Fifty Shades of Green : The Petula Southey Story

   Many considered Petula to be an attractive young girl when she was in elementary school in South Florida.  This was fortunate because, if truth be told, Petula was not considered to be very smart.

   Petula’s good looks and nice personality helped her graduate from high school.  Petula married Harold Southey shortly after high school.  Harold and Petula owned and operated a lawn service company until it went bankrupt.  Shortly thereafter, Harold and Petula decided to move to Central Florida to the city of Anotl where they started another lawn service company. 

   Sadly, the income from the lawn company was insufficient for Petula Southey and her growing family.  So Petula decided to stop by the Anotl City Hall and seek employment.  Petula asked the receptionist where she could obtain an employment application.  She was told room 12.  However, after leaving the reception desk, Petula had trouble remembering the room number, but she thought it was room 21.  After entering room 21, Petula stated:  ” Could I please have an application?” 

   Petula took the application home so her husband, Harold, could help her fill it out.  After looking at the form, Harold said: ” Petula this is not an employment application.  It is a document to qualify for election to the city council in Anotl, Florida. ”

   ” How much does it pay? ” asked Petula. 

   After Harold told her, Petula stated: ” I am going to run for city council.”

   ” But you know nothing about local government” replied Harold. 

    ” That is no problem.  I’ll be the environmental candidate.”

   So Petula sought election to the Anotl City Council with the slogan: ” If you like pine trees, you will love Petula. ” Petula walked door to door in Anotl with small plastic pine trees weaved into her hair and always wore a bright green dress that signified love for the environment.  Petula easily won election over her opponent who was an attorney and a CPA who released a ten page report which discussed the cash flow problems in Anotl, Florida’s city government.

   A large swamp, called mosquito swamp, was not really a swamp to Petula.  It was an environmental garden with pine trees and frogs.  Petula managed to prevent road construction and stopped all building in her environmental garden. 

   With Petula on the Council, many jobs were lost, important roads were not built, the city budget was not balanced, taxes were increased, the value of homes decreased, but the mosquito swamp continued to be her environmental garden. 

   When Petula cast a vote that defeated a new housing development near mosquito swamp, the build, develop, and destroy the environment PAC, often called the BDD-PAC, really became upset with Petula.  The BDD-PAC decided to pull out all stops and hired the famous lobbyist, Louis Green.  Louis Green’s nickname was Loophole Louie because he was always able to find some truth in a false statement and some falsehood in a true statement. 

   Loophole Louie attended the next Anotl Council meeting wearing his best $ 4,000.00 suit and carrying his Coach briefcase.  After the meeting Loophole Louie asked Petula if she had time to drive out to her environmental garden with him.  Louie parked his Mercedes at the edge of the swamp and got right down to business.  ” Don’t you just love the color green, Ms. Southey? ”

   ” Oh yes !  I have five green dresses to remind me how much I love the environment.”

    Louis stroked his cheek and stated: ” I believe that there are fifty shades of green.  I want to prove that to you right now.”

   Without additional delay, Louis clicked open his Coach briefcase.  The briefcase was filled with large shrink wrapped packages of hundred dollar bills.  ” This is my favorite shade of green by far,” replied Louie.

   Petula’s hands began to shake and her mouth was dry as she slowly reached out and lifted a package from the briefcase.  ” Where is all of this money going?” asked Petula. 

   Louie smiled.  ” I was hoping that I could give this money to you Ms. Southey.  But first, you have to convince me that of all fifty shades of green that you like this color of green the most.  Then you must convince me that you would like to work with me and the BDD-PAC and submit to all of my suggestions about building, development, and construction.”

   ” Oh yes, yes” replied Petula and a primal scream erupted from deep in her throat and she knew that she would always submit to Louie in every way.

   During the next year, Petula Southey led the fight to destroy the mosquito swamp. 

   After a short discussion with Loophole Louie, the local health inspector stated that raccoons living in the swamp caried rabies and that mosquitoes carried the Nile virus and that the swamp presented a clear and present danger to the welfare of the citizens of Florida. 

   Shortly thereafter, Louie had a discussion with the regional director of environmentally protected lands.  The director stated that the last study, conducted two years ago, was out dated.  That study found that there were 25 protected species living in mosquito swamp.  The director ordered a new study to be conducted immediately.  The director drove his new Lexus to the press conference where he announced that now there were no environmentally protected species of animals or plants living in mosquito swamp. 

   Soon the bulldozers began to uproot trees, plants, and every other living thing in their path.  Petula’s environmental garden ceased to exist.  Soon the land was as solid as concrete.  All of the lakes and wetlands were filled in completely.  Then the 20 story high-rises began to rise where pine trees once stood.  Each high-rise was followed by another high-rise and large asphalt roads snaked their way through the concrete canyon of buildings and shopping malls and offices. 

   Petula became a paid consultant for the BDD-PAC and received $ 10,000.00 each month electronically deposited to her U.S. bank account. Loophole Louie deposited an additional $ 12,000.00 each month into Petula’s secret and numbered bank account in Switzerland.  Louie knew that the Swiss Bank was reliable since he deposited into 138 accounts each month for his special friends in the U.S. Congress.

   Loophole Louie decided that Petula Southey should seek election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the next election.  Only Loophole Louie, and a select handful of others,  really knew how many shades of green it required to buy a seat in the U.S. Congress !

(( Editors Note: All individuals in this article are figments of the imagination of the author.  Any resemblance between these fictional characters and real people is purely coincidental. ))

                                                   R. Van Conoley

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