Sunday, June 25, 2017

379. Cures

“Ancient wisdom.”

“Say what?”

“Yes,” he said. “Ancient medical wisdom. I’ve been asked to do research and make recommendations.”

There sat Reggie the Young Conservative in all his yuppie glory amidst a pile of notes and objects. He was typing on my laptop.

“What the hell, C.W.? What’s up?”

“Helping out,” he said.

“With what? For whom?”

“Tweaking the Anti-Care Act. For the Party.”

“Do you mean the so-called Affordable Care Act?”

“Oops,” he said. “That’s an inside joke. We’re not supposed to call it that in public. Anyway, some senators say it’s not harsh enough and want some cheaper approaches. I’m tasked to look at ancient ones. I’m on Egypt now.” He reached into the pile and retrieved a note. “Here’s one. Comparison Centers. They will save a bundle.”

“What on earth?”

“Herodotus tells us that an Egyptian with a particular illness would sit by the town gate with a sign listing the symptoms. Along would come someone who had suffered those same symptoms and survived. He’d share the cure and move on, cheap medical care if there ever was such a thing.”

“Comparison Centers?”

“Yep. We’ll place them in places with heavy foot traffic. We’ll even include chairs. We’re not heartless, you know.”

“Uh … . any other cost saving ideas?”

“You betcha. Here’s an idea I call ‘shame shacks’ that will save even more.”

“Shame shacks?”

“Yes. We believe, like the ancient Egyptians, that most illness are cause by a lack of religion. So we’ll furnish quiet places for the afflicted to go and repent while they pray.”

“You have to be kidding.”

He stiffened. “If you know anything about us, you know we don’t kid. A sense of humor is a sign of weakness. Quick,” he said, snapping his fingers. “Who is Secretary of Education?”

“I see.”

“Then don’t ever accuse us of kidding about America’s future.”

“Any other ideas?” I tacked the conversation toward calmer waters.

“Happy Halls.”

“And? Ancient Egypt again?”

“They were certain that beer would ‘gladden the heart’ in general, but when one was ill, medicines mixed with beer—and combined with spells—were thought particularly effective. Beer and wine were also prescribed for children and nursing mothers. A prescription from the Ebers Papyrus for childhood incontinence calls for the mother to drink a cup of beer mixed with grass seeds and cyperus grass for four days while breastfeeding the child.”

“So, Happy Halls would furnish free beer to the ill?”

He frowned. “Did you just use the word ‘free’ or was I dreaming? I never said beer would be free. Free is only for humans that happen to be corporations. Still, beer is cheaper and more plentiful than some medications, and many of the poor are already using it for other purposes.”

“I see.”

“Excuse me,” he said. “He rose and walked to a bookshelf and picked a volume of history. I took the opportunity to examine his papers.
Self-diagnosis and repentance:
sure cures for most ills. - C.W.
One caught my eye. “An onion?”

“Put that down,” he said. “We’re pretty sure we’re going to abandon that one or modify it substantially.’

I started to return it, but noticed something that made me gasp. “The onion is placed where? In a woman’s what … ?”

“Shut up,” he said. “Do you want Mrs. Big Dope to hear us?”

“And it determines what?”

“Hush.” He said.

“You don’t have any females on your committee, do you?”

“Too demanding. Not harsh enough. Too many moving parts. Now if you’ll excuse me,” he said, opening the volume of history. “I’ve got to get to the Chinese. If my chapter on birth control isn’t finished this week, they might throw me overboard like unwanted garbage.” He stopped, jerked his head toward the ceiling as if the overhead light had just flashed, and turned back to the book. He began to thumb the pages, muttering to himself and completely ignoring me.

“As long as they are born,” he said. “As long as they are born … as long as they are born.” He placed the book beside him and turned to the laptop. His voice trailed off and he typed with a fury I had never seen before.

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

378: Sin

“Explain it to me one more time. And this time, don’t just shake your head.”

“I’m not sure I can.”

“Look. You’re my host on this part of the earth and you’re supposed to explain things to me so I can send explanations back to the Falloonian Elders.”

“We’re sort of in unchartered waters right now.”

“Just what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

C.W. had appeared in a strange shape and was in a strange mood. The best description would be a cross between TV evangelist and a movie actor of the John Wayne genre. He wore a green, tailored suit that reflected sunlight to the point that it almost hurt one’s eyes. It was topped off by and wide Stetson hat. A pair of rattlesnake cowboy boots finished the effect. Strange.

“I want them damned cigars,” he said.

“I’m afraid not.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Our president has put trade restrictions back on with the country that makes them. We can’t go there.”

“That makes no sense whatsoever. What has this country done to upset your leader now?”

“Nothing now, it was nearly 60 years ago.”


“The country fell to Communist forces in January of 1959.”


“We haven’t done business with them since.”

Nothing in 60 years? That dude, your president, sure knows how to hold a grudge. Forgiveness ain’t part of his act, is it?”

