You picture a high school craft fair, you picture a small event, the kind of thing you go to and everybody just sort of has fun. Maybe you sell stuff, maybe you don’t, but there’s a kind of friendly atmosphere, vendors keeping each-other company all day, checking out each-other’s wares, and there’s a general feel-good kind of atmosphere. At the end of the day everyone goes home with a good feeling inside, having made promises to get together with the other vendors for coffee sometime (intended at the time, but will almost never happen) and looking forward to seeing them all at the next event.
- Every time customers perused the NEHW table, the man with the newspapers on the table across the aisle (and thus behind them) would call out “Want a free paper?” I always thought the magic word was ‘please’, but apparently it’s ‘free’; at its very utterance the marks would peel off like a pack of zombies who’ve scented a woman wearing improbably high heels and have decided to give chase. Said marks never returned to our table.
- We were not amused.
- There was a man roving about the venue hawking coupon books filled with deals at local establishments. He would suddenly appear in the area, bellowing his pitch in full voice — and what a voice! If the System ever breaks down due to Zombie Apocalypse or plague, and you need to get a message to the next town, just have this guy shout: they’ll hear, trust me. “Excuse me, sir? Hercules called, and he’d like his lungs back.” The man was actually frightening people.
- We were not amused. From the moment this guy’s voice made the scene, Mr. Claus was safe. Our potential Santa Slayer had acquired a new target… and we were all behind her, 100%. Safest place to be, actually…
- One of our writers purchased a sandwich from the students running the cafeteria for the event, and was charged $4. Ten minutes later a pair of students walked by offering people the last of the sandwiches for just $2. The writer in question felt somewhat ‘rooked’. Questions were asked. Glares were offered. Anger abounded.
- We were not amused.
- Well, actually, most of us were amused, but were afraid to admit it. All I can say is those students are damn lucky it wasn’t the potential Santa Slayer who bought a $4 sandwich — they may have wound up right back in that cafeteria. On the side of a milk carton.
Okay, so I lied. Those weren’t high points. By the next day, though, they were pretty funny. Some actual high points, for me anyway, include:
- As soon as we set up, a woman stopped in to buy RW’s book, Crabapples, have her picture taken with him, and then… abscond with him for a time. I had heard talk of RW and his ‘Groupies’, but this was my first experience with them, and I have to say I was not disappointed. I shave my head, tip the scales at about 200 lbs, and have been told there is a slight resemblance to Stone Cold Steve Austin… but without the muscle-mass. Kind of like ‘Stone Cold the home game’. I’ve offered myself up as ‘RW Security’ for future events, but have yet to hear anything definite either way. I’ll keep you posted.
- Who am I kidding? I want groupies of my own. Maybe, someday, when I grow up…
- At one point a woman none of us had ever seen before simply appeared out of the crowd to accost RW (he had been returned to us by this point) and offer him a small charm on a necklace. “Hey,” she said leaning down over his shoulder. “I just found this stone, and you see this mark on it? Right here? This is a mark of Protection. You should have this!” We all looked at each-other. Someone voiced the question that was on all out minds:
“Who the hell was that?”
No one knew.
- I don’t have words. I’ve looked for them, but I can’t find them. No, that’s not right, I can find one of them: ‘Groupies’. ‘Nuff said.
- After eating a snack, I was collecting the group’s trash to take with me to the waste bin. When asked for trash, our Director of Publicity offered me two of those ‘free’ papers from the table across the way, showing all the large-motion flourish with which one traditionally throws down a gauntlet on the field of battle. An obvious challenge had been issued, and I worried that fisticuffs might ensue, but there was naught but the dangerous narrowing of eyes in response from the paper vendor as he sat impotently behind his table across the way.
- The honor of the group had been defended, the Director of Publicity emerging a hero in all our eyes.
- And now, summing up the highest point in the day for me, I have just two words: Bacon Fudge.
- I should say something pithy here, but I think I need to step away for a moment to collect myself.
- …so good … it was so good …
|Me and my wares. Photo by NEHW Director of Publicity|