Schuyler Dickson

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!)
Height:  5’2”
Weight:  119
Sign:  Taurus
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.

Comments (2)

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).

Comments (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?


You hap­py?

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.

That’s awful.

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.

Me too.

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.

Comments (0)


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.

Comments (1)

Mom says:  I love you sweet­ie!  I tried call­ing you!


8 September 2009

Coffee Cups

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?

Comments (0)


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.

Comments (3)

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.

Comments Disabled


19 September 2009

Welcome Newcomers!

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.

Comments Disabled


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.

Comments Disabled   


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!

Comments Disabled


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?

Comments Disabled


9 October  2009

Book Sale

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.

Comments Disabled


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!

Comments Disabled


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.

Comments Disabled


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.

Comments Disabled


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.

Comments Disabled


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.

Comments (0)


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.