It’s been a dog’s age since I been to one of these here public meetings. Usually I get enough of what Borin Word Follis is apt to call “pleasant social intercourse” just doing my job, pouring the coffee and dishing up the eggs as I watch who slinks into the Huddle House with who at 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and who slinks out when they see ‘em coming. Then, hell, if I really want the lowdown on your local intercourse I can always attend church services when I get off my shift. Ain’t no better way to pick up on who’s having the pleasant social with who than to go where the best gossips are at.
But Borin says I am to stay off gossip for today and just report on the meeting. She’s so bad disgusted with the local politics she don’t think she can do it no more. Borin, she ain’t figured out yet that you cain’t make folks do right. It upsets her when they lie and cheat and rat each other out. Me, I wouldn’t expect no less. There ain’t much I don’t hear. I waitress at a night place and I got a cousin and an aunt that do hair.
Well, Borin deserves a break I reckon. She’s been down at the mouth here lately with the flu though I ain’t noticed it’s made her no thinner, and God knows she ain’t getting any younger neither. Or I do anyway. Wears her hair like a teenager but if you lean in you can see where the dye lines are and figure up her age like counting tree rings.
Anyway there Borin was, tired and sick and getting long in the tooth, so she hired this snippy young missy from New York City who arrived wearing a cocky little white cap that went with her purse, which was also white. I could tell the first time I seen her she wasn’t going to have no respect for Borin, who is always turning up decked out in something like the rest of us use to wash our cars. Well, sure enough, Miss Snippy ups and points out that Borin is using a bungee cord as a belt. Now, Borin told me that without that cord her jeans kept slipping down her crack, her not having no waistline no more for them to settle into. Borin says, what’s worse, Charlene, a fat girl or a fat girl with plumber’s butt? And I reckon there is some justice in that.
But it wasn’t no good. Miss Snippy couldn’t please Borin with her reporting and Borin couldn’t please Miss Snippy with her clothes, so the next thing you know it’s the usual story and shots is fired.
Next Borin hired a famous writer named Ernie who was down on his luck. But he didn’t get interested in our local politics like Borin does. Instead he got depressed, drank a bottle of whiskey and shot hisself. Borin says a lot of good writers do that. If that’s true I reckon Borin will live forever.
Well, anyhow that’s how I got the honor of reporting on this meeting. There wasn't nobody else. “You’re observant, Charlene,” says Borin. “Just you pay attention to what goes on and write the important bits down. Anyhow it’s not like the bar around here is set that high—you’ll do as well as anybody else!”
“Thanks a lot,” says I, but I really did aim to do it. However, I didn’t get no further than the invocation before my mind commenced to wonder. I blame it on that commissioner who’d rather be a preacher, Gobby Rolf. Lordy, that man can pray! He clenches his eyes shut and he opens his mouth and off we go into the blue.
He started off asking for wisdom for the meeting tonight but then he reminded God about old Mrs. Smith that’s been so sick and asked if she could get better. Then he ticked off everybody that had died since last Easter and asked for peace for their souls and comfort for their families, which he named down to third cousins and in-laws. He moved on to those who serve in our nation’s military and from there to recent tragedies; and it was along about the time he’d worked back to the floods of 1853 I realized if I didn’t open my eyes I was fixin' to drift off. (I had just pulled a double shift.)
So I popped my peepers open and rolled 'em around at the other members of the audience. They all had their eyes shut and their mouths pursed up so pious, you'd think they was a bunch of God's angels come down to earth to keep us all safe from sin and suffering. Seeing them like that, of course, so sweet and innocent-looking, I couldn't help thinking which of them was sleeping with which of them's wife and who had gotten fired lately for embezzlement or...
Charlene. We talked about this. No gossip!
Gossip is for the ignorant and mean of spirit. We are journalists, you and I. We can do better than that.
Now, what are you doing sticking your beak in here? Why feed a dog if you want to do your own barking? Go back to your snot rags and crossword puzzles, hon. I got this.
