Production personnel for the upcoming nightly TV talk show Anthracite Tonite are in a festive mood on this dreary, windswept and snowy evening, proving how much we need the company of each other – particularly in the uncertain times brought about by the sporadic solar flare outbursts. Morris Crimpanfortis looks on happily as valued members of the production staff order freely off the menu. The tab for this evening will accumulate on the running total of the reciprocal trade agreement that Morris already worked out with the restaurant for airtime once the TV show is up and running (it has already missed its launch date twice). Amid all the decision Morris is being forced to make, including a heated search for a cohost, tonight he must choose a suitable substitute for desert, as the restaurant just announced it was out of peach pie – or “out of the peach” as they put it. Morris decides that “out of the peach” has a nice ring to it, and wonders how difficult it will be to trademark the saying for his exclusive use later on . . .

“Out of the Peach”

Free Dinner Attracts Wannabe Exec Producers

Other people show up for the weekly production meeting in the “Boca Grande Room” in back of the legendary Five-Points Diner: Wendy Taveras, Honus Kryburn, Wilmer Growens, Tink Herksely, Gandy Frommenkin, Fordham Oaknauer and Inez Unkley. Each has their own job title for the production of Anthracite Tonite accentuating their respective areas of expertise and spheres of influence.

The mood turns festive on this depressing winter eve, filled with the good cheer of friends and co-laborers. People start ordering off the menu, putting it on my tab. Since I’m broke, this will be a part of the preexisting restaurant trade with the TV station–I hope. Nothing is written in stone yet. I decide to splurge and go for a slice of coconut cream pie, since they’re out of the peach this evening.

Honus Kryburn Lets It Rip

Honus Kryburn, the chief automobile prognosticator and rant specialist for Anthracite Tonite, offers an unsolicited proclamation: “Can I have your attention? Everybody listen up” The radio guy’s grating voice echoes off the windowless wallpapered walls. “It’s time for another one of my copyrighted glimpses into the future.”

“I changed my mind,” shouts Fordham Oaknauer. “Can I have the rabbit stew instead of the pickled pike?”

Honus Kryburn rolls his eyes at the gauche interruption, forging ahead with another one of his patented visions. “You know, one day every road in America will be a toll road. And of all those toll roads, some will be designated unlimited speeds, like Germany’s mythical Autobahn.”

All about Self-hydration

Honus is heated up, talking about the future for drivers across the nation.

He goes on to explain how Americans will take the concept of the Autobahn and put their own spin on it. Being a market-driven economy, entrepreneurs and early adopters will sell knockoff Indy-style cars. If you are going to drive in the US, which in this case means “Unlimited Speeds,” you will be required to pilot one of the vintage racecar knockoffs.

You will also be required to dress appropriately. That means a Nomex head sock, Nomex leather-palm gloves, fire-resistant one-piece underwear, polyurethane-soled shoes, a three-layer fire suit, spherical safety helmet made of carbon fiber with a three millimeter sun-tinted visor, proper ear protectors and proof that you’ve properly hydrated yourself.

First Dibs on a Vapid Trademark

“Great Honus,” Fordham Oaknauer says. “But what’s that got to do with the price of vegetable oil?”

People start talking again, yammering about their children and their day jobs, trips to the teeming megalopolis of The Very B-I-G Allentown, anything but the business at hand. Wilmer Growens even goes so far to announce that he took the wife and kids moose hunting last weekend way out in Lank Holler.

I wonder if I should ask if they saw Bigfoot while they were holed up in the middle of nowhere like that.

“Now get this,” Honus says, oblivious to all the chatter at the big table around him. “Someday soon, even your rank-and-file motorist will be required to wear similar forms of safety equipment, just to go to the supermarket.” He nods ominously, letting it all sink in. “Mark my words.”

A Correlation with No Context

“Hey everybody,” I chime in. “I just thought of a new catchphrase I’m going to copyright: ‘Out of the peach.’ I don’t know exactly what it means, but I’ll think of something before filing the application with the Copyright Office.”

Everyone stops talking.

They don’t know how to respond to this.