GHOST TOWN, N.J. - "Man, Fat Cat Fringo is a mean taskmaster. How in the world are we going to make some kind of contraption to change sticks, rocks, and mud into silver, gold, and platinum?" the deputy chief water department head said to his crew of eight shivering men.
"I thought the Trumpenfuhrer was naming his stupid ass to be the Ambassador to BongBongSlibivia," Jack "The Tank" Watson said.
"Yeah, I guess that's where his people came from. That terrorist nation way over there somewhere where nobody in their right fucking mind would ever want to visit, let alone live," the deputy chief said.
The order came via certified mail. It was typewritten on official Fat Cat Fringo stationary and reads: "Listen, you lazy heathens. It's time to hop to it and build a machine to turn sticks, rocks, and mud into silver, gold, and platinum. None of you have done a decent day's work in years now. If you guys were working in one of my slaughterhouses, on my truck farm, or if you were taxiing around my Fat Cat FringoMobiles downtown in your bare feet, I'd fire your dumb asses and have you incarcerated for larceny. Now it's time for you to come up with a magic machine. We're paving Ghost Town's streets, alleys, thoroughfares and avenues in precious metals. We want to MAKE GHOST TOWN GREAT AGAIN and show the world that yes, there is one town in America that has streets paved in gold. And it has alleys paved in silver and major thoroughfares paved in platinum."
"What's the Mayor say about all this?" Carl Tucker asked.
"The Mayor's on vacation. He says he's owed six months paid vacation and another six months in comp time. He's been sleeping in his office and eating sandwiches made from his hot plate he's been so busy doing Fat Cat Fringo duties and commitments. He's even worked every Saturday and Sunday for each of his two terms. His missus called me the other day and asked what he looks like these days. I shot her back a photo I took of him watering his chia pet."
"When's the Mayor coming back?" a voice from the back of the room barked.
"He'll most likely be back sometime in the third quarter of 2018, if Fat Cat Fringo orders a coup d'état. Mayor Martin Forrest Thwait lost the primary election to Lorenzo Gonzales and probably won't be back at all. Never. No way, no how," the deputy chief answered.
The men were sitting around a long table in the basement of city hall adjacent to the Ghost Town Police Department. The police department normally used the room to teach police attack dogs how to rip people's arms off their torsos. But the police always wore heavy padding and riot gear when the vicious canines would unleash their sharp teeth into their limbs and bodies.
"Let's look around the shop and try to unhinge a few old lawnmower engines. Then we can rig up some weed-whacking alternative engines to these and maybe, just maybe, we'll have something to power this magic machine," the deputy chief water department head told his crew.
"What's going to happen next summer when we need those weed-whackers and lawn mowers to landscape the city's green spaces?" asked Lee Roy Hicks.
"We'll worry about that when we get there. It's a long time until next summer, Lee Roy," the deputy chief water department head said, scratching his bald head.
"Hey, it's Friday and sometimes you let us drink beer on Fridays. Is it okay today?" Ben Miller asked.
"Oh why in the hell not," the big boss answered. "We're going to be working until two or three in the morning and who knows, you guys might just create that machine tonight. History tells us that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb when he was bombed out of his mind. Same for Benjamin Franklin - he came up with that idea of Daylight Savings Time when he was crocked on Tennessee Whiskey and couldn't even remember his name."