Beelzebub, Benghazi and the Bitch

At the offices of the Clinton Foundation, sometime in February 2012…



“ Good Morning, Clinton Global Initiative, Kimberly speaking. How may I direct your call?” Kimberly was looking smart at the desk, her wireless headset fitted snugly.

“Yeah! This is Satan. Lemme talk to the bitch, willya?”, came the voice over the line.

“I beg your pardon, sir?” Kimberly tapped at the headset, uncertain of what she had just heard. She maintained the proper decorum, of course, and reached to take a sip from her triple shot vanilla latte.

“ What? You got some kinda hearin’ problem, sweetheart? I said lemme talk to the bitch!” The devil had easily slipped into his best Brooklyn dialect, an unconscious habit he’d developed whenever phoning or visiting the Big Apple.

Kimberly maintained her composure and would have been inclined to take this call for a prank, but for the fact that there were a lot of strange calls that came in to this office. “ I’m sorry, sir. Which bitch were you wishing to speak with? We have a lot of bitches here….”

“ Heh-heh-heh! Oh I bet you do! The head bitch in charge! Hillary, you dumb cunt!”

Now she was offended at the misogynist epithet. “ Excuse me sir! There is no need to speak to me like that!”

The devil could be a smooth talker when required. Very smooth. But this morning he was in a hurry and he had other things on his mind. Truman Capote’s abrupt resignation left him with a staff position to fill and quickly. Election years were no time to operate with a short staff.

“ Look, toots! Is she fuckin’ there or what, huh?”

“I’m sorry sir, no, Mrs. Clinton is not in this morning, may I take a message or would you like her voice mail?”

“ Ahh fuck! Never mind! I’ll see if I can’t raise her on her cell!”

Over her headset Kimberly heard the line go dead. She was relieved. What a rude prick! Did he say he was Satan? Weird…

Meanwhile in a posh hotel suite in Algiers Madame Secretary and her aide, Huma Abedin, were sipping absinthe and alternately taking turns going down on each other while her security detail stood watch outside the door. Suddenly her I-phone vibrated on the nightstand. She was annoyed at the interruption, but checked the screen to see if it was anything important. It showed a number that she did not recognize: 666-666-6666. She pushed the phone aside. Had to be a wrong number. Then the phone vibrated again. And again. Whoever it was they were not letting the call roll to the mailbox, but dialing again and again. She finally considered that perhaps it was a donor. They often reached out from disguised or blocked numbers, not wanting to leave any trail. Madame Secretary took the phone and turned to Huma.

“Don’t you go anywhere! I’m not done with you yet! I need to take this call”, and she excused herself to the bath. Finally she picked up the line. “ Yes? Who is this?”

The devil was not at all surprised by her abrupt manner. He briefly mused that if he were but a bit younger he might tap some of that action. “ Who is this? That’s all I get? I might get the idea you were trying to avoid me!”

Even though she was alone on this call Madame Secretary instinctively shielded the mouthpiece and whispered harshly into the phone. “ How did you get this number!”

The devil proceeded in a patronizing manner. This was a very haughty woman. He enjoyed toying with her. “ Hey now! Is that any way to talk to your old pal Satan? Come on Hillary! You know I can tap any fucking phone I like. Any time, anywhere. Am I interrupting something?”

She wanted to tell him “yes, you fucking prick”, but she still needed favors from him. In spite of her supplicant position she wasn’t intimidated by him at all. If anything she regarded him as a peer. “ No”, she lied, “ I have a few minutes. Whats on your mind, Satan?”

“A few minutes? Well, I should be flattered! How’s Barry and Mikey? That amazon still peggin’ that scrawny fuck?”

“How should I know?!” She let her irritation flare momentarily. “ Look! We both know you don’t just call to talk about the President and First Tranny’s sex life. I need to get ready for a conference soon so what do you need?”

“ My oh my! What big lady balls you have grandma! Ok, cut to the chase here! It’s been six months now. What the fuck are we doing with Libya? You know I got the Colonel down here and he’s singin’ like a bird. I’m starting to wonder if I haven’t bet on the wrong horse here, that’s all. Maybe could ya keep me in the loop?”

Well there it was. Madame Secretary had a lot of irons in the fire. She was aware that things were behind schedule. She just needed more time. “ You know this is a big job. Its not all just about Libya. Sid is still helping, we just need more time!”

Ugh! Blumenthal, that fucking kike! The devil couldn’t wait to flail a few layers of flesh off of that hide! “ Boo-hoo! Cry me a fuckin’ river you cunt! You think I don’t have a big job? Please!”

“ Okay, okay. You’re right. We’re starting an election year, you know. Political considerations start to come into play that hamper our operations. Surely you understand this?”

Indeed he did and more than she could know. The devil still considered his engineering of Grover Cleveland’s second election one of his finest political achievements. “ I am aware of this. There’s really just one thing we need to clean up. That ambassador of yours. He knows too much, don’t you think?”

“Chris? Bah! He’s a stooge! I don’t think….”

Now the devil was losing his patience with this. “ Hey! Save it, will ya? You seem to be forgetting who’s in charge here. He may not yet, but if you keep him there he is going to put the pieces of it together. I shouldn’t have to tell you what that could mean for you, should I? Jehovah’s balls, you cunt! You get him reposted or maybe have a fatal accident, that’s always been a go to for you. I don’t care how, you just need to clean up loose ends. If I gotta come up there and fix this the shits gonna get ugly! Are we clear?”

Madame Secretary bit her tongue and felt the flush of red heat rise to her face. She thought to herself “Grrr! Some day, you arrogant prick! I’m gonna have your fucking job!” She took a deep breath and let the anger pass before replying. With an icy calm she spoke into the phone for the last time before hanging up. “Crystal clear. It is in the works, trust me. I will keep him blinded and at the right time he will have an accident and no one will ever know a thing. You’re not dealing with an amateur here.”

The devil pondered this and had to admit that it was true. Then he had to laugh in spite of himself. Here was a woman who was constantly making public proclamations about shattering a glass ceiling. While she was looking up to that ceiling she was actually shattering the glass floor: she was destined, someday, to be the most powerful woman in hell.




The devil continued to monitor the developments in Libya and elsewhere through the course of the year. The election was shaping up according to plan. Romney! Hah! What a pussy! And as if a Mormon would ever get elected to the presidency. Why he’d be eating popsicles and ice skating down here if that ever happened! Of course he wasn’t fond of Barry or Mikey either, but they were useful idiots. Barry thought he was so slick but the devil could see the truth. No one could lie better than he and although Barry was quite prolific at it he was a pathetic poser where it came to speaking untruths.  He was able to make it all sound good, all of that grand rhetoric and his professorial tone, but he missed the key element of effective lying. A good lie was one that was easily defended, undiscoverable and which sounded more plausible than the truth. Barry was an incautious liar. Bold, to be sure, but frankly not very good at it. That was ironic, too, because of the two of them Mikey carried the much larger set of stones. Thankfully the devil’s imbeds at the Times and the Post were very good at carrying Barry’s water. And since all of the other slobbering jackals in the press corps simply followed their lead this could continue for years.

In the very early hours of September 12, 2012, US EDT, the devil received one very short but important text from a phone with the DC area code: done. A cruel leer curled upon his lips as he confirmed with his reply: well done. There was other business on the agenda that day, but the devil did manage to filter through more reports on the previous night’s events in Benghazi. They had taken out the Ambassador and more. Very thorough and they already had a cover story for misdirection prepared. Had it been left to him he would certainly have done better with the cover story. That anti-islamic video story was lame as fuck all. It had to be one of Barry’s inventions. What a pathetic amateur. Well, in any case they could put this whole ridiculous Libya operation to bed once and for all.

The next pressing item of the day was Capote’s audacious attempt at filing a sexual harassment lawsuit. Something had told him that he’d rue the day that he let Johnny Cochran through those gates! The devil had a soft spot for lawyers and since no one else would take Johnny he couldn’t turn him away. And now here is the thanks he got for “doin’ a brother a solid”. Through all of the legalese the crux of the case was that while on the executive staff Capote contended that Caligula had fondled him and said “Hey faggot! How ‘bout a little brown eye?”. He pictured this and laughed. Yes, he could certainly see it. It was Caligula, after all. The man would fuck a snake if you held its head long enough for him. A sexual harassment lawsuit! Where did they think they were, summer camp? This is Hell, dammit! Didn’t you see the sign?

The devil sighed. He wouldn’t miss Capote, but he’d had high hopes for Cochran. Oh well. No shortage of lawyers. He chose the most expedient solution for each of them; an eternal sentence to an oubliette.  The French name was borrowed ( the French were such whores! Even their language), but the Hell version was a little different. Hell’s oubliettes were orbs which were completely sealed and immersed into the deepest bowels of white-hot brimstone. Each was tailored specifically to it’s occupant. Capote was to be sealed in his where for all of eternity he would hear The Osmond’s Greatest Hits played on a perpetual loop. Cochran would face a hologram of Judge Lance Ito, also on a perpetual loop, banging his gavel and shouting “ I said objection overruled, counselor!” The devil signed the final orders and dismissed his subordinate to see that it was done. He leaned back in his chair and stretched his hooves out onto the top of his desk.” Damn I’m good” he said to himself.

Barry won his second term according to plan and for most of the next four years the devil was amused by the ongoing circus that proceeded from Washington DC. This was without a doubt the very best reality show since the closing days of the Roman Empire. The Nixon years had come close, but Barry? Barry exposed Nixon as a mere piker by comparison. During the first Clinton administration he had actually enjoyed golfing with Nixon and Rockefeller every Saturday morning, but since old Tricky Dick had taken up with Anais Nin he seldom ever heard from either of them any more. Maybe a card at Halloween. He couldn’t see the attraction. He’d never figured Nixon for an ass man.

Madame Secretary had parted her post with the second Obama administration, as was expected. She was going to raise sooo much money that no one and nothing was going to cheat her of what was rightfully hers again. She was going to be the Queen Bitch and boy were all of those republican assholes going to be sorry! She had a lot of scores to settle. The devil kept an eye on her and the workings of the Clinton family foundation. He had to admire the woman’s nerve. She was going to be a very welcome addition to his staff one day. As he observed developments he knew that any day now he should expect to hear from her again. Around the time that the house Benghazi hearings were winding down in 2015 the call came in.

“ Well hello Hillary! I’ve been watching the news lately and thought I would be hearing from you. Looks like you got yourself a little problem there, huh?”

“Nothing we can’t handle. Everything is on the private server and we’re getting it all wiped down. They’ll never find a fucking thing!”

“Well that’s good to hear. So why the call then? You never call unless you need something.”

“ Oh stow it! What are you? My mother? Like you’re any better!”

A point well taken. My, she was a little testy today! “ Oh, but I am, Hillary. You see unlike you I don’t have to worry about a prison sentence.” He could almost hear her scowl over the phone and it made him smile.

“ I don’t need to ask for anything new. I just need to confirm something. I know Obama’s got our backs and we’re safe over at Justice, so were not concerned about prosecution. They’d never make anything stick anyway. I’m a little concerned about the FBI, though, and leaks coming out of there. Do we still have a man inside there?”

For as smart as this woman could be it was also sometimes astounding how dense she could be. He was tempted to rub her nose in it, but indulged her instead. “ We don’t have a man over there. We have the man.” He stopped there to let that sink in. He shouldn’t need to say it.

“Comey? You got Comey?”

“ None other. Don’t worry. They’ll do all of their posturing in congress, but in the end it will come to nothing. The whole thing will be forgotten. We’ll just marginalize any of them that keep beating the drum. Come on! You know how this works!”

“Okay, okay. We know what to do then. I owe you big time, Satan.”

He didn’t reply to this other than in his own mind. “ Fucking damn right you do, you bitch!”

More months passed as it seemed that it was merely a waiting game for Madame Secretary to take the reins of power. The list of hapless republican candidates was growing to a size that they could field a baseball team with a well stocked bullpen. This was going to be too easy! Just divide and conquer. And then Donald Trump made his announcement. Better still! Now it was going to be a circus, a reality TV show bigger than The Apprentice. They could chatter on about those e-mails all they wanted and it wasn’t going to make one damned bit of difference. It was all too perfect.

Nobody really thought Trump was serious. It was just another PR event. Not even the devil himself considered it to be a credible run. The debates were a farce. He knew better but it almost looked like Trump was working behind the scenes with Madame Secretary to grease the skids.

