It’s been one of those weeks, yes I know, over the course of a lifetime that there can be many of those weeks, but this one stands out. A little bit. First off, if you have been reading my blog for awhile, like all three of you out there, ha ha, then you have seen that I have written a lot about the Great Drought that has gripped Texas for like the last 2000 years. Ok, but it seems that long. I have written factual essays, poems, and fiction about this subject. It has literally consumed me. Why? Because I live in one of the largest “cities” (it’s really a town of about 100 thousand which technically shouldn’t qualify as a city, but they insist on being called that and what can I do?) that was slated to run out of water. Empty, zero, gone, dried up and died up. That was the forecast….until the second week in May when it started raining. And raining. And raining some more. Next thing you know, City Council was meeting to reduce water restrictions and the river, started rising….
The combined lake levels were at 60% when the Council decided to reduce the water stress on the citizens, but because we had all become Soldiers of Saving Water, many people were angered and disgruntled. So they called me. Am I the Mayor? No, but I work in Public Information where I stay busy keeping the public informed. So the public is happy to call me when they are unhappy so that they can exact a little revenge in the form of being snippy and time consuming. Luckily, I roll with the punches, besides, they can be quite entertaining. So I get the call:
“I’m calling to find the white buffalo?”
“Buffalo?” I ask weakly.
“Yes, there is one there and we want to see it. We called the newspaper, they won’t tell us where.”
“Perhaps it is on private property, that is why…”
“You don’t publicize the white buffalo? This is the reason the rains came, you know. You publicize that water park and waste money on cloud seeding, we want to see the buffalo. Where is it? What’s the number to that tourism place?”
I’m busy clicking on Google but thinking I’m dealing with just wackos before I realize that they purposely called to waste my time and to vent their displeasure with city politics in spite of the fact they probably never attended a council meeting in their entire life or even bothered to vote in the last election.
“You don’t have a number yet???”
(Nope, and I don’t write the policies here either) I want to say…
“What about the museum, do they have a museum, nevermind (you’re too slow…)”
I rattle off the number for the Museum for North Texas.
A couple days later, I have another research project given to me by a citizen who walks in the office.
“Where do I find information for buildings that used to be here but aren’t anymore?”
“Like ones that are now torn down?”
“Yes, I need to find out about buildings that were once on Sibley Street. A house and a place….”
My fingers start dialing, finally I end up with the Planning Office. My customer is shifting restlessly in his chair. He is loosing patience with me and I’m expecting him to also throw in and ask about where we are hiding the white buffalo. I have a bit of success in the Planning Department where they have old city directories.
“I’ll tell you,” he says to me. “Why I’m needing all this. I think they used to do embalming there.”
“On Sibley Street?” I ask sheepishly getting a really bad vision in my head of just a place where somebody goes to sleep, then wakes up embalmed….
“Yes,” he says lowering his voice. “Something is there, it is tormenting me and my dog. It’s tangible, then sometimes it’s not.”
“Oh,” I say. The elusive white buffalo is looking better and better at this point.
“I wouldn’t wish this on an enemy,” he says. “But I will tell you this because you seem like a nice person…” I’m regretting being a nice person at this point because it is now like I’m in an episode of the Dead Files where I don’t want to be….
I give him directions to the Planning Department to go and look up funeral homes, embalming houses, troubled neighborhoods. Afterwards I go home, and of course the door bell rings. It’s a salesman. Door-to-door. He is into alarm systems which he will just give to me for FREE. Of course it’s free, and if I just have 15 minutes that would turn into an hour and fifteen minutes, he would be happy to sit down and go over all of it.
“Not necessary, I have a border collie,” I say.
“That’s why I’m here, everybody has a dog…”
“Not a dog like this one. He is territorial. He bites.” (He really likes to bite young men in Polo shirts. He hates Ralph Lauren because he prefers Target, unless they open up their data bases to computer hackers, in that case he will just go to Wally World.)
“Yes maam, I’m sure he does….” (I want to ask if he would like to try it out, but I refrain.)
“So we can’t set this system for free?” he asked.
“No you can’t,” I say.
“Do you know what happened just over here on Buchanan Street?” He throws out the I’m-Gonna-Scare-You tactic.
“Nope,” I say. But I want to tell him that whatever is happening on Buchanan is nothing to what is happening on Sibley, and I’m not even gonna get into the mystery of the white buffalo, the return of the Great River, or if border collies are effective as ghost prevention measures. Whew! At least the coming week is a short one.