|01-28-2010, 04:22 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
The sinking of The Delta Flapper
by r. andrew stokes
Possibly nothing is more obscene or disgraceful than to be on the deck of a paddle-wheel showboat during its dramatic, yet curious foundering. In the case of the steamship “Delta Flapper”, dignity could not be found within a twenty-mile radius. The “Flapper” was a disaster waiting to happen during its very construction, and everything was pretty much downhill from there.
You have to search pretty hard on the Internet to find the remote website that documents the ship, but steadfast research has gleaned what few available vague specifics survived; it was 112 feet long, and powered by the famous “Winkleflanker” steam engine. The Winkleflanker was in production for only two years, due to its propensity to develop a mind of its own, thus creating temper tantrums that often concluded in very wet detritus. But for those whose pocketbooks demanded thrift, the Winkleflanker was the way to go.
The keel of the Flapper was laid on April 15, 1912; not a good omen, as the Titanic was gracing the headlines with the absurdity of the Gilded Age’s cocky complacency. Built in the ship yards of Sneeker and Haardupp, construction took a little longer than was originally planned, due to the horrible blizzard of ‘12, which was so horrible…but only in Haardupp county…that little mention of it is found in the newspaper archives. Haardupp county, itself, no longer exists, and this is partly due to the sinking of the Flapper, but more so from really bad management. What exists today in that area are mostly poorly constructed condominiums, which were condemned for the first three years of existence, until Howe Veree Haardupp won the elections, and re-zoned the area for mobile homes. “Haardupp Manor Estates” yielded several fruitless lawsuits, though it was an interesting place to dwell, according to third-generation half-cousins who dwelt there. Having been built upon a landfill, property lines kept crossing due to the land shift, and that’s when it was bought by Dick Thornburg III, who re-named it “Virginia Creeper Mobile Home Estates”. Some of the condominiums actually moved faster than the Delta Flapper during her launching. That was August of 1913.
The pride of Haardupp county, the Flapper was much hailed as a boon to this fair county, whose main wealth was sloe berries, which were made into gin. The Flapper’s designers considered naming her “The Delta Gin” (after drinking quite a bit of it) but it sounded too much like a card game. So they settled for “Flapper”, attempting to arouse images of a birds’ moving wings…which have nothing to do with a paddle boat…and thus she was given that name. Built by Tyronian emigrants, from Tyrolia, whose main export is lead and mercury, The Flapper was eighteen months in the making. The first construction-related death wasn’t actually construction-related, but that’s how it appeared in the Haardupp Times’ bold “Second Coming” type face.
“Tyronian Man Crushed During ‘Flapper Construction” snarled the headlines. (My grandfather was a newspaper boy in those days, and I SWEAR that’s the only personal family involvement I can trace to the “Flapper incident”. To further myself from this unsavory story, he was living in Kansas, at the time. I can prove this, if need be).
At any rate, the worker was “crushed” emotionally by his girlfriend of six months, whose relationship to Dick Yederyadda was dangerously close to Thelma Thuckotash, who was a direct second-cousin-once-removed descendent of the Haardupp family, who, incidently, have no relatives in Kansas. The scandals of the day were catching up with the Haardupp clan, and this filthy little pre-tabloid story assisted in their perpetuation.
I personally took a weedend trip, one day, to the condominium complex in what was Haardupp county, and found the grand-daughter of Ivan Kefelterfisher, whose first-uncle’s mother’s god-daughter had married a Maine lobster fisherman, Ivan Crabinski Scravaar, whose son grew up to be a dog breeder…Doberman Pinchers…and who knew of the remote rumor that, although it may never be known if the “Flapper” had been deliberately sunk, the workman had purposely placed himself under a load of planking that a crane was lowering. Clues were thin, and this individual, after ingesting several sloe-based libations, proceeded to tell me about the elections of 1982, which have nothing to do with the Flapper incident, unless you trace the Sneeker family lineage to its roots in Absurdia, where Emporor Khutta Sneeler demanded that his people drift out into the world, and find a place to occupy. Several of these descendants ended up at Virginia Creeper Mobile Home Estates, and to this day, it has a certain air about it. Though it was a moving experience for most Absurdians, several of them experienced sterility, and there the family lineage appears to stop , with the exception of the last Sneeker, a drifter who changed his name to “Smythe”. “Smythe” inherited a partial acre of land, and lived in an Air Biscuit trailer near Singoutta Cay, until his last reported sighting in 1981. Court records have been sealed until 2099, so we may never know the truth about the crushed workman. But he wasn’t the first, and he wasn’t the last.
