Vol. 2, Issue 37, November 2, 2004
Metric Specter Terrorizes Inchville, Ohio
Halloween night sees its share of scares throughout the country, most deliberately incurred or inflicted in the name of seasonal fun. But for one small town in southern Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border, a new and inexplicable phenomenon stalked the shadows this year, and residents are worried that it may be here to stay.
"I saw it with my own eyes," said Carson Miles, a resident of Inchville. "It was two meters tall: not six feet, mind you, but two meters. Its cloak billowed about it like a living shadow. Creepy, crawly centimeters followed in its wake. I think it was the Gram Reaper himself," Miles whispered.
Inchville is a community staunchly committed to traditional English measurements. Residents buy their milk by the quart and their meat by the pound. For Inchville residents, life has been idyllic and uncomplicated - until now.
It is not clear how or why the specter began stalking the quiet burg this Halloween night, although some speculate that its appearance was precipitated by some reckless teens who drove to the next town and returned with a carful of two-liter soda bottles.
"I saw the bottles in the car, and I felt as though I'd just found that giant wooden horse inside the walls of Troy," said Miles. "My God, I thought, what have they done?
Sightings of the Gram Reaper have been reported all over the United States since the 19th century, when the United States authorized but did not pursue the use of the new measurement system developed by French mathematicians. It has reportedly haunted the halls of schools and major research institutions alike, with a notable appearance at NASA in the 1990s when it laid its cold hands on a Mars orbiter which was later lost.
"I saw it myself," said resident Edna Yardley. "It came through and messed with my husband's toolbox. I'm afraid to think of what it might have done in there. There's one thing I don't get though. They say this metric phantom is French in origin, but it sounded kind of Italian to me. It kept saying 'kill, kill, kill,' only it sounded like 'kil-o, kil-o, kil-o.'"
The specter was gone by the morning of November 1, leaving behind frightened residents and cryptic graffiti on speed limit signs. However, despite lingering fears and a reeling sense that their world had been fundamentally altered, most Inchville residents took comfort in the displays of mutual concern and selfless generosity which brought the community together in the specter's wake.
"After all," said Miles, "isn't that the real measure of a man?"