“I’m Ashley Baker with Channel 10 Today and we’re here with a pair of record seekers, who set out to do what’s not been done before,” a tall blonde woman with long eyelashes spoke into a black microphone. “What is your name, sir?”
“Sir?” Woodruff said. “That’s very fancy, like a knight or Elton John. Uh, my name is Woodruff, and that guy up there is Bob.”
Woodruff pointed over his head and the camera panned up to see a man in a harness, dangling from the end of a crane.
“Bob!” Woodruff shouted. “Wave to the pretty reporter!”
Bob waved enthusiastically as he swayed gently in the breeze.
“Her name is Ashely!” Woodruff yelled. “She’s with Channel 10 Today!”
“Hey there, Ashley!” Bob shouted back. “Hi Channel 10 Today!”
“So, whatcha got going on up there?” Ashley asked and stuck the microphone into Woodruff’s face.
“Oh, uh, well,” Woodruff stuttered as he ran his fingers through his hair and rubbed the back of his neck. “We, uh, are building the tallest tower of bacon in the world.”
“Woodruff!” Bob shouted down. “Tell her about the tower!”
“I just did!” Woodruff yelled up to his dangling friend. “And she can see the tower!”
Ashely giggled as she pulled the microphone back to her.
“And what made you want to build this bacon tower?”
“Woodruff! Tell her it’s made of bacon!”
“She knows!” Woodruff shouted. He turned back to Ashley and continued. “We’re going for the world record.”
“Tell her about the record!”
“I just did!” Woodruff said. “I got this!”
“Okee Dokee, Artichokee!” Bob yelled as he swung toward the tower and placed a crispy piece of bacon on the top.
“And what is the world record for a bacon tower?”
“Well, Bob figures the tallest one he’s ever built is about a foot and a half,” Woodruff said. “But that was just him looking for a more efficient bacon delivery method.”
“And how tall will this tower be?”
“We’re going for fifty feet.”
“For gosh sakes!” the reporter exclaimed. “That’s a ton of bacon.”
“Actually, it’s more like half a ton,” Woodruff said. “It really lightens up when you fry it and blot the grease on a paper towel.”
Woodruff pointed over to a white canopy where a bearded man in a red beanie was frying bacon on a Coleman camping stove. Next to him, a short stocky woman with a wispy mustache blotted the bacon on a paper towel.
“That’s Kenny, he’s a pro baconeer,” Woodruff said. “And Carmela blots the bacon and gets it to Ruth to take it up to Bob at the top of the crane.”
The short stocky woman handed the blotted bacon over to a white and gray seagull, who flew to the top of the crane and delivered it to Bob. With a big smile, Bob waved the bacon back down toward the camera.
“Oh for cute,” Ashley said. “How’d ya train that bird?”
“Ruth?” Woodruff asked. “She’s not trained, as far as I know. She’s just helping us out.”
“Well I’ll be.”
“Yeah, she’s a good friend.”
“That’s quite an operation ya got there,” Ashley remarked. “So Kenny’s a professional cook?”
“Nah, he’s a vagabond American,” Woodruff said. “But he’s a bacon enthusiast, like me and Bob.”
“She just loves to blot things.”
“Woodruff!” Bob shouted. “Tell her about the gravy!”
“The bottom of the tower is solidified with bacon gravy,” Woodruff explained. “We needed a foundation that would sustain the height but wanted to maintain the total bacon integrity of the tower.”
“And Martin County is just the perfect place for a bacon tower,” Ashley said.
“Did you tell her about the gravy?” Bob shouted.
“I told her!”
“It’s like cement!” Bob shouted, swaying back and forth. “Made of gravy!”
“She knows!” Woodruff said. “Anywho, Kenny has a cousin up here in Minnesota who let us borrow his camping stove. So it kinda made the decision for us.”
“But Martin County is the bacon capital of the US of A, dontcha know.”
“Well, we didntcha know that,” Woodruff said. “We didntcha know that at all.”
“How long ya been working on this tower?”
“Uh, we started on Tuesday,” Woodruff said. “The first couple of days were slow going until we found out Bob had enacted the one for one rule.”
“What’s the one for one rule?”
