Archive for January, 2013

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 25, 2013
Benny Green's Office

Benny Green’s Office

Later At Benny Green’s Office

(Episode 25)

Benny glanced over his Times at Duane, who was picking his nose, and slapped him with his rolled up paper.  “Get your finger outta your nose, and start doing what I just asked you to start doing.”

But Duane just started digging deeper.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

“You said…  Oh.”  Duane removed his finger “Sorry.  I get lost in …thought, Bennie!” he realized.

“It’s understandable,” Benny replied.  One thought was about the largest log Duane’s intellect could climb over.  Anymore, and he just had to go around.

‘Duane.  What kind of a name was that?’ Benny asked himself.  ‘The kind of name his dead sister, may she rest in peace, would name her kid,’ was Benny’s answer.  He ate.  He got “lost in thought”.  And he followed Benny around like a stray dog, always had.  But he was loyal, and he knew how to keep his mouth shut, two very valuable character traits in Benny’s line of business.  The other thing Duane could do was the heavy lifting.  Because Duane was extremely strong and huge and ugly, that is, menacingly ugly.  All of which made Duane a good messenger in Benny’s line of work.  Benny never needed a delivery receipt.  His clients never misplaced his meaning.

“We have a lot to think about.”  Benny gave Duane a pat on his huge broad back.  Another trait that Benny hadn’t thought to think was that Benny could be nice to him; Benny could be considerate, without it looking weak.  Everyone needed to love something.  It was lonely at the top.  And Duane never took advantage.  Duane wasn’t smart enough.  Plus, Duane was ‘blood’.

Benny glanced over at Duane, who was picking his nose again, and slapped him with his rolled up paper!  “Get your finger outta your nose, and start doing what I just asked you to start doing.  Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“Sure,” Duane answered.

“What did I just say?”

“You said…  Oh.”  Duane removed his finger.   “Sorry.  I got lost in ..thought!”  Benny laughed happily.  A crumble of snot hung on his index finger.

“It’s understandable,” Benny replied.  “So you got it now?”

“I think so,” Duane said.  “We’re being in-vest-ti-gated.  Which is a good thing.”

That’s right!”  Benny smiled.  He re-seated himself and unrolled the front page article he had been reading for the fifth time.  “Now we know who the stoolie was.”

Benny was re-reading about the grisly murder of Nancy Loomis, the “Muffin Queen”.  It was all there on page one, with much more in the continuing article on pages 7 and 8.  How the hell she had gotten herself whacked, Benny didn’t know.  But what he did know, now, and what was interesting was that the Feds were involved.  And since he couldn’t see how any state lines might have been crossed in the commission of said crime, there was one likely reason for that being the case… a racketeering charge.

‘Oh, that Loomis was a piece of female work,’ Benny thought to himself.  ‘Runs a million dollar business using all those computers and spreadsheets, but she still had to come to me when she needed some dough,’ Benny congratulated himself.  ‘Thought I was a moron, too.’

“It’s incredible how many people without money think that the people with money are morons.”  Benny shook his head.  Duane took the cue and shook his head also.

But that was one of the things that gave him an edge in this business.  The other was that Benny could anticipate things.

Benny looked over the top of the Times at Duane, who still hadn’t set about doing what it was Benny had asked him to do!  Even though he had snapped the newspaper twice!  He looked as though he had taken the long route around another thought of his, Benny sighed.  “Whenever you engage in criminal activity, there is always going to be a stoolie.  It’s just the way it is,” Benny explained to Duane.  “So the thing is, to prepare for it, which is what we’ve done now.  We have salted our involvement through bogus loans to various, handpicked businesses in the area which I’ve been trying to get my hands on for years, and now, this is my chance.”  ‘There,’ Benny thought.  ‘I’ve explained it about as well as it can be explained.’

“That sounds good Bennie!” Duane cheered.

“It is Duane!”  Benny smiled.  “Because when the Feds – being the bureaucrats they are – are going to go looking for files, because they like files, and they love a paper trail.  And then, they are going to find these files and my paper trail.  And then, they are going to use these files to begin investigating for evidence of ‘involvement’ of others.  And then,” Benny smiled, ‘they will not find any involvement of others.  Because all of these paper trails?   I made them all up!”

“I like that,” Duane said.

“Thank you Duane,” Bennie said.  He raised his finger.  “Which means, being the bureaucrats that they are,  that they are going to re-double their efforts to find and uncover this involvement of others.   Because, being the bureaucrats that they hope to remain, it would be career suicide to find that there isn’t any involvement on the part of so-named others after expending the monies and time which they have already expended to find this involvement of others AND gone before grand juries.  All of which – between the investigations and the litigations – is going to be my cue to begin my involvement!”  Benny cried gleefully and pounded the desk.  “Because all of these formerly healthy, profitable, hand-picked companies are going to really need my money by then, to defend themselves against all these investigations brought by their government against their involvement with me!  It is so beautiful, I could just kiss the opportunity!  Because  I.  Just. Love. My.  Government!  Remind me to get a flag.  I want to hang it right over there.”

“That would be real pretty and Patriotic too Benny,” Duane said.

“Thank you Duane,” Benny said.  “Why don’t you go over to Pete’s now and fetch us a couple of the blue plates, like I asked you to do?”  Benny handed Duane the money.  “You buy.”

“Gee, thanks boss!”  Duane smiled, fingering the money, and left.

“Damn!  I feel good,” Benny exclaimed to himself.  And he settled into his desk chair, pointed at the door, while reading the newspaper article through again, while waiting for Agent Curtis and that other one to arrive with the bogus files in hand.  And if he remembered correctly, that other one of the Federal Agents in this area was a real ‘looker’.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 23, 2013

Editor:  Okay.  Back to crime, murders, sex, violence and all that… set in a rural milieu.

