Friday, August 28, 2009
Governor Mark Sanford called it quits in the world of politics recently, and while most thought he'd run off to Argentina, or at least leave the state, Spartanburg has received him with open arms since he announced his decision to move here and open up a junkyard with his illegitimate son Lamont. He kept the existence of this eldest son a secret all these years due to his political ambitions, and because Lamont's mother, Elizabeth, was never married to Sanford.
"I'm really happy pops and I are going to be living and working together." Lamont said, sitting on the bumper of the old flatbed work truck, which they use for their recently purchased junk yard on California avenue and Howard street in Spartanburg. "I've always been very proud of my old man, and we've got a lot of catching up to do. I'm really looking forward to making up for all those years where all I could do was just read about him and his political career, never getting to see him."
Lamont's mother passed away in 1993, and he went to live with his aunt Esther and uncle Woodrow here in town. "That Sanford is a no good heathen snake for doing what he did to that wife and those young'uns of his." declared Esther. "The Lord will surely strike him down, if he decides to get his almighty hands dirty." she continued. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and it looks like he's done givin' to that no good sucka."
Just as she had said those words, Sanford himself came around the corner and piped in, "Back in your cave you old bat!!" He shouted, "Don't listen to that old crocodile. She's a fish head eatin' ol' slimy snake."
"You're the fish-eyed old fool." Esther shouted back, "..you heathen."
Lamont stood up and tried to calm things down at that point, "Pops, settle down. Aunt Esther, pops is tryin' to do the right thing here, starting fresh, right pops?" to Sanford's reply, "Yeah son, first thing I'm gonna do tomorrow morning is freshen up, and then put up an electric fence. That might keep Godzilla here out, it worked in the movies." speaking of Esther. "Anything to keep her scaly lizard behind outta our junk yard."
Lamont then asked, "Pops, do you always have to attack aunt Esther like this?"
"Yeah." replied Sanford. "Until they find some kinda cure for her."
Esther then said, "Well I never." as she started walking to her car.
"Well maybe you should." quipped Sanford. "You big Dummy!"
After that the interview was basically over. Sanford was agitated to the point where answering any of my questions was, well, out of the question, and Lamont was trying to calm him down with little success. A shocking moment soon followed where Sanford thought he was having a heart attack, shouting, "This is the big one!! I'm coming to join you Elizabeth! This is it!" revealing how much love he had for his mistress from his other affair, long ago with Lamont's mother.
It's kind of a sad story, and a happy one, all in one. A father and son reunited, all because of a nationally publicized political scandal of adultery, and the case of a dad totally ruining fathers day for his other kids, on an epic scale. It really is like a crazy case of karma. Esther delivering the wrath for his misdeeds, while his time with his son making the balance complete. Such vast extremes for a golden mean, and all that junk.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
On the outskirts of Spartanburg county, the area known as Pauline has been the home of a strange and yet small eccentric bunch. Damien Crowley, cult leader and owner of the Morning Star church and crematorium, has been working overtime in anticipation for this past Thursday, when he was certain the end was nigh.
"I've been forsaken, by my overlords and underlings both." A distraught Damien confided this evening, "The only thing I can figure is the real 09/20/09 hasn't come yet. The Gregorian calendar must be flawed."
The once lively underground temple of the group is now a virtual ghost town. As many as 65 people gave away all their material wealth to live in little shacks and tents in the woods, behind the huge storage building that housed Crowley and his crematorium equipment. All his followers had said their goodbyes to one another by Friday morning, and some have already hired lawyers to sue Crowley.
"He was like a father, a mother, a brother, and a dirty minded uncle all in one." said an ex-cult member who wishes to remain anonymous. "We were all certain at the stroke of midnight the aliens would come down and swoop us up in their psychedelic spaceships, and then we'd be planet hopping, traveling from one space party to the next. When nothing happened at midnight we were more then willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and wait, but the hours just kept going by."
Damien convincingly held firm at his podium for hours, but his momentum reportedly slacked up around four that morning.
