14 NOV 10: A Wild Goose Chase
You may be focused on Bulldogs or Tigers this weekend - but my mind has been distracted by geese. Two geese are missing, and being held for ransom. One has been "beheaded." And as far as we can tell, no turkey is responsible for it.
BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Darrell Wilson is baffled, to say the least. He says someone stole two of his geese almost two weeks ago, and currently is demanding $300 for them. Before you ask -- this amount is considered too low for the NCAA to expand its investigation of Cam Newton's father.
Darrell Wilson is so baffled that this appeal was posted Friday outside his realty office in downtown Phenix City. So I couldn't resist calling the "goose hotline" to find out the full story. If it's really a hotline, did that mean his geese were cooked?
Darrell Wilson told me the geese were in front of his business, and vanished during the first two days of November even though he stored them in what he considered a safe spot. "One of them has a head that kind of swivels loose...."
"Wait a minute," I said interrupting his story. "Are these real-life geese, or ornamental ones?" It turns out they're NOT real - so People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will have to find something else to use as a media event.
Darrell Wilson described them as two look-alike "artificial geese," which he purchased in Warm Springs for 50 dollars each and set outside his realty office. Whoever stole them left a note demanding a 200-dollar ransom at a certain time and place -- but Wilson refused to leave any money. This shows one big difference between Phenix City and Juarez, Mexico....
When Darrell Wilson refused to pay the 200-dollar ransom, he says the kidnapper left the head from one of the geese in a box. A note was with it, claiming the kidnapper was serious. But he apparently is still not serious enough to leave any home foreclosure papers.
Then Darrell Wilson made a big mistake this past week - putting the box with a goose's head in the back of his pick-up truck. On the first day he left it there, the box was stolen. This ought to be enough for anybody to accept a telemarketer's offer, and install a business security system....
The most bizarre twist in this story occurred Thursday. Darrell Wilson says he returned home from work, and found that box with the goose's head at the foot of his bed - covered with fake blood! Thankfully it was only ketchup. If the kidnapper used real "goose grease," that would have been extra-scary.
"My wife said it was just like 'The Godfather,'" Darrell Wilson told me - as in the bloody movie scene with a horse's head. But if there's a Phenix City Mafia, this goose head in a box seems awfully small-scale. And why pick on a real estate agent, when Jimmy Wetzel or Larry DiChiara would be more obvious targets?
(I did NOT ask Darrell Wilson if he had a photo of the ketchup-covered goose head. It's always good to leave a key clue for CrimeStoppers, you know.)
A note was attached with the faux-bloody box - now demanding $300 in ransom money, or the geese will be burned with Darrell Wilson's scarecrows. That was apparently a Halloween display outside his office. And it obviously didn't work, in terms of scaring pests away.
This actually isn't the first time this sort of theft has occurred at Wilson Realty. Darrell Wilson reminded me a carousel set outside for the holiday season was stolen last year -- and let's face it, that could have turned into any old Sunday special at the Lee County Flea Market.
So who or what is behind the goose-napping? Is it a strange practical joke by one of Darrell Wilson's friends? One of the notes made him think that way, but he says all his friends deny any knowledge of the stunt. If someone e-mails photos of the geese on the field at the Auburn-Alabama game, that could change everything.
But Darrell Wilson says he normally locks his home when he goes to work. So if someone snuck in to leave that goose head in a box in his bedroom, it qualifies as a "breaking and entering" crime. And whoever takes care of the Aflac duck might want to double security for a while - much less checking its insurance protection.
As I checked Saturday night to see if this really was a BLOG EXCLUSIVE, I came upon something almost as strange. A tanker truck crashed on Interstate 65 in Alabama the other day, spilling chicken blood on the highway. I didn't realize chicken blood is used in makeup - but now I wonder if one company should change its name to "Maybelline Prattville."
So if you expected the top story today to be about that football game in Lee County - sorry, it's coming next. Once again, Cam Newton is number two....
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BLOG UPDATE: "I got 20 dollars, says Georgia beats Auburn!" That was the loud announcement by my next-door neighbor Thursday morning, to workers at the business next to mine. Why set the alarm clock for 8:00 a.m., when you have a neighbor like this?
My neighbor wasn't outside Saturday night, to tell me if he owes someone 20 dollars. But Auburn overcame a week of rumors and turmoil to get by Georgia 49-31. The Tigers clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division, advance to the title game in December - and ensure the Cam Newton rumors will grow louder for three more weeks.
WTVM reported members of the Auburn athletics department met with NCAA investigators Thursday about the Cam Newton "pay to play" probe. The meeting ended with NO recommendation to keep Newton out of Saturday's game -- which proves Georgia Coach Mark Richt has no skills in throwing his voice.
Atlanta's WSB-TV claims Cecil Newton has admitted asking a middleman about a payoff for enrolling his son at Mississippi State. But Auburn University reportedly never knew about the idea, and NO money was ever exchanged. So oddsmakers who took Saturday's game off the board in Las Vegas didn't have to worry about Newton betting money on it after all.
As for the game: Georgia put up quite a fight. The Bulldogs tied the score at 28-28 in the middle of the third quarter. But quarterback Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns, ran for two more - then ran out the back door of the locker room, before reporters could corner him and ask questions.
(Yes, you can say Saturday was "Georgia's bowl game" - because after losing to Auburn, they won't be eligible to play in one.)
Whichever side you supported, the Georgia-Auburn game had an ugly ending. Two Tiger defensive players were ejected in the final minutes for throwing punches, and the team benches nearly emptied at one point. The Georgia team apparently forgot "clean old-fashioned hate" is the slogan for the Georgia Tech game.
(That will teach my next-door neighbor, for talking in his 20-dollar offer about breaking Cam Newton's legs....)
In other action Saturday, Alabama mastered Mississippi State 30-10. But once again, WIOL AM-FM dropped the radio broadcast before the game ended. Is Eli Gold only allowed to mention Bob Baumhower's restaurants so many times in Columbus?
Different sports top our review of other weekend discoveries....
+ Columbus High School won the AAA state cheerleading championship at the Civic Center. But I had to go to the Atlanta newspaper's website to find out, as not even the Georgia High School Association posted any results. This is also how you can tell a woman is covering weekend sports for Columbus television....
+ Fort Benning staged a marathon, on a course stretching from the National Infantry Museum to Phenix City and back. Video of this event could be shown at the main gate next weekend, as a suggestion for SOA Watch protesters.
+ The second annual Veterans Day parade rolled through downtown Columbus and Phenix City. Councilor Jerry Barnes came up with this idea, and mentioned it in his winning bid for re-election. Now all he needs is a float providing rolling diabetes tests.
+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported the fire-damaged Krispy Kreme doughnut shop may not reopen until January. Owner Hank Aaron might want to take advantage of this - borrowing from state fairs, and offering flame-broiled burgers with doughnuts as buns.
+ Republican members of the Georgia Senate approved a rule requiring lawmakers to recite a state pledge of allegiance every day, in addition to the traditional pledge to the U.S. flag. I'm frankly puzzled by this move - since the Georgia pledge doesn't mention God or Jesus at all.
SCHEDULED MONDAY: An update on the complaints about Goodwill Industries....
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