Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Confessions of an Elitist Snob

Part of the permanent divide my wife and I are constantly working to overcome is my extremely bad attitude concerning the little berg we find ourselves living in. 

For her it is a pleasant, but traffic congested, suburban community offering good schools and a middle class lifestyle. My wife sees the people here in a much more appreciative light since she runs with far more educated and accepting crowd, although most of them are transplants like us.  

For me this tiny piece of incorporated real estate is a lowbrow and inbred little village with its numerous subdivisions and supporting national retail chains taking on the characteristics of malignant cancerous tumor. Traffic for most of the daylight hours is literally an utter nightmare to the point it is easier to drive across the neighboring “big city” of Columbia during its morning and evening rush hours.

As far as the people are concerned, while in no way could I seriously claim to be an expert on any subject I have never met a similar collection of individuals for whom their minds are already made up on all possible subjects both great and small. Besides being xenophobic to newcomers, any differentiation or dissension on the accepted community mindset is akin to religious heresy or traitorous behavior. And that is the people for whom a semi-rational discussion is possible for at least a few minutes. For the sake of not going completely over the top myself, I will not describe those for whom secession, the justification of slavery, and the earth being just several thousand years old are subjects for small talk.

Of course, there are some good points to this area, Riverbanks Zoo for one, and despite the ever present conservative hive mind I have met some truly great and interesting people here. However, the number of these people are no where near sufficient for me to consider living out my golden years here but enough to prevent me from coming to believe I have fallen down some rabbit hole to a right-wing Wonderland.

My wife calls me a snob for having this attitude and points out my hometown, Georgetown, South Carolina is very much like the place we live now. Am I a snob? Quite possibly and yes, my beloved hometown was never a bastion of sophistication and higher learning. The one major difference being that my hometown has a far more welcoming attitude to both newcomers and visitors. 

If I have to list one example as to why I feel this way about where I live now it involves the conversation I overheard one night while making a run to the grocery store. As I searched the aisles for some obscure ingredient for one of my wife’s experimental gourmet dishes two high school boys were busy stocking shelves and complaining to each other about their nasty English teacher.

Both of those young boys were highly pissed because their teacher had dared to give them both failing grades on some assignment. Because of the failing grade they were being forced to work on a makeup project that was cutting into their hours at the grocery store.

“Why do we even need to know how to write?” I heard one boy ask the other while standing a few feet away looking for the item my wife wanted. More than slightly dumbfounded at the question I left that grocery store saying a small prayer that my own children would never fall to such a level. I wish that was an isolated incident but over the years I have heard and observed many examples of how the locals go excessively defensive at anything that threatens their simplistic mindset.

Well, there is some evidence that for whatever reason my son, Darth Spoilboy, will escape the idiotic and closed mindset of this area. We just received the results of his SAT exam and my boy scored 1360, enough to have college prospects at such places as Clemson here in South Carolina, the University of North Carolina, and my wife’s alma mater, the University of Virginia.

Needless to say, since in all honesty my wife is a brilliant woman I am pushing the boy towards Virginia, although no one dare tell her that. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Brother From Another Mother

At one time I was filled with a fiery outrage at the all the incredibly stupid people in power running around determining the fate of humanity. Filled with a righteous anger I would post incredibly vicious rants attacking the idiots intent on sending us all to hell or extinction, which to me is the same thing. I was always aware that my tidbits of verbal offal were empty fits whose effects on the greater stage the human comedy was performed were sub-nanoscopic blips in a world where those with money play insane puppet-masters controlling what is said and heard.

Eventually my outrage played out leaving me to daydream of warp drive starships and extremely sudden evolutionary jumps where a new species of humans realize the games being played with our future and the planet and who send our shadowy masters to some cold and desolate asteroid. Even better a certain scene from the Batman movie "The Dark Knight" still comes to mind where the diabolical Joker breaks a pool stick in two and tells two defeated crime lords to fight it out with the winner allowed to live. For my own personal mental entertainment I often envision Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity playing the role of those defeated crime lords. Yeah, my mental state is not quite right but I have to ask the question "Why so serious?"

Be that as it may rational behavior, while being slightly boring, is my usual frame of mind no matter what my wife and certain other family members might say. Because of that and a certain exhaustion in dealing with idiots I have to search for others who still have that fire in the belly. Today as I was wasting valuable time surfing the internet I stopped to read the latest post published by my friend, Life As I Know it Now, and found a brother from another mother.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Remittance Man

 (February 17, 2013 Author's note: This is essentially version 2.5 of this story. Any comments would be appreciated.)

Dressed in a long trench coat and wearing a fedora Michael Cook appeared out of the morning mist as if he was some sad ghost forever trapped in the earthly realm. The early morning rush of people heading off to work had long ended leaving the restaurants and small cafes he passed nearly devoid of customers. He ignored the warm and cozy empty tables he saw through the windows and settled on a Starbucks coffee house taking a seat among the old wrought iron tables on its deserted patio.

For Michael, a man of prestige and power, waiting was a strange sensation. He was use to having people either quickly fawn over him wanting to meet his every whim or cringe in fear over the possibility of his disapproval. Twenty minutes passed before the small Starbuck’s staff inside noticed him sitting on the patio and another ten went by before a server decided to go outside to see if he was okay.

