A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

While the mayhem at the town hall continues, the clock strikes 7. Dawn comes to Hooverville. It is a beautiful fall day, once you get away from the smoke and the foam Fireman Fred is spreading. Squirrels continue to gather the black walnuts that are falling from trees with a resounding 'thump'. Over at the university on the east side of town, the carillon mischievously plays 'Red River Valley'. School buses begin their rounds.

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

After showering and dressing, Wlad Winzekowski throws a few things in the car and heads out, remembering to close the garage door to discourage bats [ A87891178 ] and other unwanted visitors. It looks like being a beautiful day, and, such days being in short supply in November, he intends to enjoy the morning. At the end of the one-way street, he looks left, cautiously, and notices a lot of carry-on on the south side of the town hall. He decides that they can carry on without him, and turns right. His five-minute drive winds around and drops 500 feet to the river, where he turns right and parks at the public boat landing. The air's a little cool, but the view is worth it.

Wlad's plan was to serenade the river. For this purpose, he has brought his melodica. But a chorus of 'Simple Gifts' convinces him that this is a bad idea. A three-week chest cold has left him too short of breath for proper phrasing.

'No wonder the chiropractor asked me if I'd been coughing a lot,' he thinks. The diminutive specialist with the surprisingly strong fingers had told him his torso was 'tight'. He figures his muscles are too sore for melodica today. So he sits down on the bench – a memorial for a couple's 20th anniversary that makes him wonder what secret, special memories caused its placement just here – and contemplates the river while playing the music in his head.

The river valley is ablaze with colour still, even though last week's rains have laid some of the trees bare. The conifers lend a green tone in contrast to the bright yellows and reds, and somber browns, of the autumn leaves. Here and there a lone leaf clings to an almost-naked branch, swaying in the breeze as if reluctant to make the final journey to the earth.


Wlad is not alone: a couple of deer – a doe and her spring fawn, which has now outgrown its spots – come up the river and pass by on their way into the woods. He smiles, glad he decided to come this way. Music, after all, is liquid prayer, beauty a gateway to mindfulness, and sunlight a benediction.

He pulls turns left by the bridge cautiously, but nobody seems to be on the road. 'They're probably all up at the fire,' he thinks. 'I hope everybody is all right.' Since he can't turn left onto his one-way street, and doesn't want to deal with the fire trucks, he turns right instead, and circles the west side of town before ending up in the First Church parking lot. From there, he walks back to Main Street, headed for the Waffelhaus and, he hopes, a cheesy bacon-and-egg slider.

smiley - dragon

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 3

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Apologies: for video...


8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 4


About as much use as a fish with boobs!

I cursed again, now totally lost, even in this painfully small town, but I never could get the hang of the street names over the roads in America, always seemed to be in the wrong place, names in the sky ,not on corners - as alien to me as being able to turn right at red lights!

And that had been the cause of my latest, erm, detour. Sitting at the junction, trying to work out which way was North (again!)

Across the street, in the parking lot of a little bar, there was a Honda idling. I'd hop across when the lights changed and ask the rider for better directions. I hoped the Honda owner wasn't part of Cuddles' crew!

Behind me, the unmistakable grumble of another Harley.

This town certainly woke early, or stayed up late, but it was always nice to see so many bikers around! Probably the only night-owls around, and would disappear with the sun, like they did all over the world?

I looked around to see the candy-apple red Harley turning right. Long hair flowing from beneath her helmet, the rider opened up the bike, accelerating away. The Harley overtook a big yellow school bus (wasn't that illegal over here?) and disappeared from view.

Heart beating wildly. Could I be that lucky? Fate throwing me a line, Caroline coming to me, easing my search? It was definitely a knucklehead, same colour, same high bars, female rider…..

I wheeled the bike backwards and, screeching the back tyre enough to frighten a bunch of alley cats, I set off in pursuit of the girl on the motorcycle.

Across the street, the little Honda rode away in the opposite direction, merging with the light traffic of the early morning rush hour.

