Neuman's
    The Adventures of Alfred and Vincent, Part 15





    Dear Readers, you may recall our last installment of The Adventures of Alfred and Vincent. The title was
    Alfred and the Amazing Propaganda Machine. The story described how Alfred built a machine capable of
    ignoring all truth. Alfred was successful to a point in building that machine after the Big Cheese, Dim
    Monymony, gave Alfred his contacts at the local newspaper. He told Alfred who to call when something
    needed to be sold to the public, or kept from the public. That machine really does exist in the here and now.
    It is not fiction. It has been referred to as many different names throughout the succession of this series. In
    this, part 15, for the sake of brevity, it will be referred to as the TSRJ. TSRJ stands for The Scum Rag
    Journal and it is a local newspaper located in the heart of the county seat. The TSRJ has played a major role
    throughout this series. The way the TSRJ operates is a very simple concept, as Alfred discovered. You put in
    the spin, and the truth, and even the truth that the public has witnessed firsthand, is automatically negated.
    You may recall how our last installment ended with, “If there is a moral to this story, perhaps it is to would be
    to not mess with the truth. It will prevail.

    The one and only reason for Alfred’s four year adventure as a county commissioner was to build a new
    prison so that the Big Cheese could line his pockets by awarding contracts to his friends and partners. Alfred’
    s time in office, even with the support of the Big Cheese, even with the support of clergy, even with the
    support of his Amazing Propaganda Machine, can be summed up in only two words, miserable failure! Funny
    thing is, Alfred doesn’t seem to realize the he has been rendered impotent. His letters to the editor of The
    Scum Rag Journal continue. His letters have a common theme; blame the lone female commissioner for his
    complete failure to successfully accomplish even one thing during his four year term.

    I won’t bore you, my fine and valued readers, with every last detail of what those letters contained, or the
    entire slate of Alfred’s and his cohort’s antics since our last part of this series. Instead, I will escort you
    through a whirlwind of corruption, dishonesty and complete lack of integrity. I choose those values, or rather
    the lack thereof, due to this statement by Alfred, spoken during his last meeting after he severely lost his re-
    election bid, "I walk away from this knowing I maintained my honesty, integrity and my business and personal
    ethics."

    Most of this is taken from public comments, public record, and a lot was simply plagiarized. I plead guilty to
    the pursuit of truth. Please forgive me.

    Keep the imaginary sound of a tornado in the back of your head as you read this. It doesn’t have to be very
    loud, just a hint of it.

    Alfred: Vincent, we must get the Lego Hall of the Mountain King Justice and Rehabilitation Center built. No
    matter the cost, no matter the opposition, we will build it.

    Vincent: I don’t know, Alfred, we’ll have to tell a lot of lies and trick a lot of people.

    Alfred: Never fret, Vincent, I have a trusty propaganda machine at my disposal. It hasn’t failed me yet.

    Vincent: Um, I’m not sure what to make of that, Alfred. I remember the local hospital building a new wing in
    anticipation of your effort to steal the state mental health contract from the Cornersville Hospital The local
    rag, the TSRJ, worked in complete concert with you, yet that didn’t work out so well. We all know what
    happened with the Cornersville Hospital, they came out on top. Heck, they are even making a profit now. Lot
    of good you did there. A lot of people have said that you should have recused yourself from that one.

    Alfred: That’s beside the point. All I have to do is make a phone call to my girl there, Fatty Frogger, and she’ll
    print what I say verbatim. Heck, she even makes me sound intelligent, I think.

    Vincent: That’s a matter of opinion.

    Alfred: What? What do you mean by that Vincent?

    Vincent: You need not feel so insecure, Alfred. That is not the image of yourself that you want to project to
    the public.

    Alfred: Nevermind, Vincent, let’s move on. We are in the middle of a whirlwind here and we can’t let details
    slow us down.

    Vincent: You are so psychic, Alfred. I do think that before we move on we should call Fatty Frogger and ask
    her to help you clarify your statement that anyone who opposes your plans and ideas is a moron.

    Alfred: I will never do that. The majority of people in this county are morons. My plans are inspired. When
    someone comes up with the ideas that I have, the details will work themselves out. If the people of this
    county don’t agree, who cares, we’ll just rush it past them.

