Monday, October 22, 2012

Mr Oberon

Original Thought us, after all, only an attitude.

From Evernote:

Mr Oberon

Looked much like a dumpy matron. Fiddled among his peach orchard in a droopy Panama hat. Had bizarre notions he considered meant he was an Original Thinker, did Mr Oberon. 

Conversations went much like the one with Smithy, the village mechanic. 

Oberon: It's the oil companies, They want to sell more oil, so they conspire with the automakers to build larger-than-needed crankcases. The pump can suck up a quart as well as three of them. 

Smithy: And what happens to your bearings and valves while that quart is in your filter?
Oberon: You don't understand! Oil pumps can pick up as little as one quart off the bottom of the crankcase!

Compost in trees. Not the cause, but effect, he declared. Not the root but the blossom. Thinking down limits your vision. Tied his garbage in bundles wrapped in soil from the garden center onto the branches of his peach trees. Let others do it the old stale ways, he declared. 

No peaches that season from Mr Oberon's orchard. Like most Original Thinkers, he sought near and far in an ever-widening perimeter from where he stood for the cause of his crop failure. 

Sat by his phone. Watched it, even. Had written to the local press about his idea for matchmaking. A complete and thorough survey must be conducted of all young adults and the results should be graphed and weighted and catalogued according to will and deferences, character and preferences, appearance and references. Marriages would be performed by computer, with text notifications, such as:

Congratulations! You have been found worthy to wed _________, and the ceremony was duly performed during Cycle 12 at 1100 hours this date. 

No more rival fights, mean girls, locker room lies, embarrassing date or prom nights. Kids won't even have to learn to dance in order to simulate sex; the matter is taken out of their hands, so to speak, with no more angst, tears, or loss. The relief of automating such a fraught function as mating will clear up complexes and completions overnight. 

He had emailed the suggestion and included his phone number. Mr Oberon had, despite his forward thinking, one of the last land lines in the village, so he remained in range of that instrument day and night, expecting a call at any moment from the school board, a think tank, perhaps one of those chirpy frothy morning tv shows. 

Mr Oberon consulted his copy of the paper, permanently folded to that day's Letters to the Editor page. 

Yes, yes, the phone number is quite correct as given. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Artists

From Evernote:

The Artists

We have achieved the essential in the aesthetics of art. All who encounter our public sculpture respond in dramatic and predictable moods. They are sad and then glad and either reaction is formed out of magical material using masterful and inspired technique. 

Our team is good. The Queen is proud of us. 

As we proceed, other moods - anger, disappointment, uncontrolled merriment - are set out in the park and all react as expected, including the artists themselves. 

Next we learn that  mood and manner determine actual personality, then character. We can create art which in turn generates a nation of Polyannas or Timons. We design a gloomy Sunday, and in time, actual Nietzsche clones. 

The Queen has a word with us. It would be ever so helpful were you to - and so of course we do. 

What was it you wanted? They call their wives from the store. Oh, sorry I missed the appointment. Shouldn't you be at work? Where did I leave my auto? The big guy from the island; what was his name?

The projections from the royal accountant are not reviewed, nor are the crop futures. Trends are nonsense, like cloud pictures. No public statement by the Monarch or her court is contrasted with the previous editions, because yesterday doesn't exist. Yes, of course it doesn't. 

The queen is most happy with us. I don't know why. She praises us for our sculptures. One of us - I forget the name - asks me, "What's a sculpture?"

Our principality was very powerful once; most warlike and appeasing in turn. We were a most sanguine sort, albeit depressed at times. Perhaps you've heard of us?

I forget by what name we were called. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Here for Tests

From Evernote:

Here for Tests

He was very professional. Told me what he intended. He would remove my left leg and place it on that desk right over there. It was somehow comforting, such precision. 

I didn't quite catch the diagnosis, the symptom he hoped to alleviate; indeed I wasn't sure there was a symptom and whether removing my left leg would cure it. 

I assumed he meant to replace the leg. 

The operation is the 20th, I told Niki J. Hey, I said, today is the 20th!  

We were here for tests, I thought. Oh, well, all the staff seems so unconcerned. Probably just a routine procedure. They inspire a lot of confidence, these professionals in white suits all about us here. Best to allow them to do their jobs. Not my place to interfere. 

I'm really not worried. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Joe Moss and Mrs Booth

From Evernote:

Joe Moss and Mrs Booth

We're in junior high, a small town in Texas. Mrs Booth, a rather erudite lady for our town,  teaches Social Studies and, as I remember, something called Reading. In that last connection, she informs us, in a colloquy I recall like a Damon Runyan episode, about right and wrong reading, which is really quite simple. 