Last edited by royster; 01-28-2010 at 07:41 PM.
|01-28-2010, 04:23 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
It is rumored that Svenson Surmoldii was boarded up in the bilge keel of the Delta Flapper, and thus her fate was sealed, just like poor old Svenson, who had a habit of napping just past noon. His grainy, brown Tyronian skin made him look like planking, so who can tell? That, and years of exposure to lead and mercury are bound to have a few down sides.
The death that should have grabbed headlines, and saner minds, was the one that an intense cover-up covered up. So we don’t know anything about it, and won’t, until 2099.
The shipyard was bought from two brothers who had built gantries near the river for the construction of garbage barges. Brothers Elmer and Yooslys Crummbumms had named the gantries after themselves, and the Delta Flapper was erected in the Elmer gantry.
The Flapper was launched without much fanfare, and although rumor has it that a champagne bottle refused to break against the hull during the Christening, scientific research points more toward the likelihood that the soft Bavarian sponge wood, which the bow was constructed of, merely took the blows passively. Historical records point further to the fact that champagne was not permitted in Haardupp county after the disastrous New Years’ Eve Fiasco of 1899.
Sailing day arrived on that horrible, sweaty Virginia-swamp August day; whose-who’s filled that maiden voyage roster, and from skunk-skin-boa-wearing Makarky Lamarkey, the fashion columnist from the Haardupp Times, down to the town’s favorite boy, Bob, all passengers took their fated butts to that part of history that seems to only exist here, though the Delta Flapper DID, exist, and parts of the keel are still entrenched in the Mississippi mud that causes, to this day, run-on sentences.
The townspeople, all lined along the shore, hissed at the dancehall girls traversing the plank way. Knowing that substantial money, stuffed into a g-string, was seventy years off into the future, the dance girls held the back-side of their hands up, sensing some sort of gesture, but one that hadn’t been made quite that public, yet. Like the dining room accommodations aboard the Flapper, it left one unfulfilled.
To make passage, they’d have to allow some old geezer to…oh! And here he comes! Mayor Haardupp (R-Virginia, “G” district) with the lovely Mrs. Haardupp, her mink stole (but then it WAS related to the ferret, so you get what you pay for. Or, in this case, didn’t).
The smokestack capitulated a ca-cough-uny of ominous, dark, stinky smoke, which smelled a lot like burning mulch, and the steam whistle managed to get the crows off the masts of the ship for about two minutes; that precious steam would be needed to turn the immense paddle wheel, which was haphazardly placed in Reverse, by an oversight someone had overseen, and therefore, overlooked. It may have been a conspiracy, but “conspire” means to share breath, in close proximity, and that wasn’t occurring just yet, though several of the dancehall girls wasted no time trying. Ironically, days, or even hours, later, the Delta Flapper would sink stern-first, which made that grinding of gears, and the ungraceful bumping upshore an even more uncanny omen of things to come. It must have been difficult to stand proudly on the tilting deck of a ship named after a toilet part while the ship, itself, was attempting to recreate Darwinian theory of life crawling out of the sea, each paddle scooping-and-spewing river mud at its passengers, and really attempting to NOT go out on the water. The Flapper’s captain…Harold D. Endsoon…had his attention diverted by Biffany Tates, a dancehall girl who was attempting to pay for passage as soon as possible. This is the one known conspiracy on record. Mayor Haardupp was used to mud-slinging, and thought this an appropriate beginning for the vessel’s maiden voyage.
It has been speculated by historians as to why Bob was the town’s favorite boy, and, for that matter, why people called him “Bob” when he was born with the name “Bruce”. Bob went down with the captain, but that’s getting ahead of the story.
The ship’s band consisted of “Banjo Bjorn”, an emigrant Tyrolian harmonicas, who merely LIKED banjoes; he could not play one, because he only had one arm. Due to a Winkleflanker incident months before, he had lost his left arm while trying to escape another ill-fated showboat. The name of the ship is not available in the archives, though it IS known that it was not part of the Haardupp and Sneeker fleet. In fact, the only ship of that line WAS the Delta Flapper.
