Our Local Businesses

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By Erik Kemp

Dan was baffled and he didn't like being baffled. He didn't know why he was standing in the dark in the wings of a stage. He thought he was here for dinner.

Fuck that Elsie.

Speaking of which, here was Elsie. She walked onto the stage with long confident strides -- clearly not baffled -- and took the microphone in hand.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming this evening. We're extremely excited to have you here. Over the course of the evening, you're going to hear lots of good reasons to support Good EnerTree over the coming year."

This was a Good EnerTree fundraising event?

"Before we continue, I want to bring out some very special guests. They're local business people who support our cause -- people who understand that you can build sustainable, local businesses without selling out the planet we live in. Come on out!"

The men in suits who were in the wings alongside walked out with him. One of them took him by his arm and ushered him out on the stage too.

Dan fucking knew what was going on here. Standing in front of the crowd, he tried really, really hard to make himself un-photographable -- squinting oddly, hiding as much of his face with his hands as he could while 'waving to the audience'.

He didn't even listen to the rest, just booked it off the stage as quickly as he could when he was free to go. She was still out talking to people on the stage, so he walked into the green room in the back and grabbed the first person he spotted.

"What the fuck is this?"

"It's a fundraiser, man, chill. Thanks for going out there for us."

The other men with suits were changing out of their suits.

"Seriously, what the fuck is going on? What was I doing on stage?"

"You're one of the business people who support Good EnerTree, right?"


"Well, you are now dude."

Dan stopped for a second and took a breath. The full situation slowly dawned on him: Elsie had, through cunning and guile, convinced him to take part in a photo-op as a local businessman supporting Good EnerTree.

"You realize that as soon as I tell our legal department that I got conned into this photo op, they're going to go to every fucking press person in the world and tell them about how you all fucked us over."

The Good EnerTree man smiled. "Groovy."

Dan stopped again, and he realized the second half of the scam.

"This is both fucking hysterical and fucking infuriating."

The Good EnerTree man grinned even wider and bobbed his head. "Yeah, I know."

Dan stared at him for a moment.

"Did you actually say 'Groovy'?"


"What the fuck?"

"I'm Doug."

"Dan Martin," Dan said automatically. He paused. "What the fuck?"

"Just roll with it, dog." Doug said. "I find that life goes better when you just roll with whatever Elsie is up to."