Last October during the whole government shutdown psychodrama, columnist Maureen Dowd used the pages of the New York Times to venture into the realm of dystopian fiction. Entering a kind of Twilight Zone of the liberal mind, she envisioned a future America destroyed by Ted Cruz and the Tea Party. After we stopped laughing we asked our community of writers to respond, each in their own individual way. We called it a 'contest' to see who could write better than Maureen Dowd. But since practically anyone can write better than Maureen Dowd, in the end, there was no declared winner. (We have our favorites, but the way we see it, beyond maintaining basic standards and promoting stuff we like, we are not here to impose our taste on others.) Anyway, we liked what our friends sent in and have posted their responses below. By all means check them out. And as always, if you like what you read, remember to hit the author's tipjar on your way out.

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Peter tried to shut out the sobs coming from the next room. Why didn't she just take the pill? What was the big deal?

April 1. Hired! Got a job with the National Park Service. I knew my degree in Multi-Cultural Sensitivity would finally come through.

"Whatever else you do today," Joe Diaz pronounced, striking his big fist into an equally large palm, "don't call this 'the Fourth of July'."

They sat in silence for some time, gazing at their dilapidated world until the boy spoke again. "Papa, things just don't make sense."

Michelle released a long, pent-up breath as the mai-tai spread its magic through her limbs, making her skin tingle with a warmth that matched the rays of the sun.

Patsy gripped Malcolm's arm, halting his footsteps. "Are you sure this is the right thing? We could get in so much trouble."

Molly stared wistfully for a second at her Female Health Assistant professional certificate. Maybe someday. I'm still young enough.

The Flyovers knew them as "The Dowdies." Made them into stories to frighten their brainwashed children into line. "Be good or the Dowdies will get you."

The MoDo arrives at 8 pm. She isn't going to be happy. I've been dreaming about Esha again.

"I am from the government," the German says, "and I am here to help." He scans our faces as if to make sure everyone gets the joke.

Jerry leaned out the aerocar window. "Mom, Dad, look! Two apes are fighting in front of the Lincoln Memorial."

October 19, 2130 promised to be another beautiful Indian summer day in Montana as the Anderson family sat down to breakfast.

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