Sweets for the Damned

Look, man, I’m just reporting what I saw. Whether you want to believe me isn’t my problem. Me and Jez were just kind of messing around in that old warehouse there, nothing big, we thought we might toke up and tell ghost stories or something, and we found a window that was unlocked and we went in. And there was all this machinery in there but it smelled really nice for some reason. We found all these stacks of white boxes on pallets, everything shrink-wrapped, and we went up to some of the boxes and we noticed they all said ENTENMANN’S. Entenmann’s! We figured we had totally scored, so we looked a little closer to see what we were dealing with, and that’s when we got freaked out so bad. On the label where it usually says Apple Turnover or Dutch Crumb Cake or Peach Pie Deluxe, it just said WE’RE THROUGH F***ING AROUND. That’s it. That’s all. And it was in this kind of serious typeface, not their usual friendly thing, you know? So then we peered through the crinkly window that looked in on the stuff inside the box, and oh my God...I mean, I don’t know how many fruits they put together, and nuts, and there were three different kinds of icing, and it was all in slices, and the slices were divided lengthwise by some kind of filling, and...oh man, the ingredients list just went on and on, and halfway through I was seriously thinking of killing Jez just so he wouldn’t be able to have any of it. It was like Frodo when he picks up the Ring, man. And I realized we had to get the hell out of there and tell someone about this, maybe go to the newspapers, because I don’t know what their intentions are with this, you know? You hear about these bakeries that go bad and start working on things that are like eating dessert for an entire year in one sitting, and no one should have that kind of power. All those boxes were just sitting on those pallets waiting to be shipped out...even now it might be too late to stop them. I’m worried that the security cameras got our faces...and who’s got more ability to destroy people’s lives than Entenmann’s? Probably no one. If they know we were in there, they’ll find us. So we might have to go underground, Jez and me. And maybe you, now that you know about it. And oh crap, there’s this totally hot girl in Second Life I was hitting on and I may have mentioned something. At least I think she was hot. I’m not sure why a person would make her avatar have really bad acne, but she did for some reason.

Hey man, let me ask you something: why is there some dude’s business card sticking out of your pocket? And why does it have Little Debbie’s corporate address on it? Are you---whoa, why are you walking around with a stun gun? Is that the one I gave you for Flag Day?

Marketing Plan Needed

Mr. Channing, I accept your condemnation, but only because I know it will dissolve like gossamer in the months to come, replaced at first by grudging admiration, and then a kind of…well, love. For what I have accomplished here in this space is something no man can truly deny. You issued me a four million dollar budget and a decree to build a dual off-ramp which would re-route traffic over Kennedy Boulevard and onto I-460, and instead I have given you a gift to history itself, something unexpected, something beautiful: a genuine, authentic bog.

Look at the bog before you. Look at what my team has wrought. It’s as if southern Louisiana got on a Greyhound bus and came here with arms outstretched, ready to embrace the cold white north in its own soupy, sweltering way. Listen to the bloated insects, happy in their new home, and feel that oppressive, almost malarian humidity as it descends upon us. And the shadows! My word, they came out longer than we had even dreamed! Yes, Mr. Channing, I dare say the bog we have made here will stand for a hundred years, long after the state highway administration’s misplaced rage has faded into memory. This is a public bog, a bog for families and children, not just for rich automobile types cruising around in their gas-guzzling supercars. Anyone with a dream and a taste for solitude and itchy skin can come here, meditate, paddle slowly in a handmade canoe, or even dump a dead body if that’s the way you roll. This bog is a statement, shouting out to one and all “Embrace my low swirling mists, my dead plant material, my acidic peat, my possible accumulations of lingonberries---I am everything you want and nothing you expected!” The other great part about the bog? It’s the only one within thirteen hundred miles, so there’ll be absolutely no competitors to worry about.

Here’s the thing: I went a little bit over budget, so we may have to put our heads together on how we’re going to talk about the numbers to the board. I thought a bog with a gift shop would be a bog that could generate some income, but the guy we hired to run it---I don’t know, the way he pitched his business plan was just so convincing, the next thing I knew the place had forty full-time employees and a miniature golf course out back. I figured that attaching a restaurant would bring the thing back into some kind of architectural symmetry...I just didn’t know that a hotel would sort of organically grow out of it, kind of unnoticed. Still, the only bog in the world with a four-diamond hotel isn’t something you can put a price tag on. My problem at the moment is that a four-diamond hotel demands a four-diamond helipad, and no matter how we nuance the blueprints, Carsten Street simply has to go. So just close your eyes and press down on the plunger, will you? I’d do it myself, but it’s sort of outside my job description. I’m mainly about the nuts and bolts of the bog, not so much the demolition part. Tell you what, if you’re still on the fence about this, I’ll upend the plunger and you hold the thing by the base and sort of push it into the ground to set off the explosives; that way you can always claim “Hey, I didn’t touch the damn plunger, it was the earth itself which went to town on it.” Sound good?

I can see you’re still wavering, and I think I know what this is about. Do you not trust me because I wear this enormous black parka in ninety degree heat and have a tattoo reading DIE ISRAELITE on my forehead? I thought you weren’t like the others, Mr. Channing. Guess I was wrong.