Sunday, April 24, 2016

318. Sundown Reflections

“Oh man. Would you look at those curves,” I rushed in to see and found C.W. using my laptop without permission. That’s very much against the rules, since the incident with a certain website. “Holy cow, get a load of this.” He looked at me and said, “You naughty boy.” He gave me a wink, a ridiculous gesture in his present form of the teenage wonder kid.

I came around him and looked. “Get out of there,” I said. He had found some files of old photos I had taken when I fancied myself as a photographer skilled in black and white studies of the human form. Really. Just an artistic endeavor.


“Does she know you have these? He pushed my hand away and continued scrolling. “Man oh man,” he said.

I wrestled the laptop away and exited the folder he had been examining. “Just what,” I said, “do you think you are doing?”

“How old were you when you took those?” He offered his best impression of a conspiratorial look.

“None of your business. Now what are you doing on my laptop?”

“Writing a report.”

“To whom?”

“The Falloonian Elders.”

“About what?”

“The so-called ‘The time in the evening when the sun disappears or daylight fades-cities in America.' He paused. “How did you talk her into it?”

I ignored him as I was trying to decipher his last statement. “Do you mean “Sundown Cities?”

“That’s what I said. You need to get your ears checked.”

“Are the sunspots affecting your Galactic Universal Translator again? You need to get it checked.”

“My GUT is fine and I trust it above all as your last president used to say. It’s your conscience that you should be worried about. Ooo la la. He made that swarmy face again, sort of a cross between Joel Osteen and Eddie Haskell.”

It was my turn to practice ignoring. “Why are you interested in Sundown Cities?”

“I’m not. The elders are.”

“And why are the elders interested?”

“They saw a documentary about them.”

“A documentary?”

“Yes. They like to watch documentaries from Earth during the Tri-Moon Phase while there is much laughter and jollity going on. Hey,” he said, “maybe I could do one on young husbands who talk their wives into doing something silly and don’t destroy the evidence like they promised. I could call it ‘The Unused.’ Get it?”

“So what do you want to know about Sundown Cities?”

“Did they really post signs on the city limits saying “People of color, probably descendants of dark-skinned guest works imported from the African mainland, don’t let the sun go down on you in this town.”

“I don’t think that’s the exact terminology used, but yes, that was the basic message.”

“And if a person ignored the warning, what happened?”

“You don’t want to know.” I hit “delete,” and gave him a mock smile.

“You missed one,” he said.

“Oh.” I searched and then looked at him. “And where is it?”

“Somewhere in cyberspace speeding toward its final destination.”

“You better not have.”

“So,” he said. “Back to Sundown Cities and their signs. Do they still exist?”

“The cities do but not the signs, unless one is hanging on the wall of some aged mayor’s hunting lodge.”

“But the cities, they still exist?”

“Quite so.”

“How do they get the message across?”
Now I finally understand coded
 messages like "Good Schools." -C.W

“They have more subtle ways in modern times.”

“And I suppose the cities themselves are slowly disappearing?”

I looked up from my computer in surprise. “What are you talking about?”

“I would assume they are not highly sought-out places in these more enlightened times.”

“Are you kidding me?” I pushed the computer away.

“No. Why? You don’t mean such cities still thrive?”

“Thrive?” I said. “They are some of the fastest growing places in our state.”

He started to say something but a piercing shriek shattered the air. “Jimmieeeee,” it said. “Don’t let sundown catch you in this house again.” I heard the scuffling of a chair at my wife’s computer station. I turned to ask C.W. what this was about.

He was gone.

Click on some ads. It costs them money and makes me some.

Also check out and

And buy Big Dope's book It's really quite good.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

317. Winning

There have been times over the years when C.W. would disappear for weeks at a time. I never mentioned it to him since I enjoyed the respite and the peace at home that his departures would bring. Once last fall, though, I had begun to miss the little creep and I decided to ask him about his extended leaves. He had reappeared as a man in his early forties, looking distraught, even a bit put out, if you can imagine.

