Sunday, March 31, 2013

142. Taxes

C.W. heard me groaning in the next room and walked into the room in the appearance, of all things, a priest. “May I be of help to you my son?” he said.

My mind was far away, not as far as Falloonia, but far away.

“I’m okay,” I said. “Just working on my taxes.”

“Ah taxes,” he said. He sat in a chair near where I was working and folded his hands. “Rendering unto Caesar?”

“You might say.”

“I think taxes are a great way to offer praise,” he said. “So does my church.”

Now I have to admit that he had caught me in a bad mood. “That’s because your church doesn’t have to pay them,” I said.

He crossed himself. “You are forgiven.”

Ignoring him, I went back to my computer.

“So,” he said. “As I understand it, your species uses its system of taxes to help the poor in spirit and, as we say, ‘the least of those among us?’ That’s a blessed approach.”

“Used to be,” I said. “Some of us think it is old-fashioned.”

“Oh? Please explain.”

“Some modern thinkers believe that the poor will be with us always, so we should direct our public resources to helping those who are more, not less, fortunate.”

He thought for a moment. “If you don’t mind my lapsing into the vernacular,” he said. “That doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.”

“Welcome to the modern tax code,” I said. “Aaaargh!” I continued as a figure flashed on my computer screen.

“Peace, my son,” he said. “Think happy thoughts.”

I glared at him. “Don’t tempt me,” I said.

He took on a beatific smile and formed his fingers into the shape of a steeple. “One has to admit …,” he said. He thought for a few seconds and began again. “One has to admit that it is wise of your species to prevent the government from acting unwisely by simply not approving taxes for untoward behavior, say, for casting pearls before swine or starting unnecessary wars.”

I looked up to see if he was serious. “Are you crazy? You think that stops war?”

“How could a country wage war on credit?”

“Wait one,” I said. I punched a few keys and found a “favorite” on the computer. I started it running and turned the screen toward him. It was a scene from a documentary showing the bombs beginning to fall on Baghdad on day one of the “Shock and Awe War.” As explosions rocked a public square, a father ran across the screen holding a young son. A broad stain showed that the lad had soiled himself from fear. “Ask these folks,” I said.

“I see I have angered you,” he said.

“Up yours,” I said.

“I shall leave you to deal with your anger, my son.”

“Pray do.”

“You have inspired me.”

I looked up. “Inspired you?”

“Yes, I’m going to write your congressman and suggest some changes to the tax code.”

“Yes, remembering the church’s admonition to comfort those who hunger, I shall suggest that the drug Viagra be tax deductible.”

“That will make some folks happy,” I said.

“Oh, but remembering our charge to be fruitful and multiply, I have another suggestion.”

Your wars would not be as popular
if they didn't show so well
on the nightly news. - C.W.
“Let me guess.”

“Pray do.”

“Contraceptives won’t be.”

In nomine patre,” he said, extending a hand in benediction.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

141. Madness

C.W. was very effusive and that is unusual for him. Also—it seemed at first—complimentary. But, I soon found out it was a misunderstanding.

“I am so pleased to hear your species admit to “March Madness,” he said. He was watching television on a Saturday morning and seemed unusually content in the shape young woman in the “hippie” attire of the 1960s. “Actually I think your collective madness extends throughout the year, but any admission is cool, man.”

“Collective madness?”

“Your species whacks itself out a lot man, and it’s not groovy.”

“Whacks itself out?”

“Yeah, you man … like wars and things. Bummer.”

“So you think that is what March Madness refers to?”

“Uh, yeah. Like when you all flip out at once. Far out.”

“Uh, C.W.,” I said. “Or whatever your name is …”

“Celestial Foreverness.”

“C.F., that is not exactly what ‘March Madness’ refers to.”

She snapped her head around to look at me. When her jewelry had stopped clanging, she said, “What else could it mean? Don’t be puttin’ me on, man.”

“It’s a basketball tournament.”

“A what?”

“A basketball tournament.”

“Aw man, you mean where they toss that little ball around?”

“And into the hoop.”

“Oh wow.”

“Now, are you going to the supermarket with me? If so, you’re not going like that.”

“Just a minute,” she said. “I want to watch one of those games.” She flipped through the channel until the screen light up with players bounding across the court, following a young man dribbling a ball. She leaned forward and forgot I was standing in the room.

“I’m about ready to go,” I said.

“Don’t bug me man,” she said. “This game only has five minutes left. Be cool.”

I shrugged and finished getting dressed. Fifteen minutes later, I came back into the room. She hadn’t moved. “Ready?”

“Only four minutes left,” she said. “Go do something.”

I collected the trash, took it out, and used up another fifteen minutes. “C.W.?” I yelled from the next room.

“Three minutes left,” she yelled back. “Chill out.”

There is no arguing with him when he is like that, so I sat at the table and completed the grocery list I had started. Fifteen minutes later, I checked in again.

“Two minutes and it’s over,” she said. “Hold your horses.”

I gave up. She didn’t even notice when I left. Outside, I could hear her yelling, “Miss! Miss!”

Sometime later, I returned from shopping and carried the first load of groceries into the house. To my surprise, she still sat in front of the television completely absorbed in the action.

“Another game?”

Man, the only thing wrong with
wars and basketball games is
that they both last too long. - C.W.
“No man, same one. Eight seconds left. Don’t bug me.” At that moment, a player tossed the ball onto the court. Another player caught it and immediately received a judo chop to his wrist. A whistle blew, action stopped, and the screen shifted to a commercial. C.W., or rather C.F., relaxed and looked up as if seeing me for the first time. “I see why your species digs this,” he said.

“And why is that?”

“Keeps your minds off doing anything really destructive.”


Sunday, March 17, 2013

140. Issues

Although the event is well in the future, C.W. has decided to vote in the 2014 elections. His latest shape had him in a tri-cornered hat with teabags hanging from it. He had a wild look in his eyes and what appeared to be toy replica of a Beretta 92FS nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol strapped to his waist. I hope it was a replica.

“What’s up?”

“Considering candidates.”

“Oh? Still on that kick?”

“Yep. Just picked my issue.”

“Your issue?”

“Yep. Picked the issue I’ll use to select candidates in two years.”

The issue? Only one?”

“That’s all you need, ain’t it?”

I thought for a moment. “Well some folks would look at a body of policies and issues and pick a candidate who best covered a platform of ideas that would benefit all citizens.”

“Fiddle-dee-dee! Why clutter up my mind with all that?”

“So you would vote for a candidate for public office, to lead our people in these perilous times on the basis of one issue you have picked?”

“Oh, I didn’t pick it.”

“You didn’t pick it?”

“No, my preacher did.”

“C.W., first, you are an alien and you can’t vote. Second, how could you rely on someone else to choose your candidates even if you could vote?”

He placed his hand on his pistol. “There are weirder people than me who vote.”

“That may be,” I said. “But a preacher? Is he, or she, educated in policy analysis?”

“See, you don’t know everything, Mr. Big Dope. You should know that women can’t be preachers. And he needs no analysis. He talks directly to God.”

“You have an educated man who claims to talk directly to God?”

“Yes and no.”

At that point, I waited.

“Yes he talks to God. No, he doesn’t need education. He installed satellite TV discs before he surrendered to preach. He says that’s where he first started receiving messages from God.”

This was not going to lead anywhere, so I chose to skip over the details. “So what issue did this ‘preacher’ choose?”

“Why don’t you guess? It has to do with life and choice.” Before I could answer, he interrupted. “Raw milk, of course.”

Stunned, I could only repeat it. “Raw milk?”

“Don’t you know anything?” He gave me smirk. “They don’t let companies sell raw milk and we want to get that overturned. It is a matter of ‘raw versus made,’ as in pasteurization.”

This was getting weirder by the moment. “Let me see if I understand. God told your preacher that you should drink only raw milk?”

“I can tell,” he said. That you don’t read your Bible.”

“I know you can be condemned for eating shellfish,” I said. “But I missed the raw milk part.”

“Thou shall not commit adultery,” he said triumphantly. “And pasteurizing milk adulterates it.”

“C.W., Uh...”

“It’s really simple,” he said. “We believe we should be able to put anything we want to in our body.” He had a sudden insight. “And those of our children too.”

I would vote for Joe Stalin
risen from the grave if
he supported my one issue. - C.W.
“Even if it kills you, or them?”

“If it is our choice.”

“So you believe in individual choice, as it relates to your own body.”
“Absolu…,” he began, then stopped. A stricken look came over his face. He pulled a small pad from his pocket and referred to some notes. “I’ll have to get back to you on that,” he said.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

139. Colloquialisms

Came in this morn and found C.W. asleep at my desk. He had assumed the form of a middle-aged man resembling a mix between William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. A nearly empty bottle of Jack Daniels sat to the side and my computer screen was filled with writing. Ignoring his loud snoring, I moved behind him and began to read.

Report to the Falloonian Elders – Draft

This followed.

