Thursday, August 1, 2013

Potus Rewrites

This section needed some help, so said the editor. A lot of minor edits and it works really well I think.

"Sir, yes, sir, I am waiting to speak," said a press reporter from the middle row with an obvious accent.
Potus pointed at the young man.  "You, raccoon guy with the accent."

Raccoon Guy tried to speak above the clamour.  "Yes thanks to you.  I am Chathuranga Wallaheller Srinivasiani from the Sri Lankan Daily Dinamina and I am pleased to ask you a question."

"Yes, go ahead.  Quiet down!" Potus yelled at the other reporters. "Wally Something wants to speak."

"Chathuranga Wallaheller..." Wally began.

"Yes, yes," waved Potus.  "Charlie So-and-So."

"You may call me by Chathuranga," Charlie said.

Potus said, "There's a great American name, Frank.  Wonderful. Go ahead, Frank."

“I don’t understand,” said Frank.

“Go ahead, Frank.”

“I…” Frank looked behind him, uncertain what was going on.

“Look,” said Potus, “If you don’t understand the words that are coming out of my mouth, then fuck you.”

Frank looked perplexed.

“Calm down,” Potus yelled at the hubbub in the press room. “Frank, you may speak with the Office of the President now. Go ahead.”

Frank decided to proceed anyway. He said, "Thank you for the wonderful honour, Mr. President of the United States.  I am pleased to ask about a topic of concern to the Sri Lankan peoples from my country.  We also have a problem since more than 20 years regarding terrorism.  The Tamil Tigers have caused..."

Potus interrupted, "Tigers on television, huh?  Is that a football team?  I mean, not your foreigner soccer ball game.  I'm talking about the American version on TV."

Frank seemed flustered.  "No sir, surely you are mistaken..."

Potus raised his hand in a victorious fist pump.  "Go Tigers, eh?  I prefer the Chiefs obviously.  You being Indian and all..."

Frank was furious.  In one swift motion, Frank removed his shoe and flung it at the President.  Potus, stunned, raised his hands to shield his face and caught the shoe.  Johnson, trying to protect Potus too late flew in front of him and knocked down the front row of reporters.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Potus rewrites

More rewrites and editing. I had gotten poor marks from the editor on this section with Press Secretary's handling of the crowd. So I decided to make him an erudite historian, benevolently teaching the masses.

Later on, underground in the press assembly room, Press Secretary was trying to calm down the reporters.

"I understand your concerns," he said, "and the president is anxious to hear your concerns. But first, some house-keeping items. First, as you saw from the signs outside, the bathrooms have not been repaired yet and the schedule to do so has been pushed back.  Second, we’re lucky it's the middle of winter because the air conditioner is broken too. This is not the battle at Thermopylae where King Leonidas stood against the forces of Xerxes. We will not be held off by a small force of determined Spartans who block access to vital resources. The staff are working quickly to solve all the Whitehouse facilities issues."

Potus arrived by the flags next to the Presidential seal.  The press erupted in shouts and camera flashes flickered like fireworks.  Potus, surprised and blinded, turned on his heel and exited.

Press Secretary turned, saw no one, then shouted above the din, "Calm down, calm down.  This is not a disaster.  To quote Sun Tzu, ‘He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.’ In other words, relax and take one energy drink in the morning instead of six."

The hubbub died down a little.  He continued, "There, much better.  Now I'm told that the President will be delayed, like Godot. Unlike Godot, he will be here eventually, if he exists. As Estragon said in Samuel Beckett’s play, ‘We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?’ So while we wait, I'd suggest you go outside and visit the bushes to do your business like bears do in the forest."
Potus reappeared, looking lost.  The shouting and camera flashes climaxed again.

"Hold it down, hold it down," yelled Press Secretary.  "It's a joke.  A joke. 'A joke is an epigram on the death of a feeling,' as Nietzsche said."  He looked over at Chief of Staff who had replaced the spot where Potus had been.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I'd like to introduce Chief of Staff.  He will give us a few words while wait.  Mr. Staff Chief?"

There was some light applause.  Secretary of State stepped in front of the podium.  "Thank you.  Um, ladies and gentlemen I present the President of the United States."

Potus appeared with a beatific smile on his face.  He stepped to the podium and shook Chief of Staff's hand heartily.

And later,

Later that day, in the press briefing room, Potus was introduced by Press Secretary to the domestic and foreign press.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the press," Press Secretary began, "we have called this emergency meeting reminiscent of the joining of the Soyuz and Apollo spaceships. This meeting is not unlike Stafford and Leonov meeting face to face to resolve the differences between their countries. In this case, we are here to provide some information on the recent events at Camp David.  He will give a brief speech and then we will take questions and answer as many as we can.

“Just as the ancient practice of isonomia, we have chosen the order of the questions based on sortition. For the uneducated among you, that is a random draw.  You have been assigned your order numbers before you got here. The president will act as Pythia, answering your supplications and dispensing knowledge that is reserved only for the highest Offices.   Please hold your applause and questions until the end.  Thank you."
Potus stepped forward to polite applause and  smoothed out his papers on the dais.

"Dear my fellow Americans," Potus said and someone guffawed in the right front of the pressroom.  "Goddamn it," Potus said.  "I hate whoever keeps putting that in my speeches.  Don't think I won't find out who it is."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Potus Rewrites

Added a conversation re: high cows and medical marijuana.

Potus called the next city. “Wichita Falls, Kansas, my home state. How are you?”

Wichita Falls appeared onscreen as a middle-aged man in a blue suit. He said, “Good evening Mr. President. I’m glad that the previous caller asked about medicinal marijuana. I have proposed a business plan around raising a new line of cattle that are fed on cannabis. Inside the feeding troughs we also plan to build THC vaporisers for the cows to breathe. As they eat and munch on their hay, they will be extremely relaxed and hungry. The meat will be so tender that you could eat it with a plastic spoon, like beef tartare.”

Potus interupted. “Wait a minute. You’ve got high cows eating hay munchies and laying around stoned? What about the meat? Won’t the consumers get high?”

Wichita Falls remained unfazed. He said, “Well, sir, those claims haven’t been reviewed by the FDA. We haven’t actually measured any THC content in the meat. Although, if it did, the product would be self-perpetuating. If you eat the meat, say in burger form, you’d get the munchies and eat more. It could also help with a wide variety of diseases and symptoms that are indicated as benefiting from medical marijuana. It would also be completely legal except for the growing of cannabis itself. So I’d like to get the beef industry to back growing feed marijuana. We’d trademark it under the brand name ‘Cannibeef’ with a service mark ‘Mellow cows make great steaks’.”

Potus frowned. “I don’t know,” he said. “Sounds like some back-door legalisation. I don’t support that at all.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Potus Rewrites

My editor said "Expand on this" referring to a line about the desk in the oval office. So I did.

“Thank you,” Potus said.  He started digging through the drawers in the large vintage desk.  “What is all this stuff,” he wondered aloud, pulling out a 1950’s era tape recorder reel.

A staffer came forward and took the reel, muttering something.

“What do we have here?” asked Potus, his head disappearing below the level of the desk. Some knocking and clinking noises rose from behind the desk. “Gin, vodka, rum,” Potus said in a muffled voice. He raised his head, holding up a bottle of vermouth. “Huh?”

The same staffer came forward and took the bottle. He frowned and walked away muttering.

Potus’ head disappeared behind the desk again. In a muffled voice he said, “Dentures, sulfer skin cr√®me, some spectacles, a bottle of pills… Hmm.”

Potus kept digging through more drawers in the big desk. “Yowza!” he exclaimed. He held up a shiny black sequined dress. Chief of Staff whistled through his teeth appreciatively. Secretary of State moved forward with her arm outstretched to take the dress.

“I can wear this for our little encounter later,” she drawled over her shoulder to Secretary of State. Secretary of State blushed and looked at his shoes.

The staffer came by once again around Secretary of State’s outstretched hand and grabbed the dress roughly. He walked away yet again.

“And what does this phone do?” Potus asked, pointing.

Secretary of Defence made a hasty motion.  “Don’t touch that Sir sir.  It’s just for show.”

“Why not?  What will happen?”

“Well, I don’t know Sir sir.  But you shouldn’t touch it.”

“Like this?” Potus asked, touching.  Everyone stepped back instinctively.

“Sir, really, it’s just for show.  Ignore it,” said Secretary of Defence.

“Hello?” asked Potus, picking up the phone.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Potus Rewrites

I got some negative feedback on this section of the inaugural address so I rewrote it. Revised version (original below):

“Now, however, we are presented with a new challenge.  The challenge is to continue this era of peace and prosperity without really fucking things up…  Whoops…” Potus stopped suddenly and wiped his mouth with the back of his gloved hand.  He was panicked.  The teleprompter scrolled up:

KEEP
CALM
CARRY
ON

“That is, how do we keep the whole ball of wax moving carefully and slowly?  I mean, we are in peace and prosperity right now, so how do we keep that up?”  Potus was scanning his notes but the letters were just a jumbled mess of scratches that refused to join to form words.  He took a deep breath.

“Let’s use an everyday example from my house the other day. Aunt Martha was cooking up some cabbage stew. I love cabbage stew, everyone does. But it smells horrible when it’s cooking in the kitchen. It smells horrible!” Potus covered his nose in an exaggerated effect. “And what we did, um,” here Potus lowered his hands from his face, “What we did was tell Aunt Martha that her favourite television show was on the television. That solves two problems for us. One: Aunt Martha gets out of the kitchen. Two: she um… doesn’t cook the stew”

Here the teleprompter read:

CABBAGE STEW?

