A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

It's noon in Hooverville. Office workers go out to run errands and eat lunch. The Waffelhaus is doing business. The gazebo and the rest of the little park are full of people with brown bags and drinks. Squirrels and chipmunks beg for crumbs. People who give them brightly coloured M&Ms are sometimes surprised when they run away and bury them. As to what else is happening, make it up yourselves.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Wlad is back on the keyboard with his video camera set up on the tripod. He's putting together a little thing he secretly thinks of as his 'break video'. It's based on the popularity of certain songs with radio DJs, which they called 'bathroom break records'. Weak bladders were one of the main causes of the excessive airtime devoted in the 1960s to 'MacArthur Park', length 7:21. This one's shorter, but the bathroom's closer.

Wlad's video is for one of the afternoon sessions at the River Pirates' Inn. The restaurant has found a way to fill tables during the dead period between lunch and dinner by touting itself as a musical venue for niche tastes. The management hires Wlad for these things, because Wlad is local, he's popular, and he works cheap.

This afternoon, Wlad will be performing for the aficionados of the Medium Leslie Movement, an artistic and musical craze that's sweeping college campuses right now. Musically, Medium Leslie is to the Sixties Standard what '50s jazz was to the standards of old: a way to bring them back with a twist. Medium Leslie's aesthetic is cool, detached, knowing: ironic in such a deadpan way as to seem totally un-ironic. Where headbanger music is loud and 'in your face', Medium Leslie is so distant as to seem broadcast from the far side of the moon. In other words, it doesn't meet you halfway, or anywhere near it. Wlad's break video is his Medium Leslie version of 'Don't Sleep in the Subway', a 1967 hit.


Wlad fiddles around on the computer until the video is sufficiently mind-blowing in its Medium Leslie coolth. 'There, that'll hold 'em till I get a rope,' he thinks, unconsciously slipping into the Medium Leslie conversational groove, in which utterly antique collocations are revived as if they were height of modern wit. After loading the video onto Youtube, he leans back in his chair and grabs forty winks, Ignatz in his lap. For, although the college students may be chickens of the spring, as they put it in the Medium Leslie world, Wlad is in his 30s and well past the age of effortless all-nighters. He needs a few zzzs for refreshment before heading to his afternoon gigs, of which he has two. But the other one he doesn't need funny-coloured videos for.

smiley - dragon

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 3


Most motorcycle clubs are pretty democratic organisations.

There is, of course, a hierarchy.

Titles vary between clubs, top ranking members earning positions from President, Sgt. at Arms, Secretary and Treasurer to Road Captain, Quartermaster and Chaplain, to the lowliest Prospect members.

The Nite Pirates were no different, their members' titles could broadly be equivalent to their unenlightened peers, apart from one rank.

Cuddles sat with his club around a very cool and beautifully carved table, as prospects cleared away the plates after a rather lovely brunch.Some Medium Leslie wafted from the club house speakers, as though looking for a cool place to settle.

All were waiting for the arrival of the Equaliser. The one member who presided over all club problems, solving difficult issues, wisely guiding them through tricky problems and the evolution of the club.

Not even President (sorry - Lead Person) Fluffy would dare to argue with any decision or judgement the Equaliser passed down.

She was, quite simply, an expert in Ethics, Inclusion & Equality, (Institute of Oregon).

Hence 'Old MacDonald' was the Equaliser's Club name.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 4

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

That's my girl. Saving all that land around our town from being bought up by the Big Bad corporations from Pittsburgh. Can't think of a better place to store that Romanov Inheritance (that capital I is definitely applicable). The Mayor will be happy to have someone save the town for her.

Back at the station. They already cleaned the trucks. Good.

Hi Pop. Did you fire up the barbeque? Paula did? I should have known.
Going to have a shower, a regular one this time. Can't have porridge on my lunch.

Two turns hot, half turn cold....
Crap. The smoky Lady must have messed with the solar panel efficiency. Another turn of hot and minus a quarter cold then... Aaaaaaahhh that's better.

Oh when the saints... Come marching in... Oh when the saints come marching in....

Yes? Who marches there?



Please pass me a towel and my phone please. Thanks.

Hi Fred, Fred here.. Oh, Suzie again. Who is on fire this time? Just kidding, I don't want anyone te be on fire, at least not in the literal sense, and even then just a very specific part of the community.
A job application?

