Bartram Tourism Commission
19 August 2009
At the whim of the Bartram City Council, we have decided to enact this blog in order to promote tourism. Our fine mayor Betty Johnson has appointed me as the new Chief of Tourism, voted on 5–1 by the City Council (the one nay: Marty McGuinness).
I grew up here. I work as a mystery writer and a freelance journalist and a softball coach for the Bartram High Elephant Trunks. I have self-published four novels, one of which, Sneezing on the Precipice, won the Bartram Award for literary excellence. I am married to Robert Wagner, an inventor. I can’t figure out how to post a picture. Here are my dimensions:
Age: 25–37 1/2 (LOL!)
Likes: whistling, playing pool, going to church, concertos
Dislikes: closed minded people, communism, sexual deviants, bananas
The goal here is to document—or attempt to document—the entire picture of this town. Throughout the coming months, I’ll interview citizens and advertise fun things to do. The intention is to convince the whole wide inter-world to pack their things and move here. I give you my word, if you read this and decide to move here, then I’ll be your friend.
Mayor Betty Johnson says: I knew we makes the right decision putting you in this position. I’m super-duper glad you and I can let bygones be bygones and work with each other instead of being competitors all the time. You really serve the community best in a state of servitude. I feel like President Obama and you’re Hillary Clinton!!! When the world reads this, they’ll know how civil we are!!!1!
BodyPhile69 says: comment deleted by administrator
26 August 2009
Notes on Tuesday’s City Council Meeting
Let me start out by thanking Rose McGuiness for bringing her world famous muscadine cookies. I can honestly say that I don’t think any of the committee could make it through our arguing if it wasn’t for the constant supply of cookies and tea. Yum!
On to business. The first item on the docket was providing funds to the two-year-old project of fixing the potholes on Jeff Davis Ave. After a vote of 3–3, the motion will stand to rest until next week. Sorry, folks.
Next up on the docket was voting to make Albert Lacy take his wonderful arrowhead and coffee mug collection out of his house and into these brand new glass display cases in City Hall. Mr. Lacy was not present, so if you read this Mr. Lacy, the motion passed 4–2, and Sheriff Dale will be at your house sometime this week to assist you in their transportation.
Those were the two most pressing issues we voted on. Minor concerns and vote count are as follows: consideration to outlaw mowing of lawns after five pm (tabled), petition to request John Grisham to base his next book on Bartram’s own John Jeffries (passed, 6–0).
30 August 2009
Frank “Stiff Leg” Buford, Historian and Bartram’s Oldest Citizen
When this idea first struck my head about introducing the citizens of the world to the citizens of Bartram, the first man on my brain waving hello was Stiff Leg Buford. If it was in my power, I’d tie him up to the welcome sign at city limits and have him greet everybody that comes past.
Thanks in advance to my sister-in-law Joycie, who typed up what he said after I sat down and interviewed him.
Before we begin with Mr. Buford, I’d like to encourage everybody to come to City Hall on Friday for the unveiling of the coffee mug and arrowhead gallery. We decided to not display them all at once but to rotate the mugs from the arrowheads in the display cases. We’ll start off with the coffee mugs because that’s what everybody’s been wanting to see the most.
One last thing: Here’s a link where you can buy my husband Robert’s newest invention. It’s really neat. It’s a spatula with a stapler welded on to the end of it. It doesn’t need batteries or an electrical outlet, that’s the beauty of it. What it lacks in usefulness, it makes up for in design. Think about it as an art piece that you can hang on your wall and then use every now and then. One end works to pry things apart, and the other side works to join things together. It’s the only thing I can think of that you take with you from the kitchen to the office. He’s calling it “staplula” and you can buy it for $35 plus S&H.