“But never mind that,” Potus continued, getting back to his place on the sheets in front of him. “There is a place for everyone in this great country of ours.  We need more great Americans like myself to step up and fill crucial roles that our great nation needs.  Our nation faces challenges in science, literature, education, and infrastructure.  The Constitution does not tell us what to do about any of these challenges.  We cannot simply look in a book somewhere to find out how to fix our failing schools and crumbling roads.  We don’t have enough criminals in all the penal colonies of our nation to dig ditches and fix roads.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Potus Rewrites

Rewrite the section where Potus meets Speaker of the House re: Daylight Savings. My editor said it wasn't clear why they hated each other so much.

Conveniently, in the Oval Office, Potus met with Speaker of the House. They sat across from each other with the large desk between them.

Potus said, "Thanks for coming to see me.  I know there might be some bad blood between us ever since the primary.”

Speaker of the House made a condescending nod with his head.

Potus continued, “As you know, we said some difficult things about each other, but that is normal for candidates vying for their party’s nomination.”

Speaker of the House raised his hand in a conciliatory gesture and said, “That’s OK. That’s all in the past. I would have preferred to receive the nomination. I was disappointed to say the least. But I’m able to overcome our differences and pretend I like you.”

Potus smiled. “That’s what I like. Honesty. So rare these days. May I say that I desperately hate your guts. I’m just clearing the air. God, that feels wonderful!  As much as it pains me to say so, I wish you would drop dead in a vat of acid."

"That's uncomfortable," said the Speaker of the House.  "I came here to discuss things civilly, especially since we're from the same political party."

"Oh," said Potus.  "I didn't realise that. ." Potus rummaged through a pile of papers on his desk. “I thought we were meeting as enemies. It’s a whole good politician/bad politician thing.”

"I understand.  Now as you know, sir, you have ignored our requests to come talk to you for the better part of a year.  I think that is a grave disservice to the country and to the balance of powers in this great nation."
"Bullshit," coughed Potus into his hand.

Later on,

"Don't sir me.  I'm just getting started," Potus snapped.  "And what about the time changes in the spring and winter?  Nobody likes that.  Why doesn’t everyone just leave a little earlier to go to work?  You do not have to change the clocks.  What's the progress on that?"

"Sir, daylight savings is proven to save energy and it's good for the environment.  Daylight savings saves lives and money."

"Bullshit," coughed Potus into his hand again.

"It's not bullshit."

"It is too."

"Is not."

"Is too bullshit." Potus held up a sheet of paper. “Right here, it says that four people died last year from Daylight Saving changes. In the spring, people lose sleep and they die.”

“That’s not real,” said Speaker of the House.

“Is too.”

"No it's not."

"Is is is. It’s right here in black and white. "

"Is not.  Isn't isn't isn't."

And further, a play on the Speaker's title.

"No, sir, I do not like it one bit.  Maybe if you didn't grant cunnilingus to rodent capybara in the middle of the night, you'd be able to speak better."

"I've never even been to South America," screamed Speaker of the House.  "And another thing, you sick bastard.  How do you even know what a capybara is?  There's no way someone could have figured that out without some insider knowledge."  Speaker of the House rose from his seat.

Potus stood up as well behind his desk.  "Ha, I don't need any insider knowledge.  I am the man on the inside.  I am an Office.  I have executive powers of observation.  I am able to discern what the people of America need me to see.  I'm chosen above all others to lead. And you, what are you? Just a speaker in some house? Anybody can speak in a house. I’m Office."

Johnson came in with the Chief of Staff.  Potus motioned him over.  "Johnson, remove Speaker of the House before I do harm to him."

After Speaker of the House left, Potus sat down while the Chief of Staff looked on.  The Chief of Staff asked, "Sir, how did it go with Speaker?  I assume it didn't go well."

Monday, July 15, 2013

POTUS rewrites

The editor suggested I rewrite one section about the infamous "Football". I originally denied its existence but decided to punch it up for more comedic effect.

Potus interrupted excitedly, "Whoa, mama, Iran's got nukes?  Those Israel nutcases must be going ape shit."
"No sir," corrected Secretary of Defence patiently.  "Iran could” (extra emphasis) “have nuclear capabilities in a few years.  Israel is officially willing to wait for a diplomatic solution for now."

"That's crazy," said Potus, "we should go bomb the shit out of those freaks right now.  Where are my nukes?  I'll show them.  Where's my thingee, whatsit, the briefcase with the codes in it?  The football?"

Secretary of Defence tried to calm Potus down.  "Sir, that's fiction.  It doesn't work that way.  There are no 'codes in a briefcase' anymore.  There is no 'football' in the physical sense.We use biometric data to ascertain your identity and we interpret your orders for, uh, execution.”

“Kind of like fly by wire?” Potus asked, rubbing his hands gleefully. “I love video games.”

“Maybe,” said Secretary of Defence hesitantly.

“Well, let’s get on that now,” said Potus. “I need football privileges!”

“I would love to ‘bomb the shit out of those Iranian freaks’ (your words), and believe me, we've tried.  But you have to build a consensus, talk to the United Nations," Secretary of Defence waived his hands in front of himself.   "It's a whole thing."

“It’s the goddamned Europeans, isn’t it?” Potus asked. “They don’t like our word football. It reminds them of that stupid kickball game, soccer.”

“I don’t think that’s it at all,” said Secretary of Defence.

Potus shook his head sadly.  "Tell me about these UN assholes.  They live rent free in their own little country on Manhattan Island and we foot the bill for all that?"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Leaving Eternity part III

Darienne walked up behind California and touched his elbow to get his attention. Electrons flowed between the ions of his captain's jacket and her finger tips. He stopped talking to the person in front of him and turned slowly. "Ca..." he began and she shushed him.

"Darienne," she corrected. He nodded slowly. "May I meet you later... Somewhere?" she asked nervously.

He nodded again and said, "Captain's apartment, quandrant 3 tonight after the second bell."

They stood uncomfortably until the person California was talking to coughed politely. California bowed his head and turned back to continue his conversation. Darienne breathed out a sigh of relief as she turned and walked back to Farlene.

---

Darienne knocked on California's door and he answered. He smiled and stood aside with his arm stretched out to show her how welcome she was to step inside. Darienne nodded and entered. California followed her down the hallway to the living space and motioned to a couch. They sat across from each other, he in his large comfortable chair.

Darienne tried to relax him with conversation and small talk. California cannot relax. It is a simple matter of physics. If he relaxes, the weight of everything on Eternity will crush him.

Darienne finally got her point during a lull in the conversation. "Captain, I apologise for taking your time but I need your help."

California nodded slowly. "I think I understand," he said.

Darienne looked at her lap. "I have committed a capital offense," she said.

"Calista," California said, "Why did you do this?"

"So you know?" she asked quietly.

"I've known since I saw you on ship's day 32," he answered.

"That's why I need your help. I used someone else's identity to journey to the new planet in the hopes of finding a new life." She almost added the "with you" phrase she had practised.

He seemed to pick up on the missing phrase. "For me? You risked death? The automatic scanners will catch you no matter what I try to do. The security team are incorruptible. It's out of my hands."

Calista nodded. "I know," she said.

California leaned forward. "They will kill you. It seems septic and clean referring to it as 'ejection' but it's not. You will die."
For my wife, who dreamed it.

Calista nodded again, fervently. "It's worth it," she said. "We all die. Some of us delay it more than others."

California was perplexed. "You've committed suicide. I can't protect you."

Calista said, "Death is not a destination. It is an email that is delivered to you. I've released you from your obligations to me. I release you. It is enough to talk to you once more."

California raised his voice. "You know how they say that there is someone out there for everyone? How it's destiny? You said it yourself. 'There's someone who's meant to be there for me?' It's a lie. It's not me. You will release me? You could never bind me in the first place."

Calista deflated visibly. She covered her face with her hands, then dropped them to her lap. Tears streamed down her cheeks. "Most people think love is like the wind that blows," she said. "It's not. Love is the house that stands up to the wind. It is what remains after the wind is gone."

California raised his hand to stop her. "I'm sorry, Calista. Darienne, whatever. You have to leave. I can't compromise my position. The safety and success of Eternity is up to me."

Calista stood slowly and walked out. She paused one last time as she opened the door. California did not look up. She closed the door behind her.

---

As the passengers disembarked, California reviewed the reports from his captain's chair on the bridge. His first lieutenant stood nearby uncomfortably. "Sir?" he asked.

California waved him away. On his vidscreen was a security loop showing Darienne or Calista being led away in cuffs. As she is walked toward a red aperture she turns and looks at the camera. She smiles and steps through.

California pounds his chair with his fist and quickly wipes his eyes.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Leaving Eternity part II

For my wife, who dreamed it.

On the evening before docking day, the final preparations for disembarkation were being made. All the trash was gathered up and anything that could move was tied down. Eternity was set to enter the planet's atmosphere and would land safely on the surface in a carefully orchestrated manoeuver. Eternity would unfold in place and the colony and all her 900 souls aboard would start a new life. The mood aboard ship was ebullient.

Farlene was busy at work at Darienne's flat helping to secure belongings and furniture. While Farlene bustled about, Darienne seemed to deepen into a foul mood.

"I don't know why you're in such a funk, quite honestly. This is the best day of the entire trip," Farlene said, standing with her hands on her hips and surveying her handiwork. "Tonight they'll we'll have some guests over and have a huge block party. The captain will even come by!"

