The Hillbaley Ho Down & Extravaganza

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Terror in Teulon

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In a story that could have been "borrowed" from today's Hollywood screenwriters, the Ho-Down has uncovered a sinister plot in small town Manitoba reminiscent of the great Schmirnoff Watering-Down of 1979.

A symbol that strikes fear into the heart of many an elderly lady

Teulon, Manitoba. Gateway to the Interlake. And, some would say, Hell (this reporter included but for different reasons). Population 1250 (at least, according to the dilapidated sign that's been at the town's entrance since the early 60s, but that's another scandal).

Mrs. K walks into the post office to retrieve her mail just like she has for the last thirty years. She greets the postmaster warmly. He returns the greeting but notices a slight quiver in her voice.

He asks a seemingly innocent question. "That's a lovely sweater your wearing, Mrs. K. Where did you get it?" Mrs. K breaks down sobbing and races from the building.

Across town, old man P is chatting up one of his regular clients at the barber shop.

"By the way, I saw your wife Helen yesterday. She had on this lovely purple shawl. I says to my wife, Julie, I says 'Julie, would you look at that?' and she says to me, she says, 'Well, sheesh, Billy, would you look at that shawl?' and I says to her, 'I am looking at it Julie, that's why I told you to look at it. Do you think I didn't see it when I asked you to look at it?' and she says to me, she says, 'Don't give me any of your lip, Billy?' Anyway, it sure was a lovely shawl."

His client, Mr. L, leaps from his chair seemingly oblivious to the haircut occuring above him.

"We got it from Zellers, okay? Zellers. Helen's fine, do you hear? FINE!" and he runs screaming from the barber shop, his hair in chaos.

These stories and many like them have entered in the folklore of this small town. They are told to children to frighten them into eating vegetables. They are passed around in hushed tones in smoky bingo halls and occasionally in loud bellows during "Stairway to Heaven" at the latest social. Nobody really believes them, do they?

The Ho-Down does. And we've discovered the source of these so-called myths. Be forewarned, dear readers, that to tell the tale, we must delve into the seedy underbelly of this outwardly picturesque town. We will take you into the very heart of an abominable plot to a place so vile, so despicable, that this reporter is risking bazooka-style vomiting just thinking about his experience. A place where cruelty and brutality are a way of life and mercy is checked at the door. Where the inhabitants are treated as slaves by heartless oppressors.

Hunter Memorial Hospital. In the heart of Teulon. In the lobby at the entrance, a small group of people that time has forgotten wait to see a doctor. Our destination: the nurse's desk. We are greeted by two large men wearing collars just long enough to allow them to bar the way. "Let him through" a gentle voice commands behind them and they slink back into the darkness. At the desk, someone is busy at the task of trying to appear busy. She is writing something that seems incredibly important but upon closer inspection is simply a grocery list.

After a short eternity, she raises her head and gives me a look that tells me she is incredibly busy and whatever asanine request I'm about to make is a tremendous burden on her. Having been a resident of Hunter Memorial in the past, I'm prepared for such treatment. Despite my training, however, I can feel my knees buckle under her soul-less gaze.

Hunter Memorial Hospital: Where the sick go to hope...

"I...<ahem>...have an appointment to see The ListMaker" I stammer with less conviction that I had hoped.

She does not react to my request in the slightest. Seconds stretch into minutes as the nurse appears to process my request internally. At one point, I swear I see the corners of her mouth lift almost imperceptibly as if she is watching a fly have its wings torn off. I shift uncomfortably for several long minutes.

"She's been expecting you. Third office down the hall on your right." It is the same voice that commanded the guards at the door but it has none of the warmth I heard before. It has all the personality of the HAL 9000 computer.

Grateful at the chance to leave her company, I shuffle quickly down the hall. After a few steps, it occurs to me. She did not blink a single time during our entire conversation.

The office door is non-descript but there is a feeling of dread as I stare at it. I read the text inscribed on it:

To Do Before Entering:

  1. Wipe feet
  2. Remove shoes
  3. Lower voice
  4. Abandon all hope
  5. Smile

I muster my strength to knock but the door seems to muffle the sound and it comes across as the pitiful rap of a child begging his mother for a cookie. The voice that responds is quiet but commanding. "Please come in"

Lists. Everywhere I look, there are lists. They cover every possible space on the wall. Lists of all shapes and sizes covering every topic imaginable. There are grocery lists, hardware lists, things-to-do lists, self-help lists, and top five, ten and twenty lists. Most chilling of all are the lists with names on them. More often than not, these lists have no title. Without seeming obvious, I scan as many of these lists as I can to see if my name is on one of them.

Surprisingly, the desk is completely blank. Behind it, sitting at rapt attention is an unassuming woman of five feet. She has short hair that was jet-black at one time but is now speckled (liberally) with gray. She is smiling tenderly with the confidence of a mother who has raised four highly intelligent and rather dashing boys. She looks like the type of woman kids flock to in summer because she bakes the best cookies and tells the best stories. It is this facade that has enticed many a victim into her clutches but more on that later. Looking at her eyes, I see the cold, calculating gaze of a cold-blooded criminal - the insiduous Ma "The ListMaker" Baley. time - Into the Bowels of Goodwin Lodge