Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pearl Fawn and Cloverdale's Psychic Awareness Day

Pearl Fawn. Psychic and Astrologer to the Confederacy Royal Court of
Grand Duke Maximilian Ferdinand Dunce

There was almost a commotion at the Cloverdale Train Station this afternoon. A large crowd of twelve very nearly packed platform one as they waited for the Coastal Express from Fernwood on the Moor. The Palmist Pearl Fawn, Psychic and Astrologer to the Confederacy Royal Court of Grand Duke Maximilian Ferdinand Dunce was due to arrive.

Pearl Fawn is known throughout the Confederacy of Dunces for her uncanny ability to see the present, past, and future by tracing lines on the palm of one’s hand. She is on a national tour to demonstrate her new ‘gift’. Pearl claims to have evolved onto a higher plane of existence over the last three weeks through meditation, watching her sodium intake and using ‘Yoga for Beginners’, a DVD set of yoga exercises she found on With this ascension came the gift of remote vision, or the ability to remotely read palms. In other words, she can psychically see your palm without actually seeing it. This new gift makes it possible for thousands of people to call her hotline (1-800-ISeesYou) and, for a nominal charge of $2.00 (American Dollars only) per minute payable through her PayPal account, have their palm read remotely.

Her visit to Cloverdale kicks off Cloverdale’s Psychic Awareness Day. This celebration of second sight begins with a welcoming ceremony at the train station by Cloverdale’s Amateur Psychics Association. There will be no vocal speeches. Instead, the welcoming remarks will be telepathically transmitted to the gathering . A local telepath will translate the thoughtremarks into toungespeak for those not blessed with the gift. After the welcoming thoughts, Pearl will lead a parade from the station to the Comprehensive School’s Little Theater. She will be escorted down the High Street by members of Thought Guard, the security service of the Psychic Association. Thought Guard will use their mental powers to create a thought shield around her to thwart a threatened mental terrorist attack from the rival Eye of Isis Club in Dibley in the Downs. These Dibley diviners are angry their hamlet wasn’t included on Pearl’s national tour appearances list.

Pearl will stop along the parade route to give random mini readings to the spectators. Priests will be on hand to give grief counseling in case misfortunes are foretold. The procession will stop at the Village Hall where Pearl will be given the Key to the City’s Minds. Following the presentation, Pearl will do a televised reading of the Lord Mayor’s palm. Afterwards she will give him a health analysis by reading his eye’s iris. The Lord Mayor's doctor will be present to confirm Pearl's reading.

The Psychic Celebration will kick off at Noon with a VIP luncheon in the Comprehensive School’s cafeteria. Toungespeak will be allowed for the remainder of the day so the non-gifted can fully participation the events. After lunch, Pearl will give the keynote address titled “The Solemn Responsibility of Reading the Future and Its Effects on the Present”. Workshops will fill the afternoon hours. The Workshop schedule is below:

  • 1:00 - 2:00 P.M. Using your ability to win at games of chance.
  • 2:00 - 3:00 P.M. The Psychic and the Law. Learn the dangers of using your powers to manipulate the police and the courts.
  • 4:00 - 5:00 P.M. DeadSpeak. Learn how to communicate with the dearly departed.
  • 5:00 - 6:00 P.M. Sci-Fi Psychics. Learn what The Force really is and how to use it against the weak minded. The last half of the workshop is spent learning the correct techniques to practice Vulcan Mind Melding.
Conference goers will learn the Proper method to mind meld

The Kicking Donkey Pub will supply a catered dinner. Your servers will be members of the school’s mildly gifted student club.

The conference’s Grand Finale is called “Monte Carlo”. The gym will be transformed to resemble a Monte Carlo casino. There will be games of chance (nickel limit) along with dancing and a floor show of psychedelic lights and fog.

This promises to be the best Psychic Awareness Day in the community’s history. Let’s provide a warm Cloverdale welcome to Pearl Fawn and our visiting psychics. May their readings be accurate and may they see the good in all of us.

The Conference will offer free readings in the exhibits hall.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Last Love of your Life.