Darienne seemed to brighten. "Captain?" she asked.

"Oh yes, and his security team will check everyone's papers. It's just a formality, you know. I don't know how they expect someone to try to stow away on a ship without proper papers. People know it's illegal, why would they even try it?" Farlene asked.

"I wonder," said Darienne faintly.

"Why, do you know I read on the neighbourhood vidboard that two people were caught without proper credentials. I'm sure it was just a bureaucratic error. But nonetheless, they said that California had to eject them."

"Eject them," repeated Darienne.

"Why yes, it's a capital offense, you know," said Farlene noticing some cabinets that hadn't been secured properly.

Later that night at the block party, Darienne and Farlene were seated at a table. Farlene was the centre of the party, telling jokes and holding court in her section. A contingent of security officers approached, followed behind by the lumbering gate of captain California. The tables erupted in applause as the revelers stood up and saluted with full cups of simcohol.

"Three cheers for the captain!" raised the cry.

"Hip hip!" shouted others.

California pretended to be bashful and held up his hands to placate the crowd. "Thanks everyone, sit down. Enjoy yourselves. My team and I will come by and talk to all of you. Go, sit," he admonished.

As California approached Farlene's table, he noticed Darienne who seemed to try to shrink and hide from sight. Farlene waved excitedly and motioned for California to sit at the empty seat between herself and Darienne. He nodded and sat at her request.

Farlene said, "Oh, captain, it's such an honour to see you. Everyone on Eternity is grateful for your skills in piloting us here without incident. Your leadership is a great role model for our society!"

California deferred, chuckling. He turned his attention to Darienne. "May I be introduced?" he asked Farlene but was looking directly at Darienne.

"Oh yes, of course, how rude. This is my mother's daughter, Darienne. Darienne, this is of course captain California," Farlene said.

California seemed surprised. "Darienne? That's a nice name. You reminded me of someone else I used to know."

Darienne shook her head emphatically.

California looked quizzically at Darienne then turned back to Farlene. He said, "Well, enjoy yourselves then. We'll need to see your papers of course. All the proper procedures and we'll be on the ground in no time."

Farlene nodded and California stood, making his way to the next table. Farlene chided Darienne for her bad manners. "Goodness gracious, Darienne, if your mother could see you now she'd be positively embarrassed. You never made eye contact with the captain and didn't even say a word. Why I never," Farlene trailed off as she saw the tears streaming down Darienne's down-turned face. "What's wrong dear?" she asked.

Darienne said, "It's all over Farlene. Today's the last day. There's no more."

Farlene grabbed her hands and held them in hers. She said, "No Darienne, it's just the beginning. We're on a new home world. Imagine the new life ahead of us. This is the best day of our lives!"

Darienne shook her head and stood, pulling her hands from Farlene. "I've got to go," she said and hurried in the direction of the captain.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Leaving Eternity part I

For my wife, who dreamed it.

Eternity city was easy to get lost in. Although N65443-LS (portal class) was 1 kilometre on a side, the layout was designed to be deceiving. There were several distinct portions of town laid out roughly in quadrants, but all of the streets had bends in them and intertwined in three dimensions. It was on one of these streets in quadrant 2 that Darienne lived and spent her days.

Darienne always presented a sad and forlorn face to the city of Eternity. Many of the passengers on the ship would suffer from depression or malaise despite the efforts to break up the boredom of the trip. However, Darienne had been depressed since boarding and during some of the yearly events and celebrations when most other passengers would divert themselves and be happy.

Her best friend and neighbour, Farlene was always cheerful and would attempt to cure Darienne of her dour mood. Farlene was Darienne's mother's best friend and it had been a pleasant coincidence they had met on this transport trip. Farlene had immediately arranged for their house assignments to be arranged next to each other. She had not met her friend's daughter until this trip but was excited to have a built-in connection (no matter how distant) in the city.

Darienne would nevertheless refuse to cheer up. Through a series of conversations over the months and years, Farlene had managed to make out that Darienne had left the home planet on aboard Eternity so that she could pursue her love for a mysterious stranger. Darienne never explained if the man lived in Eternity, or if he was already ahead at the new planet waiting for her. Even if that were the case, as Falene surmised, why was Darienne so sad when she should actually be excited and happy to meet up with him when the arrived?

The captain of the ship, California, was a strong burly man who spoke slowly and decisively. Whenever he made televised announcements of Eternity's progress or of upcoming city events, Darienne did seem to lighten her mood considerably. California was known as a hands-on manager and he often met with people in Eternity, sitting on various chairmanship meetings and neighbourhood improvement projects. He was also the final executive administrator of the ship and city, meaning that he was a kind of unelected president.

He often liked to visit quadrant 2 although his staffers never quite understood why he liked to spend time in that lower-class section. Like Darienne, California was often moody and slightly depressed. Although he enjoyed himself at public events and put on a bright face, he would often sit in his captain's chair and stare at a screenvid holding the picture of a woman he had once known. Everyone assumed it was his wife or daughter although he never spoke of her.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Salmon and Nella Die

Over the decades, Salmon raised Nella in his secret nunnery. The nuns trained daily in the deadly arts of MMA entertainment. It was a better life than most of the orphans like Nella had lived on the outside. Instead of begging for money from hand jobs, there was was banana peeling. In lieu of selling drugs, there were bake sales. In lieu of sleeping on the cold, hard, dangerous sidewalk, there was a straw mat inside the convent.

Nella often wished for freedom even though she admitted she preferred the convent. Salmon took a special interest in her, even among all his hand-picked followers. During the daily fighter stretches and sparring, Salmon always made a special point of correcting Nella's stance or showing her the intricacies of some wrestling form. His smiling round face made Nella feel a strange twisting deep in the pit of her stomach, like a snake uncoiling or getting ready to strike. She was never sure which.

Salmon took care of all of his nun troops like a doting father. He was an expert military man and a deocrated tank hero. He commanded the largest division of tanks in the New United States Army. His clandestine nunnery was a personal empire he managed to make money from televised pay-per-view fights. The cage fights were mostly staged, but the nuns still got hurt. The nuns often had torn ligaments, broken noses and bruised ribs. Nonetheless, they were highly trained and skilled warriors who could give as good as they could take.

Salmon had chosen Nella because of her fighting spirit. He knew that her smallish frame and cute face belied a deadly drive to accomplish her goals. He was drawn to her calm yet driven nature and always made an effort to interact with her daily during the training rituals. He was dying to show her some of the new secret yoga moves he had learned from the Kama Sutra to improve her performance in the octagon. He had learned from a divination session with a crackpot prostitute in the city that his true love and ultimate destiny was a fighter who bore a black scar upon their shoulder.

Nella's did indeed have a scar on her shoulder, but it wasn't black. It was the colour of chewed gum stuck to the underside of a table and forgotten for several years. She had gotten the scar during a particularly vicious cage match against one of her rivals, an orphan who had joined the convent a few years before Nella. They were bunk mates, which was often seen as a sign of a good fight, one that would raise good ratings. During their bunk nights, Nella and her rival had touched each other furtively under the sheets, desperate to relieve the tensions, aches, and outright boredom of the convent life and training.

Their hands often wandered eventually to the pudenda and between the upper thighs; Nella's vice-grip legs had broken her rival's wrist once, causing a muffled scream and scrambling in the sheets that was noticed by several other nuns. The other nuns whispered about their commingling and eventually Nella and her rival were separated. Nella got a new bunk mate who was gentler and sweeter. Nella went on to kill her rival in the octagon after hearing about her rival's relationship with her new bunk mate.

Salmon believed that Nella was meant for him and went out of his way to express his love. He would give her special training sessions and shared with her the mystical series of numbered touch-points that caused death, dismemberment, and in some cases, bad breath. The four-touch sequence would cause explosions in the bowel which would cause death within several days. It also caused the victim to expel disgusting gasses during the interval before death. The five-touch sequence caused the heart to separate into its four chambers. The victim would mope around sadly for several months with their broken heart until they could either recover slowly or, more often, died alone.

Eventually, as they must, Salmon and Nella grew together in hidden love. They expressed their desires for each other by sneaking up to the roof on warm nights after curfew. At first, it was merely a pretense of training exercises. Later it became a way to release the flow of Kundalini energy stored in the triangular sacrum. It was there, in the dark under the moon and stars, making sweet whole-body orgasmic love that Nella realised she didn't care for men and that Salmon was not her soul mate.

Many decades later, after crossing herself outside the octagon and stepping in for a match, she saw the smiling round face of Salmon. It would be the ultimate match of love and violence, and many millions of tickets for the pay-per-view had been sold for several hundred yuan each. Nella clenched her fists and vowed that Salmon would die. The fight was vicious and at the end, Salmon could not bring himself to give Nella the fatal blow. He had her locked in the steel cross manouever and could have ended her life with one pull. Instead, he let her wriggle out and she was able to give him the seven-star-touch which sentenced him to death by beautiful lights in a tunnel.

He staggered around the ring muttering unintelligibly, "Nella.  Nella. Nella." Then he fell in a crumpled mess while Nella fell to her knees and mourned the passing of her kind mentor and physical lover. She never had any sentimentality for anyone in her life, and she wasn't prepared to feel any now.

Nella was promoted to head of the convent and to this day makes a good living selling pay-per-view tickets for nun cage matches in the octagon.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nella the Nun Wrestler

Nella meekly crossed herself and stood unsteadily. Decades of prayer had abused her knees into weak shredded beds of lettuce. She adjusted her modest shift and stepped into the ring. She was God's wife and someone needed a beat down in the name of his Him and His administrators on earth, starting with the Pope.

