Sunday, December 25, 2016

353: Faces

It was almost like a family reunion, of sorts. C.W. got into the Christmas spirit this year. He started out pouting because I didn’t include his picture in a little poster I did and posted on Facebook. It featured just the three of us, my wife, the mother-in-law, and me. He thinks he should have been included.

“Included as whom?” I asked. “You change more often than a teenager’s mind. I never know who you’ll be from one moment to the next. And besides … .”

“Besides what?”

“I can’t include your actual photo on a season’s greeting.”

“Why not?”

“First, it might cause the horses to bolt.”


“Second, there isn’t enough room to include all your heads.”

He allowed as how I had a point. After some haggling, we reached a compromise. His favorite shapes would each offer a season’s greeting and we would post it herein. So …

Reggie the Young Conservative: Offering the best of gifts for the coming year: tax cuts and military spending. What a time we have in store.

Rusty the teenager: Uh, like whatever…

Norman the Neo-liberal: Oh wow … let us all have a safe place to go.

Sanford the Senior Citizen: Let’s see … wait. I’ll be right back. I think I may can go now.

Arnold Awesome: May your year be far out, man.

Shorty George: May you not get shot next year.

Little Ricky: I know who you are and I’ll get you back. Just wait.

Timmie Joe the Nerd: The wise men were, like, not so wise. He would rather have had, like, a Play Station.

Lucky and Lefty, the conjoined twins:
            Lucky: May the joy of giving brighten your life.
            Lefty: Screw what Dumbass just said. Anyone get any good Scotch for Christmas? Call me.

The Alien: May you find peace this year by avoiding those who use my name to preach hate. May you find compassion by reading the words of mine that don’t support your prejudices. May you find knowledge by embracing facts over mythology. May you find strength by trusting in goodness. May you find fulfillment by striving against evil. May you find understanding by supping often with strangers. May you find the truth of love by adopting an animal. In short, may you be because you think.
Oh, and if anyone sees Joel Osteen or Franklin Graham, tell those jokers that if they see me coming they’d better run. I’ve got some presents for them. Trust in me.
And did anyone get any good Scotch for Christmas this year?

I've got some great shapes
in store for you next year. - C.W.
From all of us: As they used to say back in the 1960s: "We wish you peas and harmony grits."

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

352. Goverment

Ahhh. I’ve had a whole week off from C.W. He’s trying his hand at consulting. Somehow, he got a gig working on the re-organization of our state government. I guess he finished since he showed back up this morning. As I figured, he was still in the form of Reggie the Young Conservative.

“I’m bushed,” he said. “I thought getting rid of old-timey government would be easy.”


“Government is hard,” he said.

“That’s what I’ve always heard.”

“Who said it would be easy?”

I looked at him. “Uh,” I said. “Your pals?”

“Well,” he said, sipping a latte he had brought with him. “I did my part.”

“Which was?”

“My assignment was to reduce the number of state agencies.”


“I got it down to six.”

“Which were?”

“One,” he said, holding up a finger, “The Department of Tax Cuts.”

“The what?”

“It’s a ‘sunset department.’ Self-liquidating. It’ll be gone in three years, max.”

“Say what?”

“Two,” he said. “the Department of Energy Consumption.”

“Which does what?”

He smiled. “Well let’s just say you won't see any more of those solar panels or windmills dotting our landscape.”

“Are you nuts?”

“Three: The Department of Payroll and Expenditures.”

“Oh no.”

“Yes,” he said. “Have to. The governor’s wife has expensive tastes and his pals need jobs.”

“What kind of jobs?”

“Four: The Department of Peace and Quiet. I saved us loads of money there.”


“For one, no more state police. The cities have to take care of their portion of the highways. Same with jails. We’ll tell them who we don’t want associating with the good folks and the city of origin will take care of rounding up, and herding in, and keeping them from public view.”

“I guess next is a department for education.”

“Don’t be silly,” he said. “Walmart will take care of that.”


“They’ll add classrooms onto their stores. Sort of a ‘drop them off to learn while you shop’ arrangement. Each employee will take a shift teaching.”

“Teaching them what?”

“All they need to know.”

“Which is?”

“How to greet, stock, sweep, watch over the auto checkouts, run computers, and compute profits.”
The legislators in charge of
reorganization rejoice upon
completion of their work. - C.W.
“What about history and math and language skills?”

This time he looked at me funny. “Are you crazy?”

“No, but I’m beginning to think I’m living in an asylum.”

“That brings me to number Five, the Department of Emergency Care.”

“The what?”

“Emergency care. Our Health and Welfare Committee decided that was all the care we really needed and the various emergency rooms around the state will provide that. All our department will have to do is print and distribute directions to the emergency rooms along with parking instructions.”

“Any more departments?’

“Six: The Department of Truck and Commuter Mobility. Want to hear about it?”

“I don’t think so.”

“That’s about it,” he said, with a noticeable display of pride. “The Guv says it will be the smoothest operating government this side of Somalia.”

“With only six departments?”

“And a few agencies. The largest will be run by a group of evangelical ministers: The Agency for Funny Acting Groups.”

