By Larry Day
La Mancha is a neighborhood in Letongaloosa where the streets are curved, and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile. A few of the folks who live in La Mancha are snooty, but most are kindly, civic-minded people who do kindly deeds for their neighbors with no thought to income differences.
Dr. Ima Farseer is dean of the Department of Et. Al., Et. Al. at Letongaloosa Community Junior College. The department got hit hard recently by budget cuts right at the time the school’s enrollment rapidly increased. Budgets were always tight, but this squeeze threatened to swamp the LCJC boat no matter how fervently Dr. Farseer and the faculty and students manned the bailing buckets.
Charlotte Williams, lives in La Mancha and serves on a local board of directors with Dr. Farseer. As they chatted before the meeting, Ms. Williams asked how things were going at LCJC and Dr. Ima said, “Not good, we have a budget crisis.”
“Is there anything I can do? I’d love to help,” said Ms. Williams.
“We’re not allowed to use outside donations for our specific needs,” said Dr. Ima. “All income goes directly to the state general fund.”
“That’s a problem,” said Ms. Williams. “I’ll think about it and get back to you.” Just then the chair called the meeting to order.
A few days after the board meeting Ms. Williams called Dr. Ima on the phone.
“I think I have a solution to the problem,” she said.
“That’s so helpful! Thank you.”
“We’ll hold a raffle. I’ll give tickets my friends in La Mancha. We’ll all agree that whoever wins the raffle will donate the money to LCJC and stipulate that the funds go directly to the Department of Et. Al, Et. Al.”
“I don’t think the powers that be will pass up such an opportunity, do you?”
“If they do, they’ll be crazier than I think they are.”
“Good. Let’s do it.”
For the next couple of weeks at La Mancha social gatherings Ms. Williams distributed raffle tickets. Everyone who got one agreed that if he or she won, the money would be donated to LCJC’s Department of Et. Al., Et. Al. It was a good plan, except that there was a snake in the grass. His name was Draven Bendelgoff.
After the winner was announced, Ms. Williams approached Mr. Bendelgoff and asked him to give her the ticket so she give the raffle funds to LCJC’s Department of Et. Al., Et. Al.”
Mr. Bendelgoff replied, “Not only no, but hell no! I won the raffle and I’m going to keep the money.
“What about LCJC?”
“LCJC to go fly a kite. That money’s mine, and I’m keeping it.”
What a downer!
Fortunately, Ms. Williams had a good friend who worked for the Internal Revenue Service. She asked her friend to look up Mr. Bendelgoff’s returns and see if she could find any irregularities.
It turned out that Mr. Bendelgoff was notorious for claiming deductions that were disputed, then tossed out by IRS auditors. He made himself a pain in the neck by appealing every unaccepted deduction up the chain of command to the Director. “Gleefully, the IRS personnel went over Bendelgoff’s income clear back to his high school paper route.
They found that he was as tight-fisted with is money as he was creative with his deductions. In addition to being a skinflint, he was a cheat and a liar.
Armed with these facts Ms. Williams approached the crochety Bendelgoff again.
“Please contribute your ticket to the LCJC fund.”
“I told you that LCJC could stuff it.”
“You might want to look at this.” she handed Bendelgoff a sheet of paper.
His face turned ashen.
He handed the raffle ticket to Ms. Williams.
“Give this raffle ticket to those good folks at LCJC and tell them that they have my full support.”
“How very kind,” said Ms. Williams.