RON SCHALOW: Part 2 of ‘Washington State Opts Out Of Bakken Oil Train Lotto’

A door-to-door custom news talker — one think minimum — begins his commentary: “North Dakota, North Dakota, it’s coming to me, OK, in North Dakota news, Gov. Doug Burgum — honorary chair of Donald Trump 2020 — either did something humane or made an empty gesture. More after this.”

“Hey dumbass. I told you ‘no’ commercials.”

“It was a PSA, man. Geez. So anyway, to provide an answer to a Trump executive order, Burgum wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to let ‘Big Pompy’ know that North Dakota will still accept refugees ‘as long as local governments agree to it,’ so, Burgum has no say at all, but he knows few will be allowed in the country, anyway.

All because Trump is standing on the hose. The Don has done everything the Stephen Miller white nationalist ghoul has conceived of to wreck all of our immigration programs including asylum and take cruel and illegal measures while doing so.”

N.D. Republicans are even onboard for the reprehensible splitting of families and walls that can be breached with an electric turkey knife.”

“Are you done?”

“Sorry. These pages have blueberry syrup on them. Shoot. Back to you, Roy.”

“I’m sad, Roy. That weird man made me sad.”

“No refunds!” yells the talker as the door closes behind him.

On that note, Roy Geiger Sr. strikes the molded plastic of the banquet table with his Fiskars IsoCore 3-pound club hammer to bring the second session of the Washington state Bakken oil train meetings to order. 

All attendees jumped at the wham, but three seniors seized up like an AMC Gremlin — coolant and lubrication issues — and needed the defibrillator that Roy carries around like a briefcase. One gent was jolted back with a purse taser, but what a whiner he turned out to be. You would think that Annie hooked him up to a wall socket with a frayed extension cord.

“I suppose that Roy guy scares pedestrians into myocardial infarction with the mallet,” whispers a loud cynic, “then saves them to get his picture in the paper.”

“Like Clorox Nightingale. She was a rabid media hound.”

“What’s with the Fred Flintstone potato masher, man?” Anonymous asks Roy. 

“Fine electrical work for an accountant, Ann,” grins Ringo. “You’ve saved an unrepentant soul, so he can spend another day in this grind. That’s a nominal win in my book. The old chap probably needs a hole drilled into his head to relieve the pressure of having a snarling rottweiler in his face every damn day. It never ends. The Tweets, the lies, the vitriol and the character assassinations. Every hour of every day of every month. It’s exhausting. I’m completely sapped. Bark, bark, bark, lie. I have to go lay down on the highway. My brain is as hot as a stolen pistol. My spleen wants out. My spine has shin splints. Is it safe? Dustin doesn’t know what you mean. Run little D! Huh, well good luck on outsmarting the North Dakotans. Don’t let them pull your leg with absurd stories of ‘fishing on ice.’ That’s load-bearing ice on the tundra in case you don’t know. It’s holding up the whole lake. Your bait can’t penetrate a solid so thick. Besides, a guys line would freeze into all kinds of shapes. How are you going to reel in a mess like that? It’s preposterous.”

Roy sighs. “Are there any relevant questions about Bakken oil train explosions?”

“How long have we been here? My soul is being crushed,” complains a leftist. “And that Ringo is a real mood killer. Puleeze, hit me square on the forehead with the giant hammer. Do a Moe.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake, Larry,” grouses cousin Bob. “It’s been 45 minutes. Go burn one if the tension is backing up in your cellar.” 

Roy sighs.

“Fishermen in North Dakota use a gavel similar to yours to knock out the northern pike before anyone in the boat gets eaten. If one of those creatures swallows your lure, you can kiss that expensive Rapala goodbye, that’s for sure.”

Roy sighs. “Thank you, Edna.”

Otis makes some noises. “Ooh, ooh, I have a question, Roy.”

“Well, what is it?” yells Edna. “Stupid kid,” she mutters. “He would probably stick his whole arm down a northern’s throat, forget the needle-nose pliers, and bleed out.”

“Does anyone know how high the column of fire rose above the Bakken derailment in Illinois? Huh?”

“Do YOU know?” nudges Roy.

“It didn’t get any higher than this Otis cat,” observes a loud whisperer. 

“It went up past a small plane in nearby airspace, and those Cessna prop jobbies have to stay above 500 feet according to my sources at the FFA. Then, it was just a matter of calculating the high pot noose and adding seven. If you see one on the ground, it’s at the low pot noose, which is typically zero.”

Scum stands. He’s way over 6 feet tall if you count his high hair. “Otis is correct in some respects. You can see the fire tower from the explosion of a single tanker car rising on the screen to your upside. That wreck happened on March 6, 2015, a few miles south of Galena, Ill., and involved the thicker C-1232s supposedly harder to rupture tanker cars.”

“A sixteenth of an inch thicker. Big whoop. Wrap them with a layer of tin foil why don’t they? Who are these oil people trying to kid? First, they used the DOT-111s and called those safe. For what? Flat Kickapoo Joy Juice? Pepto Bismol? You can punch a hole into one of those pinatas with a lopsided pool cue. But jabber mouth has been watching people make phone calls all his life, so there’s that. Was he trying to learn how to do it? Goddammit!”

“Good point, angry man,” compliments Scum. Somebody, please ice this dude down and whisper white noise into his left ear.”

And if I may your honor, I would like to introduce the futile words of Illinois Sen. Dickie Durbin into the record. Copies are available by the front door of this dreary room.”

“Can I get a second?” hollers Roy Jr.

“We’re not doing that,” scolds big Roy. “Just read it, Mr. Scum, and we’ll move on.  

RJ mumbles, “It won’t be legal.”

