Sunday, April 29, 2018

423: Optimism

“Did you know,” the figure before me said, “that during World War Two, your military did a survey of something we might call ‘promotion satisfaction’ and got some amazing results?”


“Yes, the soldiers in the foxholes, the so so-called ‘grunts,’ faced very slow advancement in rank, hardly moving up the promotion ladder at all, except to fill the ranks of the fallen.”


“While,” the figure said, “those GIs in the newly forming Army Air Corp received the fastest rate of promotion. Zoom! Right up the ladder they went.”


“Want to guess which group found satisfaction with promotions?”

“Not really.”

“I thought you would. Yep. The common foot soldier thought the promotion system was fair.”


“And the ‘flyboys’ thought it was horribly unfair.”

“Ain’t that something?”

“I knew you would find it interesting.”

“Did they ever figure out why?”

“Something about equity. Seems that no matter how fast someone in the Air Corp was promoted, he knew some else who had been promoted faster.”

“Oh.” The figure proposing this bit of knowledge was a new shape C.W. had devised of late: Happy Hornibrook. He was a thin, bespectacled fellow with a receding hairline. Looked much like a henpecked husband. But he was ever the optimistic soul, sort of a Falloonian Pangloss.

“Did you know,” he said, “that the number of people in your world in extreme poverty fell by 137,000 since yesterday?


“Every day for nearly 30 years.”

“But I still don’t have a Les Paul Standard guitar, and my rich nephew, who’s 30 years younger than I, does.”

“Did you know that the world is about 100 times wealthier than 200 years ago?”


“That the share of people killed annually in wars is less than a quarter of that in the 1980s and half a percent of the toll in the second world war?”


“That during the 20th century Americans became 96% less likely to die in a car crash, 92% less likely to perish in a fire and 95% less likely to expire on the job?”


“That in every part of the world IQ scores have been rising, by a whopping 30 points in 100 years, meaning that the average person today scores better than 98% of people a century ago?”

“Even the home-schooled and the so-called ‘young-earthers’ out there?”

“There are anomalies.”

“Are you purposefully trying to drive me crazy?”

“Don’t you find it interesting that children are far likelier to go to school than they were in 1900, while ‘outside the schoolhouse,’ analytic thinking is encouraged by a culture that trades in visual symbols (subway maps, digital displays), analytic tools (spreadsheets, stock reports) and academic concepts that trickle down into common parlance?”

“Whoop de do.” I left out one extra word that would have hurt his feelings.

“I can’t believe that you would be unmoved to know that, two centuries ago, only one percent of people lived in democracies and, even there, women and working-class men were denied the vote. Now two-thirds of people live in democracies, and even authoritarian states such as China, are freer than they once were.”

“But we still have no cure for nausea.”

“You can understand their interest.”

That got me. “Who’s interest?”

“The Elders.”

“The Falloonian Elders?”

“Yes, I sent them some facts like this, with documentation, and they wrote back.”

“What did they say?”

“That it sounded like the world, and your country in particular, is making progress.”

“That’s good.”
Good news: The number of nuclear bombs
in world has fallen by 85 percent since its peak.
Bad news: It only takes one.

“No, that’s bad.”


“They sent another message.” He pulled a paper from his pocket and unfolded it.

“What does it say.”

He read it and thought. I could hear his Galactic Universal Translator humming.

“Just tell me what your GUT is telling you.”

He took a breath, exhaled, and said, “This is a rough translation.” I nodded, and he read. “Then find out why in hell they are pissed off enough to elect a professional wrestling promoter to go and sexually intercourse things up.”

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, April 22, 2018

422. On Writing

Sometimes you just have to get a little bemused over one of C.W.’s shapes. This morning was one of those times. Ye gods!

I think he was trying for Kurt Vonnegut Jr., but ended closer to Rasputin. Anyway, he was at the laptop typing furiously. He punched a key and said, “Good morning my son.” The printer whirred and a sheet slide forward. He took the sheet, glanced at it and placed it upside down on a pile.

Not having the heart to ask, I just watched. Without looking at me, he said “Sit down. I just need to finish this chapter." He continued to type.

"And what are we working on?" I asked.

