Sunday, February 25, 2018

414. Talk

Omigod, he was doing that thing where you visit with someone through your computer.

“I like when you stroke it that way,” he said to someone on the other end. I couldn’t see who, and C.W. couldn’t see me. I had stepped into room at an angle to him and he hadn’t noticed me. He was concentrating too hard.

I stood perfectly still.

C.W. and I had watched one of our favorite films the night before, My Favorite Year, with Perter O’Toole. That’s who talked into my computer now. At least it was he the way C.W. remembered him from the movie.

“Oh,” he said, still speaking to the screen, “that’s it. That makes it nice and warm. Heat helps.”

I stayed frozen. He was wearing my earphones so I couldn’t hear what the other person said.

“Next, I’d put my right finger up a bit,” he said. “Yes, right there. Oooh, that does the job, right?”

I thought maybe I’d better wait and get all the facts.

“I can’t find fault at all with that move.” He laughed.

Maybe I should take notes for the confrontation to come.

“Ah, that’s going to leave it looking proud, standing there.”

I strained forward a bit. The person on the other end said something and C.W. nodded.

“Just a few strokes more and we’ll finish with a flourish and a flash.”

Oh dear. Why interrupt him now?

“Wow,” he said, “you keep doing that and the boys will want you to go pro.”


“I love it,” he said. “I really love it. Rub it right there. That’s it. You may have to give that one place a little lick again.”

Should I be recording this?

“My, my,” he said. “You keep going this way and we’re going to create a masterpiece. See what a little guidance and experience will do for you?”

I took a deep breath. I strained slightly toward him to see better. We’ll have a long talk about this later. At that point, I was curious to hear what he would say next.

He smiled, winked, and almost purred into the screen. He made a rubbing motion, as if in encouragement. “That’s the way. Good child. Really good. The fathers would really be shocked if they could see you." He added, “Let’s not tell anyone about this, okay?”

“Fathers?” That sounded strange. Not as strange, though, as what I heard him say next.

 “Are you really just fourteen?”

Yikes! That was it. I yelled across the room, “C.W. what the hell are you doing?”

He looked up at me, quite surprised as you might imagine. “Oh hi, Big Dope. This doesn’t concern you.”

“Like hell, it doesn’t.” I stormed across the room to get at the computer screen.

C.W. put up a hand to stop me. “Stop, you’ll frighten the child.”

I slapped his hand away and spun the screen toward me,

“What did I tell you?” he said.

There, on the screen, was a young boy’s face masked in pure terror. He was sitting behind a table and on it, in front of him, was a large silver serving tray, a bottle of polish, and several rags. One was still in his hand.

“What the … ?”

“It’s only my planetary host, Robbie,” C.W. said into the screen. “He’s to me what Fenderhead is to your family, only not, as you can see, as sophisticated.” He turned to me. “See what you’ve done?”


“One of his dads is a Navy veteran and couldn’t pronounce Falloonian names.” He turned to the screen. “Don’t worry, we’ll get it finished before they all get back.”

I was still trying to catch my breath. “What … ?” was all I could get out.

“Thanks for spoiling a nice plan,” C.W. said. “Robbie was going to surprise his parents by polishing some silverware for their anniversary party. They’ve all gone to Little Rock to get a cake.”

“His parents?”

“Ed and Donnie.”


“Their third. Thanks for interfering.”

“That’s the oddest thing I’ve ever had to try and understand. I’m just old-fashioned, I guess.”

“Oh dear Big Dope, “ he said, and it was Peter O’Toole talking now. “Where have you been? (He pronounced it as ‘be’” with an added ‘n’). Robbie here is Ed’s child but they both became his parents three years ago. Their marriage is quite legal now. You’ll just have to try and live with the concept.”

“Oh no, “I said. “That’s not what I was talking about at all.”

“What on Earth could it have been? Did you misinterpret our conversation perhaps?”

“No. Well, maybe a little at first,” I lied.

“Then what troubles your heart so?”

“People talking into computer screens.”

What's Big Dope's problem? - C.W.

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

413: Communications Are Us

“No, let’s see, not ‘oodagh,’ more like ‘oaaard.’ Yes that’s it.” I heard the sound of computer keys clacking. Then, “Be sure to alter volume with each syllable. This is especially effective for older customers.”

I rounded the corner and walked into the room. There sat C.W. at my desk and working with my computer. He had taken the shape of a young man in his thirties, looking much like a stockbroker, political junkie, or perhaps a defendant at a murder trial.

“Just a moment,” he said. He took breath and blurted, “Wiiikledmardls-wuchlickor-dalysshhicletoody?”

“What on earth?” I said. “Are you working on your Falloonian?”

“No,” he said. “I have a contract. A thought struck him. “Urdootallybeesimoupnoint.”