That's fast. I only put up two posters less than an hour ago!
Someone must be really eager to join!

Very good. Did you happen to write down a name, gender or phone number?

No? I was afraid about that. Pity.

Don't you record incoming messages then? I thought that was standard practice.

Oh you do, but you don't have budget for a new cassette tape and the old one is full?! You know what? I will personally buy you a new one, if they are still for sale anywhere in this vicinity, that is. OK.

Gotta go. Don't want my ribs burnt.

Jeans, shirt, socks. Hang turnout gear to dry. Ready to rumble. Like my stomach does right now.
It is always good to have a nice barbequed lunch with the extended family. The only meal where you can get the essential foodstuff in the right quantities (although the Waffelhaus comes close). Meat to lubricate the muscles, half a loaf to not spill the precious drippings, two pints of OJ for the vitamins, tiny piece of lettuce for the environment (Environment should be left to itself, especially the green stuff. I wonder when the Vegans (not Las) find that out).

Can I have some more of that crunchy bacon?

OJ battle Ted? OK, in three... two ... one... GULP... GULP... Aaahhh You'll never beat me and you know it! Even that time when you laced my OJ's with half a bottle of gin. Best night of sleep I ever had. Worst for you, having to save the Dracul's cat from the sewers at half past midnight. Probably chased the fleeing mice.

Anyone fancy some noise? I am going to get my guitar. Ted? You can bang the oil drums if you like... Paula? do you want to play the bass or the lead guitar today? That leaves the chainsaw for Pop.

Shall we play "Three little piggies" first? Mom, could you turn up the amps? Full throttle please.

We'll see if we can drown out the clock.

And-a -one-one-onetwothreefour.

(now consider what sound you would get if you pull three little piggies and various farm implements through a running jet engine. With the afterburner engaged)

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 5

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

Please note that one of the little piggies in the original Green Jellÿ song was played by Leslie Edward Claypool (Front man of Primus). Coincidence? Definitely Heavy Leslie, I suppose.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 6

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

The UPSy Daisy delivery service delivered a package as Arsenio was locking his shop for the noon hour. He promptly unlocked it again so he could take the package inside and prise out the treasures therein: Thanksgiving ornaments to hang on the Pickle Yew trees next to the entrance. (These would be for display only, not for sale, though he could probably get his cousin Fuller to make more for anyone who wanted to special-order them.)

He locked the door again and spent five minutes hanging little turkeys, pumpkin pies, cobs of Indian corn, and bowls of cranberry sauce on the branches of the evergreens. They were all made of bone china, and were hand-painted in bright, cheerful, lifelike colors -- golden browns for the turkeys, amber for the pies, multicolored for the corncobs, and ruby red for the cranberry sauce. Satisfied with his handiwork, Arsenio sent off down the street toward the River Pirates Inn. He waved to Lola as he passed her shop.

The Jolly Hoover wasn't busy yet, but Arsenio expected that it would begin filling up within a few minutes. He didn't need to flag down a waitress, though, as his favorite one always came right over to his table: Rose Lapin Philpotts, the daughter of his cousin Fuller. She was a treasure who surely deserved a loftier position in the world than that of a waitress and occasional china shop cashier. But lots of people her age were struggling to find fulltime jobs in their fields.

Ah, but Rose had one ace up her sleeve, which she was going to reveal tonight when Wlad began his Midnight organ concert. A transcendent moment for all of Hooverville. Rose had been training her organ master class for months, and it was all going to come together like one of those grand antiphonal concerts that Gabrielli was so famous for at Saint Mark's in Venice.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 7

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

[Paul: it won't unless you send me a message and we talk about this.]

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 8

Elektragheorgheni -Please read 'The Post'

Sandy was initially annoyed by the display of polar bears and penguins next to the church after Halloween, but he thought maybe the neighbor was fighting climate change in his own fashion. It takes all kinds of people. He was going up to visit with Mrs Heffelfinger, and elderly widow in one of Hooverville's poshest nursing homes. He was relieved not to have to deal her pack of little yappy pomeranians like the former preacher did, as this trio were real ankle biters. These animals were taken over by her daughter who lived in Punxsy.