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 5

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

Good morning Mrs Mayor, I'll give you a hand with that... You could have just asked us to get that computer for you...

Bong Bong Bong Bong Bong Bong Bong......

Seven already,

Pray Nighthoover that the clock will still be there to sound the Eight, one hour from now.

Let's reiterate. Burning bronze statue... what does that remind me of?

Wait, wasn't there that ancient story of the exploding Horse of Fabit? Fabit, the better looking sister city of Troi. Because the wood had run out on the first horse, they asked a local artist to cast a bronze horse instead. In order to make it more durable, the artist used phosphor bronze. Unfortunately, the guy wasn't good at maths, so het put in thirty-five percent phosphorus instead of point thirty-five. The first arrow to hit an unsolved phosphorus nodule ignited the horse, taking out the whole city of Fabit, including most of the invaders. I wonder why they never put that in the history books anymore?

Maybe they made the same mistake here, when they last refurbished the town hall and statue.

Now, let's find out a way to not repeat the disasters of our previous town halls. Both were destroyed by fire...
What's that smell? Oh, doughnuts...

Doughnuts, doughnuts.... Hmmmm, that could work...


Can you get that inflatable tube for me? I'm going to drape it around the spire, just below the statue. To contain the phosphorus spilling down.

It's a stroke of luck that we already put up those ladders....

OK, there we go... Won't have to go to the bush gym tonight.
Why did we have to have such a high tower on this town hall again? That was the reason for the previous ones to burn down. Too high for the water pressure we had back then.
Halfway now.



OK, that foam is working so far, only, it makes everything slippery as hell. It's hot as hell too, so maybe I am in hell now.
Now tie up the ends of that tube and inflate it. Must have one of those canisters of CO2 in my pocket. There we are. That's what I call a doughnut.

Let's have a look at the Lady... She seems to be sagging a little bit around the waist.

There's Mom.

Now it is time for the hard part. Just when I could be admiring the view. We'll do that later...

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 6

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

[Just had an office fire drill. Coincidence? Those electronic sirens are not as good as the one in Hooverville, but then, those probably are not 10 horsepower / 115 dB]

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 7

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," Arsenio told himself as he walked through the secret service entrance and headed for the Waffelhaus. Wait, did he make sure the door was properly closed so that no one would notice it? Well, no one would even be in the back alley to see him come out, so it didn't matter.

The Waffelhaus has only just opened, so Arsenio has a table to himself. There are one or two bikers there, and they wave. Arsenio waves back.

Wilhelmina comes to his table. Arsenio doesn't know whether she is usually on the floor or back in the kitchen -- he doesn't come here all that often. Maybe she has wait staff who haven't gotten here yet, it being early and the customers few? Whatever, it is always a pleasure to see Wilhelmina.

He opens the menu, though this is just for show. he usually knows what he wants. Heck, he usually want the same thing: a chocolate chip waffle with cinnamon applesauce on top.

Plus coffee. The Waffelhaus always has delicious coffee.

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 8

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

From his vantage point by the Waffelhaus, Sheriff Rowdybush hears Fred Ireland describing his theory about the potential cause of the blaze. The Sheriff then thinks out loud about something it reminds him of, as he recalls the sound of the firearm that disturbed his sleep at about 3.30am.

The phosphor bronze theory sounds very plausible, but I wonder... It was a while ago since the Lady of Justice was refurbished and I'm almost certain she has been used as target practice at least once since then, so surely we would have found out about that sort of problem sooner than this? Unless it was just luck that the previous pesky people managed to avoid the unsolved phosphorus nodules...

On the other hand, I'm wondering if it is a White Phosphorus pellet that has landed on the Scales of Justice and caused the fire. Either way, it was that early morning gunshot that triggered the incident, so I would like to hear more from our "friend" with the gun once these most urgent matters have been dealt with...

