Report of the 196th Convention
The 196th annual convention of the Science Fiction League was held the week of Juno 45 to 51, 2132 A.D., or 197 SFL, at Ackermanville, California. A goodly crowd was there, nearly tripling the original population, but all delegates were comfortably soused. I mean housed, with the exception of three Hindoos from Skindoo, who had brought their pet elephants along. As Mayor Ackerman doesn’t allow elephants in houses, the boys from Skindoo were forced to sleep in the park with their pets. The first day was spent in seeing the model city of Ackermanville. It even boasted of a large printing house, where STFICTION STORIES and MACABRE TALES, F. J. Ackerman, editor, were published. Free copies were given all delegates, but I think Headquarters later got the bill.
The second day, the convention formally opened in Ackerman Hall. Promptly at nine o'clock. President Ackerman banged his gavel on the tabletop. Unfortunately, however, a delegate from Peru had gone to sleep on the table, and the gavel descended on his head. The victim didn't complain, so after he was taken away still unconscious, the meeting progressed.
First up was Delegate Foozle from Australia. The Australian gentleman complained that he had talked 345 people into joining his chapter, but each of the 345 wanted to be Director. The gentleman wanted the President to refuse the newcomers admittance, because he wanted to be Director himself. It was a bad situation, and strategy was needed. Everybody waited with bated breath for the President’s decision. To pacify the whole mob, the President formed 346 different chapters, allowed each of the 345 to join one chapter, and be Director of it. The first gentleman was allowed to keep his Directorship, and everybody was happy, because each chapter contained one member, who was Director of that chapter. Applause was rendered.
Then two travellers from Mars took the floor the floor and gave a very vivid account of the conditions on Mars. They said that the Martians were actually starving! A motion was made to take up a collection for them, and such was done. Later the Treasurer announced the sum of the collection: 3 dimes, a plugged penny, and 2456 shirt buttons. Applause was again rendered.
The Special investigation Committee interrupted here to inform the house that last year, after a collection had been taken for starving Martians, the Treasurer had spent the money on ice cream sodas. The President ordered the committee down however, for he had consumed some of the aforementioned sodas, and didn’t want it known.
As it was lunch time, the entire house walked out then, and made for the "Ye Ackerman Cafe” across the street, where a very excellent meal was served them. Somebody suggested saving the scraps for the starving Martians, but was thrown out. Then President Ackerman presented the diners with their bills and he was thrown out.
Once started, there was no stopping. The rest of the second day was lost in revelry. A coupla delegates from Egypt found a cache of rare wines in the Presi- dent’s cellar, and informed the town. Everybody got drunk, including the elephants.
The Ackerman Special Police, expecting just such an emergency, boarded themselves up in the city hall and stayed there until dark. Meanwhile, the merrymakers had discovered the printing plant, and breaking in just as the latest issue was going to press, proceeded to change STFICTION STORIES and MACABRE TALES, F. J. Ackerman, Editor, to suit themselves. Recent reports indicate that those two magazines never enjoyed a bigger sales boom than that issue. In fact they boomed right out of existence.
However, to get back. The delegates went about the town, shooting it up with their rocket guns and light-pistols. It required the next four days for the police to gather up the stragglers and deposit them in Ackerman Hall for the final session.
This time, remembering the accident of the first day, the President first put his hand down on the tabletop and felt for any heads that might be there. There was none, so he brought the gavel down .... right on his own hand. Time out was taken for ten minutes while the President informed the delegates how he felt. The Ackerman Fire Dept. was called in to extinguish the smoking rafters, so warm were the President’s words.
When order had again been restored, the Missionary Reports were asked for. Five minutes were wasted trying to get Missionary Gadzook on his feet. He reported that the missionary work of converting heathen Saturnites into respectable Science Fiction Leaguers was progressing fine. He said that only last month, he alone had converted four, and out of the four only 3 later deserted. When asked what became of the fourth, he said that the unfortunate wretch died of fright, upon viewing the SFL officials for the first time.
Somebody arose and made a move that the officials mentioned be rewarded, but was booed down.
Next Missionery Ka Plump arose and reported that his work on Pluto was going fine, altho “he could use a little more money.” (Applause here.) He said that he had only lost two converts out of the last hundred. When asked how he lost them be said that they had refused to kick in with their weekly salaries, and he chopped their heads off. A medal of honor was given Missionary Ka Plump.
As this ended the missionary reports, time was taken out for lunch. Remembering the skinning they had got before, the delegates shunned the Cafe, and went down street to "Ye Olde Coffee Pottee Inne, F. J. Ackermanee, Propee.” One of the Skindoo elephants tried to get in also, and was stuck in the door, penning the delegates in for nearly an hour, until the Ackerman Derrick Co. came to the rescue.
Once more back in Ackerman Hall, for the closing session, the delegates sat quiet, waiting for the President to speak. He arose and began:
“Gentlemen (somebody snickered) this year's convention has been very profitable. I have a bill here for $850.12 which I will send to Headquarters and let Charles D. Hornig the IX worry about it. This covers all damages you boys have done here. I hope you all have had as fine a time as l have had, and l want to see you all out to the convention next year, which will be held in Ackermanville, North Carolina. In closing, let me say that next year's password will be ‘Fugwump,’ and that the last train leaves tonight at 9:30. Don’t miss it!"
Applesauce, I mean applause, was given at this point. True to his word, Engineer Ackerman pulled the Ackerman Flyer out of Ackermanville that night at nine-thirty, with one delegate aboard. Nobody seems to know how that one got there, but somebody suggested that be might have wandered aboard unknowingly while drunk.
Reports have since reached Headquarters that it took the Ackerman Special Police two full months to round every last delegate and send him home. The last was finally found at the Ackerman Zoo, playing Tarzan, nearly two and one-half months after the convention closed. Somebody else left his elephant, and as the freight bill to Skindoo is too high, the elephant is still wandering around Ackermanville, eating Ackerman grass.
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