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Now displaying: March, 2016
Mar 29, 2016

Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock

Editor: Sarah Rendo

Cover: Rob Mitchell

Nelle Peters was one of most prolific architects in Kansas City history. She designed over a 1,000 buildings including one of the city’s most iconic high-rises, the Mark Twain.

What most people don’t know is that the Mark Twain apartments have a dark secret. To understand that untold mystery, we need to first look at the moral tug of war between Peters and J.C. Nichols. Nichols was a famous real estate developer, but in the process of gobbling up land and spitting out commercial and residential properties, a radical concept began to dominate his mind.

As the plans for the Mark Twain apartments neared fruition, Nichols became more and more obsessed with the idea of secretly stealing Mark Twain’s body in hopes of burying him in the cornerstone of the building.

Nelle Peters pushed against this idea from the beginning, but it was like convincing a spider to clean up his own cobwebs.

“Drop this body-snatching nonsense. How could you even think about stealing Twain’s corpse,” Peters said. “I won’t allow it. And neither does the law.”

“If you say a word about it, you will be dead where you sleep. And besides, who would believe a dull pencil face like you?”

“Nichols, your threats are like mouse farts, they make noise but very little thunder. Even so, if you do your deed, lock the door behind you. You will never see me again and I will never smell you again.”

Two days later J.C. Nichols met up with famed grave robber Donnie Turtle at Mark Twain’s grave. It was midnight when Donnie Turtle threw away his first shovel full of dirt.

Nichols paced around the graveyard for hours and hours as Donnie Turtle struggled to loosen the coffin from the earth. When the coffin was raised from the ground it was clear that it was much bigger than Nichols’ anticipated.

“Boss Nichols, this here is Twain. He’s a dead big boy and his coffin is even bigger! Sneaking this coffin on to the train is going to be like trying to stuff a piglet in a jelly jar.”

J.C. Nichols became enraged.

“Donnie Turtle! Donnie Turtle! Donnie Turtle! You lack foresight!”

J.C.  Nichols pulled out his bowling ball bag and grabbed the grave digger’s shovel striking Donnie Turtle on the head. Life and blood alike poured out of Turtle’s head and into the cold, cold turf of the graveyard. No one knows if remorse or regret ever filled Nichols’ heart over these unseemly acts, but seven days later a local dry cleaner published a small advertisement in the local paper:

“DEAR CUSTOMERS,

WE DO NOT CLEAN BLOOD OUT OF BOWLING BALL BAGS. ESPECIALLY LEATHER ONES. ESPECIALLY LEATHER BOWLING BAGS FULL OF BLOOD AND TINY CHUNKS OF BRAINS. WE STILL OFFER TREMENDOUS CLEANING SERVICES FOR NORMAL CLOTHES LIKE TUXEDOS AND OVERALLS BUT PLEASE, NO MORE BOWLING BALL BAGS FULL OF BLOOD-YUCK!”

As if there were any further doubts as to the dastardly nature of the deed of defilement, they say that a mere 70 years later the Mark Twain Apartments were getting brand new Panasonic VCRs in every apartment, when the VCR installation specialist made quite a discovery. The VCR installation specialist spent a lot of long nights connecting the VCRs to the standard issue Zenith televisions and on multiple occasions he reported hearing the distinct sound of a river boat chant.

Don’t mind me and my fart butt

I’m floating down the river

as regular as the Hannibal rain

They call me Mark Twain

and they cut off my head

but it don’t matter none

because I was already dead.

Chop me and slice me

from my head to my toes

till the blood runs dry

all the good parts are gone

like a half eaten pie.

I wrote all my bits

I left big old shits

and I loved every day

that I saw your muddy eyes.

Mar 22, 2016

Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock

Editor: Sarah Rendo

Cover: Rob Mitchell

 

Oscar Wilde, one of the brightest wits the Emerald Isle ever burnished. In 1885 Wilde toured America with speaking engagements dotted across the country. Unfortunately, critics treated Wilde's performances like watermelon seeds spit in the face of a very wise turtle.

In fact the Kansas City Star gave his performance at the Coates opera house a bad review. They declared Wilde to be a spectacular nincompoop. As if that wasn't bad enough, Wilde was reviled for his off stage habits as well. In particular, they didn't like his hollow tooth.