Here’s my interview with Mr. Buford:
We are sitting in the Waffle Hut on a sunny day. Stiff-leg is wearing frayed cut-offs and a sear-sucker shirt. When he talks he raises his right hand up in the air and uses his left hand to reposition all the coins in his pocket. He holds a clear plastic cup in which he spits tobacco in a genteel manner, his pinky finger out. We are in a booth next to the window over-looking a quaint and once-clean industrial park. We both drink coffee.
How are you?
Fine. You look nice.
Thank you. Alright, let’s talk history.
How long do you want me to go back?
Long as you can, I guess.
Are you hot? You look hot, baby. Why don’t you take that sweater off and let yourself breathe.
It is kind of hot in here.
Yeah, I bet that’s better. That’s a lot better. Excuse me. Problem with shorts is that you always got to be pulling them down else they’ll choke you, you know?
What about the town’s founder?
He fought in the Battle of New Orleans. Sammy Bartram. He had this idea before the battle that they should get a bunch of cotton bales and soak them in mud to give everybody something to hide behind. Worked pretty good. Andrew Jackson felt pretty big about him so he gave him this land we’re on now. Bartram came down here with his brothers. It was the winter-time then and before they put all the levees out so the whole thing was nothing but swamp. He felt like he got cheated so he went and him and his brother went down to New Orleans and robbed the bank there and then they bought a bunch of cattle and moved off up north around Tupelo. One of the brothers, Billy I think, got caught by the police and so they busted him out and told him to come live down here and he started stealing people from the little settlements around here and made them come live with him because he was lonely I guess and so he stole enough children and they grew up and then they started the city.
What about the Civil War?
Let’s not talk about the Civil War. Why don’t you tell me something a little more about yourself. You and your husband still together?
Is there anything else that happened after it was founded? That might be of interest?
Let me think. They built the railroad at one point. Made this town pretty big when I was a kid. They had movie theaters and restaurants, that’s what all those empty building used to be, and women everywhere, I mean everywhere. Oh, I got something. One time the circus came. I think I was eleven or twelve. Eleven, no twelve. Yeah I was twelve because I was in Ms. Cockrell’s class. Genevieve Bruster who I had a crush on and who was a grade ahead of me and she was talking all week about the circus and how she wanted to go so her mom and her woke up early that morning so they could sit on the front row and then that elephant comes out and sits down right on top of her head in the bleachers. It was terrible. And somebody went and got a shotgun and they shot it but that didn’t do anything because it’s an elephant so everybody went home and had to get their guns and make a circle around it. It took them seven hours to kill it and get it drug out. Everybody smelled like dead elephant for weeks. I can still smell it. Buried him right under this mound we’re sitting on, I think.
Yeah. Awful’s about the only thing worth telling.
Do we have any celebrities or historical figures or musicians or something like that?
I thought that guy from Unsolved Mys— I’m sorry.
No, it’s okay. It’s fine.
I thought that guy was going to come down with his camera crew, but he didn’t. I was gonna try to convince him to leave a message on my answering machine, you know? Something like “Stiff Leg aint at home. Any ideas on where he is you should call your local police station or just leave a message.” Something like that. He probably doesn’t even leave his mansion or anything, probably just sits around in his bathtub and calls in his work on the phone. You were really good in that re-enactment, by the way. I thought some hot shot was gonna come down here and scoop you up.
Think about it, though. That’s the last time we’ve gotten anybody to come down here that didn’t live here already. And how did they show us on the TV? Awful. Said we aren’t nice and we’re prone to hating outsiders. Violent. Secretive. It’s terrible it took something like that to get us some attention and God knows Mindy was maybe the sweetest thing in the world but it just goes to show you, you know, just what it takes to get some attention. To get people interested it takes something terrible like that.
6 September 2009
Notes on Saturday’s City Council Meeting
“Mayoral Decree #1 Concerning the Website Devoted to Bartram, MS Tourism: Content shall be restricted to only information that will paint a positive light towards the city and its inhabitants. Falling outside of that code would be the author’s desire to promote her husband’s mechanisms through sale and/or description. Using the website for personal gain is strictly prohibited. The city deems any such inventions and the sale thereof as foolish and does not wish to spread the embarrassment it has created for one household to the entire community. Any such act will result in a felony and therefore render the author ineligible for another, albeit doomed, future run for office. Motion backed by committee (5–1).”