Bernard Truman will help you find the Last Love of your Life.

Bernard Truman was lonely. His wife Lola passed away several years ago. Without her loving influence he slowly slipped away and waited for death to come calling. His days were spent taking long walks or talking to his dog Maxine. Without Lola’s genius in the kitchen his meals degenerated to canned soup and frozen vegetables. He lost weight and his overall health suffered to the point where the Shire Home Nurse recommend he voluntarily enter a rest home.

One day while half watching his thirteen inch black and white television and half watching the rain pelting his parlor window he heard a commercial on the TV. He turned to the set and focused his attention long enough to understand. It was a commercial for an online dating service called Springlove. Springlove promised to find anyone a match if you paid a fee and filled out your two hundred point personality profile. Bernard’s blood pressure rose slightly pulling oxygen into his starving brain. His heart starting beating hard enough to be felt as it rattled away beneath his malnourished skeletal frame. Bernard had a thought. Why not find someone to love in his final years? He knew Lola would approve. It was time to move on.

Bernard sat with pencil and paper in hand ready to write down the telephone number for Springlove. The closing scene of the commercial flickered in hundreds of black and white pixels - a man and woman walking arm in arm into the multi shaded gray sunset. Instead of a phone number the screen displayed a web site. Bernard recognized what a web site looked like but had never used a computer. The game show returned. Bernard was up and out of his seat. He put on his rain coat and ventured out into the shower and down the sidewalk to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

“I want a computer,” he told Major Valerie. Major Valerie was the manager in charge that afternoon. She took him in the back room and showed him the limited selection. Most of it was junk. Even Bernard could see that. The Major apologized for not being very helpful and then remembered a new shipment of used computers from the Shire schools. They were still on a packing pallet covered in plastic on the back porch. With a razor blade and determination they cut through he plastic and set out each computer on a large table. One computer looked promising. Its plastic shell was free of the foul school yard language found scratched into the plastic of the other machines. The computer turned on. The hard drive spun into life. The screen displayed something called Windows. Bernard made the purchase.

After spending several weeks learning how to use the mouse and internet thanks to his neighbor’s Eagle Scout project, Bernard joined Springlove. He took the personality profile and waited for the result. He waited. And waited. And waited some more. A week later he received notice that Springlove had credited his enrollment fee back to his bank. In the email explanation someone from the matchmaking service said he was far too old and they didn’t have anyone interested in dating someone old enough to be their great grandfather. Bernard was devastated. He wondered if he was truly ‘Past It’ as they implied in their email.

The next day his Boy Scout neighbor stopped by for his Eagle Scout Project - teaching the elderly basic computer skills. Bernard explained the situation and told him he was through with computers. He had Maxine and that was all he needed.
“Why not start your own dating service for old timers like you?” the Boy Scout asked. “I could create a web site and teach you how to run it. Of course this is beyond my Scout project so I'll have to charge you something," the boy explained.

Bernard took the next week to consider the possibilities of running his own matchmaking service for the nearly dead. After an evening discussing the pros and cons with Maxine, Bernard decided to do it. With the help of his neighbor and a portion of his savings Bernard founded Winterlove, the matchmaking service for the elderly and home bound. He decided on the word 'winter' to illustrate where he was on life’s journey.

Winterlove took off. Soon Bernard had over fifty geriatric clients - all looking for someone’s hand to hold as they slipped through the mortal curtain and into eternity. Bernard even found someone for himself. A lovely woman his age from Strawberry Junction. He stepped out with her several times before she fell and broke her hip. She was moved by ambulance to Capital City’s Medical Center and they lost touch. Bernard’s new match is a woman two years younger. She can cook and tolerates the hours of time he spends working on his web site. She helps with the matches and beams with pride when she receives emails saying her matches were successful.

Bernard found a new lease on life. He helps lonely people like himself find partners in the winter of their lives. He even enjoys the time he spends on the computer. He has a hard time seeing the keyboard some days and other days just turning it on confuses him.

