Friday, November 28, 2008

What's Been Going On In Des Moines Lately, Probably By Gary Britson

Now that summer is over and everyone is back from the Green Day tour, I thought I'd go over some of the stuff that's been happening in Des Moines lately, if you're still interested.

Legal Update: I am pleased to announce that the City Council has finally outlawed Dixieland bands from the County Fair if two or more members of said band are retired accountants. There were just too many of them and they were getting in the way.

My dog Oates: She wasn't really lost. She was just over at the union hall, digging up Jimmy Hoffa again. I didn't mean to worry everyone when I sounded the alarm last spring, but she's just about the only one around here who'll give me the time of day any more since I went on probation.

My brother Earl: Now that he's back from his tour of duty overseas, we're doing just what his doctors told us to do: Keep him supplied with plenty of cold Old Milwaukee and don't make any sudden noises. Let him sit by the TV and sop up the suds and take it easy. Since this is pretty much the way he'd lived before he enlisted, things around here haven't changed all that much. Earl is considering various options, such as furthering his education. Right now he's got it narrowed down to the DeVry Institute and Harvard Divinity School. Depends on which one will give him adequate funding. Personally, I'd go for the technical training, as there isn't much call around here for theologians, now that everyone has cable and can watch Believers Voice of Victory whenever they want.

Besides, we've got old Elmer Rudge down to the Seventh Day Adventists, and like my Dad always said, one Duns Scotus expert in a town is enough. I always liked medieval scholastics, but they do tend to go on a bit.

Thomas Pynchon: He really got everyone's dander up at the County Fair last summer, setting up that autograph booth right next to the ball park and giving free autographed first editions of Gravity's Rainbow just to spite me for not letting him on the softball team, on account of I didn't want him hanging around my sister any more. I just don't think he's a good influence on her. When word got out that he'd be doing a nightly book signing, all those skinny girls from the junior college descended on the town and folks wanting to go to the softball tournament couldn't find a place to park. I'd rather have a shortstop who can't discuss postmodernism than some stuck-up little geek who won't even accept an invitation to appear on Oprah. It's not my fault he can't hit a change-up.

The Nobel Peace Prize: Once again the community has banded together to formally nominate our own Sheriff Roy Albrecht for the Nobel Peace Prize. This year we got it submitted in the right kind of envelope and to the right address. The ladies of the church got together and did the calligraphy and also provided the ribbons. Anyone who can keep the peace five years running at the Zoo Bar deserves some recognition. I know Roy's not as famous as some of those laureates, but I don't see how you can give a Peace Prize to someone who's never even run for sheriff.

Annals of Justice: You probably saw in the paper how our own Ames Nickeslworth got his plumbing lethally ventilated by a blast from the shotgun of his neighbor, Walt Croolly. Walt was convicted of murder one two years ago, as you know, but over the summer the homos on the Iowa Supreme Court said he didn't do it after all and gave him a new trial. Of course, all the real men were out of town for the summer following the Green Day tour and who was left to man the jury? Bunch of socialists and Seventh Day Adventists and kids working at Wal-Mart. I mean, get real. Anyway, Walt got a new trial and they convicted him of manslaughter, a real slap on the wrist. He'll be out of prison in a year or two. Word has it that down to the prison, his dance card has been pretty full the last couple of years.

My Little League Team: We changed our name from the Wildcats to the Badass Mutant Disciples, but we still lost to St. Mary's 21-3. It was closer than it sounds. We'd have made the playoffs if we'd won a game, I'm convinced.

Health issues: Have you noticed that since AIDS came and went, nobody ever talks about getting the clap any more? They used to talk about it all the time, especially Nestor, but I think he was just bragging.

Probation: It's not as bad as you might think. My probation officer is a pleasant lady, but I have to call her Ms. Sanderson and she won't go to the movies with me. She says she'll have me revoked if I ask her again. Women. Go figure.

The arts: The high school production of The Phantom of the Opera hit a snag, on account of they couldn't get the rights. They decided to do it anyway. Shirley and her sister had the album and their Aunt Melanie over in Omaha saw it and remembered a lot of the talk, so they just put their heads together and figured out some stuff to say between songs, but after a couple weeks of rehearsals they got a call from a guy who claimed that the guys who wrote the show would sue our eyeballs out if we sold tickets, on account of the rights hadn't been purchased and are not, in fact, even available. So we wrote him a nice letter saying we'll do Carousel instead, but then we'll go ahead and do The Phantom of the Opera anyway. I personally don't think a bunch of fruits in New York give a rat's wazoo if we do The Phantom of the Opera anyway. They just wanted to get a nice letter. There's nothing much in this world that can't be fixed with a nice letter. It always worked with my Aunt Sally and it will work here, I am sure. Actually, I like Carousel better anyway. My favorite is still Anyone Can Whistle, though, but I have never been able to drum up any interest in it around here, on account of what happened at the gym the last time Steve Sondheim came to town. The less said about that the better, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, pre-production plans for my long-awaited staging of Dialogues of the Carmelites are almost complete. Mindy's doing the sets and Ed is looking for a guillotine. He thinks there's one in his Uncle Lyle's barn. I wouldn't be surprised. Old Lyle has always gotten a funny look in his eye around Bastille Day.

Law: Sheriff Leo was arresting guys for speeding and driving drunk and then they were going downtown and getting the charges dropped on account of the deputy kept forgetting to show up for the trial or the evidence was tainted with suppressions or some such. So Leo hit upon what appears to be a good idea. He arrests a guy and then instead of taking them to Court he just brings them over here and lets Harold give them a good talking to. After five minutes of his admixture of The Synoptic Gospels, Thomas Pynchon (again, that guy just won't go away) and his speech about Hillary, the poor guys always end up paying about what they'd pay in court, only we get to keep the money for beer. I'm thinking about going to law school, but Mom says I have to finish high school first. Between coaching little league, shooting the breeze with my probation officer and keeping Thomas Pynchon away from my sister, I don't have time to go to high school. Life is one thing after another.

Amelia Earhart: She died last month, in case you're interested. She'd lived out to Smiling Cedars Care Facility. She worked there, you know, for about 50 years as a nurse's aide and part-time water-skiing instructor, and then when she took sick she became a patient. She came to town because she had heard that Des Moines was a nice quiet place to write one's memoirs, but what with nursing and water-skiing and what-not, I don't think she ever got around to it. Judge Crater came to the funeral, but hardly anyone else. Don't tell him I told you.

The Maynard Boy: He got back from Iraq in August. Seems fine, except he appears to think he's George C. Scott in the first reel of Patton. Spends most of his time at the Legion Hall, talking about the Battle of El Alamein. He'll be fine after we have a church supper for him next Saturday and he has a double helping of Alice's Chicken Tetrazzini with sauerkraut and beer. Anyone's ever been a little out of touch with reality, that always brings them around. Everybody's welcome, but this may be one of those events that is not suited for family viewing.

The Rossman Boy: He came home from Iraq last Friday. Services will be Tuesday at eleven, with a church supper in the basement after. Edith's making pie.

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