By Timothy Long
(Knight-Rider) – Charleston, S.C. For some, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter. For others, the first shots of the War Between the States were fired at Fort Sumter. Then there are those Lost Cause-loving souls who proudly proclaim that the first shots of the War of Northern Aggression were fired at Fort Sumter. There’s a big difference between the three terms — and those differences are still being debated here in this proud Southern town — but Wyatt Duvall doesn’t care about any of them. For Duvall, the Civil War is nothing more than a punch line. After all, this is a man who once held a rally for the Gay Sons of Confederacy, much to the chagrin of the local chapter of the Sons of Confederacy.
But Wyatt Duvall is not a buffoon. He’s not a clown. He just plays one on TV, in the papers, and on the internet. And today, he is playing harder than he’s ever played before.
Right now, the Slumber Party leader and hundreds of his so-called Sleeper Agents have set up camp on the grounds of Fort Sumter and they refuse to leave until a majority of the members of the S.C. General Assembly to pass a bill creating mandatory naps for all state employees. But where the Woodstock generation had their sit-ins, the members of the Slumber Party have their sleepovers. At the moment they are 10 hours into a power nap.
Oddly enough, Duvall has yet to close his eyes. He can’t afford to. “The second I catch some shuteye, the second they drag me away,” Duvall says. “I can’t allow that to happen. My Confederate ancestors who attacked this fort for the right to crack a lash across a man’s back just wouldn’t allow it. They’d haunt my dreams with an endless prattle about tariffs, taxes, and other revisionist history babble.”
The noted prankster is normally an amusingly fiery man with a generous laugh — which even some of his detractors find endearing — but today he is serious, or at least as serious as the man behind some of the decade’s most noteworthy hoaxes can be. At dawn, he stands before his army of Sleeper Agents and delivers a fiery oration. Few are awake to hear it. “Robert E. Lee wanted secession. I want a cessation from work,” Duvall says. “Jefferson Davis wanted to give birth to a new nation. I want to give birth to a lifetime of naps.”
As the speech comes to an end, Duvall raises his fist and shouts, “They may have pried Stonewall Jackson’s hands from his sword, but they will never pry my eyes open.”
Before the standoff is over with, Duvall will have conducted 13 interviews with the press. More than once, the Slumber Party leader says that Union troops attacked Fort Sumter instead of Confederate forces. Perhaps it’s a lack of sleep that has him confused. Perhaps it’s a matter of Duvall’s indifference to the truths of history. More likely, the errors are simply part of his plan to baffle.
Over the course of his career as a media hoaxer, Duvall inadvertently created a drug epidemic and used that opportunity to fund his other projects, launched controversial scholarship programs, created a soup kitchen-liquor store, and founded his own political party. There are even rumors that a strange religious cult has formed around Duvall’s teachings. Oddly enough, the Slumber Party leader rejects the prankster label.
“Are these people not here today? Are they not protesting? Are they not laying down their lives for what many sadly believe will be a lost cause?” Duvall asks. “These noble souls are fighting for a noble dream, and I will not dismiss their efforts.”
Before the day ends, Duvall awakens his Sleeper Agents from their slumbers. He then orders them to pull the white pillowcases off of their pillows and place the cases over their heads. Needless to say, their hooded visages were met with gasps and harsh words.
Shortly thereafter, Fort Sumter staff closed the park and ordered all visitors to leave. At that moment, it was clear that whatever chance Duvall’s bill had of passing disappeared. And yet when the dust settled, many were left wondering if this was exactly what Wyatt Duvall had planned all along.