“Some people claim the opposite. He did forgive the Russians. Not Cuba, though. They are still Communists.”

“So, you don’t do business with Communist countries? What the hell do you call China?”

Uh …, “


“It’s not only that they are Communists, or so he says.”

“Oh? Then what?”

“Human rights violations. Yeah. That’s it. Human rights violations. They mistreat people.”

“What do they do, chop off their heads if they don’t worship the right way? Do they get religion and governance all mixed up?”

“Uh … ,”

“Withhold rights from whole groups of people? Women? Gays?”

“Uh … ,”

“Send us terrorists?”

“None of those. They used to meddle in the affairs of other countries in the region, but I don’t think they’ve done that in a while. I don’t think they do much of anything, except dance. They do dance a lot.”

“So, meddling in the affairs of other countries is a hanging offense?” He stopped. He had been in John Wayne mode, but a change came over him. “Dance? Did you say dance?”


“Now we’re getting somewhere. This dancing crap. Can’t put up with that.”

“I’m glad you see that.”

“Sex. I bet they do that too, don’t they?”

“Oh, I’m sure they do.”

“It figures. Sin is as sin does. Bet they do it in all different ways as well.”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“You can be honest with me. Mrs. Big Dope is out shopping.”

“I still don’t know.”

“I’ll bet the first folks that came over to them from Europe taught them how to do it the right way.”

“I’m sure they did.”

“Then sin arose and showed its head.” He stopped and winked. “No joke intended, son. Once they started actually enjoying it, sex that is, it was a short distance to the wicked pathway of sin and despair.”
Beware of lurking perils. First thing you  know,
this woman will have you dancing. - C.W.
“Do you think so?”

“Oh yes. First thing you know they were doing it standing up. And you know what that led to, don’t you?”


“Damned right. The sin of all sins. I take it all back. It’s good to have a fine moral president. I couldn’t bear the thought that I was actually supporting a country that exported the terrors of dance along with their cigars.”

“I’m glad I was able to explain it to you.”

“Damned fine of you. Now, one more favor.”


“Let’s find another source of cigars.”


“See what you can find me from Columbia.”

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

377. Heroes

“How can Batman die?”

“Batman didn’t die. The actor Adam West, who portrayed Batman on television died.”


It was Timmie Joe the 14-year old nerd, one of C.W.’s favorite, but most pesky, shapes.

“Do superheroes ever die?”

“Not as general rule.”

“Do they get old?”

“Not as a general rule.”

“Do their beliefs change over the years?”

“Not as general ru …. . Say what?”

“Could we say that Superman, for example, helped the President fight the Russians back during the cold war?”

“You ask too many questions.”

“He did, didn’t he?”

“I suppose so.”

“Now the President’s best friends are the Russians.”


“Are they Superman’s best friends too?”

“You ask too many questions.”

"Was Superman hooking up with Lois Lane?"

"Don't use such language."

"Inquiring minds want to know. Did that 'man of steel' thing include … ,"

"You talk too much. Let's change the subject."

“Why were there no African-American superheroes back in the day?”

“Things were different then.”

“But superheroes aren’t supposed to think like everyone else, right?”

“Not as general rule.”

"Then why didn't Batman let Robin invite any black friends over for sleepovers?"

"I suppose Batman wanted to keep their secret."

"Were they … ,?"

"No. Those rumors are malicious and false. He just want to keep their identities secret."

“Why are there no gay superheroes?”

“Uh … ,”

“Who did Wonder Woman’s hair? There’s a good superhero sidekick for you.”

“Don’t stoop to stereotypes.”

“They could call him ‘Long Bob,” and he could fight crime with his comb and scissors.”

“Don’t you have something to do?”

“She could hold them down and he could do their hair.”

“Please stop.”

“Give them such a ‘do’ that they would never show their face again.”

“You know, as they used to say in the horror films, it just might work.”

“No, on second thought it wouldn’t.”

“You mean having an awful hair style wouldn’t shame someone into going straight and doing right?”

“Nah. Probably not.”

He fumbled into a pile of papers and held up a photograph.

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Stupid

C.W. and I were talking …

Actually, I was drawn into the room by commotion going on among the three heads. When I came within range, Left Head and Middle Head were berating Right Head.

“Shame,” said Left Head.

“My conclusion is that you have behaved poorly,” said Middle Head.

“Bite me,” said Right Head.

I interjected. “What’s going on here?”

“He’s been misbehaving,” Left Head said.

“A danger to our mission,” Middle Head said.

“Up ya’lls',” Right Head said.

I said, “Ya’lls'?”

“I’m picking up on my Southern roots,” Right Head said. “The rural south has been the moral backbone of America since before your Civil War.”

“Okay, okay,” I said. “Let’s all calm down and tell me what the matter is.”

“He’s breaking the primary rule any rational person would follow, and we’ve put a stop to it,” Left Head said.

“And that is?”

