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Sunday, August 12, 2018

437 Service

C.W. has gone missing. I can’t find him anywhere. The last time I saw him, he had assumed the shape of a long-haul trucker with a MAGA hat. He was nervous and puffing on a big cigar.

He said he was “going to join the Space Force.”

“But,” I said before he broke in.

“No buts,” he said. “They’ll need experienced men and I’m their guy.”

“Uh,” I began.

“Listen,” he said. “They have no idea what they are getting into. They won’t know a Phistupunarsigan from a Beetanisilliagan. You can’t send brave men to fight Galactic invaders without experienced warriors, and three heads are better than one. He grinned and exhibited several missing teeth. “You’d better listen to me.”

“No. You listen to me.”

“Why?”

“I have something to tell you.”

“Better make it quick. I’ve already heard that some Hierdaruckians have landed and are assuming the disguise of a wedding party. Our forces need some guidance and they need it fast. I can provide them exact coordinates.”

“Shut up,” I offered.

“What?”

“Are you listening?”

“I always listen. That’s one of my strengths.”

Letting that pass, I snapped a finger in front of his face.” He looked, and I assumed his other two heads were listening as well.

“Repeat after me,” I said. I waited a couple of seconds until he focused. “There is no Space Force.”

“There is no … what the hell are ya’ll talking about?”

“There is no Space Force.”

“What?”

“There is no Space Force, nor will there be.”

“But the President said ….”

“The President tends to make things up. That’s one of his privileges, or at least one he has assumed.”

“Why would he?”

“It’s in his nature,” I said. “He uses prevarication like some people use a paint brush.”

“But why tell us a lie about a Space Force?”

“Distraction,” I said.

“Dis-what?”

“Don’t you remember how much you like to watch magicians do their tricks?”

“Well, yeah,”

“And remember my telling you how they work them?”

A light dawned. “They fool you with one hand while the other does the trick.”

“Precisely.”

“But why would the President want to distract us?”

“Are you serious?”

“Well, they are on his ass pretty bad.”

“Because?”

“Some folks say he has been a little careless in the way he acts.”

“A little careless?”

“Maybe more than a little.”

“So, you see the need for some harmless distraction.”

“Who would he think might believe him about a fake Space Force?”

“The same people who believe a strong man can slam a metal folding chair down on another man’s head, have the poor guy hauled away to the emergency room bleeding, and have him back entertaining them the very next night.”

“But the Vice-President is setting the Space Force up, and he’s a Reckinarellerain.”

The threat is real.The President
 says this is an actual photo. - C.W.
“The best and the brightest?”

He thought. “Not exactly. They are the ones who transpermiated mosquito DNA on your planet. Some jokester on Falloonia told them it was a species of orchid. He’s been banished to Alabama, the jokester has, and they sent the perpetrator to Washington.” The fog lifted a bit. “As a matter of fact, …”

“So you see the subterfuge?”

“I don’t believe you,” he said. “I’m going to Little Rock.”

“For what?”

“Those folks up there at the Capitol respect our President. If he says we need a Space Force, they’ll be the first ones to join, probably already have. Just wait, you’ll see. If they don’t, I’ll raise almighty hell about it.” 

With that, he took off. I haven’t seen him since.

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.



Sunday, August 5, 2018

436. Prophecy

It was abnormally quiet in the house. I had come in from working outdoors and my wife was away for the day. I thought I’d better check on C.W. Did I mention that it was abnormally quiet? That’s when it’s a good idea to check on C.W.

But, uncharacteristically, I found him in my favorite easy chair reading a book. At least I assumed it was he, the shape was that of a middle-aged man of scholarly demeanor. He had a long, hawkish, face beset by wrinkles and accentuated by a thin mustache. His eyes flashed beneath a crop of dark, unruly hair.

He looked vaguely familiar but I let it pass. “What’s up? I said.

“The Elders are pissed,” he said, closing the book.

“Oh?” It was then that I notice what book he was reading. It was Nineteen Eighty-Four.

“And why are they pissed this time?”

“Don’t you think they have a right to be?” He said gruffly.

“I don’t know.”

“Listen,” he said. I noticed scads of yellow stickers protruding from the book. He turned to them, one after another, and read.

