Character: Police station clerk
Action: Tightening a knot
Setting: A meeting for a subversive group
Prop: Decorative songbirds made from vinyl records
Occupy the Bacon
by Bob Ferguson
The tragedy of lightening is that it strikes randomly. It never punishes the deserving. Have you ever heard of lightening striking an “idiot congressman?” As Mark Twain, said “…but repeat myself.” That was the view held by Angus Thornberry, a cop who walked the “Old Town” beat until a quirky accident, changed his life.
While walking his night shift, a bicyclist riding a “fixie,” the type of bike with no gears, no brakes, and no brains, slammed into him. The rider’s thick helmet crashed into his cranium giving Angus a concussion. Like many other cops, Angus filed for the “golden disability parachute.” His reputation suffered when he claimed to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shortly after taking acting classes.
Angus’ brain injury was minor, but career wise, it was catastrophic. Angus had become allergic to the “bacon maple bars” at Voo Doo Donuts. He could no longer order their world famous, bacon maple bar without becoming nauseous. While standing in the long line to order this epicurean delight he had been keeping an eye on the back room meetings of a subversive group labeled the FBMBS, Free Bacon Maple Bar Society. Their dastardly plot was to coerce Voo Doo Donuts into accepting food stamps for their awesome maple bar concoctions.
While Angus’ attorney, Sue Early deliberated with the union about his disability, he was determined to work until his claim was settled. He transferred to another precinct and became a police clerk. At the heart of the claim was how much money he deserved for a donut disorder and his nebulous, PTSD.
The next year, Sue won Angus $60 million from the helmet company of the fixie rider for its dangerous design. He would also receive tax free disability payments of $200,000 per year from the Public Employees Retirements System. Angus now enjoyed being a one percent fat cat. He had been through 3 years at the Portland Police Bureau and at 29 years of age he felt entitled to an opulent retirement. He would protect his property values, by ridding Portland of its panhandlers and any unsavory denizens that crossed his path. They would move on or be roughed up by his goons while the police turned a blind eye. He had placed an imaginary noose around his assumed part of the city and would tighten the knot until the last of unsavory characters moved on.
The FBMBS movement gathered steam. During good weather, large groups would occupy city parks with their signs, dogs, and disdain for the wealthy. On rainy days, smaller groups huddled in the heated bus shelters. Like most well meaning protestors, they were docile until they got stirred up by “extremists.” Angus would direct his ire at these vitriol spewing agitators.
Angus began with a campaign against “bikes with no brakes.” It passed by a wide margin. Oregon is a Nanny state. At the Saturday market a vendor named Ruby sold clever song birds made from vinyl records. He branded her as illiterate for using the revered platters of Elvis Presley. He wasn’t totally heartless. He actually liked the twisting of a few spinners of the Beasty Boys into something that looked like the Maltese Falcon. But the insult to Elvis was too much and he used his unreasonable influence to bar her from the market.
Angus thought he was the biggest man in town. He lived in the top penthouse of the tallest condo building with a 360 degree view. He owned many the buildings that cast their flickering lights onto the night landscape. When he looked at Mt. Hood he could only think of his many business interests along the way to the slopes. He hosted frequent galas on his expansive, top of the building veranda. He was the top dog.
Angus Thornberry had been a good cop his first year. He often helped many homeless get what they needed on a cold night. But when he began forcing them to the Couv, they all agreed it wasn’t the concussion that changed him, it was the money. Greed had consumed Angus. He filled his coffers by legal, but unethical means. He alienated everyone he had ever known. His selfish ruthlessness knew no bounds. He was the epitome of ten of Dickens’ Scrooges.
While standing on his palatial rooftop looking at a Blue Moon Angus was struck by lightning that burst forth from a single cloud. A Youtube recording captured the thunder clap that sounded ominously like a voice saying “You really beaked me off!” The video anomaly has been compared to seeing Jesus in a potato chip. Others believe it was an answer to prayers.
Only the funeral director attended the service. He held a strange sympathy card in his hand. He read it to an empty room. “Thank you for creating such publicity about my vinyl Elvis song birds. I can’t keep them in stock at the Pearl Works Art Gallery. I rephrased these words from my Mark Twain collection, “I’m sorry I didn’t attend your funeral, but I approve of it.” Ruby.
© 2012 Bob Ferguson