Good Morning Ted and Jody:
I read a humorous piece this morning about how Silicon Valley is tricking us into thinking that its products are making life easier. But, in reality, its products are beginning to replace us and make us have to work multiple jobs just to afford its gadgets (much less food, shelter and clothing). The article pointed out that even the recruitment for various Silicon Valley related employment opportunities, like driving for Uber, are a trap. The employment adverts for Uber depict a “cool, suave and debonair hipster having fun.” They neglect the part about having to work extra hours because of devices that allow Uber to be a competitor to a regular taxi services. The article went on to lambaste services that allow us to no longer have to grocery shop. For example, our local Fred Meyer has a whole bank of parking slots reserved for people who order on line and pick up by showing up and having a have frozen young woman load, who has to have the part time job loading groceries because she is technologically displaced from her former occupation as a cook by another app, their order in their trunk while the consumer sits in a warm car. So, while supposedly humorous, I can see the evidence of what the article asserts overtime I go shopping and can’t get a parking space because of the dedicated spots for on line purchasers. When will Fred Meyers catch up technologically and get drones to deliver and free up those parking slots for me? The article blames spoiled children, actually adults in their 20s and 30s who still want mom to do things for them. Since mom is not around, they use apps for getting everything. But, the poor “smucks” have to work four and five part-time jobs to even pay for the rent on their share of the six-person apartment they share with five people whom they do not know for no one can afford to be there for all the jobs they have to have to pay the rent. Unfortunately, while billed as humor, it turned out to be a horror story—one that we are living. Soon we who are retired, will have to get those part time jobs just to stay retired.
I so hope this finds you healthy, warm and still not working part time.
Warmest regards, Ed
PS: Here is the skipped number in the continuation of the Amanda Saga.
037 Special Agent Fleishman and Detective Batan Visit Mrs. White
Fiction in 1320 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Special Agent Fleishman and Detective Batan had no sooner appeared at Mrs. White’s door when the door opened; and, Mrs. White looking at her wristwatch said, “I would have bet you would not be here in two minutes. But, here you are.” She looked over their shoulders to the street. “Where is your car.”
Detective Batan shuffled his feet and started an explanation like a small child caught doing something he though he shouldn’t be doing “Well, er, you see, the thing is we . . .”
Special Agent Fleishman interrupted him. “Mrs. White, I do apologize for my colleague’s rudeness in not introducing us. I am Special Agent Anderson Fleishman.” He stuck out his hand.
Mrs. White flashed a most welcoming smile and shook his hand. “Amanda White. Do I address you as Agent or Special Agent?”
“I should think Agent would suffice. What my colleague here was trying to say is we didn’t come by car.” Replied Special Agent Fleishman.
Since apparently no further explanation was forthcoming, Mrs. White said, “I asked because we have video coverage of the front and when the two minutes Detective Batan said he would be here in expired, and I had not seen a car pull up I went to the door just to check.” She paused for a moment. With still no additional information about how they got there coming she said, “Won’t you gentlemen join me and Mrs. Hastings in the kitchen. I know she is just now starting a new pot of coffee.” With that, Mrs. White swept her arm to indicate the two men should follow her.
When they entered the kitchen Mrs. White turned to Special Agent Fleishman and pointe to Mrs. Hastings. “Special Agent Anderson Fleishman, this is Mrs. Amanda Hastings. Mrs. Hastings, Special Agent Fleishman.” She paused for a moment and then added, “He appears to be a gentleman of the old school, Mrs. Hastings.”
With that Special Agent Fleishman stuck out his hand and said, “Charmed to meet Mrs. White’s lovely sister.”
Mrs. Hastings shook his hand and clasped their joined hands with her left hand and exclaimed “He is no such thing. He is the nicest man I have met since, I met Mr. Hastings. And I assure you he was lovely but no gentleman. Special Agent I am delighted to meet a man of your qualities.” Her smile broadened and there was a definite twinkle in her eye.
Detective Batan watched the flirtatious exchange between Special Agent Fleishman and Mrs. Hasting with a wary frown. However, he did not express any of the concerns he had with the way the introduction went. He turned to Mrs. White who, unlike him, was attempting to suppress laughter at the exchange between her older self and Special Agent Fleishman. Finally, Detective Batan spoke. “I suppose you are wondering why we want to ask more questions?”
