Coney Island TO THE FUTURE!
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Filmore Firebush, imbedded reporter, brings you another shocking story from the hearts and minds of the Newest of York’s, New York City.
Coney Island… there are few true blue Americans who do not recognize the name of Americas oldest and sleaziest theme park, located at the southern tip of brooklyn. Coney Island has been featured as the location for several of Hollywoods zaniest and most cherished comedies, including 1941 and Requim for a Dream, but few people know the plight that now faces this Heavenly fun zone.
The Department of City Planning and Thor Equities, the owners of the majority of Coney Island’s properies, are working through their ImagineConey plan which would bury most of the leftover bleached bones of Coney Island’s historic rides and replace them with high-priced hotels full of fat, sunburned tourists with khaki shorts perched above cotton socks squeezed into sandals that are always bickering over a fully unfolded NYC transit map flapping in the wind and who, despite the posted signs, ALWAYS feed the fucking pidgeons.
I knew Coney Island needed me badder than Hugh Heifner needs Viagra, so I tracked downa Mr. Tannen, the CEO and founder of the company behind Thor Equities, Bifco, the same Mr. Tannen who managed to amass a small fortune throughout the seventies and early eighties by an unbroken series of prophetic bets on sports events, from horse racing to football.
I arrive at Mr. Tannen’s corporate headquaters in Hill Valley, Queens. It’s a towering neon golum that paints the surrounding blocks a vegas pink, with the sign BIFF TANNEN’S PLEASURE PARADISE surely visible from the International Space Station. A grizzled homeless man shouts “Watch where you’re going, crazy drunk pedestrian!” as I pass, his breath smells of broken promises and mowhawk gin.
Mr. Tannen’s associates greet me at the door beside a smiling, Graceland-esque manniquin of Tannen himself, the doll being the only thing I’ve seen in Hill Valley that isn’t crusted with a layer of pidgeon shit.
The goons are all seemingly dressed in preperation for different themed costume parties, a cowboy, a ruffled-shirted greaseball, and a man wearing 3D glasses. I crack a joke about the glasses, pointing out that the world is already in 3D, to which he stares at me stone-faced for a moment before replying “what glasses?” I’m still shaking my head in confusing as Mr. Tannen’s goons lead me into the Pleasure Paradise’s elevators and up to the man some have called “America’s Next Folk Hero.”
BIFF – Well well, another butt head journalist wanting a piece of the Biffster. You better make this brief, I’ve got a date with some interns in my hot-tup in fifteen.
FILMORE – I’m here to discuss the fate of Coney Island, which Bifco is planning on bulldozing to open a Pleasure Paradise chain. But, while I’m here, I’d also like to get inside the head of one of America’s richest men. Some say, Mr Tannen, that you’ve amassed your wealth by sheer luck. You attribute it to some higher being, specifically “God.” What is the real skinny behind your riches?
BIFF – What, a guy can’t get a lucky break or a thousand? I always rush in where Angels dare to spread, if you know what I mean.
FILMORE – Um… I belive the expression is…
BIFF – The point is, butthead, that you wanna know the real story behind the greatest man this two bit country has seen in its three hundred year history, right?
FILMORE – Yes. Specifically, I’m curious about a so called “sports alminac” that you’ve been photographed with several times.
BIFF – Lorraine, LORRAINE! Fix me a goddamned whiskey woman! It all started on November 12th, 1955…
FILMORE – Wasn’t that the day of the famous Hill Valley Lightning Storm?
BIFF – You know your history, very good. So there I was, minding my own business when this crazy old codger with a cane shows up. He says he’s my distant relative. I didn’t see any resemblance. So he says “How would you like to be rich?” So I say “Sure.” So he lays this book on me. He says this book’ll tell me the outcome of every sporting event ’til the end of the century. All I have to do is bet on the winner, and I’ll never lose. So I say “What’s the catch?” He says, “No catch, just keep it a secret.” After that he disappeared. I never saw him again.
FILMORE – So… you’re telling me that this so called sports almanac is the key to your fame and fortune? What else did this distant relative of yours say?
BIFF – Oh, he told me one other thing. He said some day, a crazy wild eyed scientist or a journalist may show up asking about that book. And if that ever happened…..
At this point in the inteview, Mr. Tannen pulled out a small revolver from his leisure suit pocket and pointed it straight at me forehead. Being imbedded in New York City for almost a month now, I had use all of my wits to escape from this potentially life threatening situation with cunning and grace.
FILMORE – Yeah well Biff, you’re forgetting one thing. What the hell is that?
I pointed behind Biff at a gaudy portrait of himself hanging behind the wall. As he was distracted I plowed headfirst into his three goons, bowling over Skinhead and Match and knocking off 3D’s glasses. Looking back for only a moment before bursting through the door to the staircase, I saw that underneath the glasses 3D had one red eye and one blue. Everything suddenly made sense.
I heard Skinhead, Match, and 3D whooping as I climbed the staircase, my pack a day lungs screaming with the effort. Kicking open the door to the roof, I stumbled out onto the water slicked tar and raced for the building’s edge, not knowing what I’d do once I reached the end of the line. I looked below, expecting to see the dirty concrete of Hill Valley below me, but was instead brought face-to-face with a dilorian car that appeared to be… flying?
What had I gotten myself into? Was Bifco involved in secret government weapons, or was this something more? Before I had a chance to consider the implications of a flying luxury car from the mid-80’s, Biff’s goons reached the roof behind me. I leapt off the roofs edge, feeling my guts seperate as I cut gravities strings only to slam onto the stainless steel roof of the awaiting Dilorian below.
Here I wait, clutched to the roof, until my situation improves. I can still hear shouting from inside the Pleasure Paradise, but I no longer think that its about me, something about a “worthless son,” either way, until this dilorian decides to land, I’m along for the ride, wherever it takes me. Looks like Coney Island’s suddenly become the least of my worries.
NEXT WEEK: There’s Something About Staten Island