Brand spanking new cub reporter Dart Scooper’s first assignment, upon being hired to ferret out the top developments of the New Year was given his first investigation: To write about the new laws that take effect in California.
He interrogated his boss, who snarled, “Don’t call me chief, and while you’re out, pick me up a burger, Coke and fries.”
“You don’t pay me enough to do that!” fired back the spunky young scribbler, upon which the “Chief” fired back. “Whadda ya mean? Your minimum wage is going up— you little whiner! You’re now getting $12 an hour. It’s the law! Too bad we have 25 employees or I could get by on paying you $11!” He added with a snarl, “And that’s not all! Sadie, our other new reporter, has got a baby. Now, I’ve got to find a private place next to her office to let her ‘express’ her breast milk!”
“Tough . . . . uh, break, Chief,” commiserated the cub reporter. Dart Scooper went out onto the busy city street to find the “Chief” some grub. But first he went back home to put on a tie so that he looked more professional, where he encountered his mom, one of the finest cooks he ever met. She was preparing meals that she was going to sell to the public.
“Hey mom, that ain’t legal, is it? Don’t you need a restaurant license or something?”
“Nah, Darty,” she said, slinging some hash. “The state now says that anyone who can cook can start a business. I can sell the food I make in my kitchen, like those meatballs you like so much, directly to the public. Isn’t it grand?”
“Yeah, mom, but my boss wants a burger and fries and stuff.”
“Oh, in that case, go to Bruno’s! It’s just down the street.” She added, “You’ll probably see more street vendors now, because the city isn’t allowed to ban them anymore—although they got to get licenses.”
Scooper got ready to drive down the street on his electric scooter, which was called, Scooper’s Scooter. He put on his helmet until he realized that, because it was the New Year, that he was no longer required to wear one, and that he could drive up to 35 mph, as long as he drove in the street. Scooper almost instantly got into a minor accident with a guy on a bicycle, who T-boned him. As they were both picking themselves up from the accident, the bike rider prepared to shoot away when a cop whistled at him.
“Hey fella, bike riders can now be cited for felony hit and run if they—and I mean YOU, try to leave the scene of a crash if someone is injured or dead.”
Scooper rose to his feet and waved off the officer. “It’s all right. It’s just a scratch. Not a real injury.”
“Good!” said the officer. “I’m in a rush to get my required training to understand the LGBTQ community!”
“Why? Don’t they speak English?” asked Scooper.
“Don’t be a smart aleck!” retorted the officer, who hustled off in disgust.
Scooper continued to Bruno’s Burgers, where he ordered a burger, fries and Coke for “The Chief.” He was brought the order and looked about in confusion. “Hey, where’s the straw?”
The waiter looked at him in disdain. “We’re aren’t allowed to give you one unless you ask. That’s the law!”
“Oh!” said Scooper, when he had obtained the straw. “I guess that’s part of my story!”
He continued down the street, where he found several children playing.
“What are you guys playing?” he asked.
“We’re starting our own company!” said one of the little boys. “And the first thing we are going to do is create our board of directors.”
“That’s very grown up,” said Scooper.
“Yeah!” said one of the little girls. “And remember, you guys, you gotta have a girl on your board of directors. It’s the law! And next year you must have two girls on the board!”
“Ah gee!” griped one of the boys. “Next thing you know, we gotta let you in our clubhouse!”
“That’s probably next,” observed Scooper. He went to City Hall to look at the list of new laws and noticed some people on the sidewalk next to the museum puffing doobies. Shoot, he thought, I guess they are really opening up on where people can smoke cannabis. All the places they are banning cigarettes they aren’t banning pot. Whatta world!
While heading back to the office to file his story, Scooper drove past the local gun store, where he saw several 19-year-olds walk out in frustration when they discovered they would have to wait to buy shotguns until they were 21. “Cheer up, guys!” he advised. “At least they can’t withhold your high school diplomas just because you racked up a bunch of overdue library books or past due bus fares.”
The Chief was happy with his story, and promised to write him a glowing report in his personnel file.
“When you do, can I see that?” asked Scooper. “You know, I’m now allowed to request my own copy of my employment file, and not just look at it. It’s the law!”
“Smarty pants!” mumbled the Chief.
At the end of his day, Scooper remembered that it was his mother’s birthday and she had been hinting that she wanted a pet dog to keep her company. One of the things he had discovered about the new laws was that judges will now be able to decide who gets the family pet in a divorce. This would have made a difference for her mom, since his dad had up and left with the couple’s pet Schnauzer.
He was getting ready to go to a pet store to see what they had available, when he remembered that such stores are now banned from selling live animals that come from breeders. Oh well, he thought. There’s lots of nice critters to meet at the animal shelter!
Happy New Year!