
“First up is Martin Ahimsa,” Don said from off screen.
“Martin shows his commitment to social justice by displaying a defund-the-police
bumper sticker on his skateboard,” Donna added.
“Gun violence!” Martin Ahimsa shook his fist. “Bad
“A classic opening but it didn’t earn him any points,” Don said.
“He’ll need to go bigger to compete against today’s lineup, Don.”
“Please explain to the audience how officials score this event, Donna.”
“The judges are all liberal Democrats from San Francisco, Seattle, and Cambridge
Massachusetts. Contestants get one point for each judge so alienated they leave to watch
The scene switched to an empty room where Tucker Carlson’s face, brow
wrinkled and lips pursed in a perpetual look of bewilderment, filled a flat-screen TV.
Back in the stadium, Martin Ahimsa shouted, “Eating tacos is cultural
A judge left.
“That sounded a little desperate to me,” Donna said.
“Nevertheless, he got one point,” Don said.
“What about K tacos, where Koreans put kimchee and gochujang on corn
tortillas?” Birgitta Skold countered. “Is that cultural appropriation, too?”
Martin’s eyes shifted back and forth in confusion.
“Ow! Ow!” He fell to the ground holding his knee.
“Looks like Martin Ahimsa is claiming a microaggression foul,” Don said.
A referee in a striped shirt came on stage, gestured, and blew his whistle before
“The ref has ruled it can’t be discrimination if it’s targeted at a cis-male” Donna
said. “Our viewers might want to know that Birgitta Skold called for expanding bike
lanes not long after getting a DUI last year.”
“Ban plastic straws! Windmills kill songbirds! Oppose the Mojave Desert solar
generating station!” Birgitta Skold shouted.
“Next up is the star of several horror films, Jason Voorhees,” Donna said after the
camera returned to the stadium.
“Justice for Leatherface!” Wearing a hockey mask, Jason Voorhees ran into the
audience and attacked them with his chainsaw.
“Yeah, man! Why did the cops have to shoot Leatherface, anyway? He only had a
chainsaw. Cowards should have just taken it away from him,” Martin Ahimsa said.
The scene switched to the Fox News room where now dozens of judges in
dreadlocks and hemp clothing sat on folding chairs and nodded their heads to Tucker
Carlson’s every word.
“Wow! Martin Ahimsa comes from behind to win in a blowout!” Donna said.
“What an exciting event, Donna. More action from the Virtue-Signaling Olympics
continues when the canceling marathon begins right after a word from our sponsor, the
Republican National Committee,” Don said.
Jon Wesick edits the San Diego Poetry Annual. He has published over eighty short stories in journals such as KNOT Magazine, The Berkeley Fiction Review, Space and Time, Zahir, and Tales of the Talisman. He has also published over three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. Wesick´s novel Hunger for Annhilation published in July 2015 (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).
John has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. Another had a link on the Car Talk website.