Elda and Maurice, Just Another Winterslove Success Story

Remember Winterslove if you have a lonely, elderly member of your family and are looking for someone to take your place as their care giver. You may need to spend a little money for a good hair cut, dentures, and clothing that doesn't look like it was ordered from the 1972 Sears Catalog. Remember you are placing your senior citizen back on the dating market and first impressions still matter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Eli Ferret Barnes. Protector of Cloverdale's Network.

Eli Ferret Barnes. Villager Network Protector. A rare photograph taken by the Lord Mayor.

In the basement of Cloverdale’s Village Office is a rarely traveled hallway leading to a custodial closet and stairwell. At the end of the hallway is a black windowless metal door with a nameplate which reads “Eli Ferret Barnes. Network”.

No one sees Eli come to work and no one sees him leave. There are rumors he hasn’t left his office in twenty years. The rumors are exaggerated. He must leave the office sometimes because his utility bills are mailed to a home on Millstone Road. He is always in his office when the Lord Mayor calls. He is always at work when the village secretary stops in deliver his paycheck. The building custodian makes it a point to check on him but doesn’t stay long. Eli becomes agitated around people. The first few minutes of a conversation are clearly uncomfortable for him. He won't look you in the eye as you speak. Instead, he stares at a place on the floor. If your visit lasts over five minutes he stands and moves toward his office door giving you the signal that it is time to go. At seven minutes he opens the office door, picks up the broom he keeps next to the coat rack, and begins sweeping around your feet. It is his way of sweeping away the unwanted litter standing on his office floor. A year ago he hung a new sign on his office door. It read "Is It Necessary?"

Eli has never been a people person. Numbers are his friends. As a child, Eli would stand in front of the family wireless and spin the tuning dial to see the numbers pass in front of the station line. His interest was not the station content - it was the turning numbers . This compulsion interrupted many of the radio shows his family enjoyed. Punishments would follow and Eli would spend more time alone in his room buried in his math.

Eli Ferret Barnes grew older and drew further from people. He spoke only when it was necessary to ask a question or pass on his wishes. He functioned in society on a marginal basis. Most people acknowledged his condition and gave him great latitude. He majored in math at university and planned on working as a calculator in the Ministry of Defense. Then one day as he sat reading a magazine at the barbershop he came across an article on the world’s first computer - the Eniac. It fascinated him. He took the magazine to the chair and continued to read while his hair was trimmed. Halfway through the cut he found an address for more information. He jumped up, reached in his pocket, took out a handful of change and dropped it into the barbers hand. He walked out with half a haircut. From that day to the present computers became his constant companions. He speaks their language and they don't required social exchanges.

Eli is getting older and is having trouble seeing the keyboard. He is still a wizard with numbers but his memory is struggling to make relationships. He has provided the Shire with decades of faithful service and has decided the time has come to retire.

May 1st will be Eli’s last day of work safeguarding the village computer network and security. Eli requests no party be given in his honor. As a retirement gift Eli requests a life subscription to the online Sudoku Monthly. I can't say Eli will be missed. It is hard to miss something that was really never there but the Lord Mayor succeeded it getting a picture of Eli one of the few times he was found outside his office. This picture will be framed and hung outside his office door as a testament to his community service.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Trinkle Miniature Toy Factory and Restaurants

Trinkle Miniature Toy Factory and Restaurants

Rising from a emerald green valley four miles outside of Tamworth on the Tide is the Trinkle Miniature Toy Factory, a popular tourist attraction and a major employer in the shire. The factory resembles a fairyland castle. It is surrounded by a moat stocked with large Chinese Goldfish. Employees park their cars in the public car park right off Highway 1. A motorized tram picks them up in the car park and delivers them to the castle’s drawbridge. After clearing security, employees cross the drawbridge and enter the castle’s courtyard where a miniature steam locomotive awaits. The train delivers them to their various work places. The factory opens every day at 6:00 P.M. and closes at 5:00 P.M.

Six day’s a week the factory reopens at 6:00 P.M. for dinner guests. The castle has three small themed restaurants described below:

The Beauty and the Beast serves
European delights from the castle’s great hall.

