A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Having been saved by Fireman Fred, the Hooverville clock strikes 10 am. Life is relatively normal. People and squirrels go about their business. A helicopter flies over the town hall, taking pictures. It must be a slow news day in Pittsburgh.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Wlad Winzekowski has walked back up the street from the library. Now he's entering the Hooverville Historical Society building behind the park gazebo. A87955537 There's a public lecture going on this morning, and it's fairly well attended, because Ms Schleifenbaum's sixth-grade class is there on a field trip. The kids have already admired the antiques in the old Ditz House (built 1847), including the ornate fireplaces, firescreens, Victorian furniture, classic square piano and pump organ. Wlad hasn't got to play these instruments yet, but is hoping to get to know their instrumentalist well enough one day to have the opportunity. He's played a good few antique home pump organs in his day. But now, the lecture is beginning, so he takes a seat.

A very nice young man from a group called the Pennsylvania Drone Guys is explaining.

'What do you think the main purpose of drones is?'

A sixth-grade boy grins. 'To take out the enemy in mortal combat!'

'O-kay…anybody else?'

A girl will no be outdone. 'To spy on the neighbours.'

Another boy objects. 'My grandma says that if a drone flies over our farm, she's going to shoot it down! And she's a dead shot! She shot a possum last week, right through the eye…'

Ms Schleifenbaum quells any further discussion of grandmotherly marksmanship, and silently appeals to the speaker to Get On With It.

The lecturer clears his throat. 'Well, those are possible uses of drones. But we at the Drone Guys think the best use of drones is to give us a panoramic view of our surroundings. He shows a slide on the projection screen.


1. (of a view or picture) with a wide view surrounding the observer; sweeping.
'on a clear day there are panoramic views'

'With our drones and cameras, we can get panoramic views of Hoover County. Would you like to see them?'

Clamouring, acclaim, and cries of 'boy, would we!' and 'can we see my house?' and 'Did Jason's grandma shoot at you?' After Ms Schleifenbaum restores some semblance of order to the proceedings, the Drone Guy shows his video of Hooverville and environs, pointing out that it was taken on a clear day on which nothing was on fire.


The kids (and Wlad) enjoy this video thoroughly, although the musician would personally have picked music that made the video sound less like a trailer for a sequel to some mock-heroic movie set in the Highlands. Still, the footage was spectacular. The kids applauds loudly. Ms Schleifenbaum thanks the speaker on behalf of the school district, then herds her charges out the door and into a double line for their march to their next destination: the Waffelhaus, and an early lunch. There are 24 of them, and they've all brought their lunch money, and they've unanimously voted on the Waffelhaus as their lunch venue of choice.

The opportunity to pour syrup on their lunches played no small part in this decision, Wlad suspects. He thanks the speaker and puts his contribution to the upkeep of the house in the antique cookie jar before continuing on his way.

smiley - dragon

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 3

FWR (Flamin' Crumpet Productions General Flunky)

Cal turned around.

Picking up the framed photo from the sideboard…. (credenza, she laughed at the silly name every time it popped into her head, made her think of Cat in the Hat!)…..and stroked the outline of the man in the picture, his long hair partially hiding that irresistible smile, blue eyes twinkling at some unremembered joke shared with the unremembered photographer, arm around her waist, bikes shining in the background.

Rock n Blues, Farmyard Party, Stormin'?

She couldn't quite remember which rally they were at, which bikes they had ridden there, but it didn't matter, that face was all she remembered, his smile, the feel of his arms around her. Good times, happy times, blissfully unaware of the tragedy to come.

She was dragged back into the present by the screech of an eagle, probably challenging another one of those bloody annoying drones that flew over the Misty Mountains, taking videos for tourists and school kids and startling wildlife?

Kissing the cold glass, she carefully wrapped the photo in a beach towel and added it to the growing heap she was determined to cram into her suitcase for the flight home.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 4

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

That reaction was rather cold for such an enormous find. She did seem rather distracted... I wonder why. It's not as if I did anything wrong, I mean, it's a book shop.
Judging by her parting looks, I doubt if I will ever be able to take a look in that book again. Luckily, I have a rather good memory and I read some more before giving her that envelope.

