Homeland Committee Protests New Census
"The federal Census people are coming back," Chief Security Officer Garvey Erfald half shouted as he entered the community hall where the members of the Homeland Security Committee were choosing chairs for the regular spring meeting.
The announcement sent shivers through the crowd. To ward off disorder, Chairperson Ork Dorken banged his coke bottle and called for order. He did it twice before anyone noticed.
"Where did you get those ill tidings?" asked Madeleine Morgan, the Montana voice of justice who had just returned from spending the winter in Billings where she picketed for the right to vote.
"It's in the news," Garvey replied. "All the cities - Grand Forks, Dickinson, Williston, Watford City and all those other western towns are asking for a new count because they've noticed a lot of strangers in town."
"They'll probably do the whole state," guessed Little Jimmy who was in his eighth year of college on the Internet. His present major was a degree in home maintenance offered by Chadron Technical University in Nebraska.
He had been pursuing a master's in theology when an anvil fell on his foot just as his preacher- mentor came around the corner. They both thought a change in major would be for the best.
The residents were beyond salvation, anyway, but he could do something to save the buildings.
"Well, let 'em come and count us again," Ole Sievert bristled as he glanced around for an empty spot to spit his snuff. It was a filthy habit.
"No," countered Garvey, "we can't let them count us again because they over counted us by six people in 2010 and we need those extra six to get $600 more in state aid. It would take another 40 mills in property tax to replace it, considering our small market value."
"What market value?" asked Old Sievert. He's had his house on the market for four years and got nary a bite even though he had an indoor toilet.
"How did the Census miscount by 35 percent?" asked Einar Torvald as he shook his head.
"If you ask me, they applied that estimate system used in congested urban areas," assumed Orville Jordan, the retired depot agent. "They just figured two people times 14 houses and got 28,"
"But we don't even have 14 houses unless they counted the two chicken coups.
"If they took away those six over counted people, we would have to do one of those sequester things and cut back on services - maybe plow only one lane of snow next winter," Little Jimmy ventured.
"We could burn down a few empty houses in case they do that street count again and multiply two by fewer houses," offered Orville.
"Once them Census people get into town, they'll know we don't have 28 people by who's not downtown, Einar prophesied. " We need to fake it."
"Yeah! Let's get us some folks like that policeman down at Amidon - at least two of them in every front window," suggested Holger.
"Just light a big firecracker on the street and we can get instant dummies in every window now," Josh smirked.
"We need to convert our terrorist warning system to a U. S. Census alarm - one if by road and two if by track," Garvey suggested.
"Maybe we should just pray that the Census will send the same people who did the last count," Little Jimmy proposed. "I count them as friends and who knows? They may end up giving us even more residents."
On that cheery note, the committee applauded, pulled on their jackets, and headed for the gardens. Ork just scratched his head.