“Sir,” she said bending over slightly to catch his attention, “this time of the year the patio is closed, please feel free to come inside, if you want.”

“I’m fine right here.” He declared, barely acknowledging the young woman’s presence. “Large coffee, black and no sugar,” he added in spite of what he had just been told instinctively knowing his order will be filled with the same certainty someone knows the sun will always rise in the morning.

For reasons she could not really explain the server walks back inside and fills the eccentric man’s order telling her coworkers about the strange encounter. The consensus that quickly emerged was that he was some sort of visiting professor at the nearby College of William and Mary, they were generally a surly and introspective lot and this guy fit that description. By mutual agreement, they decided that if he wanted anything else he could come inside.

The server returns a few minutes later with Michael’s coffee, not wanting to disturb the old man sensing he might he might be far more trouble than he was worth she silently places the insulated container on the table. He in turn hands her a fifty-dollar bill without looking at her. “Keep the change,” he says absently.

As the young woman walks away happy with the large tip, Michael carefully picked up the steamy container concentrating very hard to stop his hands from shaking. When his control returns he takes a small sip feeling pride in momentarily overcoming the disease that was not so slowly robbing him of his dignity and the ability to control his environment. Turning slightly in his chair he watched the server walk back inside realizing she was quite the attractive woman. His observation had nothing to do with any possible sexual interest in her. She was far too young and he was too old for that. It was the unemotional observation of a man who had long out lived any ability or desire to woo or seduce a beautiful woman despite many memories of doing just that, a habit that ultimately cost far more than it was worth.

As she disappeared behind the closing ornate wood and glass door of the Starbuck coffee house Michael was alone again looking out at the deserted street. In one direction lay the campus of the College of William and Mary and the other way lead to the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg. Gray November skies and a persistent cold drizzle were keeping what students who had not gone home for Thanksgiving and the scattered tourists who came to see the nearby historic district dry and warm inside their dorms and hotel rooms.

As Michael sat on the patio absorbed in the isolation and silence, he watched as a sudden gust of wind stirred up the leaves scattered about the curb and street. The blast of air was strong enough to pick them up and cause them to swirl about almost as if they were dancing until the energy played out leaving them again strewn on the ground in a new location further down the street. Michael ignored the thoughts of futility and decay that wanted to invade his mind and he forced himself to remember a happier time, which was the reason he was there to begin with.

This bright and happy time had him sitting in the exact same location on the patio. Except that it was a warm spring afternoon many years before and the building now housing a national coffee franchise was a simple diner serving lunch. Beside Michael was his wife, Alison, and across from them sat Thomas, their seven-year old son. Thomas had wanted to go to Disney World but Michael’s demanding work schedule and Alison’s church and social activities did not allow the long and time consuming trip to Florida. Instead, the family drove down from Richmond to Williamsburg, Virginia to enjoy the historical site and so Michael could take care of some business.

Despite the disappointment to Thomas, the boy was all smiles. It was clear to both his parents he was enjoying the rare occasion of having their undivided attention. Later that day the family walked among the colonial houses watching the reenactors playing out the 18th century roles. As evening approached they strolled among the wooded paths before going back to their hotel. That night as both his parents tucked him in bed he told them this day had been the happiest in his life.

Those memories of warm sunshine and having his family close were the most important possessions Michael had now that everything else he had once considered important had left him or faded away as the years passed by.

“After all these years I suppose this had to happen eventually.” A voice from Michael’s past said coldly, pulling him out of his recollections. The face of the person now standing in front of him had a vague resemblance to someone he once knew but the tenderness and empathy associated with it was completely absent. What he now saw was disdain and vaguely hid contempt.

“Hello Alison,” Michael said after taking a deep breath to steady his nerves, “Where’s Davis? I didn’t think you two ever went anywhere without the other.”

“Davis past away three years ago Michael,” Alison said matter-of-factly.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” Michael said formally, “he was a good man.” To Michael the words burnt like acid as they rolled off his tongue. It went unsaid but he was actually happy to learn the man was dead and hoped he burned in Hell.

Alison said nothing in return; she only pulled one of the matching wrought iron chairs away from the table and sat down.

“This is quite the special event, please, do sit down and join me,” Michael said sarcastically, “we have years of catching up to do.”

“Keep your snarky comments to yourself Michael, nothing has changed since the divorce. For Tommy’s sake, all I ever wanted to know about you since then was that you were still breathing. You abandoned Tommy and me long before any formal legal document stated that fact.”

Michael laughed. “I left you? If I remember correctly, your lifestyle and social obligations required a lot of money, for that reason alone it became essential that I work extra long hours. No, my sweets, it was you that left Tommy and me, you may want to ignore this fact and play the victim, but both of us know Tommy was closer to his nanny than you.”

“Is that how you rationalize your multiple infidelities?” Alison asked as if an important piece of a long abandoned puzzle had mysteriously appeared revealing a lost secret.

“Please Alison, there is enough blame to go around for the both of us, including that bastard you married after me. I’m here just to think of happier times.”

