New York State’s political world was turned upside-down this week by the abrupt resignation of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been credibly accused of being a meat suit filled with centipedes.
The state’s top law enforcer announced his resignation on Monday night, just a few hours after the New Yorker published a story about the accusations.
Based on the accounts of four women in Schneiderman’s social circle, the New Yorker story paints a disturbing — and meticulously reported — picture of a man who maintained a façade of ordinary human skin, but was privately a writhing, clicking mass of legs and segments.
“It came out of nowhere,” one accuser told the New Yorker. “All of a sudden, he just unzipped the whole front of his chest and it was just full of bugs. I think he wanted me to see them.”
Another accuser said she first suspected something was up when Schneiderman forced her to get rid of an old can of Raid in her apartment. Later, she said, he took sadistic pleasure in revealing the invertebrates operating his human suit.
“Taking a strong woman and subjecting her to the mind-bending horror of his corporeal existence is kind of his jam,” she said. “I lost count of how many times he made me watch Men In Black.”
In a statement released to media, Schneiderman denied the accounts.
“In the privacy of my own home, I have pursued harmless entomological hobbies, which I have enjoyed sharing with like-minded friends. I am not an animated flesh-puppet controlled by a hive mind. I have not had my internal organs extracted and replaced with venomous arthropods, which is a line I would not cross,” he said.
A friend of one of the accusers, the celebrated novelist Myron Asfour, has stepped forward to corroborate her story. Asfour told the New Yorker that his friend told him about Schneiderman several years ago.
“She called me the next day, very upset, and described him laughing maniacally as he peeled back the skin of his arm to reveal a bunch of squirming centipedes. It was clear to me he was made of bugs,” Asfour said.
Asfour is a Man Booker prizewinner, a darling of the New York literary establishment, and a sentient mole colony. “I mean, I oughta know,” he added.
The revelations about Schneiderman are only the latest to be exposed by the “BugOff” movement, which has led to the discovery that many prominent men in politics, business, entertainment, and media are in fact skin marionettes full of insects.
Critics of BugOff are asking: Who doesn’t have a few bugs? Have we gone too far?
“Centipedes aren’t bugs, they’re chilopods,” wrote New York Times opinion columnist Russ Bohr, who is millions of tiny wriggling nematodes in a pulpy matrix. “If Schneiderman’s alleged victims can’t even get basic science facts right, how can we be sure they’re telling the truth about anything?”
Elected officials on both sides of the aisle have been quick to denounce Schneiderman in the wake of the stomach-turning revelations. But some local observers think he was too quick to resign.
In a local coffeeshop, Chad Edsall, a SUNY New Paltz sophomore, expressed what he called “epistemological concerns about the nature of the BugOff project,” as a small dermestid beetle crept along the edge of his collar.
“I’m not going to rush to judgement on Schneiderman. We don’t have all the facts yet,” Edsall said, adding that no one could prove to his satisfaction that other people existed.
Sue Lavon-Marchetti, a local realtor whose husband is four thousand angry bees in a trenchcoat, said Schneiderman should “stay and fight.”
“Those centipedes are vital to the progressive movement. We can’t afford to lose them now,” she said.
Barista Joe Miller disagreed. “The state’s top law enforcement official shouldn’t be made of bugs,” he said, wiping a table. “It seems like a low bar.”
An investigation has been launched into Schneiderman’s alleged centipedality, headed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
Vance’s involvement in the investigation is potentially fraught. Before his resignation, Schneiderman had been investigating Vance for dropping a case against Harvey Weinstein, a prominent Hollywood producer accused of being a bathrobe full of pulsating diseased maggots, each of which has its own individual lawyer.
A broad field of potential Democratic and Republican candidates is already emerging to fill the seat vacated by Schneiderman’s legions of clandestine invertebrates. In the meantime, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tapped a temporary replacement, New York State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood.
Several Albany insiders have greeted Underwood’s appointment with relief.
“She’s definitely not made of snakes,” said one legislative aide. “It’s about time we had a human flesh person in the A.G.’s office.”