Is This an Ivy League Mistress?  (Vote Frequently; Vote Often.)

Is This an Ivy League Mistress? (Vote Frequently; Vote Often.)

“I just love this recession!”

(Episode 24)

 Benny Green slid off of his mistress.  “I just love this recession!” He crowed.  Really high profit businesses were scrambling like rats to deal with their cash flow problems, and Benny was gobbling them up right and left like a hungry alley cat.  ‘And some really high rollers were tossing some really nice mistresses out on the streets, besides’, Benny thought, kicking the sheets gleefully.

Benny, himself, had just upgraded to a natural blonde, ten years younger than his former for near the same outlay… with better teeth and a lot less profanity.  He glanced to the left.   And she had just risen from bed and was in the kitchen now, steaming his latte and warming his brioche, which she was soon to bring out on a tray with a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice and a freshly printed edition of the mornings news.  And this had happened many times before over the past few months.  Still, he nearly had to pinch himself to believe his good fortune.  ‘How the very rich lived!’  Benny was just finding this out now, himself, from her, the natural blonde debutante from some rich eastern Ivy League school.

He didn’t know which.  And frankly, he couldn’t care.  Plus it probably all was a lie.  But, ‘dammit if I’m not living like one of the 1 percent’, Benny thought gleefully, exulting in his newly found prosperity and snapping open the front page of his newly printed morning paper as his mistress unfolded the legs of his bed tray over his ample midsection.

“Shit!” he exclaimed.  “Someone popped the Muffin Lady.”

His mistress quietly mopped up the spilled juice.  Benny almost stopped reading to get a little head, but then let the thought go.  ‘Business first.’

There it all was, just below the fold: a tale of a gruesome rape, complete with a decapitation – if the sources were to be believed.  And there, way down at the bottom, was a hint of Federal involvement.  Which Benny took to mean right away that he’d better call Delores.

“Delores,” he said over his cell.  “You may be getting some visitors soon from back East.  Make sure those files we discussed in the pasteboard box…”

“It’s too late, Benny.  They’re already here.”  Delores’ voice shrunk to a whisper.  “And I’ve been trying to hide that box as well as I can, but I don’t know…”

“So… that’s great!”  Benny exulted.  “That’s perfect.  That couldn’t be better!  Now you just sit back and let them find it.  Okay?”

“You sure about this?  That’s what you really want?”

“I’m sure about this.  That’s what I really want.”  Benny could hardly contain his glee.  “Okay?”

Delores acknowledged and he hung up.  “Well, now,’ he thought, ‘I think we know who the rat is.’

There was always one, which was why Benny was always prepared.  It baffled Benny how so many people felt that if things were going good, then they were always going to go good.  Baffled him, but also made him a lot of money.  “Lots of people didn’t anticipate a recession and so it just gave me a opportunity to be of help,” Benny snickered.  And “ lots of big wig criminals refuse to acknowledge the risk of getting caught,” he wagged his finger at his mistress.  “But sooner or later, getting caught is nearly a certainty.”  His mistress nodded, agreeing with his wisdom; seeing she had lived the fallout of it, firsthand, Benny figured.  The first mistress he’d ever had, had served him warmed up pizza and flat beer on the lid of a limp cardboard pizza carton, served in a sour bed, all the while finding fault with whatever scheme Benny had been cooking up at the time – until it had invariably descended into a screaming match/ food fight.  ‘Why am I screaming at my mistress?’ Benny had to ask himself at the height of it all.  ‘This is nuts!’  But at the same time, the thought of changing her out just hadn’t occurred to him, as all of the other mobsters he had complained to had related the same problems…

“Jeeze, we may get older, but we do get wiser.”  Benny smiled at his blonde bedmate.  She smiled back.  ‘Perfect teeth, and such a lovely smile’, Benny thought.   And for about two seconds, Benny Green was a satisfied man.   Because Benny has a satisfaction Attention Deficit Syndrome.

‘But with all this new business he anticipated coming in – maybe he could trade up again?  And what would that be?  Maybe a sixteen year old, fourteen, thirteen…?  That could be a little risky.  How young are they supposed to get?  Maybe someone who just looked fifteen!  I mean, really naïve.   That sounded about right,’ Benny considered.  ‘I never could get laid for all the rice in China at that age.  And maybe now he could make up for that.  But how would he find someone like that?’   Southeast Asia?  But he really wanted a blonde.  Maybe Columbia?’

Benny made another call to Deloris.  ‘Then again…’  He hung up.

‘Nope.  Better not call Deloris.’

Photo taken from Google Images by lascivious Editor.

From the Editor’s Perch

January 20, 2013

Voice Workshop Matt1

Miracles Erase Themselves

If you are like me and listen to a song you love compulsively, until the glitter rubs bare to right down to the neurosis – then you might share my frustration with familiarity.

But if you are also like me and relish relaxing in your same old living room over-stuffed chair and falling to sleep in your same old bed, being around the same people, then you also might share my experience that familiarity creates a lovely affection where nullity reigned.

(What you can’t see is me taking a couple days to ponder this quandary.)

(Maybe it’s a good time to read something.  Do a little research.)

Wikipedia says that “A miracle is an event attributed to divine intervention”.

This would indicate that it’s not the event itself, no matter how remarkable (or unremarkable), which is its defining character.  Rather, it is the presence of the divine.  So, the miracle could come upon us quickly or grow upon us slowly…

But why do miracles disappear?  Even miracles which reveal themselves to us slowly (like the comforts of home and hearth) can become a loathsome burden if we were to remain frozen in them, past their prime.  (see  https://schn00dles.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/work-work-work-with-rita-andreeva-45/  ) For example, even I don’t want to lie in the sack forever and snooze, or to sit in my chair all day.  What causes this dissipation of the miracle?