    Vincent: I don’t know Alfred, what is that old saying, the details are Satan’s playhouse? Look at how the
    screwed up zoning applications came back to haunt you for the exceptions for the prison project and the one
    and a quarter million dollar no bid land deal.

    Alfred: If you want to bring that up, let’s take a look at this whopper. You said at the one meeting that you
    were told who would get the construction contract for the Lego Hall of the Mountain King Justice and
    Rehabilitation Center before a legal request for bids went out. And don’t forget, TSRJ‘s Fatty Frogger didn’t
    even bring up anything about the bid rigging accusations at all. Not one mention of it. Dim Monymony sure
    steered me to the right people. Goebbels would be proud.

    Vincent: I’ll give you that, Alfred, but what about the old prison and the repeated accusations of intentional
    neglect?

    Alfred: I know, heads should roll in for allowing county and public-owned property to deteriorate without
    upkeep. In fact, between you and me, especially allowing the raw sewage to drip from the commodes to the
    lower floors with out fixing it should be considered a criminal act. I am surprised no one has called for the
    head of whoever put out the order to make the prison look as bad as possible in order to justify building a
    new one. Most of the morons in the county missed the TSRJ’s propaganda video on the need for a new
    prison. An inmate, was recorded on that video saying that the water from a clogged sink in the next cell just
    runs on the floor all day. He said maintenance still hasn't fixed it. I've been here 3 weeks. It has been like that.

    Vincent: Yeah, maybe you are right, the people are morons. Did you see the picture on the local blog of an
    only ten year old neglected, high tech jail cell with rust and peeling paint in Beaver County that looks almost
    as bad as cells do in our old prison? I am also so surprised that no one has been held accountable for the
    intentional lack of maintenance here.

    Alfred: That proves my point again, Vincent, whoever controls the media, wins the battle.

    Vincent: I don’t know, Alfred, this budget thing may come back to bite us. What about the half million dollars
    of the 2015 budget, was it ever was transferred to the county employee retirement accounts? Then, we
    couldn’t even write a $700 refund check to a winning zoning appeal obstructionist couple. Instead, the check
    because the county is broke, yet, we want people to think we have a solid budget. I don’t know, Alfred, this
    whole thing seems to be unraveling.

    Alfred: It’s okay, Vincent, you were great at the last meeting when you sternly reminded the public just who's
    really in charge until the fourth day in January.

    Vincent: Alfred, this whirlwind that Neuman has us in the midst of seems to be spinning wildly out of control. I
    mean, we gave a no-bid $850,000 contract to your political campaign contributors to take over the county's
    IT department. This follows the recent furlough of a county IT staff said to have a very good work record. We
    both know we didn’t follow county code to advertise for best price.

    Alfred: Look, calm down, Vincent, everybody bought that story that the company IT guy told that a 14-year-
    old could hack into the county computer system any minute. That makes it appear to be an emergency. It’s
    like martial law, you have to suspend normal county rules in an emergency.

    Vincent: Geez, Alfred, the present system has never been hacked into.

    Alfred: Ha ha, well, we are in a good place now, Vincent, our friends will have complete access to everything
    that goes on in the county, including the official county email.

    Vincent: Brilliant, Alfred, just brilliant. That’s what I like about you, you figure out an angle for everything. Ha
    ha, five years of unfettered access, with an unsolicited no-bid contract. And you got away with it. It’s like
    legally breaking the law.

    Alfred: Please, Vincent, not too loud, someone may hear you. Ha ha, and Fatty Frogger never mentioned a
    word that it was unsolicited and a no-bid contract. By the way, Vincent, did you see the TSRJ’s editorial that
    slammed the people of this county who take their roles as county citizens seriously by attending meetings
    and asking questions concerning county business? Yeah, when he wrote about the new commissioners
    working on the budget, he threw this in as a lame attempt to slam those people, “They also haven’t had to
    deal with outcries from the public, which have been a huge distraction in the past.”

    Vincent: Ha ha, huge distraction? Yes sir, we have quite a few friends at the TSRJ! I heard at least one of
    them has a history of taking a few bucks now and again as compensation for his services.