Mrs Booth: 

In order to enjoy reading, you have to put yourself in place of the main character. If you don't like to do that, you don't like to read. 

Joe Moss is a prolific reader in our class. Always he  has a book in his hand. He slurps a breath now (later I'd hear this habit described as Reverse Swallowing): 

Well, I like to read, and I don't put myself in place of the main character. 
Shut up, Joe,
Mrs Booth explained. 

My dream involved these two in a building not our own, but a school setting nonetheless. Mrs Booth is trundling along the lower level, left foreground to rear background, towards the office, bottom-right of the ground floor as we watch. I notice Joe Moss has entered the upper level, heading lackadaisically* right to left on the third balcony. 

These levels I speak of are enclosed corridors with access to the three floors of classrooms behind them. From the main floor below, which is the gym/auditorium, you can watch all students exit and enter any classroom. (There is a fire escape, but used only in emergencies.)

Joe is silently approaching a door at the close end of the third floor corridor. He pushes the horizontal handle and the scrunch sounds to all. 

He immediately breaks into a run to the steps and down them. Mrs Booth also is sprinting. She was too close to the office; now she must retrace her steps at a combat speed for a vantage point to observe whoever is moving during class time, which is forbidden without a permission slip. And Mrs Booth, the hall monitor this period, is charged with demanding authorization from anyone caught out of a classroom. 

Joe ducks into the first room from the near stairs on the second level. As Mrs Booth achieves a post from which to scout the three rows of classes, she finds the corridors all innocent of transgressors. 

She is utterly defeated. For one can never be sure which level door sounded, nor which room the malefactor either left or entered. 

I suspect she suspects Joe, and would like to have snagged him, but he escaped. Whatever he was doing he got away with. 

So, what was he doing in that third floor room? Or, what is he doing in the one into which he ducked?  Clearly he should not have been in one or the other. 

But Mrs Booth would appear foolish were she to look into every room. She would need everybody's class schedule to see who was out of place, and indeed they may now all be in their proper classes. 

She knows I would never tell, nor would anyone standing around. We didn't notice, we would have said. Nor would a teacher rat out Joe, another teacher, and herself, because they none of them cared for either Mrs Booth's high regard for strict discipline, nor indeed for Mrs Booth. And, really, who would admit to slack roll calling or classroom discipline beneath the Booth standard?

Any time Mrs Booth was disappointed in her mission, the entire school was secretly delighted. 

* This was the word with which I attempted to stump Mrs Booth during her vocabulary challenge. She offered anybody a quarter were they to confound her with any word from our library books. She only paid off once when under her strict judgment her definition did not properly jibe with that of Mr Webster. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Still Obstacles with Life

It is another dark progression through a shopping center as a gothic maze. It shouldn't be this difficult. 

I cannot find my way. I've left Scoobie in the auto with another unidentified canine, and urgency builds as time goes on. I really should be back there by now. 

But I cannot ask for directions. Even if it's obvious I'm lost, I continue in my own way, climbing over counters and stepping out rear windows. If I proceed deliberately, they will think I have a plan. 

A woman in a passing aisle says to a companion, "Oh, but you can't trust what the children say," and I butt in: "- which is why we attend to them so closely." She smiled as if she understood me. I didn't. 

In dreams, I never arrive wherever I'm going. Maybe these obstacles are like my bathroom urgency in dreams; I wake up before I wet the bed. Mostly. 

"Hearing the raven cough
in winter sticks"

Thursday, May 10, 2012


From Evernote:


I am headed out into the wilds with a crew of unknown constitution. This is the planning and preparation phase. I am in my typical noir dream setting; a rambling, random collection of dark rooms in an old house. I am accumulating backpacker goods in an old pack ... and then somehow losing them. 

I don't understand how the items can disappear like water. I place a blanket or sleeping bag in the pack and then in the next room find it gone.

I have a novel strategy for this hike. I will carry along three chests of drawers; very narrow and light, yet, still. I then determine I will only bring them along to the base camp. I then am convinced it's a dumb idea. My next notion is storing goods in my backpack. That seems the best solution.

The Sprouts are laughing and running. This is the happiest time I've had asleep in some time. PJ and Mei-Mei are cavorting in costume; PJ in his little suit and Mei in her full-body pink muumuu. They dress and then run for the stairs, giggling. I watch, delighted, cheer them on. Upstairs is a party of some sort and they are having a wonderful time.

PJ approaches me, straight to my front, very somber now. He has his serious face on. 

"Grandpa, you're not funny."

He thinks I need to know this, to avoid unnecessary effort or avoid embarrassment. I think, he's graduated beyond my humor range. I take him at his word.

He goes back up the stairs, chortling. I cheer him.

Monday, April 30, 2012


From Evernote:


You search and you are presented with an intricate medallion on your screen. Any screen, including in an auto or on a stovetop. 

The figure presents a complex story before the network even begins answering your question. You can tell by the design just which individual or organization is sponsoring the search. The order of the medallions on your screen has been settled in advance by prior responses and exit polls; you may be sure your leading network is currently the most efficient and  best online for your topic, and that the others follow in merit sequence.

You can, if the organization is new or you've forgotten, touch the medallion, which essentially is a coat of arms. The names and identies might be presented. Another part of the figure brings up your own history of searches through that source. Also presented is a report of alll previous research on the topic, and also a review of sources,  bracketed by accountability.

There are no paid ads in the search results, as was the case in the early 21st century. All the search teams are their own individual networks, and they are paid by how many eyes they can attract, the classic metric. To do that, they have instituted news, analysis, and entertainment with every result. You might see a perky presenter or bubbly broadcaster detail results of your research project, or watch a comedy act based loosely on its topic.

Rivalry is part of the dynamic. We see here a slogan applied to the list and associated ratings of all the diners down I 35 south of Waco: BASIC TOOLS FOR SIMPLE FOOLS. This came about because a competing network tried to boost ratings by short and punchy descriptions, which were of course ridicluled by competitors by referencing the logo of the offender.

It's radically different than the early onset broadcast and later online experience. There is lots more information provided to distract you from the obvious fact that you really won't learn much throughout the whole enterprise. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012


A ginger lady bent towards destruction. Flames all about yet so diffuse as to be immediately untrheatening. I am pat of the retinue. Swirls and portent; a chaos to be offset by deliberative predictable patterns of the sort which led to the present crisis in the first place. Behind in a following vehicle is Gilbert Roland, who sees he has been passed by Johnny Dark thus is in seecond place forever. He gives that resigned working class headshake, the jaw sharp to the left, and shifts to road gear. He doesn't realized he has been saved by missing the lead, for he will see the bridge out by his opponent's headlong fall into the gulch. Random association and desultory rambling lead me into an amphitheatre. It is a plaza de toros, and the animals wander in from the pasture and back out again at their leisure. A raucous crowd gathers all around the bowl. A strange character enters with a monster and colorful sombrero - which is immediately yanked from his head and begins a long leisurely frisbee route around the plaza seats. Much raoucous yelling and whistles. The sombrero goes once around, then twice, until it is somewhat the worse for wear. It reaches near its owner, then is placed on his noggin. The brim is almost entirely separated from the crown, between the which its owner looks all around in a comical and sorrowful countenance. The crowd whoops. The fire, however, gathers smoke up to the very clouds. We all scream and laugh, and the front moves ever closer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finding Edith

I'll just stop here for a latte, I say. Won't take a minute. I'll meet you over on East Side. 

It's one of those confusing joints where nobody goes for the first time. Sandwiches and soup to students and profs, but they must pour coffee too.

Very complex labyrinth of aisles and ferns and high counters, and no more signs that you find in private homes. 

I just smile and walk and now I'm near the kitchen. Coffee?, I ask. 

Edith will be with you. Oh, she's away?
Okay, step this way. 

Now I'm out in a leaf-shaded parking lot. I open my own door and we sit down, me because I believe this must be how it's done and the others I don't know why. Maybe like me they aren't really sure about procedure. 

We go then we stop in a residential neighborhood. This must be where Edith lives. We wait. One steps out, goes around the corner. Returns; sits in my ride again. Another exits and goes another way, and then another. Doors are opening and closing like in a cab, only we aren't moving. 

I expect always that everyone is more attuned to the general environment than I am, only I don't want them to know that. 

After too long a time, I look around. I am alone. 

Maybe they just didn't have the heart to tell me there is no coffee. 

It's too late to meet the others at East End. I consider. I could just leave my auto and walk to the house. (It isn't my primary residence but I'm staying there.) it's a long walk but I can do it. Just stride off down the street. 

But ... why?  Besides, I don't have a key to the house. 

Through the rest of a long afternoon, no better idea presents itself. 

Tim Bowden is twiddling his thumbs on his  iPhone 4S!


We want her out. We have cause. We try and enlist the other residents. She's only a temp. Let's have her booted. 