Let's go to the park gazebo to write things down properly, before it gets muddled. Get some fresh air on the way. Then afterwards, I can go and see Arsenio about the Hoovermas decorations and my ad.

OK, bench to sit on, pen, napkin to write on.

What is that noise? Why are these kids not locked inside their school?
Anyway, what did the book say...?

1-"Au revoir to the Lady's doom, On her perch perches no more mushroom"

2-"The wheels of the law'n will turn to the Tzar's spawn"

Good rhyming, if I might say so...

3-"One of the apostles turned red, then made everything wet"

What is that guy droning on about to those kids? I came here for peace and quiet.
Where was I?

4-"Wares from the Orient, do not know where they were sent"

5-"The Great Nocturnal Sweeper will attend mass befor the End"

Must share that one with The reverend Beaches.

6-"Am I lucky I do not have to clean up this sticky mess"

I wonder if that one has already happened...

Hmmm... my paper napkin is full. Maybe Wilhelmina will lend me another one.

Back to the Waffelhaus.

Hey! Why is there a pedestrian traffic jam in front of the Waffelhaus? Hoover! That school class of course.
That's the trouble with walking. No sirens to clear the way.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 5

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

Arsenio sat in his back office with the door open. This way he could see customers as they came in, but if the shop was empty he could relax in his office chair and enjoy watching pedestrians as they passed along the street.

He had some amusing posters on his office wall. Almost all of them had come form the Nose'n'Book Book Shop and Emporium, which was next door but behind him. He turned around. Looking through the office window at the shop in question, he could see that they weren't any busier than the No-Bull China Shop. A pity, really! They had some really neat stuff.

On the left wall as you entered the office, there was a large poster of an elephant looking at a crystal ball which contained downtown Hooverville. The caption was "HORTON HEARS A HOOVER."

To the right of that poster was a Monty Piethorn poster featuring the actors form the "Dirty Hungarian Phrases" sketch. The caption was "MY HOOVERCRAFT IS FULL OF EELS." This was, of course, an in joke, as Hooverville had no eels. The Hoover River once had Paddlefish, but even those were now believed to be extinct.
(But, of course, trying to be too factual was bad for humor. Arsenio scolded himself for not just enjoying the joke. smiley - sadface

His favorite poster was the ne next to the back window. It showed Lady Justice, the beloved statue at the top of the Town Hall, with a cigarette in her hand. The caption was "IT'S RUDE TO SMOKE IN PUBLIC."

With a deep sigh, Arsenio stood up and removed that poster from the wall. Some customers might see it and get upset because the lovely statue in question really *had* been smoking until an hour ago, but the townspeople would not take the joke lightly.

Arsenio picked up the phone and called his cousin Fuller, who ran the Philpotts Pottery Factory at the edge of town. It was Fuller who manufactured the lovely proprietary plates featuring the fairy squirrels. The factory managed to stay in business making plates and mugs for institutional purposed, but sometimes business was slack. Fuller had three sons and a daughter. The sons sometimes had to moonlight at other jobs. As for the daughter, she worked for Arsenio in th afternoons. She would join him at 2:00, but he always saw her at noon, as she was a waitress at the River Pirates Inn bistro, "The Jolly Hoover."

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 6

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

Sheriff Rowdybush greets Arsenio Philpott with a firm handshake. Arsenio's enthusiasm for the Thanksgiving dinnerware takes the Sheriff by surprise, as his enthusiasm for dinnerware tends much more towards the practical than the occasional these days, but he looks around and notices the discount display.

'My main reason for visiting today is to ask you if you heard or saw anything unusual at about 3.30am - I'm investigating the fire at the Town Hall. While I'm here, though, may I buy a teacup and saucer from the dusky rose range? That will be a perfect Hoovermas gift for my Aunt Sybil!"

The Sheriff first takes the notepad and pencil out of his jacket pocket, makes notes, returns the items to his pocket, then takes his wallet out of another pocket.

Once the business in the China Shop has been concluded, Sheriff Rowdybush heads out to the Book Emporium next door. He sees the window display is currently empty, then looks through the window and sees Lola Latour. He goes through the doorway with a clink and a jingle, greets Lola and asks her if she heard or saw anything unusual at about 3.30am. He makes more notes in his notebook.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 7

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

Arsenio would like to have helped with Sheriff Rowdybush's investigation, but the truth was that by the time the sound of the bullet woke him from his dream of being Sancho Panza, it was already too late to see who had fired the bullet. Granted, the gunman might have fired the bullet from the cover of the three Pickle yew bushes next to the china shop, but couldn't the sheriff have looked for footprints around the yews himself?

