Attention seeking

“The dinner went well?”

Marlene often asked questions with her back turned.

“Riotous, as expected. But a success.”


“In order, G-ma arranged a near formal entrance for herself, by way of a perceived slight. Possibly by me.”

“What did you do?”

“The tables and chairs were crammed together to accommodate everyone. She chose an impossible route to the least accessible chair in the room. I advised against it, offered to convey her plate while she re-routed.”

“She exited the room, of course.”

“Yes, caused quite a ripple, but Nene handled her. Simply said ‘Mom? What’s going on?’, then went into the kitchen and ushered her back. By then everyone else was seated and five people had to rise to let her pass.”

“A triumph all around.”

“And then Nene opened with ‘Does anyone here like Donald Trump?'”

“She’s not always as sweet as can be, is she?”

“She said it sweetly, and her brother actually let his hand start to rise. I believe he stammered a couple words before the din of scorn overwhelmed him.”

“He’s been listening to his buddy Joe.”

“Joe, yes. You unfollowed Joe because of his tirades didn’t you?”

“I didn’t unfriend him.”

“Did I say unfriended?”

“No dear.”

“Outside of that it was pretty much all Gigi’s show.”

“She’s a sweetie. She was supposed to be a teacup.”

“And cost ‘Jack must not know’. I remember.”

“She attacks the biggest dogs. She’s fearless.”

“A Yorkie the size of a small cat, yes. Everyone was warned again about feeding her scraps. The near death experience, the pancreatitis, was recounted yet to make sure we were all in line about it.”

“Can’t be too careful.”

“Of course she came pleading to everyone during dinner. I’ll bet she was next to me ten times. Very polite with the ‘I want something’ look.”

“You didn’t.”

“Of course not, I doubt anyone did. But by dinner’s end she was being scooped into people’s laps and petted.”

“Even closer to the food. That’s a bit perverse.”

“As it turned out, the begging wasn’t about the food.”

He left it silent, smiling until she broke down and turned.

“What are you talking about? Why are you laughing?”

“In the end she went under the table and peed on G-ma’s foot. She’d been begging for an hour to go out. Couldn’t get it across.”






not quite left out


“No. Gigi does not get ‘people food’. She overindulged, or was overindulged a few years ago, got very sick. Nearly died of pancreatitis.”

She was supposed to have been a teacup, and Nene had paid a price she would only describe as “Jack Can Never Find Out.” Failing but one expectation Gigi had grown to a mini, the size of a small house cat, adorable, cuddly and willing to attack dogs one hundred times her weight when they invaded her territory. Of the sixteen dinner guests only a couple were unfamiliar with the dog’s gastric history. The kids all knew. Nene’s mother G-ma knew. The newbies were duly apprised and the buffet commenced with seating for all, at two tables, in the dining room.

“I don’t think you can get through this way Maxine. It’s so crowded I can’t even move my chair. I can take your plate and you can go around the other way.”

My offer ended G-ma’s initial bid for the least accessible seat in the room, and she retreated, dinner in hand, to the kitchen. A slight panic swept through the mostly seated company. Theories pertaining to G-ma’s departure were rapidly traded, including my allowance that I may have offended her. Nene ended it quickly, leaping into the kitchen and accompanying G-ma back. All rose on the far side of the table to allow passage, and full seating was graciously achieved.

Nene opened the dinner conversation with:

“Does anybody here like Donald Trump?”

Her brother’s hand began a sheepish rise then fell limp at the immediate crescendo of contempt.

“I know, you’re so hungry aren’t you sweetie?”

Gigi had begun to make the rounds, stopping before or beside each person, sometimes lifting paw to human leg. Peering earnestly into the eyes of every potential benefactor.

“No treats for you, doglet!”

” I swear this is the tenth time she’s been here giving me that look! She’s such a little cutie she’s hard to refuse!”

On it went for an hour, the poor dog occasionally even being scooped up into a lap, closer to the food. She was mild mannered through it all and, in hindsight, seemed not all that interested in the food once it was at eye level. She had failed to be persuasive, failed to convince, and in the end her desire became need.

“Oh my gosh! Gigi just peed on my foot!”

“She wouldn’t do that G-ma!”

“When was she last out?”


Dearest Sun

I do not seem to you
Do I?
Too small to love.
(Imagine that you or your
deep flung Arab kin could love!)

I feel you fulcruming
The orbs
In our black bag
(Ask your gravity question
please, the one with no answer)



Trump Gap Widens


A day after praising supporters for punching and kicking a black protester in Birmingham Alabama, Donald Trump is hoping to impress his racist credentials on a wider audience of white, bigoted americans.

Having voiced concern a week ago that Syrian refugees would be “very, very unhappy” in Minnesota because “it’s cold there”, the GOP frontrunner urged an audience in Aberdeen, Texas to consider how an influx of refugees might effect their everyday life:

“If we get a great number of these people coming into our country, will we then have to be reading Syrian as well as French and Spanish on all of our packaging and instructions and signs? Wasting time searching for the English? Does any American, or any Christian for that matter, really want that?”

