Dan Steffan, June 1997

Once upon a time, in a fandom far, far away there lived a happy little fan fund. Every day the wee fan fund would wake to the friendly sound of friendly fanzines thunking into its friendly little mailbox. With a blissful grin the li'l fan fund would hop from its li'l bed in the bottom drawer of a very big file cabinet that was filled to the tippy top with other fanzines that had also thunked into the li'l mailbox, and begin the happy work of bringing all of fandom together. It was a tough job, but the tiny fan fund did it happily, knowing that the hard work facing it was good and nice and, well, made fandom a better place to be.

But then one day, when the happy little fan fund had turned its back for just a moment to water the beautiful rows of Lichtmans and Langfords and Hansens and Hughes that flourished in its happy li'l garden (the Peter Roberts had finally bloomed after many dormant years), a Wicked Ol' Witch came to town and, as Wicked Ol' Witches are want to do, cast an evil spell over fandom. Everywhere the Evil Crone went she left behind a cloud of darkness. Before long, fandom became confused and disoriented and seemed to lose its way in the darkness. No one knew why the sky had grown dark. Even though they noticed the horible witch sitting off in the corner of the bar, smoking evil ciggies and drinking nasty gin, it never occurred to them that she might be to blame. After all, she was one of us.

Soon, while fandom was busy arguing about the cause of the dark cloud (and who had the biggest Hugo award), the witch's hideous curse reached the home of the happy little fan fund and before you could say, 'Mr. Burbee, I am not a ...', the tiny, defenseless fan fund fell into a deep sleep, a sleep so deep that not even the sound of a copy of Habbakkuk thunking into the mailbox could wake it from its slumber.

But then, one fine morning, fandom noticed that the dark cloud had begun to disappear and before long the mist had lifted enough for fandom to wonder what had happened to their happy little fan fund. Was it dead? Was it obsolete? They tried phoning the fund, but because of the witch's spell the fund slept right through the calls, no matter how persistant the ringing. Finally, the darkness began to lift for good and fandom found out the truth.

Outside the sleeping fan fund's hovel they had found a clue -- a trail of nasty old cigarette butts and empty gin bottles -- that led them directly to the whiny old witch's cave deep in the heart of Wilmot Woods. Fandom then sent a hairy little troll into the cave to confront the old witch and to get her to lift the spell she had cast on the poor sleeping fan fund and to return fandom to the happy place it used to be before the dark cloud had plunged all fandom into blandness.

Soon the sleeping fan fund awoke and once again began to tend its garden and make fandom the happiest place on earth. The troll who had confronted the witch became a hero and was granted a wonderful reward for his good deed. And the fan fund returned to the great task it had been born to carry out.

Unfortunately for the happy little fan fund and for fandom-at-large, the witch's spell had left a lot of yucky crapola behind that made Business As Usual a lot more tedious and difficult than it had ever been before. Ciggie butts and empty bottles littered the fund's beautiful garden and choked its growth. And then there was the matter of the missing pot o' gold that the evil witch had taken right out from under the fund's sleeping little nose. Sure, she had promised the hairy troll that she would return the pot to the happy, but overworked fan fund Real Soon Now, but when she did it was empty.

'Oh well,' said the fund, 'at least now I'll have something to piss in.' Which, as we all know, is better than not having something to piss in. Soon the little fan fund was hard at work. He rolled up his sleeves and put his shoulder to the wheel and his nose to the grindstone and his pants around his knees and, with the help of a lot of friends and a lot of bheer, filled the once-empty pot to the tippy top with beautiful gold once again.

Soon the zippy li'l fan fund had restored the garden and sat back to admire his good works. Everything was right with the world. The fund announced a new TAFF race and everybody lived happily ever after.

Except, of course, for the evil, nasty, horrid, stinky, poo-poo panties wearing old witch, who spent the rest of her life on an island where every man she met instantly turned into a woman. The End. MEANWHILE ...

The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund is happy to announce the beginning of a brand spanking new TAFF race for the year 1998. We are also happy to announce that the British branch of the fund has, through generous donations and ardent fund-raising, lifted itself from the monetary hole it was in and is now solvent and secure in the hands of UK administrator, Martin Tudor.

The American branch of the fund is also doing well, with a current bank account of $3233.29 and counting. Even a nasty attack by the Virginia Department of Taxation against administrator Dan Steffan hasn't stopped us. However, it did neccessitate that some of your TAFF checks had to be held until the attack was over. This meant, unfortunately, that some of your checks have remained uncashed at this time and have therefore exceeded their six-month window of usefulness. This has meant a long, arduous process of replacing those checks, which is being done at this writing. In the meantime, however, all monies due TAFF have been covered by administrator Steffan to protect the fund's account. This means that all money due TAFF is secure while awaiting the replacement checks. If you are one of those folks whose check has gone uncashed, you will receive a letter of notification. If you haven't already gotten one, please be patient. Everyone will be notified by July 15, 1997.

Meanwhile, we are happy to announce the commencement of a new race to send some lucky American fan to attend the UK convention known as Intuition, which will be held April 10 through 13, 1998.

The deadline for nominations (3 American nominators and 2 UK nominators, plus a $20 bond) is Friday, August 1, 1997, which will begin a race that will last until Saturday, December 13, 1997, the deadline for voting. We invite everyone to consider running for TAFF and having the kind of fun that Martin and I have had on our TAFF trips.

A full-fledged TAFF fanzine is on the verge of publication (awaiting only some material from Mr. Tudor) and will be sent to everyone on the Apparatchik mailing list, and then some, and should come thunking into your mailbox within two weeks of this publication. For more information or to enter the race, please contact: Dan Steffan, 3804 South 9th Street, Arlington, VA 22204, (703) 685-7320. Or Martin Tudor, 24 Ravensbourne Grove (off Clarkes Lane) Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 1HX UK. -- dan steffan