“You are working on interrupting a genius at work. I’m working on writing a novel.”

“And what kind of novel are we writing?”

“Murder mystery.”

“May I take a look?” I motioned toward the stack of printed sheets.

“Knock yourself out. Just don’t get them out of order.”

I picked up the pile and took it to the couch. I set my coffee on a table and read from the beginning. It wasn’t long before I stopped. “Chump Williamson?” I said.

“What about him? “

“That’s the name you chose for your hero?”

“What’s wrong with ‘Chump’? We’ll brand him as an international star-detective. Simple name. Easy to remember.”

“Hmmm,” I said, as I continued to read. Then I stopped. “Wait,” I said.


“You can’t have your hero making fun of a woman who’s just had a miscarriage.”

“Why not? She was getting on his nerves.”

“And he mocks her in her moment of distress?”

“Yeah. But he’s a good detective. Didn’t he say so when he told her to quit bothering him? That builds his character as a person who doesn’t get distracted. My fans love that.”

I read some more. I stopped. “This must be a misprint,” I said.


“He tells the judge that he saw the suspect running from the scene of the crime.”


“You had him across town at the time.”


“He lies?”

“Wouldn’t you, in order to get what you want?”

“What kind of hero are you creating?”

“One that will get the job done. Read on. He says so. That is just one of his many gifts.” He motioned toward the stack I was holding. “Read.”

I started back. Two pages later, I stopped. “C.W.,” I said.


“The hero of a novel can’t rape a witness he was questioning.”

"Why not? She was asking for it.”

“No she wasn’t.”

“Didn’t she come to the door in a tight tee-shirt and short dress?”

“Well yes, but ….”

He interrupted. “She might as well have said, ‘Take me,’ and he did. What’s wrong with that?”

“I don’t think your more religious readers will like it.”

“Bullshit. Haven’t you gotten to the part where Chump meets Franklin Graham?”

“Don’t tell me Chump teams up with the evangelicals.”

“Yeah. Like Chump says, ‘You grab them by their Bibles and they’ll do anything you want.’ So you just mind your own business and read.”

I took a deep breath. “Hey,” he said. “Is ‘nasty’ spelled with a ‘y’ or ‘ie’ do think?”


He glanced at the passage he was writing. “Yeah, as in, ‘After he and Marge finished doing the big nasty, he jumped up and started dressing. She wasn’t quite finished but he didn’t act like he cared one way or the other. He had to go beat a confession out of a witness. He was wasting time.’ That’s some pretty nifty writing don’t you think?”

I was aghast, as one might imagine. “Who is Marge?”
The broads ... they really
love my books. - C.W.

“That’s the one woman Chump truly loves.”

“And you describe their lovemaking as ‘doing the big nasty?’ Isn’t that a little grossly put?”

“Nah. I originally had it as ‘making Mr. Two-Backs,’ but my fan base ain’t into Shakespeare.”

No, Dear Reader, you’re not imagining things. He was sounding more and more like a Mickey Spillane character.

“And your hero gets confessions by beating witnesses?”

“Yeah. It saves time, you know. He has this terrific conviction rate. They say his fans may even get tired of all the convictions.”

“You really think this may work, this ‘Chump Williamson’ thing?”

“Are you kidding me? Look at who the serial killer is whacking.”

“Public school teachers? Do you really think that will sell?”

“You shittin’ me? Walmart’s already pre-ordered a hundred thousand copies.”

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, April 15, 2018

421. Conversations at Walmart

I’m always good on a promise. Even to C.W. So when he went a week without making my wife’s head explode, I made good.

It’s one of his favorite things. We go Walmart. He shapes up like a lumberjack or something pretty close to it. We wander the aisles slowly and wait unit we hear a loud conversation, a one-way one. Not by just anybody. It has to be a certain type, a woman with a hoarse voice from a two-pack a day habit, wearing a baseball hat with a ponytail hanging out the back with a tight t-shirt emblazoned with something along the lines of “These Boobs Protected By Barretta.”

Yeah, I wasn’t going to say it, but you can. We have a lot of them around there and, yes, most necks are quite crimson.

So, what C.W. likes to do is sidle up to them as they yell into the phone, lean forward, and listen to the one side of the conversation.

