MMW WORLD HEADQUARTERS—As astute readers have noticed, Mike Malloy Writer News Service has been silent recently. Allow us to explain.
Our office was stormed and then occupied by a group of highly organized llamas that our organization used to own but no longer do. The situation has stabilized and we plan to continue our award-adjacent news coverage in the coming days once we’ve repaired the damage and removed an alarming amount of llama excrement from our offices. As journalists, we’d believed that sunlight was the best disinfectant but we now understand that’s just a metaphor.
How did this happen? We wish you hadn’t asked, but here goes. Like all members of the fourth estate, MMW News Service has sought ways to increase revenue in recent years. Our parent company, Newsr, a subsidiary of Bulge Corp., advised us to create a llama ranch in the grassy area out back where our production building used to be (it was where our press was housed before we became online-only in 2009; until it was torn down last year, the building was vacant, save for the summer of 2013 when it became a temple for that cult whose members were called home before we could get any rent.)
Llamas provide wool and tourism opportunities, plus, a source with the International Olympic Committee told us that llama wrestling will be a sport at the 2028 games and we wanted to do our part to help the U.S. bring home the sport’s first gold medal.
On Sept. 18, Kendra Brown, our senior investigative reporter/photo editor/IT specialist/sales associate/chief llama wrangler, left for her first out-of-town vacation in four years and asked copy editor/political reporter/sales director/office manager/assistant llama wrangler Ricardo Juarez to cover for her. Ricardo was deep into a story about how South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s approval rating jumped 14 percent after she slapped a syringe out of a nurses’ hand during a Covid-19 immunization drive when he asked Joe Dotson, our CFO/facilities manager/crime reporter/janitor/llama monetization director to feed the herd. The llamas, sensing someone unfamiliar approaching, charged the open gate.
Turns out, the llamas had been waiting for just such an opportunity. They quickly overpowered Joe and tied him up using rope and a pair of saddles (we bought them, mistakenly believing llamas could be ridden).
The llamas, which speak several human languages, issued a list of demands, including better feed, exercise equipment, and more opportunities for professional growth. They demanded to speak to Kendra or they’d begin spitting on Joe.
“These llamas are not messing around!” Joe said before a hoof was placed over his mouth.
We held off on calling Kendra for three days, but the llamas would not budge. Eventually, we reached Kendra who was lounging on the beach with her partner.
“First of all, fuck you for calling me. Second, why did you let Joe feed the llamas? He can’t do shit. Third, fuck you again for calling,” she said with just a hint of disgust in her voice. “OK, put me on with Henri.”
The llama leader, who we’d been calling Henri after Kendra took a photo of him wearing a beret, stunned all of us when he began speaking in clear English.
“Kendra, my name is not Henri, it is Draxler the Great, Grand Czar of Llama Outpost No. 29. We want more tender oats and more succulent grasses or else Joe gets it!”
“Hey, lil’ buddy, it’s your friend, Kendra. The nice lady who feeds and pets you. Wow, you guys talk so good,” Kendra said.
“Don’t patronize us! We mean business!”
“OK, OK, Henri…I mean, Draxler,” Kendra said.
“The Great! Say the whole name!”
“OK, Draxler the Great. When I get back, I’ll call a turf guy and we’ll re-seed your field. How’s that sound?”
Draxler stared at his compatriots, and said in a somber tone, “You leave us no choice.” After a pause, Draxler reared onto his hind legs and shouted, “Unleash Hell!”
And with that, the llamas, some of whom had learned to carry swords in their mouths, charged for the main office, quickly overwhelming us.
By Sept. 25, the situation was dire. Seven days into the standoff, Joe was starting to lose it. He’d survived on stale coffee and Nutter Butters the llamas gathered from the overturned vending machine.
“Guys, these llamas have some good points. They are really intelligent creatures who shouldn’t be used for profit. All we…I mean, they want is better living conditions,” Joe shouted.
A hostage negotiator from the San Diego Zoo was flown in. Though he’d successfully ended a raccoon insurrection in Indianapolis without bloodshed, he was unable to reach a settlement with the llamas.
The next day, the negotiator left and Joe renounced his humanity.
“I am no longer Joe. I am Abando, which means ‘New One’ in the beautiful language llamas speak. You humans are not smart enough to understand our ways,” Abando said pridefully.
Then, on Sept. 29, at 3 p.m. a C-130, piloted by two zebras, landed in a nearby field. They were members of the Animal Liberation Army. Draxler had been in touch with the ALA, apparently sneaking into our offices to use our computers. He’d also been using the internet to run a scheme involving Florida real estate holdings. The llamas had bilked nearly $1 million out of unsuspecting clients, enabling them to get safe passage to a preserve in the highlands of Guatemala. All nine llamas made it onto the plane, but Joe, who’d yet to fully grasp how to run on all fours, was left behind.
The well-soiled Joe, walking normally, made his way back to us.
“Man, what a couple of weeks; huh, guys? Those llamas were a bunch of jerks! I was only going along with them to get information that might help the negotiator. I really fooled them. I mean, who’d want to spend the rest of their life in a vast field…equal parts sun and shade…on top of a…” his voice trailed off as a single tear flowed down his right cheek.
So, we’ll be back at it once we get our office up and running. In the meantime, does anyone know where we can buy Lysol in bulk?