Thursday, April 30, 2015

Collateral Damage

Dear Friends and Followers:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the end of what you call the “Vietnam War.” I have studied this event in your history and have tried my best to explain it to the Falloonian Elders.

I failed.

One of the best quotes I came across explaining your country's involvement, although it doesn’t explain it fully, was from a book called Tree of Smoke by a man named Denis Johnson:

“The Americans won't win. They're not fighting for their homeland. They just want to be good. In order to be good, they just have to fight awhile and then leave.”

Another, longer quote, is an excerpt from a short story by our own Jimmie, and today, in honor of the anniversary, I won’t call him Big Dope. This is scene based on his experience in which a young American sailor, on his first day “in-country” is sent to help escort a Vietnamese woman and her baby to medical facilities on an American base at Da Nang. It is part of a collection of stories he hopes to publish in a few weeks and deals with what you Americans, rather blithely in my opinion, call “collateral damage.” Enjoy

 Zimmerman placed the woman between him and Hinson and the three started back along the main street toward the heart of the base. As they walked, Hinson noticed that Zimmerman had ceased talking. Hinson looked at the woman, who was staring straight ahead and still held the baby tight against her body, as if every tree and every building wanted nothing more than to snatch it from her.

“The baby sick?” he asked.

Zimmerman shook his head and walked on a few steps. “Blown up,” he said.

“Blown up?”

“A stray rocket hit her house in the village and blew the baby into a fire pit.”

“A stray rocket? Was it VC?”

“Nobody knows. What difference does it make?”

Hinson turned to the woman who appeared to him to be past the age of having an infant. “Is it her baby?”

“Yeah, it’s hers,” Zimmerman said, pointing with a thumb. Before he could say any more, the woman realized that they were talking about her. She showed concern and turned toward Zimmerman. He wouldn’t look at her so she turned to Hinson. He made the mistake of showing interest.

The woman, in order, it appeared, to justify being on the base, relaxed her grip on the baby and lowered it, supporting it with one arm near her stomach. As Hinson watched, she gently unwrapped the cloth that covered the child and motioned for Hinson to look.

The child’s face consisted of a continuous red scab except for a large blister that still covered one cheek. Stitches began near one ear and continued beneath its clothing. Both hands extended from the body and were wrapped tightly. It was apparent that one was shorter than the other. A patch of white gauze, lifted away from the face by cotton swabs covered one eye while the other stared ahead without moving, almost accusingly. Scabs covered the lower lip. Blood stains showed through most of the bandages. The woman shook her head and smiled at Hinson eagerly, so he would understand that she belonged here.

Breakfast bacon rebelled and roiled in Hinson’s stomach. He stifled a retch, then another. He looked at Zimmerman who had never looked around. “Jesus, god,” Hinson said quietly. The woman covered the child once more in the soft clothing and pulled it tight against her breast. The three walked together each struck silent by emotions beating against the morning heat like wild birds fighting the bars of a cage. They were silent until they reached Sick Bay.

Let’s hope your country doesn’t forget and allow this to happen again.
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Sunday, April 26, 2015

247. Choices

C.W. can get under my skin if I let him, like he did this morning. He walked in wearing a kimono and looking a lot like Orlando Bloom. He smiled at me and cocked his head to one side.

“I’ve decided want to be gay,” he said.

I dropped my dictionary—yes, my dictionary— and knocked over the remnants of my coffee. I placed the dictionary back on the table, dabbed coffee with a napkin, and shook my head, bewildered.

“What the hell are you doing and why do you look that way?”

He sniffed, and placed a hand on his hip. “How many times,” he said, “have I heard you say that you’re not gay but, that if you were, you’d be gay for Orlando Bloom? I just want to be gay.”

“C.W.,” I said, “you can’t be gay.”

“And why not?”

“Because you’re a go… because you’re an alien.”

“Aliens have rights. You do recall your Alien Visitation and Exploration Contract, don’t you?”

“It doesn’t say you can be gay.”

“It says that you must allow me a wide range of choices in my behavior.”

I sighed. “But being gay is not a choice.”

“That man on TV, your former governor what’s his name, ‘Hucksterable,’ or whatever, says it is and he’s a preacher. He ought to know. He’s running for president.”

Preachers don’t establish scientific facts,” I said. “Thank goodness. Neither do presidential candidates.” I stopped and thought about this for a second and relief spread over me. “Besides,” I said, “you can’t believe that everything you see on television is real.”

“You think Big Bang’s Penny is real.”

“Shhh,” I said. I lowered my voice. “How many times have I told you that we don’t talk about Penny when my wife is in the house?”

“Mrs. Big Dope knows you are an idiot.”

