by Jeff

About Jeff

Jeff Stanger is an author and fundraising consultant as well as the answer to several obscure trivia questions. He writes for food and occasionally for spite.
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The Scorn of the Ibis

Day 4 of writing in relative seclusion:

Sebastion the Ibis keeps talking to me. His scorn is pervasive. I must find a way to distract him so I can get some work done.

Tuesday I introduced the most bizarre set of characters yet in this novel : The Gay American Celtic Troubadours. Only the final battle in Return of the King comes close to the G.A.C.T.’S battle with the Volunteer Librarians of America. The passage on beer will get me lauded or sued. It could go either way.

I’m in a raging battle with my apartment complex. They gave me a package Monday that they had sat on for 7 months. They told me it came in last week -as if I wouldn’t figure that out. I used the UPS tracking number to determine it had been signed for it on May 21, 2003, by someone named Ray. I’m certain Ray is a Minion of Gozer.

Carry on, Citizens!

Maybe

For Larry Stoute 1946 – 2003

The sky now divides
To bring you back into the fold
Welcome home
Still my need to recognize
Any comfort you may show
Only grows
Guess I’ll learn to accommodate
While my heart just sits and waits
Maybe God you found
Maybe is all that you can offer now

Where am I to take refuge
When the storms of pain release
Shelter me
This blessedness of life
Sometimes brings me to my knees
I call on Thee
I have not the words to write
A Farewell to you tonight
Maybe God you found
Maybe is all that you can offer now

I know hearts are weeping
While your voice is now singing
On high, angel on high

I have not the words to write
A Farewell to you tonight
Maybe God you found
Maybe is all that you can offer now

–E. Rowland

Big Brother Larry

I?m afraid that my book might someday be successful. I?m afraid of success. I?m mostly afraid that Larry Flynt has nude photos of me. Larry Flynt has nude photos of everybody. He has nude photos of you. You?re just not famous yet, so he?s holding on to them.

Larry Flynt is Big Brother. He has cameras everywhere! He?s watching you right now as you read this blog. He?s watching and waiting — waiting for you to take your clothes off. As soon as you do, the pictures are taken and he puts them in his 4 billion square foot Not Yet Famous People Vault. Everyone in North America, with the exception of Madonna because it?s rarer to photograph her with clothes on, is in the vault. And rest assured, if you become famous, Larry Flynt will announce that he has photos of you.

I thought about writing to Larry and ask if he had any tasteful photos of me for the back cover of my book ?something arty and not too revealing. However, I figure that I really need to lose 25 ? 30 lbs. So instead, I?m going to ask Larry to have the secret photos currently in the vault to be replaced with photos secretly taken of me after I lose the weight. I won?t know when the photos will be taken of me, you never do with Larry. I?m just going to write and ask him to turn off the cameras for 6 months so I can get in shape.

I?m also going to ask Larry if he took any secret photos of me when I went to the Metrodome to see the Twins/White Sox game. I took my photos to Walmart and the Photo Minions promptly lost the pictures. Of course, I was completely clothed for the entire time I was at the Metrodome, so the likelihood of Larry taking any pictures is kind of slim. However, a few accidental shots may have been taken in anticipation of disrobing. If so, I hope he got Kirby Puckett in the shot as well, because Kirby hit a 3 run homer that day. For the record, Kirby remained clothed throughout the game and for the post-game interview.

I also had pictures of Frank Thomas taking batting practice. It?s been several years, but according to my recollection, Frank was fully clothed. However, Larry might have accidentally taken a picture or two of Frank. If so, I think Larry wouldn?t mind sending me a few pictures to make up for my lost vacation film. I bet if Larry took over Walmart?s photo department, they wouldn?t lose your photos.

Back At You, Wolf

On Monday, I decided to get even with the Wolf. I called a tree trimming service in town and pretended to be him. I scheduled the removal of all the trees on his property. Then I tried to leave an anonymous message at DWARF headquarters. (Defenders of Wetlands, Animals, Rainforests, and Foliage) Would you believe Maple answered the phone? Thankfully, she didn?t recognize my voice! I told her that a known hater of the environment was on the verge of a mass slaughter of innocent trees and she hit the roof.

?He?s going to do what??

?He?s going to cut down every tree on his property and erect statues that celebrate white male oppression, capitalism, and the burning of fossil fuels.?

?That *&%$. I can?t believe it. He?s in for the fight of his life. We?ll vandalize his house! We?ll vandalize his parent?s house ?assuming he didn?t crawl out from under a rock! That greasy, slimy… ?

She put me on speaker phone so the rest of the DWARF?s could experience the horror. ?Listen up everybody, this is ?what did you say your name was??

?I didn?t.?

?You didn?t??

?No, I didn?t. I think it?s best for me to remain anonymous. He is after all, an attorney.?

All sorts of expletives could be heard coming from DWARF headquarters. Maple proceeded to tell the DWARF?s my story. A major protest was being sketched out on recycled paper. Maple momentarily forgot that I was on the line. It was all I could do to keep from laughing as they plotted their defense of the trees.

?So when is the Arborcide scheduled to take place??

