“Hi, dear. How was your day?”
“Oh, Ward. Sheriff Williams raided the house again this afternoon.”
“That makes the third time this month. What happened?”
“You know. The same old thing. The Wilson’s complained about Theodore’s meth lab again. Apparently the fumes coming out of his and Wally’s bedroom floated over the backyard fence and killed their cat. They’re threatening to move out of the neighborhood and Julia told me if it happens again she’s dropping out of the PTA bake sale.”
“I’ll go upstairs and have a talk with the Beaver. Maybe I can convince him to go back to his paper route.”
“Beaver, what’s this I hear about you killing the Wilson’s cat with the fumes from your methamphetamine? I thought we agreed that you’d make your crank in the basement.”
“Gee whiz, dad. The Beav didn’t mean to hurt the Wilson’s cat or nothin’,” said Wally. “It was an accident. I agreed to help him if he brought all his stuff up here while I was doin’ my homework. After a while the fumes got so bad we couldn’t breathe, so I put a fan in the window to clear out our bedroom.”
“Well, the Wilsons are very upset over the loss of their cat. Besides, I thought the Science Fair was over last month.”
“It was,” said the Beav. “But gee whiz dad. I made so much money from the kids in Miss Landers’ class, I just couldn’t stop. Besides, it pays way more than my paper route and I don’t have to get up early before school. Mostly because I’ve already been up all night partying with Larry, Gilbert and Whitey. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been to bed in over a week.”
“Well, Theodore we’ll talk more about this later. In the meantime I want you and Wally to take all these beakers, rubber hoses and Sudafed down to your lab in the basement and wash up. It’s almost time for dinner.”
Theodore Cleaver first became attracted to making methamphetamine when the annual Grant Avenue Grammar School Science Fair rolled around. Most of his classmates were going after the $50 grand prize by building potato batteries, solar ovens out of pizza boxes or making it rain inside a Sparkletts bottle. But the Beav was convinced he could win when he happened upon an article in Popular Science about how to make methamphetamine using things from around the house like Sudafed tablets, lighter fluid and lithium strips from the inside of batteries.
In the beginning, there were the usual fires and explosions, but Wally was always there with a fire extinguisher and a helping hand to patiently show Beaver the errors of his ways. “We almost blew ourselves to smithereens a couple of times,” said the Beav. “But after a while we got pretty good at it. Wally even quit yellin’ at me after he smoked some of the chunky love. After that, we couldn’t make enough.”
“You know, Beav? This is the best damn rocket fuel I’ve ever snorted,” said Wally. “We need to call it something. Give it a brand name.” Beaver like to add a touch of Vick’s Nyquil to each batch to mellow it out. And so, Cleaver Green was born one evening in a Mayfield basement in 1960.
Production went smoothly for the first six months. The Beaver sold most of his chalk dust to the kids in school. None of the teachers had clue about what was going on – not Miss Canfield, Miss Landers or even Cornelia Rayburn the school principal. In fact, they wondered where all their students were getting their energy. “Can we have extra homework this evening, Miss Landers? If you’ll let me play on the dodgeball and kickball teams, I’ll mop and wax all the hallways. How ‘bout it Miss Landers?”
Within six months the Beav was flush with cash and began recklessly showering Wally and his parents with expensive gifts. “What are doin’ you little goof ball?” said Wally. “Don’t you think people are gonna get suspicious about where an 8-year-old grammar school student gets the money to buy his brother a brand new Ford Thunderbird?”
“Gee, Wally. I just wanted to give you somethin’ nice. After all. You’re my brother.”
“That’s great, you little twerp, but wait ‘til dad hears about this. He’s gonna blow his top.”
“Well, I don’t want him hollerin’ at me and stuff. Maybe we ought to take the car back to the dealer before he gets home from work. I’ll tell mom we’re goin’ to the library and be back before dinner.” “Good idea,” said Wally.
The money kept flowing in. Wally and Beaver stuffed so much cash into their mattresses they had to start sleeping on the floor. Ward and June quickly filled up 10 safe deposit boxes at Mayfield Savings. It was clear to everyone in the family that they had to find an effective way to deal with the large amounts of cash that Cleaver Green was bringing in. It wasn’t so much the small denomination bills as all the loose change in lunch money kids were giving Beaver in the cafeteria.
“You know,” said Ward at the dinner table one night. “I think we should bring Fred Rutherford into the operation.”
“What? Lumpy’s dad?” said Wally. “What’s he gonna to do?”
“Well, he is a Certified Public Accountant at the office. Besides, he’s as greedy and shifty as they come. He’d be perfect.” So, the family agreed to bring in Fred to run the money laundering scheme.
At first, Fred Rutherford was aghast at the amount of money Beaver’s operation was bringing in with his cotton candy. “Ward, you mean to tell me that Theodore has made over $400,000 by making crystal meth in your basement? In the last 6 months?”
“That’s right, Fred. And we’re just getting started. I’ve been talking with Gustavo Fripp about moving the operation from our basement to his commercial lab. Theodore should be able to increase the output ten-fold within the next 12 months. That’s why we need to find a way to launder the money – make it look like it’s coming from a legitimate source.”
“Ward, I’m exasperated. I had no idea the Beav had it in him. And, why Gustavo Fripp? He owns The Big Donut, doesn’t he?”
“He does,” said Ward. “But he also has a multi-million dollar meth lab underneath the donut shop. No one has a clue.”
And so it was agreed that Fred Rutherford would be in charge of laundering the money from Beaver’s meth lab by running all of the proceeds through the comic book store he bought for Theodore in a strip mall. And by moving the operation from the Cleaver’s basement to Fripp’s commercial meth lab, the police quit raiding the Cleaver residence and the Wilsons held onto more of their pets.
The local authorities were stymied. They had no idea where all the Cleaver Green was coming from that flooded the streets. Only that a ruthless gangster known as Hindenburg (Theodore Cleaver’s alter ego) was the head of the operation. When Wally hired Eddie Haskell to head up distribution, profits skyrocketed.
The first thing Eddie did was hire Mary Ellen Rogers and Julie Foster to work as mules between Mayfield and Mexico. Then the Cleveland Cartel caught wind of Cleaver Green and how much it was encroaching on their territory. One afternoon, one of their enforcers cornered Whitey and Beaver on their way home from school, stealing $50,000 worth of dunk they were hiding in their pencil boxes and scattered the contents of their backpacks all over the street.
The Hindenburg gang wasted no time in retaliating. That night they skulked over to Chewy Anderson’s (the leader of the Mayfield Cartel) and poured rock salt all over his parents’ front lawn. The next night, things escalated when the Cartel toilet papered the Cleaver’s trees and tied an M80 to the tail of the Wilson’s new cat. The collateral damage spelled the end of Hindenburg’s methamphetamine trade. Ward went down to the basement and destroyed the Beav’s entire laboratory. Then he shipped Theodore off to a private school in Minnesota and institutionalized Wally in the Mayfield Insane Asylum, where he lives to this day, whacked out on Thorazin so he’ll never be able to spill what really happened with the Hindenburg operation.
It’s been over 50 years and Hollywood keeps producing cheap replicas about the Hindenburg operation. Most recently, the Emmy Award winning series featuring Bryan Cranston as Walter White – a shallow attempt at recreating the tension, violence and success of Beaver Cleaver’s original idea. But, that’s show biz.