“War is peace.”

“Freedom is slavery.”

“Ignorance is strength.”

He closed the book. “Sound familiar? Maybe a little like last night’s newscast?”

Before I could answer, he turned to another marker and read, “One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” He looked up at me and smiled, then said, “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

“Is this going somewhere?”

“Be still and learn,” he said. He didn’t say it in a friendly way. I’d never seen him like this before. He quickly turned to another page and read. “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'”

I just stood there, thinking of our Secretary of Education. “Are you,” he said, “proud of your country now? How do you like being a fulfillment of prophecy? Not the mythical kind where you read a prediction and then go make it happen, but when it happens on its own and you say, ‘So and So saw that coming?’”

As I pondered this, he continued, pointing at another section. He read, “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” He stopped. “Say, for example, you have a twice-divorced adulterer being worshiped as a religious icon by a third of your population. He flashed a half-smile for the first time. If you think the Elders are pissed, you ought to talk to the Galilean. See?”

Trying to make sense of it all, I tried to answer. I could only say, “Yes.”

Do I have to draw you a picture? - C.W.
He snapped. “Is any of this really beginning to make sense? Does any of it sound familiar at all?”

“Yes,” I said. “I first read the book in high school and then several more times since.”

“Idiot,” he snapped. “I’m talking about 2018, not some journey into your past.”

This was the strangest C.W. I had encountered ever. “What is with you?” I said.

“Don’t you watch the news?” he said. “The Elders certainly do.”

“And why are they so upset?”

“You have no idea?”

“Maybe a slight idea. Could it be …?”

“Shut up,” he said. “Listen.” He turned to another marker and looked at me, his dark eyes piercing the farthest corner of my mind. “Listen,” he said, “and learn. Then you may know why the Elders are pissed.

This time he read gravely, “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’m beginning to see you point. America today is starting to sound exactly—and I’ll admit it’s scary as hell—like the state described in Orwell’s book.” I paused, “But what has the Elders so upset?”

“Orwell!” he screamed. “Orwell … what has the Elders so pissed about Orwell, his prophecies, and modern America?”

“Yes,” I said, “yes … what?”

“Only,” he said, “that they sent me here in 1947 to warn you.”


Sunday, July 29, 2018

435: Business

 It was obvious that something was troubling C.W. He had been moping around all day in the shape of one of his more troublesome characters. I call him “Carl the confused.” He prefers “Charlie the Wonderer.”

Whatever. He finally asked me to take a walk around the pond on our farm. I didn’t really want to do it because of all the goose poop on the bank, but he insisted, and reminded me that when I had taken on the job of being his host, that I had agreed to explain our ways as well as I could. So we took a walk.

He had filled a pocket with rocks from one of my wife’s dozens of piles that she has picked up over the years. There are no natural rocks on the farm, so they have all been collected by her.

He sailed a rock over the surface of the pond. It skipped once and sank. “She’s going to whip your ass,” I said, “for stealing her rocks.”

“She won’t miss a few from all the thousands she has stacked around.” He sailed another. It failed to skip even once.

“Are you kidding? She knows every one in every pile, where it came from, and when she collected it. Besides, you’re not doing it right. You have to bend low and get it closer to the surface.”

“Show me,” he said, handing me a rock.

“You won’t tell?”

“Heavens no.”

I bent low and sailed the rock. It skipped three times and sank.

“Tell me,” he said as he pulled another rock from his pocket. “Can you really run government like a business?”

The question surprised me. “Why do you ask me that?”

“Writing a report. The Elders sent me a communication saying this orange-faced guy has them all confused.”

“What orange-faced g…, oh.”

“They aren’t sure that he is for real. They think it’s just another Earthling television show. I must explain it all to them. So can you? Run government like a business?”

“No.” I said.

“Why not?”

“Several reasons. First, business can operate anyway it wishes as long as it doesn’t break the law.”

“But what about …?” He began.

“As long as it doesn’t get caught breaking a law.” I corrected myself.

“Oh.”

“Government,” I said, “on the other hand can only operate under specific laws that allow it to protect the public health, safety, welfare, and morals of the people, laws that have been validated by the courts.”