Well, maybe he had looked. Arsenio liked to read detective stories, but his chances of doing a real detective's work were slim to none.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 8


Wynken De Woordesmyth is in his comfy chair on his roof, his laptop on his lap, his drone controls in his hands. His WhisperWings drone is the latest in wildlife monitoring models. It only makes the barest of sounds as it flies. Its rotors are covered so that even in case of a mid-air collision with a bird, it will do minimal damage - but Wynken hasn't heard of a collision yet. It is equipped with powerful cameras so that it can do its monitoring at a great distance. It is able to go up to a vast height. It has an app that shows you feeds from several of its cameras as well as an overhead GPS view showing you the route that it travels. Wynken intends to keep far above the condors, and well behind them. The condors already know the drone, he's been monitoring their nest sites - again, from well away. The last thing he wants is to disturb them at their breeding. But they appear to have tolerated the drone quite well, and there has been no sign of any impact to their breeding. He hasn't had the drone near them during the actual breeding season, though, just to be safe. And they've raised a chick. In fact, it should be out there flying with them right now. He'll keep an eye … or at least, camera … out for it.

He launches the drone straight up. In the distance he sees more condors flying. They're heading to the north, along the main crest of the mountains. Good. He'll get the drone up and then switch to the computer displays, tracking the condors with the cameras and finding out where they're going to. With so many condors on the go, he hopes it's something big so that it's worth it for them. Then again, that would mean a big mammal that's died … about which he would be sad. He sighs. Oh well … something something about the ways of nature and the balance of life ...

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 9

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

With only a few guests left in the Wafflehouse for breakfast, Wilhelmina and Molly, her helper, clean up the cafe for lunch. They whipe tables, fill the dishwasher and make preparations for their next guests. She also waters all palnts that need watering and has a closer look at the ones she bought at a household clearance only recently. It had been an odd house at the edge of the town. It was old, with a pointed roof and creaking floor boards. It had obviously been inhabited by an old woman who had died and Wilhelmina pitied the potted plants so she bought them for a little money along with an old book about herbs and a necklace which she would probably never wear but liked to look at. The house had also had a large garden with flowers and herbs and old apple trees. Maybe some day Wilhelmina would have a house with a garden, too. On the other hand it was just so convenient to live above your work place.

When cleaning is finished Wilhelmina can finally sit down with the newspaper. She also has a waffle with syrup and some Earl Grey tea – hot. She looks at the full page ad for the china shop. Dinnerware with a thanksgiving motif? Just useable on one day of the year? It's certainly quite expensive by the looks of it, also where would she store it? On the other hand she has plates with a nice Hoovermas pattern, but at least she can use those during the whole of December. Thinking about it... she always wanted a cookie plate with matching pattern. Maybe she will drop by at the china shop if she has time later.

Wilhelmina also reads an article about a recent car accident, about the average delay of buses and about the new electric car of the mayor of a neighbouring village. Also there is an ad for a new hand-held vacuum cleaner. A 67 year old widow searches for a new partner, someone wants to sell chickens and someone else an antique bookshelf and desk, yet another one wants to buy old furniture and toys. She skips the page telling about which local 'celebreties' were present in the VIP area of the local sports stadion to watch a game of hooverball. But, she notices, they are all obviously important enough to have their names printed in bold and the list of names seems to fill 1/5 of the page, half of it is filled with a group photo of strangely grinning people wearing caps with the colors of the local team.

Wilhelmina takes a look at her watch. At about half past ten she changes the breakfast menus at the tables for lunch menus. Apart from sweet waffles the Waffelhaus now also offers waffle sandwiches with different fillings. For instance ham and cheese; chicken, bacon and mustard sauce; roast beef, cheese, bacon and horseraredish; turkey and avocado; or a simple grilled cheese waffle sandwich. You can also have different salads, waffle burger, potato waffles or zucchini waffles with yoghurt sauce as well as a few different soups. Wilhelmina recommends to have a glass of homemade lemonade to your meal, but will also serve coke or anything else you may like.