"We didn't have any beer at that point," explained another ex-cultist, "..hell, we thought we'd be halfway across the galaxy by then, so some of the group went on a beer run but they never came back. Needless to say we were all getting restless, and Crowley was having a breakdown."
The group dispersed little by little, some excusing themselves to the bathroom and never returning, while others stormed out making a scene.
"Man, you should have seen it, I jumped up and said, I'm not gonna do what you think I'm gonna do, and flip out! man," another ex-cult member said, waving his arms wildly in the air, describing his revolt towards the leader after several hours had past and no spaceships had landed. "I then said to the entire group, but all I wanna know is who's coming with me? Everyone was dumbfounded, but my friend Jan finally said she would, after declaring herself a lesbian."
"I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't gonna be his girlfriend, is why I said that." remarked Jan. "Damien was kind of a weird dude anyway, and living in the woods sucked."
The group has disbanded and Crowley is left alone in his storage building, a shell of his former self. "I'll figure out what went wrong, and they'll be sorry for leaving once I'm on Pluto doing keg stands." A distraught Crowley mumbled after I asked him simply, what now?
"I'll probably move away, sell my crematorium equipment, start over, join another emo band I guess. I have some calendars to study, to figure out when the real 09/20/09 is gonna catch up to us. It was a pretty good end of the world party though, just because the world didn't end shouldn't matter really. As long as everyone had a good time, that's what should be important."
Monday, August 10, 2009
Outraged parents and community members alike gathered outside the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium Sunday to protest what they thought to be a rancorous display of sin and debauchery after the Herald Journal and several other media outlets ran an ad promoting a "Cornhole" event for that day.
"How were we to know it's just a sport." commented Gene Dillard, who said he'd hoped to yell scripture versus at participants as they entered and left the building. "What else was I to think 'cornholin' meant?"
Joan Dillard, a 3rd grade teacher and active church member said, "I had made all sorts of delicious brownies and muffins to give to the sinners. I hoped to let them know that Jesus loves them, and they still have a chance at eternal happiness if they just repent their sinful ways and except Jesus Christ into their hearts as lord and savior. Then I found out it's just some football tailgate party, horseshoe game, so I took my treats and went home. It was kinda disappointing."
The organizer of the Cornhole sporting event, Ryan Keith, was puzzled when he saw protesters starting to gather hours before things got underway. "I thought they were out there protesting something the police station across the street did or something, or maybe something to do with the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop next door." He remarked, "I was so busy preparing for the event inside I didn't give it much thought really."
Finally, after hours of the crowd getting worked up, an arriving Cornhole participant explained it was all a misunderstanding over the protesters snarls and shouts, and the announcement was made. So many people were confused by the advertisements bearing the name of the sport a huge crowd had gathered by that point, all speculating as to what the event was really about.
"I don't mind them doing what they do in the privacy of their own home, but don't flaunt it in my face. Certainly don't make a sport out of it!" commented a protester before the announcement was made.
"It must be like some sorta Greco-Roman wrestling, and hog-tying match is all I can figure." exclaimed one aged man, and "Save your soul, no cornhole" was the chant that finally prompted a participant of the sporting event to explain the misunderstanding.
Following the announcement the angry mob dispersed after several minutes of confusion, leading some to a chuckle with relief, while leaving others disappointed.
"We had really hoped to convert some sinners into our flock today." said local minister Frederick Banks. "Finding out most of these sportsmen are good Christian folk already kinda screws up my afternoon, I could be on the golf course right now."
It's good to report on a protest with a happy ending, and despite the misunderstand and confusion it created, the Cornhole event went on as planned. For a new locally organized sport on the rise, it sure has created quite a stir with townsfolk from all over the area, and all walks of life.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
PPPN's "Where Are They Now?" - Local Disgruntled Waffle House Cook that Regreted Postponing Culinary School
When we last heard from Bobby Ringo he was having a tough week. His wife took his son and moved into her new lovers house, Bobby's ex-best friend Chuck's place. Bobby was hit with a notice that he'd now be paying child support, he was evicted from his apartment, his car was breaking down, and his hours were cut drastically by his hateful teenage boss at the local Waffle House where he worked.