He entered her room after her lunch and was forced to hear of all her dissatisfaction with the food and service of the wait staff. Thinking that this was not the Waldorf Astoria he made sympathetic noises and offered to pray with her about her aches and pains. She went on afterwards about how much she missed her husband who had died 20 years before. He nodded and said that losing one's partner was one of the worse forms of loss and we needed to let the Nighthoover know we needed guidance from him on how to deal with the pain, He knew what is like to lose a Loved One.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 9

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

Arsenio cautioned Rose about making too much sound for the Hoovervillians to bear. "Wouldn't your master class be better in a chapel or auditorium?"

"We had planned to have it at the University chapel, but this morning we learned that the chapel would be closed for tonight's performance," Rose said sadly. "It's booked solid every Friday night through Christmas."

"We'll see about that," Arsenio said, picking up his cellphone and dialing a number. Two minutes later, he hung up and smiled at Rose. "Problem solved. They can fit you in next Friday. That is, if 5:00 p.m.is okay with you."

"I'll let the others know, but I'm it will work fine," Rose said. "By the way, what would you like for lunch today."

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 10

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

Sheriff Rowdybush bags up the evidence, then carries on past the First Church of Nighthoover, looking out for anything else unusual as he goes. He nods a greeting to the Pastor Sandy Beeches, but they don't have chance to exchange any words as they pass each other on the sidewalk. If the Sheriff had been able to hear the Pastor's words to his parishioner, he would have been comforted by them, knowing he was not alone in his feelings and in trusting to Nighthoover, but for now he is on a mission for the town.

He approaches the imposing main entrance to Hooverville University and is pleased that the large doors open automatically so he can go straight in to the spacious Reception area without effort. He presents his badge of office to the receptionist and arranges to speak to the Registrar.

The Registrar meets the Sheriff in Reception, then escorts him to a meeting room where they can speak in private. The Sheriff presents the Hooverville University baseball cap in evidence and explains his theory that the Lady of Justice fire was caused by two University students messing around with chemicals for fun, but with unexpectedly powerful effects. The Registrar is keen to assist with the investigation and promises to provide as much information as she can later in the day.

Sheriff Rowdybush's stomach rumbles again, as it is a long time since he had brunch, so he thanks the Registrar, gives her his contact details, and then leaves the University building.

He goes back to Main Street and decides to head over to the Waffelhaus for lunch. He is just in the mood for a stack of potato waffles rather than anything the River Pirates' Inn could offer, even though the Inn is closer.

He gets into a good rhythm, pushing his wheelchair along swiftly, but is suddenly startled spectacularly by the "sound you would get if you pull three little piggies and various farm implements through a running jet engine. With the afterburner engaged".

He nearly flies out of his wheelchair with the fright, but manages to pull himself together without falling over, checks around himself to see if anyone noticed his behaviour, then carries on down Main Street as nonchalantly as he can.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 11


After such a terrible start, Hermione's day had hardly improved. Her only idea had been to go up into the attic of her house to see what paper records she'd stowed away. The attic was tall and narrow and was reached by a set of steps . It was full of piles of paper she'd brought from the Town Hall after the computer was installed.

She had set to work looking through the piles of paper and, in among the records of the Town Hall's expenses, she had found personnel files. Some of those were revealing, to say the least. There was a previous Mayor who was discovered running round the local park stark naked at midnight. He claimed to have had a meeting with aliens, who had spoken to him in several languages. It was not clear why they had wanted him to strip but, to avoid a scandal, his fellow councillors had quietly persuaded him to retire.

Hermione had told herself to stop reading the stories and look for the more recent papers. Those might be relevant still. She worked through the piles of paper, carefully stacking them up. The stacks grew slowly higher. As she finally found the files she was looking for, she heard a noise of something slithering. She looked round to find that the piles were sliding, blocking her way back to the top of the steps. She started to panic and burrowed through files like a demented rabbit, throwing them aside in piles of dust and pieces of paper.

