My Fave Fete
This being my first and last attempt to sell words
arranged into sentences to a Content Farm. By Bill Vaughn
I’ve organized poker tournaments in funeral homes and paint ball wars in wrecking yards, but my fave party was The Festival of Champions. This three-day celebration of sports, flirting and food was an annual August event that always produced new romances, hurt feelings, the agonies of defeat and the thrills of victory.
The first event, on a Friday afternoon, was Trash Fishing in America. Contestants stood on a footbridge above a luscious Montana river and cast their lines at the suckers facing upstream in the current thirty feet below. You could win two ways: most number of fish, and biggest single fish (the catch always went into my garden, producing hefty and succulent tomatoes). The first year the judges discovered at the weigh-in that the big-fish winner had filled her entry’s gullet with lead sinkers. Although awarded the trophy, she would not be awarded the Sportsmanship Award, a Lava Lamp.
On Saturday the fifty Champions competed in lawn sports: badminton, bocce ball, croquet, and horse shoes. During one badminton tournament a carpenter accused a lawyer of cheating. Twenty years later they’re still not speaking. A receptionist and a graphic designer fell into lust while throwing horse shoes together, dated for a year, then suddenly filed temporary restraining orders against each other. However, a teacher and a nurse assigned to the same bocce team are still married and have three kids.
On Sunday the Champions went to a bowling alley. One year a reporter who let slip that he had played on his college team was compelled to throw the ball with his left hand, but won the tournament anyway. Then it was off to miniature golf. People wore golf costumes from the 1920s and felt hats sporting miniature flags that looked like putting greens. A contractor who tried to muscle through the windmill hit the ball so hard it knocked off the blades, creating a traffic jam as the owner repaired the damage.
On Sunday we gathered for the cooking contest at the horse farm where I lived. One year the theme was “Enjoying Post-Nuclear Appetizers.” This demanded preparing grilled food yummy enough to entice the theoretical victims of radiation poisoning to eat “plate food.” Another year the theme was “Using Road Kill.” The winner of that year’s contest baked an enormous gingerbread man with tire treads squishing his midsection.
While people slaved over their Webers and hibachis I organized some corral bingo. I had limed a corral into numbered square grids, and sold a ticket for each of the numbers. When the tickets were gone I opened the gate so my mare could enter. As she wandered around, sniffing things, people urged her to do her business on the square they’d bought. After an hour she obliged. A delighted screech rang out from the crowd. It came from a clothing salesman who had bought square number twenty-nine. Choked up, he accepted the cash I gave him and turned to address the Champions: “My old man always said I didn’t know shit. But today I proved him wrong.”
(a couple of facts have been altered to protect the guilty)