Nashville Gas customers, apparently incensed over reports of a huge rate increase for the winter heating season, have taken out their displeasure on the utility’s longtime commercial spokesman, the Energy Partner, and spokeshorse, Betty.
Police sources say that on the morning of Oct. 5, just as the first cold snap of the fall was dropping temperatures below freezing, the Energy Partner, a cheerful Lone Ranger-type figure who has represented the gas company for years, awoke to find the bloody severed head of his horse and commercial co-star, Betty, in bed with him.
“It was like The Godfather all over again,” one police source said, adding, “Gross.”
On the recording of the 911 call, released to the media last week, the voice of the Energy Partner, normally heard touting the merits of gas water heaters or clothes dryers, can be heard repeatedly shouting, “It’s Betty’s head! It’s Betty’s head!” while the 911 operator attempts to calm him down.
Operator: Mr. Partner, Mr. Partner! Please tell me what happened. Who is Betty?
EP: My horse! Her head! Oh, the humanity!
EP: She’ll never again enjoy a hot shower from our super-efficient gas water heater, which bounces back twice as fast as a comparable electric model!
Operator: Please remain calm, sir. Officers are on the way.
EP: I’m going to strip the bloody sheets off the bed and wash and dry them with my efficient gas appliances!
Police reportedly dusted the horse’s head for fingerprints, but so far there appear to be few leads in the case.
“One of the first things you look for is motive, and with what’s going on with gas bills, the whole city has a motive,” one investigator said in frustration.
Meanwhile, sources say the Energy Partner has already begun auditioning new horses to replace Betty as his commercial co-star. “It was a very sad time in my life, but it’s been two weeks, and it’s time to move on,” he said. “It’s what Betty would have wanted.”
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