Sunday, May 31, 2015

252. Running

We seem to have developed a monsoon season in the Arkansas Delta, so it gives C.W. and me some time for quiet conversation. He doesn’t like to get wet—says it causes his Galactic Universal Translator to become, as he put it, “Characterized by lack of consistency, accuracy, regularity, or uniformity.”

There was nothing erratic about his GUT today, though. He had taken on one of his favorite forms, that of Todd, the TV pundit. From time to time, as we discussed the weather, the latest book I’d read, or the current report he was late in sending to the Fallooninan Elders, he would make notes on a reporter’s notepad and smile.

“So,” I said, “I think in the end, Fitzgerald was presenting the modern version of a heroic quest within the wasteland.” I waited while he filtered this.

“I think I have answer to our problems,” he said, ignoring my last. Outside, the rain continued to fall.

“What problems?” I said, peeved at his not paying attention.

“My new computer, for one.”

“What about a new computer?”

“I need one,” he said. “You know that.”

“So what does that have to do with Gatsby?”

“And that new car you’ve been wanting to buy for Mrs. Big Dope.”

“C.W.,” I said. “What on earth are you talking about?”

“You know that trip you want to take to Southeast Asia with your Navy buddy?”

“We were discussing literature.”

“Look,” he said. “I must depend on you sometimes for transportation. I really need that new motorcycle we’ve been talking about.”

“But you don’t have a driver’s license.”

“And your poor wife is driving a ten-year old car.”

“She likes that car,” I said.

“That’s not what she tells me,”

“So what are you getting at?”


That is Falloonian for “What the hell do you mean?”

“Why are you mentioning all these problems?”

“Because,” he said, broadening his face into his best television smile, “I have the solution.”

“And your solution is?”

“Simple,” he said. “Run for President.”

“You can’t run for President,” I said, with despair in my voice, “you are an alien.”

“Not me, silly,” he said, “you.”

“Are you insane?”

“Not a bit,” he said. “You wouldn’t make that good a candidate, but you would do. I’ve already started lining up donors. You’ll be the ‘I hate mimes’ candidate.”


“All the other hate targets have been spoken for already.”

“C.W.,” I said. “This is idiotic on so many fronts. First, I have this very checkered past. You know that.”

“No big deal,” he said. “I’ve already picked you a ‘Salvation Date.’ It’s March 20, 2003. That’s the day you ‘got saved.’ Nobody can question anything you did before then. Don’t you remember? We’ve discussed this. It worked like a charm for that guy from Texas.”

My mind was racing. “Isn’t the day America began bombing Iraq?”

“Seemed as good a date as any,” he said. “and it would strike a patriotic chord. Now here is the deal. I’ve set up a campaign fund account, and your staff will consist of Mrs. Big Dope, your mother-in-law, and me, all with annual salaries of half a million of your dollars or so.” He smiled again. “Of course the campaign will need things like computers, vehicles, and headquarters. I’ve picked out a nice beachfront home in Key West, Florida for that.”

“But someone like me could never be elected President.”

“Of course not,” he said. “Who would elect you President?”

“So why are you bringing this all up?”

“Because we could make enough money for the short duration of your campaign to solve a lot of problems.”

“What problems?”

“The ones I mentioned earlier.”

“Those were financial problems.”


“They were,” I said, “personal problems.”

It seems to me that all it takes for political
disaster in your country is for enough people
to quit listening and remain silent. - C.W.

“Look C.W.” I said, “a person in our country runs for President because she or he wants to address the country’s problems, not personal ones.”

“Since when?”

“Since, uh, … say, I said. “I’ve been reading this book called One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

“Wait,” he said. “That gives me an idea. You could also be the ‘I hate education’ candidate. That would get you donations from some real rich people.”

“What real rich people?”

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

251. The Movie Line Game

According to what C.W. was telling me yesterday, he and his fellow Falloonians are not above using a little levity to relax on occasion. We were sitting under a shade tree enjoying a spring day, with him in the shape of a handsome young man in jeans, cowboy boots, and plaid shirt.

“Right now, for example,” he was saying, “we are playing a game called ‘America As a Movie Line,’ and having a great time.”

“America as a what?”

“A movie line. We’ve been forced to review thousands of your films. So we’re pretending that we were asked by the Elders to describe you Earthlings in one line from a popular movie. What would you answer?’

“I have no idea,” I said.

“Our West coast rep thinks you are a rather violent, he calls it ‘truculent,’ society.”

“Oh,” I said, “so what is his choice of a line to describe us?”

“He picked a good one, a very describing or classifying without expressing feelings or judging one.”

His Galactic Universal Translator was giving him problems again. “And what ‘descriptive’ one did he pick?.”

