House Republicans hail "bold, historic" move
Faircastle, OK (April 2004): President Bush plans to sidestep critics of his handling of Iraq, it emerged yesterday. In a surprise move, on June 30th he intends to hand sovereignty of the troubled nation to the residents of sleepy Faircastle, Oklahoma (population 12,214).
In downtown Faircastle yesterday, local people were taking the news in their stride. "Yes, I think it's a big challenge, what with all the terrorism over there and all" said area man Bob Picart III, 43. "But we can handle it. Last year they had flooding in the next town down the river, Baxdale, and we took in a lot of folks from there until their homes had dried out. So we can look after the Iraqi people too".
Over at Dick and Barbara Stewart's general store, thoughts of export opportunities arising from the sovereignty handover were uppermost. "I'm hoping to step up production of my homemade cheesecake" confessed Barbara. "I sell a lot in our store, but if my niece Georgia helps out I know we can meet the extra demand from all those Iraqis". Dick meanwhile was intending to boost sales of his line of hunting accessories, explaining "I heard the Iraqis all have guns. Once we get Iraqi sovereignty and the Iraqis realize they don't have to shoot at no-one no more, I reckon they'll be looking to take up hunting instead".
At his desk in the Town Hall, Mayor Sam Willards had a relaxed view of the extra administrative burden heading his way. "Well, I'm gonna have to work late some nights! I'll have responsibility for 24 million Iraqis and I sure don't want to let them down. But I've been running Faircastle for 15 years and I've got things organized just fine. I'm sure I can fit the governing of a middle Eastern nation into my schedule. And if the Iraqis don't like the way I'm doing things, why they can just wait for people here in Faircastle to elect themselves a new Mayor. That's democracy!"
Speaking from the police department, Sheriff Terrence T. Donnegan II was confident his men could handle any threat from the insurgents. "I'm certain we can cope. We had an arsonist runnin' round a few years back, and we soon had him locked up pretty good. Them mujahadeen don't scare me with their RPGs. Sure, there'll be a transition period where we have to work alongside US troops. But it won't take long for my officers to have the whole of Iraq under control. They're capable men".
Local teenagers hanging out in Billy's Diner had a different strategy for quelling the insurgency. "Once the Iraqis hear the kicking sh*t my band plays, they won't want to fight our troops" explained Dwayne Harrison, 17. "We've got some phat riffs! They'll stop loosin' off their guns for sure once they get into our music. By the way, the band's called 'Deadhead' - can you give your readers the website address?"
Melissa Owens, also 17, backed her boyfriend's tactics. "He looks so handsome when he's up on stage! I'm hoping the Mayor will make him Minister of Culture when Faircastle takes over Iraq".
District nurse Margie Stephens, 39, also admitted to ministerial ambitions. "With my medical knowledge, I've heard Mayor Willards might make me Health Secretary. I'm looking forward to tryin' out some of my traditional remedies on those Iraqi children. I've read they suffer from malnutrition what with having to eat all that Iraqi food".
At the offices of the Faircastle Sentinel, editor-in-chief Al Reid was focusing on the likely impact on the town's international profile. "I've been reporting on this town for the last 20 years and I never thought I'd see a story like this. This has gotta be the biggest thing to happen in Faircastle since the fight outside Hannigan's Bar last summer. Man, that was some bust-up!" Reid said he is looking forward to his newspaper going international. "They ain't had much in the way of straight reporting in Iraq over the years, what with Saddam Hussein and now those mad mullahs being in charge. I bet the Iraqi people have worked up a regular thirst for some honest news. And once Faircastle gets Iraqi sovereignty, The Sentinel is gonna give it to them".
Pastor Greg Thomkins, 52, speaking at the Revelationist Baptist Church, didn't anticipate any religious tensions with his new flock. "Sure, it'll take them a while to adjust. I mean, I respect Islam and all. If they want to go on praying to their God that's fine. But I'm hoping to convert a few of them anyways. I'm sure at least some of them will want to be saved".
Back in Washington, House Republicans reacted with delight to the unexpected change of plan. "This is good news for Iraq and good news for America" beamed Congressman Cliff Edwards (R. Oklahoma). "George Bush is pointing the way by handing Iraq over to the honest folk of Faircastle. Why, I know a small town in Utah that'll be just right for runnin' North Korea once we've invaded!"