A Conversation for 30 Hours in Hooverville: A Novel Experiment

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Time for the big finish!

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

It's 5 am and still dark, but Wlad doesn't care. He can't sleep, anyway. So he carries the pot of orange chrysanthemums he bought at ShopTilYouDrop (they're really very nice mums) and walks up his street in the direction of the First Church of Nighthoover. On the way, he stops to say hello to Mrs Martindale, who is an elderly widow. Mrs Martindale is always up early, and is filling the bird feeder on her porch.

'Hi, Wlad. I like your flowers.'

'Thanks, Mrs M. They're a gift for a friend. Let me help you with that.' He sets the mums on the porch and helps Mrs Martindale rehang her bird feeder. Then he goes in with her for a cup of tea.

Mrs Martindale points to the sofa with a smile. 'Look what a nice surprise I have today.' Wlad looks – and chuckles.


'They're adorable,' he says, bending over to stroke the striped fur. He gets mews of appreciation in return.

'Tubby had those kittens hidden somewhere, but nobody could find them,' she says. 'Probably in the back of the garden shed. But last night, when it got cool, I heard a noise at the back door. There she was, with a kitten in her mouth. Well, I opened the door and she brought it in. Then she went back for another one, until she had all three in here where it was warm.' She laughs. 'So I have company for the winter.'

Wlad agrees that this is, indeed, a nice surprise. He sits and chats over a cup of tea, then wishes Mrs M a pleasant day. He picks up his pot and walks on. It's still dark outside, and nothing much is stirring, not even a squirrel, chipmunk, or – as Zbig has told him recently, a weejack or fisher, the large native forest weasel that is recently making a comeback in the woods around Hooverville.

'Nature finds a way,' thinks Wlad, though for now all he hears of nature is the crunch of autumn leaves under his feet. He turns on 7th, right again on Main St past the church, where he spares a thought for peacefully-sleeping Sandy Beeches, up a block, and stops before the Nose'n'Book Used Book and Tchotchke Emporium. Which is closed, as expected. Somewhere upstairs, though, Lola Latour is sleeping, and she is the intended recipient of Wlad's pot of mums. He places the pot carefully on the stoop in front of the shop.

Attached to the longest flower stem is an envelope addressed to Lola. Inside is a card shaped like a butterfly. The butterfly is blue. Inside the card is the following text, painstakingly copied from Wlad's French literature book:

'C'était hier et c'est demain
Je n'ai plus que toi de chemin
J'ai mis mon cœur entre tes mains
Avec le tien comme il va l'amble
Tout ce qu'il a de temps humain...'

'I hope I've got this right,' he mutters. He hopes, too, that by leaving out the last line, he will come across as subtle and continental rather than crass, ignorant, and Pennsylvania Polish.

'I'd have felt better,' he thinks, 'if Chopinski had written something cool to Georges Sand. But he was a terrible letter writer, seriously. Oh, well, maybe she'll consider the source.'

And with that, he sits down on the bench that the borough has placed across from Lola's shop. The bench faces the street, not the shop, but that's okay, he can sit and think.

He's writing a song in his head as the street-sweeping machine hoovers past on its way to the town hall.

smiley - dragon

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 3

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

It was the present day. Arsenio was aware that he was dreaming about being in his own china shop. When he was younger, he might have imagined a china shop as a very confining and unimaginative place. But now he was seeing it in a different light. Here was the place where life at its best could be lived and appreciated. The people who came in didn't have to buy. It was perfectly all right
if they just looked. People came into museums to just look, didn't they? Arsenio didn't stock the most expensive patterns (who would have any use for them here in Hooverville?), but there were some dazzlingly fine patterns from which one could buy a dinner plate or a cup and saucer, for tea and a scone for one. An interesting recent trend had been the merging of fine art and chinaware. But maybe Arsenio had had enough of thinking about china patterns for one night.

But This sturdy, well-appointed shop had tradition on its side. It could evolve into a place for occasional entertainment, tea parties, and who knew what else? People going past on the street would look in the window and smile because they thought that here was where beauty lived. (Well *one* of the places where it lived; some of the upscale women's clothing and accessory stores had some claim to beauty.)