No, it doesn’t work like you would think, not around here anyway. I've never seen one become angry. Occasionally they ignore him. More often, they nod, smile and welcome him into the conversation. We live in a friendly state, after all.

So yesterday was a fun trip, for him. We hadn’t been in the store for five minutes when we heard a sound like a corn-sheller going off, and words emerging from the noise. “Naw, I don’t care. Last time he let me use his pickup after we got done.”

Off we went. We got as near as we could, I pretended to look for Feta Cheese, which is a good way to waste time in Walmart. C.W. moved in alongside a tallish woman with dingy blond hair wearing a shirt with “Think Twice Before You Pat It,” in red spread across the back.” A drawing of two crossed baseball bats emphasized the point.

“Heck no,” she said into the phone. “Hit was for what we done Saturday night. He preaches on Sunday and uses his wife’s car. Only took two minutes, and I got a lot of things hauled off next day.”

She noticed C.W. then, smiled at him and nodded. She tipped the phone in his direction and motioned for him to listen.

“Hell yeah, it was a good swap,” she said. Then she and C.W. both laughed. He moved a little closer.

“Am I what?” Her eyes grew wide. She looked at C.W. and said. “Do I look like I’m ashamed of myself?”

He shook his head in a display of solemnity. “He agrees,” she said. “I got me a witness.”

She and C.W. both nodded and laughed.

“What?” She continued the conversation. “No,” she said into the phone. “Hit came regular as clockwork.” She winked at C.W. “So I reckon ever-thang was okay.” She listened for a moment. “You got that right, Hon,” she said. “I shore don’t need no new crumb-grabber slowing me down.” She looked at C.W. and he nodded. “Bet your sweet ass, though,” she said. “I ain’t using that brand no more.” He nodded in agreement.           

It went on like this for maybe ten minutes. People eased their carts by slowly, enjoying the snippets. I pulled my hat down as far as it would go and pretended to be invisible.

I love making new friends
among the Earthlings. - C.W.
We learned of her latest choice of laxatives. C.W. agreed.

We learned why she cut her old boyfriend off. C.W. agreed.

We learned that she wasn’t going let her daughter “git on them goddam pills until she was at least 14.” C.W. disagreed.

We learned of her plans to get a prescription for what she called “MM.” C.W. looked confused.

We learned that she considered “pollacks” the best lovers. C.W. took this in.

We learned that she wasn’t above one of “them two-on-ones” if she found the right two. C.W. smiled.

At long last, she said into the phone, “We gotta go, Hon.” After listening for a moment, she said, “Hell, I don’t know.” She turned to C.W. “What is your name, Hon?”

“Caspar Wolinski,” he said.

She nodded toward me, “He with you?”

C.W. nodded. I shook my head. Just at that moment, a neighbor I know walked by with one of the Walmart workers.

“Hey,” C.W.’s new friend shouted at the store worker, in her hoarse voice that I’m sure carried onto the parking lot, “Can you point me toward the condoms? And I want the kind that don’t break.”

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, April 8, 2018

420. Friends

 Brief post this morning. C.W. has gone missing. No reason for alarm, or joy, or relief. I suspect he is with my wife. Almost certainly.

Now don’t let your imagination run wild. I may be guilty of having mislead you in the past. I may have implied that C.W. and my wife may never get along too well. That’s not exactly true. He does annoy her at times, but she is not above using him for escort services when I’m not available.

Not that kind of escort services.

It’s this way. My wife likes to screw with the heads of people in Arkansas. It’s her way of getting back at them for electing the two people we have to call our Senators these days. It may be a little cruel, but, if it brings her joy, I’ll not deny her the pleasure.

Besides, said senators are a couple of reprehensible lemmings. But that’s for another day.

Today, just let me explain that her periodic urges for fellowship have to do with C.W.’s ability to shift shapes at will. And if he is in trouble for some malfeasance or other, he’ll agree to do it for her.

Here’s the deal and how it includes C.W. Let’s just say that he's not above shaping to please, and

This shape pains me considerably.
But I'll do it for Mrs. Big Dope. - C.W.
- She would walk down any Main Street in America with Steven Tyler,

- She would walk into any sleazy bar in the South with Billy Gibbons, and

- She would walk through Times Square in New York City with her head held high if Matthew McConaughey walked by her side.