Unless you don't own a TV, or simply don't watch the news, or maybe live in a cave where you never see another soul who happens to watch the news, then you're probably familiar with Bobby's bizarre local criminal trial that followed.
After kidnapping his ex-best friend Chuck and leaving him in the basement of an old abandoned factory downtown, his leg chained to the wall with a rusted hacksaw within reach, he didn't expect Chuck, now confined to a wheelchair, to press charges afterwords.
Bobby explains, "I figured he knew what he did was wrong, the police wouldn't do anything about it, so I took the law into my own hands. The cops don't like it when you do that though, come to find out."
There were video cameras set up at various locations in the downtown warehouse, apparently linked to Bobby's video control room, located a few miles away.
"I was just really mad, ya know? I mean hell, my whole world came crashing down in a matter of a week. I was lashing out, and he seemed to be the most obvious target at the time."
The cops soon found Bobby and hauled him to prison. The court case made national news and he was sentenced to life without parole. Bobby was distraught in jail, he had never stayed locked up for more then a few days after a DUI. He soon found a way to brighten up his life though when he applied to be a cook inside the big house.
"Now I'm doing what I love again, and I'm the happiest I've been in years. I don't have to worry about paying any bills, there's no bill collectors calling constantly in here, and I get plenty of sleep and reading in everyday."
Aside from the typical downsides of being in jail, the beatings, the gang rapes, Bobby loves his new found life. Although bad things happen on the inside still, he tells me now he doesn't think it's going to be so bad, at least until his new best friend Bubba is released.
"I'm somebodies bitch."
So his sex life has taken a turn for the worse, even though before it was nonexistent. He spends most of his day in the kitchen, cooking for the hundreds of prisoners at any given time in Spartanburg County's correctional facility.
"It somehow gives meaning to me being in here. I feel if I only brighten up one persons day by flavoring the food to the best of my ability, using what little seasonings and ingredients I have to work with in here, it makes it all worth while."
Bobby will bounce back a better man for all of this, I'm sure. One day, many years from now, maybe he can someday still get around to going to culinary school, and be a chef on that cruise boat like he always dreamed.
"It's not likely that they'd hire convicted felons, but maybe I could work in the cafeteria of a local school. I'd make sure the kids know not to take the summer off to postpone college after they graduate high school, that's for sure."
The west side of Spartanburg, it is said, has been overrun with big chain stores, and corporate franchises much to the dismay of some local grassroots enthusiasts. For those that still take the initiative to support locally owned businesses, there is one more addition to their list of homegrown shops.
Local entrepreneur, Ben Stevens, recently opened up a shop on W.O. Ezell with a unique theme. He hopes to compete with the big name stores with the help of locally minded folks here in town. His 'inconvenience store' is probably unlike any other you've ever seen. Boasting the lowest prices in town, we caught up with him yesterday where he explained how he maintains such bargains.
"Seeing how it's an inconvenience store, lowering the expectations of service allows me to cut corners and pass the savings along to the customers. This way I can stay competitive with corporate chains." explains Stevens. "For instance, we sell bags of ice for almost half the price of our competitors, the only thing is you have to go into our freezer and hack away at a block the size of a car, and bag it yourself."
When asked to elaborate on what else is unique about his store, Stevens replied, "The price of cigarettes have skyrocketed this year, but ours are always less then a dollar. Although we're sure not to have your brand, or any brand you've probably ever heard of for that matter, it's just another way to pass along the savings."
After hearing that their store keeps their gas prices under two dollars a gallon, I was eager to hear how that was possible from Stevens. "It's simple." he replied, "We have hand levers located on the side of each of the gas pumps. It takes a little longer to fill up, but other then a few cases of over exertion and heat exhaustion this summer, people are thrilled to be saving money on what is probably their biggest expense."