Yes, let's keep that thought alive, thought Arsenio. Beauty wasn't always practical; you could do without it if you had to, but what kind of world would you have if there was nowhere you could go to find it?

Arsenio smiled in his sleep. Aganista, where were you now? Were you watching over the place and smiling when you saw how I was running it? When I go to meet my maker, will I join you in your vigil, while one of Fuller's children will try their hand at running it? Yes, that was something to look forward to.

A strange poem worked its way through Arsenio's mind. He was pretty sure it was coming from someone else's mind, but who would bother to invade the complicated mess of notions and memories that lurked there? Were there spirits in the building after all?

The long-lived and the fleeting meet for moments few
As the delicate but sturdy cup accepts the caffeinated brew,
Then to the lips this blissful potion is lifted,
Thence to the stomach, where heav'n and earth are shifted.
The moment passes, but the mind creates a memory new.

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 4

FWR (under new management)

*Are you sure?* Old MacDonald asked, *It's a small town, nothing much ever happens here!*

I nodded and gratefully put my arms through the brand new cut. I looked over my shoulder at my new patch. Cuddles had done a good job.

A smiling, bandana wearing, skull, two tulips crossed behind it.

'Nice Pirates - Hooverville' on the rockers.

*One more thing?* Floppy, no, erm Fluffy, asked,*You need a road name, my friend.*

Over the clubhouse speakers, the Medium Leslie version of 'Please Come To Boston' played. Gentle sounds floating around, looking for a place to land.

Cal smiled at me, looking resplendent, (and sorry Cuddles, but bloody sexy), in her new leathers.

*How about 'Ramblin' Rhodes'?*

But that, my friends, was her first mistake….my ramblin' days are over!

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 5

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

A real dungeon. And it was my birthday only just yesterday!

Come on. It appears to go North.

A fork. Shall we go leftish or rightish? Left appears to have a red shimmer to it, right is blue...

We'll go left. I've always been more of a red person.

Here goes nothing...

Fred says in a definitely higher tone of voice: Hey what happened to you? And what happened to me?
Drat. Must be something like Bigby's gender bender. Should I call you Paul now! And what does that make me? Freddy?

Paul and Freddy sit down heavily to consider the consequences.

So what happened to first person narrative! Freddy exclaimed. I rather liked my first person. Anyway, who is doing the telling now?

That's probably a side effect of the spell, Paul grumbles.

Let's not dwell on what happened, sighs Freddy. Maybe we can find a solution further up this tunnel. It appears to widen.

After walking a considerable distance, generally in a Northerly direction, four slender, bare chested long haired persons, too grubby to be elves, drop in front of our unfortunate couple and draw their bows....

Within minutes, a large crowd gathers.

The four persons now draw their cellos as well and they start playing.


After the cloud of horse hair and flying sweat dies down, the guardians exclaim "Welcome to the hall of the mountain king, your majesties!" in a perfect chord, before leading Paul and Freddy through the ornate carved portal, into a vast hall, carved into the ground.

Pop! Exclaims Freddy. What are you doing here? Why are you wearing a crown?

Well... says Pop. Now you have come of age, it is time you took responsibility and get to know who and what you are.

Come of age? Mumbles Freddy. I am 55 already!

Just past adolescent, if you really want to know, whispers Mom.

You are a dwarf, royal too...

Yes I know, dwarves are taller than you expected. That is just folklore. And gender is optional too.

Do you want to be King or Queen? It's up to you to decide....

Our hall is located directly underneath Hooverville, ever since someone started trying to recreate dragons on our mountain.

I will show you the entrance from the fire station if you like. ... you just have to turn the sliding pole through ninety degrees to open the hidden door at the bottom.

But first we feast!

And thus we zoom out through the ground, to say goodbye to the still dark Town of Hooverville, that has been oblivious of their underground neighbours for ages. Whether they will find out someday? We may never know about that.

Anyway, let's feast.

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 6

SashaQ - happysad and 'slightly mad'

Sheriff Rowdybush wakes up at 5am after having slept very soundly for a couple of hours – so soundly, he didn't even dream of dreaming. He hugs the clump of blankets that he had been holding as he slept, but then realises he is thirsty.