“Fill your hand, you son-of-a-bitch.”

“That’s a good one all right.”

“But,” he said, “it’s not as good as the one from over in Dallas,”

“Well,” I said. “And what impresses the rep there?”

“The politics of that state.”

“So the choice is?”

“The Horror! The Horror!”

“Oh my,” I said.

“The rep northwest of here thinks you live in a crazy fantasy world.”

“A what?”

“A fantasy world in which wealth trickles down, the wealthy know better, sexuality is a personal choice that can be altered at will, race determines behavior, …”

“I get the picture,” I said. “So what is his chosen line?”

“You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Clause!”

I nodded.

“Now our Northeast rep thinks you are too afraid of reality.”

“His line?”

“You can’t handle the truth.”

“I see,” I said, but I wished I hadn’t.

“I think,” C.W. said, “that our East coast rep is a little harsh.”

“Really? And what is his line?”

“Stupid is as stupid does.”

I quickly decided to move the conversation forward. “Any others?”

“Our rep in the Southeast, all the way down in Miami, is understandably impressed by your greed.”

So the chosen line is?

“Show me the money.”

“Your people,” I said, “don’t have very high opinion of us.”

“The rep in Chicago does,” he said quickly. “He was very charitable.”

“And how did he treat us with his chosen line?”

“In Switzerland they had brotherly love and 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

“We call that ‘damning with faint praise’ if you want to know the truth,” I said. “But I can hardly wait to hear yours. What impresses you?”
You do believe in your heroes. - C.W.

He pretended to think. “Well,” he said, “you, at least some of you, do have this tendency, whenever a newsworthy event occurs—say a boy is caught molesting young girls—to choose sides and place blame on the same groups of people.”

“Such as?”

“One side blames it all on gay people, atheists, liberals, scientists, immigrants, people of color, college professors, and the like.”
“You’ve been watching that fake news show again, haven’t you?”

“Only for inspiration,” he said. “Never for news.”

“So,” I said, “after becoming inspired thusly, what line did you choose for them?”

“Round up the usual suspects.”
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

250. Blacklists

Oh my, I thought someone was staging a production of Animal Farm in my living room. It was that extraterrestrial rascal C.W., of course, but what the …? I thought it was a pig wearing a silk suit sitting at my computer.

Actually, he had taken on the form of that TV evangelist John Hagee. It was pretty frightening.  “What on earth?” I said.

“Making a list,” he said. “Be quiet or face the wrath of God.”

Well I certainly didn’t want to risk that, so I sat on the couch and waited until he had finished a thought.

“There,” he said. “That should about do it.” He looked up at me.

“Do what?”

“Complete my list of forbidden customers—ones that good Christian salespeople can no longer serve.” He studied the screen for a second, and started typing again. “Divorcees,” he said.

“You’re making a list,” I said, “of people that Christians can’t serve?”

“The Conference commissioned me,” he said. “Badly needed now. Badly needed. Lots of sin going on in these end-times.”

“And the point is?”

He grimaced. “Can’t risk a good Christian selling goods or services to the wicked and damned,” he said. “Might be contagious. Just like those ‘homo-weddings’ that the Bible wouldn’t allow.”

“You mentioned divorcees,” I said.

“Oh yes. Hell a lot of those wicked folks running around wanting to do business with the sanctified.”


“Don’t you read your Bible? Christ was real clear about that.” He pointed to a large-print Bible belonging to my mother-in-law. “Right there in Matthew Nine, ‘I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.’ Christ himself said it then, and I’m telling you now,” he said with a smug expression, “we can’t have us godly folks serving such base sinners.”

“Jesus never married,” I said, “so he didn’t have to face that possibility.”

“Never married,” he said. “Neither did any of those who traveled with him. They were, uh, celibate.”

“I see,” I said. “Anyone else on your list?”

“Well,” he said, “Pharisees. Jesus didn’t much care for them.”

“So your people shouldn’t serve Jews.”

“Just the Rabbis,” he said. “The others are okay.” He thought for a moment, “Besides, we need to keep them alive until we need them.”

I let this one go. “And the rich?”

“What about them?”

“I seem to remember,” I said, “that Jesus was pretty hard on the rich.”

“Oh,” he said. “That’s all taken out of context and overblown. Besides … they’re the ones with the money. Can’t quit serving us, … I mean … them.”

“Anyone who has ever made fun of a bald-headed man?”

“Yes,” he said excitedly as he began pounding on the computer again. “Thanks.”

“Let’s get back to this adultery thing,” I said.

“Let’s,” he said.

“So any couple who may have lived together before marriage or …,” I struggled with the words.

“Played the little ‘in-out’ game before they got hitched,” he said, laughing.

“Quite,” I said.