“And they will?”

“Funny you should ask, I happen to have their mission statement here.” He took a folded page from his coat pocket, opened it, and scanned the contents. “Here is the main part,” he said. Then he read, “our mission will have been completed when our state is cleansed of deviants, those who would take from the wholesome and give to the unworthy, teach unilateral forgiveness to our youth, wander jobless throughout our state, cohabitate with individuals of the same sex, and refuse treatment of, or cure for, such ailments as a thorn in their side.” He folded the paper. “Neat huh? We’re thinking of having that carved in granite and placed on the state capitol grounds.”

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

351. Truth

“Did you know that Ronald Reagan put on a short skirt with multiple petticoats, a red silk blouse, and a tiara on Saturdays, then spent the evening practicing the polka with Oliver North?”

“That’s nice,” I said. “I’m glad to see that you are studying history ….” I looked up from my book. “He what …?”

Staring back at me was Walter Cronkite, or at least the Alien C.W. in a form greatly resembling the legendary newsman.

“They say he had gotten pretty good at it.”

“They say what …?”

“That’s nothing,” he said. “Ever hear of Antonin ‘Antsy’ Scalia?”

“Of course,” I said, “Everyone has.”

He looked at me in such a dark manner that the hair rose on the back of my neck. “Really? Everyone?”

“Sure,” I said, “the Supreme Court justice who died this year. Everyone knows who’s on the Supreme Court.”

“You’ve never been to West Virginia then, have you?”


“Or Kansas?”

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

“How about Mississippi, South Carolina, or the state we’re in right now? Everyone … really?”

“What about Judge Scalia.?” I said, returning to what I assumed was the thread of the conversation.

“He wore a Glock 19 under his robe while court was in session.”

I sighed.

“He was convinced that Barbara Bush intended to try and assassinate him.”

I said nothing.

“She threatened to on several occasions. Seems she hates Catholics, and doesn’t mind saying so in private. It started with that Hurricane Katrina thing. Her husband let it slip once at a cocktail party.”

“Will you please explain yourself?”

“That’s not all.”

“Now!” I said.

“One time it went off, the Glock did, before the court opened and shot off one of the big toes of Clarence Thomas.”

“This is crazy.”

“Dick Cheney had it hushed up and the press never knew. He said they weren’t going to make the same mistake twice.”

I shook my head.

“Some of the other justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg in particular, still call him ‘Toeless Tom’ behind his back.”

“I’m tired of this.”

“Don’t you want to hear about the illegitimate love-child of Mitch McConnell and Sarah Palin.”

I began to retch and took several deep breaths.

“They say it has a vestigial tail.”

“That I might believe,” I said. “But the rest …?”

“Oh,” he said, “and here is some hot news about to go to press.”

“What press?”

He ignored me. “It’s about Ann Coulter.”

That got my attention. “What about Ann Coulter?”

“He may be the next director of the FBI.”


“Yeah, but he’ll have to come clean first. This time it was Pence the Porno Man who said they weren’t going to make the same mistake twice.”

“Wait,” I said. “I asked you: what press?”

“Why my new press,” he said. “It’s called the ‘So Here Is That Which Is In Accordance With Fact Or Reality Press.’ How do you like it? Catchy huh?”

“Uh, ….” I was speechless. I ran through the name in my mind. “Ah,” I said. “Do you mean the ‘So Here Is Truth Press’ by any chance?”
Watch closely when they show films
of the justices playing tag football
during recesses.You won't see him
volunteer to attempt a field goal. - C.W.
“Isn’t that what I said? You don’t like it?”

“Oh,” I said, “I think it’s perfect, but are any of those things true?”

“What do you mean true?”

“I mean true, like factual.”

“What planet are you living on? If one person believes one of them, then it is true for them. And,” he said, “they will pay handsomely for it. Truth is what you are willing to believe and pay for.”

“Oh,” I said. “It’s another one of your money-making schemes?”

“What else would creative news be good for?”

“You are crazy,” I said.

“Maybe so,” he said, “but, speaking of he FBI,  I bet I could interest you in some juicy tidbits about the affair between Michelle Bachman and J. Edgar Hoover.” He nodded. “They say she even calls him ‘Jedgar’ for short.”

“But he’s been dead for years.”

He raised one eyebrow and nodded, looking very conspiratorial. “So how many do you want to order?”

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

350. Gifts

“You need to hurry up,” I said,” I haven’t got all day.”

Avoir de la patience.” I heard a soft buzzing. “Haben Sie bitte etwas mehr Geduld.” The buzzing again. “Be patient, please.”

“I’m patient. And please adjust your translator. People are staring.”

“Leave my GUT out of this. What’s your hurry?”

“I’ve things to do.”

“Things more important than helping me find a present for your wife?”

It’s true. I had taken C.W. to the largest shopping mall in our vicinity so he could do his holiday shopping. So far, we had been there an hour with nothing to show for our time. He had at least shaped himself well for the occasion. It was his classic teenage nerd shape, Timmie Joe, the math major. Remember those pocket protectors the engineering students used to wear in college? Well, he had even found one of those somewhere. Anyway …

“But you go out of your way to aggravate her. Now you’re buying her a present?”

