Hustler Sinbad: Book One: Sinbad

Interlude: Two Newspaper Articles


By Jason Jarman

TWO-TON WRECKING BALL DESTROYS CITY BLOCK Massive Iron Ball "Came Out Of Nowhere," Killing 23, Injuring 47

The calm of a cold, rainy late afternoon was shattered for residents in the downtown Metro area. At 4:07 PM, a seven-foot wide, two-ton iron wrecking ball fell, from an unspecified location, into the intersection of Market Boulevard and Sam Collins Avenue.

"It just came out of nowhere," area resident Sid Dithers said, pointing to the sky. "I was going to get the evening paper, and I saw it falling down like a big hailstone."

This "big hailstone" caused an estimated $3.2 million dollars' worth of damage. The iron ball impacted right above a major artery of the city's natural gas line. It also collided with several cars. When one of the cars exploded, it set off a chain reaction, culminating in the rupture and explosion of the gas line. The explosions also caused major power outages in the area. Some homes and businesses are still without heat and power. Officials expect repairs to be completed by tomorrow night.

Twenty-three passersby were killed by the explosion. Several area businesses were destroyed or disabled. Among those killed was a beloved local figure, Rosa Consuelo, 61, genial owner of Rosa's Cafe, a favorite hangout of local businessmen and workers for over 30 years.

The source of this iron ball is not yet determined. "There's no construction going on in the immediate area," said area zoning commissioner Melvin Bornemann. "The closet site is three miles away. It's crazy. Looks like someone just dropped the thing on downtown."

The ownership of the iron ball has been traced to a long-defunct construction company that operated on the East Side, some seven miles away from the site of the accident.

Officials are still investigating the source of the wrecking ball. No additional details are available at this time.

* * *

LAKE RONSON HOME HURLED FOURTEEN MILES IN AIR; LANDS IN WAL-MART PARKING LOT "One For The Books," Say Area Law-Enforcement Officials; Work Of "Magic Belt," Say Drug-Taking Revelers

A three-story estate, valued at 4.3 million dollars, was apparently ripped from its foundation and thrown, with great force, 14 miles across the county. The house, or what remained of it after its trip in the sky, landed in a parking lot of a Wal-Mart shopping center in the Crescent Heights district.

The home, belonging to architect Rondo Vallence, 46, was the site of a late-night party attended by a large group of leather-clad males. "It was some kind of weirdo thing," said neighbor Gladys Manger, 71. "Laughter and racket. I didn't like the look of it one bit."

Mrs. Manger called the police to complain about the noise the partiers had made. Shortly after her call, as area law enforcement officials were en route to the scene, the lavish home was lifted up by a young individual with super-human strength. At least, that's what several of the party attendees said.

"This dude was all muscles," said a male, aged 24, who wished to remain anonymous. "He had some kind of magic belt that made him strong. He just lifted up the house like it was a paper cup."

Several other witnesses corroborated this story. The young male, aged between 16 and 20, had blond hair, an extremely small waist, and was dressed in skin-tight leather.

Police officials had another story. "It was obviously the result of an explosion. Most of the people at this party had taken one or more hallucinogens," said officer James Dicotta. "Maybe they saw some kid lift up a house and throw it in the sky, but they were probably seeing a whole lot of weird things that night."

Said patrolman Dan Weathers, "This is one for the books. I see it, but I still don't believe it."

Eleven of the partygoers were arrested for possession of narcotics and controlled substances. Two men were arrested for having non-consensual sex with a minor. The home's owner, who is currently working in Switzerland, could not be reached for comment. •

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