A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

The clock strikes five. The town is beginning to stir. The bus picks up passengers for the early shift at ShopTillYouDrop, the big-box store on the edge of town. Farmers get up to milk cows, because it is STILL DARK, and the cows are too sleepy to put up much of a fuss. The Hooverville Honker, a weekly newspaper, arrives on most doorsteps – although occasionally, the delivery boy misses and lands one in the shrubbery, etc.

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Wladislaw Winzekowski wakes to the sensation of warm weight on his head. There's a loud humming sound in his ears, and somebody is playing in the shrubbery of his tousled hair. Ignatz, he realises. So he gets up and feeds the cat, which is what the cat had intended. He turns on the coffee pot. (Wlad, not the cat.) He opens the front door and finds the Hooverville Honker on his stoop. Yawning, he lays it on the dining room table while he goes to doctor himself a cup of life-giving fluid.

He remembers to turn up the heat, and armed with sustenance in the form of milk-and-sugared coffee, he settles into an armchair to peruse the weekly newspaper. Ignoring the 'headline' that claims 'Mayor to Address Sister-City Controversy in Open Meeting' (why anybody objected to a sister-city arrangement with Kuklen, Bulgaria, is a puzzle to Wlad, who doesn't have anything against Bulgarians when they aren't insisting that Shakespeare sounds much better in Bulgarian, which makes them come off a bit like Klingons) in favour of items of less political interest inside.

'Cow Wins Emma Award':

'Wilbur Herkenheimer's Holstein Daisy has been awarded an Emma, the prestigious medal of the Northwest Pennsylvania Dairy Farmers' League. Daisy produced a whopping 22,000 pounds of milk last year. 'It's all in the feed,' claims Wilbut. Mrs Mabel Herkenheimer adds that she believes the personal attention and loving care she and Wilbur give to 'each and every cow' also boosts milk production.'

This item is accompanied by a photo of the proud couple and their (presumably proud) bovine. A87955267 The article goes on to explain that the Emma Award was named in honour of Emma, the much-loved cow of Six-Fingered Chester McGregor, a near-legendary early settler in these parts whose meadow over near Neptune was still a popular picnic spot.

It is just this sort of deep-background reporting that endears the Hooverville Honker to its readership. Wlad reflects that you could learn a lot about reporting from the likes of Virgil Fenstermacher. Without Virgil, you'd have to go around and ask people questions. Most of the time, when you ask questions around here, what you get back is most likely to be a blank stare and the reply, 'I have no earthly idea,' with the implication that it was somehow intrusive of you to have asked, and probably your fault that they didn't know that. Either that, or they'll just ignore your silly question and tell you something they do know, like how good the ice cream is at the Neptune Dairy Diner.

Wlad goes through two cups of coffee as he studies the Honker. Ignatz purrs in his lap.

smiley - dragon

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 3

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

Newspaper's here. Let's see.
Something about the Mayor and a supercharged cow. Not in the same article though, pity...
Not the front page then but on page three (how fitting) is a nice picture of the brand new Shop Anna opened. A.C.Q Ireland - Unreal estate Agent. it says in big, bold lettering on the shop window. What did that Fenstermacher write?

Holy Nighthoover!

"After a dubious campaign to acquire as much land just outside of our beautiful town as inhumanly possible, Anna Ireland, daughter of the fire commander, deemed the time ripe to open shop and sell it back to us, the people of Hooverville. We, at your own newspaper, are eager to find out whether the land prices will just bankrupt us, or will soar to even more outrageous megalomaniac heights. As soon as we know it, you will hear it first from us, your trusted Honker"

Paula !!

I'm afraid I'll have to go and shoot that newspaper guy, or accidentally not see him when backing up the truck at a fire.
Of course, I could also have you write a letter to that so-called newspaper. Knowing your style, that would hurt him more...

OK that's settled then. The Moron...

I think I need a cold shower, or I'll catch fire myself.
If you need me, I'm extinguishing myself in the garage...

Dumptidumptidum.... undress.. dumptidumptidum... low pressure setting, or I'll have to go and find my eardrums and moustache in the gutter... AAAAAAAArrrrghhhh

Darling? Could you come and remind me that taking a shower at the Pete is not a good idea, with all that foam instead of plain water? And if you're at it, please gently unfoam me?

What did you say? Dring? Now?
OK could you bring me my foam, ehhhrm phone and a towel?

OK big red button time...

Hi Suzie! Oh, ehhrm.. Hi Fred! This is Fred. What's up?
Yes I know, the opposite of down. What I meant is, Why did you ring the bell?

OK... So an anonimous middle aged woman, most likely of Central to Eastern European lineage, with a hint of Slavic and tanned hair (probably auburn) calls you to tell that our Lady Justice statue is on fire?
You mean, just the statue? Not the town hall underneath? I ask you, because bronze doesn't normally burn all that well. OK, I believe you. Must be something chemical then. Probably best to use the foam for that. The mayor wouldn't be happy if we were the ones to set the town hall on fire as well, so I'll call the crew and save the lady in distress. What time ist it?
One minute to six?