“She forgives me,” he said. “Why can’t you?”

“Because I remember where you got the money to buy her a gift.”

“You weren’t using that guitar.”

“That’s not the point. It was an American-made Stratocaster.” But there was no use arguing. "She likes books,” I said.

“Oh fiddley dee,” he said, then stopped. “Look. There’s a pet store. I know she is fond of puppies.” He started toward it.

I grabbed his arm. “Best not,” I said. “She thinks breeding animals for sale is obscene when so many wander the highways, abandoned.”

“So maybe,” he said, his eyes widening, “we could drive around and look.”

“She has enough puppies,” I said.


“And besides,” I said, returning to the topic of gift-buying. I thought you were afraid of her.”

“She’s a softie when you get to know her,” he said. “She even taught me to do embroidery.”

“That will describe our culture to a fine point back on Falloonia.”

He turned and looked at me. “Are you making a joke?”

“Shop,” I said.

He thought. “What’s the best present you ever bought her? Pearls, I’ll bet.”






“I give up. What then?”

“Remember when you studied our technical history?”

“Oh yes.” He was growing excited now.

“Remember the part about when they came out with battery-powered hand tools?”

A look of confusion spread over his face like the shadow of a storm cloud covering the ground. “You bought her one?”

“A battery-powered hand drill.”

“Really? Did she like it?”

“She loved it. Named it “Hole Honey’ and used it until recently.”

“Did it wear out?”

“It was one of the things you sold in order to buy your bicycle, remember?”

He thought. “No, I don't,” he said. “But look,” he said running to a window display of scanty, sexy, minimal, ladies’ intimate-wear. “She’ll like this for sure.” He stared, then turned to me and yelled, “Do they really grow that big?”
Seesh, what a grouch.
She would have loved it. - C.W.
“Come on,” I said. “People are watching.”

“You can see right through that one,” he said, pointing. He must have overloaded his Galactic Universal Translator again. “Choi Oi,” he said.

I lingered for a moment to look, just for curiosity’s sake, mind you. Then I began pulling him away.

He pulled his arm back and stared. “But look,” he said, pointing again. “See that one? Oh boy, it even has access to her …”

“Gift card,” I said as I grabbed his arm and pulled him through the crowd that had gathered. “Cookbooks, kitchen aides, pottery, DVD’s, pet toys.”

“Boy,” he said, twisting his arm from my grasp and looking back one last time. “You sure don’t have the holiday spirit.”

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

348. Happiness


Oh no. It was C.W. as “The Galilean” again. I thought maybe if I ignored him, he would go away, or change shapes. I puffed on my cigar and stared at the geese on the pond.

No such luck. “Hey, I’m talkin’ to you. What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” I said. “Just relaxing.”

“Why alone?”

“I like solitude,” I said, though I knew he didn’t take hints. After an awkward silence, I looked at him. He was in his “serious” robe, the one with the purple band and tassels. I looked closer. In one hand, he was carrying a bottle of single malt scotch whisky. The label pronounced it 12 years old. The other hand held two glasses. That got my attention. “But welcome ... sit,” I said.

He plopped into a chair and laid the bottle and glasses on a table between us. We sat in the back yard of the farm, taking advantage of a warm fall day. He uncorked the bottle and poured two-fingers into each glass. He took a small sip, nodded approval and slid the other glass to me. He straightened his robe, leaned back, surveyed the view, and spoke. “Where’s the wife?”

That caught me in mid-sip and I almost spewed out the precious liquid. Somehow, I managed to get it down. “You,” I said, “have a lot of nerve asking where my wife is.”

“Why,” he said, “what did I do?” He sipped and gave me his “Falloonian dumbass” look.

“She heard what you said.”

“When I said what?”

I gave him my “Do you really think I’m that stupid?’ look. “When I passed the word to you that she wished you would take off your shoes, knock them together, and get the mud off them before you enter the house.”

“She said that?”

“She said that.”

“And I said?”

I shook my head, not believing what I heard. “You said, if I recall it exactly, ‘that’s a lot of effort just to please some grumpy old broad,’ and she heard you.”

“So?” He raised his glass and I detected a smile.

“We can’t talk like that.”

“Oh yes,” he said. “We can now. Haben Sie nicht gehört? He stopped and stared into space as if he had experienced a pain. I heard a soft, organic “click” and he looked at me. “I mean to say, haven’t you heard?”

“I’ve heard that drinking affects your GUT.”

“My Universal Galactic Translator is fine. What you need to understand is that what your species call ‘political correctness’ is gone, dead, finiskaput.” He drained his glass and poured himself another. After tasting it, he chuckled and said, “There’s a new sheriff in town.” He seemed pleased with himself.

“Not around here, and we don’t call it ‘political correctness.’”

“What do you call it?”


“Well,” he said, after a drink, “I forgive her of course. She’s still our sister-in … in … well … in-Me.”

“I’m sure that will ease her tension,” I said. I took a drink, savored it, and enjoyed my cigar.