Her mind raced back to the days before cagefighting; back to the time before she married God and wore the frock at the Saint Mary Elisabeth Antononina Vladovich Estonia's convent. She was young and eager then, hustling yuan from the American tourists for hand jobs and bags of meth. Sometimes they wanted exotic stuff like bath salts, cinnamon, or hamsters. She drew the line at GMOs. She wouldn't sell anything that might be harmful to the environment. Even then, she believed in a higher power and His call to protect and cherish His creation.

That sunny day of double-aught she had scored a batch of military grade caffeine. She had mixed it with water and started mainlining it down the gullet. She had tilted her head back to take in the rays of Atum-Ra. The poison drug rushed through her brain and brought time to a standstill. A shadow crept across her face and she opened her eyes too slowly in the jacked-up hyper state she was enjoying. A round white face entered her vision and the face smiled.

"Do you know the way to San Jose?" the stranger asked in a comical slow motion drawl. "I'm a tank driver and we're doing operations..."

She smiled, shaded her eyes, then laughed. She laughed uncontrollably and doubled over trying to supress the giggles. The stranger bent closer, concern on his face.

"Hey, are you all right? You look like you OD'd on caffeine..." he said.

She reached up to bat away the slow-motion arm that moved toward her. Trails of blue and red swirled in the air as she moved. Laughter filled an echo chamber, sounding like tinkling ice in a scotch glass. The threads of gravity holding her hair down shifted slightly and most of the world went sideways while her head held still. A slow row of dogs barking through thick boiling fudge crested as the world turned red.

Nella woke later in the hospital among the beeping machines and cursed the police officer sitting next to her bed. He looked up from the magazine he was reading and smiled suddenly, the same smile she had seen before her overdose. It was bright and open, disarming and charming. She hated him.

"Hi, lady. Sorry I don't know know your name. My name is Salmon, first Over Lieutenant Commander Corporal of the 32nd division of the 14th tank platoon based in White Sands." The commander stood and reached out his hand to shake hers. Nella huffed nosily and stared at the ceiling. After a long while Salmon sat down again.

He tried again, "Look, I know you've had a hard life. I was on my way to manouevers in Norcal and I've never been there and I don't know the way, so I asked you if you'd been to San Jose." Nella giggled again reflexively. Salmon continued, "I know it sounds funny. But you looked so cute and I was so concerned for you when you passed out... I've seen coffee drunkies like you before and recognised the signs..."

At that, Nella screamed and grabbed her temples with both hands. She was in withdrawal from the caffeine and her head hurt. Her stomach twisted violently and she pulled her legs up to her chest.

"Listen!" she spat at Salmon who now stood next to her. "I don't know you and I just want to hustle a few grams for some yuan. I need to get out of this stupid gown and hospital and I need to transact. Some. Business."

"Yes, yes," Salmon said, placating her. He motioned for three nuns to come into the room. The nuns brandished bibles and they moved in to subdue Nella.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Potus rewrites

From the end scene where Potus explains what happened to the British Prime Minister.

The CIA director said, "I believe we're causing an international incident."

"Pssh," said Potus.  "I'll clear everything up with a speech.  I'm excellent at speeches."

“The people will believe you when you say things,” agreed the CIA director.

“They should believe me,” said Potus. “I’m very knowledgeable and trustworthy.”

"We can arrange a press conference soon," said the CIA director.  "But you, Sir, need to, uh, you know, um…  Get dressed."


The climax scene with the CIA Director, explaining the election results for Potus:

“There’s one more thing before you go, said the CIA Director, motioning Potus and Shaniqua to sit. “It’s with regard to the legitimacy of your presidential title.”

“Those are serious allegations and I won’t stand for them,” said Potus, refusing to sit.

“Clam down, calm down,” said the CIA Director. “During investigations earlier this year over voter irregularities, we detected some quote-unquote, lost votes.” Here the CIA Director made air-quotes over his head. He continued, “These lost votes were in favour of your opponent who narrowly lost several key battleground states.”
“Quote-unquote?” asked Potus, making air-quotes.
“Sure,” answered the CIA Director shrugging. “Not a big deal. We made it go away.” Here the large man from the NSA nodded. The CIA Director continued, “We traced some of the problem to daylight saving miscalculations in the voting machines produced by VMA Corp. It turns out that several clocks inside the voting machines hadn’t been set back for the fall time and discounted the votes received later in the evening.”
Potus sat in shock, taking in the news.

“Sir,” continued the CIA Director, “I understand this is immense news and I didn’t want to share it with you until we were sure. We’ve already covered it up and you’re good to go. So no worries there, we can talk about it any time.”

“The Daylight Savings bug?” asked Potus incredulously. “I hate Daylight Savings, but it got me elected?”

“Yes, Sir, it seems that way. Thought you should know,” said the CIA Director. He shrugged again.

“I am become death, destroyer of worlds,” said Potus.

The CIA Director said, “No, Sir, that was Oppenheimer. You are the creator of worlds! You are the ruler of worlds! You are the president!”

The CIA Director and large man from the NSA both stood and saluted. Potus saluted limply and turned to pad out of the room barefoot, followed by Shaniqua. Shaniqua turned to both men as she neared the door and flipped them the bird.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Potus Rewrites

In the section where Potus and Johnson meet in the limousine:

“So you guys protect the president, no matter what?” asked Potus.

“Well, Sir,” said Johnson, “The Secret Service also protects the currency.”

“Well done,” said Potus. “I need currency to fund my army."


The infamous fart scene needed some expansion:

Potus sat for a long while to let the director cue the Potus graphics and signal the end.  Finally receiving the signal, he stood and put his hands behind his hips, stretching his back.  "Oof," he said, gripping the edge of his desk and bending forward.  The distinct sound of a deep-note kettle whistle could be heard.  "Aah," cried Potus, stamping his feet.  He gripped the edge of the desk more tightly and let another lengthy one rip.  The Chief of Staff who had approached waved his clipboard to fan his face with a grimace.

"Still rolling," called a technician from somewhere behind the lights.

"With sound?" asked another.

"Negative," the first answered.  "But I think it's obvious."

"Cut the feed, cut the feed," cried the director.

"Excellent job," exclaimed the Chief of Staff kneeling to get to face level with Potus.

"Yes, yes," said Potus talking to the floor and gripping the edge of the table.  "We have given the common every-person what they want.  An honest assessment of the state of affairs of the nation."

“Did you fart, Sir?” asked the Chief of Staff.

“Of course I farted, asshole. My ass is full of gas!” exclaimed Potus.

"It smells like natural gas," said the Chief of Staff, wrinkling his nose.

"It is natural gas." agreed Potus.

"Yes, Sir. I think we should stand now," said the Chief of Staff.

"In a minute," growled Potus.

And more expansion before the "Go Fuck Yourself" scene:

"A rider?" asked Potus.

"You know, some pork.  Some grease."  The Speaker of the House smiled mischievously.

"A metaphor for money?"

"Exactly."

"No way.  It is my way or the highway.  Getting rid of Daylight Spending is its own reward."

"I don't follow," frowned the House Speaker. “You have to have some give-and-take in this city, it’s how things get done around here.”

“OK, I’ll play your game, but only because I don’t want to kick your ass. I’m tired and I already kicked four asses this morning. What do you suggest?” asked Potus.

“That’s not how it works, Sir,” said the House Speaker.  “You have to mention something you’re willing to give and how much you’re willing to spend (so to speak) and we come to an arrangement.”

"Never mind," said Potus.  "Do it or don't, nobody cares.  The common every-person is fed up with the nonsense coming out of Washington.  As a representative of the common people, I’m empowered by myself to tell you to go fuck yourself. Speaking of which, my staff spent a lot of time trying to come up with really good ways to say 'go fuck yourself' to Congress and I wanted to run those by you."

"Um..."

"Sit back and relax.  Here we go." said Potus, picking up a piece of paper and putting on his reading glasses.  "Let's see.  'Go have sex with yourself', that is pretty basic.  Not very imaginative.  'Go autonomously into coitus'.  I like that, but I don’t know what it means.  'Go masturbate selfishly', you see because it's go fuck yourself by yourself."

"Sir," objected the House Speaker.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Potus rewrites

A new excerpt for the scene after Potus gets the shoe thrown at him.

Potus tilted his head away.  "I'm fine," he said.  "You should see the other guy.  I nailed him, mano-a-mano with his own shoe."

"I saw it on the TV.   I don't think you hit him," she said doubtfully.

"Tell her, Johnson," said Potus proudly.

Johnson shook his head.

The First Lady shoved Potus' shoulder.  "You and your stories.  Always trying to be a bigger man.  Speaking of which, you need more potassium and fibre.  I'm going to tell the doctor and the chef to get you more vitamins and minerals."

"Aw," complained Potus.

"After this we can go upstairs," said the First Lady.  "I want to show you the drapes." The First Lady strode out of the clinic purposefully.

“Let me ask you something,” said Potus to Johnson. Potus sat on the crinkly paper with his legs dangling.

“OK,” said Johnson.

“Let me ask you a personal question,” Potus repeated.

“No problem, Sir,” answered Johnson.

“Once when I was young and single before I met the First Lady, I had an incident with a tornado. It was late spring and some college buddies and I stayed out late after finals. We went down the local DQ and were hanging out causing trouble. One of us had some dope and most of us had beers. I think it was Barnyard beer.

