All photos by Cloe
It was just another day on the playa. Line Sweeps crew was walking around, noses to the ground, mooping the Temple site. Bobtuse was driving through the major sand dunes, dragging a metal square to flatten them and expose any litter. Special Forces were roaming the city, going from one orange cone to the next to clean up the worst spots.
On Line Sweeps, we were taking an early morale break when DA called over the radio: Special Forces had found a bad hot spot, and could use some backup. “Finish your break,” he said, “and moop your way over here.” Easy enough.
Coyote was the first to arrive at the spot, where he found Special Forces raking up debris – and Super Dave on site, pretty worked up. Look at all this rebar they’d pulled out of the ground! Look how bad this site was! It was the sort of thing that the BLM would be very unhappy to see – the sort of thing that could get the event canceled. And then, he lifted one of the orange cones to expose the worst part of all:
The head of Blackbeard Matt, who was buried up to his neck in playa.
Matt screamed. Coyote jumped straight up in the air (and, according to eyewitness reports, screamed like a little girl). Matt screamed some more.
And then? Then, they put the cone right back over Matt’s head and repeated the dupe over and over as each crew member showed up. By the end of the prank, Matt was shivering and the line sweepers were starting to attack him with their moop sticks.
Now, in DPW slang, a “hot spot” is an area with a large amount of moop; a “ground score” is when you find something valuable on the ground. Ground scores this year have included two or three gold rings, lots of earrings, a silver dollar – and Matt, the best score of the year.