Then came the primaries. Trump was coming away the winner, but with the vote fractured between so many candidates it still wasn’t worth getting excited over any of it. But there was something else wrong. Who the fuck was this Bernie Sanders asshole? Little by little the republican candidates were whittled down and Bernie was still gathering momentum. After his shocking win in the Michigan primary, a faltering Cruz campaign and more of the former republican contenders beginning to endorse Trump it was plain that something was amiss. And in something which seemed to be unrelated the Cubs were on a hot streak. No worries there, of course. Plenty of times with a strong run only to choke down the stretch, but still this was a very peculiar confluence of events. The executive board of Hell was paying very, very close attention to all of this.

Hitler relayed that he had been in contact with the Clinton campaign and the DNC. They were assured that Greasy Girl Deb had it all fixed.” Don’t worry about Bernie”, she said, “he’s a mensch!” The race proceeded into the conventions and it was indeed true. Bernie was vanquished, got converted and the Trump hijack of the GOP was a done deal. It looked like the stage was indeed set for Madame Secretary’s coronation. The only remaining worry were those pesky Cubs.


The night the Cubs won the series the election was only a week away. Hell was plunged into a deep freeze, the devil driven nearly mad. In the final days before the election the devil phoned Madame Secretary with some bad news.

“ Hillary. It’s me, Satan.”

She noted that he sounded different. Something was wrong. “ Hello…. What’s up? Are you coming to the Javits Center Tuesday night? It’s going to be a big party!”

“Uh, no, Hillary. I won’t. Didn’t you hear?”

She was drunk on the euphoria of her looming victory, spending all of her time surrounded by sycophantic toadies riding on her pantsuit. “ Hear? Hear what? I don’t understand?”

Now some of the flare returned to his speech. “ The Cubs, you stupid cunt! The Cubs won the series! I got a fucking icebox down here!”

“What!? You’re shittin’ me! Really?”

“ Yes really!”

“ I always thought that was a myth!”

“No, it isn’t. Anyway, just needed to let you know you are on your own. Right now we can’t do anything to help. We got enough troubles of our own down here right now.”

There was a part of her sadistic nature that took some pleasure at hearing the devil’s woes. He really was such an arrogant prick! “ Well I am so sorry to hear that, but you know I think we have this one in the bag.”

“Do you? Well at least there is some good news this week. Good luck on Tuesday night.”

“Okay. Thanks Satan. I’ll talk to you Tuesday night before my victory speech. Maybe we can funnel some help from the foundation to get you all back on your feet down there until I’m sworn in.”

“Maybe. We’re working on it. We’ll talk Tuesday night.”

That Tuesday night conversation never happened. Nor did the victory speech. Madame Secretary instead spent the evening and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning getting shitface drunk on Tequila and Rumchata, breaking lamps, kicking over furniture and shrieking at anyone who came within an arms length of her. When Wisconsin was called for Trump Bill said “ Fuck this! I’m gonna go get laid, ya’ll can deal with her.” Finally at about 3AM someone managed to administer some sedatives and Madame Secretary slouched into a drooling heap on a couch to sleep it off.

The suite was deathly silent for hours with only Huma Abedin and a few of Madame Secretary’s closest confidantes holding vigil. At around noon she finally began to stir and slowly raised herself to an upright position. She blinked and looked about the room. Everything was still fuzzy. Her mouth felt like the floor of a Mexican jail cell. She could barely open her mouth and her throat was raspy as she croaked out “ Water “. Huma was there with a cold Dasani and a comforting arm. Madame Secretary took a few swallows and began to crawl out of her funk.

“Ha! Hey…..holy fuck have I got one bitch of a hangover!” She paused to swallow more water and then resumed. “ Must have been some celebration, huh? You know whats funny? I had this nightmare that he actually won! Can you believe it?”

Huma turned to the others nervously and quietly asked that they all leave them a moment alone. They all knew what was coming and couldn’t get through the door fast enough. Madame Secretary was left bewildered by this and when they were left alone she turned her wobbly head to her lover for an explanation.

“Hillary? Darling? I have to tell you something. About that nightmare….”



Within hours there came a cacophony of beating upon the gates of Hell. Madame Secretary had wasted no time in arriving once she had received the unbelievable news of her defeat. As they were experiencing technical difficulties there was no one manning the gates. After about twenty minutes of a ceaseless assault on the bars and a shrieking tirade there finally came one of the low level minions to answer.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. We’re still closed for repairs….”

“I don’t give a fuck! Do you know who I am? You open up these gates or I’m going to tear you a new asshole!”

The minion had never faced such a fury before, not even from the devil himself. Not eager to endure any further damage to his rectum he unlatched the bars and swung the enormous gates open for her. She brushed right past and marched off into the now darkened caverns.

“ Where is he! Where is that motherfucker! Satan! You better show your sorry ass, right now! You broke the deal, you cocksucker! Nobody betrays Hillary Rodham Clinton! “

Most of the staff were busy with the ongoing restoration efforts but as the ranting echoed louder and louder the deeper she went more abandoned their work to find the commotion. Janet Reno recognized her and stepped forward to attempt to calm her down.

“Hillary! It’s me! Janet! Don’t you remember….”

Madame Secretary threw her aside and shrieked “ Outta my way, you piece of shit! I want Satan! Where is that motherfucker? You can’t hide from me, Satan!”

After stirring enough bedlam the word quickly spread and the Devil appeared.

“I’m here Hillary. What are you doing here?”

“ What am I doing here!? Really? What am I doing here….You mother fucking piece of shit!”

She pounced, kicking and tearing at the devil, the fury of her assault unstoppable. She wrestled the devil the floor and began kicking his head, punctuating every blow with shrieked words through clenched teeth. “ What – am – I – doing- here-you-piece-of-fucking-worm-shit!”

The occupants and staff of Hell looked on in awe, completely frozen with fear. As she boiled up to ever greater heights of fury she stopped kicking, grabbed the devil’s tail and ripped it from his body then shoved it viciously up his ass. Then she broke off his horns and stuffed those into his ass as well. The fury began to subside though she was still panting heavily. She was perched with one foot atop the devil curled up on the floor beneath her, like some safari hunter posing for a portrait over his vanquished prey. Her eyes were still wild as her breathing gradually steadied and she looked about at all of the faces staring at her. Suddenly the furnaces groaned, a shuddering wave rolled through the floor and the flames again came to life. As the vast caverns lit up she could see that all of the eyes of Hell were upon her.

Triumphantly she screamed for all to hear. “ I’m in charge of this motherfucker now, bitches! Theres going to be some big changes around here!”