Some said he kept jewels in his tooth. Others said he kept manuscripts in his tooth. A select and depraved few hinted that Wilde kept tiny baby teeth in his hollow tooth. This was an era when people were very secretive about their dental life and so rumor has it that almost no one, with the exception of Wilde's dentist, spoke about the hollow tooth.

Of course, one person did speak about it, and he spoke about it very rudely. Rumor has it that that person was Resse Rames.

Rumor has it that one person in particular gave Wilde a hard time, a famous bank robber named Resse Rames. Resse Rames had just lost to Wilde in several hands of horse mouse at the Monkey Tree Saloon. Frustrated at his mounting losses, Rames challenged Wilde to a boot drink.

Rames pulled the boot off his foot and poured seven bottles of whiskey past its tongue. When Wilde refused to join Rames grabbed Wilde by the mouth and pulled out his largest hollow tooth.

“Won't give you your stinky yellow tooth till you take off your boot!” Rames' said.

Wilde said, “Fine, you hideous oak! But you will be forever marred on the stage of life.”

And, without ever making eye contact with the bank robber, guzzled it down in a single gulp.

Resse Rames took his boot and filled it to the top but after three or four medium guzzles a wild jack donkey burst through the doors of the Monkey Tree Saloon.

The donkey was a tornado of saddled might, smashing every chair and stool with the might of its back legs. Everyone with half a brain molecule hopped behind the bar for safety. However Resse Rames froze up like a concrete turtle and the jack donkey stamped him with hoof prints on his chest.

After an errant kick of jubilation the donkey settled down at the bar and began to slurp out of Rames' boot.

Wilde heard the sound of the donkey slurping the last of Rames' guzzles and while everyone else remained motionless, Wilde walked around the bar. Wilde leaned over the dull lump of Rames' body and collected his hollow tooth from the top of the bar.

Wilde ran his fingers through the donkey’s mane and onto the horn of the saddle. The leather of the saddle crunched and crackled as Wilde lifted himself on to the back of the wild animal. Backing the pack animal up with a few clicks of his heels, Wilde lead the donkey away from the saloon and down a dusty West Bottom Street.

Mar 15, 2016

Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock

Editor: Sarah Rendo

Cover: Rob Mitchell

 

A modern Odysseus, Rube Foster was a giant concoction of pitcher, manager, businessmen and visionary, all shaken up together inside a 6 foot 2 Texan frame. In 1920 Rube Foster gathered a group of businessmen to the Paseo YMCA. By the time the men left they had created the modern Negro National League.

 

Some say that Rube Foster never left that room and even though he died in 1930, he never stopped watching over the YMCA. One day someone tried to steal a car outside of the YMCA but the thief retreated when he was pelted by a cascade of ice. Some say it was a freak hailstorm. Some say it was Rube Foster chucking ice at the dude.

 

Some say that Rube Foster never left that room and that his genius is so powerful it resonates through the room in a constant current of electricity. Some say that there’s enough in Rube Foster’s room that if electricity were tiny packets of ketchup there would be enough tomater sauce to overflow a regular sized volcano.

 

Some say that Rube Foster never left that room and if you try to throw away a tiny paper cup it’s going to always land in the bottom of the waste paper basket-even if your eyes are closed.

Some say that Rube Foster never left that room and that if you go that if you go swimming at the YMCA and try to grab some toast you won’t be disappointed. Dolorous Jones wasn’t disappointed

 

Dolorous Jones stopped by the Y to grab some toast and a few laps in the pool. She had half a loaf of bread and a clean women's swimming suit. She stuck one sliver of bread in the central terminal of the public toasting area. And she waited. And she waited. And she waited. But no toast. But suddenly, all of a sudden, without warning, all of a sudden, a floating finger stuck out of the wall and pointed at the toaster and the toasting irons became orange-lava hot, heating those bread shanks from a pale white to a golden brown. When the toaster went “ding-ding-ding” the finger retreated back into the wall.

 

Dolorous Jones ate that toast and gathered her belongings, her swimsuit, her purse, her toast kit, her stick of butter and she headed for the door. As she left, she took one look at that toaster to see if it was a special kind of toaster, like maybe it’s one of those special toasters you read about in the papers. And she was right, it was a special kind of toaster - it wasn’t even plugged in.