“What tension?” he said. “It’s time of great rejoicing. We’re going to show them a thing or two.”

I guess Mrs. Big dope thinks muddy shoes
are as evil as the wrong e-mail account. - C.W.
“Show whom a thing or two?”

“Oh,” he said, “your turban-heads, wetbacks, Jews, feminazis, and ni…”

“C.W.,” I said. “Shut your mouth.”

“Jeez,” he said, “don’t get all moral on me. Most people are rejoicing. Even our foreign friends.”

“What foreign friends?”

He drank, and shook his glass at me. “I have it on good authority, from a friend of mine, that old Vladimir is dancing in the streets.”

“What friend?”

He finished off his drink, and as his he moved the glass from his lips, he jabbed his thumb down toward the center of the earth. “A good friend,” he said. “An old acquaintance. And boy, is he happy.”

I sighed.

“But don’t worry,” he said. “You’re an old man. “There’s a lot of folks they need to get to before they come for you: the merciful, the peacemakers, and half-a-dozen others. Franklin Graham has the whole list. Doesn’t mention aliens at all. You don’t see me getting all uptight, do you?”

A voice erupted from within the house. “Jesus Christ!” it said.

He turned toward it. “Yes?” Then he recognized the voice. “Got to go,” he said. He drained his glass, grabbed the bottle, and scurried away, saying “Them bitches got to learn that they lost and need to get over it."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

C.W. dropped by a few minutes ago smoking a cigarette and looking a lot like the late Edward R. Murrow again. Although I didn’t ask him to, he plopped on the couch and blew a cloud of smoke my way.

“My wife is going to kill you,” I said.

“Nah,” he said, “The cigarettes will get me first. Besides …”
“Besides, what?"

“I just had a thought involving a high degree of something happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this.”

I had to think for a moment. “You mean something ironic?”

“That’s what I said. Why do you repeat me so much?”

“How long has it been since you had a GUT check?”

“My Galactic Universal Translator is fine.”

“So share your irony with me.”

“Just thinking,” he said, “that the most important thing facing your species now is to keep that newly elected man in office for four years.”

“Do what?”

“Keep him in office. He has a penchant for boredom. Look at the number of wives he’s had.”
I heard of a Southern funeral once
where the only praise offered for
 the deceased was "I always heard
his brother was worse." - C.W.
“Well, yeah,” I said, ‘but why …” I stopped when it dawned on me. “Oh.”

“You got it brother,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said. “As if I didn’t have enough things to worry about.”

“You mean you wouldn’t like a law that forced ‘holy rollerness’ on everyone?”


“Then hope for good health. It would be too much to ask you to pray, I suppose?”

“I might even consider that,” I said.

“To God?”

“Why not?” I said. “She might listen this time.”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

347. Jobs

With apologies to G.O. ...

Oh brother, as if I didn’t have enough troubles, here comes C.W. as Lucky and Lefty, the conjoined twins. I could hear them … him … whatever, coming from some distance away. They entered the room where I sat. They were arguing as usual.

“Guest workers, by god,” Lucky was saying.

“Bull,” Lefty said. They tried to face one another and began to spin in a circle. I could barely make out what Lefty was saying. “Volunteer temporaries. That’s what they were.”

“Fellas,” I said. Then repeated it louder as the circling slowed. “What the heck is going on?”

“Butt-wipe here,” Lucky said, “is invading my territory.” A hand pointed at Lefty.

“Scumbag is stupid,” Lefty said, the other hand pointing at Lucky.

“Prick,” Lucky said. “I’m the Minister of Truth. You’re just the Minister of Love.”

“Screw you and all the imbeciles out there,” Lefty said. “You wouldn’t know a truth if it bit you in one of our asses.”

“I tell you they were guest workers,” Lucky said. “It’s already in the textbooks.”

“Whoa fellas,” I said. “Stop turning and tell me what’s going on.”

“We have jobs,” Lefty said.

“Good jobs,” Lucky said.

That stopped me. “What kind of jobs?”

“Good jobs,” Lefty said. “In the new administration.”

“I’m the new Minister of Truth,” Lucky said. “I write history, served up as ordered, the new way. The better way.”

“What better way?”

“Before it happens.”

“I see,” I said, but I didn’t.

“I’m the new Minister of Love,” Lefty said. “Spreading the gospel to the unsuspecting nincompoops.”

“Ain’t we a pair?” Lucky said. “Folks will never know what hit them.”

I raised a hand, “But what’s his about ‘guest workers’ and such?”

“I have to decide, Lucky said, “what history will call the blackamoors that migrated to this country to get jobs picking cotton and cutting sugar cane, back when this country was great.”

“He wants to call them …,” Lefty began.

“I know what he wants to call them,” I said, “but ‘migrated’’’?

“Talk to the Minister of Peace about that,” Lucky said. “His troops rounded them up and brought them here. All I have to do is decide what history will call them.”

“As if your stupid species will know how to read history,” Lefty said. “The Minister of Knowledge has new plans for education … something about knowledge through ignorance.”

“There’s a spot open,” Lucky said, “if you need a job.”

“Oh? And what would that be?”

