Happy New Year! BayBuzz is back after a brief and enjoyable respite.
Here’s the most curious thing that happened to me over the holidays.
One day shortly after Christmas, there was an unexpected knock at my door … a rare event, since we live out in the country.
Three people had arrived in my driveway, smiling broadly, but still looking very earnest and holding fistfuls of brochures. I thought: “Oh well, it’s Christmas, I might as well finally contribute to Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
You can imagine my startled surprise when they identified themselves instead as members of the Regional Sports Park Supporters Club (RSPSC, not to be confused with the RNZSPCA)! They were raising money for the Sam Kelt Legal Defence Fund.
I professed ignorance of the cause. They explained that, in a “gross over-reaction” to what they called “Sam’s playful behavior” at Diva Bistro and Bar a few nights earlier, Sam had been arrested and charged with wilful trespass and summary assault. But, they assured me, Sam intended to defend himself against these scurrilous charges when his day in court arrived.
I was gobsmacked … but skeptical. I asked why the RSPSC was involved.
My visitors explained that as members of the RSPSC and the Ramblers Cycling Club (indeed, they had cycled to my home), they were determined to see the sports park completed. And Sam, their role model and champion, needed to be free (i.e., not in jail) to successfully raise the funds to build the park. As one noted: “We haven’t raised much money for the sports park yet, we’re in a depression you know. And if Sam needs to make calls from jail, we’re doomed.”
I was still not convinced of the legitimacy of their cause, so I said I would need to confirm their story before contributing. I asked them for a contact for the Sam Kelt Legal Defence Fund and they gave me a phone number. I invited them to wait as I rang the number.
I called, and a man answered: “Hello, Sam Kelt Legal Defence Fund, Winston Peters speaking. How may I help you?” I could scarcely catch my breath. Before I could reply, he went on: “Would you like to make a credit card contribution? A $10,000 donation gets you two seats with unlimited booze in the Sponsor’s Box at the next Kelt Capital Stakes. You can sit next to Mayor Yule and join his show of solidarity. But you need to act now, space is limited.”
“I’m considering it,” I replied, “but first I need to know if Sam is really innocent.”
“I’m sure he is … Sam’s never been involved in an incident like this before,” said Winston, “but I don’t know any details. I only know about horse trading, I mean, horse racing.”
“How much are you trying to raise?” I asked. “$40 million should cover it,” he replied.
I thought this was a bit much, considering the charges. So I asked: “What happens if Sam only needs a few thousand to defend himself?”
Said Winston: “He’s promised to contribute any remaining amount to the Regional Sports Park building fund, after deducting his fundraising fee of course … can you believe this man’s generosity?!”
By now I had heard enough. Sam, indicatively speaking, your check is in the mail.
P.S. Back in the real world, Sam’s court date has been set for April 27th. That’s 101 days from now as I write.