The Mean Streets of Mackinac Island

 

mackThere are 492 stories on the naked island. This is one of them.

A political consultant — John Yob’s his name — was out tomcatting at a Mackinac Island watering hole Thursday night. One drink became three, three drinks turned to 10, and by 2 a.m. he was feeling every drop of his Oberon Ale. Yob had a mouth full of cotton and a belly full of regret. Little did he know, the night was just getting started.

Most people think of Mackinac Island as a family place. A dot of green in a great lake of blue topped with B&B’s, fudge shops, and horse-drawn carriages. But there’s another side to Ol’ Mac. A darker side.

island-essentials-no7-680x390We might not have the motorized vehicles or the crime you’ll find in big cities like Sault Ste. Marie, Petoskey, or Escanaba. But you’ll never forget the distinctive sound of a Mackinac Island drive-by.

Clop, clop, clop, clop … BANG! … clop, clop, clop.

It haunts a man, whether he’s a lifelong islander or a three-day weekender like Yob.

Seems the Republican Leadership Conference landed on the island this week. And where politicians go, trouble follows. Yob was representing the Paul Family and another joe named Beeson was from Miami’s Rubio Cartel. The locals locked their shutters and hoped the truce would hold. Well, they should have bought a few more rabbit feet at the Lutheran craft fair because their luck was about to run out.

Word is Beeson cut his teeth buying flashy motorboats for the boss and getting Mrs. Rubio out of speeding tickets. All the bosses have fixers and maybe these are just so many spook stories. But with what happened next, you can call me a believer.

Yob was the first to spill the beans:

“Ran into a guy named Rich Beeson, who frankly I didn’t even know who it was at first because he isn’t relevant in our political world. Anyway, he is Marco Rubio’s national campaign manager. He literally physically assaulted me by punching me in the face. The state police are looking for him. I have it on video, from multiple angles. This will play out in the national media in the next few hours.”

Literally and physically. That’s a double whammy. But you show me the man who hasn’t thrown a haymaker in Horn’s Bar, and I’ll show you an armless agoraphobe.

Yob was new to Ol’ Mac. He told Rubio to drop Beeson off the bridge and let him sleep with the muskies. But if I know the “Florida Gator,” he gave his man Beeson a raise.

Grand Hotel on Mackinac IslandI was walking the long patio of the Grand Hotel when I got the call from the island constable. “Get in here,” he said. “There’s been a literal and physical punching.”

Told him I was still trying to crack the weekend riot that rocked the town. A group of thugs had torn up the Grand, flipping three Adirondack chairs like cinnamon toothpicks and smudged fudge on the bunting something awful.

Thought I fingered the culprits, but their mom swore they were drinking malts in town at the time. They don’t make fifth graders like they used to. Nor do they make dames like that. All the DEET repellent in the world couldn’t keep me away from those gams.

When I arrived at the constable’s one-room office, I was mad as a deerfly stung by a mosquito. “I’m hot on their trail, chief! I’ll have ‘em in the clink before my head hits the pillow!”

“Forget it, Jon. It’s Mackinac.” That’s when he slid a small pink box across the desk.

“I’m on a diet, chief,” I said. “I’ve quit the fudge.”

“It’s Ryba’s new pumpkin spice flavor.”

m_1024960dHe knows I’m a sucker for Ryba’s. Before I could finish the first line of the Serenity Prayer I emptied that box and fell off the wagon.

We sent a citizen posse to track down Beeson. They bicycled from Arch Rock to Point Aux Pins. Searchlights roamed Lake Huron halfway to Bois Blanc.

Elma Gunderson thought she saw Beeson jump a Shepler’s Ferry to St. Ignace, but that’s just Elma. Her nerves are shot after all those years working the marble slabs and copper kettles of Main Street. Spent too long in the fudge game.

All that’s left for us to do is wait for Beeson to show his face. For all I know, he’s eating a Cornish pasty at the Pink Pony right now or chasing Monarchs at the Butterfly House. Whatever happens, crime is getting a little too common here on Ol’ Mac. Might need to settle down in a quieter place.

I hear houses are cheap in Detroit.

There are 35 comments.

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  1. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    We keep spending most of our lives

    living in a Yooper’s paradise…

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: There are 492 stories on the naked island….