Central New Yorkers Boost Terror Protection

kramer tree 2

Diner exchange/Why make stuff up?

“They don’t teach cursive writing anymore in school, can you believe that? I remember practicing circles and loops, over and over again, for hours. Now how the hell is anybody gonna have a signature?”

“There was plenty of time for doodling like that when you were in school Mary, because back then there was barely any history to be taught.”

“Very funny, because I know what mean is. My grandfather was mean.”

“Your grandfather?”

“So mean he shot his dog. Gramma was in the hospital for a few days, and gramp made biscuits.”

“Ah, and the dog got into the biscuits. Like that Darren McGavin movie where the dogs get the Christmas turkey.”

“No, he shot him because he wouldn’t eat the biscuits.”




When a Knower comes Knocking




“Identity confirmation, social, long, lat,time and date.”

“That’s your theory?”

“No. It’s first hand from someone who needed to launder his or her conscience. And who’s still keen to stay alive.”

“And it’s from a sat transmission?”

“Correct. A single entry in this log, and I’ve got dozens of these logs.”

Sarah scanned the page, noting multiple entries following the IC. They were all prefixed UL.

“Updated location. But really, don’t you want to know the how?”

“Jesus Mink, I’m keen to stay alive too, but you’re telling me anyway?”

“You’re forearm has gooseflesh.”

“But you’re telling me anyway. We’ve published an expos√© every six months together, never published on our own. I’d go down with you no matter how innocent I was. Besides curiosity, I’ll need to know everything I can in case I try to talk you out of this.”

“We’re not the leakers. We’d just be Greenwald and company, which might be worse. I’m not sure whether I’d feel safer in Russia or stateside. Probably better perks in Russia.”

“Jesus Mink.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve thought it all through, even down to letting you in.”

“Into a prison of sorts.”

“I like to think you’d have invited me along.”

“I don’t know Mink. Why don’t you spill the details on just how scared I should be.”

Don Mink noted the disappearance of the gooseflesh and looked into his wife’s green eyes. Sparkling. The clearest eyes he’d ever seen. He was glad in the moment for her glasses, which he now understood acted as clothing for her eyes. Flattering, but a material barrier. He wasn’t sure she understood this, and he had decided he would never tell her how he sought glimpses of her eyes side-on, behind the glasses. How he was affected by her removing her glasses. How overwhelmingly sensual her eyes were through pure atmosphere.

“Been to the dentist lately? What was it, a month ago?”


“Dentist’s offices. And I think eyewear outlets too, but I haven’t quite grasped that fully yet. It’s a setup with insurance submission data and the addition of a trackable device. In these cases I’m told that device is a dental filling.”

“Okay, my feet are wet.”

“Ceramic filling material with microscopic chips in the matrix. One known supplier of an ingredient known to add great durability to the fillings. Proprietary stuff. The chips are nothing special, all the same. They just resonate enough for the sat to lock onto, and once you’re locked, you’re locked until the sat falls out of the sky. Or longer – forever –¬† if they transfer the lock to another bird.”

“Insurance submissions?”

“Secretary punches in your data when you come in the door, punches in a claim before you walk out. All your vital information, which of course is on tap at the NS bunker. All the chips in the filler on site make the office a hot spot, but the sat can pick out a departing customer twenty feet out the door. NS gets your ID in real time, sets sat to monitor for departures. Twenty feet out you’re locked onto. You are then monitored for as long as it takes you to travel to a number of confirmation sites, such as your home address and your work address.”

“Known to any number of federal agencies.”

“”Oh yes. Two or three ducks in a row, I’m told, and you graduate to IC status. For some reason they are still concerned about mistakes.”

“But it wouldn’t take more than three days for ninety-nine percent of people to visit home and work.”

“Actually they calculate that only sixty percent of people reach IC status in a week. Kids, retirees, unemployed people finally getting to the dentist under ACA, none of them going to the workplace where a W-2 would be issued or a tax return filed from. And people with perfect teeth are a problem, but they’re not the type generally sought by the others with perfect teeth. It’s not a singles database.”

“How long? How many?”

“Two years plus. Twenty three million plus.”

“All tracked in real time.”

“They can put a lot of chips in a half ton sat. And there are currently nine sats aloft.”

“Why am I trying to remember when I got a tooth filled last? I know it wasn’t last time.”

“I haven’t been to the dent in three years. And no, I haven’t known about this for that long. I’ve been on it a week.”

She studied his appearance. Was he gaunt? Pale? Even biased by knowing what he’d borne the last week, she couldn’t discern a difference in his look or manner. His hair was exactly as perfectly imperfect as always. His shirt was either clean or a day old, and his shaving hadn’t suffered. Still Don Mink.

“We’ve talked about this before, I scarcely dreamt it might be preparatory chat.”

“The Hersh and Greenwald talk?”

“Those come to mind, yes.”

“Reporters as warriors.”

“Yes we decided soldier implied obedience.”

“Here’s a new one. Reporter as terrorist.”

“Of a sort, Sarah.”

“Of a sort.”


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