“The Minister of Plenty,” Lefty said. “I think its motto will be ‘Privation is Pleasure,’ or something like that.”

“Fellas,” I said. “This is all kind of ridiculous.”

“No, no,” they said in unison. Lucky added, “That’s a no-no. Opinion-Speak is punishable. Don’t make me call the Goodness Gendarmes.” He smiled. “I am the Minister of Truth, after all, and silence shouts loudest.”

“Speaking of the Goodness Gendarmes,” Lefty said, “where is Mrs. Big Dope? We need to talk to her? Take her down to see …,” he pulled a note pad from his pocket and read, “… a Franklin Graham, our new Minister of the Gospels. He thinks she needs re-programming to learn that hate is compassion.”
There will be no 'takers' in the new economy.
Plenty of jobs. Plenty of jobs. - C.W.
“He talks to God, you know,” Lucky said.

“Directly,” Lefty said.

That got my attention. “He wants to see my wife?”

“Quite so,” Lefty said, Mind telling us where we can find her?”

“And don’t,” Lucky said, “let her know we’re coming for her. We want it to be a …,” he struggled for the right word.

“A surprise,” Lefty said. Both heads nodded. He added, “We might have to keep her for a while, but don’t worry.”

“Bondage is freedom,” Lucky said.

“Actually,” I said, “she’s standing right behind you, with some of her friends. She’s the one with the baseball bat in her hand.”

With that, they shrieked in unison and ran from the room.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Daily Thoughts

 Hey friends: Ran across this a while ago:

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." - H.L. Mencken

Your Pal.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


You won’t believe it, dear friends. I almost didn’t myself, but after all these years nothing surprises me. What was it? Nothing less than C.W. as a spitting image of Archie Bunker, complete with cigar. When he showed, I got him out of the house as soon as possible and took him to the park  where we walked in an isolated area, the most isolated area I could find, and talked. It turned out to be more interesting than I thought.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” he was saying. “We could use a man like J. Edgar Hoover again.”

I stopped him. “Don’t you mean Herbert Hoover?”

“No, Big Dope. Weren’t you listening? J. Edgar.”

“And why, may I ask?”

“Elementary,” he said. “You never seen J. Edgar Hoover take part in a political campaign like this current clown, did you?”

I thought for a long time. “Not precisely,” I said.

“Bet your ass, not precisely,” he said. “That old boy didn’t care who was president. He was a man’s man.”

I let that one pass, and thought. While I was thinking, he continued. “He had files on them all. Didn’t matter to him who held office. He had a file, J. Edgar did.”

“By jove,” I said. “I think you have a point there.”

He changed directions like the lead car in a getaway attempt. “Now you take them coloreds.”

“Wait C.W.,” I said. “We don’t talk like that anymore.”

“Precisely my point,” he said. “If you can’t call them ‘coloreds,’ what can you call them?”

“Uh,” I said. “Americans?”

“That’s what they want,” he said. “For nobody to know the difference. Just like your dames.”

I looked around nervously. “Don’t worry,” he said. “She ain’t around.”


“Miss ‘fancy pants’ herself. Your wife.”

“What about my wife?”

“She don’t like the word ‘dames’ either, Mrs. Big Dope don’t. And don’t ask her if she ever got a job just because she was ‘cute and perky.’ Trust me on that one.”

“You didn’t?”

“Only once,” he said. “But trust me anyway. That dame has a temper.”

Just then a voice from behind us started yelling “Left, left, left you assholes.”

C.W., Archie … whoever, removed the cigar butt from his mouth and flipped it into the air just before the cyclist reached us. A man wearing an outfit resembling that of a space-rocket captain in a 1950s science fiction flick sailed by us. “Move your stupid asses o…,” he was saying when the cigar landed in his mouth. The bicycle wavered and sailed down an embankment into a clump of trees with a loud crash.

“Now,” my companion continued, heedless of the commotion, “you take them liberals.”
If your species had paid more
attention to this man in the 1970s.
You would understand your
voters better in 2016. - C.W.
“Like me and the Galilean?”

“Like you and that robe-wearing, love-spouting, wine-guzzling, do-gooder.”

“But,” I said, “he’s you, on one of your better days.”

“I may have been him before,” he said. “But never again. I seen the light.”

“What light?”

“The light that says good, hard-working white men like me ain’t got a chance no more.”

“Want to explain that?”

“They are giving all our jobs to the coloreds, the dames, the latinics, and the hispanos.”


“Even puttin’t them in charge of white men. We ain’t got no chance. They’ll be wantin’ to use our bathrooms next thing you know. We’ll all disappear before long. Until then, we’ll just take orders from them.”

I was speechless. “Where did you hear all this?” I managed.

“On this news show I been watchin’. They report and I decide.” He lit another cigar. “I mean,” he continued, “how would you like for Mrs. Big Dope to control your every move, boss you around, control your life, make every decision? Just let you be a pawn in the game of life?”

“C.W.” I said, and I said it soft and slow, so he wouldn’t miss the point. “Has anyone ever told you that you are a complete idiot?’

“Sure,” he said. “I’ve heard that. Lots of times.”

