I recently read about a town in South Dakota being sold for $800k. The town of Scenic has a population of ten and your $800k buys you a dance hall, a saloon, two jails, a train depot, two stores, and some empty buildings, although it’s not clear if the price tag includes the legal ownership of those ten residents. I’m not even sure I would want to own those ten residents because if the city requires two jails for ten people this raises questions about their collective character.
If any readers are interested, maybe we could pool our money, buy the town, and appoint me mayor for life.
What will your investment get you?
If Paulsville is found to contain any ghosts, the investor who offers the most money will be honored and remembered in local legend as the murderer of those ghosts.
The first thing I would do is change the name of the town to Paulsville, not necessarily in honor of me, but in honor of outstanding Pauls everywhere. If you are an investor named Paul, you will be offered discounts on expired dairy products at either of my two stores.
Without visiting the town, I’m not definite what kind of accomodations I can offer for you investors, but I will try and make the jails available whenever you visit. If you hope to stay at one of the jails, please visit during the week since I don’t work on weekends and would have to keep you locked up from Friday night until Monday morning or possible even Tuesday morning depending on whether Sunday night’s square dance at the dance hall kept me up late.
You may want to bring your own dance partner if you plan to visit the dance hall. I haven’t seen the residents yet, but since the town has consistenly shrunk over the years, I’m assuming anyone attractive married their way out of the town years ago. Our dances will offer copious amounts of alcohol in the hopes of making it difficult to count the other dancers, allowing you to believe you only counted nine and can dream someone attractive is about to come through the door.
All investors will be allowed to park in handicapped parking spots. This will seem more important once you visit and realize I’ve designated all parking spots in town as handicapped. The townspeople will complain about this at first, but then I’ll offer to designate all men in town as handicapped, allowing them to use any parking spot in town. The men will appreciate this gesture at first, until they realize my social status among the town women has increased dramatically as the only non-handicapped man in town.
Yes, we do serve alcohol. But only alcohol.
I apologize that the saloon won’t serve food as part of a compromise I’ll make with the local citizens. I realize Paulsvillians need alcohol to cheer them on those cold, dark South Dakota nights, but part of my job as mayor is to increase the overall attractiveness quotient of Paulsville by eliminating those beer bellies. I’ll help the citizens recognize beer bellies only come from drinking too much at the same time as eating too much. Here’s my tip: If you get all your calories from alcohol and eliminate all calories from food, everyone should be able to drink as much as they want without getting fat. If you absolutely insist on ordering food, we’ll take your order, and maybe even charge you, but your food will never come.
Perhaps you may worry your visit may inspire the appearance of an angry mob once residents learn you provided me the financial means to take over their town. I’ll take precautions against angry mobs by placing signs on all my buildings with the message “Back in 10 Minutes” and the crowd will keep checking the clock above the train depot but it will never move because it hasn’t worked in decades. Eventually they’ll get cold–because South Dakota is very, very cold–and go home.
If this precaution against mobs doesn’t work, I wouldn’t worry about them doing too much damage because I will ban ownership of all pitchforks and torches. If someone insists on owning a pitchfork or torch, he can buy them at either of my two stores for $50,000 a piece. If all ten residents buy a torch and a pitchfork, I’ve just made $1,000,000 and will have enough to leave Paulsville and buy an even better town.