But if thought corrupts language…

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
George Orwell – 1984

For those among you who find it tiresome to once again trot out this oft cited dystopian masterpiece you may feel free to stop reading here. For all the rest, please read on. This is a line taken from a piece of fiction. When attempting to support one’s arguments it is generally considered better to use fact instead of fiction, but as art will imitate life can not life also imitate art? Besides this there are political and social arguments that emanate from Washington and the halls of academia that are wholly rooted in nothing but fiction. Almost daily, I would venture to say.
The Oxford dictionary of the English language is generally agreed to be a good source for factual content so let us begin there. We must start with a single word: gender. Oxford defines this as follows:
Gen-der n. 1 a the grammatical classification of nouns and related words, roughly corresponding to the two sexes and sexlessness, b each of the classes of nouns (see MASCULINE,FEMININE,NEUTER,COMMON adj. 6) 2 (of nouns and related words) the property of belonging to such a class. 3 colloq. a person’s sex.
Now it is a reasonably safe assertion that the majority of English speaking Americans are not knowledgeable of language other than their native tongue, that being the American variety of English in all of its various dialects and manifestations. The concept of gender assignment to nouns is a curiosity; it is foreign. For those who may have wrestled through the obligatory two years of foreign language as a prerequisite to college there is at least a knowledge of such a thing, though even then it may not be a concept wholly grasped. Suffice it to say then that in the daily life of the average American the word “gender” is not typically associated with language. It is instead regarded as a term synonymous with the noun form of the word sex, as again defined by Oxford:
sex n. 1 either of the main divisions (male and female) into which living things are placed on the basis of their reproductive functions.
In spite of the clear differences in the proper definition of the two words there is a general acceptance in the public discourse that the word gender is known as a term corresponding to the individual’s sexual identity. Taking all of this into account let us return to the premise posed by Orwell’s words.
One may never be able to determine just where this began or who the culpable party or parties may be, but it does appear that we have a case of the latter half of Orwell’s proposition in this line. That language has been co-opted, used, to corrupt thought. The orthodoxy of politically correct speech dictates that gender refers to sexual identity. The definition, the thought, has been corrupted via the language. It is accepted now. Therefore you will accept it. Yes, you will, for you see the act of questioning this, actually seeking to use the truly correct as opposed to the politically correct definition is to allow thought to corrupt the language.
The specter of a number of other prescient ideas expressed in Orwell’s work begin to loom over any discussion of the matter.
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
“Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
“…..two and two are four. Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
Though these words come to us from a work of fiction penned in the middle of the last century they speak very plainly to what is perpetrated in real life today. Words are made to mean what suits a particular agenda. The acceptance of these erroneous ideas is to be automatic, unchallenged. And at all times words will mean whatever they need to mean in the advancement of the agenda. If you do not accept this you are insane. You are a hater.
One who does not see this has been swallowed by the orthodoxy just as they have swallowed the proverbial purple Kool-aid. They have either been conditioned to a point that they are unable to see it, or? The other possibility is just that they refuse to see it. In denial, easier to accept and embrace the lie than to summon the necessary mental faculties to find the truth. When your currency is fiction facts can be very inconvenient.
I do not mean to suggest that we exist in a world that is all very clearly defined in black and white. The fact is that much of what we negotiate in our daily lives resides within the murkier shades of grey. But grey is composed of parts of the two. In order to make any sense at all of the grey areas one needs to understand the difference between its component parts; what is black and what is white. When the definition of either or both of these has been corrupted from the truth then it all becomes grey. Two and two are four. Or three. Or five. It doesn’t really matter now does it? It means whatever you think it means.
We are not perfect beings nor do we live in a perfect world. Nature can be a cruel mistress. To our eyes nature may sometimes make a mistake. Sometimes young are born with genetic defects. Incurable diseases, absence of limbs, improper function of vital organs, cognitive impairments. They happen. They are not mistakes, per se, merely the random function of nature. Or to some be it the will of God. However one chooses to define this they are occurrences beyond our control. We do not know the purpose of such things and nor are we meant to.
Can a person be born with a mental and emotional make up of one sex, but through some genetic mishap be born with the physical characteristics of the opposite sex? Certainly. It can happen, it has happened and it no doubt will continue to happen. For whatever reason that nature or God may ordain it. Although it is a rare thing there is indisputable physical evidence of the existence of hermaphrodites. Not the creation of science or surgery, but actual human beings that have been born that way. So to try to suggest that transsexualism is somehow a myth is absurd. It is a real thing. Pedophiles, whether the creation of nature or of experience are no less real things. I know I’m skating out onto the thin ice here, but bear with me. I am not attempting to equate the two. I mention it for the sound purpose of illustrating a point.
Let us consider this scenario. You are an average American with a child in a public school. Maybe you’re white and live in the suburbs in a traditional two parent home. Maybe you’re a single mother living in a more urban environment. Or a grandparent in a rural area raising one of your grandchildren. Maybe a family of illegal (or undocumented, if you prefer) immigrants whose children were born here. Different people, different backgrounds, socio and ethnic, but the one common thread is that each have their children enrolled in a public school. Your tax dollars, or at least someone’s tax dollars are supposedly going to educate these children. Your public school district will readily admit that many of those tax dollars come to them via the federal government under the kind auspices of the U.S. Department of Education.
Within this community of parents and guardians there are many differing beliefs, customs, values. It is not a monochromatic, bigoted, monolithic collection of haters. They all have school age children and share a concern for the best interest of said children. If some career bureaucrat within the Department of Education decides one day that they wish to use the power and authority of their agency to champion the cause of pedophiles and their plight in society it would be a policy that would arouse a good deal of controversy. First there is the question of how this matter falls within the purview of the Department of Education. Second, and more importantly, the parents and children served by the school are going to be, regardless of any other differences they may have, strongly opposed to the use of their school as a vehicle to implement such a policy.
The high minded and socially enlightened bureaucrat, who no doubt only acts from the most sincere desire to protect and preserve the sacred diversity that is the common good, will frame their reasoning in such a fashion as to appear completely benign in character. A full embrace of tolerance, which is of course a critical component of the social education of our children. This bureaucrat will likely have either the active and vocal support of the administration’s chief executive, or at the very least a passivity that will not stand in the path of the workings of good government. It will be a policy statement couched within the typical legalese double-speak of government, but in effect will say something like:
“The phenomenon of pedophilia is not an illness or aberration. These poor people did not ask to be born as they are; it is simply the circumstance of their genetics. Just because they are different from the norm does not mean that they are not entitled to the same tolerance of their sexual orientation as the homosexual, bisexual or transgendered individual. They have a right to be who they are, comfortable within their own skin, and not have to cower in a closet from the bigoted and intolerant treatment of ignorant haters. They have the same rights to access of public restrooms and facilities in our schools as any other American. Therefore, as a matter of public policy, these people shall be free to enter the restrooms or locker rooms of either gender at any time in any public school. The attempt on the part of any school or school district or state board of education to interfere with or controvert this policy shall be met with a filing against them through the Department of Justice for civil rights violations and the withholding of funding from the federal Department of Education.”
In other words the Department of Education is telling us that although they are unable to pass legislation that would legitimately mandate such a policy they will, nevertheless, ram it down your throats through threat of costly litigation and the leverage of those precious tax dollars. It is a form of paternalism akin to “ If you are going to live under my roof you will abide by my rules. If you don’t like it you can get out and fend for yourself.”
Now for those of you saying “That is patently absurd. The Department of Education would never try to do such a thing. Why that would be insane!”. I would ask you. Really? Are you so sure? If I had told you say ten years ago, that the President of the United States himself would, on a Friday afternoon issue an executive order, circumventing any constitutional process or recognition of the states’ rights on the matter, that would mandate the free and unfettered access to the restroom or locker room facilities in a public school or institution to an individual self identifying as being of a gender ( the correct word here would be sex ) other than physically indicated by their genitalia, or else? If this can occur through executive fiat why, then, could it not just as easily occur for the sake of the pedophile supported by the same sketchy logic? Ne dit jamais jamais, mes Amies!
The point here, however, is twofold and really does not require a lot of laborious reasoning to comprehend. The individual who openly identifies as being a pedophile will nearly universally be vilified. No set of parents or guardians defined earlier will accept being forced to allow this individual into such private and thus vulnerable circumstances with their children. The specious “right” of the pedophile could simply be preserved by the pedophile not announcing to the world what they are. The argument only becomes absurd if one will accept the notion that the pedophile will voluntarily identify themselves as such. Whether they may be a product of genetics or of experience does not change what they are. The only difference between pedophilia as a sexual orientation and pedophilia as criminality is the behavior.
There is the similarity with the case of transsexuals in this respect only. Whether they are a product of genetics or conscious choice does not change what they are. Oh, but wait! Maybe it does, actually. We could debate whether or not pedophiles are genetic or by choice, but how does one prove this one way or the other? Cloaked in a protection for their sexual orientation and not being able to determine positively one way or the other this places them into two categories. The first would be that there are those who are truly the victim of their own faulty genetics. The second would be those who choose to engage in the behavior and under the guise of protection for their involuntary orientation.
The problem that has been thrust upon us all now is this: we are to rely upon and accept nothing more than the assertion of an individual which gender (again, its sex) they identify as for establishing which restroom or locker room they may use in our public facilities. Well, as with the pedophile, how are we to be sure? I hear the rumblings out there of those who will insist that I am one of the haters, that I do indeed mean to equate transsexualism with pedophilia. In response I return to Orwell: orthodoxy is unconsciousness. You are not thinking, you are not listening.
Where the pedophile seeks to hide their true identity it would seem that that the transsexual seeks to openly declare it, or at least that’s what the media would seem to want us all to believe. My suspicion is that the voices of those championing most loudly for the rights of these individuals are not even transsexuals themselves. Rather they are individuals who have hitched their ride upon this as the latest cause célèbre. As with most things much of the controversy would be removed if government just kept their ever obtrusive nose out of the matter altogether. One only needs to objectively consider simple physiology to find a reasonable resolution to all of this.
For the individual identifying as female but who is equipped with male genitalia one should think that their objective would be to identify as being female by living as a female. If that were the case upon entering the ladies room it might be noted that there is a conspicuous absence of urinals. So, dressed the part and behaving as a female, would not this individual simply realize their public identity by not broadcasting the fact that they have a penis, go into a stall and do their necessary business, replace their panties and go on about their day? That’s not forcing someone into a closet. It is in fact allowing them to live as they identify. What’s the need to declare it? If that is who you are on the inside then isn’t that just being who you are, as surely this movement tells us is all these people really want.
Now I suppose the other side of this equation becomes a bit more difficult to realize where it comes to the restroom. For those identifying as male but finding themselves equipped with female plumbing the urinal becomes a daunting enterprise. Not really sure what your options are there, other than to always wait for a stall or enter the ladies room and simply be mistaken as a very “butch” female. I don’t suppose that would do, though, as it fails to accommodate their “living” their gender (sex. Its sex. The correct word is sex.) Sorry folks. I don’t have the answer for this one.
Those of you clinging stubbornly to the orthodoxy, I hear your wailing and gnashing of teeth. “ That’s the restroom!”, you retort snarkily. “ What about the locker rooms, huh?” Well you may rightfully ask. Here the accommodation becomes more of a challenge, I will grant you. I know this will fly in the face of your manner of thought, but here is what I would consider a reasonable solution to the issue. It goes something like this:
I am a parent or guardian of a child who during their elementary years may have perhaps exhibited some behaviors or traits that would seem opposite of their sex. It’s not so unusual to observe this in children really, as at those tender ages they aren’t really “sexual” beings yet, are they? Now if this were to continue into middle school with the onset of puberty and my child can begin to verbalize what they are experiencing then I might seek the help of a medical professional. I would want to have that discussion with that doctor or doctors and if there were enough cause to warrant it I might wish to take whatever steps are necessary to obtain an actual clinical diagnosis of the condition. If from that point it were confirmed then I would, as a responsible parent, upon enrolling that child in school make an appointment to meet with school administration and explain the facts. My child has this medical condition. He/she is different in this way. I want my child to be able to be themselves, but I understand that this does pose some challenges. I know that kids can be assholes and there is nothing you can do about that. It is not your job to change minds other than by educating them. The rest of it is on the individual. All I ask is that you make some accommodation with regard to restrooms, gym class or situations where the “identity” may pose a problem.
One of two things will happen here. The school will work with you to meet those requests or they will not. If they don’t, then I’m simply looking for another school. I would not want my child to live in fear of being who they are. I likewise do not want my child feeling that they need to broadcast their sexual identity. In parenting one has to continually confront some unpleasant truths. In this instance I would have to tell my child “This is the hand you have been dealt. This makes you unusual. Not abnormal, not deformed, just unusual. There are not great numbers of people who have what you have. You can be under no illusions; there will be times that this is going to make your life very difficult. You don’t have to like it, but if you want to preserve your sanity you are going to have accept that. Who you are is determined by what is between your ears, not between your legs. Given your condition you should understand this as well as anyone. But you must also understand that not everyone will. The fact is you are very different. It’s not right or wrong, just different, and as long as you understand that then whatever anyone else thinks doesn’t matter.”
The bottom line is this. It only becomes a big deal if you allow people to make it a big deal. An executive order makes it a big deal when it doesn’t need to be. But I could, of course, be wrong.

Patterns within patterns within…

via Daily Prompt: Pattern


Patterns that form free

Patterns that we see

Those that show in the stars

and those that bring us where we are

There are patterns we know

and patterns that don’t show

They are concealed to eyes still blind

Unrevealed in the human mind

Yet the seeing eye can still resist

Deny what is there; It does not exist

There are patterns made and patterns random

Accept or refuse, these work in tandem

With belief or faith or intuition

Bring these shapes into fruition

Some may see and some may not

Patterns only live in thought

Like the tree in the forest

“Does it make a sound?”

When unobserved, no one around?

As it crashes to the ground?

If there’s none to care

are they there?

These patterns shown

They may be known

To eyes that are observing

Yet for those who sleep

Will as secrets keep

In the dark and undeserving




Doubt is a Spectre


via Daily Prompt: Doubt


A shroud that haunts

Lurking ever near

And all it wants

Is to feed on your fear

Put faith to the test

That makes you reject

Those first instincts the best

Because some might object

They’re so much smarter than you

Or at least so they think

Why, your point of view?

Sets their closed minds ablink

Do not challenge their facts

Do not question the wise

Just shut up and relax

And swallow their lies

Doubt is a spectre

Made to silence the few

Who can be the reflector

Of the evil they do

For your truth is not their truth

They cant have it that way

Do not what they do, just do what they say

For the rules, you see, are for those lesser than they




No, it just doesn’t translate…

via Daily Prompt: Translate<a href=””>Translate</a&gt;

“No, it just doesn’t translate accurately. We must find another way.”

Members of the council sat around the table in sober contemplation of the problem, silently nodding in agreement with the leader’s statement. G-12, System 22-4  had been troublesome from the start.  It was almost missed in the initial scans conducted upon this corner of the grid. Some data had populated the central console indicating that the system met the minimal parameters, but as this created only a minor blip in the larger view it was discounted. After further segments of this galaxy yielded nothing more promising it had been decided to make a full review of the data scan. It was only then that a closer look was given to system 22.

Upon closer examination it was discovered that the system was comprised of eight to ten worlds with three of those potentially residing within the “sweet spot” of the habitable zone. Drones dispatched to the surface of these for further evaluation did not report anything promising. The first was found to be barren and with insufficient atmosphere. The second was found to be overheated and toxic. The third did not yield any conclusive results. Efforts to recall the drone failed. This was not unusual. Often a drone would malfunction due to hypergravity, burning up on entry to an atmosphere. Other times magnetic anomalies would erase navigation systems causing the craft to drift aimlessly until impact or breaking away from orbit. In other cases, as was true in this instance, a drone might succumb to volcanic activity. Unless sensors indicated an abundance of the necessary conditions within a system it was rare for a second drone to be dispatched. 22-4 was one of those rarities.

A second drone revealed much greater promise than any probabilities calculated from preliminary analysis.  Though still plagued by considerable geological instability the world was blessed with an abundance of water, an optimal mix of gases in it’s atmosphere and had already developed an impressive bio-diversity. The life forms, though many were only primitive, were nearly innumerable. And there were a few higher forms which were deemed to have potential. Early in the sixth epoch it was agreed to send a set of exploratory teams to prepare for population. It was a process that had been repeated through the ages, the slow and careful cultivation of the known universe, one galaxy at a time.

Each of these were an experiment of sorts. Some thrived while others failed, as is the way of nature. The sowers had long since surpassed any recollection of their own origins or any contemplation thereof. There was no conscious quest of a purpose, they simply were and simply did what they did. Their seeds were planted into plots that were found suitable and worlds were left to flourish or fail on their own with minimal interference. Through patient and careful observation it was determined to either cultivate mythologies or conform to those that would form organically as a means of concealing their comings and goings amid these societies.  22-4 had remained a relatively quiet backwater for centuries, ignored and mostly forgotten, but this had suddenly changed. Now it was necessary to determine if it was still safe to leave unguided, or if as was sometimes needed, some radical alteration of their mythology was required.

“The messianic model will no longer suffice.  They now have too many competing versions, all co-opted to fulfill baser instincts.”

“Are they ready for the truth?”

“The truth! Ha! No…they would only try to pervert it to meet their own ends. We must steer them to a new truth; not the truth.”

This hung heavily in the room, a silence observed to allow the thought to be digested. After a long pause another member of the council offered another contribution to the discussion.

“Perhaps it is better to cull the herd first? A great cataclysm is always an opportune moment for introducing a new paradigm. How many are there on this world now? Six, seven billion?”

The leader did not address the council member directly, rather responding to the whole assembly. “It is true that such events can serve as a vehicle, however I do not believe that we need effect a direct intervention of such.  Within any ecosphere nature will always strike it’s own balance. It may well be time for this to occur of it’s own accord, if past history tells us anything. Introduction of a new truth in advance of this will accelerate it’s dissemination. Their susceptibility to superstition all but assures a correlation to be drawn between the two. It is not cause and effect, but will be perceived that way.”

Another member, an aged female, seized upon the mention of superstition.  “Superstition is the fertile ground for redefining  understanding of any phenomenon. It has given birth to many cults, but only where a voice has an opportunity to grow dominant. I fear that 22-4 has developed a degree of communication that challenges this.”