“I can’t say it,” Middle Head said. He turned to Left Hand. “You tell him.”

Left Head took a breath. “While we’re taking our naps, he’s, he’s, he’s … .”

Middle Head blurted it out. “He watches Fox News.”

“No,” I said.

“All of you just jump up our …” Right Head began.

“See what it’s doing to him?” Left Head said.

“Are you really doing that?” I asked Right Head.

“What if I am. How else would I know that Santa Claus and Jesus are both white? It certainly wasn’t reported on the ‘lamestream’ media.”

I couldn’t speak.

He continued. “Or that Obama and his "communist" cronies wanted to kill 10 percent of the population?”

Two sets of eyes rolled and then looked at me.

“Or that the Obamas had a secret terrorist fist jab?”

Left Head looked at me. “See the problem now? He’s been sending some of this stuff to Falloonia. The Elders are threatening to have us shipped back.”

I looked at Right Head. He smiled, “Did you know,” he said, “that gay marriages will lead to interspecies couplings, humans to goats and the like?”

“Stop it,” said Left Head. “Enough is enough.”

“Poverty Isn’t that bad, because poor people have fridges.” This time Right Head had a most defiant look.

I finally had to ask, “Did you really get all this from Foxnews?”

“It might interest you to know,” Right Head said, “that Travon Martin’s hoodie was responsible for his death and that Newt Gingrich's infidelity might have made him a good president.”

“That’s absurd,” I said. “And that’s enough. We don’t watch Fox News in this house. You are hereby prohibited from it. It makes you stupid and we won’t allow it.”

He looked, at first, stunned. Then his look changed to disappointment. We waited for his answer. Would he agree, or argue? He finally spoke.


“No,” I said. "Prolonged use has shown to reduce your understanding of the world, and, as I’ve said, it will make you stupid and unable to understand reality.”

In the voice like that of a teenager, he looked at me a tear came to what they call an eye in Falloonia.

“Can I just watch it until I need remedial English?”

Sunday, June 4, 2017

376. Rules

  “Come on in. I want to show you something.”

“What the … ?” If I hadn’t known it was C.W. I would have sworn John Lennon was sitting on my couch. He brushed his hair back over his shoulder and pushed his tiny glasses higher on his nose.

“I’m in the groove now, man.”

“You’re what?”

“In the groove, dude. I got it all happening.”

“You what?”

“Oh,” he said, “I forgot to tell you. The communications tech on Falloonia sent me an updated slang module for my Galactic Universal Translator. My GUT has never worked better.” He stopped. His face brightened. He grabbed a pen and pad from the coffee table and wrote. When he finished, he read to me, “If you find you have to fart in public, go and stand beside the fattest woman you can find.” He smiled approvingly. “Oh man, that’s knocked out. Strictly copasetic.”

It took a moment for me to find my voice, as you might imagine. “May I ask what you are doing?”

“Getting’ it together man. I’m going to be loaded.”

“Exactly how are you going to be, uh, loaded?”

“From my book,”

“What book?”

“The Big Dope Book of Rules.”

I sat down. “The what?”

“Book of Rules. Now don’t go ape on me, man.” I just used your name because it sounds real gone, you know. Oh wait.” He wrote, speaking as he did so. “Never buy a used car from a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt or carrying a mini-Bible in his pocket.” He stared at the paper. “Man,” he said, “it’s really happening now.”

If I remember correctly, I simply stared at him at this point.

“Can’t you dig it?” he asked. “People are carrying around a lot of hang-ups now. They need all the advice they can get.” He nodded in approval of his own point. “Oh,” he said, beginning to write again. “Never take romantic advice from a man over 50 or a woman under 30.” He smiled. “Far out, man.”

“May I ask a question?”

“Shoot,” he said.

“Have you gone bat-crap crazy?”

He ignored me and started writing and speaking. “Be kind to your neighbors. Remember the ‘courtesy-flush.’ They'll thank you for it.” Only then did he look at me. “You hacked off about something?”

“Astounded,” I said, “would be a better word.

“Shoot me the straight-skinny, man.”

“First, you need to talk to your technician back on Falloonia.”

“Sock it to me.”

“You might tell him to move the dial forward 50 years.”

“Say what?”

Happy 50th Sgt. Pepper. - C.W.

“Then, you might reconsider this whole endeavor.”

He signaled for me to wait. “Before you spread, make him cover the head.” He chuckled and looked back at me. “Now what?”

“You can’t be serious about all this.”

He wrote again. “If he’s not kind and tender, then threaten his member.” He looked at me as if he saw me for the first time. “Yes?”


“Good. Now if you don’t mind, I’ve some work to do.” He glanced at his pad, I.Q, …, I.Q, … let’s see. Oh. A man’s I.Q. can be estimated by dividing his age by the number of tattoos he has.

I began to ease away. As I exited the room, he yelled toward me. “Been a blast rapping with you.”