“One of my good friends had his girlfriend with him and we secretly thought he didn’t deserve her because she was too pretty for him. There had been reports of a storm coming in but none of us wanted to leave and the guy who had the fake ID had already bought a 24-pack of Barnyard or whatever it was. We were sitting around and talking when all of a sudden we see that the place is completely deserted.

“We didn’t think anything of it until the tornado sirens started. As you can imagine, we started running around like chickens without heads. None of us could drive because we were all pretty messed up. Anyway, we each scattered in different directions and I ended up behind the liquor store next to a trash bin. Not a trash bin, a dumpster. I looked around and the guy’s girlfriend was looking for him. I called her over to the trash bin just as a gust of wind almost knocked her down.

“She came over with me and we jumped inside the trash bin. It was filthy, but better than being out in the exposed elements. The rain and wind were fierce and it kept getting darker, like really, really dark. It was almost night at one point. The girl and I were holding onto each other for dear life. I kept thinking that I was holding her arm, but after a while I realised I was holding her tit meat. I thought it was her bicep, so I kept squeezing it to reassure her. But it was her tit.

“When the tornado came by about a mile east of where we were, the wind blew the so crazily that the dumpster lid closed and we were blown across the lot into a field. I heard a lot of screaming from the girl, and I grabbed her bicep even tighter. Then I realised I was the one screaming and she had passed out from the pain, probably.”

Johnson stood quietly for a second, then asked, “Sir, you said you were going to ask me a question?”

“Right,” said Potus. “The question is, I’m still pretty manly right? I’m a goddamned hero in that situation, right?”

Johnson stared at Potus through his dark glasses for a long time. Then he said, “That’s classified, Sir.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Potus rewrites

More rewrites for Potus. The section from the first press meeting:

"Ladies and gentlemen of the press," Potus began.  "I use the terms lightly of course:  few of you are ladies and even fewer of you are gentlemen."  Some polite laughter flitted among the reporters.  "This is our first press meeting and I'd like to keep it brief.  As you know, I am the busiest leader of the free world so my time is very valuable. However I gladly share it with you. Politicians like me are rarely treated with respect but I ask that you treat me with respect. Politicians are people too. They’re just corrupt people who deserve respect. Um, I might have that wrong, but you get my drift.  You there, you have a question?"

Later, during the cutbacks from Congress cutting off Potus' funding:

"Yes, Sir?" snapped the Head of Homeland Security chief suddenly awake and reading his notes.  "We're well ahead of schedule to increase body scans and intrusive pat-downs.  Nearly four trillion pairs of shoes have been inspected in the most successful security detail of all time," he said.

"Bullshit," said Potus.  "Taking off shoes is bullshit.  What is your department doing about cutbacks?"

"Cutbacks, Sir?"

"Yes, reductions, layoffs, forced retirement, no more internal office email.  Things like that.  I’d say we don’t need to look at the common every-persons’ shoes anymore.  I mean, what kind of threat could a shoe produce?" asked Potus.

“A shoe could be very dangerous, as you know very well, Mr. President.  Your eminence has even had one thrown at him recently,” said the head of Homeland Security.

“Don’t call me ‘your eminence’ you pansy,” said Potus.

The head of Homeland Security squirmed in his large leather chair. “Yes, Sir, your em… Sir,” he said.

“Anyway, you’re Quite right, I did have a shoe thrown at me as the office representitive.” said Potus.  “But an Office is invulnerable to shoes.  You can’t throw a shoe at an Office. I guess you could, technically. Not a glass office, of course. You shouldn’t throw shoes in a glass office.  What Enough about that, what do you hope to find anyway, looking in at all those shoes?”

The head Head of Homeland Security paged through his notes.  “Sir, I have a list here of threats we’ve recovered from shoes just last year.  We protected the flying every-person from the following threats.  Let’s see.  31,000 pounds of chewing gum, over 200,000 grams of tiny gravel and pebbles, um… fifteen pieces of very sharp broken glass.  Let’s see.  Well, let’s just say there were various other threats to passenger safety.”

“I’m not buying it,” frowned Potus.  “We need to chop the deadweight and protecting people from little bits of gravel isn’t enough to justify the cost.”

And later in the same meeting:

Potus waved at his protest.  "Just make sure you document all these threats and tell the Vice President to do his job over there in the House of Representatives.  Make sure they keep these safety issues first and foremost in mind.

“Speaking of the House,” continued Potus, “the states have to cut back. We could chop some of the fat around this country. We have fifty states, for example. Do we need all fifty?” Potus looked around the conference room. No one spoke.

“I say we don’t need two Dakotas,” said Potus. “That’s one example. You don’t need a North and a South Dakota. You just have one. Instant savings!” Potus clapped to drive the point home.

“Sir,” began Chief of Staff, “we can’t just get rid of states. They’ll be upset about the cutbacks and they could threaten to leave the Union.”

“I hate Unions, as you know,” retorted Potus. “In any case, I’m just brain storming. Nobody else has good ideas here. How about the timezone problems? We really need to get rid of daylight saving! That’s quite a saving in itself. Imagine all the cutbacks we could avoid by not setting our clocks ahead and back two times a year.”

Chief of Staff spoke up. “Sir, two states already ignore daylight saving. Arizona and one other. I’m not sure.”
“New York,” said the Head of Homeland Security.

“New York?” asked Potus. “That’s a city.”

“It’s also a state,” said the Head of Homeland Security meekly.

“Well, that’s good. Arizona and New York City get medals. Let’s think of more ideas.”

The room was silent for a long while. A sound of paper ruffling was heard. Another sound of someone coughing politely into their fist was heard. A door opened somewhere out in the hall and people came in and went out beyond the door.

Potus finally spoke up. “Listen everybody. We need to have deep cutbacks. Everything should be on the table.”

“What if the table isn’t big enough, Sir?” asked the Chief of Staff.

“We’ll make a bigger table,” exclaimed the Labour Secretary.

"That’s the thinking I like! Meanwhile," Potus said, smirking and rubbing his hands together gleefully.  "Meanwhile, it's time for some cutbacks here in the White House.  I don't think we need so many maids and menservants do you?"

And at the end of the meeting:

Potus put his hands down.  "Layoffs?" he prompted.

"Ah yes, layoffs.  My favourite topic.  When I was a young lady working under Number 40, we once had to..."

Potus raised his hands to stop her.  "Ok, reduce staff by 60%.  Got it.  Someone write that down. Now,” said Potus standing to make his point. He leaned on the large wooden table with his fingers. “You’re either with me or against me. I need only the most loyal people following me. The times will get tough and I need people I can trust behind me. Anybody worried about their jobs, get the fuck out now.”

Several moments went by. Two staff members stood up and left quietly. A few more followed from the other end of the table. A group of six staffers suddenly got busy gathering up papers, books and briefcases. They filed out quietly.

“Good,” said Potus firmly. “What time is it?"

Everyone A few of the staffers and Cabinet members left in the room checked his or hertheir watches and their phones.

"12:45," said one.

"12:40," said another in quick succession.

"1:30," said a third down the table.

"Close enough," said Potus.  "Time for lunch!"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Confessions to the Wildman part i

Father, forgive me for I have sinned.

That's how it begins, alwasy the same. All have sinned and this is nothing new. All must admit their sin and confess in order for the sin to be absolved. He listens patiently each time.

"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned," he said.

"Yes," he answered to fill the gap in the ritual.

"It has been three years since my last confession."

"Go on, my son," he said. It was patronising but the masses liked it.

"I have committed fornication, adultery, and masturbation."

"God has given us the gift of sexuality so that we may procreate inside of marriage, my son," said the Wildman.

"Yes, Father. But I have done it irresponsibly and I was unable to conceive because I used prophylactics," the sinner said.

"Oh, that is bad. God does not like that," said the Wildman.

"Forgive me, Father. I should not be so blunt."

"No, my son," here the Wildman winced at the patronisation again but continued the ruse. "I am used to all of God's creatures sins and I appreciate the honesty."

"Bless me Father, I seek absolution," the sinner begged.

The Wildman intoned: "Say one hail Mary for each incident of masturbation. Count one rosary as well for each sexual liason with a condom. You can deduct any incidents of infidelity from conjugal procreative sex inside of marriage, up to and the including three years from the last confession. If the previous confession included incidents of infidelity, you cannot deduct those from the current procreative marital sex during the current sinful period, unless you have a carry-forward credit. The credit can only be used at the rate of one per month, or three per trimester if your wife was pregnant during the period in consideration."

"Thank you father. What about the gay stuff?" the sinner asked.

"Son, you did not mention gay stuff," said the Wildman wearily.

"I accidentally looked at some lesbian porn on my computer when I clicked a link in my email, I didn't know..."

"If it was an accident, you may say one hail Mary per three spam emails. If they were not accidents, but instead weakness of flesh, you will need to spend three days per incident offline, including usage of a cell phone."

"Father, that seems strict," complained the sinner.

"Not as strict as God will punish you if you have any mortal sins on your ledger during the calendar year of your death," answered the Wildman grimly.

"Thank you Father."

It has been six days since my last confession.

It's part of the ritual. The masses like rituals. They are comforting. The rituals pass time in a measured way. They remove monotony and alleviate boredome. They give something for the mind to project forward and look forward to. The rituals prepare for the inevitable consequences of death.

"Father, forgive me for I have sinned, it has been, like three months since I last talked to a priest," she said.

