A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

The town clock strikes 4. It is still dark, but there is activity on Main Street. Across the street from the River Pirates' Inn, George Zuckerbaker is at work. By 4.30, he is ready for early customers at Zuckerbaker's Doughnut Delite, which serves the best fresh-baked doughnuts in the known universe. Delivery people, school bus drivers, and other early-shift people love him, as does Virgil Fenstermacher, the star reporterforn the Hooverville Honker, who gives him great Yelp reviews.

George has got crullers, and doughnuts, plain, glazed, and frosted, with or without sprinkles, Napoleons, Amish-style soft pretzels, and giant sugar cookies. He also has hot coffee – plain, honest coffee, none of that flavoured stuff. The one thing he doesn't have is a bagel. Nobody in Hooverville has ever asked for one. The nearest bagel is a couple of hours away in Pittsburgh.

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Wlad Winzekowski isn't into early rising (and he doesn't care for doughnuts), but something disturbs his sleep. He's been beneath the duvet for long enough to get a bit too warm, so he sticks a bare foot out from under the covers for temperature regulation.

And immediately regrets this. Ignatz pounces, mistaking Wlad's big toe for a mouse, as he does every time this happens. Whether the organist or the cat is less educable is up for debate, but having your big toe pounced upon by a cat at a quarter past four in the morning on a fall day is a debatable pleasure at best. Wlad yells, and hastily withdraws his foot, opting instead to throw off the duvet partway. Ignatz jumps off the bed with a mew of disgust. He goes off to see what's left in his food dish (not much).

Now, unfortunately, Wlad's sleep is broken. He tries to settle in again, but deep slumber is elusive. Instead, a tune begins to run through his head. A somewhat monotonous, winding tune that reminds him of Paul McCartney's latest album. Wlad is not a big McCartney fan. He much prefers Billy Joel. The tune keeps winding round and round in Wlad's head. Words, too. Something about, 'Did you ever want to know…'

Yes, thinks Wlad. Sometimes I do want to know. But not at four…okay, 4.30 in the morning…it's not even daylight yet. Not for a couple of hours. Why can't I get back to sleep? He dozes, then wakes with a start. Ignatz has rejoined him on the bed. Ignatz would like him to get up and refill his food dish, but the cat knows from experience that Wlad is probably not going to do that. The cat is right: it's too early, the air in the room is cold, and Wlad has no intention of moving just yet. He has every intention of falling asleep again. If only he could get rid of that tune in his head, how does it go? Da da da-da da-da da, da da da-da-da-da da, da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaa....da....

He follows the tune down the musical rabbit hole, and by a quarter to five, he is fast asleep again.

Ignatz sighs, and curls up into a furry ball of patience.

Wlad doesn't even wake up when the street cleaners pass by in front of the house ten minutes later. Ignatz goes to the window to watch: the street-cleaning machine is highly entertaining.

smiley - dragon

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 3

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

The next dream was the most pleasant one of the evening so far.

Arsenio found himself back at a store called Cuckoo Timekeepers. He was 18 years old again, and very much awed by the fantastic hand- carved clocks that were for sale. Granted, he could never have
afforded to buy the most expensive model -- an eight-day-movement
chalet-style clock by Hoenes that reailed for about $1,500 -- but who
needed to own it when it was right there in the store, cuckooing every hour, on the hour?

As pleasant as this dream was, there was something else that was even pleasanter: the aroma of freshly baked doughnuts form Zuckerbaker's Doughnut Delite, which was a couple doors down from the china shop, and across the street. Yes, even in his sleep Arsenio could smell them and desire some.

He opened one eye. Then he heard the growling of the alleged bear, a little closer this time. He closed the eye again. Did he want to walk down the street for doughnuts and coffee (especially the coffee!) and risk leaving the place vulnerable to invasion by that bear (if it was a bear)?

Okay, Arsenio, think about this strategically. With such tempting sources of food available, why bother with a silly china shop? Well, why not? If you passed the shop on the way to the doughnut heaven, all you'd need to do was look through the window and see the "Spode
Woodland display" and, next to it, a display of "Friendly Village" platters like "Covered bridge." The bear could go in there hoping for a place to hide and devour his breakfast.