The leader observed that her statement had captured the close attention of all. It seemed as though this were an idea that all shared but had not formed the means of expressing it. Still it was incomplete. The leader allowed time for others to pick up on this reasoning and expand upon it, but this went unfulfilled. Perhaps a lack of concern or interest in this obscure island had dulled any desire to participate. The leader chose to facilitate this subtly.

“Please elaborate, 95. Enlighten us.”

She permitted a brief sign of amusement at the invitation, a mere blink of a look exchanged between them and then she continued. “Speech, the development of language, all forms of communication on 22-4, as with most worlds, is a very long cycle. In their early development societies form in isolation from one another. I’m not telling you anything we don’t already know, am I? But there is relevance…”

The leader smiled inwardly, aware of the direction she was taking this. ” Please, continue.”

” We may introduce a mythos in a very broad form, allowing it to take on it’s own unique characteristics within each. There will remain certain commonalities as each of these are cultured within their own environments. Without a means of effectively broadcasting these universally they grow and mature in different paths determined by each set of conditions. These may at times be altered in their course, accelerated by random events. Geological or oceanic upheavals, meteorological events or trends, the organic path as it were.  In this slow track the histories and mythologies are spread as travel expands. As societies may assimilate it is natural that the commonalities in their respective myths will merge the two to an altered narrative that finds concordance between the two. The mythology evolves. This process has completed its cycle on 22-4 and thus we have, as we have witnessed, a set of several that have become the dominant. While they share those same common elements they do compete with one another. As a whole population the technologies have advanced, transcending travel and the distances that have kept these mostly isolated from one another. They have achieved a level of instantaneous communication across the entire sphere. This allows for so many versions to be shared at any location and at all times, no longer restricted by spatial limitations….”

Another of the council members grew impatient with the remedial instruction on societal development. ” Yes, yes….as you say, sister…..things we already know! What is your point?”

Unfazed by the interruption 95 continued in stride. ” My point, dear 48, is that we have a society where so much data, factual and otherwise, is available at any time, anywhere and to any one being that it has been diminished. It is taken for granted. Individuals have the ability to select from so much that it is possible to limit that selection only to that which affirms an existing bias. Or, absent that, they have become enabled to assemble their own mythos and broadcast it anywhere to a global audience. With so many competing ideas, so many avenues for consumption there is little if any that assumes any merit. Speaking for myself, if I may, I fail to see how one introduces a “new truth” into this environment with any hope of it taking hold.”

Several members had been following the train of thought and had already arrived at the same conclusion. Heads nodded in a silent acknowledgement and faces grew pensive in a search for the means of addressing this concern. The leader looked about the table, searching the minds at work, considering which to prompt for further discussion.

“This is all true, 95. An extremely valid assessment and I believe that you have identified our way forward. ” The leader paused to await their faces responding with attention, the anticipation of hearing the way forward revealed. ” It is not our role to “cull the herd”, as you have suggested, 27.  Nature will decide when this is to occur and….that time may be near. The models that have been useful to our purposes have dissolved. They are still present, but no longer effective. They have been co-opted to purposes beyond those intended. A new truth may be planted and cultivated in anticipation of or in the wake of a great apocalyptic event, it is true. It has been done and has worked for us before. I foresee a variation of this for 22-4.  We shall introduce a new truth, but as never before.”

The leader had obtained their undivided attention. A careful study of those faces surrounding him showed that there were none exhibiting those creases about the eyes or hesitation at the corners of the mouth, signs that they may have anything they wished to insert into the discussion. Thus assured the leader proceeded.

“A catastrophic event is warranted here, but not of the natural variety. Not a sudden and rapid reduction in the population. That will follow, given their nature.  This is a species that has forgotten or denies their animal nature. We have changed them, yes, altered their genetic course irrevocably, but with the hope of retaining some of their more desirable attributes.  They have arrived at that state of hubris that predicts the extinction of many. They remain susceptible to superstition, needing to assign the means of understanding to that which they can not know.  They still do this, though they have convinced themselves that they have evolved past this behavior. They reject and disparage the mythology of their ancestors as primitive and ignorant, abandoned their need of gods and assumed the role for themselves. The messiah model will be rejected. They make their own messiahs. We will introduce the new narrative, but the messenger must be the anti-hero, the reluctant messiah.”

“And how would we do this? What catastrophic event?” It was 27 again, a skeptic by nature. His query was not a critique of the plan; simply the need for detail.

“We do not offer this as the herald for catastrophe. It is a voice that will be drowned amid the many, as 95 has so properly reminded us. We will expose this messenger in a place where they are most likely to be heeded, not by a large audience but gradually, relying upon word of mouth but using those means of mass communication as they are available as well. The event will be the eventual destruction of global communication. This will be a teacher, reaching many through mass medium, then after the collapse of the communication grid the message will be carried forward by others, the “disciples” if you will. In the wake of the collapse the message will resonate and will not need to compete with so many other voices.  We are slowing them down then redirecting. Its back to the long cycle.”

Several brows rose, impressed with the explanation. Heads nodded in agreement with the wisdom of this plan. There would be further detail, of course, but this was understood and agreed as a general direction. It would now only want for a script, a messenger and at a later date to be determined a massive series of solar flares or other electro-magnetic disturbance to fry the communication grid.  It was just a new twist on an old program that was tried and true.  The only real surprise was that 22-4 had ever even reached this stage. All of the smart money had been placed on it’s eventual extinction.

To be continued…

It was a cool, wet day in early spring that 998 was delivered to the co-ordinates 42 degrees, 13’24” N and 121 degrees 46’39” W. These were the proximal co-ordinates; the actual manifestation occurring somewhere just on the outskirts of the unassuming settlement situated a short distance inland from what was roughly the center of the western coast of the land mass known as North America.  22-4, or Earth as it was known in the local tongue, had been visited by the sowers in this same vicinity at a time roughly 4,000 years before by the planetary calendar. Time was yet another disorienting factor in visiting these worlds. It was necessary to remain aware of not only where one was, but when. All time is relative, but in dealing with indigenous populations it became critical to observe the sequential nature of their understanding of it.  Calendars in the terrestrial sense were an anachronism to the sowers.

998 had reviewed all archives and uploaded the data cache for 22-4 in preparation.  This was the third planetary insertion for him, the first on this world. The assignment, though less rigorous than his previous expeditions, did promise to be lengthy in its duration. In reality this was a sort of condemnation.  The amount of time required virtually assured that he would become fully integrated to the relative time scale of the planet, making an eventual extraction highly improbable. The risks had been made clear and were acceptable. As far as these worlds went this was one was not so onerous.  It enjoyed a mostly temperate climate, it’s bio-diversity painted an ever changing portrait of bright color and much to marvel over.  Technologically the dominant species were on the cusp of a great leap forward, still primitive by his understanding but advanced enough that it did not promise to be a wholly spartan existence.

The most striking sensation upon arrival was the potent and nearly overpowering scent of pine oil in the air. The sowers through their evolution had retained only the most rudimentary of olfactory glands. In their sterile existence there were few “scent” molecules present and those that were present were mostly neutral in their nature. The most pungent odor known to most sowers was ozone and given the vestigial nature of any remaining sense of smell even this was subdued in character.  This was one of those things that all the research and preparation could not ready one for; it simply had to be experienced.  In all of it’s varieties life bore a multitude of scents.  998 had to spend the first several minutes after arrival slowly breathing in the air and begin to form a mental catalogue of these many scents and build the correlations to their source.  It was a highly unnatural sensation initially, but as a bank of memory was built for it the overwhelming nature subsided until fading into part of the unconscious background.

After regaining orientation 998 made a careful study of the surroundings. He had managed to manifest in a space and time with no sentient life forms to observe what would be to native life forms a truly bizarre phenomenon indeed. The sowers were possessed of a vaguely humanoid form, though plainly alien to any native life.  In the process of materialization to the surface it was necessary that sowers remain in their true form.  Only after manifestation was complete and a brief period of acclimation to the local atmosphere were they able to shape their form to something familiar, to blend in to the scenery. His initial contact subject was a young adult male, engaged in the local custom of hiking a nature trail. Recalling images from his data cache 998 morphed into the image of an average adult male of similar aging and characteristics. His image was made to blend in to both the environment and the activity, appearing with garb, footwear and paraphernalia identified with hiking. Accessing an internal mapping system he determined a course to travel that was marked in local unit of measure of 15 miles to the northwest, a geopoint identified as Mt. McLoughlin. Somewhere in that vicinity within a time frame of 60 to 120 earth minutes he was to encounter his subject.

As an internal function 998 was unable to sense the passage of time in the manner of human beings.  For him it was more mathematics, a counter to keep him oriented to the dimension as perceived by his hosts. The journey was simply a movement of mass and energy from one point to another, the “time” elapsed just another piece of data working in the background. If this assignment was anything like those previous this anomalous presence would gradually form as a part of a character consciousness, a sort of mental construct that aided in maintaining an outward normalcy. This was not a conscious act, just something that occurred naturally in the course of a manifestation. After arriving at the proximal coordinates 998 began to walk about on the marked trails, watching for the appearance of the subject.

In a relatively short distance upon one of these paths he came upon the subject seated amid some scrub vegetation surrounding a small promontory jutting out from the trail in a rocky face overlooking the long slope. The spot was deserted, save for some avian and reptilian life forms. No other sign of sentient beings present. The subject had not yet detected him.  A small cloud of wispy gasses arose from the space and drifted across the air to 998. It was accompanied by a scent, one that he had catalogued as the combustion of organic material, composition unknown.  His speech library correlated it to the word smoke. This was puzzling initially for there was no apparent thermal energy that would foster combustion of materials, organic or otherwise. Solar energy was present, but in filtered form due to larger clouds of moisture hovering higher in the atmosphere. He remained still, observing the subject in as much detail as possible before revealing his image.

The subject was seated, manipulating some device and bringing an open cylinder to his mouth. 998 then observed that the subject held in his other hand another, smaller cylinder which when rubbed at one end with the subject’s thumb produced a flame. There was the source of combustion! The subject drew the flame to the base of the larger cylinder and then inhaled air through the top. A gurgling sound was faintly audible from that distance and then another cloud of gas drifted from the cylinder, followed by a larger volume of gas exhaled by the subject. The image of this activity was scanned to the memory cache and in mere instants produced an explanation. The subject was smoking a bong, likely filled with the dried leaves of a native plant life, cannabis sativa, which was commonly consumed as a mild intoxicant.  Colloquial descriptions included the terms weed, grass, smoke, bud and several others. 998 now had an understanding of the act being performed but no comprehension of motive. The intoxicating effect would have to be quite pleasurable as it seemed counter-intuitive to deliberately inhale gasses that were known to damage lung tissue, an organ vital for human survival.

Programming indicated several possible courses of action, the two primary being to continue to observe undetected from a distance or to approach casually, offer greeting and inquire if the subject was willing to share the consumption of the intoxicant. Based upon his observations and the data available 998 concluded that the subject, in a mildly intoxicated state, would have reduced inhibition and a lessened probability of hostility, thus an opportune moment for approach. He engaged his speech programming and began to walk steadily forward toward the small bluff where the subject remained, still smoking from the bong.

“Hey man! That smells good! Hows it goin’?”

The greeting seemed effective. The subject turned to his approach, exhibiting no signs of alarm and a welcoming facial expression. ” Hey! Whats up, dude? Goin’ pretty fuckin’ good right now….”, he chuckled, pausing to point toward the bong, ” … ya wanna a hit off this? I got plenty, man. It’s good stuff!”

998’s speech processor reacted in nano-seconds, prompting the optimal response. ” Sure! Sounds good!” With the invitation clearly tendered 998 moved to take a seat on the other half of the large rock and accepted the bong and lighter as it was presented to him.  Arranging himself to a relaxed but secure position he took them and mimicked the act just as he had observed it. The scent much more pungent now the smoke stung his nostrils and eyes, causing the outward reaction consistent with such close exposure. He drew deeply from the tube and held in the smoke as he had observed, then gradually exhaling a plume. Conventions dictated that he pass it back to the subject, but it was declined.

 ” Nah, it’s cool. You go ahead. I got a head start on ya!”

998 pulled the bong back and repeated the process a couple more times before finally handing it back. He began to vaguely experience a sedating haze, surprised at the sudden reaction from such a small degree of ingestion. ” Thanks! Yeah, thats good stuff, man.”

The subject grinned and set the device on the ground next to his pack then extended his hand in the customary greeting. ” Hey! I’m Paul! Nice t’ meet ya, dude!”