Despite the mud-flinging incident of her initial cast-off, the Delta Flapper steamed down the Shenandoah River, en route to her rendezvous with Fate, and the quirky whims of a Winkleflanker steam engine. In those days, the Shenandoah River only had three bends; the other four were added later as a tourist attraction, circa 1933. Rumor has it that another, illegitimate bend exists, but that’s over in West Virginia, and the Flapper wasn’t scheduled to go there until 1923, when her construction would have paid for itself. At least, in theory.
One of the original bends in the Shenandoah River connected to the Mississippi River, and it was a particularly harrowing bend known as “Dead Man’s Curve”. Curiously, it was also located in Biffany Tate’s home town. It was this route the Flapper took toward its destination of Flushing, New York, where ticker-tape (heart doctors use this in emergencies) parades and triumphant dogs would hail the arrival of a new error. But Kismet…a higher form of Yatzee…had other plans.
The lights and the gaiety of the Delta Flapper scoffed at the fireflies bobbing along the banks of the river, that first night out. Banjo Bjorn was playing an up-tempo tune on his harmonica while the dancehall girls gave a show, wishing he could play the porcelain tuba (also know as the “Camodaphone”), but that privilege was reserved for paying customers and their “clients”. Down on the bridge, Captain Endsoon clinched his corn-cob pipe between both teeth, his only functioning eye watching dutifully for ice burgs. Straw-hatted boys ran along the river, waving and shouting; one of them could easily have been Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain, had it not been for the time-line problem. Actually, they were trying to warn the ship about the curious sparks spewing from the smokestack.
Down in the bowels of the ship, connected to the Colostomy boilers, the entrails of machinery churned and chugged, as did the crew. The sheer power of the Delta Flapper caused crayfish to crawl under rocks and shiver in fear, their Doberman pinchers covering their exoskeleton heads. Coal stokers fed the hungry boilers mulch; the great coal strike of 1912 made alternative fuels a necessity. The mulch, having come from Deadwood county, was impregnated with undesirable by-products, such as corpses the mafia didn’t deem suitable for half-smokes, and an occasional curious chicken farmer. It is rumored that Jimmy Hoffa’s feet, and other random parts of his anatomy, keep soil moist beneath the black walnut tree in front of city hall in Deadwood, due to the tradition of mulch manufacturing, that, despite the complaints of the Sierra Club, continue to this day. I’ve done a lot of research on this, so I know quite a bit of this is possibly fact. Except about Jimmy Hoffa; that’s anyone’s guess.
|01-28-2010, 04:37 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
There were chickens aboard the Delta Flapper, so fresh eggs for the morning breakfast were insured. Banjo Bjorn’s other job was to carefully shove his only arm under the down-side of the chickens to retrieve the cackle fruit (that is native-tongue Tyrolian) for the morning breakfast. Often, Henrietta dropped two or three during the night, and her sister Fartina, who could proliffer several dozen after ingesting Deadwood mulch…almost, seemingly, with a vengeance…made for the “Flapper Omelette”. You really don’t want to know specifics on this one, though it is known that it was served on Tyrolian toast. Again, specifics will only cause the reader trauma.
It was Madame Gorganzola who lifted her fork just before her face, and suddenly exclaimed in Sweederman; “Ver dare smirch, dans caken smooshen oaf faddermine pukous!” and keeled over, dead. Those last words, ominous in any other terms, were a clueless clue. What had happened? And why was the two-toothed captain looking for ice bergs on the Mississ-Doah river? What had cabin boy Bob discovered below decks? Divers, years later, were unable to produce any facts, other than, indeed, Captain Endsoon possessed only two teeth, which might have been an appeal to any aspiring cabin boy. Provided, of course, that he was amberdextromously left-brained.
Madame Gorganzola was promptly placed in the ice storage, deep in the bowels of the ship’s bowles, soon to be reverently ejected out the Port Hole Of Eternal Rest, just aft of the poop deck, while Father Achild read the Book of Pshaw; a burial at sea, for want of real seamanship, since part of the Shenan-Ippi river was only three feet deep that time of year, usually.