The Sheriff watches the work of Fred and his team in admiration. He had seen some sights in his time, but one thing he didn't like was heights so he was glad he could rely on Fred. The Town Hall tower was lovely to look at, but it was too tall for his liking - he was much more at home in the Police Station because the walls were nice and thick, so there was no danger of him randomly flying out of the window from there. The elevator in the Police Station was good and solid, but he was glad his apartment was on the ground floor - he wouldn't have wanted to have to bother the sergeants in the event of a power outage or something, even though he knew they would be very capable of getting him and his wheelchair down the stairs in an emergency.

As the smoke billows round and the foam flies, the Sheriff notices Arsenio Philpott going into the Waffelhaus. The Waffelhaus is outside the safety cordon, but the Sheriff thinks it would be a good idea to keep the proprietor Wilhelmina Schreckenghast informed about the developments... and he can put an order in while he's there. His stomach rumbles yet again.

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 9


It's about half past seven when Wynken De Woordesmyth reaches the office. And what an office! Built from logs, it is situated right at the foot of towering cliffs, with a clear - and glorious - view to the west, south and east. The level space in front of the cabin has a small lawn and a few beds of flowers and shrubs, all native to the park. There's a small parking lot to the west, with a dirt road leading to it from the town, snaking up through the foothills. The only car present is Wynken's own, a Toyota four-wheel-drive, parked under a natural canopy formed by a couple of umbrella sumachs. They keep the hail off, but not the rain. Wynken doesn't use the car much; he often spends two or three days of the week sleeping in the park itself. His actual house is midway between the park and the town, on a small plot of land.

There's even a shower at the rear of the cabin; Wynken makes use of it, and puts on fresh clothes afterwards. Ten to eight! He plonks himself down at the desk; time for some paperwork - or in these days, largely screenwork. He switches the desktop computer on, puts on some Battle of Mice, and then takes a look at the new emails for the day.

Hmmm … results coming in from the analysis of the water of the Nighthoover river. Still fairly clean, but somewhat more phosphates and nitrates than there should be. Farms upstream probably using too much fertilizer. Not yet a crisis, but a thing to be watched.

Ah! Friends of the Misty Mountain Park want to host an outing to Bookcase Falls, this weekend. Asks that he should send the word out.

Fine, fine. Clickety clackety cluck … emails written, sent.

Sniff what's that smell? He gets up and peers out the door. Down in the town, there's a sliver of dark smoke rising. What could that be? His stomach clenches; it better not be a serious fire. If it reaches the park, it could set ablaze the drier pine trees on the western slopes. Which would just about ruin his day and also that of so many little forest critters ...

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 10

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

At 7:05 there is frantic knocking at the front door of the Waffelhaus. Wilhelmina leaves the kitchen to find Molly, her kitchenhand, standing at the door. When Wilhelmina opens she apologizes for being late and complains about fire men blocking the road, then rushes off to the kitchen.

Wilhelmina meanwhile turns on the lights in the dining room. She had painted the walls in a soft powdery shade of pink when it was especially modern a few years ago. Also she read that pink had a soothing effect and it seemed to fit perfectly to sweet waffles. The shining chequered floor tiles nicely reflected the ceiling lights and made the room even brighter. Along the walls there are tables with marble table-tops and wooden benches with blue upholstery. Each table is situated at a window and many guests like to sit there and look outside to watch what is going on in the street. Right now the windows are still decorated with the pumpkins from last night's party. One large table for about ten people stands in the corner where Main Street crosses 5th Avenue. In the middle of the room stand round tables and chairs in a matching design. Along the wall to the kitchen there is a bar with a marble top and soft pink bar stools.

The most prevailing feature of the room however are the many potted plants. They stand in corners, they hang from the ceiling, they shape green partition walls between tables in some places. There are ferns with long, narrow leaves, exotic flowers with brightly colored blooms, asmall-ish palm trees in large pots, climbing plants growing on trellis...
At the window behind the bar there even is a whole collection of potted herbs, which Wilhelmina uses for cooking as well as herbal teas.

