This is a reprint of an article on another website which I will be phasing out over the next year after I rework and reload the posts onto this site. It was published in October of 2012. Did some reworking of photoshops. The original title is: “Palmetto Goodwill Nevermore Masquerade Turns Into Drunken Brawl”
I am in the initial stages of planning a Facebook page called either “Palmetto Goodwill Sucks” or”Palmetto Goodwill Stinks.” Got a lot of irons in the fire right now so it will be a while.
“Quoth The Raven?” shouted WCIV celebrity Tom Crawford into the microphone from the front steps of the Dock Street Theater…
“Nevermore!” responded the enthusiastic crowd waiting at the entrance in historic downtown Charleston. The doors opened and the ample crowd surged in. Thus began Palmetto Goodwill’s annual Halloween Fund Raising Gala…a sparkling, fun event which they call “Nevermore Masquerade.”
The Edgar Allen Poe theme party started out easy enough and, according to my inside source, Charleston area politicos, third tier social trolls, and local media representatives appeared to be having a good time.
Board members wore colorful costumes such as the “border crossing wetback on a donkey costume.” This guy provided mirth and merriment to the proceedings while he was being chased around by another board member in a border guard costume. It was hilarious until the donkey suit wetback guy tripped over a table leg and fell head first into a large five-gallon punch bowl.
The $75 admission fee charged by our local Goodwill franchise kept riff-raff and undesirables (such as their own lower level employees) from attending. A strong police presence at the entrance ensured that JESUS would not choose this particular venue as a place to kick off his return.
It would be very bad PR if he did come back…only to commence his earthly clean-up campaign by whipping the living crap out of Palmetto Goodwill executives, their board of directors, and local television celebrities and station managers.
If Jesus did pop up in this room (after getting a name tag at the registration desk) these silly fuckers would be jumping around like gophers in a cattle stampede caused by an approaching tornado.
Due to previous conflicts I experienced while covering events sponsored by Palmetto Goodwill, I had to utilize a disguise. I wore a tattered Santa Claus costume salvaged from a dumpster this past January. I was hoping to panhandle enough cash to get inside but, after a few hours of accosting total strangers, all I got was three bucks, some pamphlets from a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a warning from a local constable after he caught me urinating behind a tombstone in the Circular Congregational church cemetery.
My inside source told me that, as the evening progressed and the alcohol flowed, things got out of hand. The atmosphere seemed to turn dark and raucous. A contingent from WCIV got into an altercation with a group representing WCSC and (egged on by another crew from WCBD) this minor fracas eventually devolved into a limp-wristed, girly-slapping, pumpkin-flinging melee.
I was told that the argument started out as a friendly discussion amongst these media folks as to which “news” source was the most consistent and effective sycophant for Palmetto Goodwill. Confusion reigned at the outset because nobody knew the correct definition of the term “sycophant.” Tom Crawford (former TV 4 weather dude and now WCIV jack off all trades) whipped out his iPhone, looked up the word on Wikipedia and hollered: “Sycophant: A person who flatters someone in authority for personal gain. Synonyms are a bootlicker, brown-noser, flatterer, lap-dog, and yes-man. So you see, ladies and gents, we win hands-down!”
Buoyed by Tom’s passionate testimony, the crew from WCIV gathered in a huddle, joined hands, and engaged in a guttural hoot fest. Then, in unison, they pranced around an imaginary Maypole shouting, “We’re number one! We’re number one!”
At that point, someone from another station hurled a plate of spicy meatballs at Tom and all hell broke loose. The police contingent that was guarding the entrance assumed that the party had been crashed from a back door and called in the swat team. They cleared the street around the theater entrance and set up a cordon. As a result, I was only able to observe from a distance.
A single ambulance arrived and, after a short time, a gurney rolled out of the theater carrying the battered and bruised Goodwill mascot, Smiling G. In a separate gurney was the board member who crashed the punch bowl.
Sensing a story, I jumped on my moped and followed the ambulance to the emergency drive-thru at Roper St. Francis Hospital. I parked and ran into the waiting room to find hospital personnel questioning the hapless mascot about insurance. Smiling G said that he was just a temp hired for the occasion and had no insurance. He was immediately thrown back into the ambulance and carted over to MUSC. By now, my moped had run out of gas so I had to tie a rope onto the ambulance bumper and get a tow.
After a cursory examination, Smiling G was reluctantly accepted at MUSC but was left to languish on a gurney in the hallway. I strolled over to the reclining mascot and struck up a conversation. “That was some crazy shit goin’ on in there!” he said as he picked a nicotine patch off his arm and jammed it under his swollen tongue. “I saw what was going down between the news crews at the party and walked over to see if I could help defuse the situation. Next thing you know I was grabbed and hoisted overhead. The drunken slobs stumbled across the room and threw me onto a table loaded with plates full of deviled eggs, little sausages wrapped in bacon, spicy meatballs, and imported shrimp. Cheap bastards! Imported shrimp! You would think that at seventy-five bucks a pop, they could have afforded Local Shrimp!”
I asked G what kind of injuries he sustained and he yelped, “TOOTHPICKS! Freakin’ toothpicks! They picked about fifty of those little suckers out of my butt during the ambulance ride! I told them that I needed those as evidence if I decide to file a lawsuit.”
G pulled out a large jar from beneath his costume and, sure enough, it was packed to the brim with the deadly little-broken-up slivers of wood. A few of them still had spicy meatballs and cheap shrimp attached.
Midstream in my conversation with Smiling G, I was shoved aside by what I thought was hospital personnel. As it turned out, they were attorneys from local personal injury practices. Always willing to mix business with pleasure, these sharks smelled blood in the water and were vying with each other to get the angry mascot to sign representation contracts which they carried around on every occasion. (I call them “sharks” because, in the rush to get there first, none of them had bothered to remove their shark costumes, except for one who had decided to break with legal tradition and dress up as a ghoul.)Figuring that I could get nothing more in the way of useful information here, I yanked the IV bag and hose off a snoozing wino’s gurney and went outside. IV bags, once emptied, perform double-duty as an efficient device for siphoning gas from vehicles. I shoved the tube in the tank of the unattended ambulance, filled my moped, and hustled back to the Dock Street Theater.
Other than a few stumbling, hooting drunks, the place had been cleared out. There were custodians on the steps of the theater spreading a thick layer of sawdust to clean up the mess left by attendees. The police cordon and crime scene tape had been taken down but the swat team was still there…waiting for two disappointed snipers to finish packing their gear and descend from the spire of St. Phillips.