A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

It is 1 pm. The clock strikes one, because it is not geared to strike 13. Life goes on in Hooverville. The kids go back to school and the workers back to their offices. The town hall is open for business. Pigeons sit on the Civil War Memorial in the park.

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Wlad Winzekowski checks the #Hooverville Twitter feed, to see what gossip is spreading.

@FireWatcher tweets: 'Where is all the town's real estate going? Trying to buy some land in town to make a community garden, but it's being snapped up by some deep-pockets bunch. This is bad for our tax base. At least the garden would help pay the outrageous water bills after all that sewer work last summer.'

@MrsMcNulty tweets back: 'Like. Yeah, and who started these rumours about Pittsburgh developers? Pittsburgh isn't interested in our farmland. There's no train: the two-hour commute would kill those Yinzers!'

@HostelTakeover tweets: 'Like. Probably somebody with a bee in their bonnet and delusions of grandeur. Thank goodness the farmers outside town won't sell. Who needs another outlet mall?'

@BikerPete tweets: 'WHAT? Who said outlet mall? ShopTilYouDrop is bad enough! Go to Butler if you want shopping! Don't they know all stores in this area need hitching posts for Amish buggies?'

@VirgilInvestigates tweets: 'Don't worry, folks. The ownership of property is a matter of public record. I'm off to the town hall, since it's open again. Expect a revealing article in next week's Honker!'

Wlad chuckles. 'Always look at Facebook for baby photos,' he thinks, 'And Twitter for wild conspiracy theories and shameless self-promotion.'

The next Twitter thread is somebody's rant about inappropriate outdoor decorations, which degenerates into an argument about whether the china hanging in bushes outside the No-Bull House are going to plotz during the next cold snap. Wlad thinks this entirely possible, but refrains from comment. This discussion, too, turns into a predictable series of tweets about the imaginary 'War on Hoovermas', which seems to begin earlier each year.

He goes on to read with interest several tweets complaining about the behaviour of the increasingly weird wildlife in Misty Mountains State Park. One tweeter twitters that it is probably all the fault of the late George Romero for making those movies, but they wish this sort of thing would stay in Pittsburgh and the awful Monroeville Mall. One tweet catches his eye.

@NosyNayburr: 'Those volleyball-playin' politically-correct bikers are up to shenanigans at all hours. What are they doin' out in daylight, those Nite Pirates? And why is there so much traffic over at their club? Shouldn't they be out doin' donuts, or something?'

Wlad wonders, too. But he isn't worried as long as they don't show up for Relatively Happy Hour at the River Pirates' Inn (Medium Leslie, 4-6 pm), and he knows they aren't going to crash his first gig, the one he'd better get ready for right now…no biker would be caught dead at the afternoon River Pirates' Polka Party, surely?

smiley - dragon

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 3

paulh. Bunnies are cute (There, I've said it)

When Arsenio got back from lunch, he opened the door of the function room next to his office. It was here that the Friday afternoon charity tea parties were always held. There were two tables
elegantly laid out with white cloths and a dozen place settings of Spode's "Blue Colonel" pattern. These plates were ridiculously expensive. Luckily, Aunt Aganista had bought the settings on
eBay at a good price.

Arsenio had had to let his cleaning lady go the previous year, but so far he was managing to dust the room regularly and keep the tablecloth clean.

This afternoon, he was helping the friends of the Librarian Condor Rescue Foundation raise money to keep this elegant species alive. Rose was going to sing "Bluebird of happiness," accompanied by her brother M.T. Okay, so bluebirds weren't a bit like condors, but the
president of the charity was a huge Jan Peerce fan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IERLMXtMZag
(Arsenio thought Rose sang the song much better than Jan Peerce, but maybe he was biased?)

Some of the younger members of the group were sure to ask if they could sing the "California Condor song," chnging the lyrics slightly by using "librarian" rather than "Califoria." They would grab their guitars and come up to the front without a trace of bashfulness.

Ah, the changing tastes of the different generations!