 See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

375. Brevity

There could be no doubt of it. C.W. was down in the dumps. The first clue was the shape he had chosen for the day. Remember the silent film star Buster Keaton’s sad look? Keep it in mind.

“What’s up?”

“Bad news. Very bad news.”


“Just received my quarterly evaluation from the Falloonian elders.”

“Not a glowing approval?”

“I’ve been accused of mkeenafrecnmesofyt.”


“Roughly speaking, they say I tend to overstate, over-analyze, over-complicate, over-symptomize, over-explain, and waste their time.”

“That’s a long list of transgressions.”

“My fault.”


“Yes … I sent them a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus in hopes of helping them understand my reports better.”

“And they devastated you with it?”

“Yes. Remember when we watched that cartoon in which Wiley Coyote was run over by the Acme truck and you had to explain the humor to me? You called it ironing.”


“Whatever.” He was clearly in a dark mood.”

“Can you give me some examples?”

“I prepared and transmitted a comprehensive, 110-page report on the current state of politics in your country.”

“That sounds commendable. What happened?”

“They sent a message saying they didn’t have time to read all that. They recommended just saying ‘They need to elect better people to office,’ and be done with it.”

“I see. Are there others?”

“I responded to a request to explain why your country has been at war with various countries for 15 years with nothing to show for it.”


He reached into a pocket and retrieved a scrap of paper. He held it and read, “Why couldn’t you just have said, ‘mass-insanity’ and be done with it?”

“That’s pretty strong.”

“Oh, you should have seen the one in response to my explanation of why your species is destroying the planet.”

“I can imagine.”

“Oh no you can’t. You don’t know the meaning of the word Falloonian word Frtlihtinanishol in the context of describing a sitting political leader.”

“I suppose not. But I do know you worked hard on your report on our obsession with guns and violence.”

“All 200 pages of it, sent as a rush order after the recent case where that news reporter got smacked by the political candidate.”

“I read parts of it. I thought it brilliant. I particularly found your thesis compelling in which you surmised that the companies that manufacture products used for violence are helping to aggrandize violence.”

“For the purpose of boosting sales,” he said.

“Yes. That must have impressed them.”

He shook his head, Buster Keaton style. “They have a different explanation.”


“They boiled it down one word.”
Your species certainly
seems obsessed with
having the biggest or most. - C.W.

“Yes. Wistahhdabeegern

“And that means?”

“Roughly translated?”

“That’ll work.”

“Penis envy.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

374. Writing

“What in the world are you doing?”

C.W. looked up at me. He had been hunched over my laptop computer typing furiously. I would describe his shape closer to John Steinbeck, the author, than anyone. A lit cigarette dangled from his mouth. “What?”

“You’d better put that thing out before my wife gets home,” I said.

“Nuts,” he said. He took a long drag, walked to door, and flipped the butt away. He returned and sat at the laptop again, seeming to forget I was there. He typed for a moment, then appeared to notice my presence. He looked at me. “Don’t you have something to do?”

“I hope that if I do, I won’t need my computer for it.”

“Use Mrs. Big Dope’s,” said. “She’s not here.”

“I don’t share your death wish. Just what, exactly, are you doing?”

“Updating Elmore Leonard’s rules of good writing. It’s time someone did.”

“Oh,” I said, “such as his advice to ‘leave out the part that readers tend to skip?’”

“Yeah,” he said. “But I have one better.”


He turned to the laptop screen, “If you feel compelled to write a lengthy flashback, stab yourself in the foot with an icepick instead.”

“That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?”

“Never shirk from suffering for your art,” he said, “That’s another one.”


He read again, “Before attempting to describe a sex scene, digest a good laxative. Both your body and your readers will thank you.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Here’s another. Don’t dignify a child character with insight, logic, or meaningful dialogue.” Before I could respond, he continued. “Unless you are certain that you are William Faulkner reborn in a new skin, and ready to take up where he left off, don’t ever include a sentence containing more than 14 words, including adverbs and em dashes—which you should omit anyway—no matter how strongly you are tempted.”

Aching to respond, I chose instead to listen. He was on a roll.

“Never write a novel using the present tense,” he said, “That isn’t story telling, it’s stage direction.”

For this one, I nodded in agreement.

“If all you want to write about is angst,” he said, “do us all a favor and join a monastery.”

“Uh,” I said. “I don’t think there would be any modern novels being published.”

He ignored me. “If a man buys his wife a new gas range in Chapter One, make sure someone finds his head in it by Chapter 20.”

What can I say? - C.W.

I had to think about this one.

“Avoid using the literary suicide of metaphors and similes, like a politician avoiding the truth.”

“Uh … .

“And finally,” he said, “the best of all.”

I braced myself.

“Never, never, never, let female soldiers, at isolated outposts, wear uniforms consisting of wet t-shirts and bikini bottoms …” He stopped. “No, no,” he said. “That’s one from my rules for filmmaking. Wait one.” He scrolled.

I waited again.

“Here it is,” he said. “Never allow a female to resolve a crisis with her raw strength or a man with his logic.” He smiled and looked up. “So, what do you think?”

“I think I want to think,” I responded gravely to his question. Suddenly, a dam burst in my head. The brown-tinges walls of the room, set off by ivory trim and decorated tastefully with art purchased carefully over the years and immaculately placed in an arrangement best complimenting one another and adding a splendid counterpoint to the glass fixture hanging from a dappled ceiling took me back to the first day I thought I might like to write something someday. I am enjoying a warm day in late April and a gentle breeze is bringing darkening cumulus clouds that are threatening rain …

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Morning thoughts: Abuse

C.W. and I were talking …

“Did he really say that?” Left Head asked.

“Oh yes. It’s on tape.”

“That he is mistreated somehow?”



“Most unfairly.”

“Made to suffer?”

“More than any politician in history.”

“Has he ever been to a Syrian refugee camp?” Middle Head asked.

“I don’t think so.”

Right Head, the happy-smile one joined in. “He feels he’s been abused somehow?”

“Apparently. At least that’s what he told the Coast Guard graduates.

“Has he ever been to a Miley Cyrus Concert?” Right Head wanted to know.

Middle Head stared into space, thought, and spoke. “Or to a poetry jam?”

Left Head: “A Joel Osteen service?”

Middle Head: “Forced to sit in a waiting room with Fox News on the TV?”

Right Head: “Has he ever picked strawberries for a living?”

Left Head: “Sat through a Henry Kissinger lecture?”

Middle Head: "Roofed a house during an Arkansas summer?”

Right Head: “Forced to attend a massed banjo concert?”

Left Head: “Or a Jennifer Hudson one?”

“The horror! The horror!” I said. Please stop. “I get your point.”

“One more,” Right Head said.

“Okay, but hurry.”

“Remember,” he said, looking toward the kitchen, “that cornbread gravy Mrs. Big Dope made from some magazine recipe?”

“The nifrphceenacin! The nifrphceenacin!” said Middle Head, lapsing, in his shock, into Falloonian.

“I think we might better change the subject,” I said. “She has great plans for supper. It is the greatest plan ever made. It is going to be a super plan and we are going to love it. We’ll be winners again, right?”

“Yes, of course,” in unison. “It is good when she cooks. We win when she cooks. We’re almost tired of winning.”

I think they are beginning to learn what abuse truly is.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

373. Truth in Advertising

“I’ve been thinking.”

Oh no.

“Did you hear me?”


“I said I’ve been thinking.” C.W. was in the form of Reggie the Young Conservative. (Picture Sean Spicer without the disarming personality). Any wariness developed from a memory of the last time he admitted to thinking. This time, we were driving around looking for ideas for a column on urban planning due in a week. It was no use resisting. When he gets in this shape, he is like a bulldog.

“Okay. Share.”

“I still think I could make it in the advertising business,” he said. With that, he produced a notepad and began to study it.

“We’ve been through this already.”

“I know. We’ve had some rough times before.”

“Correction. You’ve had some rough times before.”


“Remember the time you wanted my wife to become the model for ‘The White Aunt Jemima,’ and what happened?”

“Like I explained to Mrs. Big Dope, it was a brilliant plan to take racism out of an otherwise successful ad campaign. It would have worked, too.”

“Do you still have the bruise from the iron skillet?”

He pressed on. “I’ve done the research, this time,” he said. “I plan to capture and utilize the three major elements of the current mood in your country.”

“Which are?”

He consulted his pad. “Braggadocio, brevity, and bullsh… .”

“Stop there. That’s enough.”

“So, what do you think?”

“Try me." I had turned the car and was headed home.”

“Okay.” He looked and read. “Our light bulbs last a whole two weeks.”

“Oh, that it were so. What else?”

“Our print cartridges will print 20 sheets, guaranteed.”

“If they could do that, you’d have a winner.”

“We don’t have to win,” he said. “We just have to sell.”

“Ah.” A minute passed. “Have any more?”

He looked and read. “Our clothes even look good on fat people.”


He was on a roll now. “Be thin, win, never exercise again, no matter how big you’ve been.” He stopped. “We’ll have to have a spokesperson from the South, so all those words will rhyme.”

“Of course. Do you see any applications in political campaigns?”

“Oh,” he said. “That where we will excel without a doubt. Here … ,” he turned a page in a notebook and read, “Feel trapped? We tell the truth, and it will set you free.”

“Oh please.”
The truth may set us free.
But it doesn't pay the bills. - C.W.

“We fear no woman alive.”


“We love everybody and everybody loves us.”

“Stop. Stop.”

“Win with us and stop the fuss.”

“You’re getting worse.” We had completed our touring by then and were back home in the living room. He had gone nonstop and was still going. I was having a beer, and he was on fire. “Here’s a great one,” he said. “Our vision of America is so simple a public-school teacher could understand it.”

“Suggest you don’t try that one out around the mistress.”

“Oh,” he said, “here’s one I did just for her. He flipped a page. “We promise to round immigrants up like a bunch of stray dogs and … ,”

A voice from the kitchen interrupted him. “As soon as I find my skillet,” it said, “I’m going to round somebody up.”

I had turned toward the sound. When I looked back, Reggie, C.W., whoever, was gone. Since then, I’ve heard no more about this advertising business.    

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

372. News

“Gone? For how long?”

“Don’t know. It depends on the punishment they mete out to me.”


“Punishment.” It was the Walter Cronkite—C.W., his most somber form, the one he takes when things are serious, very serious.

“By whom? What kind of punishment? For What?”

“The Falloonian Elders are punishing me for sending them fake news. The sentence will depend, of course, on my defense.”

“Fake news is punishable now?”

“In Falloonia, yes. We take information much more seriously than your species does.”

“So, have you just been making stuff up, like our …, uh, like some folks are doing?”

“Certainly not,” he said with an uncharacteristic vehemence. “Everything I’ve sent them is fact-checked and accurate.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“They’re saying what I reported could never have happened.”

“Too complicated, or too controversial? Do the events not translate? Are they cynical, or too critical?”

“Oh,” he said, “it varies. Some are quite tragic.” He fumbled in a pile of papers and handed me a sheet. I recognized it at once. It involved an incident in our state that happened just last week. During a heavy flash flood, a woman in a mountainous community donned a helmet and life jacket and went “tubing” down a raging creek. They found her body later.

“This really happened,” I said. “I can vouch for you here.”

“Would you?” he said. He thought. “But you can’t help me with this one.” He retrieved another sheet and handed it over. It was another flooding incident, one of numerous similar stories published during the recent flooding. This one involved a man from a neighboring state who drove his pickup truck around a police barricade and was swept into the floodwaters.

“But,” I said. “Look where it happened. Won’t they make allowances for that?”

“No,” he said. “Unfortunately, it came on the heels of this national report.” He handed the next sheet over. It was an account of plans to market a cell phone shaped like a banana. Yes, really, a banana.

“I see. Well, these are easily proven.”

“Those aren’t the most serious,” he said. “Here’s the one that got me into the most trouble.” He handed over a sheet and I recognized it at once. It occurred just this week in our very city.

“But this happened,” I said. “It really happened.”

“Try convincing a bunch of aged creatures from a civilized planet of that.” He read from the sheet, Three drunken men steal a three-foot livealligator from a nature center.” He stopped, looked at a wall clock, and stared back at me, his voice breaking. “I’m doomed,” he said.
I call this, "Hold my beer
and watch this news." - C.W
He stiffened and his eyes turned metallic. This means one thing. He is getting a message from his home planet and responding. He listened, then nodded slightly. Then he did the strangest thing. He let out a soft laugh. Next, his face brightened with a smile. He nodded once more, relaxed and turned to me.

“It’s over,” he said. “They’ve received verification from the other resident aliens.”

“That’s great, but you almost laughed once,” I said. “What was so funny?”

“It seems,” he said, “that reading these reports has become a huge source of planetary merriment on Falloonia. They want more, and they want them fast. Do you think we can manage? I’d hate to be in another kind of trouble for not fulfilling their orders.”

“C.W.,” I said. “This is America. Don’t worry about a thing.”

See also:
Delta Dreaming
All Hat No Cattle
Or order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw Press, Amazon, or other book sellers.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Humor

C.W. and I were talking …

Right Head, or “Giggles” as I call him, was guffawing. The other two were frowning and trying to ignore him.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“He’s been reading about the leader of this political party that’s in power now, Left Head said.

“He thinks it is funny,” Middle head said. “What do you think?”

I pondered the question. “The word ‘alarming’ comes to mind.” I said. I turned to Giggles. “What’s cracking you up now?”

“Mrs. Big Dope,” he said. “She keeps me in sudden, stabbing pains in the side.”

“In stitches?”

“Why do repeat things I say?” he said, stifling a laugh.

“So, what did she say about our president?”

Between laughs, he said, “She said he was so helpless that he needed a dictionary to spell TV.”

We all smiled. “Tell him the one about the chair,” Left Head said.

“She said she heard he stands on a chair two hours a day trying to raise his IQ.”

We all had a good snicker over this. That just encouraged Giggles.

“She said the only way they could keep him out of trouble was to sit him down, coat his fingers with honey, and hand him a feather.” With this he mimicked a person pulling something from one hand and then the other, repeating the process while concentrating intently.

“Has she told you about what he and his staff remind her of?”

I thought. “Does it involve monkeys, copulation, and a football?”

He quit giggling and looked crestfallen. “You’re no fun,” he said. He turned to the others. “Let’s go find Mrs. Big Dope. She’s a sound an owl makes.”

“She may be a ‘hoot,’ I said, “but you shouldn’t egg her on like that.”

“Did we tell you what she said about you?” Middle Head asked.

“I’m sure it was something pithy,” I said.

“Oh no,” Left Head said. “It was a nice compliment.”


“Yes,” she said at least Donald Trump makes you seem like Albert Einstein.”

Big Dope says that she is having a
1960s "Flash-up," whatever that is. - C.W.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

371. Dreams

 Oh lord.

It’s that time of year again, the Fallonian festival of Pskasurveetezov. It’s the time in which they appear as the innermost form of their dreams and parade around in public, dancing and drinking their home planet’s version of wine, a noxious mixture call Geechurgudisonne++. I think the clicks at the end are supposed to signify some sort of gustatory nirvana.

Anyway, since they can’t be home, C.W. and his counterparts meet once a year to celebrate as best they can. Last year they met in Branson, Missouri, but two of them disappeared. The Falloonian Elders have designated that place as sort of a spiritual “no-fly” zone.

This year they’re meeting in the wonderfully welcoming community of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, nestled in the Ozark Mountains. I can’t imagine a more fitting location.

But anyway, back to C.W. Get ready. He walks in to demonstrate his “dream-state” form and outfit, and … and … it was Shelley Winters.

Not the “American Tragedy” Shelley Winters, but the “Bloody Mama” Shelley Winters. The blond hair was so lively and free that it almost sang “Que Sera, Sera.” A red dress caressed every fold, hump, and mound from bodice to ankle. The whole body looked like the mountains of Mars draped in velvet. The sparkling of diamond earrings kept perfect cadence with that of her—his—eyes.

“Does this dress make me look too thin?” he asked.

I swallowed hard and managed, “I don’t think so.”

“Then, what do you think?”

I said nothing.

“Now come on,” he said. “Mrs. Big Dope and I have worked hard on this outfit. She says I’ll be the hit of the ball.”

“She said that?”

“Every time she pulled a dart in tighter, she said, “You are going attract attention like a Muslim woman at a Tea Party rally.”

“She said that?”

“She did. Now what do you think?”

I thought it over. “I think that, for those who like Falloonian transvestites, it’ll be just the sort of thing they’ll like.”

“I just knew you’d love it,” he said, almost gushing.

“Always glad to lend a helping hand,” I said. “Who else is going?”

“Tea Baby from North-Central will be there.”


“Somebody named Hattie McDaniel, they say. All three of his heads agreed on it.” He paused and expressed a frown. “Mine was a two to one vote.”


“Yes. Giggles wanted us to go as Ma Joad, you know, in that movie we all watched the other night.”

“Ma Joad?”

“Well, the actress who played her. Jane Darwell. Can you just imagine?”
One of my colleagues from the east coast
was already there when I arrived. - C.W.
“I think my imagination has been tried and found wanting,” I said. “Anyone else coming?”

“Yeah. Sweet Jesus will be there, Jumping Joe, Gypsy Don, Jimmy Blue Eyes, and, all the way from the west coast, Happy Hopalong. It should be a great festival.”

“And the folks in Eureka Springs? That’s one of our favorite towns, you know, mine and my wife’s. She had a boyfriend there once and I had a girlfriend. What do the present city leaders think about your coming?”

“Oh,” he said. “they’ve been marvelous. They’re even providing us with a ‘Shock Guide,’ for the entire time.”

“A shock guide? What’s that?”

“Oh,” he said, “that’s someone who goes on before us when we go out on the streets.”


“They warn us if there is anyone odd, unusual, or shocking in the vicinity, so we won’t be surprised.”

See also:
Or order Big Dope's book from Amazon

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Morning Thoughts: Marriage

 C.W. and I were talking …

Left Head—the data-gathering one—said, “We’ve all been talking.”

“You’ve been talking. We’ve been listening, goof-round-object used for play,” Right Head—the frivolous one—said.

“You mean ‘goof-ball’ the middle—or evaluative one—said.

“Anyway,” Left Head said, turning to them and flashing what I’m told is the equivalent of a frown in Falloonia, “anyway, we are amazed at how much you seem to dote on Mrs. Big Dope, especially when she’s not around.”

“Yeah,” Middle Head said, “Explain.”

“I, uh … uh,” I searched for the right word, since they are not above recording every word I say (yes, they can do that), and playing whole conversations back to her.

“Is she easy?” Left Head asked.


“Not easy that way,” Right Head said, giggling. “Easy like in, ‘easy to get along with.’”

“Oh yes.”

“Example,” Left Head said.

“Let’s see,” I said. “Oh yes. I knew this man one time whose wife wouldn’t let him crumble his crackers into his bowl of chili. Chewed him out if he tried.”

“Say what?” This got Middle Head’s attention.

“I think it was a Junior League thing,” I said.

“So, she's flexible. What else?” Left Head asked.

“Well, she's kind. Once when she taught elementary school, she caught the kids making fun of a little girl’s ragged, hand-me-down shoes.”