Scum clears his throat and adds an octave for his Durbin voice. “In the coming days, we need to look at not just the safety of the rail cars, but the safety of what is being put into those cars. There is mounting evidence that stricter standards are needed in the handling of Bakken crude, which appears to be particularly volatile. We can’t wait. The safety of our communities depends on it.”

“Well, that was gripping,” snarks an angrier man. “Did he not know that the Dakota-Bakken cartel doesn’t care about that stuff? That was in 2015, so where has he been since? Don’t make me laugh or imply that I lol’d. I never laugh out loud. How is a guy like me supposed to insinuate his bemusement on Facebook? It’s maddening. ‘Appears to be’ my ass.”

“Hey, wait just a doggone minute,” demands Joseph, his brain now in second gear. “Did we vote to let these Bakken trains to traipse through our cities like combustible centipedes? I vote no in retroactive absentia.”

“There was no vote,” declares Carmello. “The northland nitwits decided for us, in spite of national polling that shows that zero percent of nonpyromaniacs are in favor of having their town turned to ash.” He puts his head between his knees to ward off a faint.

Several people whip out tasers in case he falters into defib.

“Mace won’t help, Marcie. He’s wearing safety goggles.”

Another voice chimes in. “We know that PHMSA, the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Railroad Administration want the N.D. shale worshippers to degasify the crude oil before transportation, but the Federales are too cowardly to mess with big oil and won’t make demands. But someday they might need some guts because warnings of the danger don’t make the oil companies do anything different.”

“Is that you, Ernie?”

“Take off your sunglasses, you nut. That’s Mrs. Geiger. One of them anyway.”

Marla, from the bank, feels nauseous. “Ugh, sedimentary rock is the worst.” 

“Lynn Helms, Director of the N.D. Department of Mineral Resources, said the danger on the rails is a ‘myth,’ grumbles Elana. “Who does he think he is? Trump? Then, he says that Texas doesn’t stabilize it’s crude oil when its documented that they do. For trains, trucks, and pipelines. And pipelines, I repeat for effect. Helm’s got too cocky and flew too close to a lamppost.”

“I want to talk. Helloooo. Stifled, eh? Well, don’t come crying to me if you lack my knowledge. Look, did you see Jim Jordan try to outsmart Fiona Hall? A catchers mitt locked in battle with a 400 IQ? Thank you, deep state. That’s what I’m getting at. You don’t want to look like you cut your own hair and sleep in a stairwell. That’s not good.”

“You have to yell.”

“Ah, yes. Next. Next. Look, did you —”

“The chair recognizes the itchy dude,” yelps an annoyed libtard. “This thing is organized like a Guiliani conspiracy.”

“Oh, yes, finally. My name is Stanford Yale Brown III, but please call me Stan. I’ve been sober for 42 years, but —”

“Wrong meeting, Stan.”

“Of course. Anyway, the Grand Forks Herald threatened Minnesota officials — veiled like a lead pipe —  to either get on board with the Sandpiper Pipeline or the exploding trains would keep running through the Twin Cities and hundreds of other Minnesota towns, so one of the N.D. power players admits the danger. The Sandpiper would carry Bakken crude through environmentally delicate areas of Minnesota to Superior, Wis., but Enbridge got antsy and shelved the project in  September 2016. The Herald editor wasn’t the only one to use that ominous talking point even though the trains would never be fully replaced by pipelines. May I follow up?”


Stan re-establishes his coordinates and asks, “Will I be able to accuse opposing council of not being able to handle the truth?”

Roy answers, “Sorry Stan. We’re just gathering facts unofficially for Olympia and to let Bismarck know that we know what they know.” 

“Here’s the thing,” utters Greg. “The oil companies turned down at least two major pipeline projects, but the Native Americans get hosed down with mace and cold water and shot in the nards with rubber bullets. They must buy mace by the barrel over there.”

“And NO,” cries Igor, for some reason. “Must we suffer this ankle bracelet of a man known as Kevin Cramer? We must call bullshit on his prediction of “bullet trains” full of butane. That’s not how it works. We don’t even have bullet trains.”

“This is so stupid,” adds Igor’s friend Parnov. “Government officials have said that it might be safer to ship the explosive gases in the same tanker cars as the crude, evidently because the oil industry hasn’t learned how to move the dangerous NGL’s the proper way. The oil people claim otherwise.”

“Our leaders made a law on the side of their people” reminds Geiger. “North Dakota made a law that kept their people in danger. It’s quite a distinction.”

“Who are you?” asks June. “My hamster rattles the bars of his cage with a little metal cup. He usually uses it to drink mead, but sometimes he becomes incensed at being incarcerated.”

“That’s very interesting, June. This is Mr. Geiger. Can you see me?”

“I’m going to say yes.”

“You can’t handle the truth.”

Geiger continues. “They deny that gases released from the crude gather in the free space on the top of the tanker, but experts say, ‘Of course it does.’ Furthermore, volatility is directly related to vapor pressure. The Nodaks have been trying to muddy the facts on that point. Higher vapor pressure equals higher volatility and more gases aren’t the answer. We need them to make it less gassy.”

 And evidently, Bakken producers were the first to transport dissolved gases in a flammable liquid as a regular procedure because there is no railcar authorized to haul a substantial ratio of NGL’s and Bakken crude together in a horizontal 30,000-gallon silo.” He nods to a woman holding up her hand.

“NGL’s are also known as natural gas liquids.”

“We KNOW that, Linda.”

“Shut up, Ernie. Please don’t interrupt me.”

“Did you know that the train near Luther, Okla., was only going 19 miles per hour on a flat straight away when the wreck happened?” 

They need to go faster on crooked tracks.”

Roy sighs. “Take 15 everyone. Have a bear claw.”


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