STRANGE THINGS ARE AFOOT AT THE CIRCLE G ORIGIN STORY
Carl the Flamingo sat down in the large leather chair in his study and heaved a sigh. It has been a long week. On top of all the work he had as the CEO of goodr sunglasses, his extended family was also visiting from Florida and had brought their entire flock of chicks with them. He loved them, but family is a lot of work. A quiet evening reading a book by the fire would go a long way towards recharging himself for the rest of their visit.
Carl really had no intention of reading his book. His real plan was to begin napping as soon as possible and it did not take long for him to start nodding off. Like a chain reaction, the book rested on his lap, which caused his eyes to close, which telegraphed to his brain that nap time had begun. Carl started to feel his body float, his mind drifting, a perfect calm…
“GRANDPA! GRANDPA! GRANDPA!” his grandflaminglets screamed, as they burst into his study. They came in like an invading army, one knocking over a side table and one just running face first into his chair. They weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.
“Jesus Christ on a cracker, you monsters!” he yelled, “What the hell made you think it was a good idea to come barging in here uninvited? Didn’t your parents teach you any manners?” Carl tried to fix them with what he hoped was a sufficiently disappointed and angry gaze to get them to run right back out. To Carl’s disappointment, the grandflaminglets didn’t even seem to have heard him. Or maybe they didn’t understand him? Again, not a very smart bunch.
“Grandpa! Grandpa! Grandpa!” they yelled one over the other, “Tell us a story! Yeah! We want a story!” Their voices intermingled and mixed to form a pitch that was in constant flux but always annoying.
Carl heaved his second sigh of night. This one much less cathartic than the first. He knew this insatiable horde of youth would not be turned away with anything less than getting the story they wanted or maybe a bullwhip (but he couldn’t remember where he had left his whip).
“Ok. Ok. Shut the hell up and sit down! Grandpa can’t think of a story to tell you bastards when you’re high-pitched squeals are drilling into his brain.” The kids slowly settled in a semi-circle around Carl’s chair, as he stroked his face feathers trying to think of a way to entertain the idiot children. Finally, the story came to him and he clapped his hands to signal the beginning of the story:
Back in 1987, taken up in the whirlwind of the 80s stock market and that Gordon Gecko Wall Street fever, goodr made the bold decision of expanding into several markets horizontal to its sunglasses business. The most exciting potential came with the launch of a nation-wide chain of convenience stores and gas stations named the “Circle G Convenience Stores.” This was, of course, a blatant rip off of the Circle K convenience stores name and Carl’s lawyers were apoplectic about the legal risks of choosing the name. But the only thing Carl liked more than a bucket of shrimp was pissing his lawyers off, so the name stuck.
As luck would have it, an old drinking buddy, George Carlin, approached Carl with a sponsorship opportunity right as they launched the Circle G Convenience Stores. George had been working on a film about a pair of slacker high school students who use a time machine in order to pass their final high school history examination. The producers were seeking to secure additional financing for the film by selling opportunities for product placement. George had specifically approached Carl because an important scene in the movie took place at a convenience store.
Being a bit of a cinephile, Carl jumped at the opportunity to have the Circle G convenience stores in the movie. He didn’t much care for Keanu Reeves (Carl didn’t think he had much of an acting future), but he loved Alex Winters and wanted to be part of his big break. Carl even brainstormed a line that one of the characters would say when they first learn that time travel exists: “There are strange things afoot at the Circle G, Bill.”
Unfortunately, things started to go sideways pretty quickly and the deal began to fall apart. As often happens with great creative minds, “creative differences” began to arise between Carl and George. In this case, the “creative differences” were that Carl wouldn’t stop hitting on George’s wife, even going so far as to invite her on a romantic getaway to his shrimp farm in Louisiana. After an on-set confrontation in which George gave Carl a black eye and threw him off the studio lot, the production company tore up the product placement deal.
But that wasn’t the end of the indignities. To rub salt in the wound, George brokered a deal with Circle K to take over goodr’s product placement deal. George even used Carl’s “strange things are afoot” line, replacing Circle G with Circle K. Truly a low point in goodr’s history.
This would be the beginning of the end for goodr’s convenience store experiment. It could never quite recover from the blows dealt to it by George Carlin and was forced to go back to crushing the sunglasses game as its sole business.
Carl’s grandkids looked up expectantly at him as he finished the story. Carl looked back at them, unblinking and asked, “Does anyone know the moral of the story?”
Not surprisingly, none of the little idiots said anything. One drooled on himself while staring at the wall behind Carl. Carl sighed for the last time that night, knowing he would have to spell it out.
“The moral of the story is don’t fuck with George Carlin. May he rest in peace, that beautiful bastard. Now all of you get out of here before I feed you to a crocodile.”