Refreshments consisted of lemon squares based on Aunt Aganista's family recipe, washed down with jasmine tea -- except for Professor Dasgupta, who always insisted on Darjeeling. Once in a
great while, Arsenio was able to persuade his guests to drink chai (Which Mr. Dasgupta also loved), but mostly jasmine and Earl Grey were the teas that were most popular here.

Arsenio was hoping the weather would be nice for his Friday evening hike through the state park. Maybe he would see a *real* condor. That would be well worth supporting!

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 4

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

So, That went well... Maybe we could have some more amplification on the chainsaw, but al in all a solid performance.

What shall we play next? Silent night? Isn't it a bit early for that, Fred?

Hey. Who's playing "Land of hope and glory"? Oh, that's my phone. Must be Anna.

Hi Anna. Did your meeting with the Mayor go as planned?
What terrorist attack? I didn't hear a thing, but then, we were rehearsing. You couldn't find the Mayor? Found her laptop battery lying around at the Town hall... Did you leave it there? It might be evidence for the Sheriff.

That sounds like a Search an Destroy... eehhrm Rescue call to me. I'll get on it right away.

Right. Search and Rescue. Don't need turnout gear for that. I'll take my old leather Pirates jacket, from before they went to the bad (or good, depending on your perspective) and take the bike.

Paula!! Where did you put the keys fo the bike? I'm going on a mission. Save the Mayor and stuff... Behind the bottle of red ink? Good place. Instant Shawarma to any unlucky thief.
Where to start? First pick up that laptop battery at Town hall. Then go to the Mayor's house. If all else fails I'll check the Waffelhaus. Someone must have seen her after the fire.

Anyway. If I find her, she might want to discuss what to do with the Lady Justice. Some people might call her current shape obscene (mind you, I like it better than the original, definitely more feminine).


OK. Town Hall. There's the battery. It looks still OK, so I'll put that in a plastic bag and take it. Where do I leave that mouldy sandwich? Ah, there's a bin. No Mayor here.


Apparently not, but the door is unlocked, so I'll check it out anyway.
No Mayor on the ground floor. Maybe the attic? Hell, what a mess it is here! Didn't know they still sold exploding filing cabinets here. But no Mayor.

Well that leaves the Waffelhaus. Someone must have seen her. Worst case there will be a waffle for dessert.

I can walk there and work up an appetite, so I'll leave the bike parked here.


Good afternoon citizens! Anyone seen the Mayor?

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 5


*Left, left, left, right, left!"

The rag-tag bunch of survivors wearily, but defiantly, marched onward through the hospital wards.

Their leader wearily, but very handsomely, struck out with his improvised spear (a surgeon's bone saw taped to a prosthetic arm) in perfect time to his barked marching orders.

Reaching the glass cage that was the biohazard lab, he shattered the lock and freed the impossibly scantily clad scientist.

She flung herself into his bloody arms, grimacing at the mountains of thankfully (now properly) dead zombies on either side of the group.

Windsor Steel kissed her.

*I didn't do all this to save mankind, I did all this just to save you, my love!*

The credits rolled as the kiss deepened and the theme tune swelled.

Caroline turned the T.V. off, she'd never been a Letterbox fan, gratuitous violence, awful scriptwriting, and not one reason as to why these poor zombies were relevant, but that movie was just the thing she needed to help her nod off after her last night shift.

She pulled the covers over her head to block out the afternoon sunlight and, within a minute, was gently snoring.

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 6

paulh. Bunnies are cute (There, I've said it)

[You had me worried for a moment, FWR. Zombies in Hooverville would be the worst of worst-cases. But smiley - applause anyway]

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 7


Just a nod. RIP Henry xx

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 8

SashaQ - happysad

Sheriff Rowdybush carries on down Main Street and admires the window display in the Book Emporium, as he notices it has changed since he visited earlier. He also admires the decorations in the Pickle Yew bushes that have been newly added. He goes into the Waffelhaus again, and takes a seat at the same table as before.

He checks the Lunch Menu and decides to order five Potato Waffles and a glass of the homemade lemonade that Wilhelmina recommended.