The committee talked about other stuff. Fixing Jeff Davis Ave. was tabled again for lack of funds. The committee also voted September as entirely recession-free. Anyone talking about the city’s recession and/or lack of money will be fined fifty (50) dollars.
Mom says: I love you sweetie! I tried calling you!
8 September 2009
Jeanette, the secretary at City Hall, has informed me that not one person has come to check out the new display case. In an effort to bring people out, we’ve decided to let people take a mug out and drink from it. I still haven’t figured out how to post a picture, so I’ll use my letters. This is what they look like except with little handles on the sides:
U U U U U U U U U U U U
U U U U U U U U U U U
I went ahead and had a cup of Folger’s out of a mug that Mr. Lacy claims is none other that Hernando Desoto’s knee cap. It made the coffee taste like chocolate, and it heightened my sense of smell and my coördination. Surely this cup has magical properties. I wonder if it’ll work for you?
13 September 2009
Interview with Mayor Betty Johnson
Thanks again to Joycie for typing this out.
We’re at the Waffle Hut. Mayor Johnson looks like a cross between Oprah and Richard Nixon. She’s dressed in a windbreaker and matching pants. She has a piece of lettuce in her teeth.
I’m so pleased you want to interview me for the website.
Mayoral decree number two, the author shall interview members of public office starting with—(tape recorder turns off, back on). What makes the city special?
The people make the city special. It starts with our leadership who invest so much of themselves into this city that people can’t help but be affected. There aren’t any strangers here, for one, and everybody helps everybody else out. And then there’s the Waffle Hut, which just shows how viable business is here. But I’m not content. There’s plenty of room to grow.
We’ve been a while without any funds. All of our taxes go into salaried positions like yours and your secretary. What are you doing about getting the city more money?
Just read off the list, Cindy.
What about the children?
Our children are wonderful. They are all attractive and smart and they like to do fun things like playing sports and reading literature, good literature and not just that garbage like you—
Why did the city council never elect to adopt any child molestation laws?
I understand what you’re doing. I’m not stupid. Did you know that since the website began that not one person has visited the city? Not even someone lost? And checking the stat tracker, not a single person save me and your mother even read the damned thing? It must be pretty dispiriting to know that, should you decide to run for my post yet again, the one job you’ve been given you have failed at?
You knew this was impossible when you gave it to me.
Oh, it’s impossible?
No, not impossible in theory but impossible with my lack of resources.
What do you want me to do, buy a billboard?
Any kind of ad would do. It doesn’t have to be a billboard.
I’m pulling the plug on it. It’s clear to me that you are in no position to convince anyone of anything, and I’ll have to make a report for the newspaper that tracks this epic failure of yours.
I could buy the ad myself. Robert just sold his entire stock of staplulas to some leather and chain website. I could buy a one month run and see what happens.
You’ve had your shot at it, sweety. Now are you going to read off that list or should we just end this?
Is there anything else you want to say?
I admit to the illegal use of foreign drugs and to going through a terrorist training camp. And I am a whore who dresses unfashionably.
Mayor Betty Johnson says: comment deleted by administrator
Mayor Betty Johnson says: comment deleted by administrator
Mayor Betty Johnson says: comment deleted by administrator
14 September 2009
“As God Is My Witness, As God as My Witness”
This is from that scene in Gone With the Wind where Scarlett has a fist full of dirt and she makes a vow to devote herself to Jesus. I have been given certain gifts. Where Scarlett is holding dirt in her fist, I’m holding words. I have been given an opportunity and have decided to grab the opportunity by the britches and smack that opportunity around until the opportunity does exactly what I tell it to. I realize I may regret writing this post tomorrow when I’m sober, but some things need to be said. The problem with Bartram is that opportunities don’t come around enough. Opportunities come when we realize our gifts. Opportunities come with new people. New people in positions of leadership. New people to vote. New people to start reading groups with.