"Go ahead, my child," the Wildman answered. Giving permission is the power invested in him by the powers that be.

"Father, I'm an alcoholic, and I abuse medication," she says plainly.

"Medication, like the foul weed marijuana?" asks the Wildman.

"Yes, Father. I also took illegal drugs. Methamphetamines, heroin, MDMA, Ectasy, um, crack, cocaine, um, a few others. Downers, uppers, that kind of thing."

"God has created medicine to improve the life of his creation, not to destroy it, my child. You are lucky to be alive," said the Wildman.

"I know. I've been real lucky. I score a lot of drugs by being attractive and men give me shit. Sometimes I have to do stuff, but it's not so bad. Handjobs and the mouth. The feel my tits. Sometimes the ass. Like I said, not too bad."

"Child, the hand of the righteous do not perform sexual sin. The lips of the righteous do not spill the sacred seed of procreation. The touching is approved by God as it leads to procreation, but only in the safe confines of marriage."

"Yeah, I feel kinda bad about that," she admits wishing she were chewing gum so she could do more to work her jaws in her discomfort.

"The Lord will allow you to fill out a form detailing your medical uses and also your non-medicinal applications of drugs. You should decline to use any drugs that are recreational or destructive or non-medicinal for at least 90 days to cover the usage of the present confessional period. If you had previously confessed to drug use, you should double the length of abstainance to 180 days. You can also get future credits for the next relapse (God forbid) if you check in to a rehab clinic. I have some cards of Catholic-God approved resources for your use."

"Father, don't you think God wouldn't forgive my sins as they have such large impact on society and culture?"

"No, my child," answered the Wildman. The address fit this time and he did not feel any shame in using it. "God is more of a liberal pharmaceutical professional who does not judge the informed consent patient who applies medications for other-than-moral uses. Although birth control is right out."

"Um..."

"Oh dear. You've been on birth control?" asked the Wildman.

"Yes, Father. Forgive me! What if one of those assholes tried to rape me while I'm high on PCP or something? I gotta protect myself!"

"That is hard to forgive on God's behalf," admitted the Wildman. "In that case, God is still more of a fiscal conservative federalist and prefers that the local chapters below the Bishop level take care of problems like that. Although policy is set by the committe with the saints and Beloved Pope. So tread carefully."

"Thank you Father," she said and actually curtseyed like a child.

Father, I have taken confession from actors and liars and lawyers. I have taken confession from drug adicts, gamblers, and compulsive shoppers. I have spoken to fornicators, adulterers, sexual perverts, rapists, aborters, abortionists, and cross dressers. In short, sinners of every kind. None of it has infected my mind and I live a pure life. I confess regularly to absolve myself of any guilt. I live a clean and sin-free existence with up to three nines of accuracy.

"I do not hear any sin, my child," said the Wildman to soothe his confessor.

Father, it is this: when I listen to their stories of sin and awful mortal degregation, I am jealous.

"My child, that is normal. Pray to our Spiritual Father and he will surely write up a dispensation based on the blamelessness of your actions and the intent you hide in your heart. He can file that with the clerk and it will be processed in three to six weeks. You can expedite it with some hail Mary's and daily ablations."

Amen, Wildman.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Musings on Gobzaga Bay

Much has been written about Gobzaga and none of it shall be repeated here. The mythical location of the birthplace of the Wildman is a subject of much speculation. In a famous painting done of the Gobzaga bay, Michelangelo depicts a cerulean sea with white caps reflecting perfectly the serene sky and clouds above. Along the curving bay the viewer witnesses warm sandy beaches lined with thick verdant foliage. The pale trunks of the trees contrast against the deep green of the leaves. In another part of the mural, a lone Spanish Galleon is moored in the calm waters.

Closer inspection shows two native Gobzagans (clearly human forms with their tanned skin and long flowing manes of hair) near the shore, hovering at the edge between plant and silica. The male Gobzagan ventures forward with more confidence, his gaze tilting in a line between the shore and the Galleon. The female figure hangs back, a step and a half behind, hiding her fear behind long flowing locks of black hair that hangs down in front of her face and discreetly covers her bosom. They are both nude, which is how the artist depicts all natives, Gobzagan or not.

Turning attention back to the Spanish Galleon, a single thick rope leads from the bow and dives down at a steep angle toward the sea. One almost hears the creaking of ropes and lumber as the seas lap around the base of the strong ship. Her sails are forlorn and sagging, implying a lack of wind to stir them. No invisible viagra moves the flaccid flag sailing from the top mast (which is incidentally how Michelangelo depicts this is an actual Spanish Galleon and not, say, an Italian Galleon).

The decks of the ship are shockingly empty, as if the hanging coils of ropes and various wooden equipment on deck had just recently been handled and are merely awaiting the quick return of the sailors. The side of the Galleon facing the viewer shows the cannon hatches are opened and the eight cannon are extended and pointed toward the curved line of the bay. The angle of the attack of the cannon and side of the ship point downward from where the tentative Gobzagans peer out from the foliage.

Along the other side of the mural, which by its perspective implies the viewer is looking at this window onto a vista from the side of a bluff or cliff, some craggy rocks and resolute trees grip the sides of a rocky mountain tightly. From the viewer's perch somewhere on this steep slope (seemingly), the wind blows by a bit quicker. One sees and tastes the effect of this salty wind from the bay below in the ruffled feathers of some nesting seagulls on a few rocks in the near-distance. The birds' beaks betray their line of sight, downward and forward toward the ship in the bay.

Somewhere implied deep within the bowels of the ship, one wonders if the seamen are sleeping on a hot day enjoying their siesta, or perhaps quietly planning the next leg of their trip. Somewhere onshore, one could imagine a landing party (perhaps with the captain leading the expedition) to find water. This last scenario is plausible but unlikely because Michelangelo has not seen fit to draw in a ferry boat on the shore of the calm bay. Perhaps the the landing boat is beached somewhere underneath the curve of the rocky slope of the foreground, but that too is unlikely as there is a wonderful spot to land right over there, just below the depiction of the timid Gobzagans.

Another noticeable absence to confirm our suspicion of a landing party is the lack of foot prints in the sand, which should be visible  by a group of 5 or 10 sailors making a landing there to explore and stock up on rations which are clearly plentiful on the lush island. Looking closer at the ship, the viewer is unable to see any signs of a landing or ferry boat, unless the boat is hanging off the back or side of the ship that is not visible from the viewer's perspective.

Rising above the far distance of the treetops rises a sharp spire of an ancient volcano with wispy fragments of cloud cover circling the peak. The viewer immediately assumes this ancient and lifeless volcano must be the original mother of this tropical island wilderness, giving birth to such beautiful bounty and tranquility in the middle of the vast deep blue-green ocean.

Michelangelo did paint Gobzaga, but where did he put the Wildman? Look closer and you should see him. He must be there somewhere.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Potus rewrites

I need to get serious about rewriting some parts of Potus, so I'll post them here:

New, during the state of the union address:

“Martin Luther King Junior was a great blurthk man…” (here Potus coughed to cover up his mistake) “…a great man who had a dream. I also have a dream. I actually have two dreams. I’m not saying that my dreams are better than his. But he only had one dream and I have two. Anyway, one of my dreams is to put an end to the great scourge of Daylight Saving. My second dream is to eat a great lunch once in a while. But I digress.”
New dialogue before the first press conference begins.

"No, I mean the press.  We should arrest them all."
Secretary of Defence seemed to have regained his colour and composure.  He joked, "I don't think there's enough room to hold them all."
"Sure there is," snapped Potus.  "Just turn the whole state of Texas into a penitentiary.  We'd have plenty of room for them and all the potheads and kinky freaks who want to have marital relations with a gas tank."
Everyone frowned.
"What?" Potus asked.  "It's just a saying."
Chief of Staff, thinking ahead, said, "Sir, what are you going to say?  We won't have any time to write up some talking points."
Potus answered, "We'll use an old trick from the movies.  I'll just curse a lot and they'll have to bleep me out."
Chief of Staff continued, “But sir, they will still air the curse words live. CNN is particularly bad about that.”
Potus nodded. “You’re right. Tell them I’ll be out in 20 minutes. Then I’ll come out in 15 and they’ll still be in commercials.”
"Genius, Sir," exclaimed Chief of Staff.
"Have you ever heard of a sycophant?" asked Potus.  He strode out, motioning Johnson to follow.

Added scene in the first press conference, during the famous shoe incident:

"Sir, yes, Sir, I am waiting to speak," said a press reporter from the middle row with an accent.
Potus pointed at the young man.  "You, raccoon guy with the accent."
Raccoon guy tried to speak above the clamour.  "Yes thanks to you.  I am Chathuranga Wallaheller Srinivasiani from the Sri Lankan Daily Dinamina and I am pleased to ask you a question."
"Yes, go ahead.  Quiet down!" Potus yelled at the other reporters. "Wally Something wants to speak."
"Chathuranga Wallaheller..." Wally began.
"Yes, yes," waved Potus.  "Charlie So-and-So."
"You may call me by Frank," Charlie said.
Potus said, "There's a great American name, Frank.  Wonderful, go ahead, Frank."
“I don’t understand Racoon,” said Frank.
“Go ahead, Frank.”
“I…” Frank looked behind him, uncertain what was going on.
“Look,” said Potus, “If you don’t understand the words that are coming out of my mouth, then fuck you.”
Frank looked perplexed.
“Calm down,” Potus yelled at the hubbub in the press room. “Frank, you may speak with the Office of the President now. Go ahead.”
"Thank you for the wonderful honour, Mr. President of the United States.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Revenge of the Seeth

In a small city on Quandara* Billbop was fixing his robots. He cleaned up a spot of oil on one curved metal piece and judged his repairs. The last four attempts to fix the annoying squeaks had met with even more erratic behaviour and general jerkiness on the delivery droid. Billbop was just a peasant, but even peasants need someone to do their hard work. It's turtles and droids all the way down.

