A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

It is 4 am. Sensible people are sleeping. Are there any sensible people in Hooverville? We doubt it. It is still dark. It will still be dark at 6 am. There is no moon. It's stars or nothing, people, please.

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Wlad wakes up because the dreams are getting too weird to sleep through. Ceding the bed to Ignatz, he takes a shower and turns on the coffee pot. While it's brewing, he sits down to the piano and plays a song to chase away the weird nightmare he had about gangsters, Jimmy Hoffa, a jack-o-lantern full of explosives, and some bikers in a haunted house.


The music soothes his nerves, and he takes his coffee upstairs and sips it while he browses on the computer. An entry in the h2g2 Edited Guide catches his attention. It's about dogs leaping from a bridge in Scotland, apparently committing suicide…


'Hm,' he thinks. 'This would make a good musical… It could start with the mystery, and then have an investigator who finds a ghost…and falls in love, with the ghost, of course…there could be a funny medium…I could throw in a character from Glasgow, and we could use holographic technology to project translations for his dialogue…' He thinks about ways to make (stuffed) dogs 'fly' across a stage….

Back to the keyboard while he starts tinkering with musical ideas on a 'Scottish' theme.


'We could use one real dog,' he thinks. 'A well-trained one. Not like the one from the Nineveh Community Theatre. That one was in a play once, and never forgot it. And since he belonged to the theatre manager, he was always in the theatre. That time we were being forced to sit through a dreadful dress rehearsal of 'Picnic', which was torture, and the dog got loose and ran up on stage…it was all we could do to keep from laughing, and there they were, emoting their hearts out while the dog wagged his tail and begged for attention… I am so glad that theatre closed down. I think acting was bad for some of them – especially that weird doctor. Her performance in 'Look Homeward, Angel' was a bit too on the money.'

He makes a mental note to get tickets for the university production coming up later in the month, which will be 'Working', from the book by Studs Terkel, with music by Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor. 'I hope they remembered to take the cussing out,' he thinks, not because he minds cussing in a play, but because there are Hoovervillians who do, and he wants the students to have good audiences.

Wlad plays on for awhile, secure in the knowledge that he won't wake any neighbours as long as he doesn't turn on the organ. Most of them are hard of hearing, anyway: Wlad lives on the 'senior block' of the street.

smiley - dragon

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 3

FWR (under new management)

Cal sat shivering next to the open fire at the clubhouse, nursing a rather nice hot chocolate.

It had taken over an hour for Cuddles to get back to her, the stars were beautiful, but it was bloody cold up there at this time of year!

When he had eventually shown up, Cuddles looked very bashful, saying simply, *Get in please Cal, we need to talk*.

He refused to say any more all the way back. Once in the clubhouse, he'd made her a drink, set the fire, and disappeared into the back to 'make a few calls'.

The relaxed atmosphere in the clubhouse confused her. One minute they'd been fleeing the Horrid threat, the 'Pirates keen to see her on the plane and far away from Hooverville.

The next, she'd been taken back to town, no talk of Horrid (or very little else for that matter) and asked very politely to enjoy her chocolate and please wait. She was quite safe now.

How was she 'quite safe'? What had Cuddles done with the people who were chasing her? Big as he was, she simply couldn't imagine him resorting to violence.

Still, she did feel safe here, and the fire was as delicious as the chocolate.

The warmth, the drink, and her adrenaline crash, had the obvious effect on her body; so, as most normal people did at stupid o'clock, Cal closed her eyes and allowed herself to nod off.

She dreamt of now.

That uneasy realization that reality was, in fact, a cleverly constructed dream, a pleasant phantom world that would disappear as soon as the dreamer opened an eyelid.

She dreamed she sat in a beautifully decorated room. Scents of fresh flowers and crackling logs in the air. The taste of chocolate on her tongue.

She knew she was safe here, would always be safe here, looked after by people who were more than family.

But something nagged at her wellbeing. She had to go somewhere, couldn't stay in this safe, beautiful place, needed to find a peace that was impossible. A sense of loss that refused to dim.

