It's A Small World

by Calendar Hacksaw

I can't begin to tell you how much it grieved ol' Calendar to see that "For Sale" sign in the window of the Twin Oaks General Store. But I was relieved to learn that Al St. John wasn't deserting the community; just looking for a new landlord. I've come to know that Al is as decent and hard-working as they come, and a fine businessman to boot. We can only hope that whoever comes along to apply for the job will carry on Al's unselfish tradition of "friendship first, commerce second." But we came close to total disaster, and I'm here to tell you about it.

Last weekend, after drinking more pilsners than Piute has peaks, I was taking an eight-hour nap in the front seat of my truck, which had somehow parked itself in the rear lot of a large entertainment complex in Burbank. well, when I woke up I was kinda hungry, so I commenced to doin' a little "dumpster diving" in search of a good breakfast. And while swimmin' through the cardboard and styrofoam, what should I find but a big, thick report entitled "The Twin Oaks Project - A Prospectus." I can't tell you the name of the company that prepared it, lest I get myself sued, but let it suffice to say that the cover of the dang thing had a big ol' caricature of a mouse on it; a very famous mouse. So ol' Calendar sat down and commenced to readin'.

Well, this company's plans included not only the General Store, but a lot of the surrounding area as well. And big plans they were. It started at Highway 58, where visitors would park in that large turn-out on the northeast corner, which would be enlarged to accommodate, say, 80,000 vehicles. Toilets would be installed; an improvement over what I've observed its present use to be.

From there, guests would climb aboard track-mounted steeds for the trip through Caliente Canyon. Sort of like a carousel, but these weren't wooden horses; they were actual dead mules, fresh from the taxidermist, in a variety of life-like poses. The mule train would stop for only three reasons: a rattlesnake sighting, in which case the train would remain stopped until some kid got bit; a collision with a steer, until the steer regained sufficient composure to exact revenge; or a landslide, until Supervisor Perez arrived to clear the track (Perez wondered when ol' Calendar would mention him in a column). Open containers would be allowed.

De-muling at the store ("dismounting" was ruled out because of sexual innuendo), the new arrivals would be greeted by a smiling, silver haired devil wearing cute, company-issue blue bib overalls and a straw of alfalfa hanging out of his mouth. This would, of course, be Al.

And Al wouldn't be the only Twin Oaks resident wearing an assigned costume; all other "cast members" (aka: residents), would be required to do the same. The dress code would mandate clothing to cover all body art and piercings, which would be particularly hard on a few of the region's better women, children, and livestock.

This brings me to the attractions, some of which I found to be quite interesting. Let's begin with "Wayne Moody Speaks." This would be a robotics display, in which a life-like replica of the famous columnist rises from a rocking chair and launches into a spiel about how he was raised by goats and his grandmother in an Oklahoma dugout. The audience is invited to ask questions, then laugh and fall asleep through his rambling replies, which always exceed his allotted word count. At the end of the show, the "real" Wayne Moody would walk on stage, and the viewers would break into tears and applause, believing they are witnessing some kind of miracle, or hoax, or salmonella poisoning. A Kodak moment.

Next stop for our intrepid travelers would be "Fritz' hydraulic Rack Ride." This contraption - designed to lift vehicles into the air to facilitate repairs - would be modified to carry up to sixteen passengers at a time, where they would be hoisted to an altitude of eight feet and look down upon the herd of "101 Damnridgebacks," soon to be made into a major motion picture.

"The Shooting Gallery" is next. Young and old alike will take delight in arming themselves against a never-ending horizontal parade of bubonic plague-infested ground squirrels. Winners of each round would be awarded a realistic citation from a character loosely impersonating a game warden.

Which brings us to "Smace Mountain," in which an aerial tramway would transport the brave and foolish to the site of the old Gwynne Mine, where they would climb aboard a 1956 Pontiac with flat tires and no brakes for a rollicking ride down Franchesci Grade. The ride would end at Weaver Creek, where one and all would be unceremoniously dumped into the midst of a herd of scratch-'n-sniff range cattle.

There were more attractions, too many to detail, including "Indiana Jack McWilliams," "The Mountain Lion Parade," and "Bandits of the Caliente." But I found a half-eaten blueberry muffin about then, and decided to take some of the slack outa my belly. Besides, the report concluded that the Twin Oaks Project would be doomed to failure for three reasons:

  1. The high cost of spittoons and gandy dancers.
  2. Too difficult for the outsider to tell the difference between proposed "attractions" and normal Twin Oaks affairs.
  3. Fears that unidentified Fence Post columnist might decide to "come out of the closet."

So thanks to bad habits, slippery ways, and country livin' we were spared, at least for the time being. Now if we can just find us a millionaire to buy the store. And I think the blue bib overalls for Al is a dang good idea, don't you?

Calendar Hacksaw's e-mail addresses are <> and <> and he'd love to hear from you.

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