Archive for May, 2015

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 exposé 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.”

Chopping corn


“Let’s do it Bro, we don’t want to be late.”

James was getting used to following Freddie’s lead. The big score on an IQ test when he was ten, and the ensuing fuss, had furnished Freddie with a grand sense of power. It was Saturday. It was time to get to Mass.

“You two behave yourselves in Church.”

“Okay Dad.”

James, newly licensed, slipped behind the wheel of the Camaro. He had waited until he was eighteen – two years over the minimum – to acquire the privilege. There had been driver’s ed. during a summer, well passed, but he was timid. Socially inept.

“So where are we headed?”

“Anywhere but, Bro.”


That was a lie. Attending Mass sounded grueling, but the prospect of being caught skipping was burdensome. Week after week of the same routine invited disaster. Freddie, hair past his shoulders, was nonchalant.

“Screw that shit.”

His friends had long hair too. Fourteen year olds who had been eleven when Woodstock went off. James had been fifteen then, as unaware of Woodstock then as he was about the looming draft a year ago. His birthday, Flag Day, had pulled a low number in the lottery. Their dad, their Battle of the Bulge bazooka man dad had not weighed in about Vietnam. Not to them anyway. The only moment he shared about his war framed “sleeping in frozen tank tracks on Christmas Eve.” He stuck with the Dodgers when they left Brooklyn, his opinion of draft dodgers was  unknown, and he attended Mass on Sunday morning.

The Camaro was a three fifty four barrel automatic coupe in gold, but with Freddie in the car James felt diminished.

“What’s going on later Fred?”

“Probably Jack with Jim and stay up all night.”

They rumbled out of town to the east as usual. Jack was Jack Daniels, Jim was Freddie’s best friend. Or maybe Jack was. They smoked pot and took pills too, without discretion of any kind, on a daily basis. There wasn’t much to talk about really. Two brothers who had shared a bed until James was ten, whispered hopes and secrets every night, cuddled for warmth and security. Now he was just Freddie’s driver.

“What the fuck is going on up here?”

“Fire or accident.”

“Park it, we’ll walk up and find out.”

There were a dozen cars parked helter skelter behind the fire trucks and police cars, plenty of flashing lights, but only one person visible in the road. It was Al George, the bald local barber with two first names. He cut James’ hair and he was a fireman.

“Hi fellas.”

“Hey Al. What’s goin’ on?”

It became clear that the emergency was in a field adjacent to the road. Several cars and trucks were parked in the field, as was a farm tractor with a wagon behind. There were two clusters of people, one near the wagon, one a good distance away. There seemed to be little activity. A lone man sat on the bumper of a pick-up, head in hands.

“Guy’s wife slipped and fell into the self-unloading wagon. You boys don’t want to go down there.”

“Is she dead?”

“She probably is by now.”

“Okay. Well. Thanks Al.”

“Okay boys.”

James clicked the shifter back through reverse and neutral.

” What next Fred?”

“Church is about over now. Let’s roll for home.”