Mrs. White replied. “Yes, but first Mrs. Hastings has run across reference to the group Jamiroquai, a British funk and acid jazz band from the early 1990s in a blog she is following. The issue seems to be no one knows what happened to the group. Do either of your gentlemen know?”
Special Agent Felishman said with a straight face, “I’m afraid it is before my time.”
Detective Batan said, “Sorry, but I never heard of them.”
Mrs. Hastings said, “See, dear, I told you it was not something the authorities would involve themselves with.”
Detective Batan reached for his notebook and said, “Have they gone missing?”
Mrs. Hastings laughed, “No, not recently and not in a criminal sense. It is just this nice gentleman in Norfolk mentioned them in his blog once and that seems to have created a lot of interest. I follow his blog because he is kind to animals and has a good head on his shoulders. But the Jamiroquai group is not at issue for you gentlemen. However, I can give you his Internet Address if you really want a good read now and again; and he posts quite good photographs.”
Detective Batan thought for a moment. “Oh, you mean like Chumbawamba and House of Pain, One hit wonders.”
Mrs. Hastings smiled. “Yes, very similar, Jamiroquai was a group that had a following and then the group ceased to put out recordings. But, this is not why you gentlemen are here.”
Special Agent Fleishman said. “All of that passed over my head. But, I gather a missing group is not something about which we need to officially take note. However, Detective Batan has filled me in on your encounter with the late Judge Belemany. One of the things we need to try to get to the bottom of is why he put you in jail when you had done nothing.” He paused. “Yes, I know you do not know why. So, perhaps if we can get some background information on you,” he was looking at Mrs. White, “we might have a shot at figuring it out. Then once we figure it out we can look to see who else he put in jail unnecessarily.”
Mrs. Hastings asked. “Will this expunge her record?”
Special Agent Fleishman replied. “That would be a long way down the road given what we know at this point. It is going to take a rather open minded prosecutor and judge to get Mrs. White’s record expunged. However, if that is to happen we need much more information and evidence that we presently have.“ He looked at Detective Batan.
Detective Batan nodded vigorously. “You see, ladies, we only have a partial case against the late Judge Belemany attempting to murder Ms. Gunderson of Child Protective Services. The Attorney General’s Office has some evidence that he may have been involved in insider trader information. There also seems to be some kind of scam the Judge was running on orphans and or potential adoptive parents. So, we know he was not the legitimate judicial officer he presented himself. But, since we clearly know, thanks to Ms. Gunderson that your conviction was fraudulent, we start with getting as much information about your background as possible.” He said looking at Mrs. White. “That may present a loose thread we can pull to find out more.”
“O.K. Shoot” said Mrs. White. Then she added. “I thought Ms. Gunderson was in cahoots with him when he locked me up.”
Detective Batan replied. “Ms. Gunderson knows the Judge used false information to imprison you. She was not at your trial. She knows, for example that when you went to pick up Mandy, er, Mrs. Clarkton, on that Christmas Eve 20 years ago, you had never seen Mandy before. She knows you would have taken proper care of her. She has been very hard on herself for not seeing the perversion of justice the Judge committed when he locked you away for twelve years. She, indeed, is on the verge of resigning for her role in that.
“O.K. So what information could I possible give you gentlemen?” Asked Mrs. White.
Mrs. Hasting placed cups around in front of everyone at the table and then set a carafe of hot coffee within reach of everyone, pointed to the sugar and cream in the middle of the table and said, “Everyone, please help yourselves.” With that she sat down.
Special Agent Fleishman said, “Thank you Mrs. Hastings.” Then he turned to Mrs. White, “What we need is a profile of your life up to that Christmas Eve. For example, where you went to school, met Mr. White, and, by the way where Mr. White is, biographical details; and, who you knew and what you did.” He stopped to pour a cup of coffee. Sipped it and said, “Excellent coffee Mrs. Hastings. Thank you.” He then pulled out a device from his pocket and placed it on the table. “If you don’t mind I would like to record this. With your permission, of course.”