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  The BEAST’s Greatest Misses
True Stories of Fiendishness, Alter Egos and Abject Failure
By Ian Murphy

I have previously resisted calls from within the BEAST offices and without to record these revelations of my clumsy forays into a world of undercover journalism rife with bungled subterfuge, potentially criminal behavior and shameful cowardice.  It would, or will rather, be an unflattering tale of villainous failure, botched cons, meanspirited hijinks and plain stupidity. For those reasons I have remained silent until now. However, I have been officially assigned the painful task of recounting these events as they happened. Pranks and hoaxes take time, thought and grace under pressure. As you will learn, sometimes things don’t go as envisioned. For the readers’ sake and my own, I hope that I don’t fail so miserably in the telling of these stories as I did in living them. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Chapter 1: Disgrace Under Pressure

This abortive episode started when it occurred to me that it would be easy to infiltrate the Erie County chapter of the Young Republicans. I didn’t know quite what I planned to do once I achieved this objective, but I figured I’d come up with something.

I adopted the persona of independently wealthy freelance marketing consultant Chad Steal. My first encounter with then Young Republicans chairman Bob Richards and an unidentified GOP female aged 40-50, had frazzled my nerves and set the stage for an imminent disaster. Something about Republicans in their natural habitat just scares the hell out of me.

Sporting an Armani suit, Bruno Magli shoes, and a fresh Fantastic Sam’s crew cut, I made sure to park my battered Nissan far from the foreboding Republican lair on the ground floor of the Statler. I may have looked like Chad Steal, but with each step my confidence waned and my shirt grew damp with unrelenting perspiration. I hadn’t anticipated the strength of my involuntary nervous response. I entered the elephant den in a dither and the female’s eyes focused in, sizing me up.

“Can I help you?” she asked, with the faux pleasantness of a corporate receptionist.

My pulse quickened and a heated blush worked over my face in anticipation of the biggest lie I have ever told. “I just wanted to support the cause and get involved,” I said through a clenched smile. I inquired about the YRs and she explained the protocol of attending Buffalo Bandits games as a Republican bonding ritual, adding that it was mostly “kid stuff.” I wondered if I could actually survive an evening of pro lacrosse, supply-side economics and Clinton-bashing. Disoriented, I barely managed to spit out “sounds great” over the deafening flight response ringing through my entire body. She promptly left the room to report news of my arrival to the alpha male, chairman Bob. Alone in the GOP lobby, I repeated the phrase, “hi, I’m Chad Steal – bona fide Republican tool” over and over in my mind to assuage my anxiety.

The YR chairman came barreling at me from around the corner with his eager meat paw extended and the female drone trailing behind. I hastily wiped the nervous sweat from my palms. We grasped hands, momentarily squeezing for dominance just before mutually backing off, as if to say we were nice guys. We exchanged names, nods and Bob was also excited to hear “I just wanted to support the cause and get involved.” It was the end of business hours and he looked tired, yet managed to beam a menacing smile for a promising new recruit. Bob thought it was “great” and took an efficient vector toward the appropriate forms, leaving me alone with the female again.

“What do you do?” she inquired.

“I’m a, ah, a free lance marketing consultant” I stammered, staring blankly into an abyss of Republican signage, trying to avoid eye contact.

She struck a curious, professional posture and asked me what the job was like on a “day to day basis?”

I had no idea. After a few dense moments of silence, I involuntarily smiled and told her in a meek tone that I “consulted businesses on marketing.” Sensing she had not been satiated in the least, I launched into an incoherent ad lib on “maximizing potential and profitability.” Lacking cogence and emitted in a squeaky staccato, my rambling must have made clear I had little to no idea what I was talking about. I wiped my forehead with my sleeve and she slowly lipped an “uh huh” as her confused gaze tightened into what I gathered was subtle suspicion.

Chairman Bob came bustling back with the paper work, momentarily breaking the tension. He demanded to know where I had heard of the organization and threatened me with the aforementioned Bandits game.  Beyond my palpable nervousness, things were going smoothly. I managed to say “oh cool” a couple of times, sign a form and give Bob the ten dollars in cash before making a fool of myself.

“Can I have a receipt?” I asked.  I don’t know where it came from; I guess I just thought it sounded like something a Republican would say.

The chairman’s beady sunken eyes filled with astonishment at the notion I didn’t know you can’t deduct contributions to a political party. That is something the successful Mr. Steal should have known. That is something I should have known. My face again began to redden. Bob imposed some self restraint, gave a little chuckle and told me that a receipt was useless.

I pushed it, to make it seem more like a compulsion than a mistake. “I just like to have them. You know, um, receipts.”

He didn’t bother to ask why, nor did he question the odd, overwrought spelling of my already fake-sounding pseudonym, much to my relief. I was prepared to tell him the receipt was for a GOP collage and that I descended from pirates, if it would get me out of there. We both agreed it was “nice to meet you” and that I would be attending the weekly Friday meeting. I practically jumped through the glass door onto the street.

Chad Steal obviously needed some work. I designed a ridiculous business card featuring a waving American flag and an F-16 fighter jet. I concocted a backstory of family wealth on my mother’s side and vigorous business travel. I went so far as to burn myself in a tanning booth, so my pasty complexion would not betray my fantastic yarns. I even took such lengths as to acquire a BMW, for a respectably moneyed arrival at the Friday meeting. Chad was ready, I thought.

That Friday I parked right in front of the Statler, finished a cigarette and tried to forget the reality that I only had this one nice set of clothes, and I’d already been seen in it. Would Bob notice? The idea of being called out on my poverty by these rich twats did not jive with the plan, and might even trigger a psychotic episode. Momentarily putting this fear aside, I managed to stroll in with a good deal more confidence than I had in my first encounter, knowing at least one of the YRs inside saw me get out of the beamer.

Breaching the doorway, the distinct smell of pizza and wings threw me off for a moment. “This could be fun; just try to be yourself,” I thought. A gaggle of superbly groomed young men were roused by the sight of a new member and began to circle in. I was greeted by a lanky, freckled, red-haired chap. “Just act like yourself – but with money,” I thought as the little freckled Eichmann approached. He told me his name, we shook hands and then it happened: I loudly and clearly said “hi, my name is Ian.” 


My heart stopped, my pores started pumping, and I felt my eyes involuntarily pulled toward a conference room, beyond the mini-lobby, covered in red, white and blue campaign slogans. Bob was sitting at the helm of a table, shooting me lasers from the small dark eyes hiding under his well-defined brow.

He had heard me. The jig was up. I said the wrong name and I had to flee. I skittishly looked back at the now-confused group of Republican brothers waiting to press my flesh and show me the ropes. “I’ll be right back—I have to use the bathroom,” I shouted frantically, making a quick 180-degree pivot.

“You can use the bathroom here,” freckles said, pointing down a stairwell.

I could only look at him, say “I’ll be right back,” run away, tail between my legs, thwarted by my own idiocy. In the world of prankery, there are no second takes.

Part 2: Church invasion goes awry



Idiot Box by Matt Bors
Big Fat Whale by Brian McFadden
Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
Bob the Angry Flower by Stephen Notely
Deep Fried by Jason Yungbluth

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