“She punished them?” Middle Head said. “Beat them? Walloped them good?”

“No. She guessed the girl’s size and bought her a pair of new shoes with her own money.”

“I’ll bet they wouldn’t do that in one of these new chartless schools.” Middle Head said.

“It is ‘charter school’ and no, they wouldn’t,” Left Head said. “They would never allow a child in one of those if their parents couldn’t afford new shoes for them.”

“She’s damned funny, too,” Right Head said. “She taught English to the kids.” He looked at me. “That’s when she made up that expression she uses when you offer some complicated excuse for screwing up.”

I was nonplussed.

Right Head continued, “When she accuses you of trying to ‘diagram a f…’”

“Shut up,” I said. “Where did you hear that?”

“She used it on me,” Right Head said.

“I think she sort of likes you, too, at least a little bit,” Middle Head said, re-directing the conversation thread.


“Quite so. I asked her why. We couldn’t understand it at all.”

“What did she say?”

“She borrowed a line from a movie she saw once,” Right Head said.

“And that was?”

“He always ate everything I cooked for him, and he never hit me.”

“And oh,” Middle Head said, “I take it she allows this cracker-crumbling thing?”

“Not in bed. Not anymore.” 

I think the reputation from her past
 helps keep Big Dope in line. - C.W.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

370. Respect

Ah, the sun had come out after several days of rain, and I was enjoying a pleasant morning with C.W. You might ask whether all mornings are pleasant with C.W.? Actually, no. Some are, some aren’t. This morning, though, he was honoring the late Don Rickles, his favorite comedian, the one who died a couple of weeks ago. His likeness was excellent and we were both in a jolly mood.

“So, he really, didn’t know which way his warships were headed?”

“Apparently not,” I said. “They were some 180 degrees or thereabouts off his announced course.”

“Who do they get to open child-proof pill boxes for him? His Secretary of State?”

“Are you kidding? I think they have to hire a child to come in and do it for them.”

“Hey,” he said. “Good idea for a new business: Rent-a-Child, Inc. Motto: Never have to chew the top off a bottle again. Hire one of our experts to open it for you.”

“Sounds promising,” I said.

“I’m busy right now, tough,” he said.

“At what?”

“Another sure-fire winner.”

“And that is?”

“Tear-Away Garments, Inc. Motto: ‘Double the income from your next humiliation, girls.’ It’s a winner if I ever thought of one. The first ad is ready. Theme: ‘You’ll have them all wanting to grab your money-maker.’ What do you think?”

“I’m not sure what to think,” I said. “What exactly are you selling?”                                                                                                   
 “Tear-way clothing for the ambitious woman.

“Say again?”

“It’s designed to be the clothing of choice for airline travel.”

I said nothing.

“In case you’re dragged off the plane,” he said.


“The clothes tear right off. Then you make money two ways.”

“Two ways? How?”

“First from the lawsuit. Second from the model-royalties.”

We had a good laugh over this.

“Do you think,” he said, “Mrs. Big Dope would be interested?”

“Well,” I said, “why don’t you just ask her?”

He thought for a moment, then said. “Maybe not. She wasn’t wild, as I remember, about my ‘President’s Dream’ line. And I thought that would even be a better investment.”

“Oh,” I said. “I remember. The line of see-through women’s apparel you wanted to market?”

“That’s it,” he said.

“The one you wanted her to model?”

“Yes,” he said, rubbing his jaw. "She didn't approve."

“I think it was the slogan you suggested for the line,” I said.

“I don’t remember,” he said, still rubbing his jaw.

“Of course you do,” I said. “It was, ‘Designed to aid his aim,’”

He appeared ready to change the subject. “Speaking of him,” he said, “Did he really invite Ted Nugent to the White House.”

“Yep. You got a problem with that?” (Sometimes I play his straight man).

“Not as long as they still sell heavy-duty fumigators in Washington.”

“Well,” I said. “He can invite whom he pleases. His predecessor invited the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.”

“Isn’t that,” he said, raising an eyebrow, “a bit like equating ‘When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries … ,’ with, say, ‘There once was a man from Nantucket …?'”
Wouldn't you know it?
He has to die just as the most
 humor-creating administration
in the history of he country
comes into office? - C.W.
“Shh,” I said. “Wherever did you learn that?”

“From the book of Shakespearian sonnets by your desk.”

“No,” I said, “the other one. My wife might hear you.”

“Your wife knows that poem,” he said, rubbing his jaw again. Then quickly, “But back to him again, did he really fire the Surgeon General and replace him with a nurse?”

“Apparently,” I said, glad to be changing courses, like a ship at sea headed in the wrong direction.

“And it is now Nurse General?”

“I suppose so.”

“That’s comforting,” he said.

“How so?”

“Simple,” he said. “It means that he might fire the Attorney General and replace him with a Paralegal General.”

I began to think about this.

“You know,” he said, “someone well-versed in the law.”

See also:
Or order Big Dope's book from Amazon