    Alfred: Now, Vincent, some things must never be spoken. Remember that.

    Vincent: I understand, but before I forget, what with all this airport controversy going on, I read where people
    on the airport board are criticizing the new commissioners for the new appointment of Cashman to the airport
    authority. They say he has a shady background. Wanna talk about shady backgrounds, how about my buddy
    Doctor Leo DiDominic, that we hired to be the prison doctor. Yeah, the FBI raided his methadone clinic, and
    he was convicted previously in the 1990s of prescribing illegal pain killers in exchange for kickbacks and
    ordering fudged employee and patient medical testing and oxygen supplies to drum up business for himself.
    Ha ha, not one word in the TSRJ. ABC national news had to ask the questions that should have been asked
    by us and the TSRJ, who should have been well aware of the doctor’s history.

    Alfred: That’s too funny, Vincent, and what about The Neck being hired by the airport authority as the airport
    manager. Who vetted him? Ha ha, nope, no one at the TSRJ asked one question about him. Talk about
    shady backgrounds. His involvement with the open cold case known as the Well Groomed Murder is
    infamous. Yet, all the TSRJ concerns itself with is the new airport authority board member. They give a pass
    on our judgement concerning DiDominic and the airport boards judgement on The Neck, yet they question the
    judgment of the new commissioners board over appointing Cashman. Even more ridiculous, they single out
    the lady commissioner, even though all three voted for him. Hey, Vincent, who are the ones you were talking
    about being on the take?

    Vincent: Remember what you said, Alfred, some things must never be spoken. The Big Cheese wouldn’t be
    happy if some things got out.

    Alfred: Wow. this Neuman induced whirlwind is not slowing down. I can’t believe that my own hand picked
    county financial consultant, Spam Lunch, backstabbed me by saying that my budget was a travesty. And I
    can’t believe all this slipped through my very own propaganda machine. Where was Fatty Frogger? The story
    in the TSRJ said the new commissioners reduced an initial $3.5 million deficit by $1 million through
    department spending reductions and the correction of certain budgetary figures. The commissioners, along
    with Spam Lunch, senior financial consultant with Subsequent Accounting and Solutions Inc. of Parrisburg,
    have put in lengthy days over the past week reviewing the figures of a Dec. 15 budget adopted by the former
    administration, that’s us Vincent, meeting with department directors, and reducing overall expenditures. The
    bulk of the deficit increase was discovered by Lunch over the weekend. According to his figures, more than
    $300,000 in salaries and $200,000 in benefits were not included in the initial 2016 budget for the county jail.
    The new commissioners’ board concluded the costs were tied to the November hiring of nine full-time guards.
    The hiring took place one day after the initial preliminary budget was presented. Lunch said while he
    requested updated information as he finalized the budget, those salaries were not given to him, and weren’t
    included in the plan. Maybe you are right, Vincent, this does seem to be spiraling out of control. Spam Lunch
    even told them about the nine hundred thousand dollars we planned on borrowing to prop up the budget. I
    told everyone the budget would have a million dollar surplus.

    Vincent: How did the lady commissioner find out about the unsolicited proposal from February of last year
    that we hid from her and the public which proposed a two hundred and forty five bed on site facility at a
    projected cost of twenty four million dollars. We withheld that information two months before the election only
    to have her find out about it now. What about the other information on other possible sites were kept from
    her and the public. Wonder if she will find out about those also?

    Alfred: What really burns me up is how bad of a liar and a shill that Jarrod Williams is. He goes to the
    commissioners meetings and says crazy, easy to prove false stuff, like the new commissioners gave
    themselves raises. Everyone knows that the commissioners did not increase their combined salary figure in
    the 2016 county budget from a hundred and fifty thousand dollars to a hundred and sixty seven thousand
    dollars. That is false. The fact is the correct figure in the 2016 amended adopted county budget had a
    combined salary figure for the commissioners that went from a hundred and sixty four thousand dollard to a
    hundred and sixty seven thousand dollars. The increase was set in 2010 at a public meeting by you and me,
    Vincent. He should have known that was too easy to show that it was a lie. And, then that nut, who Dimmy
    loves, went off at another meeting and started pounding the podium while yelling that he was taking over the
    meeting. He was ranting about how many more guards were needed. He completely forgot that they hired
    nine staff members last year while stating that they only needed four. How many is it? Yeah, Vincent, this is
    turning into a fine mess for us.