Here’s an example. When Marty McGuinness first got on the city council, me and him were friendly. We’d go out for coffee and talk. Marty’s got this kind of indention on his chest that he says people used to make fun of him about when he was in junior high and had to take showers. He sees it as a defect, so he’s sensitive about it. When he told me about it, though, I thought it was maybe the best gift anybody in the world could get. Marty, I told him, don’t you realize? You don’t have to buy bowls ever again. In the morning, you could wake up and pour yourself some cereal in your chest cavity and you could just lay on the couch and spoon it right from there. Or you could pour some lemonade in there and just drink from a straw. He’s treated me different ever since. There are people who are objects and there are people who are movers. Objects whine. Objects accept. Movers are people who turn their weaknesses into strengths. Movers are capable of action.
I want to show Bartram that there are ways of affecting the world. I’m going to hold an essay contest for the children. When they see their words blasted out into the universe where everyone will read them, they’ll see that the little Marty McGuinness that lives inside them will die and in his place will rise up a little tiny me.
19 September 2009
If you’ve found us here by clicking the link on the Clarion-Ledger website, then let me tell you you’re in good hands. You’ve got a little bit of catching up to do. So you don’t have to read everything that I’ve already done, let me summarize everything for you: 1.) Welcome!, 2.) Mr. Lacy willfully moves his coffee cups to City Hall, 3.) Bartram has a long, noble history with enough holes in it that any amateur historian could come down and find himself in a paradise of conjecture, 4.) Mayor Johnson often abuses her power, 5.) The coffee cups have medicinal/magical properties, 6.) Betty often lets personal matters interfere with politics, but her authority obviously does not carry over if someone knows how to change a password, 7.) I am on the right track.
Let me go over some of our attractions with you:
We have a twenty star hotel where you can stay for twenty four bucks and sixty two cents a night. Year-round, we get the best celebrities to stay in it. Tim Allen and his son Jonathan Taylor Thomas were here just last week. I had coffee with them and they were nice.
What else do we have? We have a fountain. We have a theatre where Steely Dan and Alan Jackson secretly play every week. A free spa. No pollution. Hunting.
There’s probably more stuff that I’m leaving out, since I’m just so used to having these things around. There’s probably something that slipped my mind. I’ll add it later if I can remember it.
23 September 2009
An Endorsement from Justice Anthony Andrews
(Note from Joycie the transcriber: Hey there. I just found this on Cindy’s desk so I went ahead and put it up for her to save her some time).
John Jeffries is making quite the run for that Supreme Court post, you know.
I’m not worried.
You probably should be. I’ve got it on good authority the city council has backed him and that Betty’s brother is heading up his campaign. Already started raising money. From what I hear it’s up to ten thousand.
(note from transcriber: there’s a delay of a couple minutes on the tape)
I don’t see what John Jeffries has to do with you.
I was out riding around last night taking pictures. You drive a Jeep Cherokee with a missing taillight still, don’t you? And it’s Betty’s very underage daughter that drives the white Camry with the “Cotton” sticker on the back, right? Two of you picnic in the graveyard at midnight?
I don’t see what John Jeffries has to do with you.
It has to do with assurance. I’ve put myself in a position for a number of events to transpire.
What do you want?
I want your endorsement for my run for mayor this November.
Why would I do that?
(Sound of envelope sliding across table. Sound of opening envelope)
I got real good at picture taking. Here’s some pictures of the graveyard at midnight.
You might be the craziest person I’ve ever met.
Let’s not play dumb here. You’re the head of the Lion’s Club. You’re the head of the Chamber of Commerce. You’ve got to understand the position I’m in. The information you’ve got right there, and it’s not the only copy by the way, has the potential to bring my opponent down. She raised a daughter with no morals, right? But it would bring you down, too, which would be a great disservice to the community. You want to help the community, don’t you?