998 extended one of his own hands and met with Paul’s in a handshake. He had made no prior calculation of a name corresponding to his identity. His speech processor defaulted to the most common names in the english speaking world and prompted his timely response. ” Hey! I’m John. Likewise.”

“Well hey, John! You from Klamath?”

Data incomplete. 998 was unaware if the subject was native to Klamath Falls. Without a sufficient cover and no beings in the town to vouch for him the safe response was determined to be from other urban centers in proximity of the region. ” Nah, I’m from Sea-Tac. Just passin’ through here.”

“Thats cool! I been to Seattle a couple times. We get a lot of out-of-towners come here to hike. Mostly from Portland or Salem. Some come up from California. This yer first time here?”

“Yeah, I uh…..I heard about the lava tube caves and some of the trails around here. Wanted to come and check it out for myself while I’m headed through.”

“Cool. So where ya headed?”

“I dont know. No where in particular, I guess. Just movin’ along, ya know?”

“Yeah, thats cool. So ya stickin’ around here long? Ya got a place to stay?”

“Uh…no. Not yet. I just came around this morning. Haven’t decided how long I’ll stay here. You know a good place?”

“Well if ya wanna stick around a couple days and check things out you can crash at my place, if thats cool. Yer not some kinda serial killer, are ya?” Paul sniggered as he added the last line.

998 responded with an equally dismissive humor. ” No, man! I’m cool. But…you serious?”

“Sure, no problem.”

“Well thanks! That’d be really cool.”

“Okay then! So, you wanna go on and hit the rest of this trail, or what?”

“Sure! Let’s go!”

It was as easy as that.  For all of the accounts of what a hostile world this planet could be this was the easiest initial contact 998 had experienced. And the weed wasn’t too bad either.

more to follow…

The gravelly path crunched beneath their boots as they steadily ascended the long grade of the trail. To Paul the vistas falling away to the plateaus behind were inspiring, a perspective to help center his being. He was not a stranger to the site; he had visited the trail often. On this day he had sought it’s familiar solace to clear his mind of many clamoring voices. These were not hallucinatory in nature, simply a number of matters troubling his conscience.  Ordinarily the solitude enjoyed in these visits was the cure for what ailed him, but today the distraction of a new companion was welcomed, though he really wasn’t certain why this was so. There was something he noted in John that seemed familiar. He was unable to say just what that was. He just seemed to be one of those people one sometimes encounters who possessed a certain “everyman” quality.

They continued for some way in total silence, only the whispering breeze occasionally punctuated by the distant shriek of a hawk carried across the sky. 998 was making good use of this, utilizing all of his senses to intuit Paul’s make up and general perspective of life and the world around him.  The images and impressions he could form from Paul’s psyche showed that he was indeed a good selection to receive the message. Lesser characters had been selected earlier in this world’s history, some with results far exceeding expectations. From the data cache 998 was reminded of the stellar example of Jesus of Nazareth. Out of nothing, from an insignificant corner of an early civilization, this one messenger arose from such obscurity to be elevated to divinity. Divinity was one of those peculiar concepts that arose organically out of human experience due to the work of the sowers. As an idea it had grown so powerful as to have reached across generations and the planet to where it was still a potent force here, now, in this terrestrial place and time.

They were nearing a crest, a brief evening of the grade before the final climb to the mountain’s peak. Paul turned to 998 as he unloosened his pack from his shoulders and reached inside.

“You want some water? I brought a few bottles. They’re probably not very cold any more, but hey, it’s still wet, right?”

998’s metabolic rate was advanced enough to prolong hydration, necessary for his species as well. He did not need the water as Paul’s body may have, but for appearances accepted the offer. ” Sure, I’ll take one. Thanks.”

From this vantage they stood together at the edge of the trail, peering back to the southeast across the wide, placid lake and upon the distant town beyond the opposite shore.  Reflections of the passing clouds drifted over the surface of the lake, appearing like sheep milling across a distant vale. They sipped at their waters in an uncertain silence. 998 sensed that Paul wished to speak, but was still searching his words. He was scrolling through his speech programming, linking with his external data collection to formulate a suitable initiation.

“It all looks so small from up here, don’t it?”

Paul seemed startled at this at first. It was not the voice, but what had been said. ” Wow man! That’s like psychic or somethin’! I was just thinkin’ the exact same thing!”


“Yeah! I know, right? Isn’t that freaky, man?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe not so much. It’s like synchronicity, right?”

“Whoa! Yeah man….Jung! Yeah man! That fucker had it all over Freud, didn’t he?”

This was a promising response. 998 nodded visibly and smiled, wordlessly acknowledging his agreement. ” Yeah, I kinda like Jung’s take on things.”

Paul now seemed to show more curiosity over his new companion. 998 could tell he was engaged. He remained silent, allowing him to further formulate additional conversation. Paul took a longer drink from his bottle until a small stream trickled from one corner of his mouth. He set the bottle aside and wiped his chin with a shirt sleeve.

” Yeah, ya know that’s one of those kinds of things like deja vu. I mean, like, its connected into your brain somehow even though you don’t know where its comin’ from, ya know? Like you can tell its real, but you know it cant be. Then yer just like hypnotized by it, tryin’ to figure out where that shit comes from. I think I notice more when I’m stoned, but maybe its because I’m stoned. Ya know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. It makes sense, though, if ya think about it. I mean look at how many cultures have used hallucinogens as part of some religious experience? It’s like there’s certain chemical keys that open up pathways for our minds to meet with something beyond.”

“Exactly! I think that’s why they got all these bull shit laws against the stuff. They don’t want the people to discover the truth, man!”

“You think they lead to the truth? What truth?”

“Ah, you know what I mean man! It’s not just the drugs, that’s just one of the tools, right? They help ya get to where you can see, but then you gotta meditate so your mind can take you the rest of the way.”

“Okay, but rest of the way where? What? What truth?”

“I don’t know, man! Like whatever’s there, ya know? Whats on the other side, ya know, like….. like after all of this.” Paul gestured with a sweeping arm to indicate everything, the world around them.

“Hmm. Yeah, I suppose it’s somethin’ like that.

“Yeah. Maybe it’s God, maybe its somethin’ else. Maybe its another place, or another time. Maybe it’s another dimension we cant even understand.”

998 was impressed. This was dangerously close to the truth. And this was only one sampling of the species, clearly not their brightest star.  This species was definitely in need of a redirection.  There were perhaps some exceptions, there always are , but on the whole humans were still an untested quantity. The consensus was still generally pessimistic, but if there were not some hope still kindled amid this world he would not be here.

“Do you believe in God, Paul?”

” I’m not sure. I mean…I think I kinda do….but I’m just not convinced what that is.”

“Most people still say this is a Christian nation. Whatcha think about that?”

Paul’s face screwed into something approaching a scowl and then dissolved into a softer countenance expressing doubt. ” Yeah, I dont know about that. I mean I know what’s meant by it, right? Our traditions and customs and all, right? There’s principles in it that are sort of a backbone to our whole system, but we’re not like Iran, ya know? I mean there’s not a church that runs everything. You dont have to believe, it’s voluntary. You get to choose for yourself. At least thats how its supposed to be.”

“You’ve thought about this some! Most people don’t even want to talk about it.”

“Yeah, well ya know what they say, right? Never discuss religion or politics?”

“Mmm. Yeah, I guess they do say that, don’t they?”

” It’s cool with me, ya know. I mean I can talk about it, but with some people? It ain’t always good. But its cool to find somebody else who thinks about this shit!”

Paul seemed content to leave this as the last word on the subject for the time being. He placed his half emptied bottle back inside of his pack and hefted it back on to his shoulders then turned back on to the trail. 998 followed and without further conversation the two of them completed their trek to the summit, some 300 yards ahead. Past the treeline there remained patches of snow scattered across the bleak, rocky face. In the still air could be heard the steady trickle of melt seeking its path downward through the many cracks and crevices of the volcanic cone. The very peak was still covered in icy slush but a well worn path was marked through it. Spring had come on early this season and the trail had already been active. There were few who attempted the journey in the full winter months. Upon reaching the nearly 9500 foot ceiling the sun broke free momentarily to bath their surroundings with a near blinding white light reflected from its surface. At this elevation the air had grown thinner and the crunch of every step was amplified. Paul found himself somewhat winded and was mildly puzzled to find that his companion seemed to be unaffected.

“Whoa, dude! I’m either smokin’ too much dope or you’re pretty used to this! You know we’re almost two miles up, right?”

998 shrugged, decided it was too late now to feign exhaustion. “Really? Huh! I didn’t know it was that high.”

They stood together, squinting against the light and forming visors above their eyes with their hands to look all about. To the south the view reached well into neighboring California with it’s Mt. Shasta, to the west and north further into the cascade range, the peak of Crater Lake in the foreground some 50 miles distant.

“Well this is it! Didn’t think I’d need the sunglasses today!”

998 craned his neck skyward to an arc pointed westward. Against the glare he could make out that more low, dense cloud approached and would again shade them soon. ” Yeah, looks like you’re gonna be alright without ’em. More cloud comin’ in, see?” He gestured to the west horizon to direct Paul’s attention to the looming relief.

“Yeah, yer right. Ya wanna get stoned some more or wait til we get back down part of the way?”

” I don’t know. What do you think?”

“Hmm.  I’d like to, but I’d probably choke it up this high, ya know?”

“Yeah. Maybe. You wanna head back down?”

“In a minute. I gotta get some pics…” He reached into a pocket inside of his jacket to extract his phone. ” Aren’t you gonna take any?”

“Umm…..I don’t have a phone.”

“No shit!? Yer on the road with no phone? What, did you lose it?”

“No. Just don’t have one.”

“Really? Damn, dude….”

“It’s okay. I really never wanted one.”

“Huh. Oh well. To each his own, I guess.” Paul regarded his companion a moment longer, beginning to ponder him further. He concluded that he must be running away from something. Probably a broken heart. That’s what it usually was, wasn’t it? Unconcerned he shrugged this off and proceeded to snap some shots with his I-phone. The first couple were glared out from the light and then the cloud bank returned. Paul refocused the shots and took them again. He checked the new images, satisfied with their clarity and then completed a set from all angles.

From his data cache 998 understood the use of such devices to capture and preserve images.  He felt sorry for their need of a device to preserve their views. The sowers possessed enough memory capacity to preserve flawless images of every single sight they had ever viewed. It was hard for him to even try imagining not having such abilities. The human brain with their genetic alterations had the capacity for this, but sadly they were yet a long way from developing this potential. There were methods of accelerating this process, but the few attempts had resulted in the subjects going mad, unable to cope with even a 10% expansion.  Further attempts had been discouraged, instead waiting for the natural evolution to occur at its own pace.

later comes a shocking revelation……

On the return trip down the trail they engaged in sporadic bouts of idle chatter. What, for example, did he (John) like to eat when he got the munchies? What kind of music did he like listening to? The dialogue aid in his speech programming selected appropriate responses based upon context, location and profiling of the party engaged.  This enabled 998 with the optimal response in any instance, offering what to say but not how to say it. That was a nuance left to the user. Once familiarized with the process the user would learn to develop certain skills in the form of their delivery to make their speech appear genuine and not as if it were being read from a script. In lesser developed cultures this was not as crucial, but on Earth it did require an experienced user.

They paused at the same point where 998 had first encountered Paul to further imbibe in the pipe. He had sampled a range of intoxicants from several worlds and never developed an affinity to any. For the most part these had little effect for him yet he found that he was rather developing a liking for this cannabis. Its effect was pleasant without being incapacitating, of relatively short duration and provided a mildly sedating quality without the undesirable after effects as found in those from fermented or distilled beverages. Further consultation with the data cache informed him that other methods of ingestion were suggested to avoid damage to lung tissue. A tea, as a simple preparation, or an actual cooking process to render it in an elixir form. It might also be eaten in it’s raw form or prepared as an ingredient in some baked foodstuffs. He made a note that he would wish to try some of these as well.

After that brief interlude they resumed the trail and conversation again returned to eating. Paul continually sought his thoughts on various establishments to which he offered no affirmative response. After hearing multiple choices he finally deferred, telling Paul that where ever he wished to go would be fine with him. Paul replied that this was okay and they made a turn into a path leading to the trail head where had parked his vehicle. There was only a short distance more until they arrived at the gravel parking area where Paul’s lone vehicle resided, a powder blue Jeep Renegade of a late ’90s vintage.  998 was amused by their primitive modes of transportation and the peculiar enthusiasm many humans held for these hulks. His visual was synched to the data cache for recognition and in an instant he was able to identify the make and model of the vehicle, most of its critical specifications and any marketing material identifying it with probable driver profiles. Accessing this data and pairing it with what he had absorbed thus far from Paul this vehicle would seem to be a highly suitable match. His dialogue aid suggested he should offer some remark about the vehicle.

