Phillip Tutor: And they said, ‘Where’s the money?’
Jun 06, 2013 | 3247 views |  0 comments | 90 90 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This is a tale about a little town in the South, a pleasant place with clean water and cool breezes and a nice view of Appalachia’s foothills.

Last Friday, people in this little town in the South took to the streets, singing while sauntering under the afternoon sun.

The melodies rang out.

“I’m gonna keep on walkin’ ...

“I’m gonna keep on walkin’ ...

“I’m gonna keep on walkin’ for my money ...

“Walkin’ for my PCBs.”

Walked they did, with bullhorns and songs. Near the front of the line strode a tall man, today a pastor and yesterday a city councilman. Atop his head was a Panama Jack-style hat. A smile graced his face. People followed him. He led the way.

The songbirds arrived, as planned, at the downtown office of a local attorney, a former U.S. senator well known in this little town in the South. The former councilman took his bullhorn, turned it toward his flock and called out.

“We need to ask the man, ‘Where’s the money?’” the former councilman said.

“On the count of three, “Where’s the money?’”

The former councilman’s followers did as they were told.

“WHERE’S THE MONEY?

“WHERE’S THE MONEY?

“WHERE’S THE MONEY?” they chanted.

The former councilman, wanting more, used his bullhorn to pump up the volume.

“WHERE’S THE MONEY?

“WHERE’S THE MONEY?” he asked.

No answer came.

This little town in the South’s attorney, perhaps bemused, witnessed the sidewalk commotion from inside his office. He watched and the songbirds sang. They want their money, their lyrics said, and they wanted the attorney arrested. They got neither.

A few minutes passed before the attorney finally opened the door, through which songs and catcalls and screams for his incarceration mixed into a bitter sound of discord. He stood there, watching, listening, thinking of what to do. He spoke to one of the protestors. His feet hadn’t yet crossed the doorstep. He faced a decision: run or engage?

Bravely, the attorney chose the latter, walking out onto the sidewalk. Protesters continued their chants. “I want my money! … I want my money!” an older gentleman in the front told the attorney. The former councilman, the one in the Panama Jack hat, tried to hand him the bullhorn’s microphone. The attorney resisted at first, then gave in.

He began to speak.

The people continued to yell.

Chaos ensued.

It was so typical of this little town in the South.

The former councilman tried to silence his followers. His bullhorn provided little help. With the booming voice of his pulpit, the former councilman reached out to those around him.

“Hold on, hold on, let him speak.”

They didn’t, so he asked them again.

“Hold on, hold on, let him speak.”

This went on for a few seconds, the yelling and the imploring. The former councilman, who doesn’t fluster easily, pocketed his smile. The local attorney, standing alongside, looked as if he was trapped amid a three-ring circus, which he was. Behind him was the door, his escape route should he need it.

The former councilman tried another approach.

“Please, please let him talk,” he bellowed through the bullhorn.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into this, so please let him talk. He can’t talk in court, but he can talk here.”

His followers silenced their complaints. They listened.

The local attorney, tieless and wearing a summertime short-sleeve shirt, told them the truth. There’d been no misappropriation of money, no shenanigans, no embezzlement, no crime committed with the millions of dollars of settlement money. Everything was on the up-and-up. The Supreme Court agreed, he told them.

“We spent the trust (fund) money the way we were supposed to spend it,” the attorney explained.

The cries returned, indecipherable.

“Have you seen the (Supreme Court) opinion?” the attorney asked.

The former councilman nodded, quickly, as if to say, “Yeah, we’ve seen it.”

The former councilman then regained control of the bullhorn, the charade over. He turned to his followers, who seemed undaunted.

“All right, give him a hand!” he said.

No one clapped.

And with that, the attorney returned to his office while the former councilman instructed his flock to move along up the street, singing and sauntering to their next destination, the county courthouse, where the songbirds would again take up their cause, as they always do in this little town in the South.

Phillip Tutor — ptutor@annistonstar.com — is The Star’s commentary editor. Follow him at Twitter.com/PTutor_Star.
Comments must be made through Facebook
No personal attacks
No name-calling
No offensive language
Comments must stay on topic
No infringement of copyrighted material


Friends to Follow



Today's Events

event calendar

post a new event

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Marketplace