“There are many communication oddities employed by this species, as evidenced by the term of endearment I use, in my many human forms, for my American host—‘Big Dope.’ In fact, not only his wife, but some of his close acquaintances are now using the term in a most loving way. It is a truly charming aspect of my experience among these life forms. It will be one of his most precious memories, I feel quite sure, of my stay on this planet.

“But, of even more interest are the colloquial forms that this species uses to express itself. These exist as seasoning for their communication much like the spices they favor for making their meals more pleasant.

“For example, if I inquire of Big Dope if he thinks his wife, Mrs. Big Dope, might like to go to an estate sale, he will reply, ‘Why you mention that and she’ll jump straddle of a string and be waitin’ at the door in a minute flat.’

“I think that means she can prepare for deployment in a short period of time when she chooses.

“When I asked the derivation of this expression, he says he learned it from his late father-in-law.

“Mrs. Big Dope herself is not above such expressions. When cooking one of her more interesting meals, she might be heard to say ‘Little bit will do good. Whole lot will cure.’

“This has something to do with measuring quantities.

“When Big Dope finds himself restrained from exacting revenge on a person because he is temporarily indebted to that person, he might be heard to say, ‘Can’t do that right now. I have my cows in his pasture.’

“He claims that one of his grandfathers originated this expression, and that it surfaces quite often in a small region of his state.

“When expressing extreme reluctance for a proposed adventure, it would not be unusual at all to hear a member of this species, for example, say something like, ‘I would rather be in Hell with a broke back than spend a night in the Opryland Hotel.’

“In other words, they had rather not pursue the endeavor.

I love the way Americans speak.
It's just the language that
confuses me. - C.W.
“Space limitations, and considerations of taste prevent full examination of such gems as

- Meaner than an old settin’ hen.

- Hotter than a knocked up whore in church.

- Squirming like a worm in hot ashes, and others.

As I reached the end of the writing, C.W. awoke with a groan. He raised a face dominated by two large bloodshot eyes, his hair falling down his forehead in greasy strands. He stroked a day-old stubble of beard, and looked at me with surprise. “Wasssup?”

“Jeez, C.W.,” I said. “You look like something that was called for and couldn’t come and when it got there it wasn’t needed.”

Sunday, March 3, 2013

138. Violence

When C.W. appears as a teenager, I cringe. They, teenagers, are generally going through either a state of rebelliousness or poor judgment, and these are his natural states. In other words, double jeopardy. So when I heard a young boy’s voice emit a cry of “Take that you dirty mother,” (actually a little more graphic) I braced for the worst.

“What in the world are you doing?” He was hunched over my laptop computer with a set of external controls, going at some game with a fury

“Die creep,” he yelled into the screen. Explosions sounded, followed by cries of agony. “Yeah, scream, you bas…”

“C.W.” I said. “My wife is in the house.”

“There, take that!” he said, ignoring me.

I walked over and closed the laptop. He looked at me with green eyes, spittle oozing from his lips. “Don’t ever try to do that again,” he said, glaring.

“Shall I get my spray bottle?” I keep one on hand to calm him when he gets like this. He can’t stand to have water sprayed on him.

“Big Dope,” he said, calming noticeably.

“Mind explaining?”

“Explaining what?”

“What on earth you are doing?”


“With this?” I said, holding up a DVD holder entitled “Revenge of the Nazi Ninjas.”

“I have some work to do so I was just having some fun first.”

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to do the work first and then relax?”

He looked at me with a sullen face, his eyes sunk deep into their sockets. “I’m going to movies after I finish the work. Wanna come? It’s this new Bruce Willis thing. Man, I bet he blows up a thousand cars. Body count out the stratosphere.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Then me and Tommie Castleberry are going to shoot some sparrows.”

“Have you lost your mind?”

“What if I have? There’s plenty of medication for that. Just dope me up and leave me be. Ain't that what you adults do?”

I sighed. “Isn’t there something more productive you could do?”

“Yeah, smarty pants. And I’m gonna.”

“Smarty pants?”

“In case you don’t know, there’s this new show coming on the History Channel. We plan to watch it, me and Tommie and some more guys.”

“That sounds better,” I said. “Maybe.”
It is very important in curbing violence to require
young people to particpate in group ceremonies. - C.W.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s got lots of cool stuff … whole families getting zapped by lightening when the dad screws up, armies wiped out, dead babies floating around after a flood, men getting whipped then hung. Neato.”


“Now if you will excuse me, I need to finish what I was working on.”

“Which is?”

“A special report to the Falloonian Elders about violence among your species.”