“Why do you think I am here as well?” Alison almost whispered. “We had something special at one time.”

“No,” Michael said putting down the container of coffee and shoving his hands in his coat pockets to hide the shaking he was now unable to control. “We were not special, in fact you and I were just run of the mill individuals that became self absorbed assholes because of our successes. Tommy was the only thing special about us and your husband ruined that.”

“If you insist on blaming Davis,” Alison said, “I’m going leave, Tommy followed in his footsteps because you were never around.”

Visions of Tommy’s graduation from West Point ran through Michael’s mind. His life after the divorce had been one meaningless relationship after the other. The money and power of being a high-paid and sought after attorney had made his life easy and free from worry. During his carefree days Michael just assumed he would reconnect with Tommy when he was older and that his son would follow in his footsteps and become an attorney. Instead, Tommy became a soldier like his stepfather.

“Yeah, I think it's best we both leave.” Michael said standing up, “I feel the urge to strangle you right now.”

Alison got up as well and began quickly walking in the other direction without saying anything else. A few seconds later Michael turned around to have one last look at the small patio table and imagine his young son still sitting there. A short distance away, he saw Alison had stopped as well and was looking back towards the patio obviously remembering that same happy moment in time.

“Tommy would have been thirty-years old today.” They both said to themselves and each other.

Rage and despair filled Michael's mind at the thought of how much he had lost, so much that inside the pockets of his coat his hands were clinched into fists. In the fingers of his left hand he felt the letter he had received from Alison stating their son had died in Iraq. He had been on a south Pacific pleasure cruise with clients when Tommy was killed and did not learn about the event until he returned home two weeks later. Not wanting to give Alison the satisfaction of seeing him totally defeated he turned and walked away, this time his hands were shaking for a completely different reason.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Southern Fried Cinderella-Parts 1, 2, and 3

 This is the complete saga of the exotic dancer and luckless Southern belle Trixie Duval which I started back in November. The origin of this story can be found at "A Southern Fried  Fairy Tale."

Trixie Anna Belle Duval reclined in an old lounge chair beside the small pool of the Happy Traveler Inn stuck in the middle of nowhere north of Charlotte, North Carolina contemplating the utter tragedy of her life. Two years earlier her situation seemed so much brighter, Trixie had become the senior exotic dancer at the Big Booty Social Club in Watertown, South Carolina earning standing ovations from her adoring fans each night along with wads of cash stuffed in her G-string. During that happy period of her life, she remembered fondly how three important pillars of the Watertown County community each competed to make her their mistress. 

The richest was a county judge who also owned a funeral home franchise with locations all through South Carolina. Another was a state senator and Klan member with aspirations for national office. The last was the senior preacher from the Watertown Baptist Mega-church who told Trixie each night they were together that he prayed she would find Christ. Each man would secretly take tables in dark corners in the club and lust after her as she danced on stage. During her breaks, they would send her bouquets of roses, bottles of expensive perfumes, and other gifts along with little notes promising eternal devotion and that she would be taken care of for the rest of her life.

Hindsight being what it is Trixie figured now she could have taken each of the self-important twits for the ride of their lives while sucking them dry. The scope of her mistake was only made worse at that very moment by the irritating kids in the pool splashing water on her day-glow pink bikini and their fat and balding dad who was ceaselessly leering at her from the other side ignoring his equally fat wife sitting beside him.          

Unfortunately, her current manager and lover Thad Lovelace entered her life during this period of sudden success and filled her head with dreams of performing in such sophisticated places like Atlanta, Dallas, and eventually the center of the universe for all exotic dancers, Las Vegas. Had Trixie ever turned the television away from the reality shows she loved and to one of the classic movie channels she would have realized that Thad was deliberating cultivating an appearance just like that of the British actor, David Niven complete with a clearly fake accent.

The only strange thing about him she did notice was his strange obsession with 1970's leisure suits which he insisted on wearing in public. He believed they were on the verge of coming back in style and that when this event occurred he would be recognized nationally as a male fashion authority. For Trixie, it was a small eccentricity when compared to his smooth, sliver tongued voice and talented ability in bed.

Even though Trixie was never one for prolonged deep introspection and self-examination, she at least realized the seeds for her current downfall were sown as her career began its rapid ascent. A few weeks after meeting Thad and agreeing for him to be her manger her boyfriend at the time, a near moronic redneck named Billy Wainwright, discovered her infidelity and beat the hell out of Thad in front of the Big Booty Social Club. The police quickly stopped the altercation and dragged Billy away with Thad sneering as Trixie tenderly nursed his wounds but the last laugh belonged to her old boyfriend.

That very night after Billy was bailed out by his cousin he bought a scratch-off lottery ticket that hit big on the order of five-million dollars. What happened after that was a meteoric rise with Billy being introduced to all the right people who liked what they saw and carefully groomed him for even more incredible things. A careful shuffling of paperwork eliminated the worst aspects of Billy Wainwright’s life and the creation of other documents manufactured a far more favorable past.  It all culminated with Billy’s marriage to a Charleston debutant who could trace her linage to colonial times then his election to the governorship of South Carolina earlier in November.