(long silence, I don’t know, I don’t have a stopwatch)
I’ll endorse you. But listen up. If you don’t get tourists to the city, then my endorsement’s not going to do shit for you. If you don’t show any kind of success whatsoever, then even an endorsement from God Almighty wouldn’t help you. Betty’s not new at this. She’ll find a way to fuck you.
26 September 2009
Notes on Saturday’s City Council Meeting
It’s amazing what a couple hundred hits can do for this town. Two days ago it came to my attention that somebody stopped for gas and decided to stay and eat at the Waffle Hut. I’m thrilled.
This past Saturday, the city council voted to dissolve itself and appoint me as the sole decision maker for the residents of the entire city. Never in my most colorful of dreams did I ever think to become an entire legislative body. The only person who didn’t vote for me was, surprise, Marty McGuinness. And to let Marty and the rest of the council know that I’m a woman of my word, let me introduce him to you:
1. Marty’s wife Rose just had a baby. Dr. Watson told me that six years ago Marty had a vasectomy. Marty is so blessed to a part of a miracle!
2. Marty once cried in high school because he got a B minus on a math test.
Let’s not exhaust everything on Marty. I’m off to celebrate. Smooches!
5 October 2009
What Else Do You Want?
There has been a disappointing trend of non-retuning website visits. I take full responsibility and concede that I had adopted a persona that, while honest, served more the interest of like-ability than truth-telling. What makes blogs successful, I believe, is a candid and confessional manner that connects the confessor to the confessee. Likewise, what makes tourism an appealing pastime is that a person may leave behind an entire set of problems and venture into a place where they are able to reinvent themselves, able to consume a watered-down, pre-packaged morsel of a different life. They both work because they are temporary. I was not selling myself or my town with that in mind. Like anybody with a decent amount of self-discernment, I have decided to concede defeat and adopt a different strategy. My plan is as follows: rather than coercing multiple hits through charm and exclamation points, I will endear myself to readers through candidness. My candidness will cause one-time readers to become multi-time readers. The reader, then, because of a prolonged exposure to the most intimate parts of my self and a concern for my well-being, will fall in love with me. Because of their obsession, they will have no other choice than to come to this city in order to court me. Thus, tourism. And I am the main attraction. These are all things that I previously would have thought about while away from my computer. Not so, anymore. You will find my honesty refreshing. As my father would say, let’s clear away the bullshit. I have been accused throughout town of not being entirely truthful. This is not the case. There have been misunderstandings, which, once I explain them to you, you’ll no doubt realize that I have been speaking from a position of integrity and not as one who is invested so deeply in the achievement of personal gain that I would distort facts. Let us first address the interview with Mayor Johnson. Everybody knows me and her get along like piss and vinegar. Betty has admitted that the interview took place and that most of the interview was factual. There’s a small bit that she claims is false. Which bit, I cannot remember, hence my innocence. I assert that the entire interview was transcribed honestly, and I would post it in its entire original audio form if that tape had not been taped over by my husband for a radio call-in show about gardening. If in fact she did not speak what was transcribed, then I posit that she has thought about them. So, by her own admission of thinking about the ideas she claims not to have spoken, does it not follow that—with her already proven habit of “thinking out loud”—she is guilty of uttering the exact sentences she claims not to have said. So, whether they are truthful to her character or not is her fault. I merely transcribed. Whether or not she spoke the things at the time is irrelevant. The exact words came from her mouth at some point. This is proven by her mentioning the interview around town and at the police station.
Next, I slightly exaggerated the quality of our hotel. This was done because we cannot afford a good fact-checker for the website, since all tax-payer moneys go straight into Betty’s pocket. The assertion that I met Tim Allen and JTT was a case of mistaken identity. Likewise, another case of mistaken identity—or more aptly “mis-hearing”—was that neither Steely Dan nor Allen Jackson played here. It was local favorite Dan Jackson, whom I have not yet been able to hear play because I spend all my time either working or reading Plato.
