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Liquid Assets

Another burst pipeline sends Capitol Hill scrambling.

By D.P. Sorensen
Photo by John Kilbourn 
Posted // December 22,2010 - Crews are working around the clock at the Utah Capitol to clean up a money spill that has sent tons of cash, coins and personal checks cascading through offices, down marble steps, through the rotunda and out onto Capitol Hill, where aides to Governor Herbert are doing their best to stop looters from scooping up the flowing lucre and stuffing it into their pockets or down into their pants.

Investigators have yet to pinpoint the leak, but experts agree that the pipeline most likely burst in the governor’s private office. According to spokeswoman Darla Sheckel, the pipe was old and narrow and couldn’t handle the unprecedented cash flow.

“Previous governors didn’t have to worry about the load of dough we’ve been getting. The old pipe could handle the nickels and dimes occasionally trickling into the governor’s office when George Dewey Clyde or Cal Rampton or any of those other guys, and that one gal, were around. But ever since the governor got out one of his old real estate For Sale signs and pounded it into the lawn, we’ve had an avalanche of cash—sorry for the mixed metaphor—coming through the pipe.”

After the governor made a killing on the state’s contract for the huge Utah County Interstate 15 project, investors realized they could get a huge bang for their buck if they bought shares in the Herbert administration. Despite the overflowing coffers from the November election, Mr. Herbert continued his aggressive marketing efforts to raise cash for his inauguration, and some experts are of the opinion that the pipeline was severely overtaxed by investors eager to buy access and favors from the governor.

“Normally, we have aides whose only job is to monitor the cash pipeline, and keep the spigots open so there is no backup,” explained Ms. Sheckel. “The coins aren’t much of a problem, but the large denomination greenbacks can really clog the system. It seems that what happened was one of the guys monitoring the pipeline had a bit too much eggnog and left his post temporarily to make a run to the lavatory. Next thing we know, there was an explosion of cash, with coins raining down—fortunately, there were only a few minor injuries—and a blizzard of currency burying everyone in the vicinity.”

Ms. Sheckel praised the efforts of the staff to capture the cash before it spread throughout the surrounding neighborhood or flooded State Street. “And you should have seen Governor Gary,” she said, her voice welling with pride. “For a while, he was completely buried, and we had rescue teams searching for him with those avalanche poles. We even brought in dogs specially trained to sniff out corruption. Finally, Governor Gary dug his own way out and, clutching a fistful of cashier checks, he bellowed, ‘I love the smell of cash in the morning.’”

At this point, it seems that most of the pipeline money was recovered, thanks to the efforts of the governor’s staff, who were apparently able to catch looters weighed down by coins in their pockets or handicapped by wads of bills stuffed in their undershorts or no-panty-line bikini briefs. One unverified report has the governor himself chasing down an unemployed looter and berating him with a lecture on fiscal responsibility. “That’s my money, buster, and I earned it fair and square by lucking into the governorship when my predecessor took a slow boat to China. I don’t take handouts, no siree, because for every quid I get, I give a quo. It’s the Utah way.”

To make sure that any of the governor’s investors whose contributions might have gotten lost in the pipeline break would not go unrewarded, the Herbert administration has put out a call for investors to shell out some more dough of an amount equal to or surpassing that of their initial payment. (In accordance to Mr. Herbert’s career as an illustrious Realtor, investors are assigned a category commensurate with their munificence—Mansion, Rambler, Split Level, Bungalow, Fixer-Upper, Starter, Shack, Hovel.)

Until the pipeline is once again in working order, Mr. Herbert will accept investments in plain brown envelopes, or even carefully folded C-notes pressed discreetly into his palm. As always, the most generous investors will not only be guaranteed an handsome return but will also kick back at Mr. Herbert’s inauguration in a climate-controlled hospitality suite, where they can personally hand the governor their individualized wish lists and enter a raffle to receive one of Mr. Herbert’s famous shoulder massages.

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