Arsenio was starting to get worried now.

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 4

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[The nice thing about donuts in a story is that your character can eat all he wants, and you won't gain an ounce. smiley - winkeye]

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 5


Remember, remember….

Across town, in a small, almost empty bar, a young woman sat at a table, nursing a beer and swaying gently to the melancholy organ music.

She wiped a tear from her cheek, mocking herself at being such a softy, but this tune, one of the Godfather of Heavy Leslie's classics, was (used to be) their song.

But that was long ago, another time, another place, another life.

She took solace in believing he was in a better place, beyond suffering.

She raised her beer and toasted the memory of the love of her life.

*May all your roads be twisty my love!*

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 6

Caiman raptor elk - Yes, but what if the box is REALLY big?

Can't get to sleep, so I'm listening to some music. At the moment the title track of the Metallica album "And Justice for all.." is running. It is about class justice. How money can turn your fortune, eventually leading to the rape of Lady Justice. It is not really helping to get asleep though, despite the 9 minutes 44 second duration. Maybe it's better to play that all time Fire department classic... Fire Water Burn, by Bloodhound gang. That at least isn't too serious.

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don't need no water let those knickerbockers burn... Burn Knickerbockers, BURN. Dumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdum Dumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdum… Ooooh Oooh...

Where did I put my air bass guitar? Ah, got it.
Let's just hope the bed survives this solo.

Hmmm... Must add something to the ad. Must be able to sing, grunt or play a musical instrument. Let's do that right away.
Squish. Oh, and I still have to clean the floor. But not now.

Hi Paula. Didn't hear you coming in.
How did it go?
So you'r telling me it worked at first. Good.
You took that fishy pumpkin to the Misty Mountain State Park, dropped it there, and then another bear followed you back here? Less good.
And you saw the tent of that Ranger in the Park?
Well he probably studied biology, so he'll know what to do with a bear, I guess. I think I've had my fair share of biology for this night though.

You're going to bed now? I'll be down to edit my ad to get an extra for the Pete crew.

Paula!! Why are there blue paw prints all over the garage floor?

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 7


Coal Chamber's Sway is now on a loop in my head, memories of Ozzfest,thanks CRE!

(Don't Google it DG, you will not enjoy! Lol)

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 8

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

[Singing Warren Zevon's 'I was in the house when the house burnt down...' now... smiley - run]

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 9

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[I'm waiting for the fire station to burn down.smiley - run]

[Not with anyone in it, though.]

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 10

Caiman raptor elk - Yes, but what if the box is REALLY big?

[If only the cat had chosen to play with the red ink. But that would have been cruelty to animals]

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 11

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

smiley - laugh

[I like that cat. Dealing with the geese was a nice touch.]

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 12

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

When the town clock strikes 4, Sheriff Rowdybush starts dreaming again.

First, he's out on 'Foot Patrol' and checks all round the Town Hall, trying to find 'the thing' but then realising he doesn't know what thing he is looking for. Then suddenly he is looking into the Book Shop, trying to read the titles of the books on display in the window and wondering why he can't see the lettering with his eyes closed. He tries to open his eyes, but he is just too tired to wake up.

He gives up on the books and heads back towards the Police Station. He passes the China Shop, where he admires the lovely display in the window, but then feels uneasy when he realises the flower designs have changed and are actually pictures of zombies. He deduces that the plates must have been for Halloween, so that is understandable even though it is strange. He shivers in his dream, and twitches in his bed smiley - weird

As he passes the Waffelhaus, he smells the scent of delicious fresh baked goods and his stomach rumbles. An imaginary Amish soft-baked pretzel (his favourite snack from Zuckerbakers) appears in his hands, so he eats it, savouring the texture. Much to his delight, an imaginary cinnamon waffle (his favourite snack from the Waffelhaus) then appears in his hands, so he eats that, too. Then he realises his hands are sticky.

Instantly transported to his bathroom, he washes his hands and turns round to discover the wall has disappeared and the Mayor is looking at him through a window in the Town Hall. Keen to be seen to be doing something, he fetches the Police Motortrike and rides up into the Misty Mountains. He rides over a peak and falls down, down, down... In his bed, he twitches even more violently smiley - weird and almost wakes up, but just turns over and settles down. His stomach rumbles again.