“Then there is an actual law somewhere that allows the president of your country knowingly to lie to the public in order to carry out his aims?”

I thought. “Not exactly.”

“So he can just do it anyway, without punishment?”

“That’s what elections were designed to do.”

“Back in the old days?”

I didn’t answer. After a moment, I said. “There are other differences between business and government.”

“Such as?”

“The business model is that for my company to win, your company must lose. Government, on the other hand should enact policies or take actions that benefit or protect us all.”

“How’s that working for you?” he said, bending over and throwing a stone. It bounced twice.

I veered away. “Business operates under the so-called ‘Law of Supply and Demand’ in providing goods and services. Generally, low supply and high demand increase price. In contrast, the greater the supply and the lower the demand, the price tends to fall. Businesses flourish when high demand justifies an increase in supply.”

He stopped. “But,” he said. “Didn’t your late president Ronald Reagan say that supply creates its own demand?”

Sometimes there
 is the smell of sulfur
 in the halls of

 government. - C.W.
"Reagan received a lot of bad advice,” I said. “Have you ever heard of Oliver North?”

“So, the idea is that if we keep building things, producing products, and providing services that nobody wants, we’ll get rich?”

“No,” I said. “We’ll eventually go bankrupt, time and time again. Soon, nobody will lend us money anymore, nobody who is operating solely on sound business practices.”

“That sounds reasonable,” he said. “Nobody supports a loser?”

“Uh,” I said, foreign interests might, if the rewards outweighed the risks. It seems to be done for political ends at times, and that blurs the proper demarcation between government and business.”

“And the ‘government the people, by the people, and for the people,’ as you great man put it, would allow that?”

“If it has enough backing.”

He bent low and sailed a rock. It bounced four times and sank slowly. He stood up with a bright look on his face.

“I’m beginning to see,” he said. “It’s all just a matter of how far you're willing to bend over.”



See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

434: Hypocrisy

It’s always nice when C.W. does his Edward R. Murrow routine. My wife, though, makes us sit outdoors on account of his smoking so much. We sat near sundown last evening under a shade tree in an Arkansas July without a breeze stirring.

I had pulled and extension chord over and placed a box fan a few feet in front of us. “Bless you, my child,” he said, lighting another cigarette. He smiled, took a draw, and put his lighter back into a pocket. “I thought the London Blitz was uncomfortable, but now I don’t know.”

“What’s on your mind?” I said. “You don’t do Murrow unless it is serious.”

“The Elders are at it again.”

“The Falloonian Elders?”

“Are there any others?”

I didn’t reply, no use when he’s on roll. Instead, I asked, “What are they wanting to know?”

“When it all started.”

“When what started?”

“The path that has led to the present hypocrisy-challenged mess your country is in.”

“Hypocrisy-challenged?”

“As in so many can’t recognize it, or refuse to.” He took a drag and exhaled. He leaned an elbow on his crossed leg and held the cigarette like an exhibit. “I think,” he said, “that it started during the so-called ‘New Deal.’ But some of my colleagues want to take it all the way back to the Civil War.” He waived the cigarette as if directing music. “The some of us place it as late as the Johnson-Goldwater election back in 1964. Then there are the radical thinkers that place it as starting the day after Nixon fled the scene. What do you think?”

“I think I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.”

He looked at me as if I had just doubted the known facts of natural selection. “You don’t?”

“Something about politics?”

He nodded and exhaled smoke. “Bingo. I’m talking about the moment when one political party became so angry and revenge-bent that it would be willing to bring the whole country down, given time, cunning, and patience.”

I nodded. The fog was lifting. He continued. “I’m torn between the New Deal and Johnson/Goldwater.”

“When the unquenchable hatred started?”

“Yes. There are two things that irritate conservatives the most.”

“They are?”

“The first is helping those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, the meek, the merciful, and who seek peace. You know, the usual crowd of losers that their favorite writer—that Ayn what’s her name— taught them to despise.”

“And the second?”

“Losing, losing in any shape form or fashion.”

“So you think those have led to an inability to recognize hypocrisy?”

“Are you kidding me?” He flipped the cigarette away and reached for another. “Haven’t you been paying attention?”

“Well, yeah. There does seem to be some double standard about confirming a Supreme Court nominee.”