Most philosophers define a miracle as an ‘unnatural event’; something which ‘interrupts the Law of Nature’.  However, for my money, Baruch Spinoza’s explanation gives us the more workable insight.  Wikipedia says, “In his Theologico-Political Treatise Spinoza claims that miracles are merely law-like events whose causes we are ignorant of.  We should not treat them as having no cause or of having a cause immediately available.  Rather the miracle is for combating the ignorance it entails.”  So, it doesn’t take me long to realize the beauty of a song I love.  But I must sit in my chair a little longer to realize the pleasures of the home and hearth.

This may sound like a modern day scientific/rationalist explanation; that a miracle is simply something we don’t understand yet.  But I would interpret Spinoza’s explanation to say that we are ignorant of God’s presence in our day to day for which the miracle is a re-education.   That God is merely a law-like event whose cause we are ignorant of.

Unfortunately, as humans, our memory of the divine is really short term.  You need only read the Old Testament for a continual reminder of this affliction.  We seem to have to re-live each miracle as if born-again a thousand times.  It seems it is very difficult for our short term memory of the divine to stick.  It’s a wonder God hasn’t tossed up his hands with vexation and announced “these people just can’t learn!’  Actually, I think He does this in the Old Testament – or mutters words to this effect.

(As Moses was later recorded to have said by his biographer, “I grew just to quail, when He would begin to mutter.”  :0   )

Apparently God won’t be written down, packaged or sold.  When we try to re-create His nature through mechanical means, either through art or sloth – the miracle becomes a neurosis.   No gold bricking or lolly-gagging about the Elysian Fields for us.  It seems in this World, we must all get out of bed, take out the ear buds, and get to work if we want the New Jerusalem.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

January 19, 2013

Editor:  And for those of you wondering about Rita:

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo...

Eenie, meenie, miney, moe…

Rita Still Examining the Big Issues

“I was very happy yesterday as I ran into a porta-potty
in the park after getting off the bus. I wondered if I
could be happy if I were to be locked in this portable
toilet in the 100 degree sunshine for a day or two.
That was an interesting question, not so simple to
answer. Upon the entry into the plastic box I felt at
the height of happiness; after the immediately
pressing need was relieved, the happiness immediately
subsided, it was replaced by grattitude, then a strong
need to get the hell out of there. Isn’t it what
happiness is for most people – a strong need for
something and pain until the need is met or
eliminated, and then it a desire to get the hell out…”

Know for Speaking Her Mind

Known for Speaking Her Mind

Photos by Carl Nelson

Seattle Celebrity News!

January 18, 2013
Lisa Coronado:  Actress / Co-owner/Manager Corwood Productions LLC

Lisa Coronado: Actress / Co-owner/Manager Corwood Productions LLC

Those Divine Marigolds are on the Move!

Lisa Coronado reports on Facebook:  “Divine Marigolds meeting. Things are moving:)”

To bring yourself up to date, check our past postings on The Divine Marigolds here on the Seattle Celebrity News!  beginning here:  https://schn00dles.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/the-divine-marigolds-2/

Photo lifted from Facebook

Travelling Expenses

January 17, 2013

Editor: Things are looking up for Paul lately.

The Sundance Springboard: Indiewire Picks 10 Actors to Watch in Park City

Paul plays Martin Bonner in this hot new Sundance enttry.

Paul plays Martin Bonner in this hot new Sundance entry.

Paul Eenhoorn (“This Is Martin Bonner”)

Why You May Know Him: Seattle based Australian actor Paul Eenhoorn has been making a name for himself in his city’s filmmaking industry for the better part of the past decade, after trying to make a break for it in his native country. He’s likely best known for playing the villain, Mr. Daniels, in the family comedy “Max Rules” which was voted by audiences as the top U.S. film at the 2004 Seattle International Film Festival. Eenhoorn may also be recognised by video gamers for modelling as the face for “Half-Life 2″‘s Arne Magnusson.

What Sundance Could Mean For Him: A whole lot. As the oldest actor on this list, Eenhoorn may very well be the middle-aged breakout of this year’s festival thanks to his grounded turn in the affecting indie, “This Is Martin Bonner.” In the drama, he plays the titular character; a man who leaves his old life behind and relocates to Reno, where he finds work helping released prisoners transition to life on the outside, while trying his hand at speed dating and passing time as a soccer referee on weekends.

What’s Next: Eenhoorn told Indiewire that he recently got cast in “The Dead Men,” a “small indie film that’s going to shoot out in the desert in California, about a journalist who gets taken hostage in Iraq.”

 Photo and text lifted from:  http://www.indiewire.com/article/the-sundance-breakouts-10-up-and-coming-actors-to-watch-in-park-city?page=3#articleHeaderPanel

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 13, 2013

Pork Chops2

The Marriage Therapist

(Back on the Farm, Continued 3)

(Episode 23)

(In our previous episode, Stan had shown Harriet and Bob the bar code embedded in the underside of his left forearm.  Bob had asked how you get one of those.  And Harriet had asked, “Who are you?”)

“I had what psychiatrists would later come to call, an ‘ambivalent’ relationship with my mother,”  Stan continued.

“You know Stan, we ain’t asking anyone around here to talk about their mother,” Bob interrupted.  “But that Federal Government part of it, I believe we both find interesting.”

“Shut up!”  Harriet poked Bob again with the gun barrel.

“I believe it’s germane to the tale, Bob,” Stan explained.

Harriet nodded emphatically.  Bob shrugged.

