A local man known for being somewhat oblivious was overheard saying in obvious frustration, "I won't get fooled again!" creating panic in a small Idaho town. The man known to townspeople only as "Junior" exited a popular café and reportedly made the statement loud enough for everybody at a nearby gas pump to hear.
"Frankly it shocked me," said one witness. "Junior doesn't usually pay much attention to anything at all." He went on to describe Junior as pretty much to himself and a loner. "He doesn't say much. Plays a mean pinball, though."
Bubba O'Reilly, owner of the corner gas station that also has an adjacent all-you-can-eat catfish café, heard the commotion and came out to investigate. "He was just in here eating!" Bubba told the gathering crowd. "He was sitting right over there, quiet as usual. I wonder what made him go off like that?" he wondered aloud as the crowd grew uneasy.
Rumors quickly ran rampant through the rural community. No one could recall a time in all these years when Junior expressed even the most remote sense of irritation or ire.
"This was a tough year for sure, but If things are starting to make Junior lose it like that, who's next?" said a near-hysterical older lady who claimed to have been Junior's junior high school German teacher.
She was uncertain in what year Junior graduated. Some say he may have gone away to college, but there is general confusion as to where or when he returned.
Faced with sudden uncertainty about Junior, and his motives, people panicked. "Who knows what he'll do next? We don't know what it's like to be the bad man!" said one sad old man. "He's got that crazy flipper finger!" warned another from the rear.
A recently graduated reporter for the weekly rural newspaper, looking for clicks, heard about the ruckus and drove there to investigate. He initially described the scene as "retarded beyond belief" before editing his Twitter statement with "chaotic".
"Mere words cannot describe the scope of this inane bullshit," he tweeted, as he tried to get a handle on the metaphysical mayhem. And the center of this psychic shitstorm appeared to be someone named "Junior".
Descriptions of Junior were as inconsistent as they were incoherent. He always parted his hair on the left, although some said on the right. Others said he grew a beard overnight. Maybe these people were just hypnotized, but the hypnotized never lie. Do they?
The reporter tracked down Junior at a Motel 6, along the highway, west out of town, about 200 feet from the scene of the crisis. He approached one room in particular and knocked. The door opened.
There stood a tall man in the shadows like another crazy bastard out of the X-Files, rolling a joint with one hand as he pulled the curtains apart with the other, peering outside."
"Junior?" the reporter asked. "That's what they call me," he replied, lighting up.
"So, what's going on in town?" the reporter queried. " Hell, I don't know. I don't even know these people," 'Junior' replied. "They've been calling me that since I got here."
The real Junior supposedly left town in the late 90s to join the Air Force, before retiring to design video games. He never returned, although none of the townsfolk apparently ever knew he had left. Junior was mostly to himself.
This imposter "Junior" was one Gunter Chang, a field environmental contractor who only recently arrived in town on a mining waste remediation project. "I kept telling them they need to move, and they just kept on telling me, 'Stop funning, Junior!' This water makes Flint Michigan's look like Perrier," he explained with a gesture of futility.
When asked about his 'rampage' at the café, Chang explained that the Bubba O'Reilly all-you-can-eat catfish special for $9.99 was fraudulent.
"Why is that?" asked the reporter.
"I could only eat $2's worth!" Chang explained. As the reporter chuckled, it gradually became apparent that this was not a joke. "I asked for $7.99 back," Chang continued.
"How'd that work out?" asked the reporter, biting his tongue. "He refused!" Chang exclaimed, apparently surprised. "Usually they just laugh and humor me".
"Are you sure you're not from around here?" the reporter noted aloud as Chang's catfish crusade continued.
"I just wasn't going to be fooled into eating $9.99 worth again! The illusion of choice is like their new tarter sauce: no choice at all."
"Why's that?" the reporter played the straight man.
"Eat the new sauce and you quickly discover it's the same as the old sauce," he said.
"It was well worth the trip just for that pearl of wisdom," the reporter exclaimed with faux exuberance.
"Don't patronize me," Chang warned, as the reporter rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
"It's just that you appear less concerned about a tainted water supply than you do about the cost of your buffet," the reporter confessed.
"I checked off the 'public notification' box and moved on. Besides, they're digging pits and roasting pigs right where we're digging! So I just go with it. Believe me, it's easier that way when you're on a schedule. You've talked to them, right?" Chang defended his position.
"Has it ever occurred to you that the mining waste ends up the same place as your catfish?" the reporter queried. Chang pondered the answer and did not like it, replying rhethorically, "Shouldn't you be storming Area 51 or something?"
"No, we're storming The Capital this week," the reporter never missed a beat, quickly wrapping up the interview as Chang screamed incomprehensively after him, "I'm done talking to you! No, wait, I'm not done talking to you yet!"
The reporter thought the people had a right to know everything, and the next morning, he took everything he had to the authorities.
Hours later, sheriff deputies burst into the motel to put an end to the nightmare that had gripped this community. As they led "Junior" out in cuffs, he smiled and winked at the reporter. "You did what you had to do to save these rubes," he said.
"I don't know these people. Actually, this is a pot bust," said the reporter. "Idaho has no medical or recreation use, Mr. Chang. If that's really your name, Catfish! Who are you?"
"Hold on! You went with a nickel and dime pot bust story over an environmental catastrophe?" Chang asked incredulously.
"Fooled you!" said the reporter. "Crime stories are more popular than the environment. And it's all about the clicks!" the reporter remarked nonchalantly.
Chang hung his head. "Dammit! Looks like I got fooled again! I guess I had that coming, though," Chang said.
"Don't make me the bad man here! Maybe you shouldn't be going all around town causing a big sensation, then trying to put me d-d-down!" the reporter remarked defensively.
"Because you haven't been around!" Chang snapped before being led away by the deputy. "Simmer down and get in the cruiser, Junior."
"I hope your dreams aren't as empty as your conscious seems to be," Chang challenged.
"My dreams are fine," said the reporter looking down at his phone. "It's my generation, baby!"