A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

It is 3 am. All may not be well, but at least nothing's on fire.

[NOTE: 29 November's thread will be posted a few hours late, which shouldn't affect you Brits. (Sorry, Paul.) This is because it is Thanksgiving in the US, and we'll be at the farm.]

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Wlad is still sleeping. He's dreaming about an aviary with brightly-coloured birds and huge butterflies. The variety is overwhelming. He sits down on a bench to rest. There's a rumpled man sitting next to him who looks vaguely familiar. The man is drunk, and is holding a bottle in a paper bag. He offers it to Wlad, who refuses to drink because he's superstitious.

'My grandmother said, when in a magical realm, don't eat or drink anything, or you might get stuck there,' he says to the man. The man shrugs, and starts singing in a voice that's so bad it's good.

'I cry to Mr. Khrushchev,
Please grant me this great boon:
Don't muck about, don't muck about,
Don't muck about with the moon.'


Wlad really shouldn't have had that pepperoni pizza before bed.

In the meantime, in the farmland south of Hooverville, electric company crews are busy checking transformers and repairing downed wires from the events of the night. Nobody's told them why the lines went down – after all, there was no storm, the most common cause of this sort of thing – but rumours are flying. One is that a milk tanker collided with the eighteen-wheeler that delivers the Checkers Pizza supplies, resulting in a giant pancake on Highway 80. Another rumour blames UFOs. The best odds are offered by the Bigfoot theory, though some suspect the government. Theorising helps pass the time as the crews go through the county, checking and repairing.

In a deserted farmhouse on the other side of Sligo,

(where the giant cow sculpture is: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/7978 )

the lights blink on. This is extremely unusual, because the lights haven't been on in the farmhouse for five years, ever since the night of the big stand-off. On that night, a tense hostage situation involving a methed-up and heavily armed ex-husband and a terrified, unarmed ex-wife and kids (still kids, nothing ex about them), plus the county and state police, a couple of dogs, and a helicopter, miraculously resulted in the peaceful arrest of said ex-husband (who got jail time and drug counseling) and safe delivery of all hostages, who immediately moved to the Poconos to live with saner relatives. Therapy was helping them deal with the trauma.

The shell-shocked inhabitants of the old farmhouse had departed in such a hurry that they left a lot of possessions behind. But the mom had remembered to get the electricity turned off. (Water and gas heat were supplied by onsite wells.) Now, by a misreading of the work orders, the electricity has come back on. The old house springs into life, such as it is.

Lights go on in the living room. In the kitchen, the refrigerator starts humming, although there is nothing in it to refrigerate. In a bedroom, an abandoned alarm clock blinks forlornly, signalling its need for a reset to those who will never return for it. Most interesting of all, on a bedroom desk, an old laptop computer, still plugged into the wall for a recharge when its 13-year-old owner had carelessly left it behind, picks up where it had left off earlier in the decade.

The screen shows a Netflix subscription the mother hadn't known she had, but which her son, the former 13-year-old, had clandestinely signed the family up for on auto-renew. The son, now entering college, still has the subscription (though he's paying for it himself these days), and hasn't changed the password, which is, of course 'PASSWORD'. So Netflix is perfectly happy to keep running in this abandoned house, even though the only audience are the field mice who have moved in. As it happens, one of those mice is attracted by the shiny images on the screen, and dances across the keys, leading the following selection to be played for the dancing rodents in a most appropriate venue:


One of the mice stops, his whiskers quivering, and stares at the screen while someone says, 'I am like a tiny, little creature swallowed whole by a monster,' then scurries off in search of food. If he had shoulders, he'd shrug.

smiley - dragon

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 3

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

Arsenio had no idea why he was in the lobby of City Hall. He was even more nonplussed by what he was seeing now: a vending machine with the name "Philpotts Coffee Machine" emblazoned on it. Since when did vending machines offer the prized coffee that Arsenio had once been responsible for?

He took a dollar and some coins out of his pocket and inserted them. The coffee that came out was every bit as rich and delicious as anything Arsenio had ever tasted. What was all this about?

Suddenly he felt someone tugging at his sleeve. It was Filbert, Fuller's son.

"How do you like the vending machine I invented?" Filbert asked, his eyes wide with anticipation.

"I'd say it was impossible for any vending machine to deliver anything this good," Arsenio answered, his mouth still tingling from the coffee he had just drunk.

"It's been my dream that some day I could make this a reality," Filbert said, glowing.

"Wait, did you say 'dream'?" Arsenio exclaimed.

Filbert and City Hall and the vending machine vanished. In its place was Arsenio 2, that annoying alter ego that seemed to pop up just about every night when Arsenio was too sleepy to fend him off.

"Yep, you're having a dream,' Arsenio 2 said, "but in a way this is also a wake up call. Filbert has *told* you about his invention three times. You didn't seem to be interested. I, on the other hand, heard it."

"Must be one of my blind spots," Arsenio said grudgingly.

"Agreed. But you don't have to *stay* blind. Why couldn't you call Filbert in the morning and tell him you've been thinking about collaborating with him? He's just gotten his patent approved. Now he needs
coffee to put into his machine. He wouldn't have mentioned this if he didn't think you'd want to help him. Heck, you could put the machine in your china shop...."

"Do you think Filbert and I could get the contract for the City Hall's vending machines?"

"Give it time. Build a following. Let people know that when they buy your fantastic coffee mugs, there will be your first-rate coffee in them, free of charge. If they want a second or third cup, they'll have the vending machine to get them from. When they build the new courthouse for young offenders --The Hoovernile Court -- you can bid on the concessions account."

Arsenio was getting more enthusiastic by the minute. "I would only have to resupply the vending machine once or twice a day. It wouldn't be like having to be ready to pour coffee for people all day."