“No she doesn’t.”

“Does too. She told me so.”

We were drifting off course. “Well,” I said, “she did marry me.”

“It was her choice,” he said, “for some reason. Now I want to make my own choice.”

Sometimes C.W. can lead you into a logical minefield. “So what would you do,” I said, “upon becoming gay?”

“I want to find a mate and get married, so we can be as happy as you and Mrs. Big Dope.”

I studied him carefully to see if I could detect any signs of sarcasm. Seeing none, I continued. “But you couldn’t get married in this state, at least not yet.” Then I shook my head. “What am I doing? C.W. …,” I said it loudly to get his attention, “you’re a frickin alien. You’re job here, as I understand it, is to observe and report, not set yourself up for abuse, beatings, rejection, and denial of basic rights—maybe even murder. Why would you choose that?”

“For the same reason Martin Luther King, Jr. did, I suppose.”

Oh hell, there I stood, square dab in the middle of his minefield of logic.

“And what would you do after you become gay and get married?”

“You have a spare bedroom.”

An image flooded my brain. There stood Mike Huckabee, in front of a Fox “News” camera spouting away, with our condominium building in the background. That building had already been the focus of another presidential election, you know. I felt a peace spread over me as that image gave way to the exploding head of the preacher who would be president.

“You might have a point, here,” I said. He smiled and, for the briefest second, I saw Orlando Bloom and me stranded on a desert island. I shook the scene away. “You’ll have to know though, that you’re in for a rough ride.”

“Oh, I’m ready,” he said.

For some reason, Big Dope
thinks this is all funny. - C.W.
“A lot of folks will make their own choice, and that choice will be to hate you with an unfounded but unbridled passion.”

“Let ‘em.” He said.

“You will lead a life of challenge,” I said. “And some religions will refuse you. I can’t imagine a more rocky road than the one you choose.”

“Oh,” he said, “don’t worry about the churches.”

“Why not?”

“We, my spouse and I, will choose to be atheists as well.”
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Monday, April 20, 2015


Dear Friends and Followers:

I keep getting fired from my jobs working in political campaigns. I don’t know why. I’m just a poor Alien trying to make a living. Big Dope just says, “Stuff happens.”

But I do try to keep up. From my readings, I sense that the 2016 campaign has started in sincere and intense conviction. (Editor’s note: He means “in earnest.”)It looks like a repeat of some of the same themes from previous campaigns, as Big Dope calls them:






If I were advising one of the parties, I would suggest focusing on what my research and study suggests are some genuine issues facing your country, or at least many of the communities. I would list


And by drugs, I’m not talking about what you call your “war.” Hard as I try, I fail to explain to the Falloonian Elders the concept of a war on a word. No, I’m talking about the fact that so many of your species exhibit what we all ewnnoheetudat, or what you call “addiction.” The Elders cannot comprehend why you spend your resources on making war on the transporters of addictive agents instead of medically treating the condition as they do on other planets in our galaxy.  You do this in a limited fashion with those addicted to gambling instead of drugs.

Anyway, I would love to report to the Falloonian Elders that at least one of your political parties seems willing to address genuine issues.

Oh wait. Big Dope just walked by and read this. Never mind.

Now he’ll probably want to steal it and post it somewhere.
Yesterday's Sunday post follows.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

246. Fresh Ideas

“So you want me to help you?”

“Please, I’m asking earnestly or humbly for something.”

“You are begging for my help?”


There he stood, in his best chinos, looking much like a combo ad for Gucci, Lacoste Lopez, and  Ralph Lauren. C.W. was in one of his favorite forms, Reggie, from The Young Conservatives Club.

“What sort of help do you need?”

“I’m going to work in what your species calls a political campaign for the first time ever.”

“You are going to do what?”

“I’m going to help elect a candidate. I may get to go to Washington, they tell me.”

“I see,” I said, but I didn’t. “I thought you were permanently assigned here.”

“Oh, but if I can get a ‘behind the scenes’ posting, it will boost my career.” He paused and scratched his nose. “But first we must get through the first or highest in rank or importances.”

“You mean the primaries.”

“You are getting bad about repeating everything I say.”

“Never mind,” I said. “Which candidate are you working for?”

“Number Five.”

“Uh,” I said, “and who is that?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Some campaign workers were having a hard time keeping them separate, so we just go by numbers, now.”

“I see,” I said, but I wasn’t sure I did. “So what is the major campaign issues that your Number, uh …, Five is going to focus on for the campaign?”

“That’s what you are going to help me with.”

“Oh,” I see, but I didn’t.