“Oh, you know, one for the tower and one for Bob,” Woodruff said. “Once he promised to stop eating the bacon our progress nearly doubled.”
“Woodruff!” Bob shouted. “I feel sick!”
“And who’s fault is that?” Woodruff shouted back.
“Mine,” Bob said after a short reflective pause.
“Don’t you dare blow bacon all over this nice lady, and her cameraman!” Woodruff warned.
“I won’t,” Bob said, contritely.
“Uff da,” Ashley muttered. “Um, when will the tower be completed?”
“How much further do we have to go?” Woodruff shouted at his skyward friend.
“About eight bacon lengths!”
“We should be done by dinner.”
“And are you planning on eating this tower?”
“It’d be a shame to let all this glorious porky belly go to waste,” Woodruff said. “We figured we’d share it with the good people of Martin County.”
“How didya put the word out?”
“Oh, we figured it was like a Field of Dreams kinda deal,” Woodruff said. “Ya know, if you build it they will come.”
“You’re just expecting people to find your tower of meat in a meadow in the middle of Martin County?”
“Well, you found us didntcha?”
Ashely looked back into the camera with a smirk. “He’s got me there.”
“What?” Woodruff shouted.
“Look over there!” Bob pointed out beyond the white canopy.
Woodruff and Ashley turned around and the camera panned out over the tree line to their left, following the flight of the white and gray seagull. A long line of cars could be seen in the distance, exiting the highway and turning onto the road that led to the meadow.
“Well I’ll be,” Ashley’s voice said, off-camera.
“We’ll all be, Ashley,” Woodruff said. “We’ll all be, enjoying this delicious monument to meat.”
“Ruth!” Bob shouted. “You better start toast’n that bread! We’ve got company.”
“Jeet yet Martin County?” Ashley said as she turned to face the camera and held the microphone directly in front of her smiling face. “‘cause it looks like we’re gonna have an old fashion feeding frenzy with our new friends Woodruff and Bob. I’m Ashley Baker with Channel 10 Today…”
“I’m Woodruff,” Woodruff said, leaning into the frame.
“And I’m Bob!” a voice called from above.
“Reporting live from the Martin County Bacon Tower, while it lasts,” Ashley signed off and the cameraman lower the camera from his shoulder. “Thank you, Woodruff, that was great.”
“Thank you,” Woodruff said. “I really enjoyed it.”
“Hey,” Woodruff said, rubbing the back of his neck and looking sheepish. “Do you have any plans for dinner? ‘cause we’ve got all this bacon and…”
“Are you asking her out?” Bob shouted.
“No!” Woodruff shouted back up.
“Cause it looks like you’re trying to ask her out!”
“Well I’m not!”
“But you’re doing that thing where you nervously rub the back of your neck!”
“I have an itch!”
“Okay, my bad!”
“Anywho,” Woodruff continued. “If you, and your cameraman, wanted to stay and eat with us, that’d be cool.”
“I think I’d like that,” Ashley said.
“If you’re not going to ask her out, can I?” Bob shouted as he swayed on the breeze. “She’s cute!”
“She doesn’t want to go out with you!” Woodruff shouted. “You smell like bacon and cheese!”
Woodruff looked back at the reporter and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry about him.”
“No worries,” Ashley said. “It’s kinda cute.”
“Maybe she likes bacon and cheese!” Bob shouted.
“Did you ask her?”
“Yes!” Woodruff shouted. “She’s lactose intolerant!”
“Cheese curds!” Bob swore as he shook his fists at the heavens.
Woodruff grinned and the reporter and she smiled back. “Right this way, I’ll find you a nice seat on one of the bacon coolers next to Carmela.”
“I have to go to the bathroom!” Bob shouted.
Woodruff ignored him and led the reporter, and the cameraman, back toward the white canopy as Bob continued to dangle from the crane.
“Woodruff?” Bob shouted. “Woodruff? I’m serious! I need to go to the little Bob’s room! Woodruff?”
Ruth flew over the crane and out beyond the tree line toward the long line of approaching cars as the sun hung low in the bright blue Midwestern sky.
“Never mind,” Bob’s voice echoed from the distance.