When asked what is the most common complaint heard from customers, Stevens thought for a few moments and said, "Well, seeing how the entire shop is totally inconvenient, as in, you have to walk up three flights of stairs to enter the store, the front doors are extremely heavy and it usually takes two people to pull them open, our shelves inside are really high and customers have to climb a rickety old step ladder to get their stuff, which are not brand names and usually out of date, but one of the most common complaints I've heard, aside from the fact that our drinks are always warm, and there is no air conditioning in the store, is the excessive waits customers have to go through, taking a number and waiting for the cashier to decide when to finally ring them up. Another, I guess, is the Kenny G blaring through the store's inside and outside speakers 24/7, but sometimes we play it backwards, which makes it sound even worse."
I was wondering if all this was really worth the savings being passed on to the public, to which Stevens was quick to reply. "What choice do people have, they can always take their business elsewhere and get taken for all they've got, supporting 'the evil corporations' and all. In case you haven't noticed, prices are rising everyday. I think even with the inconvenience of the place, we are sure to have a steady clientele for a very long time, if for nothing else, then because people can't afford shopping elsewhere, and it's fun to see people suffer." Taken back by his last remark, I asked him if he was some sort of sadomasochist or something, to which he laughed and said, "Could be, I haven't thought about it that way, but our security cameras throughout the place are always recording, and I plan on making a compilation of the best reactions of the customers. The internet has opened up a whole new market for people suffering on film. I'll just edit in that Benny Hill theme song, and it'll bring in a little extra cash on the side, and that's always a good thing."
Ben Stevens' inconvenience store might have an inconvenienced clientele, but it seems his strange methods of passing along savings is a solid plan, possibly to be mimicked by other faltering locally run shops. If you plan on swinging through to save some money though, please make sure you have at least an hour to kill. Between literally pumping your own gas, hiking up a virtual mountain of rickety stairs, and waiting for the clerk to check you out at their convenience, you're bound to be late for wherever you're headed.
"I'd just like to add that we now are selling chicken in the store." Stevens bolstered. "You'll have to cook it yourself though, and you'll find it adds to the already sweltering temperature of the establishment, but it's only a dollar. You won't find lunch that cheap anywhere else in town, that's for sure."
So as prices rise along with unemployment, and the worth of our money plummets, you too may find yourself in Stevens' inconvenience store, sitting there for what may seem an eternity, listening to Kenny G, and hoping the clerk will eventually come back and call out your number.
Stevens' inconvenience store is open Monday through Friday, 4am, till 4pm. Mention you heard about their establishment from this article and receive a ten percent discount on everything in the store. Happy shopping.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Hollywild Animal park, in northwest Spartanburg county, is preparing to welcome possibly its most famous addition to date. Known for housing some of the most famous creatures that have ever been in television and movies, the parks Cinema Animal Talent agency often provides rare and unusual animals for film productions, commercials and special events.
Some of their more recognizable critters include Tank, the only celebrity white rhino in the US, the monkeys from the Pipi Longstockings film, and the Zebra from that B-52's music video.
The Hollywild staff has been especially aflutter with excitement this week making preparations for its newest and brightest celebrity star, Grover, from the iconic television series Sesame Street.
"Grover's is a sad story of sorts" Dennis Hodges, operation supervisor of the park explains. "This is virtually a last resort for the once thriving megastar. After traveling the country for years, having some of the greatest adventures ever documented on prime time TV, and with a long history of theatrical performance, he has agreed to join the Hollywild family as a court mandated condition of his extended probation."
Two years ago, you may remember Grover being in the news facing charges of fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement on a massive scale. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for a ponzi scheme that made ENRON look like nothing more then a bounced check. His fame allegedly granted him insider access with New York's mafia crime syndicate, Mexico's most elite drug cartels, and even some of the top bankers at the Vatican in Rome. He was virtually a kingpin in an international conspiracy the likes of which has never been seen in history.
I asked Mr. Hodges what special preparations are being made for Grover's arrival that he can share with us. "Well, something new that may take some getting used to for visitors is the presence of armed guards around the perimeter of the park, and the security checkpoints with metal detectors that are being set up as well." he said. "It's just a precautionary measure, we don't really expect any trouble out of him."
