Monday, September 28, 2009

I Joined the Dunce Force. More from the Harvest Festival and Fair

Dunce Force (DF) is the national defense force of the Confederacy of Dunces. The DF’s public relations office is responsible for recruiting new volunteers. One method is to openly and actively recruit during the Autumn Shire Fairs.

Corporal Snell manned the DF booth at Cloverdale’s Harvest Festival and Fair. I found him answering questions and demonstrating the newest weapons the DF recently acquired from the American military. The Corporal had the gift of doing and saying just the right things to make the taking of massive amounts of blood in the battlefield seem so inciting only a fool would walk away from signing away four years of his life to the Confederacy.

Men and boys swarmed the booth waiting impatiently to handle weapons that not only looked cool but had the muscle to cut a man in half at 100 yards. Many in the crowd experienced heavy salivation accompanied with facial tremors when the Corporal played a DVD showing Americans using the same weapons in their war with Iraq. Several boys from Confederacy Elementary got a bit carried away during their time with the steel equalizers, as Corporal Snell called the machine guns.

“Gonna kill me some Arabs!” one youngster shouted from the end of the table. He had one of the ‘equalizers’ set up and in firing position. “Pow, Pow,” he shouted as the gun swung back and forth looking for anyone with darker skin and bad teeth.

“Now that’s racial profiling,” Corporal Snell laughed while highlighting the boy’s enthusiasm to the onlookers.

“There’s one sand devil down.” The boy shouted, marking off each simulated kill by licking his index finger and checking it off in the air. “Pow. Pow. And another one down!” He pointed toward the Navajo Taco Stand. Standing behind the counter was Cloverdale’s only native American indian looking very peeved at the misunderstanding and unwanted attention.

One boy wearing a black T-Shirt seemed engrossed with his weapon. I watched him for several minutes. He held the gun steady while slowly following someone in the distance. The target never left his eye. He demonstrated the patience of a sharp shooter as he tracked whatever it was through the crowd.

“Pop, right in the head,” he whispered as he pulled the trigger. Ten seconds later he handed the gun to the Corporal and walked away quiet pleased with himself. I stopped him and asked what or who was his target.

“My math teacher,” he answered. “He deserved that and more for giving us negative numbers. I'm bad enough with positive numbers. What am I suppose to do with negative numbers? I don’t know which way is up and which way is down.”

One gentleman held what I considered a bazooka. He also had someone in his sights. I moved around the table to see who it was. From just behind him I saw someone standing in its cross hairs. I assumed from her thin red lips pulled tightly together in sarcasm it had to be his wife. She stood in a pink dress holding a white purse. Her arms were folded across her chest, her high heeled foot tapped with impatience. She was obviously ready to proceed to the crafts pavilion and wanted him beside her.

I had the opportunity to handle one of the weapons but didn’t. The line of young boys waiting their turn stretched around the Carmel Apple stand and down the midway. I turned to leave.

“Mister?” the Corporal said while taking me by the elbow and redirecting me toward his Big Chief Table and four color ink pen. “You forgot something.”


“You didn’t enlist.” He seemed put out that someone would spend as long as I did at his booth and not enlist.

“I’m old.”

“I’ve seen older. We can use you in the mess halls or pushing papers.”

“I’ve got a tricky ticker, flat feet and, if you haven’t noticed, a problem with keeping hair on my head. Check your manual. I’m sure one of those things would disqualify me from service.”

The Corporal leaned forward and whispered into my ear. “I’ve got a quota mister. Please...... They’ll send you to your own doctor for a check up. You’re doctor will stamp your service card ‘unfit’ and that’s that. You’re a hero for trying to serve at your age and condition and I get the credit whether you pan out or not. Come on, what do you say? Do it for a vet?”

“What vet?” I asked noting his extreme lack of facial hair.

“Once got lost in a crowd in downtown Detroit. Will that count. Hey, I lived to tell the tale.” he said proudly.

“Good enough for me. Give me the pen.” I signed my name and joined the Dunce Force. You know, he’s right. The crowd applauded my decision. Many said that if every Dunce had as much devotion to God and Country the Confederacy would be a better place today.

I bowed to my newly found fans and said something to the effect that it was every man’s duty to step forward when his country called. Suddenly something else came calling so I cut my speech short and when searching for the nearest Port a Potty. I think something I ate at the Los GutChuckers Mexican Grill Stand near the Ferris Wheel was hoping to resurface.

More on the Festival and Fair tomorrow.

Good Night.

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