[Hack] I guess you're right. But remember, Charlene: Stick to the facts. No gossip!
Dade Officials Come Together In Peace and Brotherhood
by Charlene Haney
Hmph. High and mighty, ain't we? This from somebody who reports on the quarterly Methodist Men's Luncheon. Not to be "mean of spirit" but I never seen Diane Sawyer wear no bungee to keep her pants up.
"Ignorant and mean of spirit," huh? There is some that might argue gossip is a science as complicated as anything old Borin ever studied up at the university in between guzzling Wednesday-night draft beer for a quarter and wiggling her butt at art majors. Why, my friend Wanda once told me a piece of gossip so complicated she had to draw me a diagram. I saved it, and here it is.
The initials, you see, are three couples who started off with each other, and the lines is drawn to indicate who each half of each couple married for their second wedding. It might seem like musical chairs to you but I reckon it was a happy ending because nobody ended up with nowhere to sit. But them six people and their carryings on is still confusing enough to me that I've hung onto the diagram to keep me straight. My point is, there is nothing ignorant about gossip, not if you are doing it right.
Then my eyes wandered on to my friend Ruthie. Well, her name ain't Ruthie and she ain't exactly my friend, but I'll call her that because I don't want her suing me. But what I was thinking is that if anybody ever drew a diagram about Ruthie's love life it would look more like this:
Charlene. I am listening. You are not to gossip. It is vile and unworthy of you. I will have no part of it in my newspaper.
Er, who is Ruthie?
You know Ruthie--with the long hair and the short skirt and the big boobs and the little red sports car she got by...
Oh, THAT's who you mean. Well! Not to quibble, but if I were going to draw a diagram of her love life, it would look more like this:
Listen. Ain't you supposed to be sick? Anyway I got an article to write here. Let me get back to it now!
Dade Officials Come Together In Peace and Brotherhood
by Charlene Haney
And that's another point I was fixin' to make about gossip. Everybody deplores it when other people do it but give 'em a chance to get their own lick in and just you try to stop 'em!
Actually, gossiping about your neighbors ain't all bad. For one thing, it shows that you have got a healthy interest in your fellow man and your fellow woman (and in what they are doing when they think you ain't watching). It is the opposite of apathy and I reckon that's something.
It can also provide the community with the same kind of pertinent, helpful information that The Planet is always strivin' to deliver to its readers. For instance, ain't it nice to know that since Gary Grabby broke up with his girlfriend, and they both of them went back to their long-sufferin' spouses, those of you who enjoy strolling in the cemetery can get back to it any old time you like, instead of avoiding it between noon and one so as not to catch nobody thrashing among the headstones without their britches on?
And I reckon, too, that my news today that the scales has finally fell from Monty Maven's eyes, and he has recognized his young bride as the brazen, gold-digging slut she is, will be real helpful to that crowd of you other brazen, gold-digging sluts that is always trying to cozy up to Monty and his money.
And speaking of sluts, I bet Fannie Jones's backdoor man will be real tickled to know Fannie's husband got locked up again for forgery so the key is back under the mat.
And if that ain't performing a community service, I don't know what is.
All right. All right. I cede the point. But we do have an article to write here. All I ask is that you confine your gossip to the elected officials sitting in the joint meeting. Otherwise we'll never get out of here! Didn't you once tell me we've got one moonshiner on the commission and another that can lap it up as fast as the other can churn it out? Didn't you also tell me ....
BANG! BANG! BANG!
End Note: Gentle Readers, this concludes the April 1, 2019, edition of The Dade Planet. Thanks to the government-aligned vigilantes who raided The Planet's office to keep truth from outing, there is no one left to write it.
If you would like to commemorate the valiant attempts of this brave little newspaper in the cause of truth, justice and the America Way, perhaps a fitting way to do so would be to change your Facebook image to the solidarity-showing words: "Je suis Le Planète."
Or you could, you know, just drink a beer to freedom of the press or something, get involved in local politics, name your next dog Charlene....
One way or the other, happy April Fool's Day!