When asked about the looming guard towers and electric razor wire being installed, Hodges had this to say. "It may seem like a little much at first, but we feel we can still maintain a suitable family environment for our visitors to feel comfortable, but mainly they'll know that they are safe and secure under the watchful eye of multi-jurisdictional task force agents patrolling the grounds."
When asked exactly what kind animal Grover is, Hodges shrugged his shoulders and said, "Beats me, all I know is he's sure to bring in business by the busload. We're thrilled to have him aboard."
Grover will do three performances a day in his indefinite stay at Hollywild, entertaining children and adults alike. Every Saturday he will be teaching classes on the art of mime and making balloon animals, and Sundays he is expected to perform a special three hour show which will vary from week to week, showcasing his own creative talents.
"We think it's important to keep him busy working on his art, that way he has less time to conjure up schemes which may include any sort of criminal activity." Hodges added. "Of course, we'll be monitoring him 24/7, especially when he interacts with the children. Guards will always be an earshot away, prepared to use lethal force if necessary."
So pack a picnic lunch, or plan on dining at one of the Hollywild concession complexes. The kids will be thrilled to see the lovable Grover in the flesh, or fuzz rather. Be sure to leave cellphones, cameras, video or audio recording devices of any kind at home, and anything that could possibly be mistaken for a weapon. Come out with the kids and plan on having a great time at the newly renovated Hollywild Animal Park. You'll be glad you did.
When Bobby Ringo graduated from Dorman High School he had big dreams of becoming a culinary legend. He took that following summer off rather then going straight to college, met a girl, and moved into an apartment downtown where they had the time of their lives partying and living what seemed to be the good life. They soon discovered they were to be parents, so Bobby found a job at the local Waffle House to make ends meat, temporarily postponing his dreams in order to start a family.
That was four years ago. Bobby's dream is still alive in his heart, but further out of reach then ever. "I should be making fillet mignon on a cruise ship halfway to the Caribbean by now, instead I'm stuck here making waffles and patty melts for drunk truckers at 3am every night."
Despite his attempts to put money aside for culinary classes at Spartanburg technical college, life has had a funny way of surprising him with little expenses. The wife's wardrobe, his son's health insurance, DUI's, bills have a tendency of piling up for Bobby.
"I'm up to my eyeballs in debt, my wife is addicted to pain pills, and my son loves Sponge Bob but won't give his old man the time of day, but who's complaining. Life is great. Sometimes I think I should start working at the gas station, at least then there's the possibility someone might rob the place and shoot me dead."
Bobby likes to kid around, but he knows he has it made. His wife TiVo's the race for him every Sunday when he has to work late, his best friend Chuck has a boat where they go fishing on their days off, and Bobby and his family enjoy the finest view of Spartanburg from their seventh floor apartment in the Skyler building downtown.
"The view is great, you have a point there. Sometimes I wish I could afford a gun so I could go on a sniper killing spree before jumping to my death, leaving this shit-hole of a world behind."
Sure, things could have worked out differently for Bobby in the long run. There is a lot to be said for the quiet life though, making an honest living in a small town, and raising a loving family.
"Day after day I come home smelling like hashbrowns and sausage. The wife and I hardly talk anymore, unless she's yelling about bill collectors calling, and my boss is a teenage retard that likes to belittle me in front of the customers. I need that job though if I wanna make rent every month, living paycheck to paycheck."
This past week has been especially tough for Bobby. He discovered his wife is having an affair with his best friend Chuck, they cut his hours at work, and he received an eviction notice and a summons to family court for denial of custody and an issuance of child support for his son. To top things off, his transmission is going out in his car, and it's starting to burn when he pees.
"I don't know where I'm gonna go, what I'm gonna do. My life is ruined. I should have never took that summer off after high school!!"
Tune in next time for the dramatic conclusion. Will Bobby check into a shelter? Take up heavy drinking again? Join the army? Go on a killing spree? These answers and more, in our next installment of, "Bobby Ringo, the local disgruntled Waffle House cook that regrets postponing culinary school."