During the period after her breakup Thad had kept his promise and got her gigs in several exotic dancing clubs in both Greenville and Spartanburg and entered into negotiations with scouts from some of the larger strip joints in Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida. It all ended when news of Billy’s election finally filtered down to Thad who promptly began believing the governor-elect was sending state law enforcement officers to shadow him for the ultimate purpose of revenge.

Thad’s response after a few days of paranoia was to throw everything they owned into their minivan and flee South Carolina forcing Trixie into the uncomfortable position of leaving with him and seeing her future success slip away or be marooned in the Upstate of South Carolina. A place she felt was even more uncouth and backward than Watertown back on the coast. That began a long and chaotic odyssey as Thad did his best to slip away from the evil forces of Governor Wainwright.

This resulted in six months of ceaseless traveling for the wayward couple with their ultimate destination the Happy Traveler Inn where Thad promised they would stop and plan their next move. Much to Trixie’s surprise the next morning Thad abandoned her leaving only a note saying he was sorry but that he could move faster by himself. Thad promised to call once he arrived in Jacksonville, Florida where he hoped to get her a gig at a club there but it might be a long time since he was going to circumnavigate around South Carolina by traveling deeper into western North Carolina and then south through Georgia. Three weeks later Trixie found herself completely broke and having to clean rooms for the motel management to keep a place to stay and have little money to buy food.

When she was not handling dirty sheets and cleaning toilets one of the things Trixie did to pass the time was to drift down to the small motel pool and dream of ways of skinning Thad Lovelace alive if he dared to show his face in front of her again. The other was to do her best to ignore the dried prune that ran the motel and her two daughters. Seeing the old prune approaching the pool Trixie steadied herself for the coming encounter.

The current manager of the Happy Traveler Inn was a woman by the name of Nina Pepper who Trixie believed possessed a disposition comparable to that of a deranged pit bull crossed with an old disgruntled hen. To her, everyone in the world she had to interact with from her employees to the paying guests all suffered from some fatal character flaw. What mystified her most was the fact no one welcomed her friendly advice at correcting such blatant inadequacies which almost always revolved around the regular use of enemas and watching Dr. Phil who she believed was Jesus Christ just waiting for the right time to reveal his second coming. 

“Ms. Duval,” Nina said while leaning on the wrought iron fence surrounding the pool, “I’m going to need you to sit at the front desk this afternoon while Angel and Cynthia go into Charlotte to do some shopping. They will be attending a party tonight after the monster truck rally and want to look nice.”

Trixie could not help herself but snicker at the thought of her two shrieking wraiths running through some store trying on clothes. “Mrs. Pepper, I had no idea a monster truck rally was such a formal affair. Wouldn’t they be better served just to wear their usual slutty attire?”

This did not faze Nina Pepper in the least, “Ms, Duval be at the front desk by one o’clock or I will call the sheriff and have you forcibly removed. Your services here are far from vital to the operation of my business. ” She said with her voice dripping with disdain before then turning and waking back to the motel lobby.


Just to tick off Nina Pepper, Trixie was fifteen minutes late for her shift at the front desk. Walking into the lobby both Nina’s daughters, Angel and Cynthia, were sitting on one of the old couches looking at fashion magazines. Nina herself was behind the desk going over the expenses with Mr. Pepper, her husband and strangely enough a nice man despite being married to such an awful woman. Mr Pepper was confined to a wheel chair after suffering two heart attacks and a stroke, surprising only in the fact that any normal person who was forced to live with such a woman would have surely long died from despair or suicide. It was he who had taken pity on Trixie after Thad left her high and dry offering her a room and small salary for working at the motel. Trixie stood at the front desk for several minutes watching Nina harass Mr. Pepper over the motel finances coming to the conclusion that Nina would have made and excellent Nazi.

“Well Ms. Duval, how nice for you to finally show up." Nina said after she paused her mental torture of her husband long enough to look up. "Now please honor our arrangement and stay alert while representing the motel and what is the only home you have at the moment. At least you dressed respectable for your assignment.”

“So you like my sundress,” Trixie said as she twirled around satisfied with herself in choosing it sense her normal working attire was nothing but a sparkly g-string. The dress was the last item of clothes she bought before Thad had become obsessed with possible sinister forces out to get him. Trixie actually liked the flowery pattern and that it was loose allowing her to her almost naked despite the fact it exposed nothing in the way of skin. 

“My dear,” Mr. Pepper said in wide-eyed admiration, “you look absolutely delectable. If I was thirty years younger I’d chase you around this room.”

“Come now Howard,” Nina said disapprovingly, “if you get too excited you will get sick again and I will have to give you an enema for your own good.” Mr. Pepper promptly went silent while Nina watched over him disappointed she could not apply her favorite medical remedy.

Both Angel and Cynthia soon began clamoring to depart for their shopping trip and after a brief lecture on proper motel etiquette from Nina, the three were soon heading south towards Charlotte leaving Trixie at the desk and Mr. Pepper in the adjoining office watching television. Content to have Nina and her irksome daughters gone Trixie pulled out a magazine and began reading hoping for a quiet afternoon.

An hour later all that changed when the phone rang with someone on the other end demanding to talk with a representative of the motel management. Trixie transferred the call over to a sleepy Mr. Pepper who went straight into a panic.

