Common name: Alternative Journalist

Scientific name: Leftis rambleon

Illustration By Conrad Garcia

Identifying characteristics: An invasive species believed to have originated in the Bay Area, they appear to be a distant relative of the Common Journalist (or Corporatis lackys), although it is not clear what caused the split other than a lack of freedom and space in which to operate. The “something in the water” theory speculates that speciation may have occurred in isolated communities of Common Journalists that were exposed to some environmental mutagen, most likely chemical, possibly ink.

Appearance and camouflage: The Alternative Journalist lulls its prey with its sleepy, disheveled appearance and slack mouth that belies its vicious predatory nature. Through clever camouflage, Leftis rambleon is sometimes mistaken for an eavesdropping state worker or curious Midtown vagrant. Can often be seen with small yellow sticky pieces of paper in its pocket.

Behavior: Spends much of its waking hours on the phone or searching the Web in an agitated state, and at times appearing to wander aimlessly in search of a point or narrative arc. Tends to empty its notebook onto the page without direction, or punctuation.

Range: Varies widely. An opportunistic species, Leftis rambleon may show up just about anywhere at anytime. Some have even been spotted lurking around city halls, courthouses and libraries, while seeking out the common loon (see Civic Activist). But Leftis rambleon much prefers the dark and cool refuge of a Midtown tavern, and is inclined to make a permanent den in any watering hole that features a cable sports channel and people willing to listen. Another favorite spot is the Asian Noodle restaurant, perfect for the bulk-feeding rambleon.

Natural enemies: A solitary predator, rambleon will hunt for just about any other species with a story that wanders into its territory. But its greatest nemesis by far is the Greater Central Valley Flak, and other subspecies of spokespersons and public information officers that tend to hold never-ending press conferences. And while powerful politicians and greedy business people make threatening gestures, the flak is the Alternative Journalist’s only known predator.

Maximus sprawlopolis