“Take a look.” With that, he turned took me to the kitchen table where a laptop computer was fired up and waiting. Across the screen was the beginning of a list, from One to Five, with the word “Against” behind each number.

“So let’s start filling in,” he said. “What goes by the first number?”

“C.W.,” I said.

“Reginald, please,” he said.

“Reggie, those are all negatives. What will Number Five be for?”

He looked at me as if I had just said that dry was wet. “Please,” he said, “our party has evolved beyond the advocacy paradigm.”

“The what?”

“You seem to be stuck in an era of reality and advocacy. That’s old fashioned. Get over it. Now let’s get busy. I have a deadline.”

I’d never seen him so forceful and full of hope. “Okay,” I said. “How about, uh, say, for the first number …Hillary Clinton.”

“Can’t,” he said. “Candidate Two, said early on that he would like to have her.”

I left that one alone. “President Obama?”

“Candidate Three, we call him ‘The Charmed One,’ captured him a month ago.”

“The Charmed One. So he is special?”

“Not particularly. It just means that maybe the third time is charmed, as you say.”

“I see,” I said, but I most assuredly didn’t. “War?”

“Please,” he said, “let’s be serious. We’re wasting valuable time.”


"Candidates One and Four are fighting over that one. Each claims he knows more about it.”


“Candidate Seven.” He nodded sadly. “And that’s a popular one. Wish I’d gotten it.”


“Candidates One and Four are battling over that one as well.”


“Oh heck,” he said. “I wish. But Candidate Eight, you know, the one with the funny hairpiece, grabbed that one straight away, right out of Candidate Two’s hands.”

 “Children, women?”

“Nope, Candidate Nine, the fat one, is sitting on those.” He smiled. “Too bad for the women and kids.”

“C. …, Reggie, I’m running out of ideas. Why don’t you go against the grain and present your candidate as for something?”

He looked at me with a bit of sadness in his eyes. “Do you know what happens to our candidates who go against the grain, as you say, and advocate for something?”

“Not something good?”

He shook his head. “Have you ever heard of Archibald McGregor?”

“No,” I said. “I haven’t.”

“My point exactly,” he said. “Now get busy. Time is money.”

They rejected this design I did for the
campaign. I don't understand  why. - C.W.
I searched my brain. I really wanted to help the poor guy. “Taxes?”

Number Nine, the crazy one, still claims them, but they really don’t bother our folks much anymore, so it is a weak platform.

I wasn’t sure which candidate he was talking about, but I kept thinking. Then it came to me. “Obamacare,” I said. “That’s a winner for sure.”

 He shook his head. "Off-limits. It’s now Reaganaid.”

“Oh,” I said. “I see. And this time I believe I did.
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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Riches From Religion

Dear Friends and Followers:

Here is the deal. I like to write. I’m not very good at it, and here is the reason: a person reviewed something I wrote.

It devastated me.

Now, understand, I have a long-held and sincere belief (well, at least since I have been on your planet) that a person has a God-given right to make up rules of grammar as they’re personal religious beliefs dictate. Ask Big Dope, as he knows this all real good.

Between you and I, this reviewer was gay, African-American, Muslim, a Vietnam veteran, liberal, and didn’t own a firearm. Hell yes, you’d also hate him to, as well.

Send money, lots of money. The more the better. - C.W.
This reviewer scorched my writing over it’s grammar. You can’t imagine how bad that offended my religious beliefs. Where, in the Scriptures, do it say that subjects and objects is connected and must agree ever time? Noplace, I say to you confident.
So I said that I wouldn’t  no longer allow gay, African-American, Muslim, Vietnam veteran, liberals who didn’t own guns to read my material. Now they’s boycotting me and saying nasty things about Big Dope and I on the internet.

What can you do? Send me money. Let’s show them how we protect religious liberties in this country and what us real Americans think of they and they're tactics. Lets break all records of support for people like you and I. Send the money to Big Dope or to Crowdfunding Relief for Alien Publishers.

Please send amounts over $10,000 by cashier’s check.

I await your support.
Your favorite author,
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

245. Campaigns

What could be worse than an alien who doesn’t understand our politics? Try an alien who doesn’t understand our politics, or our language, but decides to get involved in a campaign.

Yep. It is C.W. I came in from taking care of some family matters and found that he had assumed the exact form of Norman Rockwell and was furiously painting away at an easel.

“What the …?”

“Hey, Big Dope,” he said. “You’ve been wanting me to get a job so I have a good one. Take a look.” He pointed a t what was evidently to be a campaign poster, for Hillary Clinton of all people. “I’m going to be making ads for Hillary.” He pointed at his work. “What do you think?”