It was this knowledge of variables of the river that the designers of the Colostomy-class ship, Flapper, made the paddle-wheel showboat, of this class, of which there was only one, a forerunner to the jeep; she could literally push herself over sand bars, and into the tranquil waters her gamblers demanded. The dancehall girls embraced the movement; it apparently increased tips. This design inspired Professor Whazup Cuzzin to develop a kitchen appliance that later became know as the “Cuzzinart”. Many patent conflicts endure up this very punctuation mark.
It was 12:13, (according to the ship’s log, which was found on shore weeks later, not far from that bend in the Shenan-Ippi where you can still buy illegal stuff-for-hostages) just after breakfast, on that fateful day, in fourteen feet of water, when the Winkleflanker engine decided to reject its 1913 answer to Prozac, and began gurgling prophetic verses from the Bible, and other works, including the Koran, and, as one crew member was quoted; “Jack Keroac, who was obviously ahead of his time”, as the Delta Flapper began violently projectile-regurgitating the mulch so lovingly spooned into its tempermental mouth, and perpetuating run-on sentences. This really disrupted the opening act of the dancehall girls. It mildly annoyed Mayor Haardupp, and nauseated the chickens, in the bowels of the ships’ bowels. There is one photograph that exists, taken from the shore, of the Delta Flapper’s demise, but due to the smeary graininess of 1913 photography, and the fact that the photographer was doing something considered illegal in those days, it is often mistaken for the Loch Ness Monster.
Its black and white testimony to either the moonshine still or the synchronicity of the Flapper flailing in the background speaks of the freedoms we enjoy in this great land of ours. Unfortunately, only fourth-generation mimeographed copies exist of this photograph, three of them obvious forgeries. Scandal followed the Flapper’s short life right up to this present writing. And possibly, beyond.
In my research, which took years of my life, and I can never replace, for which I am resentful, I learned the name of one gallant Otto P. Bloktbladder, whose family roots are traced to Liverpool. The trail is long and winding, as are the indiscriminate breeding habits of guys who tend to have no employment, or, for that matter, reason for existing, but on the distantly-remote website http://www.Flapitifyugotit.org.as/m , Otto is quoted on his death bed as saying that he was in the bowels of the ship, drinking heartily with the stokers, and doesn’t remember a thing, except that horrible squealing grind of gears, the lurch forward, then backward, then forward, then “bumps and grinds”. Though these descriptions are suspiciously suspicious, I suspect his memory is fogged slightly by Bob, the cabin boy. Bob, the town’s favorite boy, never married, and, in fact, went down with the captain. This assured international salvage rights, secured by the Society Of Pilferers, whose address might appear at the bottom of this investigative report.
At 12:14, the bowels of the ship moved ominously, and it became obvious that, for those who could not swim, flight might be a reasonable alternative, which the Wright Brothers were working on, but too many miles away to be of any assistance, and probably not developed to the point of Sign Language For Flight Attendants. That was in Kill Devil Hills, in those days, but recently changed to “Vote For Bush”. The Flapper was flailing in the waters just off the Point Of Contention, which is often disputed to be an arguably disagreeable location.
The beloved Winkleflanker shuddered and heaved, as did several of the stokers, and metallic parts began dislodging themselves everywhere, causing a shift in the Flapper’s gears into Reverse. This activity rendered her three massive rudders virtually more worthless than before, and she became a ship out of control.
Last edited by royster; 01-28-2010 at 07:47 PM.
|01-28-2010, 04:38 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Remembering that the Flapper was designed to paddle over sand bars (hopefully only after ‘last call’) it is easy to assume that the backward motion of this fine paddleboat explains the swath through the town of…how’s THIS for Divine Retribution?…”Botox”, and the horrible motion of the paddle blades DID harvest one field of wheat, with the three rudders leaving it plowed behind her, but not before grinding several cows to a pulp in the burg of Ham, then the Flapper chugged on into Hysteria county, where the next bend in the river provided the gruesome final showdown of man and machine. The paddle wheel marched her right back down into the water, as shocked passengers watch in disbelief; a disbelief the Elmer Gantry had no honest way of converting.
Her Bavarian Spongewood hull fatally punctured by 27 Holsteins was no match for the angry river, and was tantamount to putting something full of holes in water. It leaked.
