Thursday, March 13, 2008


It’s the sort of play that demands a neutral palette. It’s serious not colorful.

When it goes to the big screen it will be in black and white.

Like Twelve Angry Men, On the Waterfront, To Kill a Mockingbird, In Cold Blood, it definitely demands black and white. I already see the stark, hard-edged trailer exploding off the screen.

In the used-to-be-rural hamlet of Omelet, named after an historic egg joint which remains to this day the major source of “foreign exchange,” local politics is mostly a no-sweat, low-cost endeavor.

The neighboring hamlet, called Sally Sue, is named after its own main commercial endeavor, a bordello.

Because of their proximity, Omelet became a euphemism for Sallie Sue, which allowed “Omelet” to serve as an intransitive verb. Thus, if a man tells his wife he’s “going to Omelet” it could mean he’s gonna eat, or maybe he’s gonna have sex.

Locals enjoy the ambiguity and love to discuss what goes into a really good omelet.

Yep, folks in these parts have an easy going sense of humor.

Except, once every five years, they have to paint what they’ve come to call sarcastically, “the courthouse,” which, for all its shack-shambletude, is the only improvement on Omelet’s only publicly-owned property.

Besides painting, the effort usually includes minor landscaping (weed removal) and miscellaneous repairs. It’s Omelet’s biggest expenditure, and coming only every five years is paid for by a special tax, which kind of gets the residents’ attention.

The process of creating the contract, appropriating the funds, and choosing contractors has been so contentious in the past that old timers have pet names for it.

They used to call it The Lottery, after the short story.

Then, in the 1950s they started calling it To Serve Man.

In the 1970’s they called it Woodstock, which evolved into Woodburn, until these days it’s simply The Burn.

You’ll find omelets with these names on the menu at the hamlet’s famous diner, also called Omelet.

So, it’s 2008, and it’s time to paint the courthouse.

The factions and issues are lined up.

-Employ illegal aliens/undocumented workers?
-Contractor provides domestic partner benefits?
-Use higher priced, experimental, eco-friendly paint?
-Bike racks!
-Sell the property to Starbucks and lease-back meeting room space.
-Let “Old Henry” do it. He needs the money.
-Female contractors!
-Union workers!
-Non-union workers!
-What about birds?
-Let’s get a defibrillator.
-Feng shui!

Anyway, the exact issues don’t matter, they merely serve as scalpels to reveal the human interior, from funny to ugly.

Will there be fistfights, as usual?

Could tragedy strike?

Will the courthouse get painted?

----- o -----

No comments: