Sunday, December 30, 2012

129. Teachers

My goodness, but I could have sworn my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Morgan, was in my living room. It was C.W. but the 1960s attire really brought back memories. There she was, in a tailored suit of subdued gray plaid with a starched white blouse complete with ruffles down the front. A modest necklace completed the arrangement and black, patent-leather shoes quietly expressed sensibility.
What wasn’t in character was the belt of cartridges strung across her chest and the assault rifle angling menacingly from behind her shoulders. Then there were the two pistols strapped to her waist, the holster belts making a menacing “x” at her midsection like the attire of a movie gunslinger.

“I’m not going to ask,” I said, slumping into a chair.

“Jimmie, please sit up straight,” she said. “How many times must I tell you?”

“C.W.,” I said. Have you gone completely mad?”

“Am I going to have to introduce you to my little friend?” she said, reaching a hand behind her to pat the rifle.”

“Okay. I’ll bite. What’s up?”

“Straighten up and I will tell you.”

I sat up and waited.

“At long last,” she said. “I read where school administrators will begin to arm teachers. I intend to be ready.”

Not believing what I was seeing, I just stared.

“Remember when you wouldn’t keep up with the rest of the class when we studied The Heart of Darkness?”

“I had other priorities.”

“Exactly,” she said. Then she walked to me and stood menacingly. She placed a hand on one of her pistols, a big one like the kind Dirty Harry used. “Don’t you imagine that Smith and Wesson could have helped regain your focus?”

“It gives a new meaning to the term ‘compulsory education,’” I said.

“Please don’t get smart with me,” she said as she drew the pistol from its holster.

“Look,” I said. Between you and I …”

“Stoppit,” she screamed, and before I knew it she had thrust the pistol barrel into my mouth and had cocked the hammer with a sickening click. “You are misusing the objective case. Would you say … ‘between I?’ Heavens no. So why ‘between you and I’? It should be ‘between you and me’! Can’t you understand?” She pushed the pistol harder and I nodded my head enthusiastically.

She removed the pistol and smiled. “No wonder your friends call you ‘Big Dope,’” she said. She placed the pistol in its holster and I relaxed.

“Can’t you just see how this will revolutionize teaching?” she said. “No more ‘children please take out your grammar books.’” She lowered her head and gave a “Clockwork Orange” smile. In a fluid motion she retrieved the rifle from her back and pointed it at me. “Now,” she said. “It’s ‘conjugate this, dirtbag!’ Oh happy day!”

“Uh, C.W,” I said. “I don’t think they plan for teachers to use the weapons on their students.”

“What? Then on whom?”

“You know, intruders.”

“Like Principal Patterson?”

“No, like gun wielding lunatics that might come blasting away.”

She stopped as if she had been slapped. She seemed to wilt and backed toward a chair then slumped into it.

Now children, today we shall study transitive verbs.
This will require our attention. So please don't provoke me.
Oh happy day! - C.W.
“Do you mean to tell me that there are those in your species who believe the cure for the insanity of violence is more violence?”

“Afraid so.”

“The thought of that provokes me,” she said, using a word I have always found to be the exclusive property of teachers.

“Be that as it may …” I began.

She interrupted. “It certainly points out the results of inadequate funding for education.”

Sunday, December 23, 2012

128. Lists

I awoke this morning, a couple of days before Christmas, to find C.W. in the guise of the most innocent-looking 10 year old boy you could imagine. He was sitting cross-legged in the floor writing furiously on a Big Chief Tablet and looked up as if he had been caught in the act and the act wasn’t a good one.

“Don’t tell me,” I said.

“Hello Mr. Big Dope, I mean, good morning sir.”

My antennae immediately went on full alert. “We are being a little polite this morning, aren’t we?”

“I don’t know what you mean, sir,” he said as he continued to write. “I pride myself on being nice to everyone.”


“In fact,” he said. “I am preparing these two lists called ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ as a recap of the past year, see?”

He held the tablet so I could see it. The list called ‘nice’ filled several pages while the ‘naughty’ list lacked a single entry.

“I should say that is a pretty fair record for the year, wouldn’t you?”

“One moment,” I said, going to my computer. As I fired it up, he began to squirm.

“What are you doing, sir?”

“Just checking a few of your e-mail records.”

“Oh,” he said. “No need. I already checked them.”

“Really?” I said. “How about this one. ‘Dear Todd Aiken: I am attaching a circular from the National Institute of Physiology that you might find helpful in preparing your campaign interviews.’”


“The National Institute of Physiology?”

“I sort of made that up,” he said, adding ‘overactive imagination’ to the ‘naughty’ list.

“Or this one, ‘Dear Mr. Zuckerberg: I love Facebook and think it would be great for you to take its stock public so I, and other small investors, could feel ownership.’”

“So, I was wrong.”

“How about this one: ‘Dear Mr. Romney, I am attaching a Google Earth Map of the Middle East showing the canal through Syria that provides Iran access to the sea.’”

“They don’t allow geography in school anymore.”

“How about math?” I said. “Dear Mr. Rove: You might find the attached polling data from the Southeastern Headquarters for Institutional Training helpful in your punditry.’”

“Now that was funny,” he said. “I don’t care who you are.”

“Well,” I said. “This one wasn’t: ‘Dear President Obama: Next time you talk to President Putin, why don’t you tell him that you will have more flexibility in foreign relations during your second term?’”

“Well he will, won’t he?”

“Undoubtedly.” I scrolled through files. “And what is this expenditure I found for a video camera that you purchased for Jimmy Carter’s grandson?”

“So I am generous.”

“Never mean-spirited?”

“Never,” he said indignantly.

“So, ‘Dear Learning Channel: I think it would be highly educational to develop a reality television show featuring a semi-literate redneck family with a chubby, child beauty pageant, contestant as its star’ is not mean-spirited?”

“Your species loves it some illiterate rednecks.”

“You should be ashamed.”

“Well, all those were sometime back. Maybe I have reformed.”

People should do as Mr. Big Dope
does and use my advice at
their own peril. - C.W.
“Oh really,” I said. “How about this one from a week ago. ‘Dear Mr. LaPierre: I am a student in elementary school and I would feel safer if everyone that goes to school or teaches there would carry a gun. Could you help me get the message out?’”

“I was only trying to be helpful.”

“I rather gather that you aren’t expecting any presents this year” I said.
“What? What did I do?”

Sunday, December 16, 2012

127. Remnants

This morning, I didn’t really feel like talking. Of course that is when C.W. is most likely to show. And of course he did.

Our country was suffering in shock from another mass murder by a gun-wielding lunatic. No use to go into the numbers and methodology. It is all too painfully familiar by now.

Anyway, as I say, C.W. never misses a chance. I looked up from my computer screen into a dark room to see him standing in the form of a six year old child, pale but emitting a slight white glow. He stood staring at me without speaking for several seconds. Then he spoke in a soft child’s voice that floated around the room like a smoky whisper.

“Do you know why they killed me?”

I studied the figure. C.W., despite his often comic and cynical approaches to our society, chooses very carefully when he will be serious.

“No,” I said. “I don’t.”

“Then you seem to be the only one of your species that doesn’t, from what I observed on the social networking websites this morning.”

“You’ve been on my computer?”

“Oh please,” he said. “So you don’t know?”

“I can’t begin to fathom.”

“Someone blamed it on a god.”

“I’m sure they did.”

“Some think your species needs fewer guns.”

“I’m sure they do.”

“Others think you need more guns.”

I didn’t answer him. So he kept talking.

“The ones who seem the most positive are the ones who don’t have a clue.”

“That is usually the case,” I said.

“You know I went through considerable training before the Falloonian Elders sent me to your planet.”

“I would assume as much.”

“You want to know their short take on your species?”

“Why not?” I was glad to escape my own thoughts.

“That you had managed to overcome, to a remarkable degree, your prehistoric reliance on violence as a survival strategy.”

“That’s good, right?”

“But,” he continued. “It never left the DNA strand and it will surface from time to time, often most tragically.”

“Ask your classmates,” I said.

“Ask the families of the children of Baghdad the morning your country started raining bombs on them,” he said.

“You are not being very comforting,” I said.

“One of your country’s founders—I forget which one—said ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’”

“It is attributed to Thomas Jefferson,” I said. “But I’m not sure it was he.”
“It makes no difference, don’t you see. What is important is the cosmic truth of it. Your species must remain vigilant over those primordial instincts that have existed, and still exist, since your ancestors crawled from the oceans.”

“So you mean …?”

“Sorry, but I have to go now,” he said, looking past me to a point far away. “One of the things I planned to do when I learned to write good was to keep a diary.” He paused. “But of course I never got to do it.”

It is hard, some mornings,
to continue believing in the
acquired goodness of people.
But you must keep trying. - C.W.
I must have looked confused.

“Oh,” he said. “I met a friend who kept a very good one before the violence took her and she has promised to read it to me.”

And he faded away, leaving me more confused than ever.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

126. Consequences

C.W. is finishing his first college course. Says he wants major in history as he doesn’t have to depend upon a degree to get a job. His first class was one in American foreign policy since World War Two. It has him bumfuzzled. I found him working on his final term paper early this morning in a raccoon coat and one of those silly hats straight out of an Andy Hardy movie.
“Hey Big Dope,” he said. “Just the person I needed to see.”


“Yes, I have to decide upon the most unfortunate foreign policy decision of the U.S. government since 1945.”


“There are so many to choose from.”

“Well pick one then,” I said.

“I leaned heavily at first,” said he, “On Dwight Eisenhower’s decision to overthrow, as a favor to the British Petroleum Company, the democratically elected government of Iran, and its head of government Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in August of 1953.”

“Why that one?”

“Simple,” he said. “Chain reactions.”

“Chain reactions?”

“Yes. It created a permanent, and hitherto non-existent, hatred of the U.S. by the Iranian people and led to the hostage taking in 1979 which led to the election of Ronald Reagan and, well, you know the rest.”


“Of course the involvement of your country in Vietnam has to be high on the radio detection and ranging screen.”


“That one involved you personally, eh?”

“Yes, so I must recuse on it,” I said, grateful for the opportunity.

“Old Dwight D. started that one too, didn’t he?

“No comment.”

“He was sort of a ‘poster-child’ for the Law of Unintended Consequences, wasn’t he?”

“No comment. But … you might google Watergate, or Bay of Pigs.”

“Of course your beloved sage Walter Cronkite said that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the worst policy decision in modern history, and illegal from the start.”

“Yay, Walter!”

“But all those pale in comparison with my final selection.”

“Your selection for the worst policy decision in modern history?”

“Yes sir.” He tends to get formal at times like this.

“And that would be?”

“Reality TV.”


“You heard me.”

“Reality TV? What does that have to do with foreign policy?”

“You are portraying to the world that your country is composed of a bunch of snaggle-toothed, overweight, swamp-dwelling, violence-worshiping, child-exploiting, snuff-drooling, tattoo-seeking, death-wishing, foul-mouthed, junk-hoarding, obsessive-compulsive, stuff-loving, gun-toting, sex-starved morons.”

Won't you please,

Won't you please,

Please won't you be my neighbor?
It's a wonderful day in the
cosmic universe. - C.W.
“But that represents only a small percentage of Americans,” I said.

“Only a small percentage of Americans lived an idyllic life like that of the Cleaver family during the 1950s,” he said. “But see how that image has prevailed, even among some African-Americans like Thomas Sowell.”

That stumped me. “But,” I said, “We love the arts, books, knowledge, music, and all things inspiring.”

“Try telling that to the people on Planet Rylinskria,” he said.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

125. Hospitals

Good morning Earthling friends. Big Dope won’t be able to record one of our fascinating conversations this morning. His wife took a nasty spill and tore up her ankle pretty badly. I’ve spent the weekend so far at the hospital with him while they operated on her. He said they had to install metal circular eating dishes to support her bones. I didn’t quite understand but assumed it is an Earthling thing.

I did have an opportunity to observe at close hand your methods of treating your damaged and infirm. Quite strange. Wouldn’t it be considerably simpler for society just to treat them and pay for their care? A sick or injured person truly represents those among you who are least able to take care of themselves. It seems to me that a philosophy that encouraged caring for them would be greatly beneficial to you as a species. But your ways aren’t Falloonian ways, I suppose.

Mrs. Big Dope appreciates all your
concerns and looks forward to
being "waited upon." - C.W.
The hardest thing so far for me to attempt to explain to the Falloonian Elders is why your species insists on making the provision of basic human needs a profit-making endeavor. Terribly inefficient if you ask me, which nobody has.

As they say on my planet, “To a starving person, the entire universe is food.” It probably loses something in the translation. Suffice it to say, we must be off. The lady sharing the room with Mrs. Big Dope cannot leave the hospital until she “passes gas,” whatever that means. Let’s just devoutly wish that he episode has been consummated by the time we arrive.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

124. Boredom

If there is anything worse than a bored teenager, it must be bored alien. What could be even worse? Try a bored alien who has taken the form of a bored teenager. I was trying to grade papers from a class I am teaching when who should show up but Tymber Elysibuth, the 16 year old high school student. She plopped on the couch and began tapping her feet to music that only existed in her head.

“I’m bored,” she said, as if I would have not guessed in a thousand years.

“C.W., I’m sort of busy right now.”

“Do you think Tymber is a sexy name?”

“I think you should go out for some exercise.”

“Haylee Addison’s dad says the government is taking away all of our guns.”

“That’s nice. Now why don’t you go walking?”

“Oh, puleeez. Can’t you hear? There is a hunter every ten feet out there. Duh. I would get to the edge of the woods before one shot me. Gross.”

“Maybe you could read a book.”

“Londin Colclasure studied in school that the world is only 6,000 years old.”

“Great,” I said. “Have you visited home lately?”

“Get real. It takes a hundred light years to get there.”

“So where did London ..”

“Londin! Gee, are you dumb, or what?”

“Where did Londin get her news?”

“Her teacher learned if from a man running for president.”

“Running for president? We just had an election.”

“He’s getting an early start, I suppose.”

Returning to my papers, I tried to ignore her.

“The world’s coming to an end,” she said.

“Great,” I said. “Hope it happens before I get these papers graded.”

“The U.N. has taken over our economy and is killing our economic system.”

“That’s nice,” I said. “Now who told you that?”

“Glen Beck.”

“And he is an economist?”



“Not really.”

“A political scientist?”

“No, A talk radio host.”

“Talk radio?”

“You know, the guys who are trying to protect our freedoms and restore our economy.”

“Some call it ‘hate’ radio” I said.


“So why don’t you go shopping?”

“What! And fight those crowds?”

“Never mind anyway,” I said. “The last five times I sent you for toilet paper, you picked the wrong brand.”

“Soffeeah Gabrielah says her daddy is going to take her out of school.”

“Can’t blame him,” I said, trying to make sense of a student’s effort to describe the pros and cons of public sector collective bargaining. “Any particular reason?”

“They won’t let us pray.”

“Oh? Do you want to pray?”

“Not really, but that’s not the point. “They are taking away our religious freedoms.”

“About time,” I said reading the explanation again a striving for some sign of coherence. “What freedoms?”

It would be so neat if I could just
text my thoughts without actually
having to think them. - C.W.
“Did you know that God hates fags?”

“C.W.! We don’t talk that way in this house.”

“See, you want to take away my freedom in my own home.”

“It’s not your home. And besides, you are an alien.”

“Did you know that the government is going to put all of our citizens in concentration camps and put the aliens in charge?”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

123. Kings

“How do you like my outfit?” C.W. burst into the room wearing a long red robe trimmed in Ermine with the “DaKing” embroidered on the lapel. A cheap-looking crown of imitation gold lay slanted on his head. He was cradling a baseball bat with ribbons taped to the top like a scepter. He looked a lot like Jim Carey playing dress-up.
“Don’t tell, me,” I said. “You are going to be …”

“King of Louisiana,” he said. “As soon as we secede from the United States.”

“King of Louisiana,” I said. Of course I was a little bewildered.

“Want to hear our new national anthem?”

“Not really,” I said, with no effect.

“White is the light in Jesus’ sight,

“Along our roads and bayous.”

“Oh no,” I said.

He continued.

“Our might is right, for truth we fight,

“Bon temps for faithful rouge-cous.”

I was beginning to feel faint.

“Would you like to join me as the power behind the throne?”

My face began to sag. “Are you crazy?”

“No,” he said. “But I did check. You get bonus points on the application for being certifiably insane.”

“The application form?”

“Oh, you have to apply,” he said. “In the old days, an aspirant simply killed the old king, but we are going to be more civilized. Anyway, there is no old king to kill, just a governor and he won’t be eligible because he …”

“Isn’t white,” I said.

“We prefer the word ‘pure.’” He retrieved a reporter’s pad from a pocket of his robe and examined it. “Want to hear my proposed agenda?”


“First, I propose to create a major city on the gulf coast of our country and turn it into a world-class entertainment center, a Mecca, so to speak of music, food, and debauchery.” He stopped and looked at me expectantly. “To attract international tourists. What do you think?”

“I think, C.W. that …”

He interrupted. “Could we go ahead and begin using ‘Your Highness?’”

“I think, C.W., the state already has such a city.”

“Next,” he said. “I will divert a substantial portion of our treasury toward creating a world class sports team that will compete with those of other southern empires.”

“Sports team?”

“Probably college football.”

“Don’t they already to that?”

“Now, he said. “About the name of our new country.”

“A name?”

“Yes, Texas has already laid claim to ‘Caucasia,’” he stared into space for a few seconds. “That would have been just great.”

“Yes,” I said. “That would fit.”

Being king would even be more fun
than being general. - C.W.
And of course Mississippi will be ‘Neverland.’”

Who could argue with that?

“And Alabama picked ‘Kuklanistan’ before we could,” he said. “But how about ‘Blanchland?”

“You are totally nuts,” I said.

He ignored me and started singing again.

Blanchland, Blanchland, règne sur tout

Sunday, November 11, 2012

122. War

Hello my fellow Earthlings. I say that in anticipation of achieving my citizenship soon. It seems that most obstacles to my becoming a productive American have been eliminated. In fact, Big Dope is so ecstatic that I allowed him to sleep in this morning so that I might visit with you directly.
First, I would like to say that much of what Big Dope prints about me is slanted toward the entertainment value. I am not, I repeat not, in trouble with the Falloonian Elders. They didn’t approve of my latest fiancé, it is true, and my prank involving the painting of vaginas on certain political signs seemed odd to them. Of course I couldn’t have guessed that a grown man running for a serious national office would actually repeat the “information” I sent him concerning a rape victim’s ability to prevent pregnancy. Geez.

Well, there was that dancing horse video. But all in all they are pleased with my progress.

Which brings me to today’s project. Since all dedicated citizens should do something for their country, I ask your help in forming and supporting my latest effort, a grass-roots effort to be known as Citizens Resisting Asinine Policies, or CRAP. It primary focus is to reinstate the military draft in America. Its final aim is to stop war.

That’s right, I said use the military draft to stop war. Now you may immediately be asking yourself, why associate war with CRAP? Well the two concepts are connected like Lucky and Lefty the conjoined twins. Can you imagine our country invading another sovereign nation when facing a strong CRAP? Can you imagine the generals having to wade through CRAP? Can you imagine congress voting to sustain a bloated military while admitting that “First we must cut through the CRAP?”

No, a strong CRAP is just what this country needs.

Here’s how it would work. The concept of an all-volunteer army would be abandoned. All males, upon reaching the age of 18 would be immediately drafted into military service. No exemptions. No deferrals. We wouldn’t even need a draft board since service would be mandatory for all American males.
Please help me restore honor to our
country with a good CRAP.
- The Alien C.W.
Now, why subject only males to CRAP?

The mothers of America, that’s why. They would recognize the advantages of a CRAP when they saw it. And they seem to care more about their sons than they do their daughters. Don’t ask me why.

So, CRAP, in order to be effective, must fall upon our national decision makers. My research indicates that, since World War Two, your country has pretty much relied upon military action to promote its intentions with regards to other sovereign nations. What CRAP ... wait, what I mean to say is, what CRAP would do is undermine this policy approach by disarming the American Military-Industrial Complex, the monster that your former President Dwight Eisenhower warned you about. He was a man who truly saw a CRAP on the horizon.

So, you might say, “What could possibly defeat the intent of the Military-Industrial Complex? Nothing has so far.”

A good CRAP, I say to you. CRAP in the form of the mothers of America, the only known force that could bring about peace in our time.

- Your friend, C.W.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

121. Interpretations

C.W. came running into the shop where I was woodworking. For some reason, four days before our national election, he had taken on one of his favorite forms, the spokesperson for the Conservative Youth Movement. Today, he had swapped his normal lederhosen for khakis and deck shoes, without socks of course. An expensive-looking sweater sported the CYM logo. He seemed excited.

“Are you finally getting religion?” he asked as a smile lit his face like a moonbeam hitting a rose.

“No,” I said. “I hit my finger with a mallet.”

His smile disappeared. “Still a filthy no-good atheistic liberal, then,” he said. “Who doesn’t accept our Christian nation.” He spat on the floor. “Rotten socialist.”

Judge not lest ye be also judged,” I said.

He spat again. “Now where did you pick up that liberal crap?”

I ignored him and wrapped cloth around my finger to stop the bleeding.

“You could be doing something useful instead of wasting your time like this.”

“Wasting my time?” I said. “I am building something for my wife. “

“For your wife,” he said, almost snarling. “You should be out making money.”

House and wealth are a heritage from fathers, but a wife with good sense is from the Lord,” I said.

“Oh please,” he said. “Spare me the touchy-feely gobbledygook. Where did you hear that, from Bill Moyers?”

“I think it was from your Book of Proverbs.”

“I doubt it,” he said. “Anyway, you seem to be doing more damage to yourself than to the wood.”

But even if you suffer for doing what God approves, you are blessed.” I said.

“You are beginning to piss me off with this liberal line. Are you trying to get my sheep?”

“It’s goat, and that line was from your Saint Peter.”

“You are purposefully trying to upset me.”

Don't be afraid of those who want to harm you. Don't get upset.”

“Oh yes, who said that, Jimmy Carter?”

“No, that would be your Saint Peter again.”

“Look,” he said. “I’m tired of your fuzzy thinking.” He smiled at his mastery of our idiom. “Besides, I’m going to a Pro-Israel rally.”

“That’s nice.”
I don't care what St. Peter says.
I'll intepret the prophecy of scriptures
as I see fit. - C.W.

“They want us to invade Iran,” he said, smiling at the thought. “I’m going to volunteer to be on the Draft Board. We will all be expected to do our part.”

Blessed are the peacemakers,” I said.

“You and those fromage-eating surrender monkeys.”

“Have fun at your rally,” I said. “Kill a liberal for me.”

“We’ll not kill you when we take over,” he said. “We will just enjoy your agonies during your rehabilitation.” He smiled.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Spout that crap while you still can,” he said as he walked away. “Our Christian-nation day is coming.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

120. Frights

Disappointed I was. C.W. had led me to believe that I would finally get to see him in his true Falloonian shape. That has been his most closely guarded secret, as his long-time fans know. With Halloween approaching, however, he hinted that he might reveal all. The world shuddered in anticipation, at least my part of the world.
At the last minute he changed his mind.

“Your species isn’t ready,” he said. He was uncommonly serious about it but I pressed him anyway.

“What do you mean, we’re not ready?” I said. Then hoping to tease him into it, “We survived Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, and Adam Sandler.”

“I know,” he said. “The Jupiterians already got some of the best ones.”

“Then why are you worrying.”

“Can you imagine what would happen if I hit the front page of The National Enquire?” he said. “I would be the laughing stock of the Paskintwarla Galaxy.”

“But think of how much joy you would bring,” I said. We were in a secluded area of our farm, away from prying eyes. He had been trying on forms for Trick or Treat, his favorite time of the American year. “The common folk would be overjoyed.”

He stopped walking and turned toward me. I looked at him and my blood ran cold. I was staring into the face of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The common folk?” he said. Then his eyes went red and I found myself looking into a cosmic void so dark and threatening that I couldn’t move.

“The common folk” he repeated.

I found my voice somehow. “I think you might get arrested for contempt of court.” I walked ahead of him.

“Had you going, didn’t I?” A friendlier voice echoed from the white oak trees and I looked to see the form of Mickey Rooney hurrying to catch me. “Whatcha think?”

“I think your job is to scare people on Halloween, not confuse them.”

“Oh,” he said, visibly disappointed.

I stopped to make sure an oddly shaped branch on the ground wasn’t a snake. I was stepping over it when I heard sobs. I turned to see a face wracked in sorrow, red and streaming tears. Oh dear, it was Jimmy Swaggart.

“I just want to bring joy to people,” he blubbered. “This is a time of the year that your people forget their sorrows for a few minutes. Believe me, I know, for I have sinned.” He stopped to blow his nose.

“I think he reinvented himself,” I said. “He’s on top again now.”
He claims that we have no
idea what scary is. - C.W.
The figure sniffed and we continued our walk.

“You are not being much help,” he said.

“You need to be really scary for Halloween,” I said. “It takes talent to scare the daylights out of people.”

He was silent for a moment. “Can it be two people?”

I thought. “I suppose. A scary duo? Yeah. That might work,” I said, thinking of a pairing like The Werewolf and the Mummy, or Frankenstein and Dracula.

“Do you want to see something really scary?” a female voice said. I turned to look and my knees gave way as darkness enveloped me. The last words I remember were “I’d like you to meet my daughter, Honey Boo Boo.”

Sunday, October 21, 2012

119. Anger

C.W. was angry, which was unusual. He usual spends his energy making other people angry.

“Cotton pickin’ dadburned sodbuster,” he yelled from the living room. “No good sidewinder!”

I looked in to find him arrayed as a perfect imitation of 1940s western sidekick, a close match to Gabby Hayes.

“What are you looking at?” he said, a fleck of spittle landing on his whiskers.

“Mind telling me what you’re up to?”

“Trying to figure out your consarnded species.” He held up a folded newspaper.

“What about my species?”

“Why your men are so angry.”

“Our men?”

“Well, your old white men like me. Goldarnit, what has them so upset?”

“I’m not upset.”

“Nobody ever said you was typical.”

“That may be, but I’m still not angry.”

“It don’t bother you that you will be in the minority soon?”

“Not particularly.”

“Or that women are taking over the professions one by one?”

“They are welcome to them.”

“Don’t you see the American Dream slipping away from you, dadblast it? You do have dreams don’t you?”

“I had a dream once to learn to play the banjo.”

“See there,” he said. “So what happened?”

“I decided it took too much practice.”

“Is that all?”

“That plus my wife began to act a little homicidal about it”

“There you go,” he said. “A dadburned woman made you give up your dream. She threaten to leave you?”

“Oh no.”

“But she made you give it up?”

“Oh yes.”


“She would sit at the kitchen table loading and unloading her pistol while she hummed that tune from the movie Deliverance.”

“Dadblame it. There you go,” he said. “They’s subtle creatures, ain’t they?”

“They manage to exert their wills.”

“Anything else?”

I thought. “Well, there was my boxed CD set of the complete works of Robert Johnson that disappeared.”

“Disappeared, you say?”

“Yeah, she says someone probably broke in and stole it.”

“It’s purty sad, ain’t it?”

“Yeah,” I said. I could feel the resentment beginning to build like a small fire.

“Stole it, eh?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Walked right by the TV set and radio to steal a set of CDs.” I was getting agitated now. “And she thinks I believe her.”

“At a boy,” he said. “Now you’re gettin’ it.”

“Just wait ‘til they take over the world,” I shouted.

“Yeah, jist wait,” he said.

My temperature was rising now. “Just wait,” I said. “They’ll take our aircraft-carrier money and spend it on  …” I struggle for the words.
I can see a day when
us men won't control
a goldarned thing. - C.W.

“Dadgummed flower gardens,” he yelled.

“Quilting clubs,” I screamed.

We were both standing now, shouting at one another. Then suddenly, we heard a voice from the kitchen.

“You two better quiet down. Don’t make me have to come in there.”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

118. Similes

“I’ve been reading here,” C.W. said, with a frown on his face. “That 60 percent of public-school biology teachers don’t mention the process of natural selection.”

“Of what?” I said. I was reading a book on the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and frankly didn’t want to be bothered by a ruddy-faced adolescent playing with his iPad.

“What your species calls ‘evolution.’”

“What about it?”

“It says teachers avoid the subject because some parents and legislators don’t approve of the topic. Is this true?”

“I wouldn’t doubt it,” I said.

“And they are allowed to teach the biological sciences?”

“Why not?”

“Without mentioning natural selection?”

“I suppose so.”

“Isn’t this a bit like teaching arithmetic while avoiding the topic of long division?”

I thought. “A bit like it, I suppose.”

“A bit like teaching physics without mentioning gravity?”

“Hmmm, maybe so.”

“A bit like teaching chemistry without including hydrogen or carbon?”

“So what is your point?”

“How did you people ever advance to the point of landing folks on your moon. You should know that’s when we first noticed you.” His freckled face sparkled in the light of his iPad.

“We had help from other countries,” I said. “Besides, those were the old days.”

“Before the founders of your ‘your neo-conservative paradigm’ began attacking the teaching process?”

“If you say so.”

“It says here,” he began as he punched the iPad again. “That one of your elected congressmen says the earth is only 9,000 years old.”

“Seems like I read that somewhere.”

“So, he is a laughing-stock and will be voted out of office?”

“No, actually, I think I read somewhere that he is quite popular among his constituents.”

“And he is in a position of establishing educational standards?”


“Isn’t that a bit like the CEO of McDonalds establishing dietary standards?”

“C.W. …”

“Or,” he interrupted, “A bit like the Koch Brothers establishing air-quality standards?”

“Actually, they do but …”

“Or like the Grover Norquist establishing fiscal policy?”

“Well, you may be surprised to learn …”

“Or, like Paris Hilton setting standards for behavior.”

“C.W.!” I screamed. “Are you purposely trying to drive me crazy?”

“Wouldn’t that be a bit like someone driving Donald Trump to greediness?”

I groaned.

“Or, driving Lindsay Lohan to drink?”

“I’m warning you …”

I'm not greedy!
I just need a lot of money for hair care.
It's like protecting a national treasure.

“Or,” he said, returning to his I-pad. “Driving teenagers to distraction?”

Sunday, October 7, 2012

117. Citizenship

Ich bin ein Amerikaner.”


Ik ben een Amerikaanse

“I beg your pardon?”

Soy un Americano.”

“Will you stop it?”

Je suis un Américain.”

“C.W., will you shut up for a second?”

Qu'est-ce que vous voulez?”

“I want you to shut the … to tell me what you are doing?”

“I am preparing,” the figure of a young farm worker, dressed in work clothes and a straw hat said.

“Preparing for what?”


“Citizenship?” I said.

“The Falloonian Elders think it would be nice if I could demonstrate an ability to pass.”

“Pass what?”

“Pass as a citizen of your country.”

“Why the languages?”


“What do you mean quotas?”

“Don’t you have quotas for citizenship based on country of origin?”

I thought. “Good point. Best you forget the Spanish. Stick with the northern Europeans.”

“I agree,” he said. “Want to help me with the test?”

“What test?”

“The Elders sent me some practice questions based on my monthly reports and they wish me to study them.” He held up a large sheath of papers. He read one and then said, “For example, ‘The teacher at a major university will receive the highest salary for teaching:  1.physics, 2. heart surgery, 3.chemistry, or’ That’s a no-brainer, right?”.

“I’m afraid so.”

“Here’s another. ‘Marijuana is considered an illegal possession in the United States because, makes a person do silly things, 2.enforcement creates jobs, keeps amateurs out of the production and distribution processes, or 4.all of the above.”

“Who did you say wrote these?”

“Our planetary research institute. I send them material such as newspapers and social network videos.”

I must have looked startled.

“How about this one? ‘Social concern for the nation’s needy children ends 1.upon graduation from high school, 2.after adolescence, 3.after pre-school status, or 4.after gestation?’”

“And your answer would be?”

“I’m stumped. It would seem to depend upon your political persuasion.”

“And they think these questions will be on the citizenship test?”

“Based on your popular media outlets, yes. Here’s another, ‘The founders of the United States did not wish to maintain a standing army. Today we consider this attitude 1.stupid, 2.out of date, 3.bad for the economy, or 4.chicken shit.”

“Chicken shit? Is that really a choice?”

“That’s what they sent me.”

“What kind of material are you sending them?”