    How many were written by Aldous Huxley?

    Hey-oooooo!

    ;-)

    • #2
  3. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Nothing good happens after the early bird special.

    • #3
  4. KevinC Contributor
    KevinC
    @KevinCreighton

    *golf clap*

    “Forget it, Jon, it’s Mackinac” had me in literal (not physical) stitches.

    • #4
  5. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Do they have light-bars and sirens on their bikes?

    • #5
  6. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    If They catch Beeson, He’s gonna have to ride back to the station on the Segway’s handlebar.

    • #6
  7. Blake and Julie Hurst Member
    Blake and Julie Hurst
    @BlakeandJulieHurst

    Drinking and Driving Mackinac style?

    IMG_4908

    • #7
  8. blank generation member Inactive
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Spread out over this was a grimy sky that looked as if it had come out of the smelter’s stack.

        The first first policeman I saw needed a shave….

     from Red Harvest 

    Looks like the town’s been cleaned up.

    • #8
  9. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Relax, everyone. Beeson will be found Somewhere. In Time.

    • #9
  10. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Brilliant! Superb! Waiting for the novel now. Well done, Jon.

    • #10
  11. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Hilarious.

    And, from the guardian’s article, more evidence that Mackinac is a very rough place, including the security video showing, oh, I don’t know, a shove:

    This is not the first time that Horn’s Bar has been the scene of political fisticuffs. In 2003, Mike Bishop, now a Republican US representative but at the time a state senator, was punched outside the bar, suffering concussion and a broken nose.

    Bishop had attempted to board a horse-drawn carriage that was occupied by his assailant.

    • #11
  12. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    Am laughing while drinking wine….
    Now there is red wine on the sofa
    Thanks, Jon!

    • #12
  13. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    For many year I’ve had this picture in my mind with James Lileks at the very top of the pyramid of humor writers.  James has met his equal.  There ought to be a tip jar for stories this good.

    • #13
  14. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “Get in here,” he said. “There’s been a literal and physical punching.”

    This may be one of the all time great lines written here, wish I had written it!

    • #14
  15. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: frankly I didn’t even know who it was at first because he isn’t relevant in our political world. Anyway, he is Marco Rubio’s national campaign manager.

    Wait a cotton pickin minute…a Paul representative is saying Rubio’s campaign manager isn’t up to HIS level???  When he says “our political world” does he mean the barely clinging to sanity world of Ron Paul?  The world of rambling nuttiness while wearing suits that are two sizes too big and still on the hanger?  Asking for a friend….lol

    • #15
  16. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Who is Rich Beeson? He is supposed to be a Republican. Some say his father was from Florida. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Rubio tell it, anybody could have worked for Beeson. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

    • #16
  17. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:Who is Rich Beeson? He is supposed to be a Republican. Some say his father was from Florida. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Rubio tell it, anybody could have worked for Beeson. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

    I just peed a little.

    • #17
  18. Pugshot Member
    Pugshot
    @Pugshot

    As a Michigander who’s been going to Mackinac Island for over 40 of his 65 years, you really captured the dark underbelly of the island. But the hardcore fudgies get their fix at Murdick’s, not Ryba’s. Well done, Jon, well done!

    • #18
  19. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Pugshot:As a Michigander who’s been going to Mackinac Island for over 40 of his 65 years, you really captured the dark underbelly of the island. But the hardcore fudgies get their fix at Murdick’s, not Ryba’s. Well done, Jon, well done!

    I actually debated whether to choose Murdick’s or Ryba’s, but I knew the latter had the pink boxes. Gotta add a hint of color to a noir story.
    My parents are both Yoopers, so I’ve spent many summer days in and around Ol’ Mac.

    • #19
  20. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    I love the writing style.  I wonder if it could be adapted for a television series…

    • #20
  21. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    People don’t understand the island. They think you can shrug it off, but Mackinac gets to you. It twists you. I visited for a weekend once. I still wake up in cold sweats, muttering “The Mask; the Mask.”

    People see a poor yooper, gone to prison like so many others and think he made the wrong choices. It ain’t always that easy. Sometimes blackmail is the only think keeping you sane.