“You got a Jeep! Thats cool! The Renegade is a lot of fun, huh?”

Paul smiled at this. “Yeah, they are. I like ’em, anyway, even though this one is an old rust bucket! 225,000 miles on this puppy and still pluggin’away. So where’d you park your buggy?”

“I don’t have one.”

“No shit? Man, yer doin’ this shit old school, aren’t ya? Hard core, man! I’m down!” He extended his right arm straight out, offering his clenched hand for a fist bump. 998 responded in kind. ” Go ahead and take shotgun, dude. It’s unlocked.” Speech processors rapidly sourced the vernacular and 998 climbed into the vehicle.

Paul wasted no time in starting the engine and slapping the Jeep into gear, creating a cyclone of gravel in their wake. He switched on the radio, tuned to the local FM Alternative station. The song Carry the Zero by the band Built to Spill was playing. “Oh, this is a cool jam!”, he enthused and increased the volume. The tires ground along the rough service road to the highway as he tapped out the rhythm of the song on the steering wheel, singing along. Upon reaching the highway he paused without reducing the volume and spoke over it to announce that he would just hit the drive thru at Taco Bell and go back to his place to “Spark up and scarf out”. 998 responded with the simple reply “cool” and then made a show of rocking in his seat to appear that he was also enjoying the music. He’d not had much experience with this and wasn’t entirely sure what his thoughts were on this phenomenon. The manipulation of sound waves intrigued him. It seemed a most peculiar function of mathematics though he had to admit that the rhythms and harmonies were infectious. He’d certainly want to learn more about the variety of instruments used to render these sounds.

Paul seemed satisfied that his companion appeared content with his selection and was happy to just listen and enjoy the ride.  998 observed the country roll past as they rode back to Klamath Falls.  What a green world this was!  He marvelled at the density of plant life here. He had learned that plant life in a multitude of forms was common in most of the habitable universe, though not always green. And no where else was he aware of it existing in such abundance. As he watched the lush vegetation file past his window he mused at how humans were so largely unconscious of it. They seemed to have no appreciation of the remarkable similarities between the smallest grasses and the mightiest pines that shared the forest floor. So much life existed absent consciousness yet it counted for the vast majority of energies invested into living form. Were they able to comprehend that their own life energy might once have inhabited a fern, or might at some future iteration rest in a towering cedar perhaps it would be different. They were yet a long way from this.

A roughly twenty minute ride brought them to the edges of the town where Highway 140 morphed into the South Side Expressway and crossed the Klamath River. 998 observed that they exited to Washburn Way and then headed north. Much of this part of the town was still open space, the buildings increasing gradually as they progressed northward. Nearing a traffic signal at Onyx Avenue the light turned yellow and Paul revved the engine to race into a careening left turn, narrowly clearing an oncoming car whose driver apparently had the same intent of beating the signal change. A horn blared as the car roared away down Washburn.  Paul grinned and looked into his mirror to see them pulling away, stuck his arm out the window with his middle finger extended and called out ” Ahh fuck you!”

He rapidly recovered his composure and wheeled to the right into the Taco Bell parking lot, taking the next space in queue for the drive-thru. “We have arrived, dude! Sorry about that back there, you know, the uh…”

“Nah, it’s alright.” That’s what he said. He was thinking that he had just seen a brief exhibition of the innate aggression present in the species. This was their difficult challenge: to preserve enough of this natural instinct to insure that they might do those things necessary for their survival, while tempering it enough to avoid their self destruction. To place it in human terms it was the desire not to tame the species, rather to domesticate the species. For a moment he allowed himself to lament the fact that the vast majority of humans failed to understand the difference between the two.

They were still idling in the drive thru when Paul abruptly made to exit the vehicle. “Dude! Take the wheel a minute, will ya? I gotta go take a pis, be right back!”

Before 998 could utter a response he had dashed away. He clambered over into the drivers seat and quickly familiarized himself with the muscle memory for the operation of the controls.  They had only nudged forward two spaces in the line before Paul rushed breathlessly back to the driver door. He uttered a quick “thanks, dude” and slipped back into the drivers seat.

A few minutes later they pulled away from the window with a sack of burritos and two large Baja Blasts. Paul turned back into Washburn northbound and they rode on for many blocks through the town until approaching Shasta Way he signalled right. It was just around the corner now he was assured. They turned past a church then immediately on the right was a white and green sign suspended between two wooden posts, bearing the name High Lakes Apartments.

“Well, here we are dude! I picked the place for the name, right? High – Lakes?” He punctuated this with a little laugh. 998 caught the reference but only smiled. Paul drove ahead to the second lane and pulled in to park along the street next to the third building on the left. High Lakes Apartments was a tiny oasis nestled in between blacktopped lots for surrounding mini strip malls, restaurants and a monolithic Coastal Farm and Ranch store. The complex was comprised of three-storey multi unit apartment buildings. The way they were oriented to the surrounding streets one might easily travel past without even knowing they were there. Paul led the way into the building with 998 close behind. They entered a low ceilinged hall with dim lighting and at the second door on the left Paul selected the right key from his ring and opened up his apartment.

“Come on in! It ain’t much, but hey, it’s a roof and a bed, right?”

“Right, yeah….hey thanks for inviting me like this.”

“No prob, man. Come on! I’m starvin’, aren’t you?

The apartment was small, sparsely furnished, but surprisingly tidy. A couch with an end table and lamp, a recliner, a long, low coffee table that served as a dining area were the main pieces in the room. There was also a stereo stand with a modest sound system, another mismatched stand held an old CRT television and a cable box.  The coffee table held a laptop computer, a large, round amber colored ashtray and a variety of smoking paraphernalia. He glimpsed a small kitchenette beyond the room and a short hall leading back to what was presumably the bath and the bedroom.

They took their places on the couch and spread the contents of the bag out on to the table. The wrappings were shed quickly and they devoured the whole thing in mere minutes, washing it down with the sticky sweet sodas until the final gurgle erupted from their straws. 998 had little use of human food, though he had no difficulty ingesting it. He had only the vaguest sense of flavor. He could identify things such as sour, sweet, bitter, salty, but any of the individual nuances of human fare were lost on him. The act of eating was more for the sake of appearances. His bio systems were capable of metabolizing nearly every morsel taken in. Any waste product generated in the process was excreted through the pores.

As expected Paul produced more cannabis and loaded the chamber of his bong to spend an afternoon in a blissful sloth. During that process he retrieved a small rectangular device with multiple buttons, a remote it was called. He held it out and switched on the television.  Some manner of sporting event came to life on the screen, the volume low and hardly discernible. In between hits on the bong Paul asked what he liked to watch. 998 selected the safe response to say simply that he didn’t care and really didn’t watch that much television anyway. Paul shrugged and began to scroll rapidly through the channels, scanning the titles until spotting something he considered worthwhile to watch. 998 watched the blur dully, hoping to see or learn something of interest. Suddenly Paul cried out.

“Hah! There we go! The history channel! Ancient Aliens, you ever see this shit?”

This piqued 998’s attention and he focused at the screen intently.  A man, still rather young looking, appeared on the screen with a bizarre profusion of hair sticking out haphazardly from his head. He could tell he was speaking, but could not hear.

“Turn the volume up…”

Paul obliged, adding ” Oh, this dudes a trip, man! My boy Giorgio!”

998 listened intently from the television ….

“…the ancient astronaut theory suggests that this is a direct result of extraterrestrials tampering with our DNA, so we’re half human and half extraterrestrial. We’re hybrids…..”

Paul hooted. “Man I’ll tell you what! They do have some real interesting stuff on here, but this dude? Giorgio’s a freak, man!”

” I don’t know, man. There might be somethin’ to that, ya know?”

“Ha! You never seen this? Really?”

“No, but it looks interesting.”

“Yeah, its interesting. Some of the stuff they put on here actually sounds pretty legit, ya know? Its just this guy, man! He’s too much.”

998 listened to more of the theories discussed on the program. There were a number of citations of evidence from ancient earth civilizations, the Sumerians, the Mayans, all of which he was familiar with. He was heartened to hear how much of it they had figured out, though he knew the parts they were missing. It was not expressed in character but inwardly he smiled as he listened further and watched Paul’s engagement with the subject. It was only the two of them and it seemed fateful somehow that he should be offered up such a clear invitation. The protocols suggested it better to allow more time to gain the subjects trust, but his instincts told him that this was a golden opportunity.

“Hey Paul? Don’t you think there must be other life out there?”

“Well yeah, man! I mean the law of probabilities, right?”

“Exactly! Its not so far fetched that somewhere one of them might not have come here, right? Maybe that is how we got here, ya know?”

“Yeah. Maybe. Sure, it’s a plausible thing, I guess.”

“Right. Here, lemme see that remote a minute, will ya?”

Paul pitched the remote over the short distance between them and 998 snatched it out of the air one handed. In one fluid motion he clutched the device, swung it around to point at the screen and switched it off.

“What the fuck you’d do that for?”

“Just chill, dude, okay? I gotta show ya somethin'”

Paul had the start of grin then, seeming to think that there was some kind of joke to come.  998 stood tall and straight in front of him, no more than six feet away. he let his arms fall relaxed at his sides and closed his eyes, training his mind inward.

“What the fuck ya doin’ man?” he asked, still with a bit of amusement in his tone.

998 began to emit a very low subsonic hum, putting a mild pressure on Paul’s eardrums. Paul had only begun to notice this mild discomfort when a brilliant flash of light filled the entire room. Instinctively Paul threw up his arms to shield his face and cried out “Jesus!” The light vanished as suddenly as it had appeared and the hum had ended. As Paul gradually lowered his arms back to his sides and tried to blink away the flash blindness he began to see a fuzzy outline of something standing where John had been. He was having difficulty focusing, though he could tell something wasn’t right. Was it John standing there? What had just happened? He stood up and rubbed his eyes then blinked some more. His sight was growing clearer now. He stepped toward John and…..

“Holy fuck! Ho-lee fuck! What the fuck is…John?”

998 stood before Paul exposed in his true form. He projected a pheromone that exerted a calming effect upon humans and allowed him a moment longer to recover himself. Then he spoke.

“I am the last of my species, Paul. I have been sent for a purpose. You need not fear.”

still more to come. be patient 

998 knew  that remaining in his true form would be unsettling, a distraction. To calm any anxieties he smoothly reverted to character. The process was much less dramatic than the shedding of character, to human eyes appearing as an instantaneous change. The process was painless for 998, the only sensation involved being that after exiting character one was left with a feeling throughout the body like that experienced when wearing a tight fitting hat for a long period and then after removing it still having the sensation about one’s head that the hat was still on. He now appeared again as John.

Paul was left unsteady. He did not exhibit signs of fear but was now wary, cautiously weighing a decision whether or not to flee. Not flight from fright, rather it was just an instinct to put some distance between himself and something uncertain. Deep down he still needed to be convinced that he would not come to harm. The shock of it was still fresh enough that he remained paralyzed. 998 spoke calmly in the voice of his character.

“I am John. This is how you shall see and know me, Paul. I will not shock you with any further displays. Unless, of course, you still feel you need further proof?”

Paul shuddered then snapped from his daze. ” No no! Its…I….I believe…. I think I believe, uhh….. How the fuck do you do that, man?”

John assumed a kindly, paternal expression. “Oh Paul, dear dear. I couldn’t begin to explain it to you even if I wanted to.” Paul was completely unconscious to the gradual effects that the release of the calming pheromones were having on him. He only knew that his heart rate had resumed a normal rhythm and the adrenaline surge that had jolted his body was now neutralized.  998 had remained skeptical of how effective this agent could be on human behavior.  As a matter of science he fully understood the mechanics of this. He was just surprised to find that after so many generations of the genetic makeup of the species being watered down they still carried the same potency as with the lower orders of life on the planet. He had thought that as with the sowers the receptors would have been dulled to the extent that this would no longer be effective.  Humans may have reached a stage where they were no longer conscious of this sensory function, but clearly they were still susceptible to the influence. 998 moved this bit of data to have a more prominent place in his processing centers, considering that there might be many circumstances in this mission where this might prove to be vital.

