Kevin Slimp: Lennox Valley: Tempers flare following Silver Tongue’s dirty trick

By Kevin Slimp

Syndicated Columnist

Marvin Walsh was fit to be tied on Saturday morning. So was Earl Goodman, the town’s only federal employee.

“What a low-down, dirty trick,” Marvin yelled as he waved his hands toward the ceiling in disgust. “I never thought Silver Tongue would sink so low.”

As the two men sat in the lobby of 880 AM, Lennox Valley’s only radio station, they discussed the events of Friday afternoon which led to their mutual discontent.

“What a low-down, dirty trick,” echoed Earl, barely able to contain himself. “Bland knew by giving that speech on Friday afternoon, Raymond wouldn’t have a chance to defend himself before Monday.”

“You should do something about it,” shouted Marvin.

“Me? Why should I do something about it?” asked Goodman, still raising his voice.

Walsh offered the obvious answer, “Because you’re a federal employee. Silver Tongue is a city employee. Surely a fed trumps a local when it comes to these matters.”

Marvin couldn’t quite comprehend the fact that postal carriers didn’t carry a lot of weight in government issues. Tempers were about to flare as Raymond Cooper entered the room.

“Boys, what’s all the fuss about?” quizzed Raymond.

“What’s all the fuss about?” Marvin screamed before asking again, “What’s all the fuss about? You want to know what all the fuss is about? Didn’t you hear what Silver Tongue said yesterday?”

Neither Walsh nor Goodman knew Raymond was involved in an important secret meeting 15 miles away in Springfield during Bland’s speech.

“I was on out-of-town business. What did he have to say?” Cooper asked, as if he didn’t already know.

“First,” Earl exploded, “he said the reading habits of children weren’t any of the government’s business. He said only parents and preachers should have a say in what our youth can and can’t read.”

“Then,” Marvin jumped in, before Earl could continue, “he said A.J. Fryerson was probably on some kind of vacation, visiting family.” After a sigh, he continued, “Everybody knows A.J. didn’t have any family.”

“That is mighty peculiar,” Raymond said, rubbing his chin. “I wonder what makes him think that.”

Walsh was quick with an answer. “You know Silver Tongue. He doesn’t know a thing. He’s just tired of you making him look so bad. You are the only one in this town looking for answers.”

“Each of us,” Cooper interjected, “has a responsibility to our community. With great power comes great responsibility.”

At that moment, both Marvin and Earl were reminded they were in the presence of greatness.

“And,” Marvin continued, “you know he gave that speech on Friday afternoon, after your show, knowing you wouldn’t get a chance to defend yourself until Monday.”

“What a low-down, dirty trick,” Earl chimed in.

“It is,” shouted Walsh. “It’s a low-down, dirty trick.”

Raymond took control. “Well, boys, it is a shame our so-called mayor feels like he has to stoop so low. It’s important, however, that we not stoop down to his level.”

As Iris Long, editor of the Hometown News, walked past the front of the radio station, she glanced in to see the three men in deep conversation.

“Oh, my,” she thought to herself, “I wonder what those three are cooking up.”

Ten minutes later, Raymond adjourned the impromptu meeting by saying, “I think we all know what we have to do.”

Looking toward Earl, he said, “Earl, don’t forget your lines.” Then, looking over at Marvin, he barked, “You know what you’re supposed to do.”

As they walked out the front door of the radio station, Iris, who was standing in the doorway of the Hoffbrau, heard Marvin say, “I’ll see you at church,” which was peculiar, knowing Raymond hadn’t attended church since the mayoral election.

“Hmm,” she whispered to herself. “What are they up to now?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original idea for “The Good Folks of Lennox Valley” by Kevin Slimp came while visiting with a friend from the small town of Lennox, S.D., several years ago. For five years, Slimp jotted ideas concerning the folks who lived in his fictional home town and eventually put those ideas into stories. Share your thoughts with Candy Allan via email at callan@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8386.

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