“What do you mean you never received the check?” he asked going from a sweet old guy into a outraged business owner. “What a minute, let me check,” he said a second later with Trixie hearing the sounds of the old man rummaging through a desk covered with papers. “Son of a bitch, my step-daughter’s didn’t mail the payment!”Mr. Pepper exclaimed to the person on the phone with Trixie turning to see him clutching an envelope. “Yes, I understand you need the money in your hand by close of business today.” He further said to the person on the phone then hung up.

As Mr. Pepper rolled himself out to Trixie, she could see the old man was very upset. “Sweetie,” he said, “I have a very critical errand for you to run to the main bank in Charlotte.”


About the same time Trixie was receiving her instructions from her boss, Clyde Dwayne Cooper looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror of his mobile home and steeled himself for the battle he would face in a few hours. Instead of seeing an overweight and flabby man in his early 40’s with greasy blonde hair laying limply around his shoulders he saw himself as a southern Adonis with the muscular build of an ancient Norse warrior.

Reality was already a mental causality of war for Clyde because there was no room for fear or doubt in his mind because God himself wanted him to raise the clarion call for a crusade to save America. It had all come to him in a dream the night after the evil heathen was reelected president of the United States. For Clyde the whole plan was beautiful in its simplicity, the first step was to rob one of the big Charlotte banks to gain funds but more importantly notoriety for his cause of liberation. He already had a manifesto published on the internet but unfortunately, it’s only responses had come from several Nigerian businessmen asking for his bank account number so they could covertly transfer their money out of that country promising to handsomely reward him afterwards for his services.

Clyde was sure once he had successfully robbed his first bank and left printed copies of his book scattered about people hungry for freedom would rally to his cause. The next step after that was to purchase more weapons and link up with his growing number of followers.

For any objective observer of Clyde’s mental state it would have been obvious that the man suffered from a series of delusions. The first being how he visualized himself in appearance. Clyde believed he was a born military and political leader and over the course of several years had convinced himself that he was a direct descendant of both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Truth be told in reality the year the Civil War began one of his ancestors was hanged for being a horse thief and another was committed to an insane asylum after contracting syphilis years earlier.

Finally ready to accept the leadership role Fate was thrusting upon him he donned his black field jacket, gathered his two assault rifles and assorted handguns, and loaded everything into his car. As he drove off he finally came up with a proper symbol for what he thought would be his growing insurgence, a lone wolf ready to battle the evil socialistic forces of the world.

Trixie pulled into the dimly lit parking garage of the First People’s Bank of North Carolina searching for a parking space big enough for the old van that served as the motel’s limousine. Her boss, Mr. Pepper, had promised her an easy five-hundred dollars if she got the motel mortgage payment to the bank on time and got back before his wife returned. Despite the fact that it was one of his stepdaughters who had forgotten to mail off the payment, the old man knew his wife would blame him for the oversight and spend several days after that shoving enemas up his butt in a very misguided effort to fix his memory. 

Since having been marooned at the seedy motel for far too long Trixie understood all too well Nina Pepper’s views on keeping her family physically and mentally healthy revolved exclusively around how clean their bowels were at any given time.  But the main reason Trixie was eager to accomplish this errand on time had to do with the five-hundred dollars Mr. Pepper promised her would go a long way to getting her the Hell away from the awful place and the semi-psychotic Nina Pepper.

After finding a parking spot, Trixie jumped out and rushed towards the main entrance. Had Trixie been paying attention she would have noticed the late 1970’s Cadillac Fleetwood painted in woodland camouflaged pattern taking up two parking spots as she walked towards the entrance to the bank. Being a South Carolina country girl, she was oblivious to the bizarre looking sight because crappy cars and trucks painted in some type of camouflage pattern were a normal occurrence where she grew up. So were the collection of neatly placed bumper stickers adoring the rear of the vehicle proclaiming the imminent second coming of Jesus, the threat posed by Mexican anchor babies, and the ubiquitous “You’ll get my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.”   

At that moment Clyde was sitting inside the Cadillac cursing himself for forgetting his black ski mask he was going to wear during the bank robbery to hide his identity. For him the indecision about whether to proceed or abandoned the attempt was a moment of uncertainty that did not fit at all with his view of himself or the divinely inspired destiny he believed Jesus intended for him. After listening to several inspirational songs by his hero Ted Nugent, Clyde figured the forces of evil socialism wait for no man, he took several deep breaths and got out of his car to meet his destiny. Making sure no one was around in the parking garage at that moment; he walked to the trunk, opened it still making sure he was alone, and began loading his weapons into the pockets of his black field jacket. With that done, Clyde slammed it shut and walked off to begin his crusade with a certainty of purpose only the maniacal could understand.


Wendell Pinkerton the Fourth stood at the railing of the second story mezzanine and looked down at all the people coming and going from the new and ultra modern main branch of his bank. Standing there in his five-thousand dollar suit Wendell basked in the warm feeling that permeated his body from both the light of the afternoon sun streaming into the high plate glass windows making up the outer walls of the building and the fact that everyone he saw in his bank were directly or indirectly making him money.