“From whom?”

“Mrs. Big Dope,” he said. Then he started making gestures as if his hands were disabled by palsy. “Now,” he said, “you take them cripples.” But he was talking to himself. I had slipped away and was going down the hill to check on the bicyclist.

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Daily Thoughts

What C.W. and I discussed this morning.

A life worth studying: Lewis Mumford. The meme echoes my feelings on this fourth day before the elections. Only problem is … almost everything Mumford warned of came pass and his advice remains pertinent but unheeded by many. Recall:  “A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.” 

My favorite of his quotes: "Adding highway lanes to deal with traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to cure obesity."

If only someone could remind the Arkansas Highway Construction Department of this.

C.W. says "Happy Guy Fawkes Day."

Sunday, October 30, 2016

345. Fright

“Oh, you frightened me!”

“That’s what I’m supposed to do.”

“What kind of mask is that? And no, I’m not taking you ‘trick-or-treating.”

“It’s called ‘The Orange Man.’ It’s a new one this year. Frightening huh? And why ain't you taking me to scare people?”

“Because you’re an alien. That’s scary enough already.”

C.W. had taken the form he uses on many festive occasions, that of Little Ricky, the troublesome ten-year-old. I had to admit that he looked cute. I looked him over. “What’s that on your shirt?”

“I customized it myself,” he said. “It says ‘Grab or Treat’ Neat huh?”

I frowned. “The answer is still no.”


“Because I said so.”


“Remember what happened last year?”

“Why … I mean what?”

“Ask our neighbor. Her daughter still runs and hides under the bed when someone knocks on the door.”

“What?” he said. “I didn’t even wear a costume last year. I went as myself.”

“I think that was the problem,” I said.

“Jeesh. Your species sorely lacks a sense of humor.”

“I think we are all beginning to realize that,” I said. “And the answer is still no. But you are free to ask my wife to take you.”

“I already did.”

“What did she say?”

“I don’t know. I ducked and ran in here before I heard her say anything, but I expect you don’t want to know, what she said that is.”

“It’s a silly tradition anyway,” I said. “And, unlike yours, the costumes are not scary anymore. What evil spirit would think that a young princess, or a ballet dancer, or Spider-Man, was one of them?”

“Oh,” he said, “I think big business has gotten into the act, he said. It’s not ‘All-hallows-eve’ anymore. It’s more like ‘All-profits-ease.’ Did you know,” he said, “that your people spend six billion dollars annually on Halloween?”

“Is this conversation going somewhere? I’m really busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Give me a moment and I’ll think of something.”

“Just take me to Perry’s house. He’ll give me a treat.”

“He’ll invite you in to listen to his music.”

“That old big-band stuff?”

“It surely won’t be ‘Stinky Colin and the Gut Tracks.’ Is that still your favorite band?”

“I like The Gut Tracks,” he said. “They’re, like, awesome. Have you heard their new one, ‘I want to grab you like a steam shovel grabs a tunnel of coal.’ Neat.” He paused to savor the thought. “Now will you take me or not?”


“Why not?”

I thought. “Because the church doesn’t like it.”

“What church?”

“Oh, some church I read about said it was a pagan festival and any kid that dressed up like ghost, or monster, or alien and destroyed property would go to Hell.”

“Since when did you care what a church thought? And,” he said. “we don’t destroy property.”

That snapped my head around. “Oh? Would you like to ride over and take a look at Mr. McGee’s barn?”
Scary is as scary does, I say. - C.W.
“It just has the word ‘Brick’ painted on it.”

Yes, that’s what is says now. That’s not what it said originally.”

“Toady Carmichael did that.”

“That’s not what he says. And should we continue to Mrs. Patterson’s chicken house?”

He fidgeted. “There’s no chicken house on Mrs. Patterson’s place.”

“No,” I said. “Not now.”

“We were just carrying on a tradition established by your species. Harmless fun.”

“My wife has a photograph of an undergarment strapped around an oak tree,” I said. “Want to ask her to defined ‘harmless?’”

He began to look around, rather nervously I thought. The blond wig-hair fell across his orange face. He squirmed. “Just locker-room stuff," he said. He glanced toward the kitchen and squirmed again.

“You didn’t,” I said. “Tell me you didn’t.”

At this moment, a pot flew through the living room door and crashed against a wall. A voice shrieked, “Where is he?”

“Come on,” he said. “That woman is in a nasty mood. Let’s get out of here and let her cool off. Then we’ll come back and make this place great again.”

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

344. Confusion

C.W. is caught in a loop. He’s settled on one shape for a while. He’s sticking with “The Galilean.” Seems it suits his fancy and irritates the Fallloonian Elders at the same time.

I did get him to modify the robe. He shortened it into a loose fitting white 1960s era pullover with linen trousers and sandals. He gets a few stares but so far we haven’t been arrested. So, I took him for a walk one day last week so we could talk. He looked fairly normal until he pulled a Chicago Cubs hat from a drawer and screwed it down over this long hair.

“What?” he said when I looked at him and shook my head. “Look pal,” he said. “I, for one, can sure tell you that miracles can do happen. Don’t start in with me. Remember what I did those stupid pigs?”