Saturday, August 1, 2009
As we've reported over the last several days, disaster has struck the typically quaint and quiet little town of Boiling Springs, located within Spartanburg County. In our last update we brought to you an exclusive photo of one of the 'killer kudzu' monsters on a rampage in the Sonic Drive-in parking lot, located on Highway 9. We are relieved to report the national guard says the leafy beasts have been burnt and destroyed, and order is soon to be restored in the community.
"We lost a lot of fine men in this battle." said 1st class Sargent Bailey in the much awaited press conference that had been rescheduled for today. "At first we thought it was a hopeless situation. Our artillery shells would cut right through them, and nothing seemed to slow them down. Luckily we had a well trained flamethrower squad on hand. Fire seemed to be the only thing that worked, even though it was a slow and tedious process, as they were very green, and the recent rains these past few days hindered our progress significantly."
The mad scientist that was believed to be responsible for the creation of the genetically lethal strand of kudzu has been found. After several hours of waterboarding and other forms of 'interrogation' Dr. Emmit Brown is believed to be innocent of all charges.
"He maintained his innocence through extreme questioning, and even after we waterboarded the hell out of him he swore he wasn't involved still." Lieutenant Herald Carny said in a brief statement today. "I had my doubts, but after we made him listen to several hours of Vanilla Ice's heavy metal album and he still claimed to be innocent, I knew we had the wrong guy. In all my years of service to my country, I know that no one can take that kind of abuse and still not confess.
As business and homeowners are slowly let back into the area, some left with nothing but a leafy pile of rubble where their homes once stood, all that's left to do is pick up the pieces.
"It's all gone, my whole life was in that house." said Patricia Blanchard, homeowner and mother of two sons.
Her youngest son, Mathew, cried out with a whimper, "My X-box, my Nintendo Wii, even my DVD collection, it's all gone!" As mother and son embraced, he asked with a sob, "Are we even going to be able to get internet access now mom? Mom!?!" ..to her reply, "I don't know son, I just don't know."
The carnage strikes deep in this once peaceful suburban community. A candle light vigil is planed in memory of the fallen soldiers who've lost their lives fighting against the terrorist weed that wreaked havoc on the town. Nearby schools are preparing to except local students from the area, and local officials are hoping federal assistance will relieve some of the burdens of rebuilding local infrastructure.
"At least the Wal-Mart is still standing." said one optimistic resident, Walt Petit, as he walked down the once thriving communities main road, highway 9. "First thing I'm doing is buying all the weed killer they got. We're gonna start a gardeners militia, and make sure this never happens again."
It's sure to be a long and drawn out process to get things back to normal, and many residents are bound to pick up and start over elsewhere. Some though, like Michael Kerring, a lifelong resident who grew up here, has no plans of going anywhere. "This place is all I know. I'm gonna start me an asphalt company and turn this whole town into a parking lot. I plan on raising my kids here, and I'll see to it this never happens to them."
Mixed emotions rule in the community. Ranging from despair to hope, fear to anger. All justified, all tragic. Life will go on for this small community though, if only one day at a time. Folks here will learn what it means to have to rely on neighbors, and depend on each other. Hopefully out of this tragedy the town will bounce back stronger and more headstrong then ever, taking their fate into their own hands, and truly being thankful for their fellow citizens kind hearts, and helping hands.
Tired of not getting paid enough for being objectified by men, strippers at Bob's Strip Club in Una-Saxon/Arcadia took to the streets in protest today. Spectators and photographers gathered at the club, some in support of the girls efforts, and some just to gawk at the scantly clad females.
The short burst of rain earlier didn't hinder onlookers from arriving, apparently it encouraged it, explains longtime dancer Kiki Bottoms. "It was totally fantastic, at first we thought, 'oh no!' but then we realized it was like a spontaneous wet T-shirt contest, everyone loved it!" When asked what exactly it is that she is protesting she said, "Oh, you know, men are such scumbags, and they're really cheap these days. They go on and on about their stupid wives and their stupid jobs, and I'm like, gawd, I don't get paid enough for this."