The laugh went away. “No can serve,” he said.

“Uh,” I said, “isn’t that pretty strict?”

“The Bible is the Bible,” he said. “I don’t make the rules. It says that if you can’t go without sex—absolutely can’t go without it for another day—you have to get married to do it, but you shouldn’t anyway because there isn’t a lot of time for such nonsense before the world ends.”

“When was that said, and by whom?”

“Um,” he said, looking at his notes, “About two thousand years ago. Paul said it, or maybe it was his partner Timothy. They traveled together and their notes got mixed.”

“His partner?”

“Now look,” he said, “If you’re going to be a thorn in my side, you can just leave.”

“Oh no,” I said. “I’m terribly interested. Just what are you calling your list?”

“Ah,” he said. “I have chosen a wonderful name: ‘A Holy Omissions List for Evangelist Salespeople.'”

“Oh my,” I said.

“Yes,” he said, “I call it my AHOLES list.”

I didn’t say another word.
I just don't understand why some people think Jesus
wouldn't like rich folks. This man is rich and he
claims Jesus loves him a lot. - C.W.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Friends and Followers:

When Big Dope and Mrs. Big Dope are at their farm with her dogs: Suzi, Betty, Judi, and Calvin, they enjoy a quiet time sitting in the shade having a gin and tonic or rum and tonic, watching the sun set, and giving the dogs treats. I sometimes make myself invisible and listen. You won't believe what I hear. For example, here is a snippet of conversion from last evening.

Where’d that cracking noise come from, your cousin’s house?
No, over at Chris’s place.
Yes Chris, who lives past the corner.
The one who is married to Catherine?
No, that’s Colt.
I thought it was Collier.
No, he’s married to Carol.
No, Carol’s married to Carlton.
You’re crazy. Here, Calvin wants a cookie.
Canines who like cookies? Crazy if you ask me.
Don't be crude.

You earthlings provide interesting and enjoyable occupation to (editor's note: He means "amuse"). me sometimes, and that is correct.

Sometimes I think the voices they hear
don't come from one another. - C.W.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Dear Friends and Followers:

Feel free to offer your opinions, but I have decided to use a  thing that represents or stands for something else, (Editor's note: He means "symbol") to explain the approach of your species toward solving problems.

Believe it or not, it is a device that you call "the leaf blower."

I can't tell that it solves any problem at all in a large sense. But it seems to:

Make a lot of racket as though it is really accomplishing something,
Move a problem from one person's area of concern to another,
Make you feel better,
Remove the inconvenience of a cognitive ability (hearing), and
Leave the mess for others to clean up in the future.

Now, isn't this the approach you take to solving most problems, from drug addiction to crime to poverty to the homeless, and things in general? What gives? Just saying, as you say.

I asked Big Dope and he just looked at me and said "Huh?"

Best I can tell. Your attitude is: A problem
 out of sight is a problem solved. - C.W,
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

249. Games

It was a rainy, lazy morning and C.W. and I were alone, the ladies having gone to a memorial service somewhere. I always take this opportunity to persuade him to play one of my favorite games. It goes like this.

He goes into the next room where he can hear me and I yell out a name from history. He then shapeshifts into the form of the person I call out and returns to where I am.

I use it to sharpen my knowledge of history and expand my intellectual background. It’s purely an educational exercise.

“Next,” he yelled from beyond the doorway.

“Uh,” I said, “how about a young Sophia Loren?”

“How young?”

“Oh … maybe 19 or so.”

I heard a shuffling and in he (she) walked and, oh my goodness.

“How’s this?”

I couldn’t answer. It was impossible for me to talk. Sophia made a circle around the room while I tried to catch my breath. She smiled at me and paraded out before I could request another circle. From the other room, I heard a sweet voice, articulated by a soft Italian accent. “Mrs. Big Dope had better not catch us playing this game.” There was quick chuckle. “Remember the last time?”

By now, I had found my voice. “That was a different game,” I said.

“How so?”

“It was called ‘Modern Movie and TV Actresses’ and it didn’t qualify as historical education.”

“Oh,” he said. “Who’s next?”

I thought. “Brigitte Bardot,” I said.

There was a silence, then, “What age?”

“How old was she when she made ‘And God Created Woman?’ That should do it.”

“How in the world should I know, darling?” This time the voice had a different accent, maybe French. I couldn’t tell. I wasn’t thinking clearly.
“Say, 21 or 22.”

“Wait a moment,” the voice said.

I dropped my coffee in my lap when she walked in. As I jumped to wipe it up, she giggled. “Your wife will be furious.”

“Just wait a moment,” I said, not able to look back at her for cleaning the mess.