"It's like a dream come true," Arsenio 2 agreed. "But for now, it's just a dream."

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 4

Caiman raptor elk - Inside big box, thinking.


Did you really have to nudge me that hard, Paula? There was way too much elbow in that..
And I was just starting to enjoy that dream.

OK, I will let go of your wrist. Sorry, I thought your arm was a baseball bat.
Forget I mentioned that. Long story.

Hug? yes? HUG!

Thank you for organising an unforgettable birthday party. Really... Probably nobody will forget that, come to think of it. Better not to dwell on the details too much though... People might get ideas.

What? OK. I'll let go now, so that you can continue breathing.

Do we have any fixed plans for tomorrow?
We could have a sunrise picknick at Killinickaguffy Creek. Someone said it is quite beautiful down there. There should be plenty of leftover food from my disrupted birthday party. Let Mom, Pop and Ted cover any fires and UFO sightings. Take out the bike and watch some birds and bees.

Do you want another hug? Yes? Me too!

Before we have to pack up, we can still spend another half hour in bed, not sleeping...

(definitely not sleeping)

(not even close)


Time to get up and pack up.

While I figure out the shower settings, can you get the meat, then I will stack some smiley - oj, something to sit on and the petrol stove when it is your turn.

Oh yes, you can go first. That's OK

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 5


Jeez, this guy's driving was truly horrid! I half expected the pickup to go sailing through the barriers on every bend we came to!

Whether by skill, or just dumb luck, the Ford and I managed to get over the Misty Mountains in one piece.

My luck, however, ran out about five minutes later. The insistent red light on my clocks had been on a while now, fuel getting dangerously low.

If I'd known I'd be involved in a car chase over the mountains, I'd have obviously put petrol in the bloody tank first!

Two more minutes, ahead of me, the Ford was stuck at a set of lights, a railway crossing too, so he had nowhere to go!

Then the Harley died, the big V twin coughing valiantly, but starved of gas, the poor beast had no chance. Coasting to a stop, closer and closer to the pickup….

Two hundred yards, one hundred. Lights out and no engine, I crept closer, the noise of the train drowning out the swish of slowing bike on asphalt.

Fifty yards, the rear of the train through the crossing, in a few seconds the lights would change. I left the dead Harley.

Sprinting towards the Ford, ten yards, flashing lights, engine revving.

Five. Brake lights dimmed as the truck inched forwards, anticipating green…

Three feet, close enough to hear the Medium Leslie track on the radio through the open window.

Bathed in green light. The pickup lurched forward.

Then died.

I stood panting, driver's keys plucked from the ignition at the last second!

Adrenaline coursed through me, flight was out, I hadn't frozen, so one natural instinct remained.

I put my fists up as the driver's door opened and the huge guy climbed out and turned to face me.

*Cuddles? What the bleeding hell are you doing here?*

The big guy yawned, *Okayyyy.........I'm sensing hostility….and there's really no need to cuss!*

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 6


And Happy Thanksgiving to all our colonial cousins! smiley - hug

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 7

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

Thanks for giving us that. smiley - smiley

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 8


I think it was the Spanish who gave you it first, but enjoy your day!smiley - cheers

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 9


Lola is snoring the night away. Until the snoring chases her sleep away.
Same procedure as last night? Same procedure as every night.
Get up, have a glass of water in the bathroom. No glass-breaking this time. No foot-cutting either.
Get back into bed and lie on the side.
And hope for the best.

Sleep creeps back into the room, and slowly hugs Lola again.
Soon, she starts dreaming again.

She is around ten, walking to school. There is a cat following her. It is not a cat she knows. It's big and it has big pointy teeth. It's smiling. Widely. It looks both friendly and a little scary too. It draws level with her, and starts chatting to her.
- So we've got a math test this morning. Will you let me sit next to you? I didn't have time to revise.
- Cat, you are strange, and "strange(r), dange(r)", so I'd rather not talk to you.
- Lola, I'm no stranger, we've met before. You threatened me with a pot of water, and I left you alone. I'm not dangerous, you are!

She is eighteen, celebrating her birthday with friends at a bar. There is a potted plant on the bar, and it advises her to have only one mojito, and then switch to soft drinks. Otherwise she might miss her chance at finding Mr Right.
Plants are smart.

She is twenty-eight and moving into a new town, a new home. The cat is helping carry the boxes from truck to apartment. The plant orders Lola around, telling her where to put what, and how to best decorate the place. The plant can't put up posters on the walls, but somehow it manages to put the books and DVDs on shelves, alphabetically. The cat is also giving a paw with the sorting, but it has trouble remembering the alphabet, so the plant and Lola sing it in unison.

She is asleep, in her bed, alone.
No cat or plant in there with her.
The plant is asleep on its table.
The cat is asleep up in a tree.

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 10

SashaQ - happysad

Sheriff Rowdybush soon falls asleep once he is in bed and covered by the warm blankets.

The weight of the blankets causes him to dream that a cat is sleeping on his legs, then he imagines that it moves to snuggle up beside him, and it has the smell of washing powder rather than cat so he does not sneeze. The dream is comforting so itdoesn’t wake him up, but if it had he would have found that he had bunched up the blankets and was holding the corners curled up like a cuddly toy.

28 November: 3 am – 4 am (Second Day)

Post 11

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Superfrenchie and Paulh share the Creative Dream Sequence Award for today.

SashaQ gets the Made-the-Editor-Go-Awww... Award.

Freewayriding is winner and still champion of the Slow Burn Competition, and everybody else is excused for being either asleep or too full of turkey to write.

Only two more days to go! Work on your big/little/philosophical finishes. And remember: there is still neither moon nor sun up in the sky. UFOs are up to you.

smiley - dragon

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