Blood bath*

by Wink Andanod, Sergeant at Arms of the United States Tiddlywinks Federation

* Reprinted in the January 1985 edition of Cyclops USA with permission from Tiddling USA.


This report from the U.S. Tiddlywinks Federation, the National Governing Body for tiddling, discusses a recent outbreak of vam­pirism among their athletes. While it is quite unlikely that this fad will spread to cycling, we believe that a timely review of this matter will aid in preventing such activities.


When President Frob Flea called to invite my participation in an investiga­tion of alleged wrongdoing last November, there was a certain exuberance in his voice. He stated that there was strong evidence that some of our best tiddlers had engaged in vampirism during the Olympics. He seemed less pleased when I told him that there are no IOC, USOC, UTI, or USTF regulations barring vampirism. In fact, his recent bizarre "Ex-President's Report on USTF Staff Participation on Vampirism at the 1984 Olympics," suggests that he still doesn't understand this point.


Inasmuch as I had been staying in the Ramada Inn where the alleged attacks occurred, I thought back over what I had seen for confirming clues. I remember that one of my tiddling acquaintances seemed embarrassed when I noticed that he was sleeping in a coffin, but I had assumed that this was just part of the coaches' hard train­ing program.


In subsequent discussions, Frob Flea revealed that he saw the allega­tions not as a problem but as a political opportunity to "clean house", as he put it, so as to get rid of Executive Director Grave Pouty, Chief Scientist Ed Whiney, and the entire coaching staff, especially "that Polish bastard," Eddie Butiamhonestguy. It evidently didn't bother Dr. Flea that there was no evidence linking Pouty to the vampirism. He was certain that Grave Pouty had blood on his hands, if not on his fangs.


Flea initially set up a three person investigation committee: himself, Hale Dews, and me. Once Flea made it clear that he was out to get Pouty, the latter reacted in the usual way, bringing in an attorney. In fact they later decided that one lawyer wasn't enough, and Flea generously agreed that the Federa­tion would pay for two of them - one for Pouty and one for the Federation.


Later, Flea inexplicably appointed Pouty to the investigation committee. When I asked Flea if he planned to have Pouty help investigate himself, he gave a vague answer. It appeared that he was trying to cover up his scheme, hav­ing previously been too clear about his intentions. And since lawyers beget lawyers, the accused coven (Ed W., Eddie B., and Mike Floozy) hired a mean one for themselves. Then the three attorneys got together and decided what could be discussed in this case and announced their decision to the rest of us. The gist of their position was that no one would be permitted to ask a substantive question. I had a few impolite things to say at that point.


Before interviewing the coven, we first heard what the principal informer had to say. It seems that he had observed some of the bloodsucking and had helped out in a passive way. After thinking about this for a few months, he consulted with an experi­enced vampire about how it should be done, concluded that the bloodsucking he had seen earlier wasn't done right, and started telling everyone around about his observations. I later learned that he apparently had decided to try vampirism himself, but his first victim suffered a fang­ bruise before he could draw a substan­tial amount of blood. He apparently got worried about the propriety of this sort of thing, which led to his forthright disclosures.


Our meeting with the coven was spent mainly listening to content-free lawyer talk. A couple of times the lawyers needed to confer in private with each other and went into the hall, which gave the rest of us the opportun­ity for friendly chit-chat. Finally, the lawyers seemed to run out of steam and quieted down a bit, so I went ahead and asked some of the questions that I had been forbidden to bring up and received fairly straight­forward answers. Unfortunately, nearly all of the time had been used up and communications continued to be inhi­bited by the threat of objections from the poised troika of attorneys.


Following the lawyers' fiasco, I interviewed some tiddlers, communi­cated with the U.S. Olympic Committee about their poli­cies, and planned to try to fill the USTF's policy vacuum regarding vam­pirism. While I recognized that the story of this incident was likely to reach the media sooner or later, I was hoping that the Board of Directors would have an opportunity to review and decide on policies before getting beaten up.


When I attended the December meeting of the Executive Committee, I noticed that Frob Flea made no specific proposals for dealing with vampirism. It appeared that he had given up on his goal of getting rid of Pouty and there wasn't anything left to hold his interest. Two weeks later he resigned.


Early on the morning of January 4, I received a call from a writer from Strolling Clone magazine who asked me a series of questions based on cer­tain memos from our investigation that he possessed. It did not take a lot of effort to figure out where he had got­ten them - these memos had existed only in my filing cabinet (where they still rested) and in Frob's. I subsequently called Frob and asked him why he had turned his files over to the reporter. Frob disclaimed all knowledge of how the reporter had gotten the memos. While making confidential files available to a reporter was clearly a kinky thing for Frob to have done, I was hoping that he would at least be truthful and resolute in the end. Instead, he continued on his erratic, evasive, and dishonest course.


In summary, because of Frob Flea's political posturing, lawyers were brought into the investigation before we knew exactly what had happened. Not only did this severely inhibit com­munications but it greatly increased the expense of the proceedings, understandably offended some of the partici­pants, and resulted in the continuing involvement of the Federation's coun­sel in what should have been a staff investigation. While there are a number of medical issues and ques­tions about tiddling and Olympic regu­lations, there are very few genuine legal issues in this case. It would have been (and still would be) much more efficient to call for legal counsel as needed.


It appears that Frob Flea never quite understood the first serious problem of his administration. Given that he was ill-equipped to deal with it, he tried to turn it into a political opportunity: an excuse to purge. Fail­ing in that, he resigned and attempted to cover up his inept handling of the matter by making ill-defined charges about the “moral issue” of vampirism and offering the profound observation that “vampirism of all kinds is cheat­ing.”


President Flea never quite got to serious questions such as the follow­ing.

1.  What regulations, if any, were violated and who was responsi­ble?

2.  What information and guidance had the participants received?

3.  What administrative orders were broken and by whom?

4.  Did anyone in a leadership posi­tion show extraordinarily poor judgment?

5.  Are the Federation's lines of authority clear?

6.  What disciplinary measures are in order?

7.  What should be done to prevent future problems of this sort?

I recommend that the Board of Direc­tors address these issues at the earliest opportunity.


While this whole thing is bound to embarrass the Federation not a little, we are fortunate to have shed a heavy­weight politician with flea-weight administrative abilities with no more damage than has been done. I hope that the cabal that got him into office will choose their next candidate more carefully.


As for Dr. Flea, I recommend that he try psychotherapy. Now we see the USOC spokesmen busily constructing posterior armor out of papier mache. But that is another story . . .