He climbs out of bed and into his wheelchair and has a drink of milk in the kitchenette. As he drinks, he hears the early morning sounds of the town – the buses and delivery trucks, the street sweeper hoovering in the distance, and birds perched near street lights preparing for their dawn chorus.

When he has slaked his thirst, he puts his silk dressing gown on – the one Deanna gave him as a gift for their last Hoovermas together. He opens the curtains and sits by his apartment's full-length window, looking out on Liberty Street. As he sits, he reflects again about how lucky he is to be able to live and work in Hooverville.

He thinks of all the people he knows well. There's Fred Ireland, his fellow emergency responder, and Wynken de Woordesmyth the stalwart Park Ranger. There are all the people who run the shops and eating establishments that make Hooverville accessible and amenable – Wilhelmina Schreckengast and her fine sliders, coffee and waffles, Lola Latour with all the Tchotchkes and books the Sheriff could ever need, and Arsenio Philpotts with beautiful giftwares and encyclopaedic knowledge of China pottery. And there is the new Mayor, Hermione Schmidt, whom he has started to get to know better after the drama of the day before, but will be glad to work more closely with in future in less frantic circumstances. He has respect for the Nite Pirates and proprietors of the River Pirates Inn – Hooverville wouldn't be Hooverville without the sight and sound of them going about their business on their Harleys, etc. Then the Sheriff thinks of the First Church of Nighthoover, and of the organist Wladislaw Winzekowski. The musician may occasionally make 'spontaneous creative decisions', especially during nighttime organ practice, but (like with Arthur Rubinstein A73709067 ) as long as he starts well and finishes well, the Sheriff forgives him anything that happens in between because his ability to play keyboards with hands and feet is so fascinating to watch and listen to. And then there is the new Pastor of the Church – the Sheriff looks forward to meeting Sandy Beeches for the first time at the next Church Service, and the Midnight Nighthoovermass should be well worth attending this year, unlike the year when the old Pastor fell asleep during his own sermon.

As the time approaches 6am, the Sheriff debates whether to go back to bed to try to sleep some more or to get changed into his uniform. He decides on the latter, and gets ready to go out there and see what the new day brings.

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 7

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[smiley - applause for everyone.]

[Is Philpotts an anagram for Phittspol, e.g. Fits Paul?]

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 8

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

[It must be! smiley - biggrin And y'all are batting a thousand here.]

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 9

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[That's music to my ears, Dmitri. smiley - smiley I'm often worried that I haven't done my best. smiley - sadface It takes another person's take to settle my nerves]

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 10

FWR (under new management)

congrats all...maybe the next meet up should be in Hooverville?smiley - cheerssmiley - applausesmiley - birosmiley - cogssmiley - magic

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 11

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

[I would wait to reserve rooms at the local inns before we find out if that sabretoothed tiger has been moved somewhere safe. smiley - yikes]

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 12

Elektragheorgheni -Please read 'The Post'

Pastor Sandy Beeches, in his bathrobe, is yawning over a cup of coffee and working on Sunday's sermon. He has an appropriate text:

'Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?'

He writes notes.

We've all lost things. Small things, big things. Things you can hold, things you can't. What do you do when you lose something? You look for it. You pray that you will find it again.

Looking for lost things is a process. That's where Nighthoover comes in. Sometimes, you need the help of the divine machinery to sift through the mess. The Hoover helps, but you have to put in the work.

You have to trust that the work will be worth it. Finding what is lost takes time.

'Oh,' he thinks. 'And you have to remember to light the candle.'

He's low on coffee. He remembers to add that to his shopping list for later.

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 13


The sound of the first bus wakes Lola from a dreamless sleep. She feels great, even though it is much earlier than her usual waking time. She is hungry. She could swallow half a dozen doughnuts.
Zuckerbaker's Doughnut Delite opens even earlier, so she thinks she'll jump into her trousers and go there for breakfast and a hot drink.
She has a quick shower and washes her hair (the kitty face-off last night took its toll).
She wants the great feeling to last, so she picks out her favourite blouse to go with her new jeans. It's a black shirt with a pattern of orange chrysanthemums. She looks into the mirror. She likes what she sees.
Handbag, shoes, phone, keys. All set.