The Flapper, mortally wounded, began her descent into Davy Jones’ locker, though, technically speaking, she couldn’t fit into that small of a space. But the Delta Flapper had already proven herself a determined, albeit obscure, ship, and this wasn’t about to cast a shadow over her dreadfully dramatic demise; it would simply cast a shadow of the time of her sinking like the sun dial position she assumed.
The lurching motion…especially over that cow pasture…had thrown the dancing girls into the appreciative arms of the men on board, who insisted “women FIRST!”, then peed their pants, realizing the worst had befallen them. Plus the fate of the ship.
The 2-I/2 lifeboats were summonsed, but it was too late; The Delta Flapper, a sieve in a sea of watery water, was in her death throes. The crayfish uncovered their exoskeleton heads to witness that final gurgling, and then….she was pretty much gone. But not befor gallant Bjorn gave a rendition of “Send In The Clowns” that the yet unborn…or WAS she?…Barbara Streisand couldn’t have wheezed better. She, until this day, is unavailable for comment, but sources indicate that if she could strike a deal about deleting the “Dead Man’s Curve” reference, and the other reference to birth-right maiden names that specifically implicate her involvement, she might. Do something.
Actually, everyone survived, as the Delta Flapper crammed her ass-end into the thick mud of that river, and her snorting, capitulant smokestack spewed defiant mulch-testosterone-like spewage. The paddle wheel dug deeper, and harder, and faster, plunging deeper into the river bed. The lifeboats…both and a half of them…were lowered six feet down to the water. The strong men manned them, and put women in them…those who could prove they were women…(in those days this simple test was accomplished by asking “Cream? Or milk?”) and the stern, wedged tightly in the Mississ-Doah mud, held her like a giant accusing finger, pointing to the sky, as if to say “THIS IS YOUR FAULT!”, but it wasn’t, really….you know…HIS fault.
Many of the males simply walked to shore, once they got their “swampers” (Canadian for “Water-proof shoes”) entrenched on the sandy floor of the Shenan-Issi river.
Captain Endsoon, on the bridge until the end, blurted out an expletive with such force, that both teeth flew out of his mouth and embedded themselves in the stern’s aft foc’sle mizzenmast, where divers found them years later. Witnesses report that he gallantly pulled cabin boy Bob to shore by a very short, thin rope.
The flooding of 1923, which pushed the river further east, and part of it west, swept away all of the detritus that was once the mighty Delta Flapper, except that part of the stern, still wedged in pretty tightly, down there, and it is rumored that horrible evils lurk in its bowels. Or…actually...at this point in history…bowel. The words exchanged on the tilting decks of the Delta Flapper lead to World War 1-˝. And the rest might be history.
In 1995, Dr. Richard “Sea Dick Run” Ballard dove…with his snorkeling grandson…to the alledged site of the Delta Flapper and found some really cool sea shells, a discovery that landed them a grant from the Department Of Stupid Funding, to discover why ocean crustations had lived in the depths of a river. A “rider” on this Congessional grant stipulated that natives born after 1924 will forever be immune to any Congressional Investigation into Congressional Investigations, and thus, this report was really difficult to come by.
The last known survivor of the sinking of the Delta Flapper requested to remain anonymous. He died in 1988. Anonymously.
But I know his FILTHY little secrets. Like, for example, WHY he was the town’s favorite boy.
|01-28-2010, 07:50 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Flapper Facts and Fiction
FOR THOSE WHO MIGHT NOT KNOW
."Virginia Creeper" is an indigenous plant. A wild, five-leaf ivy.
. The Shenandoah and Mississippi rivers are by no means close to one another. Further, the Shenandoah cannot accommodate commercial water traffic for any long stretch, because it is indeed very shallow, though wide. It is absolute absurdity to claim a river boat could steam from here to New York.
. There actually was a coal strike in 1912, and it is prominent in the Titanic story. There are many Titanic spoofs in "Flapper".
. River boats do not have masts.
. Or "gears".
. There are many prominent bends in the Shenandoah, but in the area where I live, there are seven, known as "The Seven Bends" (gosh...) and to insinuate that they were added or altered is a groaner.
|01-30-2010, 02:21 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Thank you so much! BTW, my work is placed in the public domain, and you are welcome to copy/paste to share it.
"GeeeeORGIE - Tirebiter...."
Last edited by royster; 01-30-2010 at 02:30 AM. Reason: GEORGIE? "Coming, Mother!"
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