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Sunday, June 26, 2022

DAILY NEWS

 C.W. came by this morning. I hadn't seen him in ages. He had worried about Covid and hasn't been around much. Anyway, today he looked a lot like I imagine Charles Darwin might have looked.

"What's up?" he said.

"Where have you been?"

"Somewhere safe, watching," he said.

"To what do I owe the  pleasure?"

"Does your species understand natural selection?"

I thought. "Some do. Many don't."

"The species may get hit by it, and not in a pleasant way."

"Oh?"

"Yes. Remember that the role of a male is to impregnate as many females as he can to propagate a species much like himself."

"Yes."

"And remember that the role of a female is to propagate wisely, as with most things. That's why we don't understand why they aren't the rulers."

"So. Do you have a point?"

"Yes. What happens if they aren't allowed to choose wisely."

"What do you mean?"

"What if rapist and child-molesters decide to develop a dominant species by spreading their seeds abundantly and pervasively?"

A crack appeared in the clouds of my thinking and a shaft of light emerged.

"And what if the results of their base decision were now protected by your laws so propagation would prove inevitable?"

"You mean the products of wickedness might be protected by the courts?

"I mean floods of mutants infiltrating your species. Nothing more. Nothing less."

"Did you come back after all these years just to make me feel worse than I already do?"

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Deliverance

This morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed into my room. I saw a familiar sight and spun around to leave. Too late.

“Come in my child.”

There at my computer was The Galilean, one of the favorite shapes of the Alien C.W. my more or less permanent houseguest. I dreaded our conversations like a prostitute dreads a police interview.

“Come and sit.”

What could I do? I sat. “What the hell are you up to?” I wasn’t going to go gently into this good fight.”

“Be calm,” he said. “Have you said your morning prayers, yet?”

Let me explain. The figure before me had long, greasy black hair, a stringy beard, glassy black eyes and robe that smelled of long days’ wear. And he was quizzing me on prayer.

“No,” I said. “You know I quit praying while I was still in high school.”

His dark eyes bore into me and I shivered. “Tell me, exactly what did you pray for then?”

I knew he wouldn’t stop, so I might as well go along. “I prayed to be tall enough and big enough to be a football player.”

“And what exactly happened?”

“Nothing. I walked through graduation at five-foot-ten and 130 pounds.”

“And for that you quit praying?”

“Yes. Wouldn’t you have?”

He ignored me. “How much do you know about prayer, my son?”

Oh crap. Here we would go. “Just that it didn’t work for me.”

“Is there what you call a … ,” He paused and I heard his Galactic Universal Translator hum. He studied some notes he had on my desk, “a ‘statute of limitations’ on prayer?”

“A what?”

“Do your entreaties and pleas evaporate over time like a thin fog on a spring morning?”

I hate it when he gets poetical. “How the hell should I know?”

“Don’t blaspheme, my child. Think of what I asked. It may be hard, but think.”

He resorted to one of his favorite tricks, a challenge tinged with an insult. “Okay, I’m thinking.”

“If faith is eternal, shouldn’t the requests of faith-based prayers be eternal?”

“Beats me.”

“Let me answer. Yes, my child. Prayers are eternal. There are no expiration dates for them.”

“If you say so.”

“I do. But we’re talking about you.” He paused, for dramatic effect as much as anything. “Not tell me how tall you are this morning and how much you weigh.”

I heard the trap door slamming shut and didn’t answer.

“I know the facts anyway,” he said. “Now aren’t you as tall and large as many successful football players?”

“But I’m …,” I began. He cut me off.

“A prayer response delayed is not a prayer request unanswered.”

My mind twirled and a bell rang in my head. “But what about the few in Germany in the 1930s who prayed to avoid war?”

He grimaced. His GUT hummed. It was his turn to stammer. “Is there any more of that coffee?” he asked.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

FAIR AND BALANCED

 There was a loud, “Achtung” and I heard a hand slap on a table. I had to check it out. Went in and who should be all outfitted with lederhosen and other accoutrements than C.W. in a perfect imitation of the WWII German Minister for Armaments and War Production Albert Speer. He was busily pounding my laptop.

“What the …?”

“Shhh, he said. “Have a paying job going on.”

“A what?”

“A paying assignment. For money. Just for writing a novel.” I heard a hum. "Mucho Dinero."

“A novel? Who’s paying you for writing a novel?”

“A state government. This,” he pointed at the computer,” will be required reading for every student in the state.”

“What state government would pay you to write a novel?”

“Not at liberty,” he said, “but tell me something.”

“What?”

“What would be a good name for a beautiful commandant of women at a Nurture Center for displaced war refugees during World War Two? She’s a little bit headstrong but well-intentioned and basically loving. The men all chase after her. The women there all adore her, except for the other commandants. They are jealous of her.”

“At what kind of center?”

“You know. Where they keep abandoned women until they are … until their families unite with them.”

“Where are these centers?”

“Mostly in Poland. Some in Germany.”

“And the centers are designed for care and protection?”