“Or who is a follower of the Galilean and who’s not?”

“Yeah, there is this Franklin Graham character.”

“Just nominated, as I understand it,” he said, “to the Hypocrite’s Hall of Fame.”

“And you think it started with FDR and blossomed under Johnson?”

“Do-gooders on parade,” he said. “But they just maybe started it. There’s no disagreement, even among the parties, as to who caused it to flourish.”

“No doubt?”

“No doubt at all.”

“You mean there is a bizarre example of bi-partisan agreement as to what caused this abyss of hypocrisy and hatred?”

“Yes.”

“And?”

“It was Obama’s fault.”

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

433. Research

“Ear.”

The minute I heard the word “ear” I smelled something that took me back nearly 50 years. Before it registered, I heard it again.

“Ear.”

And again, “Ear.”

I rushed into the living room and, sure enough, there was C.W. in his actual Falloonian shape, all three heads, multiple hands, and all. Five dogs sat in a semi-circle in front of him, alternately giggling and watching the action. I should have expected some mischievousness. My wife was staying elsewhere with a visiting cousin and she doesn’t care much for seeing our alien friend in his true shape. That’s the reason he waits until she’s away to appear “au naturel.”

“Ear,” Left Head said. A long skinny arm moved raised a hand that took something resembling a short cigar from Left Head and handed it to Middle Head. He took it in his mouth, took a long draw, and held it.

“Ear,” he said, still holding his breath. The hand moved the cigar to Right Head. That’s when I remembered what the smell was.

What the …?”

“Come on in, Mr. Big Dope,” Left Head said as the hand started toward him. It stopped in mid-flight and headed toward me. “Ear,” Left Head said, extending the joint, if you want to call something that large a joint, toward my mouth.

“No thanks,” I said, pushing the hand away, It was green and scaly, cold to the touch. “But,” I said, “you might tell me what is going on.”

Right Head started to speak, stopped, and turned to Middle Head. “You tell him,” he said. “I just forgot.”

“We’re doing research,” Middle Head said.

“Research on what?”

The question seemed to catch him off-guard. He thought for a moment, then said, “Research. What research?”

“Upon what are you doing research”

He thought again. “Who said we are doing research?”

“You did.”
“We are doing a test,” Left Head said, coming to the rescue. He took a long drag, held it, and had the hand move to Middle Head. After holding his breath for nearly a minute, he exhaled and said. “Wow, male of the species.”

“Testing what?” I persevered.

“That plant we’ve been reading about,” Right Head said. “What do you call it?” He thought and smiled. “Merry Fauna,” he said.

“Yep,” Middle Head said.

“Yep,” Left Head said. “We’re thinking about stealing it.”

“No,” Middle Head said, finishing his draw and passing the joint. “Not stealing, sealing it.”

“No,” Right Head said, after a brief coughing spell. “Not sealing it, … selling it.”

“Right,” Left Head said. “We’re perfectly positionated to sell it.”

“Oh?”
Our Marketing Plan:
The worse it sounds,
the more the kids
will want it. - C.W
.

“Yes,” he said. “It has no effect on us whensoever.”

“None wheresoever,” Middle Head said.

“None whysoever,” Right Head said. His face brightened. “Did Mrs. Big Dope leave any of that cabbage soup here for us?”

I didn’t answer. Left Head started laughing. He cackled aloud for some time and finally caught his breath. “I just thought of a name for our product.” He turned toward the others.

“What?” Middle Head said.

“Three Faces of Ease Medicinal Cigarillos.” He said, breaking into laughter again. Middle Head caught on and howled with joy. Right Head joined it. The dogs began their “laugh-bark.” The room turned to bedlam.

I readied to leave. “You won’t think this is funny if my wife catches you.”

The laughter increased in volume. The last thing I heard over the howls and barking was Middle Head, “Hey, save some for Mrs. Big Dope.” The sounds grew louder. He screamed over the merriment, “No, I mean Mrs. Bogart.”

The whole house was shaking when I walked out the front door and into the yard. I was a little light-headed, from secondary smoke I suppose. I began to wonder if maybe I was living on the satellite of some electron in some obscure galaxy and was just imagining all of this. It would certainly make more sense.

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.