Cinderella’s is an American steak
house located in the castle’s main tower.

Titanic is a restaurant housed in the castle’s dungeon. It is an exact replica of the Titanic’s First Class Dinning Salon. It serves the same meals, using the same recipes, the first class passengers enjoyed
on the great ship’s maiden and fateful voyage.

The restaurants close every evening at 10:00 P.M. Enjoy an evening at one of the Trinkle's restaurants. It is an experience never to be missed when visiting the Confederacy of Dunces.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Pillstons have Company.

Myrtle with sons Lester and Laman

It has come to my attention that the Pillstons of Shepherd's Lane have visitors. Paul Pillston’s divorced sister Myrtle and her two lay about sons Lester and Laman have come for Spring Vacation from Dibley in the Downs.

Myrtle is the cook at the Knight Arms Cottage, a bed and breakfast establishment found on Dibley’s High Street. Myrtle is quick to tell you about her specials. Her pride and joy is her secret recipe for Bangers and Mash. We’re told it is legend among the Knight Arms regulars.

Lester and Laman are students at Dibley’s village school and do reasonably well considering their handicap. Myrtle says they are learning disabled on account of their father. It appears he passed his tendency to lay about and do nothing to his sons. Myrtle avoids disappointment by not expecting much from them.

The Pillstons plan on renting a room at the Kicking Donkey Pub on Thursday for a small family reunion and invite all friends and relatives to attend. Paul is extending a special invitation to all of Cloverdale’s unmarried men between the ages of 35 and 60 to come to the party. The first drink of the night will be on his tab. Myrtle will cook Bangers and Mash and Lester and Laman promise to bathe.

A special Cloverdale in the Shire welcome to Myrtle and her family!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Otis Flebber. A Dunce's Alien Abduction.

Otis Flebber at the Abduction Site

Otis Flebber is the son of Wallace and Nancy Flebber of Elm Street. Wallace is the owner of Cloverdale's only comic store "WallaceWorld". Otis is a good helper in the store and works with his dad every Saturday stocking shelves and running the cash register. Although not really lazy, Otis generally does only what's required to keep his head above water and stay off everyone's radar; however, there are other times when Otis steps right onto center stage and into the spotlight. One such occasion occurred last week.

Otis walked into Mrs. Nedved’s first period math class at Cloverdale Middle School with his green knit shirt untucked and his sneakers caked with mud. His backpack was unzipped, barely keeping its contents from spilling onto the floor. He staggered to her desk, stopped and planted both hands squarely on the surface . He appeared to be struggling to catch his breath. The rest of the class sat quietly wondering what it would be this time.
“He’ll claim the wind blew his homework out of his bag,” Jon Salmon said to Molly Phillips. Jon and Molly sat in the back of the room with Otis. You might call the three of them friends on the days Otis had his brain attached to the here and now. Nobody could tolerate Otis when his electrons were shifting his self awareness to another dimension along the space / time continuum. Today seemed like a day Otis was shifting between universes. Jon and Molly, along with the rest of the class, strained to hear the words Otis was preparing to speak.

“Mrs. Nedved,” Otis said looking her straight in the eye. He read somewhere during the hours he spent in Cloverdale’s village library that looking at someone eye to eye elicits a sense of truth and trust. “I was walking through the field on my way to school. I was in a hurry. I didn’t want to be tardy again because I know how it upsets you.”

“It’s getting deep in here,” Molly mumbled under her breath. Jon nodded in agreement. Mrs. Nedved stood tapping one of her high heels. Her arms were folded across her chest. Her body language said, “Oh you’re so going to get a week’s detention if this isn’t good”.