    • #21
  22. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: A political consultant — John Yob’s his name — was out tomcatting at a Mackinac Island watering hole Thursday night. One drink became three, three drinks turned to 10, and by 2 a.m. he was feeling every drop of his Oberon Ale. Yob had a mouth full of cotton and a belly full of regret. Little did he know, the night was just getting started.

    Seriously?  A political consultant that has a “belly full of regret”?  Is that even possible?

    • #22
  23. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    My Wife got her bell rung at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.   Literally and physically.    In fact ,  ALL the women in ALL the bell choirs ( except the ones playing chimes or conducting )  got their bells rung.    It was like a quiet riot — everyone wanted to come on, hear the noise!

    • #23
  24. Chip Head Inactive
    Chip Head
    @ChipHead

    Mac & Wally have a sinkin’ stinkin’ suspicion this is a tall tail (of which they’re jealous).  They’ll believe it when Huron freezes over.

    • #24
  25. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Chip Head: Chip Head   Mac & Wally have a sinkin’ stinkin’ suspicion this is a tall tail (of which they’re jealous).  They’ll believe it when Huron freezes over.

    Didn’t Superior freeze over completely last summer?

    If Superior did, I assume that Huron did as well.

    Am I merely making an ass of u and me?

    • #25
  26. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    Misthiocracy:

    Chip Head: Chip Head Mac & Wally have a sinkin’ stinkin’ suspicion this is a tall tail (of which they’re jealous). They’ll believe it when Huron freezes over.

    Didn’t Superior freeze over completely last summer?

    If Superior did, I assume that Huron did as well.

    Am I merely making an ass of u and me?

    I’m not sure that it froze completely, but if it didn’t it was about as close as it could come without doing so.

    Though since Huron is more southerly than Superior, I’d expect it to be less likely to freeze completely over.

    • #26
  27. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Matt Balzer:

    Misthiocracy:

    Chip Head: Chip Head Mac & Wally have a sinkin’ stinkin’ suspicion this is a tall tail (of which they’re jealous). They’ll believe it when Huron freezes over.

    Didn’t Superior freeze over completely last summer?

    If Superior did, I assume that Huron did as well.

    Am I merely making an ass of u and me?

    I’m not sure that it froze completely, but if it didn’t it was about as close as it could come without doing so.

    Though since Huron is more southerly than Superior, I’d expect it to be less likely to freeze completely over.

    Oh, hey dere, I got cousins up in da U.P., an dey said dis winter was real bad. Over at dere Rudyard hoose, da ground froze solid, and when dose Salo boys complain you know it’s bad, eh?

    • #27
  28. Chip Head Inactive
    Chip Head
    @ChipHead

    Misthiocracy:

    Chip Head: Chip Head Mac & Wally have a sinkin’ stinkin’ suspicion this is a tall tail (of which they’re jealous). They’ll believe it when Huron freezes over.

    Didn’t Superior freeze over completely last summer?

    If Superior did, I assume that Huron did as well.

    Am I merely making an ass of u and me?

    Huron always freezes over up around Mackinac Island.  The locals get to the mainland via snowmobiles.

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Chip Head:

    Misthiocracy:

    Chip Head: Chip Head Mac & Wally have a sinkin’ stinkin’ suspicion this is a tall tail (of which they’re jealous). They’ll believe it when Huron freezes over.

    Didn’t Superior freeze over completely last summer?

    If Superior did, I assume that Huron did as well.

    Am I merely making an ass of u and me?

    Huron always freezes over up around Mackinac Island. The locals get to the mainland via snowmobiles.

    Mackinac Island. Come for the snowmobiling. Stay for the Hellmouth.

    • #29
  30. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    Misthiocracy:

    Chip Head:

    Misthiocracy:

    Chip Head: Chip Head Mac & Wally have a sinkin’ stinkin’ suspicion this is a tall tail (of which they’re jealous). They’ll believe it when Huron freezes over.

    Didn’t Superior freeze over completely last summer?

    If Superior did, I assume that Huron did as well.

    Am I merely making an ass of u and me?

    Huron always freezes over up around Mackinac Island. The locals get to the mainland via snowmobiles.

    Mackinac Island. Come for the snowmobiling. Stay for the Hellmouth.

    What, no By-tor reference? ;)

    • #30

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