(Fame. Crime. Greed. Gravy biscuits. What’s a girl to do?)
Here in my town of Creyer (pronounced “Cur”), it’s been a right weird week. I mean, between the crime wave, and the City Hall controversy, and the alien auditions, and what-all, people didn’t know whether to buck or go sit.
First off, a movie company from out in Hollywood announced it was gonna make a science fiction picture, and film it right here in our state. According to Creyer’s weekly paper, the Literable Gazette, casting agents would be coming to town, looking to cast extras for the movie.
We’re hearing that the movie’s to be titled “Ipod” or “Isopod.” Some such. Maybe it was “Isobar.” Anyway, it’s supposed to have background alien extras running round all over it, making little background alien extra noises, shooting ray guns, wearing background alien extra tin foil uniforms … whatever it is that union-scale actors do in-between car chases and catered meals. (By the way, Tyrell, over at Tyrell’s Pole Dancing And Lunch Buffet, is angling hard for that catering plum.)
The director of this new picture is the same fellow that directed that movie “Rain Man” (or as it’s known around here, “Forrest Gump: The Prequel”).
Best as we could ever make out, “Rain Man” was a movie about some fellow who could count matches real fast. And as I recall, start to finish, not a gun fight nor a car chase to be found. Not one.
This new picture must be a sequel to “Rain Man.” That would explain “Isobar.” Though I admit it’s a stretch, even for a Hollywood director who makes movies about matches.
Bless his heart.
The paper said that all interested folks should show up at the auditions, and bring a photograph of themselves that they won’t get back, which, if you ask me, is not a very promising way to start a business relationship. Auditions would be held Wednesday evening at Cotton Mather Elementary School. And that, of course, was the first problem.
Movie auditions on a school night! More worse, the Music Director down at Our Ladies Of Perpetual Gastritis complained that the movie auditions ran up against the Ladies’ weekly choir practice. Creyer’s Mayor, Carl “Big Carl” Sweeney, had to drive over and try to un-rile up the Ladies.
And that’s when the news of the Creyer crime spree broke out.
Now, understand. See, Big Carl hadn’t had a great deal of experience with Hollywood, and he reckoned Creyer was facing a virtual invasion of tans and poodles and drugs and breasts. So, he addressed the problem like every other elected official addresses every other problem.
He threw money at it.
Big Carl convinced the city to buy a brace of those “smart” traffic signs, those things that sit on the side of the road and tell you how fast you’re going, in case you somehow managed to buy a car that doesn’t have a dashboard.
Creyer picked up the pair of smart signs for the rock-bottom-act-now-today-only sale price of only $31,000, which was easily justifiable since Creyer had just received $1.3 million, earlier in the year, for their cooperation in a 2008 Federal video poker sting.
And in this respect, Creyer’s politicians are no better nor worse than anybody else’s politicians. Free money creates amnesia. Happens all the time. We never learn. Creyer failed to fully grasp the concept that the only reason the federal government has money to give to Creyer in the first place is because, at some point, Creyer sent the federal government the money. Creyer forgot: it was their money in the first place. So they bought the smart signs.
But within three days, somebody stole the smart right off the sign.
According to the Literable Gazette:
An electronic “smart” traffic sign the Creyer Police Department had set up at Incisor Gap Road off Possum Spleen Road was found bent and twisted with the speed sign missing, authorities said.
Officer Scott “Scooter” Downe, who first visited the crime scene, noted that the trailer’s rear legs were bent under, the sign’s digital display element was missing and the sign below it (“IN A HURRY, ARE YE?”) was bent at the screws where someone tried to remove it by force.
Additionally, Officer Downe noticed there were drag marks in the grass where someone had apparently tried to drag off the whole sign.
Concerning possible leads or arrests, there was no official statement from the Creyer Police. But later, we did get an insightful earful when we ran into Officer Downe, who was getting pretty liquored up down at Tyrell’s. Scooter mumbled something about Tommy “Towhead” Grimes, who runs “Grimes of Passion,” that little novelty boutique out by the landfill. A valid culprit, for sure. No question that Towhead’s always a worthy candidate for a full body cavity search. But I personally was leaning towards Tookey Ankle, night manager at Pawpaw’s Fine Jewelry And Bait Shop, reckoning he stole the smart sign so he could clock deer from his tree stand.
During our “possible perp” discussion, Scooter seemed conflicted, but by that point in his evening, he also seemed to be deaf, invincible, and trapped in the middle of an extended vowel movement.
Bless his heart.
All Big Carl knew was that there was still one smart sign left. He put the city’s finest on Super-Double-Special Security Alert Red. He saw the signals, he smelt the dangers. He knew Creyer. If this ain’t about to become a full-blown, historicalized crime wave, he thought, well, then, I don’t know much.
Meanwhile, Hollywood fever continued to bubble up in Creyer. Of course, the young folks got bit the worst; impressionable minds, downright smitten with fantasies of fame and fortune; and the duly smit included Big Carl’s twin girls, Euphoria and Carl’s Junior. The twins had their sights set firmly on becoming alien extras.
Problem is, the twins are – well – let’s say “buffet-enabled.” They’re right healthy. Euphoria’s the only person to ever drive by herself through Atlanta and be given a waiver for the carpool lane. And Carl’s Junior, though she has a sweet singing voice, can bring an all-you-can-eat pizza lunch joint to the brink of Chapter 11. When the Burger Prince first put in two drive-thru windows, the girl would place an order at the first window, just to hold her over till the second window. Let’s face it: Carl’s Junior has a better chance of being cast to play the aliens’ mother ship.
Bless her heart.
But Big Carl loves his daughters, and so he thought of a way he might help them achieve their dreams.
Now those of you without sin may cast the first stone. Big Carl’s not the first politician to let his judgment get all clouded up over a woman, much less two blood-kin women, much less two blood-kin women who are, cumulatively, about seven pounds away from getting their own Zip Code.
Turns out that the folks in the State Capitol were on another anti-obesity kick, and qualifying city employees could be reimbursed, by the State, up to $24,000 for something called a gastric bypass (there’s that “free money” dance again).
Now Big Carl didn’t really know what a gastric bypass was, other than it sounded like something that, when it kicked in, he truly wanted to be upwind of it. But he knew that, generally, it involved weight loss. And he knew that his beloved daughters were desperate to get themselves some weight loss, at least until they got the memo that weight loss would involve eating less food.
And with all this upcoming Hollywood uproar, Big Carl definitely knew he could figure out a way to pad the Creyer city payroll by two.
So Big Carl succumbed.
By the time the film crews began to arrive, Big Carl was under indictment, the twins were over-medicated, and the smart sign was still AWOL.
Meanwhile, in a private hunting plat just out by the landfill…
Tookey: Nice hang time, Scooter!
Scooter: What’s the smart sign said?
Tookey: Thirty-two miles an hour.
Towhead: That’s partly due to the modifications.
Tookey: What modifications?
Towhead: Hot sauce.
Scooter: Any cats left?
Towhead: ‘Bout six.
Scooter: Lock ‘n load!
Bless their hearts.