I shrugged and we took off from our condo on the east side and walked toward the tall buildings. Two blocks later, we met a young woman walking a small, but well-groomed young poodle. C.W. stopped, tipped his Cubs hat and said, “Afternoon ma’am. Taking Tiger out for his afternoon walk?”

She pulled the lease tight, and crossed the street at a right angle to us. Halfway across, she stopped, looked back, then hurried on.

“I like to greet my people,” he said. “They do love me so.”

I said nothing and we walked on. Our conversation had drifted to drone warfare. “I told them,” he said, “that the peace makers were blessed as far as I was concerned. What the hell part of that do they not understand?” He stopped, turned to me and asked for a quarter. I handed him one. He walked to the curb and inserted it into and expired meter. “Like the candidate says,” he said as he returned. “Do it to them like you’d want them to do it to you.”

“Uh ...,” I said, but he interrupted.

“I’m thirsty, let’s stop in for a cold one.”

We were in front of a local pub and diner with a loyal clientele and a nice view of the busy streets outside. We went in a took a seat. A nice young person of indeterminate gender immediately came to take our order. “Do you have Gitztusmilinga beer?” C.W. asked.

“Never heard it,” the server said.

“Oh my child,” C.W. said, “You are so deprived. It’s a favorite where I come from.”

“I can’t help that,” the server said. “We have Bud, Bud Light, Mil …”

“Just bring me a glass of water,” he said. “I’ll make my own drink.” Seeing no response, he added, “That’s supposed to be a joke.”

“Miller Light, Dos Equis, Mich …”

“Just bring us a couple of Stellas,” I said. The sever looked relieved and scurried off.

When the beers arrived, he took a long drink, lowered the mug to the table, and said, “I’m pissed off about this divorce thing,” he said.

“I’m not sure,” I said, “that you’re supposed to be using that sort of language.” I stopped. “What divorce thing?”
Hell, next thing you know, they'll be talking about
how much I love rich people. - C.W.

“Didn’t I tell them it was a sin?”

“Very plainly,” I said. “I agree, but …”

“Stick your ‘but’ where the sun doesn’t shine,” he said. “I told them it was a sin and now they say it’s being taken out of the discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning.”

“You mean taken out of context.”

“That’s what I said. Don’t change the subject.” He took a long drink and signaled to the server to be preparing another. “I told them divorces really got on my nerves and these … these … these … what was it I called them last time we discussed it? Holy-rotators?”

“Evangelicals,” I said.

“Exactly,” he said. “The ones who claim to talk directly to me. The server sat another beer in front of him, took the empty away, and hurried back to the bar. “Now ain’t that a joke?”

I was having a good time playing along. “So you don’t talk to them?”

“Hell no,” he said, slamming his mug on table so hard that a bit of beer spilled out. He wiped it with a finger and licked the finger. “I wouldn’t talk to them if they knew where Scarlett Johansson lived.” He took a drink. “There’s someone else who talks to them. I’ll tell you about him someday.” He paused took a breath and lowered his voice. “Anyway,” he said, “I understand that these … these … these … what did you call them?”


“Yeah, evangilistas. I understand they intend to vote for a man who has had two divorces. That’s crap if you ask me.”

I shrugged.

“Ain’t that a bit,” he said, “like a Cubs fan rooting for some team in, oh, I don't know ... Ohio?”

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

343. Literature

I couldn’t believe my ears, but there it was, unmistakable. C.W. was singing again. Not only singing, he had one of my guitars and was pounding away in near-rhythm. What the…?

I stepped through the door and stared. It was C.W. in what is his current favorite form, the Galilean. He didn’t see me at first so I watched as he wailed,

“I was lost, my life was murky,
You come along, lookin’ cute and perky,
I snatched a grab and you just melted,
Like Joan of Arc, so I knew you felt it,
Love, love, like a sweet rain fallin’”

I must have gasped, for he stopped and looked up. “Hey Big Dope, what’s up?” Then he appeared to have an inspiration and started singing again.

“You walked in and I was singing,
Words of praise, your ears was ringing,
So I sang loud and the world stopped turning,
Paris fell, and Rome was burning,
Love, love like a kitten purrin,’”

He stopped. “What do you think?”

I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. I think maybe I nodded but I’m not sure.

“Don’t talk to me about great literature,” he said. He gathered his white robe beneath him and reached for a pitcher of, I learned later, frozen margaritas. He filled a glass and sipped. Then he seemed to notice me again. He nodded toward the pitcher. “Want one?”

I still couldn’t find my voice, so I just shook my head. “My second batch,” he said. “I heard that songwriters must get stoned.” He stopped, “Hey,” he said, grabbing pen and scribbling like a maniac. “Songwriters must get stoned … no, lonely people must get stoned … no, crazy people must get stone … no, poets and prophets must … oh Me... who the hell must get stoned? Oh well. I’ll think of it later.” He put the pen aside and sipped his drink. “Must be one too many mornings,” he said, then stopped and grabbed the pen again. “… and a thousand steps, no, drinks, no, smiles, no, something something something … a thousand somethings behind.” He resumed his drinking.