As he eats, he contemplates whether toast and bramble jelly or Potato Waffles are more delicious. Both need careful preparation. The bramble jelly needs to be spread 'just so', and the toast needs to be eaten in a way that leaves the best bit at the centre of the slice until the very end. The Potato Waffles also have to be eaten in a certain way, bit by bit diagonally, making the best use of the geometry provided by the waffle squares.

It takes him some time to eat the five Potato Waffles correctly, and by the time he has finished he has decided that he likes Potato Waffles very much, but they would take too long to cook at midnight, so toast and bramble jelly is the perfect night time snack and Potato Waffles can be enjoyed earlier in the day, as he has just done.

The homemade lemonade is a perfect accompaniment to the Potato Waffle dish - very refreshing.

Just after Sheriff Rowdybush has finished freshening up after his meal, he gets a call on the walkie-talkie to say the Registrar at Hooverville University would like to speak to him again. He is just about to leave the Waffelhaus and head back up Main Street when Fred Ireland arrives and asks after the Mayor. He pauses for a moment in case he is needed for some more detective work.

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 9


Wynken De Woordesmyth is having his lunch: avocado and Marmite on wholewheat bread. On his laptop screen, the condors, too, are still enjoying theirs. The video feed is still coming through clearly from the drone, which is now silently perched on top of a 200 ft tall ceilingberry tree growing on the edge of the plains. Wynken installed it on the treetop to save its battery life. It was a bit of fine maneuvering but he managed it. The condors are taking their meal in quite a leisurely fashion. Those satiated are perched a short distance from the carcass, mildly peering at the ones still feeding with their round eyes outlined with the characteristic spectacle-like white rings.

They may be at it for some time longer. Only when they've all finished feeding can Wynken risk getting his drone closer. There will not be much left of the moor moose, so he's unlikely to be able to tell what killed it from the carcass itself, but he can inspect the ground around it for anything - animal tracks, other signs, any clue as to the identify of the perpetrator ...

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 10


Hermione walked slowly round the town, looking at all the buildings. She wanted to reassure herself that everything was normal. If so, it suggested that she was still passably sane. At least the extraordinary noise had stopped. The University still looked like a clumsy imitation of a Greek temple but the students cheered it up by sitting on the steps. In the park, the leaves were losing their bright autumnal colours, but the fairy squirrels were still running up and down the trunks.
She was beginning to feel better when she remembered she had an appointment with Anna, which could be difficult. Apparently, Anna wanted to bring a theme park to Hooverville. Hermione hurried back to the Town Hall, in the hope of meeting Anna. She had, at least a reasonable excuse for being late, as her office had only just escaped being burnt down. She arrived to find that the firemen had cleared up and left. Her office should be usable at last.
She hurried in, to find Fred Ireland and Sheriff Rowdybush crawling round the floor.
“What are you two doing?” she asked in her best official-sounding voice.
The two men jumped up. “ Ah, there you are, Mayor,” said Fred. “We'd heard you'd been the victim of a terrorist attack.”
“Terrorists in Hooverville?” asked Hermione, and sank into the nearest chair. “Why would they want to come here?”
“It might be the university,” suggested Sheriff Rowdybush. “There are a lot of anarchists there.”
Hermione thought of the students she'd seen sitting and lying on the university steps. “I think they're fairly harmless anarchists.” Then she remembered the noise she had heard earlier and wondered if there was a connection. “But I think it's possible someone's being trying to send the people of the town mad by making the most awful noise. I heard it on the way to the Wafflehaus.”
The two men looked at each other. “We'll go and investigate straight away, Mayor” said Sheriff Rowdybush.
After they clumped out, Hermione sat behind her official desk and took a deep breath. Perhaps the afternoon would make more sense than the morning.

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 11


The clock strikes one just as Lola goes to pour herself one more cup of tea. She unscrews the top of the jug, carefully turns it upside down above her mug. Nothing happens.
Has she had it all already?
Ah yes, she wasted a whole cup at one point because someone came to talk to her.

Time for a refill.

She takes the jug upstairs with her, puts the kettle to boil and watches out the window while she waits.

The elephants versus helicopters war seems to have come to an end. Which side won? Only time will tell. At least the glass panes aren't shaking in the window frames any more.