Finally, there has been the accusation around town that I have abused my new-found post as Tourism Commissioner in order to intimidate the city council into dissolving and relinquishing their responsibilities onto me. This one really hurts my feelings. I can see how from an outside perspective somebody could get that idea. And my acknowledgement of that is proof enough of my innocence. It’s just not true though. Usually, I wouldn’t let this sort of stuff get to me, and I would address it. But it’s bad timing that upsets me, and not the wholesale viciousness towards my character. You see, it was on this date seventeen years ago that my father died. I wish I could post a picture on here so you could see I am crying. But don’t pity me. Don’t you dare pity me. You’ll see a fighter beneath all these hot, hurtful tears. My father was a great man. He was an engineer, and it was his idea to build the thirty-foot levees that surround this town and give it a sense of community and identity. It was his idea that isolation begets brilliance. He enclosed us in order to make us a family and to protect us from the horrors that occur on the outside. People like Betty Johnson have chosen to misremember him in order to crucify me in our ongoing political battles. She paints him as a drunk, as someone who didn’t know how to keep his belt fastened, as someone who just fell apart after Mindy died. For Betty’s own political gain, she has re-designed this town’s only hero into a womanizer. Let me tell you how I remember him, though. He was dying in the hospital from liver cancer. Often, he was not lucid. This one time, though, the last time, he was. The moment before he died, I remember holding his hand, the same hand that built the thing that has saved us from the flood waters and allowed us to construct a civilization unequal to any since the foundations of Rome, and he looked at me and he said, Cindy. I’m sorry, I wish you could see my face, this is very emotional for me. He said, Cindy I’m fixing to die but I just had a dream. I had a dream where I saw Jesus, and Jesus told me that you were going to be mayor one day, and that Jesus—if you don’t know out in internet land, this is the baby Jesus from biblical fame who is always right and always speaks to heroes in dreams because if he shows up in real life then people like Betty Johnson would kill him, remember?—said that anyone who thwarts your effort at becoming mayor will be working for the devil, and will spend eternity in hell where the flames and the burns and the people crying and all the devils are either laughing at you or not hearing you or not paying attention at all, like the devils treat it as a job almost where the whole time you’re suffering they’re looking at the clock with glazed eyes and hoping when they go back home they don’t have to eat the same damned leftover meatloaf cooked by a spouse that does nothing but make up useless toys all day. Think about that for a second. In hell nobody cares about your suffering, much less would they read about it on a blog. And nobody can be tourists anywhere, except for places that are worse than where they’re already at. Is that what you want Bartram to be like? I’ll admit this now. Yes, my life has been touched by Jesus. And you, lucky finder of this website who knows that it is only once every hundred years or so that the baby Jesus looks down on one of us and plucks us out from all the regular people and saying, you, you are really something special. I mean me, I’m something special. And you, knowing this now, wouldn’t it be important to keep checking this blog out over the next couple of months? Wouldn’t the baby Jesus want you to come here and touch the hem of my nightgown, and then go eat at the Waffle Hut after you checked out all those awesome coffee cups? A better question, perhaps: where would you spend eternity if you didn’t?
9 October 2009
Funds for the site are getting pretty low, so I thought I’d give a discount on my four titles out now from my own Case Solved Press. If you buy all four for ten dollars, I’ll wave the S&H. To buy them, click here.
The Killer Inside Me. High school student Mandy Winkler is found murdered on the top of a levee in a small town. Her twin sister, Candy, finds a lone pubic hair on her sister’s body and sleeps herself around town in an attempt to match the hair with her sister’s killer. As her parents spiral disgustingly out of control, Candy’s obsession of solving the crime turns into self-loathing and sex addiction. In classic Shakespeare fashion, Candy kills her parents and then herself in this page-turner.
