Thirteen people died at Club Messiah in the Chelsea district of the city, in an apparent gang slaying, authorities said.
No wounded were reported.
After taking over and terrorizing patrons, the suspects were seen damaging the neighborhood outside the club, but escaped before law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene.
A reward is being offered for information leading to their arrest.
The leader is described as a stocky, sandy-haired man with glasses and a ponytail. Some witnesses describe him as using a flamethrower, or, alternately, a laser-targeting gun. His voice is described as nasal and "petulant."
No information is available about the gang or its name.
"I hid behind the couch in the upper room," said a witness who asked not to be identified. "There was weird [stuff] going down. Screams. Electric sounds. Shouting, chanting. Everybody repeated, 'I am with you, anode' - or something like that."
The witness said the gang then left the club. There were screams outside.
Authorities on the Redpill Gang Task Force said they are gathering information about the incident and will devote extra manpower to the investigation. "These Redpills are, without a doubt, the biggest crime problem in the city. Up until now they've killed mostly each other - apparently, I have to say, since they seldom end up in the city morgue. That's the biggest mystery; we get lots of reports of lethal fighting, but seldom any bodies. I fear the river may hold many dark secrets."
This incident, however, was different. While Redpills generally do not work at conventional jobs and are often estranged from their families, all of the victims were employed and had extensive family connections, with no indication they were active in the Redpill subculture.
Club Messiah has reopened to brisk business. Morbid curiosity has brought record attendance numbers, as people check out where the bodies lay, and investigate the strange scorch marks left by the killers.
Club Messiah is famous for starting the "White Rabbit" tattoo fad that swept the city several years ago. "We were hot, then," the owner stated. "Everybody who was anyone passed through. Beautiful people, all around this room, one, two, three..." He looked around, seeing back through the years, perhaps seeing dancers, music, a couple falling in love. "Good days, then. I guess there's something a little chilling about the place, now, but for some reason people like that."
The results are in. Tastee Wheat improves performance in the classroom and the bedroom.
Barbara Utley, Vice President for Consumer Brand Management at Pendhurst-Amaranth, makers of Tastee Wheat, brandishes the 230-page, four-country study, with yellow highlights touting increased intelligence, sperm counts, libidos and financial success.
"It doesn't show it removes wrinkles. We'll need another study for that, I guess!" Utley says.
The study was unusual in that it was commissioned and monitored publicly. "If the results had been bad, everyone would have known. I guess we wouldn't have publicized it so much, but this wasn't heads-I-win, tales-I-forget it. We were confident Tastee Wheat is the breakfast of men and women of action."
Naturally, "The Breakfast of Men and Women of Action" is the new motto for the cereal.
Tastee Wheat has been sold since 1929. It was a favorite of President Franklin Roosevelt and its packaging was immortalized by Andy Warhol in a series of paintings and serigraphs. Tastee Wheat went to the Moon on Apollo missions, and is entombed in the Chernobyl nuclear facility cafeteria under hundreds of tons of concrete.
"Its heritage is rich, but nothing could be a better choice for up-to-the-moment, on-the-move consumers today," Utley says. "I'm told it's extremely chic, and has been adopted by the fashion-conscious Redpill subculture as a status marker."
Utley is widely credited for saving the Wild Tundra brand of cigarettes after a product-tampering incident. Wild Tundra is the eighth bestselling brand in the country, and the bestselling brand in this city.
Utley joined Pendhurst-Amaranth six years ago, moving over from Network Media, where she worked as a producer on a national news program. "I'm happier on the publicity side," she says. "I saw too much blood, too much pain. I'd rather make people feel good about Tastee Wheat, which has more cholesterol-lowering fiber than any cereal in its class."
I must be saying that obsession is a terrible thing. (Seek and ye shall find).
Whoa, On That Good News Story:
Dark Fantasies Become All Too Real
Last column I reported on No Limit comics, a promising publishing startup here in the City. Some dark currents ran through the story. The Goth kids putting out The Vengeance, Sorrow, and Arachnihilium (about psychotic superheroes, a woman whose newborns age, fight and die each day, and an alien with a voracious spider-maw on his belly, respectively) were tortured artists who had the cut marks on their arms to prove it. One of them, anyway. Most of their wounds were psychic.