“Who knows how or why, but I can hear her voice just running around in loose in my head… just this utterly uncontrollable bitch!  Even now.”

“She died?”

Stan nodded, and shook out another funny looking cig from the carton.

“How’d she die?”

“Car accident.  House fire.  Ice pick through the eyeballs!!!   Or de-capitated and mangled viciously in a bloody threshing machine accident, which was investigated and cleared me of all blame when I was only 12.  What does it matter?!  The point is, that it stopped the voices!!!”   Stan lit the cigarette with a shaking hand.  His head twitched to the either side several times, until inhaling the cigarette and blowing out slowly visibly calmed him.

“Okay.  That sounds good,” Bob said, cautiously.  “That sounds real good.”

Harriet nodded emphatically.

“But then, as I carried on with my fucking life and resumed my fucking career, in … Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan – any place with fucking sand, it sometimes seemed!  I heard voices, in the native language…  The psychiatrists later said that I must have been a very sensitive boy.”  Stan interrupted himself.  “Not that a female ever makes sense.  But these were in a foreign language.  And they were always female, very domineering, very demanding, very curt, and short, and unloving…  and hectoring!”  Harriet frowned.  Sam waved frantically in the air as if to ward off a flock of attacking crows.  “So I had to bow out and headed back to the States, where at least I could understand the whole jabberfest.”  He sighed and took two more long tokes of his cigarette…  ‘which didn’t smell exactly like a cigarette,’ Bob was thinking.

“You want a toke?”  Stan whistled with held breath.

Bob started to nod and say “Yes”, until Harriet glanced his way and Bob shook his head and said “No” softly.  Stan nodded.

“Oh, they would start out in the morning discrete and humble enough, just say asking what time it was, or asking about this or about that, real pleasantly, or reminding me to do something.  Then progressing to asking me what I had planned for the day, and then adding something to that plan of the day, plus a request to help them with one or two things, if I could, before I did any of that which I had planned for the day, and finally beginning to sound hurt and petulant when you tried to beg off in order to just get a little of your own momentum going… Or maybe just start the day with a cup of coffee first before being harassed, from one end of the kitchen to the other, for Christsakes!  Making requests and giving orders…   And then, of course, they’re on you for swearing and cussing and getting upset… at something else!  not them, for Chrissakes.  Because you’re trying to be good about that.  And by the way, ‘Whereever did you get so sour and suspicious?’ and ‘How come you have to get so incensed by the slightest little request when I ask it?  I don’t mind doing things for you?’”

Stan nodded.  “Yeah, like you can ever remember anything I ask you to do!”   I tried talking to it.  I tried being reasonable.  But all it would do was to ignore me, or ask why I was upset.   Or finally, after I was just about to flip out, “are you okay, Stan?”  Like it really cared!  It would ask, all concerned like.   Until finally, I decided.   I’m going to have to kill it.  I had been killing a lot of people for Uncle Sam by that time; so it only seemed like the next logical step to begin killing some for myself.”  Stan glanced around as if looking for support.

The support was not forthcoming.

“Well now, I can kind of see your point.”  Bob nodded finally.  “I mean, I can kind of see how a man could get to that state.”  Harriet swung the gun towards him.  “Or, you know, begin thinking that way if it was a bad day or something, or you had taken sick.  …And then immediately putting it out of his mind, of course.”

“You see there are some women, I don’t know why, but they are like powerful broadcasting stations.  Their yammering thoughts just stream out!  And the closer they get the more powerful they get.  Until murder is about the only thing.  And then it’s a territorial thing, too.  You have to defend the boundaries of your psychological territory.  Like Frost says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  So.  In a way , it’s like any mission.  You get a reading.  You triangulate.  Then you go in on a Sweep and Clean.”  Sam made some Delta Force movements.

“This’s all fine and good,” Harriet said.  “But I don’t see why you had to go and get my husband involved in all of this.”

Stan exhaled slowly while staring up.  “I thought it would help your marriage.”

What?!”

“You see, Harriet!”  Bob exclaimed.  “I told you Stan was bound to have a real good reason for whatever it was that I was doing!”

“You were raping someone!”

Bob shrugged acknowledgement.  “Okay.”

“That’s marijuana you’re smoking, isn’t it?”  Harriet demanded.

“Yeah?”

“That’s illegal in this state.”

“I… I thought they just passed a law.”  Stan scrunched his brows with the effort of recollection.

“They may have just passed a law in this county.  But we are still proud citizens of the United States.  And it is still very illegal to smoke that in the United States of America.”  The gun barrel rose up and down as Harriet said the United States of America.  Stan’s eyes followed the gun barrel as Harriet recited this, and he started laughing, until he started coughing.  Putting out the joint, he looked up at Harriet with reddened eyes.  “My bad,” he said.

Harriet nodded.

“Where was I?”

“You were telling us how you were doing some Marital Therapy with Bob here.”  Harriet poked the gun at Bob.  “Out in the dark, in the woods, with some woman called the Muffin Lady, who you drug from her car and raped and assaulted.”  Harriet nodded.

“Oh, yeah.  That’s it.”  Stan rubbed his face.

“For a while, after moving Stateside and mustering out I made a living for myself doing Marital Counseling,” Stan continued.

“He did Marital Counseling!”  Bob exclaimed to Harriet.

Harriet cocked the gun.  “I’ve got ears don’t I?”

“Just sayin’,’ Bob squeaked.  “So maybe we could both listen and learn something?”  Bob suggested.

“You just ain’t got a brain in your head, do you?”

“You got to admit, the blush has kind of gone off of our relationship over the past couple of years, Harriet.”

“?”  Harriet looked at her husband, speechless.

Stan nodded.

“?”  Harriet looked at Stan, speechless – before some harsh words came to mind.  “Oh, I’ll bet he was just super at that!”

“Many of my patients swore by me,” Stan declared.

“And I’ll bet the others swore at you.”  Harriet laughed.  “That is, if you hadn’t cut their tongues out.  Or beat them senseless, and murdered and raped them.”

“We considered every form of therapy.  We didn’t take anything off the table.  You take violence and rape off the table and it’s no longer a fair encounter.  It’s not a natural environment.  The men are at an immediate disadvantage.  How can you expect to plant and grow the seeds of a lasting relationship, if you deny one of the partners their natural inclinations?”

“You’ve got to admit, the man makes sense.”  Bob nodded.

“You see who thinks you make a lot of sense?”  Harriet nodded to Stan.

“Reality doesn’t care what we think of it,” Stan replied.  “In fact, it doesn’t even know we exist.”

“You think you’re Reality?

“Actually,” Stan took another toke and looked up in thought.  “It doesn’t even know it exists.”

“You see there.  Now something tells me, that makes a lot of sense.”  Bob pointed.

Harriet rolled her eyes.

“I was impotent, Harriet.  And now I’m not!”

“What in the world are you bringing up now, Bob?”

“What I’ve been trying to tell you, for the past several weeks, Harriet!  But you just keep mumbling, “Go out and milk the cows Bob,” and turning over and going back to sleep,”  Bob implored Harriet. “Like I’m not even there.   …That I’m no longer impotent.”

“Oh, Bob.  Would you shut up about that!”

“But it’s important!”

Now is not the time!”

But he’s a therapist.”

“He’s a serial killer!”

“Well…  Can’t a person be both?”

“I swear!   I am going to shoot you, so full of holes… that it will spell your name.  R.o.b.e.r.t. (.B.o.b.).W.e.e.d.s. right up and down that newly empowered little weenie of yours,” Harriet swore.

“Harriet!  I’m potent again!”

“So can we talk about this later then?”  Harriet turned with the gun emphatically.

“Sure.  Sure.  …Maybe we could have little Bobs?”

Harriet cocked the trigger again.

It was quite a while before anyone spoke.  Until finally, Harriet shook her head, as if to wake.  “So.”  Harriet coughed.  “Perhaps we could move on to this… so called, government involvement.”

“Your hour is not yet up.” Stan smiled.

“Good.”  Harriet leaned back and threw her bead back on Stan.

“Yeah.  How does that barcode thing there on your arm supposed to work?”  Bob asked.

Stan looked at Harriet.  Harriet nodded.

“Well,” Stan replied.  “If I get in a sticky wicket somehow…  say the authorities have located me and are about to move in, or my mission has been compromised, I simply run this patch on my arm through the scanner of any nearby store and my information is immediately uplinked to a massive central server, an internal clearinghouse of all digitally originating information worldwide, where this code is recognized and activates a very Black Ops insertion and rescue operation.  It takes about 24 hours to be fully staged and operational.  So it’s not a complete failsafe.”

“Huh!”  Bob grinned, touching it.  “What does the store read out on the cash register say?”

“It says, Have a Nice Day!  J”  Stan replied.

Bob laughed.  “That’s great.  That’s real nice.”

“And it gives you 50 cents off on a frozen package of peas.”

“Umm.”

“He’s joking, you nitwit,” Harriet said.

“No I’m not, actually.”  Stan replied.  Bob looked vindicated.  “And it’s just such comments such as that, which have served in the past to destroy this man’s fragile masculinity.  To the detriment of you both, I might add.”

Harriet was abashed.  “I don’t know.  It just come out…”

“It’s true.  That sort of attitude just comes out, runs out of her like puss.”  Bob nodded.

“Well.  Words do hurt.  And it’s something to think about, especially if you are trying to improve your relationship.”

“I’ll try to do better.”

“Good,” Stan said.

“And I’ll help all I can with it,” Bob made a heartfelt offer.

“Good then!”  Stan smiled, clearly enjoying the cathartic moment he’d helped sponsor.  He stood.  “Let’s all join hands then in a short prayer… and then see what’s for desert.”

“Oh cripes!”  Harriet had set the gun on the table and was wiping the sweat from her hands before clutching those of the others.  “I got so wrapped up in that article in the Times that I plumb forgot about fixing the dessert.”

“It’s no matter.  It’s no matter.” Stan nodded.

“Yeah,” Bob agreed, holding out his hands.

“Let us pray.”

Photo lifted from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 11, 2013

Forearm Bar Mark

Back on the Farm, Continued.

(Episode 22)

(When we last heard from Harriet, she said:

            “If any of them come sniffin’ around here, what am I supposed to say?”  Harriet dipped the gun at Stan demanding an answer. )

 

“I really don’t like telling other people what to do,” Stan replied.  When Harriet just kept looking at him, he added:  “They oftentimes won’t do what I say anyway.  Or they can’t understand.  Or they get it wrong.  Or they just ignore me!”  Stan’s demeanor changed.  His voice rose.   However, in a moment, had had calmed himself.  “…Or they misunderstand.  Or they just don’t have the wherewithal to bring it off.  Or they’re just damned lazy.  And mostly, it’s just a real bother and a waste of my time.”

“You kill people.  Isn’t that like telling them what to do?”  Harriet lifted the gun barrel.

“No.  That’s like telling them to stop.”

Stan took a long pull from his cigarette and then put it out, right there on the table.

Bob was surprised as hell it didn’t get him shot.  Especially when he looked right up at Harriet while grinding it out.  That little whisp of smoke which marked its extinction, Bob fully expected to match Stan’s extinction.  ‘Shit,’ he was married to her, and he wouldn’t have tried that.