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 13


Wynken De Woordesmyth springs into a sitting position, still encased in his sleeping bag. A rustling in the undergrowth; deep, throaty mumbling sounds.

A bear, a bear, all black and brown and covered in hair!

Wynken winces and groans at the horribleness of the lyrics arising unbidden to his consciousness. He shakes his head; it works. He pulls the bag down over his shoulders and unzips it; seconds later he's out of his tent, flashlight in hand.

Only a few yards from his tent, a huge, rounded shape lumbers in a most lumbersome manner. A bear, indeed, and just black, not brown. With beautiful, glistening fur.

And a faint smell of rotting fish. Could it have come up from the river?

Wynken grins from ear to ear. He pats his pants pocket … yes, the bear spray is there. But he doesn't think he'll need it.

"Hello there, big guy," he calls out, in his soothing bear whisperer voice, waving his arms. "I'm happy to meet you. I'm just a poor and puny human person. I mean you no harm. I don't have any food with me. You would have better luck down in the valley. Just don't eat the orchids, please."

The bear is placid. Placidly the placid bear turns around and lumbers lumbersomely down towards the valley. One might swear it understood.

"I might as well join him. Or her." Wynken looks at his watch: a quarter to five. Fifteen minutes to get down to the valley, and then two hours available for seeking the ghostly pale-blue flowers. He quickly ducks back into his tent to get his backpack. He exits and zips the tent shut. There's nothing of value inside; only the bear, if it returns, might claw it up a bit. But it's a seriously sturdy tent, having survived several ordeals in its twenty-five-year service to Wynken.

He waits a few minutes more so that the bear can extend its head start, then starts on the path down into Vagabond Valley.

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 14


Hermione woke from a nightmare. She was drowning in a tub of feathers,which were covering her face and choking her. In an attempt to surface through the feathers, she waved her arms like a windmill. Something mewed. It was Minx, who had been sleeping on her pillow and had draped a furry leg across her face. 'Go away, Minx,” she said and tried to push the cat away. Minx moved a few inches before curling up and going back to sleep but Hermione was now wide awake.
She became aware of the smell of doughnuts drifting down the road from Zuckurbaker's Doughnut Delite. Doughnuts were not her favourite snack: she preferred old-fashioned scones, but they didn't make them round here. Scones with butter and good English tea. There were some things that made her wish she was back in England, and scones with tea were among them.
The thought of England made her think of Chris. Not that he would be there of course, he was in Cambodia last time she'd heard from him. However, she hadn't had an email or a text for a couple of weeks and she wasn't sure where he'd be now. She dreamed of seeing him here in Hooverville, but knew that was unlikely.
Hermione slid out of bed, pushed her feet into her slippers and stumbled to the table where she kept her smart phone. She hated the thing. It had taken her ages to get it to do the simplest things and it was still reluctant to log onto the internet. All the same, it was a method of communication. She switched it on and slowly typed a message to Chris. 'Are you still in Cambodia? It's quiet here in Hooverville. Please let me know how you're doing.' She sighed. When would she see her son again?

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 15

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[Zombie flowers? smiley - laughsmiley - laugh]

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 16

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[I notice that Virgil Fenstermacher has been mentioned, but there doesn't seem to be anyone assigned to write his daily stories.]

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 17

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Wilhelmina does not smell the doughnuts which are baked further down the street. Her windows shut too well. Three glass panes, multiple seals, nothing comes in. Wilhelmina is still asleep, unlike the doughnut bakery the Waffelhaus doesn't open yet. She has a strange dream about being at an open-air concert. Everyone is dressed in pink and there are flags. Black, pink and gold. On stage they just start singing a new song 'Der Ruf, der Ruf, der Ruf ist im Eimer...' Someone offers her a beer, then the scene changes to something even more absurd and incomprehensible.

As the creatures of the night slowly descend to their holes, burrows and little cracks in space and time, Cassy slowly considers to go home. A few humans are already up and on their way to do whatever humans do all day. She notices that the street cleaning-machine is also around already. She hates that thing. Too loud. Too large. Cassy jumps into a garden to avoid meeting it. It's better to stay off the street now anyway as with the people also the cars return. She listens how silent she can be, walking on the grass and how dry leaves rustle as they crumble under her paws. She sniffs the cool and moist air of autumn. She sniffs. Sniffs again. Doughnuts.