Wilhelmina notices Cassy looking strangely alert while watching the room.

'What's the matter?'

Cassy looks at her for a moment but then turns away, searching for a place to sleep. Later she would probably make her rounds, looking for pets and snacks among the guests.

Wilhelmina distributes the breakfast menu to the tables:
There are of course waffles. Buttermilk waffles, blueberry waffles, chocolate chip waffles, gluten free waffles. They are topped with syrup, honey, cinnamon, chocolate sauce, berries or whipped cream, but also mushrooms, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, cheese or smoked salmon. Of course you can also get sausages, toast, ham and eggs, hash browns,  cheesy bacon-and-egg sliders and all kinds of other breakfast favourites. Those who prefer something more healthy can get oatmeal or muesli with fresh fruits. The list of food is complemented by a variety of teas, coffee (black, with milk, cream or whipped cream), warm milk and chocolate milk (dark or white) and a variety of fruit juices.

Punktually at 7:15 Wilhelmina turns the sign at the door to say 'open'.

Soon the first guests of the day enter the Waffelhaus. Most of them choose tables at the western wall, from where they can watch what is going on at the Town Hall. Wilhelmina serves food and has short chats with regular guests whenever time permits. The air is filled with the smell of fresh waffles, bacon and coffee.

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 11


Ah this is most satisfactory. Two brightly-coloured sticky notes sitting at the top of the computer screen, one in each corner. Pretty and balanced.
One of them is a little lopsided, though. She replaces it, this side up a bit, no a little lower, ah there, perfectly parallel to the side of the screen. Yes. That's better.

Having spent several minutes repositioning a sticky note, she remembers it's seven, and time for her to get on with her day. Since her alarm clock is dead, she switches on the computer to check the time. Half past. Oh dear.
She goes into the bathroom, has a quick shower, makes a new bandage for her foot and gets dressed.

She then goes into the kitchen and has some breakfast. Some call it the most important meal of the day. Where she comes from, that's lunch, so there. She puts the kettle on before settling down to have a bowl of cereal with cold milk. When she's done, she puts the bowl and spoon in the sink and pour some boiling water into an insulated jug, and adds two teabags. She lets them brew while she washes up, then takes them out and closes the lid. That should keep her warm until midday.

Although it seems to be quite warm outside: the mayor is even wearing a pair of these new "breathing" trousers, apparently. Lola has never seen those before. She didn't expect actual holes in the fabric, but... Oh well, fashion isn't something you can reason with, is it?

At quarter to eight, she steps into the shop downstairs, unlocks the door, and steps into the street for a breath of fresh air.
There isn't any.
And for the first time she notices the big red truck at the end of the street.
That's the pumpkin thieves! The head thief is talking to the mayor.
Before she left home for America, people told her she was making a mistake, and she would have a hard time adapting to such a strange country with the superstitions and the law-bending and the weirdos. She thought she'd fit right in. She was wrong.
Clearly, the thief knows the mayor very well.
That's probably why he thinks he's above the law, befriending politicians in return for them turning a blind eye to his felonies. That is totally going into her letter to the Honker.
And the mayor is obviously not very good at her job either. The city smells horribly bad today. Did someone set fire to a garbage truck?
And what's the thief doing now, climbing the town hall...
Oh, ah, erm. The statue at the top is... on fire...
Now *that* would never happen in a civilised place like home. French bronze statues do not burn. That would be very bad form.
Her friends had told her Americans could be rude (she hasn't really met very rude people so far, except in the pumpkin incident), but the statues are even worse.

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 12

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[Yes, in America, statues smoke in public. The nerve! smiley - grr

smiley - winkeye]

8 November: 7 am-8 am (First Day)

Post 13

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Caiman Raptor Elk receives the 'Best Save' Award for today for his Rube Goldberg explanation of why the statue is afire, while Superfrenchie gets the Made Editor Snork Award for....everything. smiley - rofl

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