As Paul gradually recovered his equilibrium he began to form questions. A trickle at first and then a flood, so many that he struggled with where to start. 998 observed the rapid activity in Paul’s frontal cortex and patiently waited for him to complete his processing. As this went on for some minutes Paul became aware that his mouth had grown extremely dry. He licked his lips and tried to will his salivary glands to produce, but to no avail. Blankly he rose and went to the kitchen to get some water and returned with his own open bottle and another to offer to 998. He did not need the water but graciously accepted it with a quiet nod as it was placed before him.

“So…. you’re the last? What, like you guys are dying off and trying to repopulate through….Oh ho-lee shit! You tellin’ me Giorgio is right?”

“Not entirely, Paul. Its….its a bit more complicated than that. No. I am the last of my species. There are others.”

“You mean…..?”

“Paul throughout the universe there are nearly as many higher life forms as there are species upon this planet.”

“No shit! Fuck, man! So…..oh man, this is just makin’ more questions….”

“Oh I understand, Paul. This will take some time. But don’t worry. I plan on being here for some time. In fact….in fact, Paul, it’s highly unlikely that I will ever be able to leave. At least not in any sense that you might comprehend.”

“Okay, so you said you had a purpose, right? Like some kind of mission?”

” Yes, you could put it like that.  Without any specifics I suppose that would be the best way to describe it.”

“Huh. So, like….umm. Can ya tell me what it is? Not like the whole plan, ya know, I mean like just basically. Ya know, like in a mission statement. Oh…wait….umm, you understand what a mission statement is?”

Making an effort not to seem condescending 998 offered his reassurance in a gentle tone.    “Oh certainly, yeah sure, Paul. Yeah I understand that. Lets see….” 998 assumed a pose through his character that indicated that he was searching for the right words. ” To put it in the form of a mission statement. Hmm.” 998 carefully weighed several possible versions for this. “My purpose is to redirect the course of your species, to return it to a path that reaches for your ultimate potential.”

Paul considered this, trying to form a picture of that mission in the context of humanity and it’s present state. ” Okay, so like we’re the wayward child and you’ve come to put us back on the right road?”

“Mmm…..yes, it would be something like that.”

“Huh. Well you may be just in time, dude, ’cause we sure got some things fucked up on this planet. Well, I guess you’d know that or you wouldn’t be here, right?”

“No world is perfect, Paul. We are….we are guides, not creators. At one point it was believed that there was great potential for this world, for your species. There is still that belief. Not shared by all, but on the whole we still have hope for your continued progress.”

“Okay, okay…..Just….just hold on a minute, dude. I need to smoke another bowl.” Paul took the bong and scraped ash and residue from the chamber then methodically repacked it with the pale green, fluffy buds.  998 observed patiently as Paul applied a flame and drew deeply until the fluid churned within the tube. Clouds of the smoke roiled within the orange translucent tube and then spilled slowly from over the rim as Paul pulled away and held the breath deep. A few seconds passed and he exhaled long and slow, tripling the volume of smoke swirling about the room. When the last of the long breath was spent Paul extended the bong and a lighter and a look as to ask would he care for more. 998 politely waved it away.

“So who is “we”, or “they”, or whatever?”

“We are called….In your tongue we are called the sowers.  We’re sort of uhhh…. what you might describe as an all-star team from several advanced civilizations.  We do on an intergalactic scale what bees essentially do on this planet. That is we move about, mostly unnoticed, and we uhh….just through the course of very random interaction we pollinate worlds, so to speak. To insure the continued advance of life.”

“But you’re not creators? I don’t get it. I mean it sounds like what you’re doing makes you, like, the gods or somethin’. And why? Why even do it?”

A genuine wry smile formed within and translated into the expression on the face of 998’s character. He thought to himself “why indeed?” Before he could attempt any answer Paul continued.

” Is this like how we got the whole thing about the God, like the big boss, and then all the angels? That whole idea? Like you guys are the angels, right? So is there, like, a god? Or gods?”

” There is “god”, Paul. Not “a god”, not “the god”. Or gods. There is just god. God is. But it is not what you think it is. The concepts of a god or the gods? These are just the creations in the minds of sentient beings.  Sometimes it is a phenomenon that evolves of its own accord. Most instances, actually. Often, to some degree here on your world, it is a result of a mythos that we may have planted, like a seed left to germinate. Your species, other species, other worlds, these are the fertile ground that we “sow”. We are the sowers.”

“Huh. God is. What the fuck does that even mean, man?”

“It means…. this is difficult, Paul, because your species has all of your preformed means of understanding or describing the concept. “God” is a word, an identifier that your speech requires to indicate the concept of “God”. You have other words that don’t entirely capture the meaning, but they come closer. Nature would be one. Your species often describe natural phenomenon, or the reasons for these, by saying that “it is nature’s way”.  What you describe, what most of your species has anthropomorphized to describe as a “god” entity is in fact a universal life force, a form of energy that is omnipresent. It is nature’s way. “It” decides the course of life. All life. We may be able to influence events to steer it in one direction or another. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. We do not control it. We can not control it.  But we have gained a clearer understanding of it. We are masters of nothing. Like you and your species we are simply a part of nature, instruments of whatever purpose nature may hold.”

Paul was spellbound by this explanation. He took up the bong and consumed more cannabis. “Whoa, man! This is some heavy shit, dude! Damn! I always knew all of those churches were full of shit!”

“Oh you should not say that, Paul. Not out of fear of some damnation, that is surely part of the mythology. The churches are not all bad, they have their purposes. Many impart wisdom, guidance. Much of what they have taught are lessons that we brought here to guide the species, Paul. Now it is true that their creeds have often been co-opted by humans for purposes that are wholly human, selfish. But there are still valid teachings there. You just have to look for them, not wait to be told what they are.”

“Oh, right, right! Yeah, I get that. Its not the spiritual thing or the moral thing I got a problem with. It’s the organizations, ya know?”

“I understand, Paul. The organizations are human institutions and like humans they are not perfect. They are the messengers, not the message. Did you know, Paul, that there is no “perfection”? Another human creation, I’m afraid. Everything that “is”, that is that which exists, not that has been made by human hands, everything that “is” is as it was meant to be. It’s not our choice. We must take what is given.”

“Okay, so what about, like, the prophets, then. Or the founders of religion or a movement, or whatever. Was that, like, you guys, or….?”

This was one of the questions to be anticipated. Faith or bias resistance to that which challenges that bias. These were the seeds of doubt, suspicion.

“Let me give you an example, Paul. When I, uh….when I frightened you with my transformation what did you say? You cried out “Jesus”?

“Uhh, yeah. Well that wasn’t a religious thing, ya know. When you’re surprised or scared that’s just one of those expressions that comes out. Kind of a reflex, ya know?”

“Yes, I understand that. But don’t you see? It is a reflection of how deeply rooted this is in your culture. You’re right. Its not religious, not spiritual. Its cultural. Maybe they can not be separated from one another, but they are not the same thing. But I digress…Anyway, Paul, Jesus? He was not one of us. Jesus was a man. He was real. He lived, he was a teacher and a prophet. He imparted wisdom for living in harmony with each other and with nature. That was his purpose. Did he perform miracles? Did he have certain abilities? Yes, he did. For those things he had some help from us. It wasn’t our plan to see him nailed to a tree, that was your doing for your own purposes. There was nothing “divine” about it. All that came later. Someone else’s mythology, a human invention.  Jesus was a great messenger and teacher, a guy you certainly wanted around if you wanted to put on a great wedding feast or cure your leprosy, but the son of God? Sorry, but no. Or at least no more than any of the rest of you are.”

Paul seemed to be pondering this deeply, a frown creased his brow. “Wait a minute! Hold on….Yer tellin’ me that you guys, like what? You created Jesus, or gave him the mission or whatever, and then you just left his ass flappin’ in the wind? What the fuck, man?”

“Ah-ah, nature , Paul. We may guide or attempt to guide it a certain direction, but we do not control it.”

“Yeah, okay, but I mean if you can give the dude a mission and help him out with some of the props and shit…. I don’t get it. Ya did that to steer things a certain way and then some other people come along and turn it to shit and you can’t, like do something the same then? Like, not intervene directly, but you know, like you say….you could have done something else to “steer” things a different way, couldn’t ya? Hell, why even do anything then?”

There was some truth in what Paul said, but again it was more complicated than that. He could explain more later, but there were other things Paul would need to learn first. Paul did not persist and allowed these questions to not only go unanswered but not even acknowledged. He was still struggling to make some sense of it on his own when his countenance again changed and he moved to another line of questioning.

“So what about the others, then? Right? Like Mohammed or Siddhartha , or…..hell I don’t know the others. Are they yer guys’ work too? “

“Siddhartha we can take credit for. Mohammed was spawned as an entirely human reaction to Judeo-Christian teachings, another one sadly co-opted.  It’s always when these are taken by those who would pervert the teachings to their own ends that the teaching takes on an ill name and is entirely rejected. This too is in part why I am here.”

A look of understanding crossed Paul’s face with this explanation. ” Oh, I get it now! Yer the janitor, then, right? Come back to clean up somebody else’s mess?”

“I can understand why you might perceive it that way, Paul, but as I say it is more complicated. Much more, I’m afraid. In order for you to fully understand what has been done, or not done as you have noted, there is more that you need to know. This is going to be the most challenging part for you. This is the reason why we must work through messengers and can not reveal ourselves entirely to an entire population. It’s too disruptive.”

Paul had not the slightest inkling what this meant. No conjecture, no attempt to in any way interpret this into something that he thought he might understand. The long pause left hanging at the end of the last statement frustrated him. The longer it went on he became agitated, growing impatient for the rest. 998 did this purposefully. Paul’s face began to blush slightly, his ears grew hot and finally he burst out.

“Well!? What the fuck, man? What is it? Yer not gonna tell me?”

998 remained calm and replied in a soft but steady voice. ” I can tell you, Paul, but you must listen. You must listen to it all and do not interrupt with more questions. You will need to hear this and you will need to allow some time to begin digesting it before you can ask any more questions. Do you understand?”

Paul’s expression was intent upon these words. His face reflected a sickly mix of anger, confusion and fear. It was the panicked look of a caged animal. His nostrils flared steadily as he breathed heavily, slowly calming himself until the tension in him subsided. ” Okay. Sorry. I’ll listen.”

“Paul your observation of what was done, and not done, in the case of Jesus is only one example of what I am about to tell you. Your perception of the event is viewed in a lineal field of time, comprehended within the scope of finite dimension. You can see what was done first then what happened after, and then what happened after that. You perceive actions and reactions. These are real, actions do produce reactions. You know physical laws governing these things. These laws are understood as absolutes, and this is correct, but only in part.  Actions and reactions radiate across different planes. What you perceive is within your plane of existence. Your view is spatial,not only in terms of physicality, but your mind has assigned a spatial quality to events as well. Spatial in the sense that it is perceived and defined as within a select set of fields that are linear: past, present, future. Anything that happens, action, reaction, it all falls within before, during or after.”

998 paused here to open the water bottle and take a few sips from it and then cautioned Paul before proceeding.

“You may want to take a few more hits off of that thing before I go on, Paul. In fact, I’m quite certain of it. Go ahead.”

Paul no longer appeared angered or afraid. The flush upon his skin had faded. He now only looked anxious as he heeded 998’s admonition and took in a couple more healthy doses from the bong. 998 waited until he was positive that Paul was done, the bong returned to its place on the table, the lighter out of his hand next to it and he had relaxed back into his seat.

“Paul I will be able to help you fully understand these things as we go on. It can be illustrated for you, but you must first be prepared for it. What I am going to tell you now is only where you can begin this understanding. Paul, time, as you understand it, does not exist. If there is truly time in any sense whatsoever then one would have to say that everything is now. Everything that has, does or will exist does so right now, in this instant as you are living it, but it does so across multiple planes, simultaneously. Likewise for everything that has happened or will happen. These planes are infinite There are planes where you do not exist. There are planes where you were burned alive in childhood. Planes where this planet exists and planes where it doesn’t. Planes where plants are the most advanced life forms. Everything that nature intends that could possibly exist or happen, or not exist or not happen, every possibility in infinity is. You call this God. It is as I told you before. God is. That is a human word, a human understanding for that which has no word, that which can not be known. It can not be known because your are a part of it. So am I. So is this building. So is wet mucus on the snout of a Great Dane 7.2 miles north-northeast of this room.”