She sees the Sheriff wheeling by, down Main Street and probably headed to the Waffelhaus - or maybe the River Pirates' Inn - for a spot of lunch, no doubt.
She's starting to be hungry, too. The eleven o'clock biscuits are long gone.
Still, in about an hour, she'll close the Emporium for her mid-day break, and then she can have food. That is, after she's done with the errands she needs to run.
The water is boiling, she fills her jug and adds two teabags. Just a few minutes of brewing, enough time for a mental recap of what she will have to do.

Buy batteries for the alarm clock. (Must check what type she needs).
Get some lunch. (she fancies waffles, but Wlad is playing at the River Pirates' Inn at 3pm, so maybe the waffles can happen for dinner instead).
See if she can find Thanksgiving-themed fairy lights for the window display. (batteries and lights, she can get from the BVFMD, she'd better go there first, and stop at the Inn for lunch on her way back).
(If she's not too bad with her schedule, she should probably pop by the Church too. She hasn't been in a while, and after the night she's had, she could really do with some hoovery love).

She snaps back to the kitchen, and realises she has overbrewed her tea. Nevermind. She dumps a good spoonful of sugar into it, that should hide the bitterness. (Thank Hoover and all the Roombas her neighbours can't read minds or see through walls, she might get burnt at the stake for that!)

Ah, customers.

She screws the top of the jug on, gives it a good shake and heads downstairs, screaming "I'm coming, I'm coming, come on in, hello, welcome!".
Hurried footsteps and a jinglingle.
She finds the shop empty.
People are strange. Maybe they chaged their mind.

She shrugs, but has her tea near the front door, just in case.

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 12


smiley - orib footnote : the BVFMD is the Best Value For Money Drugstore. smiley - ok

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 13

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Lunchtime is not yet over at the Waffelhaus, but the majority of the guests have returned to their workplaces. When the Sheriff arrives Wilhelmina restrains herself from asking about how it goes with finding out who set the Lady of Justice on fire. It's not her business, she doesn't want to seem nosy.

She gets distracted when Jennifer and Martin enter the Waffelhaus. They both study at Hooverville University and manage the afternoon business at the cafe. This mainly consists of serving cake, sweet waffles and coffee. Wilhelmina pays a reasonable wage, while Jennifer and Mark do their job reasonably well. Of course they also get along with the students who regularly come to the Waffelhaus to study. This arrangement gives Wilhelmina a free afternoon. Of course she could earn more money if she would just work all day herself, but what kind of life would that be?

When Fred comes in to ask about the Major, Wilhelmina can only shrug.

'She was here earlier to have lunch, but I can't tell you where she went.'

Then Wilhelmina hurries into the kitchen to see if everything is ready for the afternoon. She says goodbye to Molly and also Cassy, who usually spends the afternoon at the Wafflehouse, watching people. At least when Wilhelmina is not at home.

Wilhelmina goes up to her apartment to get changed. She also makes herself a thermos of tea and some food, which she puts into a backpack. Then she leaves the apartment again and also the house. Down in the street Wilhelmina gets into her car and drives towards the Misty Mountains. It is a sunny autumn day and who knows how many of these are still to come this year?

14 November: 1 pm – 2 pm (First Day)

Post 14

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Today has been a busy day for the Hoovervillians.

Caiman and SashaQ share the Multitasking Award for combining the goals of locating the Mayor and eating more waffles.

Freewayriding wins the Cameo Prize for sneaking Henry Letterbox in here. (Why not? He's definitely cable TV material.)

And Superfrenchie wins the Nomenclature Award for the BVFMD.

Remember: as we go into the second half of the month, it's important to keep the Ground Rules in mind:

1. Do not move other people's characters around.
2. Do not attribute sayings to other people without consulting with them first.
3. Please stay in your own lanes. Feel free to go visiting, but ask nicely first.
4. Unless you're Willem, don't invent any more imaginary animals, please. The native wildlife will feel slighted and come up on the Post Office porch to complain, and we don't want to annoy Blondie the skunk.

smiley - dragon

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