Cassy slowly makes her way towards Main Street. When she reaches the church of Nighthoover she quickly picks up pace. Cassy never really was a friend of vacuum cleaners, also she is afraid the music may start again and she wouldn't like to hear that from close by. Her ears were too sensitive. Only in passing she notices a translucent figure passing through the church wall.

Cassy runs on. In the end she sits down on the stairs leadin up to the River Pirates' Inn. Inside everything still seems to be quiet and dark. She looks across the street and entertains herself with watching people buying doughnuts.

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 18


No more snoring for Lola. Lying on her side really did help.
The back of head has stopped throbbing, too, which is a good thing, because she had been wondering if she shouldn't go to the hospital.
But she doesn't really have a million dollars to spend on medical bills, so that would have been quite an inconvenience...

She is having another dream, now.
No more heartbreak.
She is dreaming of her third favourite thing: food.

In her dream, the air is filled with a wonderful smell, the smell of freshly baked baguette bread, and croissants, and pains au chocolat.
It's a smell she hasn't encountered since coming to Hooverville. Here, they only have American pastries: doughnuts and pretzels and cookies.
They're all right, really, but they don't taste like home.

One specialty she does like is a sort of round bun with a hole in the middle. You cut it in half and fill it with stuff.
In her dream, she is having a delicious smoked salmon and cream cheese beagle. It sounds like a kind of trumpet, though, which sort of spoils the experience.

Doughnuts, she doesn't care for. Too fatty, so sugary, too everythingy.
She's much rather have plain bread and jam.
Back home, when she was little, her Mum used to make The Best Mirabelle Plum Jam In The World.

In her dream, she is now a little girl again, coming home from school and having her gouter on the kitchen table, while her Mum is chopping vegetables for the evening soup.
No beagles, bagels or bugles here. Just the radio playing music and her Mum singing along.
And the sound of her spoon stirring her hot chocolate. And a little slurping once in a while: the jam is a bit runny.
And now the jam is running out the window and into the meadow at the end of the garden, and sticking to the cows there.
This is trouble. Better change dreams.

Her childhood home is gone, she's in an airport.
She has checked in, her luggage is gone (probably on its way to Murmansk).
She still has two hours to kill before boarding. She'd like to sit down and read, but all the seats are taken. Some by people, some by their carry-on bags, none of them willing to give up a seat for her, apparently. If she can't sit down, and she doesn't want to stand still, her only option is to wander around the corridors, dragging her carry-on behind her.

She passes people ready for boarding, the display says it's the 6:42 to Phnom Penh.
The flight attendant opens the gate, and they start filing past her.
There's a handsome young man, and she's tempted to trip and fall into his arms, just like they do in the movies, but by the time she gets close, he has already handed his passport to the airline lady for inspection, and soon he crosses the gate.

Always just a little too late.

She finds a seat with no-one and nothing on it, and sits down.
It belongs to a cafe.
She decides she may as well have breakfast, it's almost seven, after all.
She orders a coffee (black, no sugar), and a pain au chocolat.
"That'll be 29.94 euros, plase. Cash or card?"

She wakes with a start, cold sweat running down her back, her hair sticking to her forehead.
Bedside lamp, alarm clock: 4:59 am.
Oh good, she still has two hours before having to get up.
She climbs out of bed, walks to the bathroom, runs water onto the cloth in the basin, and wipes her forehead and neck with it.
Ah yes, that feels better.
She dumps the cloth back into the basin, walks back to her bed, climbs back in and pats her pillow.

She takes a deep breath, frowns at the doughnut smell, and turns the light off.

And starts snoring again.

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 19

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Paul: The Hooverville Honker is a weekly. See tomorrow's prompt. Note that Wlad has read ONE story...there, er, could be others....maybe other people will read other stories? smiley - winkeye (Just don't assume the paper is the size of the Boston Globe. It might be a dozen pages.)

5 November: 4 am-5 am (First Day)

Post 20

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

smiley - doh

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