Invisible Justice. The sequel to TKIM. This novel takes place in the after-life, where Candy and Mandy are re-united and Mandy tells Candy exactly everything that happened to her. From beyond the grave, the two ghosts follow the murderer around and torment him for over six hundred pages.
The Inventor’s Wife. Carol Winner suffers from an unnamed trauma until she meets Reggie, an inventor who creates the tools Carol needs to solve cases. Reggie creates a device that allows Carol to talk to the dead, so the two of them make a ton of money and vacation all over the world. The device allows Carol a sense of closure with her past, when her dead twin, Marol, is able to tell her that it wasn’t Carol’s fault that she got killed because even though they were supposed to meet for ice cream that night and Carol didn’t show up because she was sleeping around with her boyfriend, Marol tells her that that had nothing to do with the mystery and that Carol can go on and quit worrying about it. There is also a b‑plot where Carol cures Reggie’s erectile dysfunction.
Sneezing on the Precipice. This book chronicles the career of Cynthia Wiseman from the moment she decides to stop feeling like a victim to the time she becomes President of the United States of America. Cynthia runs for mayor and wins against the corrupt incumbent. In office, she re-opens a cold case and spawns a city-wide man hunt for a murderer and rapist. She finds the killer and kills him herself in the electric chair. Then, she becomes the governor and then she becomes the president. As President, she is able to secretly punish her entire home-town for keeping the secret of who killed her sister quiet for so long. People knew the whole time and wouldn’t tell her and so she uses the army to conduct experiments on the entire town and nobody in the press believes them when they try to tell them about it because they’re all hicks. People who used to call her crazy end up contracting a virus that makes them wake up in the middle of the night and climb up on their roofs and sneeze until they fall down to their deaths. Cynthia becomes known as the best president in history because she takes care of all the smaller countries and doesn’t let bad things happen any more.
15 October 2009
Notes on Saturday’s City Council Meeting: Me and Betty Make Amends
Recently, city council meetings have been just me and Betty sitting at a table and making threats at each other. This past week, though, she came in with a different attitude. It’s refreshing to know that we can put away our past differences, and Betty can acknowledge me as her equal. A while ago I decided to host a contest for Bartram Academy Junior High. The topic was “What Tourism Means to Me.” There was a ten dollar reading fee that went straight into the fund for this site’s advertising. The winner receives publication on this website. To show how diplomatic I am, I let Betty be the judge. Such great strides!
The winner, unsurprisingly, was Betty’s daughter Lindsay. Below, you’ll find Lindsay’s article about tourism. For some reason, the first word of every sentence was in bold. That’s just not how we write papers, young lady. I won’t tell you whether I blame bad parenting or our education system. Here’s the essay:
What Tourism Means to Me
$10,000 per year is how much money Bartram would make if we had tourism. TO get good tourism, we need quality attractions. ANYONE who travels from their home is considered a tourist. WHO ever likes 1950’s architecture and likes nice people will like Bartram. WILL Smith is a famous movie star and travels as a tourist all over the world. KILL some delicious wildlife while you’re here. CINDY WAGNER is the director of Bartram’s Tourism Committee. AND my mother is the mayor. MAKE the drive down here, please! IT is a place where you could get different experiences. LOOK at all the wonderful buildings and meet all the nice people! LIKE our wonderful restaurant! AN easy-going time like you’ve never had before! ACCIDENTs happen, but don’t let this opportunity pass you up!
20 October 2009
How about this. Listen here. If one week passes and still not a single person has gone to look at these coffee cups, then I’m going to raise taxes. How does that sound? This can be avoided. All you have to do is 1.) go look at the coffee cups, take one out, drink from it and 2.) invite your cousin or your aunt or your old roommate to come to town and sign their fucking name in the guest book. I know. Nobody’s reading this. I’m sorry Momma for using language like this, but I honestly thought that, out of everyone, at least you would have the decency to go down to City Hall and check out those stupid things. I’m sorry for my lost temper, but it really hurts my feelings. Help me do my job. Please. I am being honest about my frustration. Was there ever a time in your life when you were frustrated? Then you and I are the same person, and you’re not alone. So to capitalize on this bond, why don’t you come to town and we’ll talk it out.