“Suddenly there was a light,” Otis stripped off his backpack. Its contents spilled onto the floor. He needed his hands free as he told his tale. “A light came down from the sky. It nearly blinded me. I shielded my eyes with my arm and dropped to the ground on bended knee wondering if I was having a stroke or something.” The class was getting a real treat that morning. Otis was acting out his story with full gestures and voice inflection. “From the light emerged a saucer shaped object. It was spinning so fast I was getting dizzy just watching it. There were lights, red blue, green and..... and,” he looked around. Molly was wearing her pink sweater. Otis liked the pink sweater. He complimented her every day she wore it for her color selection. “Pink. Yes, I definitely saw pink lights.” Molly rolled her eyes. Jon burst into laughter.
“Silence,” Mrs Nedved shouted. Jon held his breath. He could tell his teacher was nearing the end of her patience. “Otis, you may continue this fascinating story.”
“Just as this flying saucer stopped over my head I went all dizzy. My body started tingling and BAM. I was out cold.” Otis fell to the classroom floor. He laid there in a false unconscious state for ten seconds and then jumped to his feet so suddenly several of the girls in the class screamed.
“I woke up inside this space ship. I was in a room. I was alone except for this odd shaped robot thingy. It whistled and beeped but I couldn’t understand it. It had two arm like things attached to its sides. Each arm ended with wheels. It used them to move around the room. I tried to communicate but it didn't understand English. Then the door opened and in walked this man. He was tall and looked almost human - if it wasn’t for his pointed ears and bad haircut.”

The whole class turned to look at Stew Mopperd who was sitting in the front desk of row three. On his good days, Stew also almost looked human. His hair went every direction - having never been formally introduced to a comb. Stew nearly fell out of his desk as he sank low in his chair to hide from the unwelcome attention of twenty pairs of eyes.

“This alien walked up to me, sat down and held out his hand. He wanted something. I wasn’t about to shake some alien dude’s hand if thats what he was after. Then he spoke. He spoke English. He told me their starship’s engines were out of alignment and they couldn’t make the jump to warp speed. He explained their chief engineer had been killed in a battle with this other alien race that wanted to take over the planet. I guess there is a hugh space war going on way out there. Some alien race wants to kill us and eat our brains or something and the aliens that captured me were helping us. Isn’t that amazing,” Otis looked at his classmates. They were all in shock. This story was the best he had every told. He was feeling very proud of himself.
Otis continued, “I asked him why they needed me. He explained that it wasn’t me they wanted. They wanted my math homework because It had the the equations they needed to go to warp speed so they could return home to restock and pick up reinforcements to defend Earth and our brains.”
“Good Grief,” Mrs. Nedved said as she glanced at her wrist watch. “Otis will this riveting tale take much longer. My soon to be eaten brain has a Otis ache!”
The class burst into laughter. Otis bowed to her in respect to the impressive cut she had just given him.

“I’m nearing the end of my sad tale,” he said. The class grew quiet. Otis continued, “I took out my math book and did my duty for the defense of Earth, my family and all of yours. I gave up my homework. I’m willing to suffer the consequences for what I did Mrs. Nedved, but wouldn’t you have done the same thing?” he asked her. The class all nodded their head in agreement for her. Mrs. Nedved ignored the question and again, looked at her watch.
Mrs. Nedved jumped into the pause to try to speed things up. “Otis," she said. "Let me get this straight. You gave Mr. Spock your homework so their starship could go warp speed?” Otis nodded. He wasn’t aware Mrs. Nedven was a Star Trek fan. Her knowledge could work against his story’s believability. It didn’t matter at that point. He was too far into it to change the facts now. Mrs. Nedved continued her questioning, “Why didn’t they just keep you as their engineer. They would have done us all a favor,”

Again, the class roared in laughter. Otis was being out witted by his own math teacher.
“Mrs. Nedved, I begged to be returned I explained that I had a family. I explained I would be missed. He nodded his head and agreed. I gave him my homework. He thanked me for saving them and tapped this badge on his uniform. I got this tingling feeling all over and then, in an instant, I was back in the field and he ship was gone.”

Otis finished his story. The class gave him a standing ovation. It was his best missing homework story yet. Mrs. Nedven gave him an pass and another day to turn it in.

Later that day in English, Otis wrote the story of his alien abduction for a creative writing assignment. His teacher let him read it out loud. She was impressed and gave him an A. Otis entered the Story Teller’s Festival with his story. He took second place. It was a good day.

Otis Fleeber was a celebrity.