She goes downstairs. She'll pop into Wilhelmina's after breakfast, to give her plant back.

She opens her door. There is something blocking her way out. It looks like her blouse. It is a gorgeous orange potted chrysanthemum. Except her blouse doesn't have a butterfly card.

'C'était hier et c'est demain
Je n'ai plus que toi de chemin
J'ai mis mon cœur entre tes mains
Avec le tien comme il va l'amble
Tout ce qu'il a de temps humain...'

A secret admirer! And poetry-savvy, too!
Oh dust! She hopes it's not the guy from the pet store again...

Someone is sitting on the bench.
Could it be...?
She needs to be subtle about it, in case it's a coincidence.

- Oh hi Wlad! How are you on this fine morning? I was thinking we could watch a movie one of these days. Ever seen Le Quai des Brumes? It's a French movie with Jean Gabin and Michele Morgan.
- ... You look lovely, Lola.
- Wlad... Will you be my Jean Gabin?
- Only if you'll be my Michele.

They sit looking at each other for a while, then head to Zuckerbaker's for two dozen doughnuts and two hot drinks, but not before having played out the movie scene...


30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 14

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Wilhelmina wakes up again when she hears a noise at the window. She takes a short look at her alarm clock. So late already? She only has a short time until she has to get up and she doesn't feel rested at all. She sighs, gets out of the bed and opens the window just a bit. She shivers in the chilly air that comes inside. Cassy jumps in and Wilhelmina quickly closes the window again. She yawns and sleepily hobbles out of the bedroom and to the kitchen, where she fills a bowl with cat food and another with milk.

'What a terrible night. I'll have to have a nap in the afternoon.'

Cassy thinks humans in general don't have enough naps. That can't be healthy.

'And I'll have to find my plant again.'

Wilhelmina yawns and returns to her bed. She lies back down and Cassy joins her after a few minutes.

'At least nothing happened to you. I was afraid the sabretooth finds you.'

Cassy purrs and lets Wilhelmina pet her until she falls asleep again. But far too soon Wilhelmina's alarm goes off. She hits the snooze button twice before she turns on the light.

'Well, I guess it can't be helped. It's time to get up.'

She sits up, stretches and winces. Then Wilhelmina goes to the kitchen to make coffee. She takes a look out of the window, over to the Town Hall, but everything seems to be alright.

'I hope today will be a bit more quiet than yesterday.' Wilhelmina nods to herself 'Quiet is good. I wonder if the sheriff already found out who set the Lady of Justice on fire. Maybe I should go to the china shop because of that cookie plate. On the other hand... maybe better not. Hoover knows what is going on in that house at night.'

And with this Wilhelmina hobbles off to the bathroom to get ready for work.

Cassy meanwhile jumps up on the window sill and looks outside. In her head she sings a song about memories and a new dawn.

And a new day will begin.

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 15

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

And...that's a wrap! smiley - hug

Throwing over all the cards here, the Moderator declares everybody the winner of everything: romantic finishes, great summaries, wonderful ambience, and awe-inspiring genre-bending!

You people are rare geniuses. Now, if we can only sell the movie rights, we might be able to buy an upgrade on our software... smiley - winkeye

Tick, tick, tock, goes the Hooverville clock, but alas, we will not be there. Life goes on.

Maybe next year, we'll visit somewhere even stranger...

Thank you all for a pleasurable month of reading and writing!

smiley - dragon

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 16

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Thanks a lot to everyone! (hug) This was lots of fun.

I never thought I'd manage to miss only one day! smiley - laugh

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 17

FWR (under new management)

Thank you DG for organising and prompting us. Well done allsmiley - applause

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 18

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

I really liked that. Now we have to start coping with the daily black hole that was caused by "the end"

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 19

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

smiley - rofl Write short stories for the Post.

30 November: 5 am – 6 am (Second Day)

Post 20

FWR (under new management)

Within about an hour of the end!

Next year.....30 hours on a train, 30 hours stuck in an elevator, 30 hours travelling the underworld, 30 hours - a brief tour of the Omniverse, return to Hooverville the next 30 hours?

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