“Oh, talk radio broadcasts, news segments, blogs. You know. Typical Americana.”

“Are you sending them Fox News Broadcasts?”
Just think fans. Before long I can say "Hello my
fellow Americans." - C.W.

“Want to hear another?”


He looked at the floor. “I may have sent them a couple.”

“Sean Hannity?”

“He’s very popular.”

“Rush Limbaugh?”

“How could I ignore him?”

“Don’t tell me that your superiors think they are typical of our country.”

Jag är en Amerikansk,” he said, returning to his studies.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


C.W.'s midweek thought: “Bigotry and hatred among the worldly is an abomination. In the young, it brings a tear to the Eye of the Universe, and those that countenance it shall not be named holy.” - Book of Ludicrous, Chapter 1, Verse 12.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

116. Churches

I wish you could have seen C.W. this morning. Dolled up is not the term for it. His tailored suit must have cost close to five thousand dollars and I could have combed my hair using the reflection in his hand-made shoes. The cost of his tie would have provided me with a week’s supply of clothing. A jewel-encrusted Rolex sparkled on his wrist.

But the best part of it was his hair. It must have stood up four inches from his head and not a hair was out of place. I couldn’t help staring.

“What?” He said, looking up from a Bible he was holding.

“Nothing,” I said.

“Then leave me alone. I’m about my father’s work.”

I turned to leave.

“Aren’t you at least curious?”

I looked around. “No.”

“I’m starting a new church,” he said. “A real one-liner.”

“A what?”

“You know,” he said, pointing to a text. “A church formed from one selected line.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Somebody already took the handling of serpents,” he paused. “Besides, I don’t like snakes.”

I was mystified.

“And Joseph Smith grabbed ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ Now the Duggers have it copyrighted.”

“Would you explain to what you are talking about?”

“Money,” he said. “More money than you can imagine. Do you know how many cars, boats, and mansions Joyce Meyers owns?”

“A bunch I think.”

“More than a bunch. Now I plan to cash in”

“You make it sound simple,” I said.

“It is. All you have to do is find one line in here,” he said waving his Bible at me. “And you form your church around it.”

I must have looked mystified.

“Have concerns about your sexuality and want to overcompensate? There’s a line that lets you start a church based on preaching against members of your species born with a same-sex physiology.”

“So I have heard.”

“If you enjoy your same-sex physiology, there’s a line for that too,” he said. “That’s the beauty of it.” He looked at his Bible lovingly.

“So what’s yours?”

“I thought you would never ask,” He said. Then he looked at me with a conspiratorial wink. “You know how I hate physical labor.”

“I have noticed a tendency to, as they say, get rich quickly and easily.”

“Quite so,” He said. “So here it is.” He turned to a bookmarked page. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” He looked up and smiled. “It goes on further to say don’t worry, your heavenly father will provide for you.”


“Don’t you see the appeal of a church that teaches it is a sin to work?”

I thought for a moment. “But won’t someone have to?”

I was going to base my church on a
commandment of gluttony but that
was aleady taken. - C.W.
“Sure, the unrighteous,” he said. “And maybe Methodists and Jews.

“What if they don’t want to?”

“That’s the secret to it,” he announced with a note of triumph. “Don’t you realize that yours is a Christian nation and the government will make them?”

“Now who told you that?” I said.

“Joyce Meyers.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

115. Expectations

C.W. was giving me a hard time, not for anything in particular, just on general principles. It had something to do with his latest review by the Falloonian Elders. He was pedantic, which explained his professorial get-up, complete with thick horn-rimmed glasses, bow-tie, and a tweed sports coats with patches on the elbows.
“They aren’t satisfied with my choice of an Earthling counterpart,” he said.

“Choose another, then,” I said.

“It’s not quite that easy,” he said. “You see, a person’s path to enlightenment is formed by the realism-expectation didactic.”

“Whatever,” I said. “So what is their major complaint?”

He thought. “They feel,” he stopped. “How did they put it ...?”

“That I am too good for this world?”

“No, they seem to think that you are, as they put it, a parchestantic shy of a firnicastachian.”

That hurt, but I tried not to let it show.

“For example,” he said. “You don’t even know how to send text messages on your cell phone.”

“Somehow I survive.”

“Your picture has never been in the society section of your newspaper. I know. I have researched the matter.”

“Guilty,” I said.

“I find no evidence that you fly fish, play golf or tennis, or even make periodic pilgrimages to Savannah, Georgia.”


“It wouldn’t hurt you to try and fit the mold.” He brandished a stack of travel brochures.

“I’m not going to Branson, Missouri.”

He quickly removed the topmost brochure. “Nobody is asking you to.”

“Where then?”

“Well,” he said, glancing down. “There is Disneyland.”

“Why don’t you take those brochures and …” I began before he interrupted me.

“Now don’t become hostile in the face of honest criticism.”

“Besides,” I said, calming a bit. “I am going to a cultural event, next week in fact, and I am taking you and the entire family.”

“Oh boy,” he said, resorting to the childlike C.W. that charms our hearts so. “Where?”
Oh boy! Nothing beats the King Biscuit Blues Festival.
Here is B.B. King from a couple of years ago.
Big Dope is so good to me. - C.W.

“The King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas.”

He brightened for a second before re-assuming his serious demeanor. “Uh,” he said. “Don’t you see?” He paused, choosing his words slowly. “Isn’t that a bit earthy? The Elders expect something more, well, socially prominent for our social forays.”

I smiled. Some mischievous cosmic force had delivered him into my hands. “Okay,” I said. “We won’t go.”

