Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Restoration Division Rolls out Latest Masterpiece

CWMC Cold Storage Bunker #2, Ardrossan, Ab: With the worldwide credit markets imploding and weed prices showing double-digit inflation, the CWMC Restoration Division has seen it's budget decimated after the latest round of  debt-ceiling hikes, bailouts, and feely-nicey public-relations bullshit has again failed to generate any real fiscal fix-up for the President's very serious dilemma of how to restore twenty cars on a budget for one. The obvious solution, it seems, would be to sell all but one car, and restore it; but the President, like a few other world leaders, has chosen the austerity route.
The Kaiser as delivered after another boozy buying binge.
  The Resto-ration Division chose the fittingly low-end "Special" model from the 1951 Kaiser line upon which to lavish absolutely no funding and minimal time in an attempt to prove to justifiably skeptical creditors that the ridiculous and incoherent CWMC car collection could be managed on a vastly reduced, almost embezzlement-free budget.
  With the entry deadline  for the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance only days away, the inevitable corner-cutting started in earnest. As the latest in a series of what soon became known around the office as the Zero-Funding Restorations was fearlessly hammered together, Agents from multiple divisions donated precious seconds, even minutes of their ample spare time to this heroic undertaking.
Finished! Just buy the judges a few drinks first.
  Carefully leaning and bullshitting away, the President, now fully delusional and still convinced of a possible class win (at very least an honorable mention), just rolled the broken windows out of sight and tried to scoop out as much of the mouse shit and leafy detritus as he could with one hand, while the other held steady a pretty tidy G&T for 10:41 am.
$9.79 hood badge blew the budget
  Plans to get the Kaiser's Continental "Supersonic" 6 operational were shelved pretty quickly after a brief and discouraging look under the hood, and it was decided that no one would notice, as most serious show cars are trailered around and just kind of fussed over, anyway. Some old tarps and blankets took care of the upholstery needs without undue expenditure, while some fresh air in the tires made pushing much easier; important for proper show cars.
  Thriving mossy ecosystems were uprooted in the name of redemption, and turtle wax duly applied to the remaining paint-covered areas in the hopes that the folksy, casual, run-whatcha-brung- style judging at Pebble Beach would forgive a few, tiny, imperfections in the name of originality and preservation.
Radio delete - of course.
   The latest of these new, Zero-Funding Restorations (ZFRs) was unveiled at HQ yesterday to an appropriately subdued, select, Agents-only audience. Unfortunately, the Prez had been prepared to forestall what he perceived as a liquidity crisis by stockpiling cases of Gilbey's in his office at HQ, and had begun a pretty serious skim operation by noon that day.  Several hours later, the scene at HQ had degenerated into something substantially more like a proper fundraiser, with mysterious women and hazy, half-remembered speculation about whether the whole thing was in fact a disguised bailout of the French Car Division, whose books were singularly ruinous, and whose recent escapades had demonstrated a wholesale disregard for accountability on any level.
CSB II is full again.
  A speech was unavoidable, but someone evidently forgot to remind the President that his Wilhelm II imper-sonation, however accurate and studiously delivered, would be a tough sell in today's econo-litically correct climate, and there were definitely a few uncomfortable silences at his latest, and hopefully final, public appearance for this year.
  Not that he noticed.
  All Agents are encouraged to please report to HQ to pick up their Zero-Funding Bonus Cheques (ZFBCs). 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

French Car Division Faced With Credibility Downgrade

CWMC Headquarters, Ardrossan, Ab: The atmosphere was tense Tuesday as Agents from multiple Divisions gathered at HQ for yet another in a seemingly endless series of desperate funding-related "summits" intended to generate some kind of a feasible fiscal facility from which a coherent purchasing protocol might be constructed. Taken particularly to task was, again, the French Car Division, following the arrival of another unit, which, even by the Presidents particularly unpretentious standards, has to be unambiguously regarded as an unholy piece of merde.
   Trouble was easily predictable from the beginning, as the 1980-ish Citroen CX2500D at the center of the credibility collapse was clearly setting off every "run away" alarm in the vicinity from even the most generous and casual appraisal of the almost-literate advertisement and accompanying cell-phone photography. Plenty of spray-can improvements were showcased, and the bottom half of the unit had been dusted in barbecue black; always a reliable signpost of a quality, low-mileage gem. Hindsight would suggest that, with the local market for destitute Gallic oil-burners apparently saturated, the seller was possibly prone to generosity in his description of the car during a brief telephone interview.
  Of course, it was in Calgary, and would require trailering; calling to active duty the Presidents 198? Dodge 150. With the odds of success hovering around the 40% mark, the decision to attempt the recovery was based not so much on the chances of success, as it was on the chances of finding another Series 1 CX anywhere near HQ.
CX#1 looking downright tidy by comparison.
  Upon arrival, it quickly became obvious that the operation was in serious trouble. The President had again forgotten in his enthusiasm that shitty, 30-year-old French cars seldom look better up close than they did from 200 miles away. In fact, had not such a long drive been already invested, the President would have simply driven by, and not even stopped to further hurt his eyes on the shambling remains of the once-great CX. But, as is often the case lately, the mission was deemed "Too Big to Fail" and bad decisions were starting to pile up. Even the briefest walkaround netted an eye-watering list of shortcomings so all-encompassing that it would have been funny if this were a fictitious account of a non-event. Both of the original headlights were M.I.A.; replaced with not-even-slightly-similar units from a late-70s Malibu. The doors had been re-skinned with aluminum sheeting pop-riveted over the rust, and the seam partially hidden with 3-inch Chevy truck moulding. The hood was bent where someone had tried to close it with the prop rod still in place. The left quarter was smashed, its tail light gone. The partially disassembled interior looked like it had been the scene of a disagreement between a sadistic electrician, a drunk pro-wrestler, and a flock of owls. The ignition switch was dangling by the floor with a broken screwdriver sticking out of it. Overall, a pretty sad state of affairs for a car that cost Ferrari-money when new. To the sellers credit, most of the damage had occurred prior to his inheriting the car, but his optimistic pricing was an issue that would have to be addressed. The President briefly considered canvassing the neighbors to see how much funding could be raised by promising to tow away the local eyesore.
Careful restoration efforts are impressive.
  After some enthus-iastic haggling had established a more realistic pricing structure (one based primarily upon the weight of the vehicle), the old Citroen was started up using the aforementioned screwdriver and some creative underhood wiring jumps. When a suitably generous amount of time had elapsed, the CX reluctantly dragged itself up from the pavement that had supported it, and began to pull itself forward on to the awaiting trailer.
  Then the front drive axle fell out, and progress was again halted for several minutes while the President reconsidered just leaving the whole goddamn mess sitting there in the street and going home. Eventually, bad decision-making prevailed again, and some lucky locals were conscripted to push the remains close enough to the trailer that it could be winched aboard.
  Several hours later, back at HQ, the newest addition to the French Car Division's garage was, rather without ceremony it has to be said, unloaded, and the Prez retreated to HQ for recuperative bong rips and a couple of family-sized G&Ts.
  With the French Car Division's debt/GDP ratio sailing past that of Greece and Portugal, and the President lacking the political will to effect real policy change at the expense of his own already somewhat dubious legacy, today came the inevitable announcement that the FCD's Credibility Rating would be slashed from "Mildly Eccentric" to "Totally Batshit".  
  "Well," said the President later that evening, now recalling the days events through a warm and friendly gin-filter "it does make the other one look a lot better."