So, I’m not sure where either my wife or C.W. are this morning, but if you see a cute little number walking through your local Walmart alongside Harrison Ford, just nod and walk on by.

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, April 1, 2018

419. Fear

If you could only see C.W. in his actual form, it would … it would … well it would put you off your feed, really ruin your appetite. I’ve seen him. Trust me.

Sometimes we go walking early. Real early. Before sunrise. We decided to give it a shot today. Left Head had heard that a lot of people were getting up way before sunrise and he wanted to see what they were doing.

“I think it has something to do,” Right Head said, “with all those male enhancement ads we’ve seen posted in front yards.”

We all looked at him. “What the hell are you talking about?” Middle Head said.

It dawned on me. “I don’t think that is the context indicated by the word ‘arisen’ on those signs,” I said. I explained it to them.

“Oh,” said Right Head.

“Let me ask you something,” Middle Head said.

“Not too complicated,” I said. “Nothing about politics. It’s too early. I can’t even begin to explain current evens this early in the morning.”

Middle Head went silent. “Go ahead and ask him,” Left Head said. “We’re supposed to report on it.”

“Yeah,” Right Head said. “Remember the last time we failed an assignment?”

I remembered. The Falloonian Elders had cut off their supply of a favorite magazine-type transmittal that they love so well. “You,” I said, “didn’t get your feeds of ‘Naughty Triple-Heads,’ for several months.”

“Ask him,” Left Head said to Middle Head. “I need to finish this week’s report.”

“Well,” Middle Head said,” swiveling toward me, “it has to do with this thing so many of your species has about threatening your young children so horribly.”

“We don’t do that,” I said.

All three heads snapped toward me. It scared me a bit. “We love our children,” I said. Then, on further thought I said, “Some individuals love them a little too much, and in the wrong way, but we punish those if we catch them.”

Left Head, shook back and forth, Middle head rolled three of his eyes, and Right Head chuckled in amazement.

“What?” I said.

Middle Head spoke. “Why are all these people getting up so early today?”

“You mean besides us?”


“For a religious service,” I said.

“And that service celebrates what?” Left Head said.

“I’ve told you before,” I said. “They celebrate the death and resurrection of a beloved religious figure.”

“Who did what?” Left Head bore down on me.

“Who died for their sins, arose from the dead, and ascended into glory to wait for the true believers.”

“True believers,” Left Head said. Middle Head leaned out toward me. Right Head smirked the way he does when he senses mental carnage about to erupt.

“Yes,” I said, “the true believers will join their leader in a place called ‘paradise.’ They will be with that leader forever, you know: the Galilean. Don’t tell me you don’t know who the Galilean is.”

“We’re not talking about the Galilean,” Middle Head said. “We’re talking about those who claim that they speak directly to him.”

“Yes,” Right Head said, “the Chetedidcherltans,” using a Falloonian term I can’t translate in a family-oriented blog.

“Think about it,” Left Head said. “What do those folks promise to young children who don’t necessarily accept the concept of a person dying, then arising three days later, and wafting away in a cloud? Those kids that might analyze things a bit differently? Those who believe thinking is a free gift and should be enjoyed? What’s in store for them?”

“Hint, hint,” Right Head said, “torment, pain, suffering, flames, fire … am I getting warm?”

Left Head continued. “Why would a civilized and benevolent society implant such primal fear into young minds … images of their little bodies burning in a place called ‘hell’ for thinking about things on their own?”

“Yeah. Why?” Right head said.
The true believers have chosen some
strange figures to lead their religion. - C.W.
“Now just stop it,” I said. “We love our young folks. We would never, as a society, wish danger, disparagement, or punishment on them for what they believe or don’t believe.”

The three heads looked at one another in turn. Finally, two of them nodded at Middle Head, and he spoke.

“I don’t think you’ve been paying attention to things lately.”

 I stopped and listened. I swear that, far off in the distance, along Wattensaw Bayou near a place they used to call "the baptizin' hole," I could hear the soft strains of Softly and Tenderly.