Alarm spread across his face. “Oh no,” he said. “I think we should.” He collected his thoughts and grimaced perceptibly, “We can always attend a wine-tasting when we return.”          

Sunday, September 16, 2012

114. Beliefs

C.W. had warned me that he was seeking a new vocation. He was going to become rich as a writer. So it was no surprise when I found a completed manuscript on my kitchen table for review.
It was entitled, “A Real History of the United States - By the Conservative Youth Movement.” Since he had not arrived by the agreed upon time, I took the opportunity to scan a few sections. Here is one.

As our brave forefathers settled this great country, they sought business alliances with the Native Americans who claimed to own the land. They paid 15 percent above appraised value for all lands acquired, hoping that the recipients would use the proceeds to establish themselves in a legitimate business. What did our “Redskin Brothers” do with the money instead? Why, they spent it instead upon liquor, cheap cosmetics, and weapons of mass destruction, causing great burdens to the white minority.


Our wise forefathers foresaw a shortage of labor in the New World, so they sent ships to the Continent of Africa, offering good wages, free transportation, and food and lodging to unemployed warriors. Upon arriving, however, these ingrates squandered their wages on music and refused to get an education. Our forefathers, then, were required to house and keep them for over 200 years

Still another:

In 1861, the northern states, without provocation, sent troops into the southern states to strip property owners of their land and belongings. A terrible war ensued.

And this:

As Great Britain and Russia lay defeated by Hitler’s forces, the United States was forced to take over World War Two and defeat Nazism single handedly. Three infantry divisions, led by John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Clint Eastwood respectively, stormed ashore on the Normandy Coast and proceeded  to fight their way across France, into Germany, and finally into Berlin itself.

My mouth dropped open at the exact moment he entered the room. He appeared as a freshly scrubbed youth in a brown uniform, complete with leather attachments, short pants, and highly polished shoes. A logo featuring the letters CYM covered the front of his shirt.

“Big Dope,” he said. “Greetings.”

“C.W.,” I said. “Are you serious about this?” I waved the manuscript at him.

“Of course,” he said. “I just received word from Wal-Mart that a half-million copies have been pre-sold. With the stockholder-gifts, the Hagee Ministry pre-sells, and the Texas schoolbook orders, we are already into our third printing before the first publication.”  He paused. “Conservative books are very popular.”

“But,” I asked. “Does anyone actually read them?”

“Who cares?

I was beginning to feel weak. I must have grimaced.
The Conservative Youth deserve an
accurate hisory of our country, - C.W.
“What?” he said.

“But these are all lies,” I said, shaking the manuscript again.
“That may be true,” he said. “But it is also irrelevant.” He placed a hand on my shoulder. “There is something you must understand about lies.” He took the manuscript from me and held it in front of me.

“They,” he said slowly. “Are the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

113. Platforms

There was nothing for me to do but sit there and enjoy the spectacle. C.W. was in full animation sitting cross-legged on the living room floor in the form of an early American patriot. The only modern accoutrements were several tea bags hanging from his three-corned hat.

“Just about finished,” he said.

“Great,” I said, “Finished with what?”

“The most patriotic, god-pleasing political platform ever designed  by …,” he paused.

“An alien?” I said.

“Who do you think oversaw the preparation of your Constitution in the first place,” he said with a taunt in his voice.

That caused me to think. “So how is it coming?”

“Very well,” he said. “Listen to this: ‘No American will profit by, live upon, aggrandize themselves or otherwise enjoy the fruits of another person’s labor’” He stopped and smiled. “That’ll get those deadbeats.”

“You mean like Alice Walton, the Koch Brothers, and the Romney boys?”

He stopped. “No,” he said. “No … just the regular deadbeats.”

“The disabled, the widows, and the orphans?”

“Just listen,” he said. “We don’t need any liberal input.”

“Sorry, please continue.”

“Okay,” he said. “No candidate shall be considered for office without passing the party’s Religious Adherence Testimony. The RAT administrators will be Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, and Newt Gingrich.”

“Uh,” I said. “Those RATs have had nine wives, all totaled.”


“Wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth sort of clear about divorcing your wife? As in, ‘it’s a big no-no.’”

“Our party is the religious party, so shut up,” he explained. (Proper apologies applied for.)

“Well what about Article Six of the Constitution which forbids religious tests for public office in our country? The preparers were pretty clear about that.”
“They didn’t mean our religion,” he said.


“No,” he said. “Just those others.”

I let it pass.

“But here is a good one,” he announced proudly.

“I am all ears,” I said.

He looked at me with suspicion in his eyes. Seeing none, he continued. “We shall invade the nation of Iran within six months of taking office and proceed with our patented ‘Shock and Awe’ treatment for religious infidels.”

“What happened to ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ and all that?”

“There you go again,” he said. “Playing the religion card.”

My head began to swim. “But I thought your party was on friendly terms with the Iranians.”

We fired the shot heard round
the world at Gettysburg, and
we are the true patriots. - C.W. 
“Oh, go wash out your mouth,” he said indignantly. “Do you think for a second that the Israeli Prime Minister would allow that?”

“Didn’t your Pater Familias, —one Ronald Reagan—negotiate with the Iranians, while he was fist running for office, to hold the American hostages until after the election?”

“That was simply to prevent four more years of invalid government in our county,” he said. “Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice.”

“I suppose,” I said, “The Iran-Contra Affair was similarly justified?”

“Why don’t you just shut up and learn something?” he said. “Now,” and here he paused for dramatic effect. “You know what evil lurks in the hearts of those women who practice birth control ...”