Those who come for a chat and their afternoon coffee will also find a selection of different cakes.Wilhelmina bakes them herself after her grandmother's recipes. Right now you can get chestnut gateau, Sachertorte (chocolate cake filled with a layer of apricot jam and chocolate icing), cheesecake with raisins and apple strudel with vanilla sauce. In addition Molly made a nice apple pie. If you don't feel like having coffee, hot chocolate (with whipped cream) or tea, you can try a strawberry or banana milkshake.

Shortly before 11 the Waffelhaus is suddenly full again after a whole school class streamed into the cafe. The room is filled with chatter and giggling and a teacher who tries to keep the kids in check. Cassy moves up to a higher shelf while Wilhelmina rushes to take all orders.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 10


Right. I think I have managed to get rid of Fireman Fred for now, Lola thinks to herself while sipping her tea. I really should find a better place to keep the Prophecy book before he gets back. He might want to buy it off me (Horror!).
That book is NOT for sale.

Why is she keeping it in the shop, then?, you ask.
Because she's not a good planner, plotter or plumber.
Plumber? Yes, the towel cupboard in the bathroom will do very well. Wrap it in a piece of waterproof canvas (one of the tablecloths she's had for ages that noone wants to buy should fit), and noone will ever know. Maybe.
In fact, she's going to take it upstairs right now. Just to get the tablecloth first, and then...

Clink! Jingle!
(Just a little too late).

The Sheriff comes in, and greets Lola. She offers him a cup of tea, but he declines ("No drinking on the job, I'm afraid").

He asks her if she heard or saw anything unusual at about 3.30am.
She doesn't think she did.
She remembers the fire truck passing by, but that was earlier in the night, and the next thing she remembers is when she woke up again around 5.
She routinely has a lot of trouble falling asleep, but when she does, hardly anything will wake her again.

Well, she does remember some of her dreams from last night, but that's probably not relevant to the police... Something about a ping and a whoop and a heartbreak. Very likely nothing to do with that awful business.
Terribly sorry she can't be more helpful.

(Please Hoover, don't let him ask me about the fire truck earlier).

The Sheriff writes it all down in his notebook anyway, just in case.
When they're done, he leaves, and she goes back to her (now lukewarm) tea.
(Jingle! Click!)

Of course, at this stage of the investigation, they want to keep all their options open. They'll look into everything and everyone, and they will rule out their suspects one by one.

Living alone means she doesn't have an alibi.
But then again, not many people would, at that time of night.
What if she's a suspect?
What if the Sheriff investigates further and finds out about the pumpkin?
Should she file a complaint for the theft, even though maybe she's the one at fault, after all?
What if she doesn't and then they ask her about it?
Would they send her to jail for protocol breach on a tradition?
How would she ever find ten million dollars for bail?
She is NOT selling the Prophecy book. She'd rather rot in jail until the end of times and Nighthoover's Second Coming.

All right, Lola, stop right there.
No more watching Murder she wrote in the evening. It's not good for her blood pressure.

Ah, that's her stomach. It must be close to eleven o'clock. Biscuit time.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 11

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

The Scenery-Chewing Award goes to Superfrenchie, while Paulh receives the Most Imaginative Posters Medal. smiley - run

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 12


Thank you, thank you.
... Is that good or bad? smiley - erm

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 13

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

In this context, it's very good. smiley - hug

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 14

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

We could use some existential dread. So it's good you put that in.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 15

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[Existential dread is right up Arsenio's alley. People have been buying less and less dinnerware since the year 2000. Arsenio hate to think that he's becoming a pest for trying to get his friends and neighbors to buy stuff from his store, but the alternative is just as bad.smiley - sadface he knows some other china shop proprietors who tried to compensate by stocking videocassettes and videodiscs. That's didn't end well either...]

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 16


(but what if Dmitri is only saying that to make me feel better but it's actually a terrible thing?)
smiley - run

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 17

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

In that case I guess we could say that you stay in character very well.

11 November: 10 am-11 am (First Day)

Post 18

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

Scenery-chewing could be bad for your digestion. But maybe that's a compliment on your digestive system.

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