When I inquired what the owner of the bar thought about it all, dancer Dixie Trix got me up to speed. "Bob was killed by one of his girls a few years ago. I've heard he had it coming though. The sleazebag was shot with his own gun in one of the private rooms. His nephew runs the place now, but he lives in Vegas. I've only seen him a few times, and I've been here almost a year."
I wondered how the daily business was run if the proprietor was gone all the time, but seasoned dancer, Ilene Dover, was kind enough to explain. "We're basically an anarcho-independent collective, on the first and third week of the month we rotate out lead council for minor decisions, but all major decisions must be put to a vote and agreed to by 3/4ths of the bi-weekly trust members." To my reply that it sounded very complicated she was quick to say, "Not really, we just shake our tits and asses and men throw money at us. There really isn't much more to it then that."
I spent a moment talking with Lexxxi Luv, who was holding a sign that read, 'Equality & $$$$' and chanting with the others, 'You gotta pay to play or hell no we won't show!!' When asked what message she was trying to convey she said, "I'm tired of guys who only come in on BYOB night, when it's free admission, and not paying us girls anything. I've been stiffed so many times, it's really a pain in the ass, and we've had enough!"
"It's like a football tailgate party down here today." said spectator, and regular customer Hank Burns. "I called up my buddies from the bowling league, they're coming down when they get off work, bringing a video camera. We're gonna put this on youtube, hell yeah."
One thing's for certain, this is bound to bring business in from all over the county for the girls. In these hard economic times when belts are tight, these girls know how to loosen up a crowd of beer guzzling men and make them forget about their troubles. One of the most entertaining protests this reporter has ever seen, although the reasons are kinda vague, everyone is having a great time.
The Spartanburg Area Regional Transit Authority has recently announced their elderly driver employment program, hiring senior citizens to drive their Sparta buses within the city. After a two week training program, some 30 applicants have been narrowed down to seven drivers, all over the age of 75.
"We here at Sparta think this is a great way for our community elders to see that we care." says Sandra Gambino, spokeswomen of the local transit authority. "We understand how hard it is for them to get by on the meager budget that a social security check provides, and considering they probably have been driving since before most of us were born, we feel they are more then qualified. We're thrilled to help those that wish to come out of retirement to find gainful employment."
Ester Reno, one of the new elderly drivers, was available for comment, "When I was a little girl my daddy would let me steer while he worked the pedals. We had cars with cranks on the front back in them days." When asked how she felt about keeping the fairly punctual schedule that the Sparta buses are known for she replied, "I may have Alzheimer's, but at least I don't have Alzheimer's."
Another of the new drivers I was able to catch up with is Angus Byron, an 82 year old war veteran from Clifton. "I drove a tank back in WW2, I killed'em all at Normandy. I love driving, it keeps my mind off of all the killing I've seen." When asked if the two week training program was a challenge for him, he had this to say, "We mostly sat around and shared pictures of the grandkids. The teachers were doing their own thing, and they'd just let us know when it was time to go home." Shocked, I asked him if they did any actual driving in the training sessions. "Well, they showed us the buttons and switches and all, said we'd figure it out. I didn't have my specs on that day, but it reminded me of my ol' Lady Snake, which was what I named my tank back in the war."
I got back in touch with Sandra Gambino at the transit authority and asked if these drivers were really prepared for driving buses of unsuspecting passengers around the city. "They'll do fine." she said, "They may scrape a curb or two at first, but it'll work itself out. We're up for an award with all this, and a hefty grant, which will allow us to refurnish all of our offices, so don't screw this up for us kiddo, capiche?"
After a scowling look, and explaining that maybe this article wasn't the kind of press this project needed, Gambio called security and had me escorted from the building. It's this reporters sincerest hopes that no 'accidents' will befall him after the release of this article. I do hope the people of Spartanburg take care in keeping an eye out for these buses as they travel through the city, and pray for all the pedestrians on foot.