Officer Alex’s tales of a certain festival down by the river
If you are reading this in the form of a hard copy on the weekend it is published, it may already be too late for me. For you. For us all.
I’m typing this from a bunker below the reassuring weight of the Olgiati Bridge, but the concrete is being steadily weakened by a steady influx of stale beer, hot Powerade, and fetid urine.
I send my men out after dark to gather supplies, but we are only four days into it and spirits are low. Hanrahan over there is trying to erect a solar sail to generate power for our life support systems, and we pretend to have high hopes for its success…but we all know the unspoken truth: It’s just a fool’s errand to keep doomed hands occupied. Once they find out the funnel cake supplies are critically low…God forgive me, but I just don’t have the guts to tell them, the poor sots.
Because working Riverbend is bad enough.
If you are off-site, it’s not too late, you know. It’s out there, maybe just outside your restaurant’s window, or down the street (or on your shoes). And if you’re not sure? There are signs.
Look, and you will see people slinging lawn chairs over their shoulders like an occupying army slinging long guns, and instead of belts of ammunition they have bandoliers of airplane liquor bottles hidden all over their persons in hopes of saving a few bucks (when we know good and well that all they’re really doing is converting each illicit ounce of booze into pure domestic violence).
Shirtless people in droves, covered only by the errant neck or full-sleeve tattoo. A man on crutches wearing black socks. Someone appearing to “get their shine on” or daring to wear a rebel flag T-shirt for this brief “Purge”-like week.
You will see the public spanking of children and observe what are clearly drunken men who are for once not vagrants. And inevitably, you’ll see someone entering the grounds on the second day determined to get their money’s worth out of those tickets but not their sunscreen, because they’re already sporting what should be sunburns requiring hospitalization.
An airplane in the sky toting a large red-lettered message may distract you from a bleached-blond girl in a fistfight, but rest assured those are all signs, too. And females wearing “Daisy Dukes” shorts and cowboy boots? They will be covering the festival grounds like bison once covered the Great Plains: As far as the eye can see.
There is no rhyme or reason for what’s happening around us. Just today a woman smashed into three separate police cars parked on a back street because she left a local emergency room with both arms bandaged and injected with some unidentified chemical at the shoulders, then looked positively baffled when it turns out both arms are required to drive (preferably) in this great state, not to mention having a valid driver’s license. And that was off-site.
I can hear them just outside the blast doors. The “Hey watch this!” cries getting increasingly louder, meaning it’s time to check on them, the scent of Krystals already heavy in the air…
It’s all about the talent on the stages, folks. They are why you’re here and in turn, you are why we are here, but if push comes to shove, don’t ever leave the bunker. Just listen? I wonder if Hanrahan’s solar sail is going to work. You think?
I gotta get out of here. Damn you, funnel cakes.
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center.