Notes From The Sticks..
Strange vibrations coming from the corner of my condo, just over the dusty Formica coffee table…a faint rumbling, then in rising volume, my finger on the remote, the TV announces with a volume of 8, that a dope freak got arrested for trying to steal the Goodyear Blimp in hopes of flying it to Cleveland for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert 33rd Year Anniversary Celebration. He was apprehended at LAX after somehow climbing into the cockpit unnoticed and then attempting to start The Goodyear Blimp up, when authorities finally confronted him. He was carrying a large guitar case full of condoms, a toothbrush and an old AM transistor radio that he proclaimed to be a bomb. “Kept authorities at bay,” said L.A. Times reporter Bill Hughes, “for more than an hour.”
CNN goes onto say that the elderly dope fiend claimed to be George Harrison, who has been dead for fifteen years. They took him to jail, but couldn’t figure out what to charge him with, aside from attempted high jacking of an unmanned blimp, so they put him in the loony bin. Nuthouses are chock full of people nobody knows what to do with. Case in point, my half-stepbrother on my Mother’s side, twice removed, was a nuthouse tenant collectively, for over a year. He was first diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, but later on that prognosis was changed to ADD and then again to ADHD when the meds made him loopy. Finally, as one Doctor aptly put it, “Naw, he’s not bi-polar or ADHD, he’s just an asshole.”
I couldn’t help but agree. The bastard had been harassing me for years and got away with stealing my football cards and selling them for weed when he was fifteen. From what I hear he is off of drugs completely and drinks a ton of Herbal Tea. I hear he writes poetry and is learning Forestry in Oregon.
Twirling the ice in my Scotch and water, I can’t get a lick of work done. There is too much static, which is drowning out my Metallica, which is at a decent level, even for this time of the afternoon. I’ve gotten so many warnings and complaints for loud noise here in this small town that I had to buy this condo out right and then of course, soundproof the entire thing, as ordered by Judge Monteclair of Beaver Creek. I sold my rookie Mickey Mantle and second year Lou Gehrig for this mess.
On top of the TV is an old Pioneer stereo and between this dueling volume, news ekes out that a man kept a 16-year-old girl alive in a cage, in his basement for 20 years. My God. All those years gone…poof…and for what? “How can anybody work with such news! The horror!”
Then it occurs. A bullet costs what a buck, wholesale? One bullet in that guy’s skull saves taxpayers a ton of dough, maybe millions. Now that I think about it, a bullet like that is too expensive for that ass hat. Torch him with a match, easier clean up.
Typing on this keyboard, I need to work, the column is supposedly to be entitled, Beaver Creek Bits, life in a small town, but I can’t dig anything up, so I just hunker over the keyboard like a zombie. Beaver Creek’s claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Charlie Chance, the worlds most famous man, most likely. He seldom comes back to visit, and when he does no one knows it. He just shows up like Willy Wonka.
The minutes tick to more minutes and any second now, my editor will call demanding a full-fledged final first page piece. At the moment, all I have is an Amish buggy was sideswiped by an out of control Ford Taurus, but thankfully there were no injuries, just one serious spooked horse that’s about 4 miles away at this point.
It is 3 p.m. My deadline was an hour ago and well, this is my life, every week of it so far in my 33 years here. Yesterday, thank God, Beaver Creek millionaire and friend of Charlie Chance, Mr. Gus Lackey dropped by to pay a little bet he owed me. The wager was in reflection to the outcome of a high school football game that had assembled downstate in Detroit. The schools were perennial powerhouse Country Day and the rich schmucks of Grosse Pointe Woods. I had Country Day. I said, “Gus, my boy, when it comes to football, the poorer the neighborhood, the better the team!” He scoffed. The Beaver Creek millionaire handed over my two hundred dollars. This is how I will survive the month. Finally he ran off to a city council meeting, drinking my scotch and talking to himself.
The police scanner erupts…a cop pulled over an 82 year old lady who was swerving. She blew a BAC number of 2.9, a few notches short of death from alcohol intoxication. She refuses to give up her flask and is creating quite a scene it seems down by Billings Road. They are taking her to the hospital, then the drunk-tank. Such news!
