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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