Sunday, April 28, 2013

147. Friends

C.W. was pouting and when he does, it is not pretty sight. Falloonian tears are this pinkish color and they tend to occur more from frustration than from sadness. So I have this whining alien in the form of a sixteen year-old girl spouting what looks like rivulets of Pepto-Bismol down her face. I put my morning oatmeal aside, my appetite having vanished. Her tears were beginning to drip.

“If you get that stuff on the couch, you are going to be in real trouble,” I said.

“You just hate me.”

“That’s beside the point.”

“I’m going to live with someone else.”

“I’ll help you pack.”

“Jesus is going to get you. And I’ll be happy when he does.”

“Jesus doesn’t ‘get’ people.”

“Oh yes he does. He gets gays, liberals, and anyone who doesn’t support our troops. I saw it on the ‘Christian Love Channel.’”

What could I say? Nothing. So I returned to my laptop.

What, one might ask, brought on this fit of pique? Just this: I put a new password on my computer so she can’t use it to open access her Facebook account. The reason? That should be apparent to anyone familiar with the escapades of our resident alien and with the ability of the authorities to trace computer entries. My phone already makes these mysterious clicking sounds and I strongly suspect tapping.

“All of my colleagues around the world have a Facebook account.”

“If all your colleagues drove their spaceships into a black hole, would you follow them?”

"Our representative in Spain even has Twitter.”

“Did your representative in Spain post a picture of my wife bending over while she was planting corn and caption it: ‘The Sun riseth and the sun goeth down?”

“Mrs. Big Dope thought you did it.” She giggled. “Besides, she thought it was funny.”

I touched a bruise on my arm. “She had a funny way of laughing. And you are not getting back on Facebook.”

“How am I going to share my recipes?”

“When have you ever prepared a meal?”

“I might start.” She paused and then her face lit up. “And I need to help impeach the President.”

“What?” I was stunned. “Why?”

“Because he’s colored. That’s what Brytannie says. She learned it in church.”

“One more reason you can’t use my computer.”

“What am I going to do with all the cat pictures I took?”

“Put them in a scrapbook.”

“What’s a scrapbook?”

“It’s a collection of photos and clippings you glue onto the pages of a large folio.”


“And you share them with friends at your next bunking party.”

“What’s a bunking party?”

“It’s when your friends come over and spend the night with you.”

“Like Tymber, Londin, Kathee, and Kingstun?”

“Uh, not Kingstun.”

These cute creatures love their photgraphs.
But Big Dope won't let me post them. - C.W.
“Why not. He’s going to show me some things about photography.”

“I’ll just bet.” I was getting tired of this conversation. “Why don’t you just find something else to do. Say, for example, read a novel.”

The tears stopped and she looked at me with a pleasant smile for the first time all morning. “Maybe so,” she said. Then her face turned inquisitive. “What’s a novel?”

Sunday, April 21, 2013

146. Veracity

“You what?” I couldn’t believe what C.W. just told me.

“I hit paysoil.”

“You mean paydirt?”

“There you go again.”

“Okay, stop and tell me what’s going on.”

He looked up as he hit “send” on my laptop. “Can’t stop now. Too many orders. Just listen.” He scrolled with the mouse and tapped a few keys. “Way to go Sean Hannity,” he said. Once again he had assumed the shape of Archie the Third, one of his favorites. His blue blazer with its “Young Republicans” insignia lay on the couch as he pounded furiously on the keyboard.

“C.W.,” I said, raising my voice to command level. “What business have you started and what is does it have to do with Sean Hannity?”

He didn’t look up. “It’s called,” he said while studying the monitor, “Selective Paradigm Instant Truth.” He fiddled with the mouse and began typing. “It is a ‘fact depository’ and Sean Hannity is my best customer.”

Since we don’t allow that name, as a rule, to be mentioned in our house, much less in the context of a business relationship, I felt the moment demanded action. Not being a physical person by nature, but being more than a match for an alien posing as a “trust fund baby,” I swung into it. I snatched the laptop from the table and retreated to a nearby chair to view the screen.