In truth, Wendell’s sentiment came more from the latter instead of the former because for the entire fifty-four years of his life he did not see other people as individuals with their own dreams and concerns but as accounts with their ultimate worth based how much money was in them. It was not his fault really, every male member of his family going all the way back to his great-grandfather had been bankers raised to have only one real passion in life and that was to make more money by all means possible. His family’s nearly century long single-minded approach to life did have its benefits. It allowed the Pinkerton family to relax after a long day by lying naked in an empty bathtub as workers sworn to secrecy poured gold coins, warmed in a specially designed oven, over their bodies.

Such a love of money did have one major drawback though. It fostered a religious-like fear among Wendell and his kin that someone or something might take it away or at least endanger it. For that reason, Wendell had his new main branch constructed with special features to prevent that from every happening. While the huge plate glass windows separating the outside world with all the takers and assorted undisciplined riff-raff gave the first floor lobby an open and safe feel, nothing less than attackers using rocket-propelled grenades would even scratch them.

Add to that the minute the bank was threatened in some fashion not only would all the doors automatically lock but massive, stainless-steel fencing mounted on the inside walls above the windows would quickly unroll and slam down creating yet another barrier. The last feature had more to do with the Pinkerton’s fear of too many people withdrawing their money too fast. It was those and other security features that allowed Wendell to feel he and his money were so secure in his new, high-tech fortress that he only had one security guard on site so he could save on paying another person the required minimum wage salary, a terrible, government-induced burden that bothered him to no end.


Trixie rushed into the main lobby stopping only long enough at the information desk to get directions to the account managers department so she could drop off the motel mortgage payment for her boss. “Excuse me,” she said to the lady sitting behind a computer secretly browsing internet job sites hoping to find some job that would pay her enough so retirement could at least be a remotely possibility. “I need to find Mr. Don Blake very quickly, it's vital I drop off a mortgage payment to him.”

“Oh sweetie,” the lady said, “Don and most of the other loan managers are already gone for the day but there is one person left.” The women stood up and pointed to the far end of the bank where a line of people could be seen standing in front of a small cubicle. “See those people, go get in that line and Ms. Sharp will be able to help you.

The line consisted of about twenty people forcing Trixie to make a mental calculation on how long it would take to make it to this Ms. Sharp. From what she could figure, the situation did not look good for getting her money or for Mr. Pepper’s butt. With no other option, she walked over to the line and began waiting but not before passing the bank’s one security guard, a failed actor who was carrying on a conversation with the empty chair beside him about how he was convinced that in another reality he had hit the big time.


Just minutes after Trixie joined the line in front of the one remaining load manager’s office Clyde Dwayne Cooper walked through the same entrance she had trying to slam the door to produce a dramatic effect to bring attention to himself. After three tries, Clyde finally realized the automatic mechanism mounted above the door prevented that from happening and as he turned around after giving up, he saw several nearby customers looking at him as if he was crazy.

With Clyde feeling both his manhood and steely resolve being tested, he did the one thing that comes to mind with such people. He reached inside his jacket and grabbed the pistol grips of his two Bushmaster assault rifles hanging from shoulder slings, raised the weapons in the air and began firing off rounds from the thirty round magazines.

Through the immediate and intense screams of terror and panic of the customers after Clyde fired the rounds from the assault weapons he tried to yell out the speech he prepared for this event. “In the name of all that is holy and good you are all now prisoners of war! Cooperate and you will be safe, ignore this holy crusade to free the United States of the evil socialistic minions out to turn every good person away from God at your own peril. Be advised you are either with me or against me! ”

Whether or not anyone heard Clyde’s proclamation was uncertain, what was undeniable though, was that Wendell Pinkerton’s high-tech security system went into affect just seconds after the nearest teller hit the panic button. Magnetic locks on the entire bank’s door were activated along with the stainless steel fence mounted above the front windows slamming down. The secondary events were an automatic call to the Charlotte police and Wendell Pinkerton slipping into his specially prepared panic room complete with a small electrically heated foot tub filled silver coins. Not as good as his large tub and gold bullion back at his estate but even Wendell knew that in tough times, sacrifices had to be made.

After Clyde fired off his initial shots, everyone including Trixie fell to the floor. The only exceptions being the bank’s lone security guard and one customer named Carl Norris who not unlike Clyde himself, a man who believed one individual with a weapon could make a difference and be a hero. The problem with that assumption was that both the security guard and Mr. Norris lacked any real training in dealing with bank robberies or crazed individuals with loaded assault rifles. As the security guard and Mr. Norris drew their weapons and approached Clyde, who had moved to the center of the lobby, the two would be heroes became confused on the actual tactical situation.

The security guard assumed Mr. Norris was one of the robbers, pulled his pistol and fired hitting him in the right leg and shoulder. Clyde, needless to say being very nervous, then pointed and fired a couple of rounds at the security guard/former actor just as he was saying the catch phrase of “Go ahead punk, make my day”, something that had been sticking in the security guard’s head for years with him just waiting for the chance to use it professionally. The result was the security guard hit in the chest several times with those nearby hearing him uttering the line, “A man’s got to know his limitations” as he lay on the floor dying.