She dreamed she heard motorcycles, comforted by the machines that had formed the soundtrack to her life for so many years. The noise also brought her sorrow, as each motorcycle she heard failed to be him coming home.

Oh how she longed for that door to open and see him again.

She dreamed he was with her, throwing open the doors and running to where she slept. Dreamed of his arms crushing her with the need to feel her again. Dreamed of his lips on hers, his breath on her face, a tear falling from his cheek to hers.

She dreamed of his words, *Oh my God Cal, how I've missed you! I'm here now gorgeous, I'm here now! Wake up, Cal, I'm here!*

Cal reluctantly opened her eyes , knowing the beautiful dream would vanish, the sadness would return, and he would still be lost to her.

Then she felt a tear on her cheek, and knew, at last, her dream had come true!

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 4

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

It had been nice, that last half hour... Very nice!

I am still amazed at how quick you worked that one out. I mean, yes, the gravitational anomalies at the edges did give something away, I agree, especially at the sharp leading edge, but then concluding you are on a world in the shape of a wedge of Swiss cheese by falling into one of the through holes...? Really?!
You must admit that you were lucky you had your lightning reflexes, throwing a 20, and that rope and grappling hook ready though, or you would have been stuck floating halfway, after air friction had dampened out your oscillating fall. Slaying that Medusa with your bright and mirror finish shiny armour, before being declared Empress of Gruyericho took you no time after that. At times like this, it is easier to play with a Half-elven Paladin than with my Gnome cleric. I mean, the difference in charisma statistics alone...
Did you like the bit where I gave your toddler a cap of invisibility and bricks of lightning speed to play with? Yes, I know I was inspired by Anna when she was that age.

But let's not stick around. Did you get the food. I've got my stuff.

Do you wand to drive or just hang on to me?

Drive it is then... You know the way to Killinickaguffy Creek? It's South, just to where ... those ..... Bombs.... fell... ehhhhrrmm.
Come to think of it, it might not be as beautiful anymore as was advertised. Dustbowls! We will check it out anyway. Just be careful we don't drive over anything explosive.


Don't hurry, I like riding like this way too much. Just warn me before you can't breathe anymore.

Did you see that CAT! No, neither did I...

We're getting close. What is that orange pulsating glow up ahead? The sun will not be up for some time...


Didn't know we hat caves like that around here. More like caverns, really.

Shall we check that out?

I've never seen fluoreschen fungi like that before. I only know them as a Dungeon Master trick to allow for characters without infravision going underground, to get over all those saving throws for checking you hit your head all the time.

Let's have some food and go in. It's not everyday you get to play in a real dungeon.

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 5

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

[sorry about the fluoreschen hat. His "post message" too quickly]

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 6

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

[Hit #@#@$! Hit]

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 7

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

[smiley - snork]

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 8


Eyes! Eyes in the night … shining, casting back the glare of the car’s headlights … enormous eyes, about a yard and a half off the ground … eyes that shine on fixedly, that don’t vanish as their owner realizes its danger. Its owner! Its owner doesn’t realize the danger. Its owner has no idea that headlights, a car, a human, a gun, *mean* danger!

Wynken can’t believe his luck. He’s found his cat! A mere three miles to the north of the town, strolling right along the middle of the highway; it turns around to look towards him, certainly, perplexed by the noise of the approaching car. The cat’s whole body is now visible in the headlights. It appears relaxed.

Wynken is quite the opposite of relaxed. At the same time it feels as if he’s in a trance. He has little sense of time as he stops the car, lowers the window, levels his gun and fires his tranquilizer dart … it might have taken minutes, it might have taken mere seconds.

As the dart hits the great cat on its left flank, it twitches and jerks its head. But it was likely not really painful; after a second, the cat looks back at Wynken in his car. Then looks away and gets back to trotting down the road, now looking a little bit nervous.

Wynken is far from just a little bit nervous. Was the tranquilizer enough? He has three more darts. But he took a dose appropriate for a bear of about a thousand pounds; the cat, as far as he can tell, is not more than that. It is not that tall at the shoulder, but incredibly muscular. Its fur is short but very dense, looking invitingly soft. It appears greyish in the headlights, with a faint pattern of spots blending into blotches and stripes over its back and hindquarters. Its tail is a stump adorned with fluffy fur, much like that of a rabbit. Its face looks a bit like the feline equivalent of a bulldog; it has voluminous lips curling around its foot-long canine teeth.