Paula!! Can you set off the siren, we have a breach of Justice and a Lady on fire!


6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 4


As I hit the twisty roads of the Misty Mountains, I cursed the Harley's weak headlamp, dawn was not quite ready to show her face, and no streetlights this far out of town.

Ten miles in and I'd just managed to catch the *You are now leaving Hooverville* sign in the gloom.

A forty three point turn on the gravel road produced more curses, ones that would've made Cuddles go into cardiac arrest!

Bloody 2%er Hooverville-billy, it was his useless directions that had gotten me totally lost!

When your brain tells you there is little chance that the offices of the local newspaper will be located halfway up a bloody mountain, and open for callers at stupid o'clock, but you think "Well I am in small town America...so maybe…." Ho hum.

Could be worse.

The blue and red lights in my mirrors must've heard me.

I waited for a suitable place and pulled over, the Officer's car, however, just overtook me with a cheery wave, and disappeared into the night.

I was beginning to like this place. I'd like it even more if I managed to track down Caroline.

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 5

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

[Is this the unreal estate agent's sign? A87861045 ]

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 6


Is that Virtual Realty?smiley - run

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 7

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

It's a few minuets before 6:00 A.M. in Arsenio Philpotts's bedroom(Well, actually, in 1/24th of the world, if you count the whole time zone). The sun isn't up yet, but the sky isn't totally dark. In a few days, Daylight Savings Time will have ended, and this time of the morning will be even darker. Can I scrounge up some good news from that? What does it say about me that I'm even trying? He wonders.

He hears the Hooverville Honker being dropped into his mail slot one floor below. It probably has some stories about prize cows and new shopping developments on the outskirts of town, where the local citizens seem to be lured. Not good for the shops here in the center of town. Maybe it would be better just to get up, fetch some coffee and a cider doughnut or two?

No! Arsenio rarely has his evening's sleep disrupted this many times. He figures that he is just nervous about November, which seems to be off to a significantly colder start than October did.

Also, November is one of the two or three make-or-break months for anyone in the fine china business. November is when people will either buy lots of turkey-themed plates and platters, or they'll go to a big box store on the outskirts of town, making his shop's future more vulnerable than it already was.

Then he remembers: he bought a full-page ad in the Honker, touting the virtues of getting together with family members at Thanksgiving, and the good things that will come to those who buy his shop's beautiful and functional Thanksgiving dinnerware.

Okay, maybe it's a good idea to go down and makes the Honker ran that ad.

He gets out odf bed and goes downstairs.

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 8

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

When the town clock strikes 5, Sheriff Rowdybush's stomach rumbles and he has another dream.

He goes into the kitchenette and fetches a box of Quisps (his favourite cereal), a bowl, a spoon and a bottle of milk. He sits at the little table outside the kitchenette, pours a goodly portion of the Quisps into the bowl, adds some of the ice-cold farm-fresh milk A87923596 and sings the Quisp Cereal advert jingle to himself A87804363 while he eats.

Even though he is asleep, the part of his brain that is alert to unusual sounds detects the thud of the Hooverville Honker as it lands on the ground in front of the door to his apartment. The dream changes. The cereal bowl disappears from his hands and the newspaper appears, neatly rolled up. He unfurls it, but again, he discovers that he can't read the headlines because his eyes are closed and he is still too tired to wake up. He puts the newspaper to one side, and then goes back into the kitchenette to make toast, because he is still hungry. He notices the box of Quisps has disappeared completely and he can hear his stomach rumbling.

The rumbling of his stomach is then joined by the usual early morning sounds - the rumble of the traffic (the first bus of the day, the tractors, bicycles and other vehicles), and the faint sound of the duty sergeant bringing the police car back to base, slamming the driver's door twice, and letting herself back into the main part of the Police Station. All these sounds are familiar to Sheriff Rowdybush so they do not disturb his sleep whenever he is not on duty at this hour. He knows he is not on duty until 9am this morning, and his alarm is set for 8am, so he carries on sleeping.

His stomach rumbles again.

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 9


Wynken De Woordesmyth is incensed.

Who in blazes thought it was a good idea to discard pumpkin rinds in a state park? Or putrefying fish?

Yes, they're biological, yes, they will rot, degrade, compost. In time …

But it's almost winter. The whole decomposition business takes slower in the colder months, even here in the park where the anomalous jet stream descending over the mountains causes unusually mild temperatures. Those rinds might well have been lying there well into summer.

And people who come here could have seen them. Hikers who just want to experience untouched nature. Pumpkins are not native to the park. Several species of wild gourds, yes. But not big orange classic pumpkins.

Neither were those fish. They were … *sniff* … northern pike. None of those in the river or any of the tributaries that start up here. Even if they were, they shouldn't be lying here in the forest undergrowth. And those particular ones were close to biohazard status.