    Vincent: Yeah, Alfred, I’m getting dizzy over all this. And what we just talked about is just the tip of the
    iceberg. You know, this whirlwind wouldn’t even be close to winding down if we didn’t talk about old Slim
    Dillinger. Has that man totally lost his mind? After all the stupid lawsuits against the lady commissioner that
    he had to finally drop due to lack of evidence and lack of interest, he shows up at the airport and starts
    ranting that the newest airport authority member should not participate in and not be part of the authority
    because he accused the county commissioners of breaching the Sunshine Act in selecting him. What the heck
    is he talking about. If I knew he was that insane, I would never have involved him in the prison planning. He
    goes off without providing proof or details, saying that Cashman and the new commissioners met to discuss
    the appointment prior to the county making a formal request to receive letters of interest from persons
    wanting to sit on county authorities and boards. Ha ha, I guess you have to give him credit for have giant
    gonads. After all the Sunshine Act violations that we were guilty of? Now that nutcase will probably file a
    lawsuit against them for that. Good luck with that Slim!

    Alfred: Now that you bring that up, how about those Gerkin and Oscar Mayer guys? Wonder if they are two
    more of the Big Cheese’s minions?

    Vincent: Really, Alfred, you really wonder that? Gerkin is still angry that the lady commissioner did not
    support his own appointment to the authority and today gave such a smart-ass, drama king quote to the
    TSRJ, that he has a very large car and plenty of insurance and will be glad to pick them up, bring them to the
    meeting and then take them home if they do not have transportation. I don’t know, but I’d take that as a
    threat.

    Alfred: Me too. But, what about Oscar Mayer? He claims that he had Cashman investigated. What a crock
    that is! You know who had Cashman investigated, Dimmy! I’ll bet my bottom dollar on that.

    Vincent: I wouldn’t bet against you, Alfred. You know, something occurs to me. Before, we wouldn’t be
    having this conversation. Do you understand what I’m getting at? Are we being left out of the loop
    intentionally?

    Alfred: Whoa, Vincent. Vincent? Vincent? Where did you go? Damn, I swear I just had this long conversation
    with Vincent. Where is he? What is that sound? Oh goodness, it sounds like music now. Must have been the
    sound of the whirlwind. The wind, the wind must have carried Vincent out of here. No, no, that can’t be.
    Vincent hasn’t been around for quite some time. Oh, no, what is that song? It can’t be. Abraham, Martin and
    John?

    Has anybody here seen my old friend Vincent?
    Can you tell me where he's gone?
    He knew a lot of people,
    But it seems the boogeyman got him,
    But I just looked around and he's gone.





    Alfred: Oh, I can’t believe it, it was all a dream. But why would Vincent show up in my dream? Is he trying to
    warn me that I will suffer the same fate of irrelevance as he did?

    My dear readers, I’m afraid it is too late for Alfred. Sometimes when you live on the outskirts of the truth, you
    forget what truth is. Therefore, you can’t recognize it even when it reveals itself to you. You can’t put truth in
    a machine and expect it to somehow come out as anything but what it went in as. You may not recognize it
    immediately, but eventually and persistently, it will reveal itself to you. Take heed of your dream of Vincent,
    Alfred. Perhaps it was the truth speaking to you. Perhaps it is time to take care of loose ends. When was the
    last time you had your house appraised? 2003? That’s a long time. If it was under construction then, you may
    need to get it reappraised soon, since it’s probably been finished for some time. As Vincent used to
    misspeak, the details are Satan’s playground.

    And, so, dear readers, Stay tuned for our next episode. As always, please patronize our serial's sponsors,
    Randy Hearst’s Yellow Journalism Review and The National Examiner News Manufacturers Association,
    Airtight Security Systems, manufacturer of the famous SpyBug Voice Activated Bubblegum Wad FM
    Transmitter.
Part 14
Part 12
Part 11
Part 9
Part 7