There, to my amazement, was a large photograph of the daughters of the President of the United States reading books in the Rose Garden. Underneath was an official looking communique stating that this was a photo of the President’s daughters studying the Koran by his command, listing a "source." A message, accompanied by an official-looking SPIT logo, stated, “Sean. Hope this is what you needed. Thank you, as always, for your ord..”

For a moment, I couldn’t speak. Finally, I managed a “What the hell?”

“Please return the laptop to me,” he said.

“Please explain,” I said. “This is monstrous.”

“There you go again,” he said. “Laboring under your ‘reality paradigm.’”

“Okay,” I said. “Explain.”

“I don’t have much time,” he said. “The Rush Limbaugh show starts in a few moments and they need some material.”

“Just give me the short version.”

“Well,” he said. “Suppose you are a pundit.”

“May I please not?”

“Okay, say you are the editor of the New York Post.”

“You are making me feel nauseated,” I said.

“The director of Fox News?”

I made a retching gesture.

“A CNN reporter?”

“Okay, we’ll go with that.”

“Fine,” he said. “So you have decided what you will say, report, disclose, reveal, …whatever.”

“I decide what I’ll say first?”

“Of course.” He fidgeted slightly. “So you need a fact to back you up.”

“Okay, I’ll go along.”

“So you contact me,” he said. “You tell me what you need and …”

“And what?”

“Hit ‘source’ on the screen.”

I did and immediately a directory appeared listing “anonymous, government, inside, professional, reliable, and usual.” I looked back at him.

“So you provide a ‘fact’ and a ‘source’ for the customer to use.”

“Yes, but I call them clients. You've heard of Rand Paul, I suppose. He's one of mine.”

“C.W.,” I said as I scrolled. “These aren’t facts at all.”

“There you go again.”

“Will you stop channeling Ronald Reagan?”

“Why? He said, expressing indignation. “Don’t you remember his famous line, ‘Facts are stupid things?’

There is a lot more money
in lies than there is
in truth. So, enjoy! - C.W.
“I think he was befuddled and simply misquoted John Adams,” I said.

“There you go again,” he said. “Confusing facts with proof.”


Sunday, April 14, 2013

144. Statistics

Walked into the living room yesterday morning and found C.W. busy making notes in a spiral notebook and muttering to himself, having assumed the shape of what could best be described as an “old goat.” He was an exact replica of a Chief Bosun’s mate I served under in the Navy— a man named Zelmer whose hatred for the world was exceeded only by his verbal acuity in expressing the same.

“Marital bliss my ass,” he growled as I sat across from him with my coffee.

“Morning,” I said.

“Goddam your eyes,” he said.

“Glad to hear you are doing well. What’s up?”

It was only then that he looked at me. “How long have you and Mrs. Big Dope been married?”

I can’t risk busting his ‘cookies’ when he gets like this. “In dog-years or real years?”

This caught him up short for a moment, then he snarled. “Fender-head.”

“Nearly 41 years,” I said. “What’s it to you?”

“Filing a report,” he said. “Those idiots back on Falloonia have been reading all these dispatches about ‘joyous mood’ marriages and they want some facts.”

“Uh, do you by any chance mean gay marriages?”

“Ain’t that what I just said?”

 I let it pass. His pre-programmed translation-device insert does that sometimes. “So what do you have so far?”

“Just some notes on marital attraction factors.”

“Such as?”

“Money marries money.”


“Opposites attract.”

“And that is based on?”

“You and Mrs. Big Dope.”


“Yes,” he said and, for the first time, I noticed a Styrofoam cup on the table in front of him. He reached over, pulled it to his mouth and spat into it. I instantly noticed the smell of tobacco.

“Gross,” I said.

“Your marriage?” he said, quickly readying himself to take notes.

“No, that disgusting thing.” I motioned toward the cup. “And my wife and I demonstrate your principle of marital opposites how?”

“How tall are you?”

“I was six feet tall but the burden of dealing with you has reduced me to five-foot eleven and three-quarters,” I said.

He wrote in his notebook and muttered something to himself about my mother. “And how tall is your wife?”

“She says she is five-foot two,” I said. “And she says it with an edge in her voice that invites no further inquiry.”

“So there you go. Opposites attract.”