But the pumpkin rinds … lying there it might attract something tempted to eat it. It's OK for bears, OK for raccoons, OK for deer, but the Misty Mountain Fairy Squirrels have serious pumpkin allergies. Imagine one of them, seeing the plump, orange, inviting pumpkin rinds lying there … risking a nibble … it doesn't bear further thinking of.

What a good thing Wynken found them and buried them. It was sheer fortune that he even came across them. What if he hadn't?

He'll have to write a serious-worded letter to the Hooverville Honker.

But now for the orchids. Not much further now … they always grow on the undersides of the lower, northwardly-growing branches of Pennsylvanian Pickle-Yews. And they glow faintly in the dark - the only known orchid that incorporates a bioluminescent fungus in the papillate upper surfaces of its sepals *and* petals.

Aha! There! A faint, bluish-green glow ... yes!

Wynken gets out his phone, opens the GPS app, and quickly marks down the orchid's exact location.

An excellent start for the day. Now, if he's not mistaken, there should be a whole grove of pickle-yews just a few hundred yards from here.

On he tramps through the moist undergrowth ...

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 10

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Wilhelmina wakes up when she hears a noise at the window. She yawns, turns on the light and looks at the alarm clock on her bedside table: 5:14. She would still have a short time left to sleep. Sleepily she gets up, goes to the window and opens it for Cassy. Again, the cold air from outside gives her a chill. Quickly, she closes it again. Outside the street is still dark, but already filled with the smell of fresh doughnuts.

Accompanied by (and almost tripping over) her cat, Wilhelmina sleepily stumbles out of her bedroom door and into the living room. Her apartment is modern but cosy, with a large living and dining room, which also includes an open kitchen. Wilhelmina doesn't turn on the lights, there is just enough light coming in through the windows for her to find her way and not stub her toes on the sofa. She goes over to the kitchen and fills some cat food into a bowl marked with 'Cassandra', then does the same with some milk. For a short moment the light from the fridge illuminates some more of the room: the shining parquet floor, the large sofa, the round table in the corner overlooking both: Main Street and 5th Avenue. She puts both bowls down on a small plastic mat on the floor, Then Wilhelmina once again returns to bed. Half an hour of sleep left. She intends to make the most of it.

At 5:45 Wilhelmina's alarm goes off. She groans and pushes the snooze button. Soon – too soon - the alarm goes off again. Wilhelmina grunts and finally sits up. She turns on the light, yawns and gets up. First of all Wilhelmina goes back to the living room to prepare her morning coffee.

As she enters the dark room she notices something is not right. A flickering yellowish-red shine comes in through the windows. Quickly she crosses the room to the window where Cassy already sits and watches.


The Lady of Justice is burning?

How is that possible?

The shine of the fire also falls through the windows of the Waffelhaus below. Leaves rustle in fear.

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 11

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

FWR wins the Nomenclature Award today for 'Hooverville-billy', while Willem wins the Audience Shock Award for squirrels with pumpkin allergies. Special mentions go to SashaQ for Weirdest Foodstuff in a Dream (Quisps) and, courtesy of Tavaron, to the Editor for Gratuitous Star Trek Reference (Klingons).

6 November: 5 am-6 am (First Day)

Post 12


(Just a little too late, is going to be my motto).

Vroom. Ding. Pshhh. Vroom.
Lola opens one eye, and takes a look at the alarm clock. It's starting to get light outside. Indeed, the clock says it is twenty past five, and what she just heard was the first bus to the activity centre out of town.

Mmh, she doesn't need to get up until half past six, this is nice, she thinks, yawning and stretching.
She takes a sip of water from the glass on her bedside table, spills, swears, and opens her other eye.

The glass was still rather full, there's water everywhere. The alarm clock is soaked, as is the Adams book she started a few days ago. Her right slipper has also been hit (not too badly), but her left made it through unharmed.
She kicks both slippers close to the radiator, picks up the glass (not broken, hurray, celebrate the small victories in life!), balances the book onto it, and takes herself and the load to the bathroom.
She carefully sets the glass onto the side of the basin, shakes most of the water off the book and into the shower, and turns to set it into the basin.


The glass falls again, and shatters.
There are shards everywhere in the bathroom, but it looks like very few crossed to the bedroom. (celebrate the not-so-terrible defeats, too).

There is a cloth lying in the basin; she grabs it with one hand, and pushes most of the broken glass into a corner.
Very slowly and carefully, because she is still barefoot.
Then, she remembers it would be easier to do with both hands, so she chucks the book into the shower, and resumes the cleaning.
When she's managed to clear a way to the bedroom, she goes over, taking a towel on her way, and wipes the bedside table and floor. She goes back to get the book, and lovingly places it on top of the radiator.
Her slippers are almost dry. Good thing she turned the heating on last week. She puts them on, and debates fetching the broom from the cupboard under the stairs. She decides against it, and goes back to bed.
She doesn't want to wake Harry.
What does she mean, Harry?
Harry Potter doesn't live here.
Maybe she isn't as awake as she thinks she is, after all.

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