In 2009, at the height of the Great Recession, an Ad Agency called Fun Fic Marketing was contracted by some of the largest retail chains in the world. Their mission was to help these companies reach out to customers through the new and developing medium of online fan-fiction. They would post short stories on every fan-fiction website they could find, at once singing the praises of a random big box store while trying to tap into the reserve good will of whatever classic characters, television shows or book series the site was dedicated to. The following appeared on a fan operated site containing stories featuring the cast and setting of The Andy Griffith Show, it was posted two days after the death of cast member George “Goober” Lindsey.
In Memorium, George “Goober” Lindsey, 1928-2012.
The clear mid-morning sun shone through a crisp late-morning sky, in the latter half of the final 15 minutes before the clock struck 10 o’clock. It filtered through the window, bounced from a security mirror, reflected off a middle-aged manager’s head, and struck a newly unboxed rack of DVDs in the aisle of the Mayberry, North Carolina Best Buy in a way that made the light dance across the shrink wrap in a really nifty, cinematic way.
The crepuscular sunlight filled the entire audio-video section of the store in a manner often associated with the arrival of some glorious celestial being. It fell on row after row of expertly produced, cleanly packaged video discs, audio cassettes, and picture cylinders, the kind you can only use in vintage 17th-century kinetoscopes and antique nickelodeons.
The sheer volume and magnitude of the selection was only upstaged by the low, low prices and extensive back-catalog on display like a virtual cornucopia at a high tech bacchanal on one of Bill Gates’ orbiting pleasure palaces. And it was into this paragon of retail quality that George “Goober” Lindsey walked that morning, not realizing that a simple visit and a few innocent questions we’re about to change his life forever.
“Hello ma’am I need to know where you’re washin’ cleaners are.” He asked in a jovial, southern, moderately moronic manner of speech. “I want to ask Thelma Louise Baumgardner to go to the sock hop with me and my hat’s dirty and Thelma Louise says she won’t go with a man who’s got a dirty hat. So if I’m gonna have a clean hat then I’m gonna need me a washn’ cleaner.”
Kelly, the smiling and attentive clerk to whom Mr. Lindsey was speaking, showed him to the section of the store containing appliances whose workmanship and reasonable price points stagger the mind. “Mr. Taylor this gentleman is interested in a washing machine.”
“Thank you Kelly, I’ve got it from here.” said a tall balding man. “Hey Goob, it’s good to see you.”
A look of dawning recognition, joy, and utter surprise came over Mr. Lindsey’s face. “Well, Opie Taylor, as I live and breathe! I ain’t seen you in a month of Sundays! What are you doing working in a fancy place like this!?”
Opie smiled at him. Even if Goober weren’t a customer, and he not a highly skilled retail manager with advanced training in customer service, he would have greeted him warmly, they were old friends. “Well I’m just here helping out people like you. You need a washing machine?”
“I do. I surely do. I want to ask Thelma Louise to the sock hop, but…”
“Lemme guess, your hat’s too dirty.”
“That’s right! Oh Opie, what am I going to do?!” he said nearly breaking down in tears.
“Don’t worry, Goob! You’re at Best Buy! We’ve got washing machines, dryers too! Look here Goob. These DVDs have whole TV shows on them that you can watch while you’re waiting for your hat to dry.”
“Oh my stars and garters! They’ve got all my favorites! Davy Crockett, the Little Rascals, Lost! And the best looking’ ladies I ver seen: The Golden Girls!”
“That’s right, Goobuh.”
“That’s right, shuguh!” Rue drawled from the other side of the row. “Most of us are here.”
“Hiya, Goob!” said a reedy bug eyed man behind him.
“Barney! You, you can’t be here! You died, I went to your funeral! Opie how can he be here!?”
“Well Goober, this Best Buy isn’t just a Best Buy…it’s Heaven.”