Although she managed to escape from the attic, she was left exhausted and miserable. It had seemed a good idea to go back to the Wafflehaus for lunch. That might cheer her up. She was trudging along the street when she heard the most amazing noise, like all the organs in the world tuning up. She stood on the pavement and listened in disbelief. Perhaps this place was driving her mad like her predecessor.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 12

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Business has returned to the wafflehouse. Most people in town are on their lunch breaks and looking for a quick and filling meal. Those who have more time are welcome to stay for coffee and cake. Later in the afternoon it will get more quiet: elderly ladies chatting over coffee and cake and students doing their homework in a warm and pleasant place with infinite supplies of coffee. Wilhelmina doesn't mind if they stay for a while.

For now however the Wafflehouse is filled mostly with people who don't have a few hours of time on their hands. Wilhelmina and Molly work as fast as they can to make sure everyone is back at their job on time. Cassy meanwhile walks from one table to the next, begging for food.

Suddenly there is a terrible sound outside. Windows tingle, pot plants shake, light bulbs flicker. Wilhelmina runs to the door, looking out at Main Street. Most guests look out of the windows or follow Wilhelmina. They look at each other in confusion. What was that? A car accident? Should they call the sheriff? Was this the next catastrophe after the burning of the Lady of Justice? Is this the second coming of the Nighthoover? Animal cruelty? Did a plane crash?

People take out their phones, make calls, check the news...

Nobody really seems to know anything and there is nothing to be seen in Main Street. After a few minutes Wilhelmina returns to the kitchen. She is worried and confused but she has guests to serve. Cassy meanwhile hides in the storeroom and refuses to come out.

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 13


Lola looks out the window as Arsenio locks up at 12. So he does close the shop at lunchtime, then.
She'll pay him a visit later in the afternoon, when she closes the Emporium for her lunch break. She has it later than most, because she knows people like to use their break to come in and browse, and on the other hand she very seldom has customers between 2 and 4.
And with her biscuit break at eleven, she doesn't need lunch until half past two anyway.

Lola looks out the window as Arsenio unlocks his door for the delivery man. She then watches him hanging ornaments in his pickle yew trees (ah, yes, that's what they're called!).
Isn't that a bit risky, hanging up delicate china ornaments outside when it could freeze any time?
Well, he's been living here longer than her, so he probably knows what he's doing. Maybe.

She gets back to preparing the window display she hasn't started yet.
Where are the Thanksgiving decorations, now?
She forages around the cupboard under the stairs. (make way, Harry, can't you see I'm working? Shouldn't you be at school anyway?)
Ah, there it is, behind the Hoovermas box.

She carefully carries the box to the front table, and haphazardly flips it upside down, sending little plastic turkeys and dried berries to the floor in a three-foot wide circle. (Bloody Hoover, why do I alway do that!)
She bends down and picks up most of them, and gently kicks the rest under the radiator.
She doesn't have a carpet, pity. Never mind, they'll be out of sight well enough.

She sorts the ornaments into heaps on one side : turkeys, berries, corn cobs. She'll just sprinkle them all over the books when she's done.

Books. Right. She put them aside when she couldn't sleep, and they're still there.
What do we have?
- "How to be grateful in 1001 languages", by Sam Kyu.
- "From the Ottoman Empire to modern times, a History of Turkey", by Paul Tree.
- "Sweet Scorn, a Modern Romance", by Bruce L Sprout.
Yes, that should be acceptable.

She places them on book stands, and arranges the ornaments.
The little turkeys are all going around their book, of course. Anything else would be silly.
The scorn cobs are for the romance.
And the berries go around the third book (Thank you berry much, indeed).

She steps outside to see how it will look for passers by.
Could do with a few little lamps to ... lighten it up...

The only ones she has are Hoovermas themed. That wouldn't do. It's far too early for that.
She'll have to see if she can find any during her lunch break. She needs new batteries for the new alarm clock anyway, make the trip to the shop worth taking.

Just as she enters the Emporium again, she is startled by the sound of a hundred elephants fighting a two hundred helicopters with a hundred assault rifles.
Oh Hoover, sounds just like home on the day of Saint Barbara, when the Fire People would have their annual get-together-and-make-as-much-noise-as-possible.
Good thing she has double glazing...

13 November: Noon – 1 pm (First Day)

Post 14

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Most Unusual Terminology Award to Superfrenchie for 'scorncobs', every apt, and Original Music Award to Caiman Raptor Elk for doing the traditional jug band one better by doing a 'plugged in' version of the musical saw.

That didn't hurt Dylan, either. smiley - winkeye

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