23 October 2009
What’s Important to Me
I’m sorry for my last post. My anger wasn’t directed at you, dear reader. I was angry at myself and nervous that things might not be working out exactly the way I thought they would. Certain things are getting clearer to me. I think I have been acting selfishly. My desire to run for mayor and then run for governor and then run for president has proven to be quite vain. I think it’s because I’ve become accident prone lately, and certain accidents have arisen in me thoughts of my family and my own mortality and what it means to be a hero. I have tried like hell to get people to visit this city. This website proves that, although in a confusing and sometimes desperate way.
I underestimated my adversary. Last night, I was looking at everything that’s happened over the past month or so, and I found something that terrified me at first, but now I believe it to be an opportunity of magnificent proportions. I have an opportunity, on one hand, to finalize my personal dreams. I can expose my enemy as the monster she is. I can take her down and then slide right into her place and become what I always wanted. Closest I’ve ever been to it and it makes me feel worthless. It won’t make things different. My house will still be filled with staplulas. My sister will still be dead.
On the other hand, I have the opportunity to fulfill completely the job that was assigned to me, a job that has led me to come to know better the city that I live in. I could bring people here. Attract attention on a scale that this town has only seen once before.
I don’t know what to do.
26 October 2009
A Final Change of Plans
If this doesn’t do it I don’t know what else will. Betty and I have agreed to change our advertisements from the Clarion-Ledger to two less populated sites. I got to pick one and she got to pick one. If you’re coming here from the Mystery Guild (my choice), I’m sure you’ll recognize my minor celebrity since I’m sure my books have touched you in some way. You all are my family, and I am relying on you. Let’s hope your sleuthing skills are sharp.
Betty’s decision is a website called “Unemployed Violent Offenders: Mississippi Branch.” She did this because she believes we are all entitled to a second chance, and with your unemployed status, you might find some free time to come check out Bartram’s many opportunities. Thanks for clicking on the link. Peruse the last few posts and see if any opportunities look good for you.
27 October 2009
My Schedule for the Day
Betty has decided to go on a month-long vacation to Florida, where she’ll be documenting her whereabouts every hour on her new blog with a picture of a newspaper and specific Floridian historic markers.
Today, I’ll be at city hall, where we’ve decided to change the display case from the coffee mugs to the arrowhead collection. Please, if any visitors come, make sure you sign the guestbook in the front lobby. This is the only price for admission into the sound-proof back room. The back room is small, so we are only going to allow one person back there at a time. I will be alone giving any tourists a personal audio tour.
This will be my last post. I have decided that fate has designed the course I’m on now. I am relieved, to be honest. Too long I’ve been under the impression that a killer or a savior lives inside the town. Too long I believed I was one of the two. I’m not a killer or savior. I’m an object. I’m a Mindy.
There are three ways I see this playing out. I can tolerate two:
Option 1: I will be a martyr. My death will convince change to come. It will correct my family’s name and right our place in the fabric of this town.
Option 2: I will be saved. Jesus himself will pluck me from the jaws of the beast and I will be put back on the path that he chose for me long ago. The way will be made clear and my life will have purpose.
Option 3: I’ll just sit in the back room with all those arrowheads, waiting for the door to open, for a stranger’s face to poke through. I will wait until City Hall closes and then grab my purse and drag myself back home, where Robert will be stapling fishing lures to the curtains. Where the computer sits there, the cursor blinking, taunting me for not being able to figure out what happened to her, mocking me for not being able to convince change to come.
Schuyler Dickson lives in Canton, Mississippi. He received his MFA from Northwestern University, where he served as a fiction editor for TriQuarterly Online. Recent work can be found at Pank Magazine and Plots With Guns. He is currently at work on a novel.