At yesterday’s city council meeting, it was ruled that The Beaver Creek Christmas Tree Festival will not be held at The Pittford Lake Auditorium, but at Beaver Creek High School instead. This takes up half a column, now what? On my TV, a demonstration in a Southern town has turned ugly. A serious race riot has erupted into a full blown war zone, after a court ruling about a police shooting. It looks like a Pakistan Holiday on my TV. I guess they didn’t agree with the verdict. Shit. Good story, if it happened here. Fire! Chaos! Tear Gas! Now that’s real news, the true vision of what a news channel should be, but see herein lies the problem with this collective career occupation. Blood and guts sells newspapers and gets ratings. This pays the bills, a sad commentary on the world we all live in. In Canada, they rarely report about violence, yet here it’s almost as if we perpetuate it, just to keep the lights on. I won’t be doing this long I fret, it’s much too depressing and my stomach is a damn knot thinking about it all, but yes, sadly bills must get paid.
Here in Beaver Creek, away from the horrid chaos on my TV, I am waiting on word of the 82 year old lady, who blew a near death BAC number. The police scanner confirms my suspicions, she is fine, in fact she is healthily fighting with cops about going home, as we speak. They will let her stay in the hospital and see how she feels in the morning…and this is my story! HEADLINE: Helen Thomas, 82, of Beaver Creek was pulled over for driving under the influence and fought with cops about her release! I just have to get the grim and juicy details. And this, aside from the drinking, is why I have an ulcer at such an early age. Oh the humanity!
As for today’s city council meeting, with one Gus Lackey…it is reported by those in attendance, that after a heated debate with only a few profanities (and an overturned water cooler) cooler heads prevailed and Gus Lackey got his Road Commission. With the roads as icy as they are this time of year, this was good news for folks on the east side of town willing to travel and drudge through to The Wooden Shoe Tavern and Restaurant, for some late night snookering. Also it was reported that Shell Gas Station on M-60 was shut down due to leaky pipes. It was found that teenagers from as far as Beal Street ventured to the M-60 Shell to sniff the fumes. No word yet on when it will be re-opened. On a side note, it seems Mr. Hubbard there at Old 76 Gas is set to turn a tidy business.
I check the fax and no word yet on the winner of the Beaver Creek teacher of the week award. I stare at the screen and the editor calls. I still have no clue what I am going to write. I tell him it will be sent in under two hours. He said make it one. After some bartering and a few shots of Scotch, we compromise to his call of an hour. “You’ll have your column!” I snap and hang up. What will be in it, I never said, hell, I still don’t know. So I wait for news about Helen Thomas. So far she has bitch-slapped a nurse, attempted to break the tackle of two police officers and elbowed a doctor who tried to listen to her heartbeat. She is one feisty nut job. The fax regurgitates and out comes this…The teacher of the week for Beaver Creek High School is Dale Boskins.
Dale, a recent Michigan State University alum, who graduated with honors back in 2006, took home the coveted prize, as well as a gift certificate for ten dollars off an extra-large pizza at our very own Beaver Creek Pizza Palace. (Dale, if I may recommend the Palace Meat Lovers Deep Dish Delight, you’ll be full for days.) Dale has family here in Beaver Creek and graduated Beaver Creek High back in 2002 with a grade point average well into the B range. It’s good to see one of our own helping out the community in such a way. Way to go Dale!
An hour left until deadline and the booze is a diminishing return. Even worse, still there is hardly any news to write about…not a damn thing. Today, I found marijuana seeds embedded in my bathroom carpet. There were hundreds of them, remnants of many sad parties of congregating divorced female neighbors here, little greenish, brown things, with no way to dig them out. So, I watered the rug and threw the thing in the backyard. I’ll check it in a month or two and see what’s what. If I’m lucky, maybe I can sell it back to them for a profit.
After a few more minutes…The Scotch is history and I am getting nervous, because my liquor store tab is in the red. Time to send this puppy in…Thank you Helen Thomas, you old coot! Finally the fax machine spits out a final exclamation point…Helen Thomas was apprehended and is being held in the county jail. The charges on top of reckless drunk driving could fill two columns and only 15 minutes left to type it up and send the twisted fucker in. One quick check to see if my Wi-Fi is working, finish up the Scotch and well…just another day of scouring Beaver Creek for a nugget…Oh the horror.
More news to come tomorrow. Getting darker now, sun fading high up in the hills, getting groggy…too much Scotch, time to put on some coffee. News in a small town, not much ever happens in print, but a whole hell of a lot happens, all the time, all around, every day and it’s the kind of stuff no one really wants to put into a newspaper, but really should. Circulation would be through the roof. As for today’s column, I think I’ll call it…Notes From The Sticks. And now, since the storm has passed for another day, I will play a little guitar. Maybe Whole Lotta Love or Layla.
Billy Breedlove. Beaver Creek Gazette. The birthplace of Charlie Chance.
Notes From The Sticks. March 2015.