Across the top of the ad was the word “Hillary!” Under it was her face. Under that was the message he had blocked out and was finishing. It read, “Because men should not always come first.”

I blinked. Then I blinked again. “Uh, C.W.,” I said.


It took me a while to explain, as his face drooped in disappointment. Finally, he removed the poster and threw it into a corner. Picking up a finished one from a pile, he placed it on the easel. “Well,” he said, “what do you think of his one?”

It also had “Hillary” across the top in bold lettering. Under the name this time were portraits of Bill and Chelsea. Under them, the message, “Comes with a couple of nice ones,”

I stifled a laugh. This time he didn’t take the news so well. “Do you want to see more? If you do, quit laughing.”

“Oh,” I said. “More. Please, more.”

He sullenly removed the poster and replaced it with another. It had the faces of Hillary and President Obama in the middle. Above them were the words, “Choose Hillary.” Underneath the faces he had painted, “For a great climax.”

This time my knees grew weak and I had to sit as I explained. He sailed the poster across the room and glared at me. “You are being inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily,” he said.

“I’m not being critical,” I said. “I’m just being honest.” I tried to sooth him. “Let’s see your last one,” I said. “I’m sure it will be fine.”

I only chose her to work for because I
thought her possible opponents were limp. - C.W.
“You won’t laugh?”

“I won’t laugh.”

He reached over, picked up the final poster and placed it on the easel. It had a nice picture of Hillary saluting the American flag that fluttered atop a huge flagpole. The words above read, “Choose Hillary.” The ones below read, “And keep America erect.”

When I finally managed to quit rolling on the floor and managed to stand, C.W. was gone, as was his easel.

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- C.W.


Nelson watched the woman screaming and looked puzzled. Most in the courtroom believed that the prosecution had proven the man guilty. The jurors themselves had all agreed on it. Nelson had brought up a point during the deliberations that he didn’t see a strong motive for such a crime. The others told him that he just had a lot to learn about Southern men. And, there hadn’t been much of a defense presented. What could the man’s attorney say—that his client had threatened to kill a man and then did, but that didn’t make a boy all bad?

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Dear Friends and Followers: Big Dope is taking care of family business today and left me in charge. So many people have asked how we met that I repeat the very first posting in which he provided his version. I don't quite remember it that way, but I'll let it pass. Following is his version. Enjoy.

His name, phonetically expressed, is Chawawaclickclick. I use the phonetic expression for the simple reason that stating it his language in print requires imagery that looks like a lot like bird spatter on a new Cadillac. The clicks resemble those used by African Bushmen but it is easier to spell them than to develop symbols. So, Chawawclickclick it is. Or at least it was until he went into a redneck bar across the river. Now he insists on the simpler C.W.

How he arrived here from his native planet, and how I became his American escort are interesting, but unessential matters. Let’s just say that he is from deep space, a place he calls, again phonetically, Falloonia. Sometimes with a click at the end and sometimes not. I think he jacks me around some. Falloonians seem to have a sense of humor and aren’t a bit reluctant to torture you with their intergalactic wit.

Anyhow. His original destination was Hannibal Missouri, the reason being that earlier expeditions had determined that Mark Twain was the most interesting American who ever lived. Due to some changes in the atmospheric conditions, he descended early and chanced upon me while I was walking around the City of Little Rock, Arkansas.

I can’t describe his appearance since he is what is commonly known as a “shape shifter.” This particular day, he took the shape of a middle-aged tourist, complete with straw hat, knee britches and a camera swinging from around his neck. He wanted to know if I was interesting.

“Not particularly,” I admitted.

“Are you curious, then?”

“About what?” I checked out the width of his stance and looked around to who might be watching.

“The world, you know…things.”

I reckoned I was as much as the next guy and hastened to tell him that my wife always said I was. I put some emphasis on the word “wife.”

The answer must have sufficed, for then he interviewed me and said that I had been selected to be the Falloonians’ North American contact.

I had no idea what the hell he was talking about then, but I had just signed up for a quite a ride.

Before providing me with any additional information, he asked why we had changed the chemical makeup of our atmosphere, causing his premature descent into our country.

“Uh, we didn’t intend it. It just happened over time,” I managed to explain.

“Could you summarize the efforts your species (I would learn that he used the term species when he intended the question to be global in nature) is taking to restore its condition?” he asked.

“Nothing really,” I said.

“Nothing?” He paused. “Really?”

“Well we cut back on our use of Freon.”

“Your method of dealing with your planet sounds like a contacuraclickclick to me.”

I found out later that a contacuraclickclick was an Faloonian expression indicating the act of sitting on a baby’s face, i.e. a foolish course of action.