As the cat trots along, still making use of the oh-so-conventient road, Wynken follows in first gear, keeping a respectful distance.

How many people saw it? It is enormous, it is impossible to miss, and certainly even at this time of the night, there are motorists and bikers about. Would any of them have had a good look at it? Would they have thought it was a bear? Looking at the thing now, Wynken is rather well-persuaded that no-one could mistake it for a bobcat …

Finally! The cat’s pace slows, and at last it makes for the edge of the road, seeking a nice clump of low bushes into which it crashes down. It creeps in slightly deeper, and then sags to the ground. Wynken waits a few minutes. The cat doesn’t move.

The next many minutes again pass as in a dream as Wynken takes on the monumental challenge of getting the sedated beast onto the trailer. Wynken is in good shape and on a good day can deadlift six hundred pounds, but man-handling a cat of eight hundred, all furry, and sagging uncooperatively in that semi-liquid state the body of a highly-relaxed cat assumes, is a different matter. Slinging ropes over tree limbs he creates makeshift pulleys, enabling him to hoist up the giant kitty, but still it would have been a more appropriate task for at least six people. But … somehow, he does it; somehow, at the end of the exertions, there the sabretooth lies, on the trailer, roped and chained and still fast asleep.

He’ll have to make sure to *keep* it sedated.

“Sleep well, my furry friend,” he says. “I’m taking you back to your daddy. He and I are going to have some serious words over you. None of this is your fault, and we’re going to do our best to find you a nice place to stay … but this place, I’m sad to say is not it.”

And so Wynken and his captive set off on the drive to the GenWhizz Corporation.

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 9

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

Arsenio found himself in the familiar confines of the china shop, yet it felt very unfamiliar. There was an elegant grandfather clock in one corner, ticking away. There were two long narrow islands stretching lengthwise across the room, separated by about four feet of floor space. The china that was for sale was not on shelves, but under glass. This seemed very 1950s.

Wait, maybe Arsenio himself was back in the 1950s. Yes, that was it! Here came N. Bull, a sixtyish man in a three-piece suit with a dark maroon tie, and a look of bemusement in his eyes. His shoes were always well-polished. Arsenio would not even been born yet, but he could see a thirtyish Aunt Aganista --how young she seemed, how beautiful and poised -- in the doorway. Wait, she was wearing formal clothing. Could it be that this was where she worked before she came to run the coffee shop at the bed and breakfast? Yes, now Arsenio remembered someone telling him that Agonista had moved to Hooevrville when she became engaged. Then the engagement was broken off. She probably stayed there and worked for Mr. Bull. But how would Arsenio know what the shop looked like then? And he'd only ever seen one photo of Mr. Bull.

The shop changed. Now Aunt Aganista was older, but impressively dressed as befit the new owner of the china shop. The center islands had vanished, replaced by shelving where the china could be displayed. Many patterns had changed. Arsenio was fmailiar with more of them -- Old Country Roses(1), Friendly Village (2), Autumn by Lenox(3), some early Mikasa and Noritake patterns. Arsenio liked to think that the best china would remain stylish for decades to come, but the sad truth was that a lot of patterns just fell through the cracks as styles changed. Sure, Old Country roses had been going strong since 1962, and Spode Christmas Tree since 1938, but thousands of patterns had come and gone in that time, many lasting less than ten years.

And now it was probably about 2,000. P. T. Sango's whimsical "Fantasia"(4) was on display. Roy Kirkham's Elegant English Rose(5) (introduced in 1992) was in full bloom. Villeroy & Boch's French Garden (6) was recently introduced, and well on its way to being a classic. Aganista still had her proud bearing and perfect posture, but more gray hairs showed, and she was slowing down. In those days, Arsenio had come out once or twice a week during his coffee shop's off season to run Aganista's shop so she could do errands or walk in the park that used to be where that new apartment building was now. Arsenio's own shop didn't even have to be open; there wouldn't be many customers anyway.