The other residents, they are noncommittal, unresponsive. We'll go it alone then. 

The police. We tell them what she's done. Of a civil nature, one says. We want her removed. A cop defers to another. He's the expert on concierges. 

"I haven't heard of one removed for that cause," he says. "Not in thirty two years."

"When you have termites, who pays?" asks the first cop. 

"I don't know; she does, and we pay it through rent."

Puzzling. Can't boost her out due to malfeasance but maybe mishandling of funds. 

Cops leave. 

"It's your business too!" shouts my Lady at furtive shadows at the end of the courtyard. Silence. 

Tim Bowden is twiddling his thumbs on his  iPhone 4S!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Different Strokes

A crowded community coffee shop of the university type. Gail is newly with us. She's Will's new potential. I go for coffee.

I pick up two orddinary cups. They are a different color; one dark and the other buff. The coffee is already in them, and I realize the cup color must mean they're different, but I din't care. I'm here for coffee, not detail.

I am set to go. I set the cups on a table and fish for dollars and change. I realize it should be simple but I'm having much trouble picking up the amount I need. I know which bills and which coins but I cannot seem to convey that to my hands.

The mesera encourages me, as if I'm attempting a difficult juggling act for the team. Take yer time; you can do it.

The longer it goes on, the less sure I am that I can do it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Incident

He smiled that mirthless sneer of his, like a sociopath. 

"It would not do to have it go out raw," he told me. Leering. 

"I suppose not," I said, for something to say. 

We were discussing the Incident, one of many Hess handled. It was only history, he said sometimes, compiled by an historian. 

Why was he talking to me, a reporter, and not even the dreamer, just the assumed first-person part of the story? It was because he and Kaufman thought I was from Medical Records when I had only been cleared by them to come here. Perhaps they had not been wise to trust Hess after all. This was turning into another incident. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Driving carefully through obstruction not clearly marked, with folks wandering over the roadway and gazing in different directions, as if there was an accident or construction at some undisclosed location. 

An old brevet cop walks right into my path, and a soft contact is made with my left front fender. He continues on down the road, oblivious. 

Here's a spot off the main traffic lane. I park, exit my vehicle, run after the rent-a-cop. 

"Hey, excuse me, but - are you hurt?"

He stops, considers as if it hadn't occurred to him. 

"Maybe a scratch ..." He pulls up a trouser to show an abrasion.  

I look back up to my car to see - it's being towed! I rush back up there. 

"Hey, you can't - I was talking to a cop!"

There is a slender raffish sort with a deprecating perpetual grin. He is apparently in charge. My vehicle is towed away. 

I see well the gambit now. Extortion like in one of those failed states ... Nigeria, Mexico, the US. 

I ride with the smirking cop to a large building, barren and unkempt inside, with lots of milling and no clear mission. I wait. The tow cop is quite content to do nothing. He sits and then ambles. Then he leans against a counter. 

The kids are coming today. This no time to be arrested. (I understand there will be a ransom for my auto and a fine for illegal parking and I am under restraint until both are paid.) I'd better call home. 

My iPhone is transforming as I hold it, marveling. It unfolds a keyboard, then continues into a classic SLR camera, then retracts these extensions and presents others. I cannot make a simple phone call. 

I've had enough of this. I slip away from the shoddy cop and head down stairs. I am accosted by another agent. He is bland and young and telling me I must wait. 

I push him into a closet. Close the door. He opens it, tells me I am not free to go. I slam the closet door and am gone by the time he opens it again. 

Home now. Ah, my favorite cereal. It's home, but an inchoate setting, with plenty of dark space towards the corners and voices from other rooms. Someone comes in and goes out. 

I recognize the one from the closet standing near the edge of my breakfast room. And then, stepping into the dim light from a little further off, the shoddy tow cop. 

It looks like I won't finish my cereal. 

Tim Bowden is twiddling his thumbs on his  iPhone 4S!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Here and There

A portion of my income was left off inadvertently last year, and resupplied in a later transfer. It's all the same. 

But I must document for taxes. I look for the pay stub, or the voucher. 

There are lots of old papers here in this public desk. Here are references, but I need the specific items which authorized or effected the transfer, and the shortage. 

I walk among many who are less and less interested in my problem. Perhaps it is somewhere else, suggest the keepers of the present domain here and now. 

It is considered my best policy to seek assistance somewhere beyond wherever I might be, no matter where that is. They should be able to help, over there. Not doing their jobs if they don 't. 

I find direct references here and solid leads there, but for the actual records themselves, that's the responsibility of someone not here now. If you would kindly consult another time and place?