“If I hadn’t just asked you a question and was expecting an answer, Mr. Cool-as-a-Cucumber.   I would blow that grin right through your face,” Harriet growled.  “That, plus, I am trying to understand the charm you hold and can sway over this dimwitted husband of mine.”

“Now Harriet…  Ya got the gun.  Do you have to provoke people likewise?”  Bob protested.

“Shut up!”

“Apparently I do,” Harriet barked.

“I’ll take that as a good thing.”  Stan nodded.

“You kin take it anyway you damn want,” Harriet retorted.  “But before I blow you right outta that chair there, I wanna know – just outta curiosity, and maybe for a good laugh – just what your idea about what your further plans here might be?”

“Further plans? ” Stan laughed at the gun.  But Stan was watching Harriet’s eyes.

“You know, I don’t believe I’ve ever noticed a man studying my eyes so thoughtful like before?  Perhaps I shoulda started out my female career pointing a gun at more men.”  Harriet glanced at Bob.

“A sure attention-getter.  I’ll give you that,” Bob admitted.

“And then you can shut the hell up! again,” Harriet repeated.  “Now what is it?  What are your plans here?

The hired man, Stan, took his time, wiped his mouth with the paper napkin.  He took the soiled napkin and gathered up the squashed cigarette and ashes into it, folded the bundle, and placed it neatly to the side.  He smiled at Harriet.  Harriet smiled back, and checked to make sure the safety was off.  Stan nodded.

“You know, this idea that you think hard about what you want to become in life, and then study to become it, and then you go out and find a way to make a living doing it, and then you either succeed or fail in the attempt for the most part – isn’t really how it works.”

Harriet raised her brows.   “So how did it work?  Let’s say, I’m curious.”

Stan’s brows furrowed, as if he were annoyed a bit at being interrupted.

“What more often happens is that you are doing something – which you think is going to make things the way you want them, more or less – when something happens, something comes along, usually completely out of the blue, and you have to make a choice.  And then that choice decides what you’re actually going to do with your life.  And after that, you really haven’t a lot of say about it.  Excepting maybe, how long you intend to continue.”

Harriet nodded.  And Bob nodded, as he relished his pork chop.  Bob was getting kind of lulled by Stan’s soft words and unconsciously had begun to relish his unfinished meal.  Bob reached for his fork.

“And don’t you move another inch.”  Harriet swiveled with the gun towards Bob.  “And also, shut up!”

“I didn’t say a thing!”  Bob jerked his paw back quick as a puppy could.

“I am just reminding you.”

“So what happened to me was,” Stan continued in a soft voice.  So soft in fact that each of Harriet and Bob had to lean closer to hear.  “I had a run in with the Federal Government.”  Stan rolled up his left sleeve and turned his arm palms up to reveal a bar code molded in somehow to the underarm skin of his left forearm.

Bob leaned in.  And Harriet appeared almost to have forgotten the gun, resting it on the table as she leaned over closer to have a good look, too.  And for a time the two of them just looked on the seamless skin patch of Stan’s with wonder.

“Why that looks just like something on the side of a package of Wonder Bread,” Bob said, poking it.  Harriet nodded.

“How much does something like that cost?”  Bob asked, with some admiration.

“Shut up!!!”  Harriet barked, emphasizing this by slamming the gun on the table.

Stan looked at the embedded tattoo of sorts somewhat wistfully with the regard of a old veteran for a platoon logo.   Bob moved his lips while mumbling the numbers printed up the side.  Harriet seemed to be the only one who registered that this was suddenly turning very strange.

“Who are you?”  Harriet said.

Photo by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch

January 9, 2013
Between purges, show trials, gulags, and mass starvation, these guys are just...

Between purges, show trials, gulags, and mass starvation, these guys are just…

Bad for Attendance

If you’re part of the disagreement about why staged theater attendance is dropping nationwide, you’re probably not interested in my opinion, but I’ll give it anyway.  It’s the Left Wing.

Live theater has been rocked by technology since the advent of the movies, many, many years ago, and more recently by the home movie market.  But I think there are real parallels between the problems of the American Stage and those of current leading newspapers’ in maintaining their readership in light of the overwhelming growth of online media.  In a recent piece by Keith Windschuttle in The New Criterion, he notes that since a Leftist Cabal has striven to impose its values on a couple large East Coast dailies, (the New York Times and The Boston Globe), their loss of readership as reflected in stock values has gone from $54. in 2002 for the NY Times to $7.80 in July of this year.  And The Boston Globe has undergone a 90 percent fall in value over the past twenty years.  Meanwhile The Wall Street Journal’s circulation has increased 5 percent between 2007 and 2012.  He believes the Lefties have accomplished this loss of readership at the Times and at the Globe in two ways.  By insulting the intelligence of their Conservative readers these newspapers have driven away half of their readership, and by boring their core readership with the ensuing substandard fare, they have also been losing their Left Wing base.  His favorite example is a story in 2005 about a seal hunt in Nova Scotia written by the former NY Times journalist Barbara Stewart.  Here is a portion of what she wrote:  “Hunters on about 300 boats converged on ice floes, shooting harp seal cubs by the hundreds, as the water and ice turned red.”

“The truth is,” Winschuttle reports, “she wasn’t’ even there and did not know that the hunt had been put off for a day due to bad weather.  She knew so well what was required in a story of this kind that she could write it before the hunt had even begun.”

That last paragraph rings so true to the state of our contemporary stage today.  Most attendees of the larger theaters around this town know pretty well what is going to happen before they even go.  Some current shibboleth of the Left will be polished to a bright sheen either by the play, or by the theater’s take on the play.  The Right will have stayed home because they DO have some intelligence.  And the Left will applaud both the play and themselves, that they donated their time and spent their money to support the thing.