“Pliadouantodsuchantweeedur.” He continued without paying me any attention.

“What kind of contract and with whom?”

“A teaching contract,” he said, at last giving me his full attention. “It’s for a fast food federation.”

“A what?”

“Fast food federation.”

“And what are you doing for a fast food federation?”

“Writing a manual on confusonics.”

“On what?”

“Confusonics. It’s a training manual.”

“Who for?”

“The kids who take orders for fast-food drive-throughs.”

“Come again?”

“It teaches them to speak so there is no possibility that they can be understood by anyone trying to make an order.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“No, no, the corporations have found that confusion makes money and money makes profits.”


“Yes. Confused customers then to order more expensive items.”

“So they teach the kids how not to be understood?”

“Of course,” he said. “Comprehension is the enemy, and is to be avoided."

I shook my head. “It works,” I said.

“It even works better when they rush the customer. Unhurried customers tend to buy cheaper items.”

“I’m glad to see you’ve found a calling.”

“Business is booming,” he said. “We offer free, introductory chewing gum with this product. Want to help?”

“I don’t know.”

“I have an assignment just made for you. It’s from your own profession.”

“Urban planning?”

“Right. It’s for another manual.”

“What manual?”

“It’s called Misunderstanding Upon Demand.”

"Good! Next man. How great I am and what
 a pleasure  to serve under me." - C.E.

“Yep. The subtitle will be, Let Your Work Be Clear As MUD Can Make It.”

I must have looked confused, for he took a sheet from the table and read from it. “The plan, using a broad array of self-empowerment aids, will allow citizens to efficaciously move through a time-synchronized myriad of wayfinding enablements to established a community-oriented sense of place.”

I must have looked confused, although a hint of familiar made its lonely way through my comprehensatory mechanisms, as we say.

“That’s just the back-cover blurb of the training manual,” he said. “Neat huh?”

“Are you serious about all this?”

“Maybe you’d rather work on an assignment for the Army.” He picked up another pile of sheets and read. “The strategic and service-wide transitional depositions activated as comprehensive tactical support directives requiring the accommodating of the mandatory incorporation of gender-variable war-wagers into combat-planning doctrine, as previously set forth, are hereby non-mandated and superseded, and the provisions herein are effectuated and installed for immediate dissemination.” He smiled. “Neat huh?”

“So you write training manuals now?”

“Oh, much more than that. I have a major study I’m working on.”

“What kind of study?”

“And in-depth analysis of why young Americans use texting as a replacement for face-to-face conversations.”

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

412: Treasures

He talked me into it. It was C.W.’s idea all along. Please let the record read that he talked me into it.

It started this way.

We were going to do some carpentry project. I don’t even remember what it was now. We met a little after sunrise, me as myself and he as Dan the Handyman, complete with carpenter’s belt.

We opened the door to my shop, and he was crestfallen. The shop is 40 feet by 60 feet and there was hardly a foot of it that was free from stacks of ju…, of things.

“What in the world?” He turned to me and shook his head like a schoolteacher who had just been told that the world was flat. I fidgeted.

“It’s just things we have collected over the years,” I said.

“You couldn’t have collected this much over the years,” he said. “Maybe centuries but not years.”

“Flea Market Fever. It’s a common malady among Americans.”

Whudafreeksdes,” he said.

“Say what?”

“It roughly translates into ‘someone has slipped off the behavioral tracking mechanism,’ and it is considered a serious malady on Fallonia.”

He studied the mess for a moment. “Well,” he said after this perusal. “Let’s get a path cleared so we can work.” He headed for box loaded to the hilt with National Geographic magazines.

“Wait,” I said. “This stuff doesn’t belong to me.”

He walked over to the partial remains of a small outboard motor from the 1950s. “What’s this?”

“It was on sale for three dollars at a yard sale.”

“Where is the rest of it?”

“Waiting for us at another yard sale? She’s sure that she’ll run across the rest of it someday and can get the thing running.”

“How long have you had it?”

The question took me by surprise. “Let’s see,” I said. I remember moving it from our house on Broadway and that was, …” I did some mental ciphering. “We’ve had it about 30 years.”

He said nothing. He just looked at me and shook his head.

“It’s got to be good for something,” Yes, I said it in a rather weak voice, the one I reserve for explaining why the housework I do doesn't turn out right.

He walked a little farther, kicking short pieces of lumber aside. Spying something of interest, he walked over and picked it up. It was a lightweight ball composed of small pieces of steel wire. He didn’t ask, just held it toward me and cocked his head.

“Pieces of wire,” I said. “Too small to use for anything so far, but they could come in handy someday.” He didn’t move. “You just never know,” I added, again in a weak voice.

