The Law According To Bean

This is an oldie from a deceased list.  I actually swapped mail with Clem and we joked about the old waitresses at the Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls.  I tried to write him to ask permission to stick this on my site.  I Googled his address, his name, nada, zilch, all mail addresses I find bounce.  So here it is without permission.  But with credit, natch.  I didn't wrte this, Keith Clementson did.  Give the man credit and consider yourself warned:  If you are drinking anything, you may spray your monitor.

Date:  Fri 6/19/98

On with the Morning Show...

"...and the storm clouds parted and He said unto Clem:  'go get the son-of-a-bitch who's stealing your Sunday paper.'  And Clem went about that task..."

Somebody was stealing my Sunday newspaper.  If I didn't get up before 7 am, my paper would always be gone.  I figured the culprit had to be one of those coupon-clipping types... who else would be too tight with their money to pay $1.50 for their own frickin' paper?

We all know that the Sunday paper is the Bible of the coupon people, and we all know that all of the coupons in the Sunday paper add up to about $1.50 in savings.  So it doesn't make much sense to spend $1.50 in order to save $1.50.  In other words... a free Sunday paper is like gold to coupon people.  So that was my initial criminal profile... it had to be one of those coupon clipping people who was stealing my paper every Sunday.

Now... before I explain how I finally caught the paper thief, and what I did to him, let me just explain one thing to coupon people... while I'm on the subject.  All of the companies offering coupons know very well that people tend to spend even MORE money at the store than what non-coupon people spend.  Why?  Because coupon people actually add more items to their existing shopping lists for each coupon they find, thus spending more money.  Nobody saves money when they're spending MORE money.  It's a classic fallacy.  Saving 7 cents on a $4.00 box of fat-free, laboratory look-a-like potato chips (that you weren't going to buy in the first place) is a net loss of $3.93 - NOT a net savings of 7 cents!  Marketing execs know math - coupon people "not math know."

Back to the Sunday paper thief.

So that was my initial criminal profile... it had to be one of those coupon clipping people who was stealing my paper every Sunday. Then it dawned on me - my gawd!!!... I'm in an ideal situation to have a whole lot of fun... AND nobody can accuse me of being cruel - I'm the victim here!  In my opinion...I had carte blanche, ethically speaking, to give the thief a memorable reason to leave my paper alone.  Figuratively speaking, well... Judge Roy Bean once said it best: "First you shoot 'em", he said, "then you hang 'em, then you try 'em for other offenses."

But that was in Langtry, Texas in the 1880's.  This was in Dallas in the '97.  If I took the Judge's advice literally, (i.e. killed the perpetrator) I might very well have ended up in prison, where I would no doubt suffer from acute bowel blisters for the rest of my life.  No thanks.  My bowels will be used for only one thing... reading the Sunday paper.  Like most men, I like to read the Sunday paper with my bowels.

Anyway... to make a long sturdy shirt... I mean a long story short... I devised a trap for the "paper-stealing no-math couponfuck"... i.e. the paper thief.

Here's what I did:

I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. one Sunday morning.  I waited for the paper delivery.  I grabbed the paper at the very moment it was thrown into my front lawn - 5:21 a.m.  I removed the paper from its plastic cover.  I re-stuffed the plastic cover with last week's newspapers.  In the center fold of the re-stuffed paper I shoveled-in a fire ant bed and some lumps from my neighbor's kitty-litter box.  I tied up the end of the plastic cover so no fire ants could escape.  I put that whole package on my front lawn - to look like my Sunday paper.  I waited and watched through my window blinds.

6:00 a.m., 6:15, 6:30...I could see across the street into the windows of John's Cafe where people were already waiting in a long line to order their breakfasts... Sunday papers in hand. 6:35, 6:41, 6:48... and BINGO!!!  There he was!  Wow!  It was the Scottish guy who lived two houses over - the guy who's accent was so thick that I couldn't even tell we shared the same language.  I couldn't understand a word he ever said.  And there he was, red-handed, nabbing my newspaper in full stride on his way to John's Cafe!

It seemed like forever before buttlick made his way through the line.  He placed his order and chose a table partially blocked from my view.  But it wasn't long before I saw him stand up and frantically brush something from his lap region.  Then other people around him began to stand, as well.  A few people hurried themselves out of the Cafe... then more... and still more people exited.  When all of his patrons had been ordered out of his restaurant, I could see John (the owner) and his employees mopping and sweeping... and stomping on something.

Half an hour later or so... I took my Sunday paper into John's and ordered breakfast.  I asked John how his morning was going so far.  He was furious. He told me in his heavy Greek accent that some fool had sabotaged his peak-hour customer traffic with fire ants and shit, and that he was going to shoot the guy who was responsible for it.  "I swear to God," he said, I'm going to shoot him dead."  He described the guy to me and told me to keep an eye out for him.  I told him I would gladly do so.

John's Greek temper was in full flare.  But I finally managed to put a smile back on his face.  I reminded him of a quote from a West Texas judge of yore who restored law west of the Pecos, and who enjoyed thoroughly his duty to punish those who broke his laws.  These were Judge Roy Bean's own words:

"Yep," he said, "this will put the 'fun' back in funeral."

John loved that quote so much that he repeated it aloud to all of his employees over and over and over again.  He laughed in a celebratory, sinister kind of way.  He seemed to enjoy the quote quite a bit... a bit too much, perhaps.  "Kith," he said (he couldn't pronounce Keith), "you are a very good man.  Breakfast is on me today!  You are a good man."

So there I sat on a leisurely Sunday morning - my favorite time of the week - enjoying my free breakfast... reading my paper.  An hour or so later, I neatly stacked the sections of the paper I had read and put another stack of shiny, slick coupons on top... for anyone who wanted them... and left to go home where I read the sports section until my legs fell asleep.

Oddly enough, none of my Sunday papers have been stolen since that day.