No doubt about it, it’s cold. And with Christmas just weeks away, many Flubuggers are more dependent than ever on their weekly C.A.M. benefits. True, the brown paper bags hold little to crow about. A pound of “taters.” A few stunted grapes. Some distressed produce, a handful of bird seed to lure careless sparrows. But the chance of finding a wren among the gel caps and coated wire (estimated at 1:300) has brought hope to all who’ve braved the cold to stand in line each week for their “entitlement.” It also kept the Flubug Dream alive: the belief that you can rise above (even) your own slovenliness if you can just get your hands on that wren.
At 2pm Flubug Time, Mayor Ornery announced that the beloved wrens would no longer be offered in C.A.M. packages after December 24th. That meant that, beginning this Christmas, even the meager hope of a scrawny wren would be dashed for 97% of Flubug residents (and those who’ve manage to persist above the poverty line).
The announcement, made by Mayor Ornery while eating a burrito, came as a shock to reporters and even more so to his immediate staff, who seemed to sense the end of their complimentary wrens.
“No one likes to bear bad news, ” the mayor said, wiping corn relish from his lapel. “Especially this close to Christmas. But you can’t blame City Hall. It’s the cold, dammit! Wren prices have shot up. No one can catch the little buggers in this kind of weather. Those who do, want top dollar. It’s supply and demand!”
But “demand” was the only thing on anyone’s mind in The Pike as the mayor’s message was broadcast at Bradshaw’s Tavern. “He’s keepin’ ’em all for himself!” growled a leather-clad biker. “He don’t need to eat wren,” shouted another. “You see the size o’ that burrito?”
Tempers flared in Graphite Cornerz, too, where a homeless man with an uncomfortable likeness to Mayor Ornery, was peppered with nail guns. The man was quickly rushed to the last known address of Flubug General Hospital – an empty lot by the Tin WaWa Gift Shop. But the fury was only beginning to mount.
Within an hour an angry crowd surrounded City Hall, braving sub-zero temperatures to yell epithets at the mayor. “Stuff him in a bag!” “Let him choke on a wren!”
Minutes later Stateline Police, sensing an chance to test their new taser canons, arrived on the scene and formed a perimeter around City Hall. They demanded the crowd disperse. A Faust was thrown. Then another. The crowd pressed against a police shield and the taser canons let loose.
As Stateline Police waded into the crowd, zapping anyone who got in their way, the throng fled to the adjacent buildings. Shots rang out. A motorcycle broke through the barricade. A Molotov cocktail was thrown and a police car burst into flames. The crowd cheered and an army of police set off to catch him.
Not exactly a Hallmark moment.
As of this writing it’s still uncertain what will happen next. An anonymous caller (who sounded oddly like Deputy Fish) alerted The Bugle just hours ago that the mayor will make an unscheduled announcement tomorrow morning. But from this reporter’s perspective it won’t do any good. The fires are lit. The people are calling for somebody’s head.
And Ornery is the first name that comes to mind.
* Dislcaimer: The fact that The Bugle endorsed (and continues to endorse) Sheriff “Big Dog” Ramsey’s son, Ron “Gibralta” Ramsey, for mayor has no bearing on our objectivity or journalistic integrity. If Ron was the mayor, and stupid enough to stop giving away a measly six wrens a week (which is unthinkable) we would have covered the story the same way.