Here’s an example of what tickles the enthusiasm of a local theater brahmin.  The Theater Director of Cornish recently spoke to the Northwest Chapter of the Dramatists Guild this past Sunday, where he waxed approvingly regarding a past production of the Intiman Theater which was about the practice of womens’ genital mutilation in Africa.   He exulted that they had full attendance and that there were even women in the lobby with petitions to help support prevention of this practice.  He’s talking about some glory days at the theater before having to be re-organized after declaring bankruptcy.

Now, in terms of full disclosure, I have never supported women’s genital mutilation, nor have I participated in any.  And it doesn’t sound like a sound, prudent ‘best-practice’ to me.  And I understand that this issue probably really pisses off some women, and probably fairly so.  But… is there a real problem with this in the Northwest?  Would I want to attend this play with my wife, or family?  How about with my mom and dad?  Would I like to watch this play by myself?  How many people enjoy discussing genital mutilation, or watching descriptions of it?  Would a cruel, sadistic serial killer enjoy this play?  (Maybe!)  Was this play really such a success, or was it just a success to the ‘True Believers’?   Or was it a glorious chance for the Left Wing supporters of this theater to ‘out’ themselves – and cement their takeover?  And did many in that audience really care about genital mutilation, or is the play mostly an excuse to march out the ‘usual suspects’, to tar and feather them – as my experience would suggest?

The Cornish don went on to say that he probably shouldn’t talk about politics, but since all of us in that room probably agreed…  (I voiced the lone “No.”  And the conversation continued, just like a car does after running over a possum, or one of those Lone Star pickups does after running over an armadillo… when passing through those vast stretches in the Red States.)  The powers of this country, he said, seem to be wanting to separate us into the ignorant and the educated…. blah, blah, blah.

He went on to say that Theater attendance isn’t ALL down.  At the 5th Avenue and Issaquah’s Village Theatre (musical houses) attendance has actually grown.  He thought this might be because of their having the ‘beat’, the ineffable draw of music.

I think it’s because at these ‘musical’ houses the public can still bring their families.  And when with their families, nearly everyone becomes a conservative.  And the 5th Avenue and the Village Theatre know enough to respect this.  They don’t alienate their audience.

But, as far as I can tell, our Cornish don still remains among the ignorant.

Photos taken unattributed from the Internet

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

January 5, 2013

Barnbirdsb

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm

(Episode 20)

Harriet was a pretty quick study.  A woman had to be when she was hefty and plain of appearance.  And she figured this Stan fellow was a real ‘misogynist’ the minute she saw him…  which didn’t bother her none, or much, anyway.  She figured all men were, and to tell you the truth, she wasn’t all that impressed with women folk herself.  She didn’t hold it against the men much for not finding her attractive.  Hell, it wasn’t their fault.  But it did gall her when the women would slight her for the same thing.  Now, that was just downright mean.  It was like someone crossing the street just to stand in your way.

“You don’t like women much, do you?”  Harriet said to the hired man, Stan, as she set the evening’s mashed spuds on the table.

“Now why would you say that?”  Stan took this quite seriously.  Harriet liked that.

Her husband, Bob, on the other hand, visibly stiffened.  He was such a puppy.

“You look to be about 30-35 maybe, passable looking, and you’re still single, or at least runnin’ around all by yourself, and not fittin’ in exactly anywheres. “

“Maybe I like them, but they don’t like me.”

Harriet noticed Bob’s smile as he said this.

“I’d believe that,” Harriet said.

Bob thought Harriet had been suspicious ever since they came back that morning with blood all over themselves and complaining about a triplet, breeched stillbirth over at the Munson’s spread.  (Stan had warned him not to make such an extravagant story of it.)  And Bob was pretty certain as the meals began deteriorating.  But he wasn’t certain, certain until Harriet pulled the gun on Stan.

Here they were chowing down!  Bob had been in a pretty good mood despite Harriet’s problem.  He felt like he had gotten all flushed out down below and was just about ready for more.  The prices for milk were good.  The cows were healthy.  And the pastures were all dry for the season.  And it had been a warm Sunday!  So all in all, it seemed a shame when Harriet pulled out that gun and aimed it at Stan, one of the best hands they’d ever had.

“I want you outta here,” she said.

“You want to talk privately with your husband?”  Stan inquired, calm as could be.  Bob just couldn’t help but admire this.

“No.  I don’t want to talk privately with that adulterer!”

“I ain’t no adulterer.”

“You had sex outside the bounds of marriage, didn’t ya?”  Harriet turned the gun on Bob.

“Woman, what are you talking about?”  Bob flushed.

“I’m talking about putting your wee little pecker into someone, somewhere where’s you shouldn’t.  An’ now about you bein’ a bald faced liar to boot.”   Harriet reached down and pulled out the Sunday edition of the New York Times which she slammed down on the supper table.

Bob looked dumbly at it as if he were staring at an old school textbook of the advanced sort.

“Turn it over.  It’s below the fold.”  Harriet nudged the newspaper forward with the barrel of the gun.

“Below the fold?”

“Look at the other side!”

“On the bottom of the page,” Stan advised.

“That’s right,” Harriet said.

Bob turned the damned heavy newspaper over, and a trickle of fear crawled up his back leg  like a bug.  There was a headline about Sheriff Leland and Serial Killers.  Bob turned his wide eyes on Stan without thinking.  Then he pulled his gaze back.  “I don’t see anything in here about adultery.  Mine, or anyone else’s,” Bob said.

“I believe they call it “rape”.”  Harriet lifted the tip of her gun to emphasis the point.