As both the security guard and Mr. Norris lay on the floor bleeding the bank became deathly quiet. This allowed Clyde to walk over to the tellers, his plan was to force them to hand over oodles of money but it was then he realized certain issues with his plan was making that increasingly difficult. The first being that bulletproof glass shields had descended from the ceiling encasing the tellers in safety. Not only were they now ignoring Clyde some had even gone to the extreme end of things and were now pressing their bare butts up against the glass laughing at the erstwhile liberator.

Even Clyde himself was beginning to realize he was in some deep poop with the level steadily rising. Had the situation continued uninterrupted a little longer he probably would have given up but barely twenty minutes after everything began almost the entire Charlotte police force converged on the main branch of the First People’s Bank of North Carolina. Mainly because the mayor and most of the city council owned their elected positions and other assets to the good favor of the Pinkerton family.

Lieutenant Bobby Parker of the robbery division drew the short straw at the nearby Krispy Kreme donut shop and was forced by the others lounging relaxing there to take charge of the developing hostage situation. Walking up to the glass doors of the main entrance Parker raised a bullhorn. “Mr. Cooper,” he said, “we have the bank surrounded, why don’t you do us all a favor and end this stupidity. You’re not going anywhere and taking hostages has raised your actions of a whole new level of idiocy.”

Paranoia being one of the main pillars of Clyde’s existence he immediately went into a panic that they had already identified him. Truth be told the minute the bank’s security system was activated sophisticated facial recognition software went action analyzing the security camera video and found Clyde’s driver’s license photo in the space of twenty-microseconds. Clyde knew none of this but was instantly convinced that the forces out to ruin the country had in fact felt he was a threat and had gone to great lengths to keep him under surveillance. This resulted in boosting his already delusional ego. “Outright shithead,” he sneered back after grabbing a hostage for a shield and moving close to the door. “I’m going to tell you what is going to happen. I want a hundred-million dollars, a van, and every reporter from the local television stations here so they can interview me on the reasons I have declared war on the corrupted United States government, after that all you cops will pull back allowing me to join my followers who will hide me from those out to end my crusade.”

“Oh Hell,” was all Lieutenant Parker could say realizing he was going to miss the fresh batch of donuts that Emma at the Krispy Kreme was scheduled to make. “All right boys and girls,” Parker said to the other police, “looks like we are in this for the long haul.”

“Hey boss,” Sergeant Cindy Ross, his partner, said, “I was looking at the air duct plans for the bank, several pass over the lobby. I bet one of the SWAT snipers can access them through the air handler system on the roof and crawl to a point and setup a firing point.”

Visions of fresh and hot donuts drifted in the mind of Lieutenant Parker. “Okay, that sounds like a plan,” Parker said. “Send Michaels,” he turned and said to the SWAT commander standing next him, “he’s small enough to fit nicely in the air ducts.”


From his vantage point in his panic room Wendell Pinkerton sipped a glass of French wine with his feet in a tub of warm silver dollars while watching the video feed from the inside of the lobby. The developing hostage situation was in a way worse than an actual robbery. Uncertainty for a banker was comparable to sunlight to vampires and Wendell wanted this affront to his way of life ended as quickly as possible. He still had several security system options to play, one of them being physiological. With the push of a few buttons, the bank’s internal intercom began playing a selection of Elvis and Jimmy Buffett songs, which were suppose easy the mood of both hostages and bank robbers alike.


Wendell and Lieutenant Parker were not the only ones for whom the situation was ruining their plans. As Trixie sat on the floor with several other hostages, she could see the five-hundred dollar fee Mr. Pepper was going to pay her slipping away by the second. Being an exotic dancer of some talent in both performance and judging the usual male clientele that frequented strip clubs she began to develop a hunch about Clyde Dwayne Cooper as he nervously paced the lobby area. When the music began playing over the intercom, Trixie noticed Clyde relax ever so slightly as Elvis’s rendition of Danny Boy played, it was then a plan began to take shape in her mind.

Several Buffett tunes played next which did not suit Trixie’s needs although they did bring to mind sunny tropical climes and easy living. Unbeknownst to Trixie as Jimmy sang about a Tin Cup Chalice, Barefoot Children, and Barometer Soup, police sniper Gregg Michaels was taking up a firing position in one of the air conditioning ducts lining the ceiling of the lobby.

I’m in the best spot I can find, I have a shot but the target is near several obstructions and could easily move,” he radioed back to Bobby Parker.

“Great, I’ll try talking to this jackass one more time then if you still have a clear shot I’ll give the order.” He said desperately wanting to do nothing more than sip coffee and eat donuts.

Just as Parker began walking back towards the glass doors of the bank a commotion came over the radio about some crazy lady dancing in the bank.

Inside the bank, Elvis began singing Amazing Grace and Trixie knew this was her chance. “What the Hell are you doing?” A scared lady asked who had been sitting next Trixie. “You’re going to get us all killed!”

Trixie ignored the woman’s protests and allowed Elvis’s smooth voice take over her body. She moved with a sensual grace slowly towards Clyde while undoing the ponytail in her hair then shaking it free so it could cascade down her shoulders. Clyde was almost immediately transfixed; he had never seen a woman so beautiful although he was supisious of her reasons. For Trixie her dance was akin to the slow, hypnotic movements of a python as it came ever closer to its prey.