?Tomorrow afternoon,? I said. ?At 1:30. Truelove Tree Service is doing the dirty work. The attorney?s name is Frank Wolf.?

Stereo expletives could now be heard in the background. I realized that I had some common ground with the DWARF?s: They hated the Wolf too! Maple and I, locked in a common struggle against evil? I almost felt bad for bringing her unwittingly into this prank. Almost. Of course, I shouldn?t have been surprised that they hated the Wolf. He once represented a semi-conductor manufacturer that dumped toxic waste into the one of Monroe County?s streams.

Anyway, the mention of the Wolf?s name sealed the deal. They thanked me for the tip and promised me some sort of Druid chant in my honor. I respectfully declined. Then I called another reporter at the Bloomington Times and tipped her off that a major environmental protest would be taking place the next afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon, I pulled in to the Wolf?s neighborhood about four houses down from his. At precisely 1:00 pm, he pulled that puddle shooting van out of the driveway and headed back to his office. Sitting alone in my car, I said ?Bye Wolf. Hope you weren?t too attached to your home.?

At 1:06, the DWARF?s started to arrive. It was a parade of vintage Volkswagen vans ?each complete with rust and dents and tie dye curtains in the windows. Some had as many as fifteen people crammed inside. They covered the Wolf?s yard like ants. Some chained themselves to his trees, while others sprayed graffiti on his house and driveway.

One group formed a circle in his driveway and sat down. They lit candles and began chanting. Maple leaped out of one of the vans. She was wearing a dirty white tunic and carrying a tambourine. She had a crown of flowers in her hair and no shoes on her feet. She skipped and frolicked around the circle while singing and pounding her tambourine. Where was the Times reporter?

My windows were down, so I could hear some of the song, but I didn?t dare move closer because I didn?t want to be spotted. At 1:17 the reporter and Truelove Tree Service arrived simultaneously. The ensuing chaos was purely delicious.

The DWARF?s began a Gregorian chant that nearly caused the tree foreman to wet himself. Emily, the Times reporter had brought two photographers with her. The flashbulbs started popping and the DWARF?s stopped chanting and started yelping. In all my days I?ve never heard a more bizarre chorus.

A group of DWARF?s then proceeded to carry signs with them into the street to block traffic. The tree service guys tried to unload their equipment and the DWARF?s circled their trucks. They locked arms and began to alternate the yelping and chanting. Three tree service men considered the possibility of new careers that afternoon.

The foreman was able to compose himself long enough to call the Wolf?s office. That?s when the real circus began. It only took the Wolf seven minutes to make it from his office to his house. Arriving with him were several Bloomington police cars and a county sheriff. The police were there because the Wolf called them en route. The sheriff was there because the Wolf was doing 80mph in a school zone.

The Wolf barreled out of his van screaming at everybody in sight. Veins in his neck bulged as he shoved DWARF?s, a tree service guy, and even one of the photographers. He demanded an explanation while the deputy sheriff demanded his license and registration. The deputy threatened to cuff the Wolf, so he handed him his license and stomped back to the van for his registration.

The Bloomington police didn?t act immediately ?the yelping threw them off. After a brief huddle, they decided to move the marching protestors out of the street. Surprisingly, they didn?t put up too much of a fight. The marchers moved from the street and onto the sidewalk. They proceeded to march through the neighborhood, walking right past my car. Unfortunately for them, countless years of marijuana smoking had left them directionally impaired. The subdivision, being rather large and having many streets and cul-de-sacs, swallowed them alive. No one knows what happened to the ten marching DWARF?s, but a few days later the Wolf had their van towed.

Meanwhile, the sheriff issued the Wolf a ticket. He could have given him a warning, inasmuch as his house was under siege. But the Wolf had many enemies. Years of burning bridges, bullying prosecutors, and frivolous lawsuits had eroded his fan base to blood relatives and the acquitted.

By now the Wolf?s bulging neck vein was on the verge of rupturing. He turned his attention back to the tree foreman who demanded to be compensated for his time. The Wolf threatened to sue Truelove Tree Service. The foreman threatened to sue the Wolf. The DWARF?s began to realize that this might not have been a ?real? environmental emergency and began to flee.

The Wolf screamed at the Bloomington police to arrest as many of them as possible. In all, seven DWARF?s went to jail that afternoon ?including Maple. I didn?t feel too badly about it though. In the DWARF world, getting arrested during a protest is a badge of honor. The way I saw it, I had furthered their careers as professional dissenters.

The DWARF?s were fined $2,000 dollars for the damages to the Wolf?s property. It took them all of about 20 minutes to pay the fine. (Most of them called their parents and told them they needed money for books.) Truelove Tree Service actually made money on the event. Mr. Truelove also owned Truelove Paint and Hardware. The Wolf agreed to let them paint the house and remove the vandalism from the driveway.

Emily wrote a compelling front page story, accompanied by the many wonderful pictures that were taken. I think the headline speaks volumes about the seriousness of the event:

WOLF CALLED HOME TO REMOVE DWARF?S FROM TREES.

Back at you, Wolf.

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