998 decided to stop there. Nothing more he could say presently that would make it any easier. Paul sat in a daze. His eyes said that he had heard it all, but they also said he was still trying to process it. He was completely still in his seat, continued to blink at normal intervals. His breathing and heart rate were steady. Looking blankly ahead, with no trace of emotion or animation in his voice he quietly said, ” I’m gonna need more fuckin’ dope”

998 had broken the rules. He had broken protocols on exposure, but that was a trifle. He had broken the big rule, rule numero uno. He had instead of planting the seeds of a new truth, he had revealed the truth. Knowing this truth he finally understood that the rule did not matter. The truth was like Dylan: it means everything and nothing at the same time. And no matter how many times it was revealed it never made any difference in the grand scheme of things because of one other simple and absolute truth. The truth just doesn’t translate.

A policy that does not, can not and will not work

This policy does not make our country safer.  This policy infringes upon the rights of the individual.  This policy is contrary to our values and traditions. There! I said it. I’m not the only one. These are statements that have been repeated over and over for public consumption for the past week or more. Oh! Wait a moment! I am so sorry. You thought I was talking about the temporary “travel ban”, as it has come to be called.

I apologize for the confusion! No, I was referring to the TSA. I like to think of them as “thousands standing around”, though I believe the official title is the Transportation  Security Administration.  How could one disagree with this? The opening statements are undeniably true when applied to the TSA. In the name of security the TSA, and for that matter the Department of Homeland Security, are given license to urinate upon the fourth amendment on the grandest scale on a daily basis. I appreciate that these assertions may be regarded as being impolitic given that those who serve in these agencies are heroes on the front lines protecting Americans from harm.  Evidently the only requirements for fitting the title of hero is to wear a uniform, and/or carry a badge and in some instances carrying a state issued firearm. The latter is not always a requirement, but to be sure it helps. For any of you who may be unclear on the latter of these the state issued firearms are the good guns, not like those in the hands of private citizens.

Isn’t it astounding that some people in this country can muster a barrage of righteous indignation at a mere 109 people being inconvenienced by the executive order? I say this because the current mantra seems to emanate largely from those who profess to speak out against what they describe as an unconstitutional policy, and yet somehow they remain curiously mute on the thousands of American citizens who are subjected to the inconvenience and intrusive nature of TSA policies every day.  I’m all about fairness! Would any of you please be kind enough to explain to me how existing travel security procedures are in any way different from those which you are so loudly lobbying against now? Oh, that’s okay. I won’t hold my breath waiting.

Let’s subject this outrage to a reality check, shall we? There is nothing partisan about this, it is just sound logic.  The left and their mouthpieces at the networks are hyperventilating over what they call an unconstitutional ban that is based upon a religious test, i.e. it is targeted at Muslims.  They argue that these people are being targeted without probable cause.  There are sound arguments to be presented against this position, but for argument’s sake let’s stipulate that this is true.  If we are to accept the argument then surely this extends to octogenarian grandmothers in wheelchairs, twelve year old girls and, oh I don’t know, say perhaps an Episcopalian Minister.  What possible probable cause is there for those examples to be subjected to the latex glove treatment from a TSA official? These people are working themselves up into a lather over 109 people when thousands of American citizens are subjected to unreasonable search procedures in our airports every single day. Since we are dealing within the realm of constitutional rights here let’s take note of another fact. The American citizen who is subjected to these security procedures is in fact protected under the US Constitution. To the best of my knowledge this protection does not extend to non-citizens who are trying to enter the country.

We also, as we so often do it seems, have a problem with the language being used in defining the argument.  The executive order is not, as it has been characterized, a travel ban.  It is a temporary, precautionary restriction upon entry into our country for individuals travelling from countries that have been identified as having a demonstrated propensity for terrorist activities.  It is in place until such time as more stringent security precautions can be implemented to make a more thorough vetting of their background. So yes, before you cry out, it is a form of profiling. One can bemoan the injustice of profiling all day, but the fact remains that this is an effective tool utilized in security and law enforcement the world over.  It has been and continues to be used for one very simple reason: it works.

If innocent people have been killed or otherwise harmed by individuals who shout Allahu Akhbar as they pull the trigger it makes no difference whether they are acting alone or as part of an organization. The common denominator is that they act in the name of a jihad. Therefore it is an extraordinarily foolish exercise to dispatch one’s security force to profile the Swedes or the Chinese.  They may very well have their own terror cells, we don’t know for certain do we, but they have to date done nothing that would serve as probable cause.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, as I am often want to do. Let’s say I accept the language. Lets say we can call it a Muslim ban. The very obvious question to be asking is so what if it is? Oh I know this is sacrilege. I am now officially a heretic. That’s okay. I can live with it. I can live with it because I am able to present a rational case based upon entirely reasonable conclusions.  There is an axiom that is applied regularly to a wide variety of fields.  The best predictor for future behavior is past behavior. We need only look at France or Belgium, or more recently now Germany too.  Events of the last couple of years in these places are a warning of what we should expect if our government continues to embrace an open door policy at all costs.  Normally I don’t have objections when the machinery of government is brought to a screeching halt. It saves us from all of those things that government does to us, not for us. The one paramount constitutional duty assigned to our federal government is to provide for the common defense of these states. Frankly much of the policy of our government for the past fifteen years has done a poor job of this.

There are good and peaceful Muslims. There are true refugees in desperate need, fleeing murder and tyranny. I don’t dispute that for one moment.  I don’t deny our country’s tradition of serving as a haven for the refugee.  The true refugee most often ends up becoming a solid citizen, more appreciative of our liberties than many who are born here. We still have a duty to all of our citizens, native born and refugee alike, to insure that those we admit are indeed refugees and not wolves in sheep’s clothing.  If that means that some people from that part of the world are going to be inconvenienced by further scrutiny then so be it.  If they are of the true refugee class this will be the least indignation they have suffered in trying to get here.

We have already seen what the politically correct version of immigration policy can yield. Remember Tashfeen Malik? The record already shows that both she and her cohort, husband Sayed Farook, if properly screened absent the politically correct filter would have been at the very least under close observation. That or they might have been apprehended prior to their acts and for probable cause. Likewise for the Tsarnaev brothers. France and Belgium for decades conducted an immigration policy and accepted the non-integration of their Muslim population that have yielded a particularly bitter harvest.  I truly would not mind being proven wrong on this, but caution dictates that if we are to pursue similar policies than we are to expect similar results.

There are those who posit the argument that we need Muslims to help us root out the evil. I don’t disagree with this either, but aren’t we wise to take any extra measures necessary to insure that we are indeed admitting Muslims of this variety?  Absent this we are left with two other alternatives: those who would do us ill and those who will stand idly by , or worse, aid and abet the cause.  It is an inconvenient fact, but the Islamic world is where these people live. If we ignore or deny this we do so at our peril.


Day One

If you are anything like me then you did not sit up until 1 AM watching the broadcast of inaugural events.  Okay for some, I suppose,  but speaking for myself I might liken it to watching paint dry.  I managed to catch the inauguration and the inaugural address live and was able to spend the rest of the day digesting it. I did not pay much attention to the talking heads on the networks, though I did entirely by accident catch a few snippets here and there.  They seem to largely be the same voices that have since election night (and before) promised dark days ahead for our country. Doom and fear of the looming apocalypse.  I retired last evening with some mild trepidation that we might all awake to some plague of biblical proportions. Or worse.

Today, which I guess we must say is officially day one for the Trump administration, I arose before dawn. Of course I always do that, but today it was with a sense of much greater anticipation.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sun did rise, in the east as it is supposed to. I checked and found that my family was still alive.  There were no frogs or locusts populating my lawn. Still not convinced I then looked up various news feeds. There were no catastrophes, natural or man made, making the headlines. California is, at least geologically, still connected to the contiguous lower 48.  Rivers have not run dry, the oceans have not flooded our coasts and NORAD reports that their screens are free of any impending threats against our country from the Russians, Chinese or NorKo’s.  Its not a perfect world, but all in all a pretty benign start to what had been promised as a horrendous and dark day in American history. Of course as I write this the day is far from over. Still plenty of time for everything to fall apart.  I’ll wait and see, but I am leaning more towards the glass being half full today.

My interests extend well beyond the topic of current political events, though I fear that I must sometimes leave the impression that this is not the case.  It is a subject that concerns me greatly and so I often return to it. I can only offer my opinions based on what I observe and my knowledge of historical context.  Much of my observation is of opinions which are frequently presented as fact and a startling level of misinformation being propagated through the traditional media outlets. That in and of itself is enough of a concern, but what I find more alarming are the number of people,  young and old alike, who mindlessly parrot whatever they may have heard through these outlets, having accepted it as gospel truth without applying any critical thinking of their own. This more than anything is what continues to drive me back to such subject matter. It is not my purpose to change any minds. It is only my sincere hope that I may cause those who hear what I have to say will take the first steps toward doing some critical thinking of their own.

There are those who are predisposed to a certain ideology that will reflexively assume a defensive posture, assured by their world view that I must be an apologist for Trump. I understand it. It is part of their conditioning. Those who wont part with this probably have not even read this far, so I shall not trouble myself to refute their position.  For those who have a mind open enough to have come this far down the page I will continue to explain. My observations, my interpretations of these and thus the opinions that I may form and posit here are not a defense of nor a promotion of Trump or republican politics.  Rather, it is more a condemnation of the opposition. That opposition, whether characterized as democrat or progressive, liberal, socialist are what I will refer to as the left. It is a term that most will recognize and understand it’s connotation in a political sense.  I am unable to be an apologist for Trump because thus far he is an unproven quantity. He has said a lot of things, some that I may agree with and some maybe not so much. For me anyway it is far more important to see what he does.

Based on nothing more than what we have heard from him we may speculate as to what those actions may be, but as none of these have been yet realized it is only that: speculation.  On the other hand there is a history of what the left has done. Prior behavior being the best indicator of future behavior it is not difficult to form a well informed conclusion of what they are likely to continue doing. If you like what they have been doing then you must either be a part of government, and thus benefit from their policies, or perhaps a direct beneficiary of a government entitlement. In either case you are not likely to be swayed, though stranger things have happened. The success of the Trump candidacy is attributable to one factor more than any other.  That is the fact that for the better part of the past two decades the republicans, who are supposed to compose an opposition, a check against unrestrained liberal policy, have operated in collusion with democrats in the ever expanding scope and expense of the federal government. Irrespective of politics nearly all Americans have suffered as a result.  Not just those living and working today.

What our young people seriously need to start getting a handle on is that the tab is being passed down to them. And their children. For the duration of their lives. Consider the coming citizenry of the nation as children being reared to adulthood within a family. There are those who are simply given everything and then there are those who have been taught how to fend for themselves.  Which of these are better prepared for life in the harsh realities of the world? Not the idealized world that has been promised by the left. The real world, as it is. Its a rhetorical question. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows the correct answer.

The American left has been promising this utopian vision for more than 50 years. We are 20 trillion plus in debt and have been overspending our annual budget by a trillion dollars a year. In spite of this massive “investment” to hear them tell it we still have so much more to do. Their script never changes other than to add more “free stuff” to their list. No matter how great all of this may sound there is a reality here that can not be denied. Its not a question of politics or party affiliation. It is simple math. Language can be tricky. Words can mean different things to different people at different times. Numbers are an absolute. The math is not subject to “consensus” or “interpretation”. It is what it is: unsustainable.  Sustainability is part of the eco-left’s mantra, so clearly there is an appreciation of the concept on their part.  Curiously they seem unable to translate it to fiscal policy.

It remains to be seen whether or not Trump can accomplish everything he has said. It’s an ambitious agenda. It may be that we are witness to business strategy as politics. Come to the table asking for a hundred when your actual goal is fifty. Negotiating down to seventy-five makes you look reasonable and yet you still come away with more than you wanted. If this is the case then we should consider that if Trump accomplishes half of his stated goals then he has succeeded. I suspect that most Americans would share in that success in one way or another. We’ll see.  If more Americans are ahead of where they are today in four years time then the question will have been answered.

Trump’s inaugural address encompassed much of the same populist theme of his campaign. It was also full of the same stinging indictment of the establishment and their status quo. Unless one has a vested interest in that status quo I can’t imagine how there could be any disagreement with what he said. And how or why would any American find fault with a stronger, wealthier and safer country? Are these not conditions which provide universal benefit? If you can disagree with any of that you’re going to need to explain to me why. Maybe I’m missing something?

I’ve had a full twenty-four hours to digest the President’s address. There is one line from it which I believe is the clearest means of explaining how we make the country great again.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.”

It will be refreshing to live in a country led by a vision of setting an example than one in which the leadership seeks to make an example of it’s people.