He laid it aside. Kicking his way a bit farther, he picked up a photograph in a cheap metal frame. One corner of the frame was loose, and the glass covering the photograph was broken. “Want to explain this one?”

“Sure,” I said. “All it needs is a couple of screws and a new piece of glass.” He didn’t move. “I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”

“And when did you come in possession of this treasure?” He said it kind of sarcastically and I considered withholding the information. Instead, I said, “Five or six years ago.”

He looked more closely at the photograph. It was a young man in a navy outfit and hat. A nice looking fellow, I might add.

“A relative?”
Yard sale: the root of all evil. - C.W.
“No,” I said. “We have no idea who he was. You just thought he looked lonely.Don't you remember?”

“Let’s clean some of this mess up,” he said, ignoring me. “We need some room to work.

“I’m not sure we oughta.”

“Nonsense,” he said, looking through a box of magazine from early 1980s. “Come on. There’s twenty years of dust on these. It’s been at least that long since someone touched them.”

The next afternoon, we sat watching Casablanca, me for the hundredth time, he for the twentieth. Bogart was about to mention Paris, and C.W. always cried at that point.

I heard someone calling my name from the vicinity of the shop. I told him I would be right back and that he could fill me in on the plot.

The credits were running when I came back. “Come on,” I said. “We’ve got to go to the dump.”

“We went yesterday. Don’t you remember?”

“I do. That’s the problem.”

“What problem?”

“We’ve go to find the October 1982 edition of The Rural Housewife Magazine.”

“Mind telling me why?”

“There’s a recipe for cornbread gravy in it that someone wants, and that someone is plenty mad.

“I told you we shouldn’t throw her stuff away without asking.”

See also:
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It earns him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

411. Money

“I’m confused.”

Well that was understandable. He, the Alien C.W. was in a shape the calls “Carl the Confused.” It’s sort of a cross between The Riddler on the old Batman series and the newscaster Geraldo Riveria. I know, very weird, but I usually just let him run with whatever.

“Yes. And just what are you confused about today?”

“Borrowing money to pay for things.”

“You don’t do that on Falloonia?”

“Oh heavens no. We just use money curry favors.”

“Well, if you don’t use money to buy things, why would you want your favor curried, so to speak?”

“To amass money. Why else?”

“To buy things then? Now you are confusing me.”

“No, just to amass wealth and the prestige that comes with it.”

“Not to purchase things you need?”

“Oh, we have everything we need. We even have everything we want, allocated according to our social status. We inherit that from our parents.”

“Let me get this straight,” I said. “You have everything you need or want, yet you strive to amass riches? That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard of.”

We were walking around the pasture at our farm, trying to stay fit. He stopped us, turned to me with a solemn face. He nodded it slowly and winked.

The he burst into a maniacal laugh. It rose from him like a volcano erupting and spread over his body. It shook. He clasped his arms around himself and the shaking slowed. After a moment, he began to regain composure, raised his gaze to mine, and said, “I was screwing with you. Is that how you say it?”

“But why?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just read where your government is going to have to borrow a trillion dollars so it can give money the most blessed of those among you. I thought that was funny.”

The point he was making was interesting. I found his method of making it most annoying. I had to admit, though, that it was true.

He said, “A million, a billion, a trillion … those terms sound quite a bit alike, don’t they?”

I thought. “Yeah,” I said, “I suppose they do.”

“It makes them easy to toss around playfully and interchangeably. I heard a woman say that in a documentary I watched this week,” he said. “Want me to tell you what else she pointed out?”

He was going to tell me anyway. “Sure,” I said. “Go ahead.”

“Well,” he said. “If you were to stack brand new, crisp, $1,000 bills on top of one another, do you know how high the stack of a million dollars would be?”

“Enlighten me.”

“About four inches. And a billion-dollar stack?”

I shook my head.

“About 364 feet. That’s about the height of …,”

“A thirty-story building,” I said, interrupting him and shaking my head.

Correctamundo,” he said. “Now, about that trillion you are giving to the rich?”

“It strains my mind,” I said.
Will he let us know
when it's enough? - C.W.
“A stack 63 miles high, give or take a few feet.”

I said nothing.

“Now,” he said, “Do you think your people would approve of a 63-mile-high stack of borrowed money being given to people who are already rich?”

“I don’t know.”

“Or,” he said, “would they approved that it be tossed away invading a sovereign country just to prove you could?”

“I don’t know.

“Sure they would,” said. “And I find that most confusing. We, on Falloonia, call that Stchecundetnuronerss.

“And what does that mean?”

“You don’t really want to know.”

See also:
Delta Dreaming
Enjoy these at all? If so, order Big Dope's Book at Wattensaw PressAmazon, or other book sellers. It will make him so happy. Also, click on an ad. It makes him a little and costs the advertiser, sort of a win-win.