Mar 8, 2016

Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock

Editors: Sarah Rendo/Robert J. Baumann

Cover: Rob Mitchell

 

Satchel Paige was the greatest pitcher that ever lived. He was famous for a number of pitches, including the bee ball, a pitch so fast it buzzed past a batter’s ear like a thousand wax masters. What you might not know, probably because you’ve been drinking too much pop, is that in tribute to Paige (or in an awe-inspiring coincidence), a giant jumble of bumble bees continuously hovered around Paige’s memorial in Forest Hills cemetery.

At first several visitors to Paige’s grave got bumble bites all over their face, arms and noses and it seemed that all hope for peaceful visits to the grave of the great hurler were lost. That is, until one day when Elmer Fartz accidentally plopped a tiny honey and peanut butter sandwich on the ground. By the time Fartz stooped to rediscover his sandwich, dozens of bees were busily slurping honey off the bread. The bees ate to their great content and a hearty round of bee burps soon followed. Some even allowed Mr. Fartz to pet them and scratch them behind their tiny, yellow ears.

Word spread quickly and it appeared that the bee problem had finally bumbled over. That is until a visitor named Dolorous fell for the ultimate dupe: she accidentally bought a low grade honey substitute. The imitation honey stand had obviously escaped the dragnets of the local bureau of the sweetness police.  

Dolorous set the jar of honey with great respect in front of the grave and the bees began to slurp. At first all appeared well and their bee faces began to curl into smiles. But then their tiny bee lips sucked down that first bundle of fake honey molecules and they became furious. The bees assembled into a cloud in the shape of a yellow hammer.

The yellow hammer of bees smashed into Dolorous’ beautiful leather purse, popping out the keys to her Crown Vic. The yellow hammer then transmorphed into two giant hands and slid the keys into the ignition.  Unless you are knee deep in circus peanuts you can guess what happened next: one big bee hand grabbed the wheel while the second pushed down on the gas and the sedan went speeding around the graveyard.

Dolorous’ Crown Vic careened around the cemetery, narrowly avoiding trees and Paige’s statute, until finally slamming into the side of the Battle of Westport’s confederate soldier’s memorial in the corner of the graveyard. The obelisk snapped in half like a fun-dip sugar stick.

As the tires continued to spin against the limestone, the bees dispersed into a thick cloud above the monument and released untold gallons of honey atop the stone structure. The honey drizzled with great thickness upon the faces and names of the fallen Robert E. Lee lovers. Dolorous watched as the great pouring of honey continued creating a sludge on the broken stone.

Over the next several days, the honey hardened and formed a golden husk over the stone. Before leaving, Dolorous left a tiny note on a baseball next to Satchel Paige’s grave:

Woe to ye imitation honey jars and confederate ghosts alike.

Do not anger Satchel’s bees.

Heed them or you will learn to fear their sweetness.

Mar 1, 2016

Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock

Editors: Sarah Rendo/Robert J. Baumann

Cover: Rob Mitchell

 

Before Ernest Hemingway handed out cigarettes and candy to Italian troops in World War Uno, he worked as a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star. It didn’t matter if the story was about church farts or missing sewer lids – no street went unpaved by his narrative.

Soon thereafter, Hemingway took a trip to the Kansas City stockyards. The dust of the West Bottoms swirled with a whirlwind fueled by a thousand cow farts as Hemingway approached the corrals. Although it was like standing in the furnace of a great booty bomb factory, Hemingway followed his internal journalistic compass deep into the bowels of the stockyard.

Suddenly a gust of cow toots blew the cap off his grand noggin and sent it tumbling down a cattle shoot. Ernest hopped down from the corral and snatched his hat, hundreds of bulls racing closer and closer, their snorts and grunts ringing in his ears.

Maddeningly close to his person, young Ernie began to scream, “Help me! Anybody! I want to be a famous writer! I’m going to reinvent the form!”

Finally a one legged cattle hand named Elmer popped open a gate and the young writer leaped into the pen. Hemingway’s chest heaved up and down. Elmer spit tobacco juice on the ground and said, “Stick to scribbling, ya bozo. Best stay clear of the running of the bulls. If their farts won’t kill you, their hooves will.”

No one knows if Hemingway’s near trampling would inspire him to greatness. However, it has been said that on a slow news day, if you go to the stockyards and rub your ear against the old wooden planks of the corral, you can hear the sound of Ernest Hemingway screaming and it smells like a stampede of ghost butts.

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