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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


December 13, 2007

Slots, again, with apologies to Will

Tom McLaughlin

Joy filled the streets of Ocean City as the hotel owners sang “We’re in the Money, We’re in the Money” as everyone thought slots parlors would open in Frederick County. Everything would return to normal. Condo and hotel owners would charge the same high prices and the boardwalk shops would not have to compete with the vacationers’ last penny after being gouged by rents.

Then suddenly, in the heart of darkness, propelled by a force from the evil empire, the slot site flew back across the Bay and imploded at Ocean Downs, about seven miles from Ocean City. The resulting shock wave sent emotional depressions into the very soulless place of the hotel/condo owners shaking them into a Prozac state of mind. Pharmacies had to order extra drums of the anti depressant, flown in from wherever they were made.

Local vacationers to Costa Rica, the place where the “in” people go to be with each other at a fraction of the price they charge in their own hotels and condos, were called back for emergency meetings.

BMW’s, Mercedes, SUVs and every over-$75,000-non-eco-vehicle raced to the gathering to figure out how to bat the thing back to the place where that old lady held off the Confederate army.

A fire was started around a black iron pot holding a strong potion of a secret elixir as the owners gathered around and chanted “Double, Double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble, send the gambling back to gambrel.”

One threw in a Keys baseball hat. Another a lock of hair from the last mayor. Another some water from the Creek. Another captured hot air from the last county commissioners’ meeting and finally a cross worn by Senator (Alex) Mooney.

A large cloud arose from the pot. It hovered over Ocean City, stopping at each hotel and condo. It quivered and then floated to the next and the next. Finally, it traveled over the Peninsula, gaining momentum as it went. Homeland security went to Code Red for the 12,000th time this year.

The cloud then hung over all of Frederick County. Suddenly, it burst forth and thousands of coupons floated to earth announcing 30%-40% off hotel rooms. Scratch offs resulted in free rooms. Advertisements stated “Red Neck Specials at the Hilton.” The people clamored for these savings as paper littered the ground, driving environmentalist Kai Hagan into a frenzy.

Word reached the owners and preparations were made to move to Costa Rica. Huge yachts and private planes fled to San Jose. An Ocean City government-in-exile was formed. Millions of dollars to fight the slots referendum began pouring into Maryland from the hidden off-shore hotel accounts. The plot to turn Ocean City upscale was threatened by the slots.

The pot will boil and bubble with fumes from the presidential elections and the slots debate covering the state like dense bitter smog. Phones will ring, emails sent, yard signs posted and maniacal people from every direction will pour in. Only the people will put out this fire on Election Day, and 2008 bodes to be the longest year of them all.



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