Both Lieutenant Bob Parker from the outside and Officer Gregg Michaels from his perch in the air duct could not believe what they were seeing. The lady was not only dancing but was beginning to take off her clothes, the effect had not only mesmerized Clyde but everyone who could see what Trixie was doing.

While Trixie was a high school dropout and lacked the most basic commonsense that would prevent a normal person from making similar earthshaking mistakes she did understand men. As her sundress fell to the floor displaying to everyone who could see that she was wearing only a tiny pair of panties she knew exactly what kind of person Clyde Dwayne Cooper was. Coming within a couple of feet of Clyde she could see his breathing had become short pants, a heavy sweat was breaking out on his forehead, and he had a look of utter rapture on his face, all proving her assessment that he had never seen a naked woman in real life.

As Trixie stared into Clyde’s eyes with her lips hovering just an inch from his and her bare breasts barely touching his chest, with an expertise born of experience she quickly and forcefully brought her right knee into Clyde’s crotch causing him to fall back several feet and collapse to the floor. Emphasizing her dominance over Clyde as he lay on the floor barely conscious struggling to gain control of one of his weapons she calmly walked up and kicked him in the crotch again. This time causing Clyde to pass completely out.

With the assailant taken out several other customers quickly relieved him of all his weapons while a thoughtful office manager soon produced a roll of duct tape to bind his hand and feet. Within seconds of seeing the remarkable event, Wendell hit the override button allowing the doors to unlock and the fence covering the windows to be raised. The police rushed in both to take Clyde into custody and begin the work of interviewing the former hostages, with most focusing on Trixie.

Officer Gregg Michaels desperately wanted to meet the stunning woman who had taken down the crazed gunman but by the time he has worked his way out of the air ducts and down in the lobby she was gone. He did find a lone flip-flop that he had noticed the woman had wore.


In the initial aftermath, there was hell to pay back at the Happy Traveler Inn. Nina Pepper returned to the motel to find a stunned Mr. Pepper watching the news about the attempted bank robbery. There was even raw video of a naked Trixie dancing up to the bank robber recorded from one of the hostage’s cell phones. Mr. Pepper was so shocked of what he saw that he did not even feel the resulting enemas Nina forced him to suffer through after the evening news was over.

Nina tried to fire Trixie when she returned late that night but soon discovered the woman’s notoriety brought with it loads of business. Needless to say, Nina’s attitude about Trixie quickly changed, so much that Nina even approached Trixie about adopting her despite the fact that both ladies with only a few years apart in age.

Clyde Dwayne Cooper was over the course of several months convicted of attempted bank robbery, several counts of terrorism, and was generally thought of a total unredeemable idiot by anyone who saw the video of him in the bank lobby. Clyde was sentenced to fifty years in prison and quickly ended up in a long-term relationship with his three-hundred and fifty pound cellmate, a guy named Beefcake.

Lieutenant Bobby Parker did not make it to Krispy Kreme donut shop for several days. When he did after taking his first bite of a fresh and hot glazed donut he suffered a massive coronary and died right there. His friends and several ex-wives remarked at his funeral that he never looked happier.

News of these events eventually filtered down to the South Carolina governor’s mansion in Columbia and to a strip club in Jacksonville, Florida with interesting results.

The honorable Governor Robert “Billy” Wainwright learned about the whereabouts of his long lost true love after taking a break from a nine-hour marathon of playing X-box. As soon as the news report mentioned the Happy Traveler Inn ended, he sneaked out of the mansion, stole a highway patrol vehicle, and raced up to Charlotte leaving his wife and father-in-law to run the state, which was what they were doing since his election.

Thad Lovelace, who had long since given up on Trixie and was attempting to recruit other ladies to his management heard about the events and bought a plane ticket to Charlotte, North Carolina a couple of hours later.  Given the respective distance to Charlotte for each of them and the oddities involved with car and plane travel both him and the slacker governor showed up at the motel at the same time. The resulting conflict became a whole other news event that evening.

Because Wendell Pinkerton wanted to save some money on having his panic room electrical and computer systems wired up he hired a third-rate electrician. For that reason when it came time to open the massive door and reenter the outside world not only did the door opening button fail to work it shorted out all the room's systems. Since the room was sound proof no one heard Wendell pounding on the door pleading for someone to rescue him. He lived comfortably inside until his supply of food and water ran out. His daughter took over the operation of the bank after he was declared dead and did much to make her employees and customers happy along with going to great efforts to promote the development of the nation and world. Two centuries later a crew of robots renovating the building accidentally opened Wendell's panic room and found his remains sitting in his recliner with his boney feet in his tub of silver dollars.    

Officer Gregg Michaels was so enchanted with Trixie that he came to the Happy Traveler Inn a week later with roses, her missing flip-flop, along with an engagement ring. For Trixie it was love at first sight and the two ran off to Vegas to get married that same day in his white Ford Mustang. Happily ever after? For the most part unless I can think of some more shit to write with these characters.