“Oh,” Bridgette said, “here she comes now.” I looked up as she pointed at the window. I spun around, spilling the rest of the coffee. There was no one in sight.

“Ha ha,” she said, turning to leave. “I fooled you.”

Did I mention that she (he) was only wearing a small bikini bottom?”

“Are you sure,” the voice from the next room, “that this game is educational?”

“Quite sure,” I said, wiping the last of the coffee away.

“You earthlings have a strange way of learning things,” a man’s voice sounded. “Did you hear the one about the woman praying for her husband to be cured of cancer?”

“No,” I said.

“A voice comes down from the sky and says, ‘Why hell, I sent you Charles Darwin.’” He laughed long and hard.

It reminded me of the laugh of a James Bond villain. “Jane Seymour,” I yelled, “as Solitaire in ‘Live and Let Die.’”

“Oh I’m sure,” a soft feminine voice said, “that this one is educational.”

“The study of American film is taught at our colleges and universities,” I said, “so …” I didn’t finish for I heard a car driving toward our farmhouse. Oh no. It was the wife and mother in law.

“Wait,” I yelled, “change of plans. The Jane Seymour who was one of the wives of Henry the Eighth.”

“What?” I could hear a lot of scurrying and shuffling about in the next room with the sound of car doors slamming outside. “Married to whom?”
For some reason that I've never understood,
Big Dope enjoys my company more
at some times than at others. - C.W.
“Henry the Eighth,” I yelled. “Henry the Eighth.”

Seconds later, my wife opened the door as a figure clad in a tight waistcoat and close-fitting breeches that displayed the outlines of a grossly overweight male body, waddled hurriedly from the room.

She regarded the scene. “I’m not even going to ask,” she said.

“It’s an educational game,” I said, “about the Elizabethan era, tailored to teach history.”

“Elizabeth Taylor,” a sexy voice said from next room. “Wait one.”
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Sunday, May 3, 2015

248. Insults

“What your country needs, it seems to me …”

“Yes?” I was all ears. After all, I was listening to a 16-year old whiz kid about to tell me what my country needed. Actually it was C.W. the Alien taking on the form of a whiz kid, a young African-American youth with thick glasses and a pocket full of pencils. Back in the day, he would have sported a pencil protector, but this was modern youth, no frills.

“What you need is a good source of insults.”

“A what?”



“Quite so,” he said, nodding his head like an Oxford Dean.

“I don’t understand.” And I didn’t. He was busy pecking away at my laptop and I was lounging on the couch in our high-rise condo. Off to the west, our city’s skyline darkened in the evening gloom.

“Seems to me to be a real opportunity for a young man filled with a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.”


“Why do you repeat what I say?”

“Your Galactic Universal Translator confuses me at times.”

“Leave my GUT out of this. I need to work.”

I sighed. “At creating insults?”

“Your people love them.”

“Where did you get that idea?”

“Watching television.”

“Oh,” I said. “I can see how you might. That fake news channel again?”

“In exact terms; without vagueness.”

“Well what, precisely, will you call your enterprise?"

“I think ‘The Bitch Slap Store’ or something like that.”

“Uh,” I said. “Maybe you ought to give it some more thought. But anyway, you’re going to create insults for sale?”

“I’ve already created some. I’ll let you hear a few, but you may not understand them. After all, you’re so dumb that Sarah Palin wouldn’t even pick you for a running mate.”

I stared, as you might expect, in complete disbelief.

“You should see yourself,” he said, “You’re so ugly I can’t look at you for fear of déjà vu.”

Shaking my head, I said nothing.

“You got a look on your face like a monkey in church needin’ to pee real bad,” He said.

That made me turn and look at him.

“Did you get your brains on sale at Walmart?” he said.

It was impossible for me to say anything. I just stared more.

“If you ask me,” he said, “stupid, lazy, and confused is your default mode and you ain’t got no reboot key.”

It was then that I tried to speak, but no words came out.

“You’re so sorry,” he said, “that someone would have to pay Joel Osteen to take your money.”

“Now wait a minute.” I finally found my voice.

“Besides,” he said, “if an idea ever came near your head, it would take one look and fly on to the next galaxy.”

That was it. “Look, C.W.,” I said, “you know about as much about our culture a pig knows about the rhumba.”

He was about to speak, but stopped. Pain covered his face like curtain had been drawn over it. “Why do you want to hurt my feelings?” he said.

“Are you serious?”

This is how Big Dope looked the moment that
he learned where babies came from. - C.W.
He looked down. “I have a sensitive nature, you know. I need love and you give me grief.” He actually sobbed slightly.

“Look, C.W.,” I said. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“Well you did.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

He looked up and said, “I know.” Then he laughed and said, “You’re also as gullible as a teenage girl choosing a boyfriend.”
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