“C.W.,” I said, not knowing quite where to begin. “Didn’t they teach you about the pitfalls of inductive reasoning back on Falloonia?”

“Inductive, shminductive,” he said, mocking me. “How about this one? Marriage is only allowed for those who can’t do without sex.”

“That is a statistic?”

With a failure rate exceeding fifty percent,
it doesnt' seem to bother some folks that the
impact of marriage is confined solely to
couples of the opposite sex. - C.W.
“No, that is a Biblical injunction. Not a statistic. Your species tends to confuse them from time to time.” He smiled. “You want a statistical analysis?” he said. He flipped through his notes and read. “The institution of marriage is an interesting statistical anomaly. Although enjoying less than a 50 percent success rate, it has generated a vast body of legal imperatives and an almost mythical degree of preoccupation among the conservative-minded of the species who wish, apparently, that the impact of its spurious reliability be confined to pairs of the opposite sex.”

He stopped and looked at me. “Is that deductive enough for you?”

At this point I was fed up. “Deductive shmeductive,” I said. “Have you heard the one about the alien who spent three years among Earthlings but didn’t understand a thing about them?”

He didn’t miss a beat. “Did you hear about the one Earthling that was so dumb the other Earthlings began to notice it?”


Sunday, April 7, 2013

143. Spring

C.W. was in a strange mood all week. When I asked him what was wrong, he just looked away and said “Nothing. Why do you ask?”

He tried out a variety of forms, some old and some new. He tried to engage me in a political discussion as Lefty and Lucky, the conjoined twins, but their hearts weren’t into it. You could tell.

“I think corporations are people,” Lucky said, with no force of conviction.

“Idiot,” Lefty said. “If you cut them, do they bleed?”

“I dunno,” Lucky said. “Maybe.”

You can see how it was going. Normally a discussion of this sort would create a string of invectives that would fill an old sailor like me with envy. The conversation drifted away and I ignored the two of them. Spring had arrived and I had other things on my mind.

Next time I saw him, he had shifted his shape to young Charlie, the youth from the delta, still contemplating his future.

“I can’t decide between them,” he said.

“Between what?”


“Oh,” I said. “You have choices?”

“Yeah” he said with a wistful air. “Pro-football or pro-basketball.”

“Aren’t you a little small for either? You are undernourished.”

“Yeah,” he said. “I really don’t like either one of them too much anyway.”

I sensed something was wrong.

“C.W.,” I said. “Are you homesick?”

“Am I what?”

“Are you missing your home planet?”



“Why the hell would I miss that dreadful place?” When I turned to look at him, he had assumed another of his favorite shapes, Arnie the Third—the Young Republican. His chinos were so freshly starched that I thought they would crack if he walked, He looked at one of his Gucci loafers and then back at me with an annoyed look. “I’m in the greatest country in the history of the world,” he said. “Why should I go back to where I would have to have a job?”

"Oh,” I said. “Do they not have trust funds in Falloonia?”

He sniffed. “Not only that, you have to live among the Calarenthistors.”

“The who?”

“Oh, just imagine having to mingle with public-school graduates here on earth.”

“C.W.,” I said. “Would you mind telling me what the hell is worrying you?”

“Me? What do you mean? What on earth do I have to worry about?”

“Look,” I said. “I’ve known you for, let’s see, over three years now.”


“A friend can tell when another is troubled.”

He dropped his head. When it rose, I could tell he had made a decision. “It’s this month,” he said. “April.”


“One of your poets said it is the cruelest month. Now I believe it. They’re going to take my things away.”

“He was talking about vegetation rituals,” I said.


“About the practice of ancient cultures to offer human sacrifices to make the earth come alive again after winter.”

“You don’t do that anymore?”

“Well, we have abstracted them into harmless imitations, like beauty pageants.”

Well, if they only sacrificed the
most powerful or the most beautiful,
neither I nor Big Dope would
have much to worry about. - C.W.
“You don’t actually demand sacrifices from people like me?”

“Are you kidding?”

“They aren’t going to take my inheritance away and make me work?”


“Hot damn,” he said smiling and shifting into Eddie Bob, the Happy Redneck. “Let’s go plant some corn.”

Spring fever. It affects us all.