1. The Speech

Good afternoon moms and dads and boys and girls and, well, everybody. I'm Vice Principal Rudd. Welcome to Porter Potter Elementary School's annual Spring Thing Carnival, a cornucopia of fun and delights. As you know, this festival is sponsored by the PTA and honors the founding father of our fair city, Porter Potter. Porter Potter, the inventor of the PortoPotty, The Crapper That Changed The West. Not only did this great man pioneer better more comfortable hygiene with his patented padded seat, he put to work, and his company continues to employ, the majority of citizens of Potter City today.

No tale better illustrates the importance of Porter Potter's contribution to America than the historic meeting between two legends of yesteryear, Buffalo Bill Cody and Sitting Bull. Both were coming off a three-week binge after a particularly rough season with Cody's famous "Wild West Show." While recovering in a bordello steam bath in Kansas City in the late 1890s, Sitting Bull told Wild Bill the Indians were so smitten by the "Thunder Box" as the aborigines had come to call it, that the Plains tribes were willing to go on the warpath over it. The great chief went on to tell Bill it was this very same PortoPotty which brought the tribes together in the summer of 1876 at a place called The Little Big Horn and it was in defense of this convenience, not the women and children as is popularly believed, that he and his fellow tribesmen so vigorously fought and defeated General Custer. Clearly, Custer underestimated the extent of the zeal with which the Indians were willing to fight. In his arrogance, he told his men on the eve of that famous battle: "Tomorrow we all shall take a crap on the Bull's PortoPotty." It was the PortoPotty, Sitting Bull told Bill, which caused him to change his family given name, "Standing Truth."

The Potter city bylaws written by the namesake of this university are very clear: should any citizen be found on the streets after midnight, they are to be shot on sight. I want you to know that all proceeds from today's carnival shall go to purchasing a full-service bar the PTA has long wished for and needed. No more Thunderbird and Ripple hangovers, Mrs. Frawley? Dr. Nemoy has assured us that the bar will in no way affect his providing the seconal and diet pills that have become so much a part of the tradition of the PTA meetings here at Potter Elementary. Mrs. Frawley, the PTA President, wants me to tell you to make sure that today you purchase your tickets to attend the Spring Thing Fling dinner/dance taking place next Saturday night in the Potter University gymnasium. It's the event of the year and you won't want to miss it.

Before the entertainment, a few words about what you can expect from this year's carnival experience. There will be the usual Pin the Tail Back on the Live Donkey. There's the Special Education Mocking Contest of course. Miss Freebie will again be our hostess in the popular Kissing & Touching Booth, and again this year, Miss Freebie asked me to tell you, she will go both ways. You're a good sport, Miss Freebie. Dr. Nemoy has kindly provided the cadavers for The Haunted Bloody Dungeon. I'm to remind you that, before you enter the dungeon, please don't forget to don your full-body bibs, provided to you courtesy of The Meat Place, a Place for Meat. Let me see, there's the Mr. Curiosity Gold Fish Dissection Lab for the kiddies and Make The Feathers Fly Shooting Aviary for the teens and so much more. Just forget your troubles and have fun.


2. The Entertainment

VICE PRINCIPAL RUDD CONTINUES

This year's entertainment is special. As you know, the city experienced one of its worst storms in two years. Porter Potter was a great inventor. His instincts as a city planner have been a season-to-season challenge that we citizens of Potter have been blessed to face because of our desperate need for jobs. A unique combination of high mountains, uneven plains, longitude and latitude has kept us vulnerable to the whims of a volatile climate. We are content to face this challenge knowing that the only other option to our situation is no work, starvation and death.

It is in this spirit that I present this year's performer, nine-year old Billy "The Switchblade" Carson. Billy was one of those liberated from his home by this year's floods. He and his family were relocated to the big tent in Urban Park where Billy discovered his unique talent as a singer slash bunko artist. He will be singing a song written especially for this occasion by the great grandnephew of our beloved founder, Cal Potter-Claymore.

Billy, get up here. You look great. What are you wearing? Genuine dog leather! Where are you living now that they've torn down the big tent? The Hildegard Potter Projects? Eating lots of cheese and day old bread, I'll bet. Where's my wallet?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the annual Porter Potter Spring Thing Carnival presents Rockin' Billy Carson and The Juvenile Delinquents playing the soon-to-be smash hit by Cal Potter-Claymore entitled—"I've Gotta Thing." Play it boys.