Anyway, that's how we met and now I seem to be stuck with him.

From C.W.: The following are included to illustrate (1) how Big Dope sees himself and (2) how he really comes across. You be the judge.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Sublime

Dear Friends and Followers:

Since my stay on your planet began, I’ve grown to believe that music is one of the grandest accomplishments of your species. That’s why I noticed with interest that Tuesday was the 100th anniversary of the birth of singer Billie Holiday. She is one of my favorites. What amazes me is that this great woman, what you call a a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something in the field of music, (Editor’s note: He means “icon”) was not allowed to use public restrooms when she traveled with bands across your great country. Unbelievable.

I read where she wasn’t particularly noted for her vocal range, or even the pure quality of her tonal output. But my oh my, if you may permit an alien in your midst to observe, how she used what she had.

With so many favorites to choose from, it’s hard to pick one, but I am, as you say, “partial,” to “I’ll Be Seeing You.”

It sure seems odd to me that the person who could perform this wasn’t even allowed to sit with the white band members in venues while on break. But then, the bigotry expressed by some members of your species continues to confuse me. See: “Indiana” and “Arkansas.”

Anyway, until next time, “I’ll be seeing you, in everything that’s light and gay” … oops, better not use that word.

Your friend,

Now what kind of country would forbid this
great lady a bathroom break? - C.W.

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

244. Rights

For goodness sake. I looked up this morning and here came C.W. in drag. I don’t mean that he had assumed the shape of a woman. He can do that anytime he wishes. In fact, up until a couple of months ago, he loved to do Marlene Dietrich singing “See What the Boys In the Backroom Will Have.” Unfortunately though, my wife caught him at it one day and he doesn’t do it anymore, plus we now have to keep the kitchen door open all the time. But that’s a story for another day.

No, today he was really in drag. That is to say that he was a man dressed as a woman. Further, the man’s shape that he had chosen was that of the Junior Senator from our state who has been in the news a lot lately trying to undermine the President.

All I could manage was “What the …?”

“How do you like my outfit?” she … he … said.

I still couldn’t speak.

“Your friend—what’s his name, your woodworking pal—helped me pick it out.”

“My friend?”

“I told him I wanted to be one primarily devoted to his own advancement in public office, or to the success of a political party.”

“A what?”

“You heard me.”

I thought for a moment. “Oh,” I said, “you wanted to be a politician.”

“That’s what I said.”

“And my friend helped you?”

“He used to work for the state and was a great help.”

“As in …?”

“He said all I needed to be a politician was a red satin dress and a pair of FMPs. Mrs. Big Dope got awfully upset when I asked her what those were.”

I looked heavenward and said, “If you’re up there Scotty, please beam me up.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Never mind,” I said. “But tell me, what are you going to do now that you are a politician?”

“Ah,” he said. “I thought you would never ask.” He grinned. “I’m fighting for aliens’ rights.”

“Aliens’ rights?”

“Yes. It is our turn to seek equality along with our other brother and sister citizens.”

“But you aren’t a citizen.”

“No, and we’re going to change that, and stop this brutal practice of not allowing us to marry whom we choose. Oh, and wedding cakes. Don’t get me started on wedding cakes.”

I didn’t know where to begin. “C.W.,” I said, “there are so many holes in that logic that I can’t respond. You haven’t mentioned getting married since you saw Lassie Come Home for the first time.”

“Times change,” he said, “and so do preferences. We deserve to make our own choices as much as anyone.”

“Have you been watching Big Bang Theory again?”

“You leave her out of this,” said. “Now do you want to be on the right side of the branch of knowledge dealing with past events or not?”\

“Oh,” I said, “I definitely want to be on the right side of history. What must I do?”

“Ah,” he said. “First thing you do is become a card-carrying member.”

“Of what?”

Now I ask you. Would you bake a
 wedding cake for this person? - C.W.
“Our rights organization. Your membership card will even have my photo on it. We’ve thought up quite a catchy name for the group. Your friend helped us with that as well and we think we picked one that serves us brilliantly.”

“And that is?”

He drew himself up proudly. A strap from his dress fell from his shoulder and he placed it back in position. “Alien Rights Secured Evermore,” he said. “I’m a charter member and chief spokesperson. Right now my people are placing posters in key locations with this photograph on it.” He struck a provocative pose.

A convulsion started deep within me and I contracted every muscle in my body in an attempt to suppress it. It sneaked past my defenses, though, and I began to shake with laughter. Tears came from my eyes and snot from my nose. I tried to speak but couldn’t. Finally, with a Herculean effort, I regained my composure enough to talk.
“Sign me up,” I said.

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- C.W.
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