Billbop was satisfied with his repairs and wiped his hands with a bleefork skin rag. He called for his mate, Boppinmuffer to prepare some dinner. Boppinmuffer was on the phone with someone and Billbop yelled louder for her so she could hear him.

Boppinmuffer was on the phone speaking with a reporter who had called. This reporter, Mr. Gaffenhorse, was always bothering their family after the huge walffinflap incident. Mr. Gaffenhorse was a good reporter but a bit too tenacious. This was a good quality to have if you were trying to catch hooligans who terrorised the septic droids in the northeast quadrant. But it wasn't good if you happened to be a regular peasant citizen who was just trying to make a living in the backwaters of the town.

Mr. Gaffenhorse was trying to arrange a meeting with Billbop to discuss the latest allegations that Billbop had been unqualified to operate on a a friend's droid when said droid had gone berserk in the town square. The dreadful incident had resulted in Mrs. Flappenfloop (a barber) getting droid poo splashed on her new whites. Most observers of the scene had thought it was amusing but Mrs. Flappenfloop had reported the event and made demands on the police chief to impound the droid. The droid diagnostics had shown that the last worker to operate it had been Billbop.

Boppinmuffer was trying to be polite and decline the interview on behalf of her mate, but he kept yelling at her from the back where he was working on his droid (perhaps illegally, definitely in contravention to the moratorium imposed by the police chief). She excused herself politely and cupped her hand over the mouthpiece while she yelled a string of Ubettan obscenities through the back window to Billbop.

Hearing this coarse language in the back shop, Billbop got enraged and the growling in his stomach only fueled the rage more. He stormed into the house and ripped the receiver from his mate's hand and yelled a fresh round of outrage into Mr. Gaffenhorse's ears, but this time in his native Cowhatten.

Mr. Gaffenhorse spoke perfect Ubettan and Cowhatten, of course, but pretended not to understand. In fact, he was smiling to himself because whenever people were yelling at him, he knew he was onto a really good story. At the very least, he could write about the incident in an indignant tone and sway public opinion. Swaying public opinion is the only thing reporters are good at, anyway.

The question of whether man was alone in the universe was not important because these were not men. The CIO of the newspaper just wanted to expand his reach across the star systems that comprised his audience. He was certain that this story about a peasant who cursed and fixed droids could garner more monetisation across his ad properties.

*Random story generator prompt: This is an epic about vengeance. The story is about a police chief, a barber, a CIO, and a newscaster who is obsessed with a peasant. It starts in a small city in a solar-system-spanning technocracy. The question 'is man alone in the universe' plays a major role.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Tomb Robber

The tomb robber* dug his grave while trying to keep as quiet as possible. The scrapes of dirt seemed loud to our hero but could scarcely be heard by the night animals that prowled ceaselessly outside the graveyard fence. Grave robbing was a serious offense in East Berlin and could result in a capital offense. Some grave robbers dug their own grave metaphorically and literally if they were caught.

"Fug you," our hero thought to himself. "Fug you and your stupid orders to gather dead specimens."

He was, of course, speaking telepathically with his superior at the laboratory who had handed out the night's job. Swanson from the other division always got a better job detail and our hero was always stuck with the low-end jobs. While our hero was digging in this grave during the pitch black of night, Swanson was over at the Bierhaus drinking and carousing. Ostensibly, Swanson was to extract information on the drinking patterns of the SS and Luftwassen Flurfenhausersnauzers.

A loud metallic clang rang across the graveyard and an owl hooted in the distance.

"Fug!" cursed our hero violently. "Ein Rock haben maken meinen Shovel clangen!"

However, this noise was enough to attract attention and our hero could see some lights in the distance. The guards had heard the shovel hitting the rock and were coming out to investigate.

"Swanson will hear about this," our hero muttered and he ran off, jumping over the graveyard fence and ripping the seat on his trousers.

Approaching the Bierhaus where Swanson was "working", our hero dusted himself off and tried to appear as presentable as possible. This was difficult in the dark and without a mirror, but he tried as valiantly as he could nonetheless. Carying his shovel over his shoulder and sauntering as easily as he might, he opened the door of the Bierhaus.

"Oy, Swanson," called our hero, using a light tone. "I wanna have a talk with ye."

Swanson turned and laughed derisively at our hero. "Who me?" Swanson retorted. "Fix your pants, you peasant!" To this the barmaids and two SS officers laughed and downed large quantities of Bier from their Steins.

Our hero turned bright red under his smudges of dirt and grime. His rage boiled over and he swung his shovel directly on top of Swanson's head. The shovel clanged violently and Swanson turned perfectly white while frozen upright with a look of surprise and wonder on his face. The noise and bustle of the Bierhaus stopped and one could hear the prostitutes upstairs making loud noises, oblivious to the violence below.

Swanson wilted in slow motion and fell to the floor where his Stein crashed on the wooden floor. An SS guard jumped up and yelled, "You have caused some fresh Bier to be spilled on this floor. I arrest you in the name of the former Fuhrer and shall take you to jail now!"

Our hero struggled with the SS officers who subdued him and gave him a few whacks with his own shovel in an effort to instill a sense of calm. Our hero finally yelled "I'll stop resisting!" and was taken into custody.

Swanson was braindead for several years until he woke up from a coma to the sounds of the Berlin wall being torn down. That is a different story for another day.

*Generated by random story generator: "This is a tale about rivalry and beating fate. The story is about a tomb-robber who is stalked by an unremarkable manager. It starts in a port city in Africa. The fallout from World War II plays a major role in this story."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Le Metro

She would ride the bus and correct her children's homework on the way home. Her brats would hang their legs insolently over the sides of the chairs, kicking the sides with rhythmic bangs. She admonishes them to try harder, to no avail. They are clearly skeptical of her status in life when their school commute includes riding a bus to a minimum wage job.

The boyfriend tries to pretend to be engaged although it's clear he's paying more attention to the beats in his skull candy headphones. He could be nodding yes to her statements or he could be bopping to the latest release. They have a long stretch of time unfurling in front of them, the reverse of the road streaming below the bus. The end destination is just as dodgy and just as uncertain.

We are stuck together on this planet in this universe for a long time. We should make it pleasant, is the implication. Instead, it's like hitting a Tibetan prayer wheel and watching it spin. The hand hurts, the wheels spin and slowly stop, a prayer is made or is not, and the whole thing happens again. There's no allegory here, it's just the way that things are. Once you have kids you have to accept that everything will be soaked to fuck in sugary sticky red-coloured water.

If it weren't for the bus ride, they might be the people you see just stopped on the curb, smoking a cigarette butt. You could beg for a few dollars and buy an alcoholic drink in a paper bag. That's all you need, really, smoking butts is free. If you have a cheerful disposition and a joke on your paper cardboard sign you could earn a pretty decent living. Free cigarette butts and a few bottles of liquid in a paper bag, all for a few hours of sitting or standing on the street corner. Plus, you can still ride the bus and get free rides just through sheer force of a funny personality.

She dresses provocatively because that's the only leverage she has. A brown triangle riding high up the rear pelvis bone displays an impossibly thin thong. That's supposed to be sexy, but it stretches and strains way too much over the large bulk presented by her posture. A wide swath of Lycra® barely keeps her abdomen in check. Given the number of small brats in tow whose homework waits to be reviewed, it's possible she has another one or three on the way. She should probably wear whitie-tighties like a boy with the flap in the front instead.

The joke he tells from within the confines of his beats headed nod is so funny she covers her mouth in mirth. The kids rowdily whoop. Then they all settle down and go back to swaying with the motion of the bus. The orgasm has been induced, the high is now over. It's back to the dreary grit and grime of life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Towering Inferno of Cripples

As I sit in my privileged ivory tower surveying the mass of underprivileged normal folks around me, I realise that I have a great burden to share my status and wealth with these others. I am morally obligated to give some largesse to the masses in order to assuage my guilt for being such a privileged motherfucking asshole. So I thought the only thing that I could do was to write a book or screenplay celebrating those whose station is lesser than I my own. I should document the poor, downtrodden, and disrepected peoples like the minorities, the lesser abled, and the Angelina Jolies of the world.

So I thought I could write a heroic passage detailing the exploits of underprivileged casts of players who end up saving the hapless white old folks in a movie. I thought it should be something like the Towering Inferno. But in my version, the movie opens with two scenes. The first shows a bunch of wealthy, white, tall, males sipping martinis and smoking cigars.

The movie should open to the soft music being played on piano by a live lounge band. Minority-coloured waiters carry around trays and offer food and drink in a very subservient manner. The white males generally ignore the waiters and are brusque. Maybe one scene focuses on one waiter who gets stiffed for a tip by the well-off white man and we get a glimpse at how horrible the life of the minority waiter is by the quiver of the lips and a twinkling of tears in the corner of the eye.

Then perhaps we pan over the luxurious scene of this 75th floor party and overhear conversation snippets to enforce how vile and evil these white folks are:

Privileged Asshole 1: "Did you hear about the poor people in the news today? How terrible."