"Good thing they get it out in their work," I thought to myself.
Well, not so much. Yesterday, writer Bruno Schulz shotgunned his editor-girlfriend Alia Gahnem, their artists Theristes Molodacio ("Jade Five") and Halest Tranfo, and himself. Tranfo is hanging on, as this goes to press, but considering how much of his brain is missing, it's hard to see how. The rest are dead.
Death is tragic only in relation to expectation. A ninety-year old hit by a car is not the tragedy of an Olympic hopeful whose plane goes down on the way to the games. We start out as bouncing bundles of potential, and as we become individuated, blossom in our abilities and relationships, our lives are worth more. Then, eventually, we reach the expected limits on a lifetime, and they become less. We've done most of what we're here to do. At some point, we're even done, and waiting for that cold hand on our shoulder with a sense of expected relief. That's how I see it, anyway.
These troubled young people had a great start. They were original artists. I'm not one who thinks popular culture has to be light and affirming. I think there's value in exploring the dark corners. That's what No Limit was doing, perhaps with more edge than a codger like me could enjoy (Robertson Davies famously observed that the young have the luxury to enjoyably flirt with death - to them, it's a distant bridge to cross), but still, with passion and skill. Baudelaire, Poe, Lovecraft, Ligotti, I turn to them all on gray November afternoons, and it's a strange sort of comfort. Melancholy is part of life. I admire them. Though hardly exemplars mental health, they hit some sort of creative sweet spot and did work that matters.
No Limit might have done the same, but until the issues they had in the can come out, we won't know (another comics publisher has purchased their inventory, or says he has; his company was always slated to distribute No Limit comics).
Schulz was troubled, so this is shocking but not unforeshadowed. His father killed his mother and then committed suicide after failing to kill Bruno and a sibling, who escaped though a gap in a chain-link fence through which his father couldn't fit.
Schulz, who was a slight fellow, took pride in his ability to wriggle through tight spots, and to hide. After I interviewed him, he challenged me to find him after my leaving the room and returning in five minutes. I searched that room inch by inch for half an hour, then announced I was leaving. There was no space bigger than a cereal box I left unexplored, but he eluded me. When I returned, he was smiling and sitting at his desk again. He said he would like to go down a rabbit hole some day.
On that very desk, weeks later, he left a suicide note, which I reproduce here. It reveals something. Bruno didn't reproduce his father's miserable exit simply because of an unshakable life script. He had something else, something rather topical, on his mind.
"We are not alone," he wrote, "but coexist with people who have an existence outside the world, and penetrate it like a cone penetrates Flatland, appearing as a circle of changing size as it passes through. These people have powers I cannot believe. They leap like rockets. They fight with guns pulled from empty air. They die and return. Some have lived small, mean lives before, as we do, seeing only this illusion of completeness; but they were awakened and see more, now. They truly live.
"I have talked with them. They say it's too late for me, for any of us. The change would be too terrible.
"I hereby refuse to take no for an answer."
So there you have it. Ladies and gentlemen, the crazy hipsters of the city known as Redpills have created a new crime: murder by philosophy. Think of it as a recipe. Take one messed up kid; stir liberally with "there is no spoon"; allow to incubate.
Yields four dead bodies.
I've had enough. Attention all Redpills: Andreas Bonifacaeio hereby declares war. Your sick worldview, your slick fashion, your brawling ways - they are doomed. I will never rest until you are a laughing stock and hang your heads and wear golf pants and calico dresses and deny you ever owned a pair of sunglasses. You are idiots, and now you are murderers.
May you soon pass from the scene.
Telecommunications officials announced a crackdown on low-wattage, pirate radio stations in the city, which they say "are organizing and abetting Redpill underground activities." The stations, known as "theX.fm" and "EPN radio" are believed to change their broadcasting locations frequently, and have so far eluded official efforts at triangulation. "We are being helped by informants, essentially," a spokesman said. "We'll get 'em."