“What’s up?” I asked as he paced the room, looking around in a nervous fashion.

He looked at the ceiling and back at me. “Is that a real question or slang?”

 “Slang,” I said.

“Oh.” He thought for a moment and said. “I could make a joke about what’s up these days and what’s not.”

“Never mind,” I said. “We can do without your humor, or your joke.”

“I will save it and tell Mrs, Big Dope later,” he said.

I sat erect and pointed my finger. “Don’t you dare,” I said. “She’s going to be upset enough that you’ve come back.”

“She likes me well enough,” he said. “She would be fine if you would just give her what she needs.”

“C.W.,” I said. “Shut up.”

He ignored me and continued absentmindedly, “… a few days off … a vacation … maybe a nice cruise … some flowers.”

I relaxed. “Someday,” I said, “we are going to have a talk about your syntax.”

“My what?”

“Never mind,” I said. “Why don’t you just share with me where you’ve been.”

“Coaching high school football. The Elders got wind of your species’ obsession with it and had me give it a try—coaching it, that is.”

“But you quit. Why?”

“Lost all my star players.”

“That’s awful. How?”


“Your star players were sophomores?”

“No. The star players were all senior boys.”

“Well, then, who were the sophomores?”


“Girls?” A sliver of understanding began to pierce through the dark clouds of my mind. But then he broke in.”

“Have you ever heard of something called a ‘registered sex offender list,’ with addresses and all, that has to be made public?”

I started in disbelief. “Do you mean …?”

“Some of the most prestigious homes in that city are now on it.”

“How? What happened?”

“Seems there was this club,” he said, “among the sophomore girls.”

“A club?”

“Called the ‘Boffin’ Stud Seducers’ and all the best looking girls in the class belonged to it.”

“You are kidding me.”

“Nope. The ‘Boffin SS’ as they called themselves, required only one thing for permanent membership.”


“Well of course that, but they also required undeniable proof of the act.”

“Undeniable pr …”

“An arrest record.”

“Oh wow,” I said. “Don’t tell me …”

“Complete with videos. And you know about social media, right?”

“Oh man.” My mind wrestled to digest the implications. “So you don’t coach anymore.”

“To say the least.”

“The least?”

“Take a good look at this shape,” he said. “You won’t be seeing it again.”

“But how were you implicated?”

“Simple,” he said. “Lack of supervision.”

“But how? How can you be responsible for a group of girls that start some terribly immoral and vindictive club?”

“Oh,” he said. “It’s worse than that.”

Silly me ... I always thought this was a gesture
indicating victory on the playing field. C.W
“How could it be?”

“Well,” he said. “It seems the senior football stars had a club of their own.”

“Oh … my … god.” I struggled to speak. “And how long had this been going on?”

“Best guess …,” he said. “Fifteen years or so.”

“And nobody did anything?”

“Boys will be boys.”

I sat back and let it all sink in. I couldn’t think of anything to say. All I could come up with was,  “And how was your win-loss record with all this?”

“Oh,” he said,” I would say it was the girls 11 and the boys zero.”

Click on some ads. It costs them money and makes me some.

Also check out and

And buy Big Dope's book It's really quite good.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

316. Confusion

C.W. walked in to where I was writing and plopped into a chair. I looked up and saw what appeared to be one of those pundits they bring on television news to explain the inexplicable. He was dressed as a Lt. Colonel of the Army, so I guessed he was supposed to be “our military affairs” expert. Yes, they often forget that a Lt. Colonel (Ret.) is someone who never made it “to the Boardroom” as they say. Anyway …

“What do people mean,” he said, “when they refer to “Bible-humping?”

“Say what?”

“Bible-humping,” he said. “Are they referring to the antics of King David, or maybe those randy Corinthians?”

“Say what?”

“I read your Bible,” he said. “Maybe they were talking about King Solomon. Now there was a dude that liked women.” He thought. “Or maybe pomegranates, or breasts, or both. Whichever way, he had a real case of it.”


