We were taking a break from overhauling the basement bathroom, and were relaxing over at the Holy Land Quickee's. I slurped noisily at my diet Dr. Pepper, earning a bit of a glare from my rather fastidious Accomplice in Life.
"Why must you do that?" Leece asked, that raised eyebrow telling me that I had struck a nerve.
"I don't have to do that," I replied, "all I have to do is stay white and die. I slurp because I can. Because it makes your eyebrow do that funny twitchy thing."
"Humph!" she snorted, turning her attention to a rather succulent Juan Diego burrito.
"Oh boy ...". That last from Leece, as DinkyDau Billy plunked himself down on the bench next to her. He too had a diet Dr. Pepper, the gallon size from the look of it. He isn't a straw user. He slurped at his icy drink like a pack of bloodhounds coming in from chasing the Hound of the Baskerville over hill and dale. Leece cringed. I thought maybe she was going to crawl under the table.
"Hey! Hey! I gots a new source a revenoo for the gummint!" Billy exclaimed, in his usual excited manner.
"Really? And you like that?" Leece asked.
"Yeah! Yeah! Like, we could use this munny for, like, you know ... tourism development!" Billy enthusiastically effused.
"What money?" Leece asked.
"Dope munny! From dopers!"
"Huh? That from me.
"Yeah! Yeah! City council should vote to approve some head shops in the Smile Hi's Turn a the Century downtown shoppin' district! Then they could tax the sales a dope to dopers! They could make thousands! Maybe even more! Colerader Springs estimates they'd pull in $3.9 million!" Billy was already counting shekels. Billy doesn't mind taxing other people. Billy is a Democrat.
"But didn't they vote against marijuana sales outlets?" Leece asked.
"Yeah! Yeah! But that's them! We gots a diff'rent sitcheration here! We gots tourism that ain't gonna mind a little dope! Think a all them bird-watchers tokin' away in them blinds out on all them ranches what's hosting all them birders. They tend t'be left-wingers, don't they?"
Left-winged bird-watchers. Billy missed that one completely.
"Uh ... I dunno," I answered, "but I'm beginning to see your point. I'm not so sure the cyclists that are being attracted in droves to the area would be that enthusiastic ..." ...
"Yeah! Yeah!" Billy interrupted, still excitedly, "they tend ta like them performance enhancin' dopes, not weed ..." ...
"BILLY!" This from Leece.
"Uh ... yeah?"
"Quit interrupting. You're worse at that than Tookie. Besides, I think it's only professional cyclists that go for those exotics. You know, like Lance Armstrong."
"Uh ... yeah."
"He has a point, you know," I observed, "we could perhaps appeal to bikers. Steal the thunder from Sturgis. We could have fifty thousand bikers here for a long weekend, if we had cheap beer and cheaper dope."
"Yeah! Yeah! And ... and ... we could get Cheech and Chong to be our tourism mascots, like! They could visit, and do dustjacket signings of 'Up in Smoke' down at The Lighthouse an' The Barista and at Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours events!" Billy was on a roll.
"Hmmmm ... I'm visualizing Cheech dressed up in one of those really cool SoCal pimp suits like he used to wear on 'Nash Bridges,' leading the Early Settlers' Day parade in that yellow Barracuda ..." I ruminated thoughtfully.
"Yeah! Yeah! An' ... an' ... we could have posters of 'em welcoming visitors, out by them 'Welcome to the Junction' signs!"
"Billy, I think you may have stumbled on to the salvation of The Smile Hi's economy," Leece told our excited stalwart, "You may even receive a Sunshine Award for this!"
"Aw ... I awreddy gots one a them, from back in the nineties. I think they done forgot about it, though."
"Well ... perhaps you should run for mayor, then."