Carol walks into the lobby of the Stuckeyville Progress and asks for Mr. Dobbs. Dobbs, the newspaper's editor, hears her and ushers her into his office. The guy is a dead ringer for my old newspaper editor, except he's carrying papers around instead of half-empty bottles of scotch and gin. Carol says she's an English teacher at the high school and wants to write some stories for the newspaper. Hey, Carol, I played a tree in a first-grade production of The Wizard Of Oz. I think it's high time Ron Howard put me in his next flick. But life doesn't work that way. Dobbs says that he used to have the creative bug himself at one point. He went so far as to write the story for an entire Captain Marvel comic that got rejected because he used the word "Shazam!" too many times. He asks Carol if she has any samples to show him; she doesn't. So he pulls out a stack of papers and tells her there's a bunch of different human-interest stories in there. If she can piece one together for him -- say, something about the town nympho or something -- then he could give her some freelance work. A side note here: I was a journalist/reporter for a weekly newspaper for the ten years. If Carol Vessey ever walked into our office with no samples and just a heart full of spunk, we'd use her as a human piñata. We didn't take that kind of crap from no high-falutin' English teachers at my newspaper. I mean, I wouldn't walk up to her and ask to teach her class Sex Ed. She needs to stay far away from my newspaper desk. Fer chrissakes, I bite, dammit. I'm like a rabid racoon when people threaten my livelihood.
Back at the alley, Shirley sits down with Kenny, who's wearing glasses thicker than Ron Jeremy's moneymaker. Shirley wants to know...what up with the specs? Kenny mumbles something about running out of contact lens solution, and Shirley says the glasses make Kenny look like Elvis Costello. Kenny actually thanks her, like that's some sort of compliment. Phil walks over and starts spouting off some high and mighty crap about workers of the world uniting and the only thing they have to lose are their chains. He attributes his spiel to "Karl Marxism." Kenny says he means Karl Marx, and Phil says that true greatness goes by many names. Phil has a proposition for the two of them. Shirley's convinced that he's going to try to get them to join Columbia House Record Club again. Phil's sick of Ed. He says that the power of owning the bowling alley has gone to Ed's head, and it's time that the three of them unionize. Kenny likes things the way they are, and Shirley says she feels lucky just to be there. Phil begins making promise after promise, including (but not limited to) three-hour work days, four-day weekends, five months of vacation each year, a ten-second coffee break out of every minute, their own personal omelet chef, and an employee lounge with vibrating chairs. He promises Kenny all the cigars he can smoke and Shirley all the Swedish fish she can catch if they would just join him in a union. Kenny tells him it won't work, and Shirley says she doesn't want to get fired, leaving Phil alone to wallow in his failed scheming. I'm thinking Kenny's gotten burned too many times by Phil's scams, because Kenny used to be his partner in crime at the drop of a hat. (Outragiacs, anyone?)