His head snapped with a slight motion as if he hated to leave an image. “That’s what I said.”

I hit “Control-S” on my computer and leaned back. A mental door opened and a thought emerged. “Do you,” I said, “by any chance mean “Bible-thumping?’”

He had been on the verge of saying something, but this stopped him cold. He thought. "It’s her again,” he said, his eyes reverting to a cold gleam.

“You’ve been listening to your Galactic Universal Translator, haven’t you?”

“My GUT is fine,” he said, “but someone has been hacking into the updates they forward from my home planet.”

“Oh,” I said, knowing it came out sounding a little weak.

“How do you stay married to her?” he said.

“Well,” I said, “for one thing I don’t come to the door, when she’s alone, in the shape of one of her old boyfriends.”

“She shouldn’t have kept his picture and showed it to me,” he said.

“She showed you the picture of one of her old boyfriends?”

He shrugged. “Sort of.”

“What do you mean, sort of?”

“I, uh, more or less came across it.”

“Were you going through her stuff again?”

“Collecting valuable data," he said. “That’s all I was doing … research.”

“You weren’t wearing her things, were you? We’ve talked about that.”

“Know what she said?” he asked, ignoring me.

I persevered. “Were you?”

“She said, ‘Now you can see what I could have had and compare it to what I got,’ and she took it away from me and held it to her, pomegranates, I mean her breasts.”

Have I ever mentioned the fact that sometimes C.W. lies when it suits his purpose?

“I doubt that,” I said.

“Suit yourself,” he said. “Now about this ‘Bible-thumping’ thing. What do they mean?”

“It’s a saying,” I said, “that refers to the act of using Biblical references to justify questionable actions or beliefs.”

“Like it’s okay for a king to send his best friend to be killed in battle so he can get the friend’s wife alone and …”

“It can refer to any number of things, such as slavery, that people use their interpretation of the Bible to justify.” I said, interrupting him.

“Like electing scoundrels to public office?”

“That too,” I said.

He stood and assumed a look of panic.

“I’ve got to go,” he said.
“I … will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the
 boughs  thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters
 of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples ..."
If this refers to, “the glorious and splendid clothing
 worn  by the saintly,” then I’m confused, - C.W.


“To check my GUT.”

“It does make one a little nauseated to think about it, doesn’t it?”

“Not that,” he said. “It’s my translator.”

“What about it?”

“I don’t think she was finished,”

“What makes you say that?”

His eyes rolled upward as if he may have been mentally scrolling a list. Then he looked straight at me and said, “There’s no such thing, is there,” he said, “as a holy-stroller?”

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Dear Ask The Alien:

My husband calls me a hoarder. What's worse, he is playing awfully mean tricks on me. Of course I have no hoarding issues. I have no issues at all, except for a slight penchant for revenge. But let me tell you what he did. I'm pretty sure that he threw away one of my "Good Housekeeping" magazines from the early 1980s. I noticed that the stack for that decade has lost height equal to about one volume. If I can crawl over my collection of plastic butter tubs—you know how useful they are for storing things—I plan to search out the stolen issue.

He has also threatened to throw away the portable television that I took to college with me in 1969 because, he says, it hasn’t worked in nearly 30 years. You and I both know that’s no reason to discard a treasured friend. I watched “The Moon Landing” on that television, and I’m going to have it repaired as soon as I find a way through my collection of "L. L. Bean" catalogs. I think I can stand on some of my “World Book Encyclopedia” annual updates and reach it.

My dilemma: I plan to get back at him. Do you think I should use the BB gun I got when I was ten or the slingshot I made in Vacation Bible School when I was eight? Call me a hoarder will he? The very idea.


Dear Offended:
For some reason I feel sure that you have a collection of “Encounter Bats,” I recommend one of the originals which, I believe, came out around 1989. May I further suggest that, in the unlikely event that I know this person, you make sure of the object of your revenge before launching the attack?

The Alien C.W.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

315. Simplicity

It’s easy to tell when C.W. is in a serious mood. He dresses in a woolen robe and takes on the form of—well—a prophet, or something like that. That’s what I saw sitting by the garden this afternoon, a regular holy man, although he was sipping some of my best bourbon whiskey and smoking one of my cigars.

“Sit down, my son,” he said, motioning toward a cooler of ice and the bottle. “Have a drink?”

“You are awfully generous with my bourbon,” I said.

“Generosity and good will should extend to even the least of my brethren,” he said. He leaned back, took a puff, and blew a perfect smoke ring into the sky. “Know what I’ve been thinking about?” He said.

“I shudder to contemplate,” I said. “I really can’t imagine, so why don’t you tell me.”

“The quality or condition of being easy to understand or do,” he said, taking a sip.

“Say what?”

“The state of being uncomplicated, or uncompounded.”


He looked at me and shook his head. “That’s exactly what I said. Why do you obfuscate so?”

That word caught me by surprise. “What about simplicity has started you navel-gazing?”

“I don’t understand you.”

“It’s just an expression,” I said. “Tell me about the simple life.”

He stuck the cigar in his mouth, leaned forward, filled a glass with ice for me, and poured us each a healthy shot. Leaning back, he contemplated the cloudless spring sky and said, “Your species seems devoutly to wish for a simple world,” he said, “except for the few, the devilish few, that spend their time making it increasingly complicated.”

“You have a point,” I said.

He turned to me and offered his glass in a toast, “Blessed are the simple-minded,” he said, “for they shall inherit the future.”

“Let us hope not,” I said.

“Oh, they will,” he said. “Just look at what your politicians are saying.”

“About what?”

“Oh,” he said, “take peace example. Someone says we can produce peace by rug-bombing a portion of the most sociologically complicated areas of the planet, and the masses erupt like they just heard that Elvis Presley is returning on the next transport.”

“That’s ‘carpet-bombing,’ and you have a point,” I said.

“The economy,” he said.

“What about it?”

“It is so complicated that no one in your planet’s history has ever managed fully to understand it.”

“True that,” I said, getting into the feel of this simplicity thing.

“But let a politician say that he will fix it by putting all the bankers in jail and you’d think he just promised them free pizzas.”

I thought this for a moment. Before I could respond, he said. “National security.”

“And …?”

He turned to with a puzzled look. “Build a wall? Are you serious? And then the same schemer will shout ‘state’s rights’ and the lemmings head straight for the cliff.”

“Building walls and state’s rights? Now how to those fit together?”

“Our planet observed your species the first time it built a great wall for security. Know what happened?”

“I suspect you’re going to tell me.”

“Each province–state if you will—faced the prospect of building its section. Can you see what might go wrong?”

“Uh …”

“You are exactly right. No one thought to assume the complicated task of centralized coordination and the various sections failed to connect, much to the delight of the mongrel hordes that poured through. I remember watching it on our telescopic feed as a teenager and laughing my butts off—all three of them.”

I tried to encompass that image in my mind, but he sipped and spoke again.

“Marriage,” he said.

“What about it?”

It's a safe bet that he would have
never been elected to office. - C.W.
“Who was the dude that said it would be simple if wives just obeyed their husbands.”

“A non-participant,” I said. “One much like you.”

“With a ‘thorn in his side,’ and a favored traveling companion,” he said.

“And your point is?”

“A simple marriage and an obedient wife,” he said, “and how did that work out for you and Mrs. Big Dope?”

“Is this conversation going somewhere?” I reached for the cigar box and found it empty. He had taken the last one.

“You can go now,” he said. “I’ve got to make a report to the Falloonian Elders.”

“About what?”

“They’ve asked for a list of all things I find admirable about your species.”

“Oh,” I said, “and what have you listed thus far?”

He thought for a long time, and said, “The courtesy-flush.” 

Click on some ads. It costs them money and makes me some.

Also check out and

And buy Big Dope's book It's really quite good.