“How the hell would they know that the rapist is a married man, Harriet?”  Bob indicated.  “There’s no way.  That’s the answer.”

“They don’t say it’s a married man, you blinkin’ idiot!”

“Well then, I don’t see how you can come off callin’ it an adultery!”  Bob matched her volume.

I’m callin’ it an adultery, because I think that you and Stan here did it.”  Harriet moved the barrel of the gun so that it was pointed midway in between the both of them.

Bob said nothing, because he couldn’t think for a moment what he should say.  And then, when he finally decided he should say “No”, to deny it, Stan was already talking.

“You sure are a good cook, Harriet,” Stan said.  “You mind if I continue eating?”  He nodded at the gun.

“Just keep your hands where I can see them,” Harriet said.   “An’ don’t take more than two pork chops.”

Stan nodded and continued eating.  He did it with such a relish, he was actually making Bob hungry to watch.  Which was something, considering a cold wave of fear had just about frozen Bob to his chair, and shriveled his genitals and squirreled them like nuts high up in his scrotum.  He was either going to get shot, or going to admit something  he’d rather not.  Either choice was rather riveting.  And Bob couldn’t see how Stan was able to take it all so lightly.  “Maybe you could tell Harriet where we wuz, Stan,” Bob entreated.  “Seeing as how you’ve got a better head for explanations and such.”  Bob nodded.

The only think Bob could figure was that Stan must know something he did not.  Which must be why he was taking all of this so cool.

“We wuz wherever you two ends up figuring we wuz, I’d guess.”  Stan smiled, chewing.

“What the hell.  Why are you saying that?!”  Bob exclaimed.

“Well.  Where ‘wuz’ we?”  Stan asked.

Bob was totally flummoxed.

“Yeah, then.  Where wuz you?”  Harriet aimed the gun at Bob.

“Well.  What?  I don’t know.  I mean, when?  When are you talkin’ about?  Wuz it then, or last night or two weeks ago.  What are you talkin’ about?”

“Ah’m talkin’ about when Ms. Muffin Lady here got clobbered.”  Harriet thumped the newspaper with the barrel of the gun.   “Where wuz you then?  That night?”

“Honey.  I can’t remember where I am every night of the year.”

“Ah’m not askin’ about every night of the year.  Ah’m just asking about them as when you’re not in bed at home asleep where you oughta be.”

“Well, them too.  Those are hard to keep track of.  I mean, there’s cows that need milkin’, dogs that start barking all hours of the night.  You know how crazy it can get around here!”

“I’d think you’d remember if you was off rapin’ some woman, and draggin’ her in the darkness from some car on the highway.”  Harriet nodded.

“It’s the kind of thing that would stick in my mind.”  Stan nodded, as he relished another bite.

“And I don’t know what you’re laughin’ about either.  As I’m just a split second away from shootin’ you too.”  Harriet eyeballed Stan.

“Why aren’t you helpin’ me deny all this?”  Bob whined.  “I thought we wuz partners.  I thought we wuz together on this.”

“So you’re admittin’ everything?”

“Ah’m not admittin’ anything, woman,” Bob declared hotly.  “An’ just cause you got a gun doesn’t make no difference either.”

“You might feel a bit different once I use it.”  Harriet’s finger clenched tightly on the trigger.

Stan raised his hands.

Both Harriet and Bob looked at him.

“Harriet.  You start out pointing the gun at me, but if this keeps on you’re going to end up shooting your only husband, Bob,” Stan pointed out.  He paused to push his plate away, take out a cigarette and light it.  He inhaled, then exhaled up towards the bare light bulb.  Bob just had to admire this no end, in spite of the dire situation.  And he did appreciate the help, a bit.

“Don’t you just admire that?”  Bob gestured to Harriet.  “Can’t you admire that?  I mean, look.  You’re got a gun pointed at the man.  An’ rather than getting’ all upset an’cryin’ and whimperin’, or yellin’,  like you’d half expect, he’s just cool as a cucumber and sets there ready to discuss things.”  Bob waved his finger between himself and Harriet.  “We could take a lesson there.”

“An’ you could take a bullet here.”  Harriet scowled, poking the gun at Bob’s pecker.

“Stan,” Bob said.  “I appreciate your cool and all that, but I think right now it’s best if we explain to Harriet just wut it is we got to say.”

Harriet moved the gun sights back on Stan.  “An I think it’s best he don’t provoke me.”

Stan shrugged.  He looked at Bob.

“All I’m saying dear,” Bob tried to continue as best he could in as soothing voice as he could, ““…instead of getting all upset about some Muffin Lady who gets herself killed an’ probably nothin’ more than she deserved, in some New York newspaper there…”  Bob pointed,  “…is that perhaps you don’t recognize a quality man.  I mean, here is a quality man.  He works hard.  He works smart.  And he’s cool as a cucumber under any kind of trouble, and here you want to go runnin’ him off with a gun?!”

“Ah may just shoot ‘im, and drag him off with a back hoe,”  Harriet spit.

“Well that’s yur problem.  You just don’t recognize quality.  You just don’t and never did!”  Bob was getting upset, gun or no.  “Now I know for a fact that there may have been other crime figures involved!  Now wasn’t she saying somethin’ about thinkin’ we were in with Benny Green, or somebody?!”

Stan sighed.

Harriet just shook her head.

Bob considered a moment.  “…oops.”

“You see what I got to contend with?”  Harriet asked Stan.

Stan looked over at Bob who had been holding his arms out in indignation, but was now just looking defeated and rubbing his chin.

“If any of them come sniffin’ around here, what am I supposed to say?”  Harriet dipped the gun at Stan demanding an answer.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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