I found my voice at last. “Would you mind telling me what you are doing?”

“Just hanging out on Desolation Street,” he said. “Street, road, trail, Desolation Something.” He forgot me again and started writing.

“Doing what?”

“Gonna be a poet,” he said. “A singing poet. Maybe be one of them laurellets some day.”

“So you mean laureates?”

“Ain’t that what I just said? Geez. You walk into the room, with your uh, hmmm … briefcase, yeah, briefcase … in your hand.” He froze and grabbed the pen. “Wait one,” he said as he began to scribble.

“Have you gone mad?”

“They say all us poets are mad,” he said. “And you know you have to have a news man to know which way the vote goes.” He stopped and looked up. He nodded and smiled. “Listen to this.” He started to sing.

“I met you in the cornfield, right around Christmas time,
I liked the way you jiggled, so I thought I might drop a dime,
You ran off and left me, for a holy-roller preacher man,
Then I knew that I would find you, sittin’ in a witness stand.”

He looked a me and smiled. “What do you think?”
It can't be hard. It looks so easy
when this man does it. - C.W.

“I think maybe you mixed your metaphors.”

“My whatafors?”

“Never mind,” I said. “Are you going to be a while?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Ain’t you going to stay and listen?”

“I’d rather shoot myself,” I said.

For a moment he looked hurt. Then he smiled, cocked his head to one side, looked down and started writing.

“Yonder stands old Big Dope with his gun … no … yonder stands your landlord with … no … yonder stands your best friend … no … mentor … no … brother … cousin … hus …”

I quietly slipped away. Later I walked by the door and heard him still at it. “Stuck inside of Pittsburgh …no … stuck inside of Dallas … no … stuck inside of Cleveland … Tucson … no … oh crap!”

This time I didn’t stop. They were announcing the Nobel Prize winners and I wanted to see if there were any surprises. Probably not, but who could tell?

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

342. Realities

“Hey,” I said, “wake up.”


“Wake up. It’s almost noon.”

C.W. was asleep in my favorite chair in the shape of Wrangler Bill. He wore dark clothing and had a broad-brimmed Stetson hat in his lap. Imagine a cross between “The Gambler” and a carnival barker. He had been snoring with loud grunts when I walked in. Now he opened one eye in partial wakefulness. “Screw you,” he said.

“You’re going to think screw you if my wife catches you tossing cookies to her dogs again. She said she counted ten separate piles of crumbs on the kitchen floor.”

He opened the other eye. “Mrs. Big Dope’s problem,” he said, “is that she is still stuck in a reality-based world that doesn’t exist anymore.”

I stepped closer to him. “Now where did you learn that phrase?”

“On TV,” said. “Ask Sean Hannity. Sean Hannity knows. Sean Hannity, Sean Ha…”

He drifted off to sleep again. His hat slid off his lap and onto the floor. I picked it up and swatted him the face with it. “Wake up,” I said. “She’s coming back soon. Do you have that ten dollars you borrowed from her?”

“Don’t worry,” he said. “It’ll trickle down.”

“It will what?”

“It will trickle down to her,” he said. “Or at least it would if there were no taxes.”

“No what?”

“Taxes. If we didn’t have to, well …,” he stopped or a moment, “if you didn’t have to pay taxes, the ten dollars would be back in her hand in days.”

“Where did you hear such an idea?”

“At the Libertarians’ Club meeting I attended last night.”

“You told her you would pay her back today.”

“I never said that.”

“You said that. I heard you.”

“I never said that.”

“We both heard you say it.”

“I never said that.”

“I think she will agree with me.”

“Sure she will,” he said. “You’re both liberals … all bound up and constrained by facts.”

“The fact is,” I said, “she will make you regret it if you don’t pay her back.”

“I have a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.,” he said.

“A what?” Then I thought. “Do you mean you have a plan?”

“That’s what I said.”

“Your Galactic Universal Translator needs adjusting again.”

“My GUT is fine,” said. “I have the best GUT in the country. Everyone admires my GUT.”

“But what kind of plan do you have to pay your debts?”
Using this man for validity would
 be like using 
 Bernie Madoff for
 financial advice if you ask me. - C.W.

“A great plan,” he said. “It will be the greatest plan you ever saw.”

“That’s what you told me when you promised to clean your room and didn’t.”

“I never said that.”

“I’ll tell you what.” I said.


“My wife has plans to deal with people, and that includes you, who don’t operate in a fact-based world.”

“I have a plan to deal with Mrs. Big Dope,” he said. “And it is a great plan.”

“Really? What’s the plan?”

“The same one I use to deal with all women.”

“And that is?”

“I just look them in the eye and grab their …”

“Shut up,” I said. “Stop. Not another word.”

“Hand,” he said, “then I tell them to trust me. It works every time.”

“You disgust me,” I said and turned away. The back door opened and I heard a female voice.’’

“Do you have the money you owe me?” it said.

“Yes I do,” C.W. yelled toward the voice. “I gave it to Big Dope to give to you.”

I swirled around, but he had vanished.

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