(1) http://www.royalalbert.com/old-country-roses-5-piece-place-setting
(2) http://www.replacements.com/webquote/jb_frv.htm
(3) http://www.macys.com/shop/product/lenox-autumn-collection?ID=41443
(4) http://www.ebay.com/b/pts-international-fantasia/bn_7024771078
(5) http://www.roykirkham.com/english-rose/
(6) http://www.villeroy-boch.com/shop/all-collections/french-garden.html?lang=en_US

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 10


Lola heard something. A sound coming from downstairs. A shuddering.
It makes her shudder in turn.
It is a bit chilly. She gets out of bed. The radiator is cold. She goes to the electric board. Sure enough, the heating turned itself off. She switches it back on, but it will take a few minutes for the house to get back to normal temperature.
A hot drink would be welcome. She heats up a mug of milk, and adds cocoa powder and sugar.
There it is again! What is it?
She takes her mug downstairs, switches on the lights and inspects the shop.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
No, wait. The plant. It looks different.
The leaves are all curled up. Maybe it's cold too. Or scared, being in an unfamiliar place.

Hey, plant, are you all right? Do you need something? I'll get you some water, maybe? Yes, your soil is a bit dry around the edges. Just wait a moment.

Lola goes to the sink and fills a glass. Then comes back and pours it at the plant's foot.

The leaves rustle. That's better.

I'll get you back home in the morning. I can't do it now, because Wilhelmina is asleep, but I'll get you back to her in a few hours. It's going to be fine, don't you worry.

The leaves rustle some more, and seem to relax.

I need to get some more sleep, myself, actually. Will you be okay for the next two hours or so?

* Rustle*

I'll take that as a yes. Try and get some rest, too. See you later, plant.


Lola heads back upstairs, mug of lukewarm chocolate still in hand. She drinks it and rinses the mug, before going back to the bedroom. It is warmer now.
Bed, blanket, light.
She closes her eyes and relaxes.

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 11

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Cassy woke up a while ago and emerged from her hideout place under the wooden deck in a stranger's garden. Since then she has wandered the streets of Hooverville. First she wandered around at the university grounds and found herself a student who was desperately trying to finish an essy he has to hand in at 9. She managed to get some pepperoni from his cold pizza and wished him good luck in return. She even let him pet her for a while.

Now, Cassy wanders down Main Street. She reaches the church and has a look around. She sniffs into a crack at the base where a mouse has a comfortable home. Then she chases a ghost around the church until it disappears through the wall.

She walks on, down Main Street until she reaches the River Pitare's Inn. The first humans show up in the street, doing whatever humans think is so important. She sits in the shadow of the entrane to the inn, watching the fisrst people enter Zuckerbaker's Doughnut Delite. Maybe she could get Wilhelmina to buy doughnuts one of these days?

In front of the No-Bull House, Cassy decides to have some fun, so she climbs the pickle yews and bats at the decorations. Fortunately they withstand this kind of quality control. While passing the bookshop she wonders if Wilhelmina will manage to finish reading that detective novel to her today. And then they will probably need a new book so they should visit Lola together. There is light on in there, should she have a look? But no, the door is closed. Cassy walks on.

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 12

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

FWR wins the Romance Award for today.

Caiman gets Special Fungal Mention.

Willem gets the Sleepy Kitty Award.

Paulh wins TMI Award for Most Gratuitous Information about China.

Superfrenchie wins the Fantasy Award for Plant Communication, And Tavaron gets Best Proxy Animal.

On to the big finish! Thank you all for hanging in there!

smiley - dragon

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 13

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[You can never have too much information smiley - tongueout]

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 14

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

[Oh, yes, you can.]

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 15

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[I was kidding. But in my experience it's been far worse when I had too little information. smiley - sadface]

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 16

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

[Sometimes too many facts get in the way of truth. smiley - hug]

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 17

FWR (under new management)

Told you it was a romcom! smiley - smooch

29 November: 4 am – 5 am (Second Day)

Post 18

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

It is true about the fungi...

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