Beyond Locals Only, Volume 2: Our Friend, the Utility

As he often does when Ocean Shores gets in a lather about something-or-other, Tome O’Scanlinn called from the dark, cold depths of Atlantis City to coyote-howl, “That’s nothing compared to what we got going on over here!”
Atlantis City, of course, is a cursed, quasi-island anchored 18.333 locals only mugmiles from Ocean Shores, due west as the duck flies. As the locals over there say, “If something can go wrong in Atlantis City, it will – twice!”
O’Scanlinn crowed that, just like Ocean Shores, Atlantis City used to be flush with money, until the local government started spending it on who-knows-what. And, just like Ocean Shores, Atlantis City found itself busted like a Ray Charles song. “Until they came up with this ambulance utility thing, just like you critters did,” Tome laughed. But it was a sad laugh, the kind of laugh you laugh when your face hurts from fake-smiling.
“Once they figured out this utility game,” O’Scanlinn said, with a sigh that would depress the Dalai Lama, “it was like giving the liquour store keys to the town drunks.

“Or, better put, the keys to the back door.”
Within 18 months, the Senators of Atlantis City had passed the following utilities:

-The Oops Utility: There have been so many mistakes at Atlantis City Hall – failure to file responses to law suits, contracts unread, insurance premiums unpaid – that the department heads convinced the Senators they needed to plan for mistakes, and create an “Ooops Fund” by charging citizens a mere $4.44 per month.

-The Taser Utility: A mere $2.22 per month, to make sure all the
A.C. cops were “juiced.”

-The Coffee Fund Utility: When it was discovered that Atlantis City didn’t even have enough money to buy its workers coffee on their (many breaks), union leaders came up with this scheme. For only $1.11 per month, the citizens would insure that they had a well-caffeinated work force.

-The Finance Utility: When it was discovered that the Finance Department was routinely going far over its own departmental budget, there were two clear alternatives: 1) cut spending; or 2) increase revenue. For just $9.99 per month, Atlantis City citizens can rest assured that their Finance Department is earning its overtime processing the overtime payments of other departments, as well as calculating all the booming vacation and retirement time of the city’s hard-working employees.

-The Computer Guy Utility: Since only one person in Atlantis City has the passwords just to turn computer on and off, he tends to have high monthly billings. By paying just $5.55 per month, A.C. residents can rest assured he will be paid, without “taxing” the General Fund.

-The Utility Loan Relief Utility: Rather than forcing the poor General Fund to pay back some $10 million in loans from the water, sewer and rain collection utilities, A.C. citizens were asked to fork over $11.11 per month.

-The Firemen’s GPS Utility: The stunning, glass-blown Atlantis City Fire Department is a thing of beauty – but so gigantic that new firemen often got lost in the complex halls. A modest $1.11 per month helps them keep track of each other.

-The Representation Utility: When the A.C. Senators were told they were the lowest-paid elected officials in the state, they were aghast! “No representation without taxation!” they cried (among themselves). In a secret meeting, they passed a $7.77 utility that gave each a raise to $99,999.99 per month.

-The Cat Catcher Utility: Union leaders lobbied for relief for the one employee in charge of rounding up all the stray animals in A.C. They convinced the Senators to create funding (just $3.33 per month) to hire a second employee, who would specialize in catching those dangerous felines.

-The Attorneys Utility: Just drafting the wording for all the utilities was costing a bundle in legal fees, so . . .

About Tom Scanlon

Tom Scanlon started his journalism career as a sports stringer with the Pittsburgh Press (RIP) and Post-Gazette, then moved on to the Seattle Times, Mesa Tribune etc. He is the author of plays including "The Superhumans" and novels including "Ocean Shores Tourist Killer," "Atlantis City," and, now, "The Immaculate Jagoffs of Pittsburgh."
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23 Responses to Beyond Locals Only, Volume 2: Our Friend, the Utility

  1. Anonymous says:

    Tom,sounds like a page out of the local historical novel”Idiots in Action” Back-up data can be found in any tape or video of council meetings,providing of course that staff can find them and that no,repeat NO,errors were made in the timely filing of that all-important FOI request. And you just remember,you are taking gas out of the employees toys every time you file one. The truth is expensive,bud!

  2. Nicky Anderson and Dougie Dog says:

    Not a narcissist,but a very good satirist. Its frightening but Atlantis sounds good tto me
    I might move from one unreality to a greater one!

  3. Bobbing Buoy says:

    Who is interested in this drivel?

  4. Dana Miller says:

    What good does constantly berating OS do? His lame ‘satire’ is just his way of getting back at people. He does have his own agenda, his and his alone.

    • Rick says:

      And so what is the point, Do nothing, say nothing and change nothing
      and you will be a subject of the regime, no thanks

      • Nicky says:

        ? He’s DOING NOTHING to change things here! Just bitching which has done no good and won’t change a thing, hasn’t yet so I doubt it ever will. He could care less about OS. It shows in all he writes to his sheep.

    • sheltered2 says:

      Tom, Maybe you should try flowery prose instead of satire. Then it would smell better to some who just don’t understand the point of satire. You know they never read Shakespeare.

  5. Anderson says:

    He doesn’t realize that the money-sucking uncaring city employees don’t give a damn about him or what he writes either and that HE CAN’T CHANGE ANY OF IT. Just griping is very negative!

    • sheltered2 says:

      Did you read your comment? Griping is not negative when the purpose is to attempt change. Throwing your hands in the air and surrendering is negative.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s exactly what he did by leaving. And again, he couldn’t & can’t change it. He’s not trying to change it, he’s just stirring the pot & trying to get back at people which is not very positive. I think “surrendering” would be more neutral, not negative. It’s generally not a bad thing, as in WARS! To fight would be negative. Surrendering would not.

  6. Michelle says:

    First, I would like to know why some of you who are reading the blog and making negative comments are actually here since as you say “Tom has nothing to do with Ocean Shores”. If this is truly the case then let those of us who enjoy and understand his eloquent writing style to read it without the nonsense.
    Look at it this way, we have freedom of speech. You can read or write anything that you desire. This means you do not have to read Tom’s blog, you have a choice. You make the choice to read it and get mad. that is your problem and you should deal with it yourself instead of commenting negatively. Also, why not start your own blog that expresses your own viewpoints, which appear to be opposite of Tom’s. Wouldn’t that be a better use of your time and energy.

    I just thought I would add my two cents. Thank you Tom for the laugh this morning.

    • Anonymous says:

      “You can read or write anything that you desire,” per Michelle. Thanks Michelle!

      • Joe says:

        So what has all his griping done & DOING? Absolutely NOTHING! Nothing’s changing & HE can’t change it. It’s just continue the same mantra of negativity. He’s the negative one.

  7. Nicky Anderson and Dougie Dog says:

    So very well put Michelle

  8. Joe says:

    From one moron to another that can’t spell or punctuate.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Joe; nice to see they got the computer up and running in the romper room. Gives you something to do during those tedious time-outs.

  10. sheltered2 says:

    I guess the United States of America should return to British control because some thought like Joe did back then. All that griping they did was to no avail. It is obvious. Nothing changed here. All those that gave their lives did nothing. What so bad about all those tea taxes? What was so bad about control by individuals that were out of touch with the people they ruled? I guess it is better that one just roll over and lie prostrate as they walk across your back to avoid getting their feet wet. Long live the Queen!

  11. Nicky Anderson and Dougie Dog says:

    Do some of our contributers belong to the Grammar Police? I often try to write in a manner that is
    easily understood.Elitism doesn’t attrack readers. Perhaps from your high perch on the English language you would like to correct my writing?

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