“Yes. Our heroine watches over her charges with the assistance of a portly, but kind-hearted assistant named Oma-Greta. She’s always telling our heroine ‘Nicht Richtig’ when our heroin does something untoward.” He grimaced. “Wait a moment,” he said. “My Galactic Universal Translator is acting up.”

I waited. In a moment, he said, “Nicht Richtig: That means ‘It isn’t acceptable,’ or ‘It’s not proper,’ or ….”

“Tain't Fittin’?”

“Yes,” he said. “How did you know what my GUT was telling me?”

“Guessed. Are you writing a novel about Nazi Germany?”

“We don’t call it that.”

“What do you call it?”

Gutemenschenland.”

“Do you know what that means?”

“The ones who hired me say it means ‘holy’ or ‘righteous’ depending on the context.

“What does your GUT tell you?”

“I haven’t consulted it yet. Anyway, sometimes my GUT misleads me.”

“Tell me,” I said. “How is this novel going to end?”

“Our heroine, I’m thinking of calling her Scharlachrot Harren, her boyfriend Rolf Spieler, and Oma-Greta lead all the inmates of the Nurture Center safely back to their homes amidst great rejoicing. There well be this grand scene at a trainyard where they all unite. And they all live happily ever after.”

“You’re not going to tell me who’s paying you to write this?”

He looked around as if to see if anyone was listening. “Let’s just say, in your parlance and between you and me, it’s from somewhere people are large with cash but a little lacking on other things.”

Friday, October 15, 2021

PRIORITIES

 The Alien C.W. doesn’t use profanity often, but I swear I heard him growling “What the [something] from my office/music room. I went in to see.

There he was, shaped like a confederate army officer or some such getup. I stared.

“Hello Big Dope,” he said.

“Morning, What’s up?

“Shtoopdbool++scheat”

“Say what?”

His Galactic Universal Translator hummed.

“Communal insanity.” He glared at my computer screen.

“What’s your GUT telling you?”

“Have you seen this?” He pointed at the screen.

“What?”

“All three of your so-called major news outlets.”

I sipped my coffee. “What?”

“The widows and orphans of my homeland weep.”

“Why?”

“Our fatherland falls, and nobody cares.”

“Elucidate.” He hates that word.

“Would you care to know what the major news of your species is today?”

“Of course.”

“Would you think starvation of our abandoned families?”

“Maybe.”

“Alas no. Those in our ruined cities facing homelessness?”

“Maybe.”

“Alas no. Our veterans coming home to a parched landscape?”

“Sounds possible.”

“Alas no.”

“What then?”

“A fat old washed-up actor flying a wee bit above the ground.”

“A wee bit? What the …?”

“I learned that term somewhere. Has a nice ring to it, wouldn’t you say?”

“So, what did this, uh, actor do?”

“Some rich man flew him into the air a negligible distance.”

It dawned on me. “A negligible distance? They called it going into space.”

He turned and shook his head at me. “I walked farther to get on my spaceship bringing me here than he went into space.”

“Did you make the newspapers back on Falloonia?”

He failed to see my humor. “Is your species totally incapable of ranking … .” his GUT hummed. “Prioritizing what is important?”

I thought. “Not incapable as much as not inclined.”

He sighed, turned of the computer, and said, “And you wonder why they call Earth a third-universe planet.”

Thursday, September 16, 2021

INVOLVEMENT

 The Alien C.W. was très upset. I could hear him from the next room.

“Shtoo++pitdazoles+,” he said, loud enough to be heard outside. I walked in and found him shaped much like a middle-aged Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

“Say what?”

“Foul increment,” he practically screamed it at me.

“Bitte?”

“Listen to my GUT,” he said. I heard his Galactic Universal Translator begin to hum.

“Never mind,” I said. “I think I get the picture.”

“What is it with your species?” he said, aiming the question at me like he thought I might answer.

“¿Qué?” I like to screw with him when he gets like this.

“What does it mean,” he said, “when one of your leaders talks about waging a war with ‘no boots on the ground’ in some foreign country peopled by your own species.”

“It refers to using war to settle international differences with another country without actually having our military personnel involved in that country, so to speak.”

His GUT hummed and he listened. “And how is this accomplished?”

“Remotely,” I said. “We can send planes from ships and unmanned drones from Iowa, wiping them out like cleaning a windshield.”

“To settle differences?”

“Yes.”

“And if that doesn’t work?”

“Then we send troops.”

“And who comprises these troops? Do they hunt down individuals to conduct these ‘boots on the ground’ operations?”

“Uh, no. They rely on volunteers now.”

“Such as the children of the leaders?”

“Uh, no. Others.”

“Like you?” he said. “No, I remember now. You actually volunteered for war, didn’t you?”

“Kinda sorta.”

His Gut hummed. “Elucidate.”

“I reluctantly volunteered for what I thought would be an assignment that wouldn’t involve my boots being on the ground, i.e. naval forces.”

“So what happened?”

“They sent my boots and my ass to be on the ground.”

He thought for a moment. “Can you see why Falloonian Elders think your species might need recalling?”