Privileged Asshole 2: "Yes, old chap, I did indeed."

They puff their cigars heavily

Privileged Asshole 2: "Fuck 'em."

they laugh together
music plays
continue panning

Then the camera looks out the window and pans down several floors to see the cast of heroes for our movie:

We have to have a non-privileged white guy of some kind to counteract the racism of the floors above. Maybe the white guy is in a wheelchair. He has no legs, let's say. And he's old. He's lost his legs in Vietnam fighting the gooks. Everyone asks him if he fought in Afghanistan and he'll say that he fought but not in the middle east. He fought in the near east.

And to make it even more juicy, he has a Vietnamese wife. In the backstory, we don't reveal that he mail-ordered her in the later '90s out of loneliness. We'll imply that he married her in '71 before coming back. It will be a love story where he had to fight valiantly to grant her citizenship so they could enjoy their love back home while she tended to his legs. But the weight of the lie will add depth to the performance. She is also working in the building and she helps push him along in his chair.

This couple should have 15 kids of various racial makeup. Not fake kids painted with colours in the movies. We'll put instructions that they should be actual ethnic kids that look authentic and aren't just actors. They have to speak English though, we don't want a bunch of brats running around on the set not following directions.

The guy in the wheelchair will die of course. Even though he's a hero and he saves several people in the building inferno, he's still white after all. He still killed a few too many coloured unprivileged combatants in the war. It will be very moving when his widow and surviving kids (a few of them have to die too, in the middle section) mourn his passing as he slumps over in his chair. It will be one of those weeping and wailing scenes that are so powerful:

White Legless Man: "Go, be safe. Forget about me. I'm done. I'm sorry I mail-ordered you. It was all my fault. I hope I've made up for my sins."
White Legless Man Widow: "Why you die? I need you long time! Why die?"
Child 12: "Daddy die! How he die?"
Child 4: "Daddy die. He gone forever."

Youngest child holds a treasured keepsake (like a bunny) his daddy gave him

Youngest child: "Daddy... White daddy no more..."

That's a great scene of powerful emotion.

The next characters need to be women of some kind. Most definitely coloured. I'm thinking actually of a white (but Hispanic) and black (African) gay couple. The Hispanic one is always accused of "passing", that is, of appearing too white and speaking in correct grammar so that the straight squares upstairs think she's one of "them". The Hispanic one has to prove her love and commitment to lack of privilege by saving the darker one in a scene. I'm not sure how it plays out exactly, but maybe the black lez is stuck under a pile of rocks. Naturally, the white males that were saved upstairs continue on. The Hispanic lover is torn between staying or leaving. The Hispanic has to run ahead to lure one of the privileged assholes back to help out. In the process she has to pretend to be attracted to him. She thus saves her lover by using the privileged asshole to help out with false promises.

The privileged asshole tries to collect on her false promises a later scene. The Hispanic lez is carrying her African lover on her shoulders. There is a smear of black soot under one eye. The Hispanic lez stares down the predator and tells him how much she loves her black mama and how much she means. The African lover is shocked to hear the declaration of love and support from her lover. They kiss passionately and the privileged asshole is suitably regretful. He apologises for being and asshole and is grateful he offered his services to help them from their trouble. Then of course, he dies from a falling beam. Or, he's not dead yet. He begs for forgiveness and is still alive. But the lezzes sneer and stumble off so he burns. That would be best.

In the end, virtually all the white privileged assholes die a violent death and the minorities, cripples, and retards are joyous in their escape, greeted by a multicultural rainbow of fire fighters and first responders. They gaze upon the burning Towering Inferno and are grateful for their gifts and status in life. They are grateful to be alive. The music swells, eyes brim with tears and the screen fades to some colour I haven't determined yet.

So you can see how this movie would play out and I'm sure it would get great reviews and earn a lot of money for the producers. I, as a privileged asshole myself, would not be able to make money from it; I should die in a tragic accident on the red carpet or something. Even better, die at the Academy Awards as I try to get an Oscar. That would be phenomenal!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Road Trip

We drove out past the reception of the radio stations and kept going. It was unbearably hot and the air conditioner creaked and groaned ineffectively trying to keep up with our demands. The sun wilted all the animals while the plants stood upright soaking in the blazing light. The heat was close and present; it made itself known through the windows and against the will of the poor compressors.

My passengers heads lolled and rolled with each bend and bump in the road. The stations had turned to dust and static long ago, but we keep it going on a constant scan through the FM dial. Occasionally we would hear a lost voice trying to talk through the white noise before the scanner started looping again. When there were snatches of music my mind would jump at the chance to identify it, usually in vain. It was mostly mariachi music: blaring horns, warbling bass and sometimes human cantantes lloronas.

The miles melted under the melting tyres as the sun declined in strength. Miles were measured in hours and the sun measured our travel in days. The mountains were closer and despite the climb of the grade the engine has quieted its wheezing. None of the stations worked now; the scanner kept looping in giant frequencies from 88 to the 107. We had briefly switched to AM about 3 hours ago when it was much hotter. We were surprised to hear christian music and voices talking to each other or us about how God wanted to save our souls. Jesus was his ambassador and wanted to get to know us. Another channel wanted to sell us a lot of different things from a new super vacuum or a diet shake or a sponge that cleaned up any messes. We thought it might be good to get a sponge to mop up some of the bodily fluids my passengers were leaking from every pore.

That was back near the last crest of the hill. Now we were close to the other side of the valley and my eyes scanned a good place to turn off. The sun was going down and the sky at our backs was yellow turning to orange. Ahead were deepening purples and violets turning to blue and pink overhead, hidden by the roof of the van. We were anxious to arrive at the spot and unload but patience was required. A vista could appear a few minutes away only to drive for another 45 minutes and not approach any closer.

The van started to sway and buckle as we turned off onto a side road that was cracked and full of holes. My passengers jostled and swayed ludicrously, but didn't wake. The van headed up toward a hill we had noticed from down below. The sun had gone down completely by now but the van lights did not get turned on; they wouldn't be needed yet.

Winding around a sand dune, the van struggled and finally gave up with a gasp. The driver side wheel had slipped off the broken side rode and sunk into the fine sand. The air conditioner had stopped a while ago but we hadn't realised it. The pools of sweat in every fold of skin had collected without notice.

Trudging behind the dune I decided this was the best spot and was meant to be. As the light faded, I started to dig four person-sized holes in the sand as sweat accumulated and fell into my eyes and dripped off the end of my nose. My passengers weren't moving and carrying them here would be the hardest part. I had a few hours left, at least.

I stared at the moon rising behind two peaks in the distance and tried to memorise the details and landmarks of the area. I'd need to remember these details when the police questioned me, if they ever did. I'd need to remember this spot and the sweat dripping from me as comfort. I would be able to look back on it and laugh at their impotence in trying to find out the answers they sought.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Introverted

I'll stop belabouring the point soon, but the completeist in me requires I finish up the topic on Meyers Briggs and the INTJ viewpoint. Today's topic is Introversion, or the starting I point. I purposely went into the NTJ exploration first because that has always been the most confusing for me and also misinterpreted by others. I suspect that introversion vs. extroversion is well documented and understood by most.

In generic terms, introversion means that I am very likely to have a very small circle of friends and/or family. In most cases I have noticed that people can assign concentric circles of people around themselves. Starting at the smallest circle, there is the self. Adding one more layer includes immediate family. One more ring out from the centre is more distant family and close friends. Moving out one more ring is a list of friends and acquaintances, perhaps including coworkers, etc. For me, this list starts to get quite blurry because my viewpoint is quite myopic.

It's quite simple from my perspective as an extreme introvert. There is really only one circle: myself. I might say that there are several people who are close to the circle but they are still outside. Acquaintances, immediate family, coworkers, strangers, and the little lady sitting in a hut in India are all "other". Outside the single circle with no rings, strata or other meaningful distinctions. Now for disclaimer, I have added two very important people in my life, my wife and daughter. In theory, I am supposed to say they are close to my heart and they are included in my inner circle of trust. Yes, that is true, dear.

In truth, there's really only one circle that I can fathom of human relationships: the circle that includes me. Other people exist and I recognise they could be out there in the distance, at least in theory (as I'm an NT, it's all just intellectual modelling and theoretcial constructs). These shadowy figures move and flit by and I am occasionally amused, interested, or bothered. I can imagine a projection of myself outside of myself looking back at myself. I can use this imagined projected reflection to pretend that I know what someone else is like. But it is a mental theory that tires me. I think about the construct of other people only when it's intriguing or if I need to solve some problem. Otherwise, I laugh at the shadows or else I ignore them.

This sounds extreme, and it is. I am an extreme introvert. Or, I was. I feel like I have become better at recognising people and their needs, wants, and thoughts. It has taken a long while and a lot of effort on the part of others. Yes, others who have had to sort of drag me out of the dark corners to see that they exist and acknowledge them. Thanks to tireless work of extroverts, they have moved my circle out a bit so that I could imagine someone else coming inside the circle a little bit. Thanks to other introverts who have shared their stories in ways that make sense to me, I have been able to imagine a concept of expanding my circle.

Living life for a long while has also ingrained the pragmatic approach that I do need to interact with other people. Successful interactions get me what I want and allow me to continue and further my plans. The other shadowy figures become more than ghosts; they are the proverbial pawns, obstacles, and tools that I use to function. My wife and daughter are not in that class of objects, however. Yes, dear, that is true. Everything I'm writing now excludes these two important people. Wink, wink.

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