I've gotta thing
My thing is good to me
I've gotta thing
My thing is good to me
I like my thing
My thing it set me free
My thing don't lie
No it don't fret and moan
My thing don't lie
No it don't fret and moan
Don't spend my coin
Don't use my telephone
I've gotta thing, baby
I've gotta thing
Tell me, darlin', can't you see
I've gotta thing and my thing got me
Gotta thing for my thing
Gotta thing for my thing
Gotta thing for my thing
Gotta thing for my thing
I've gotta thing, baby
I've gotta thing
Tell me, darlin', can't you see
I've gotta thing and my thing got me
Tell me, darlin' can't you see
I've gotta thing and my thing got—ME


3. The News

I'm Parker Winston and this is Channel One Six O'clock News—Local Edition. Tonight's Top Story: Teacher Elopes With Rock n' Roll Band. Winifred Freebie, 33-year-old third grade teacher at Porter Potter Elementary School, has run off with Rockin' Billy Carson and The Juvenile Delinquents. Winifred told her best friend, Sylvia Bumpers, she had fallen in love with the quartet after she heard them perform at the annual Spring Thing Carnival. "This time it's the real thing," she told Miss Bumpers, a line dancer at the All You Can Eat Supper Club on Route 40 just outside the city.

No one is certain which way the five are headed but authorities are fairly certain she's driving as none of the boys is older than thirteen. The mother of Billy Carson complained that the lads were not nearly ready for out-of-town gigs and, even with the four of them, were in no position to support a woman who is used to living on a teacher's wages. "I just hope she comes to her senses in three or four days and returns home in time for the Spring Thing Fling," a concerned Mrs. Carson said.

Martin Rudd, Vice Principal at the school, told Channel One News that this will in no way affect her position in the Kissing & Touching Booth at next year's carnival. "As far as I'm concerned, Miss Freebie's got that job for life," Vice Principal Rudd said. More news on this as it breaks.


4. The Spring Thing Fling

Move yer ass across the room
Just show them what you're made of
Move yer ass across the room
What are you so afraid of
Move yer ass across the room
You'll have a real good time
Stop talking back
Just give it a whack
It's time to do the Move Yer Ass Polka
Move yer ass across the floor
Listen to what we say
Move yer ass across the floor
Don't try to get away
Move yer ass across the floor
Just leave the world behind
Stop asking why
Now stand up and try
It's time to do the Move Yer Ass Polka
It's not so tough
Get off your duff
Go on and do the Move Yer Ass Polka
We'll be upset
If you don't get
Out there and do the Move Yer Ass Polka

MRS. FRAWLEY

Everyone. Everyone. I know you're all having a great time. I am too. But it's 11 p.m. I know. I know. It's much too early. But the Potter city bylaws written by the namesake of this university are very clear: should any citizen be found on the streets of Potter after midnight, they are to be shot on sight, no questions asked. We've had a grand time. I want to thank the Potter University Marching Band for providing the music. Sometimes I wasn't sure whether to dance with my partner or tackle him. Congratulations to Winifred Freebie who was voted Queen of the Fling for the eighth year in a row, though this year it was in absentia. We all hope this time she's found true happiness.

The PTA is grateful to all of you for making this year's dance such a profound success. Not only can we afford a full bar, but now, through your generosity tonight, we will be able to stock it for the entire year. I can only say on behalf of all members of the PTA, thank you; our hearts runneth over with gratitude—and Courvoisier.

As is the tradition, the Spring Thing Fling will close with the University School Song sung by the Porter Potter College Choir, led by Professor Phillip Phillipe. We would like you all to sing along; in fact it's mandatory. Phillip.

First we chased off all the Injuns
And the lynx and grizzlies too.
Then we chopped down all the forests
To make way for something new.
Now stands our alma mater
For our founder brave and true,
Hail Porter Potter
Hail Hail P. U.


5. More News

It's six o'clock. Here's the local news. Winifred Freebie, the Rock n' Roll Bride, returned to her home in Potter today after criss-crossing the state on an erratic, ill-conceived, fifteen-day honeymoon. When asked by our Channel One reporter just what she might have been thinking, Miss Freebie responded: "I lost my heart. My head was in a cloud. I had never been married to a quartet before and I suppose I didn't know what I was getting myself into. It didn't take long for me to see their true colors. They never stopped eating MacDougall burgers and practicing. Musicians!" When asked if the obvious age difference also may have been a factor, Miss Freebie arched her back, slapped our reporter in the face, and slammed the door. It's still a mystery who agreed to marry them.

Meanwhile, Rockin' Billy Carson and The Juvenile Delinquents will be appearing at the Butch Wax Soda Shoppe this Saturday evening. When their manager, Ryan Epstein, was asked how the marriage might have affected members of the band, he responded cryptically: "I can only tell you that, from now on, all their songs will be performed one full octave lower."

This is the second in a series from Rick. Read his first feature, "The Ghosts of Cold War Past," haunted boy's memories of growing up in public school during the 50's and 60's.

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