Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Yesterday turned out to be a long day. We left the house at 7:15 in the morning and got back after 7:30 in the evening (although I have a hard time calling it evening this time of the year as it has already been dark for a couple of hours). Our first stops were for fuel, both for us and the Ridgeline (For the first 1400 miles it has averaged 19.9 mpg. I don’t have to keep track as it does it for me on the dash display). It is always a treat to have Nancy along when I go to breakfast (even if she really isn’t awake yet). We made it to our first appointment with about 30 minutes to spare. I took a tablet and tried to write a few words, but the room was noisy and I only got a few – less than 100. The first appointment was for a group session to learn about spine surgery–a class. There were five or six different kinds of surgeries that were represented in the group of 25 or so people. While this kind of shotgun presentation saves the medical firm time and resources, it passes the costs on to the patients. I’d say about ¼ of the presentation related to my situation.
After the first appointment, we had time to go to Costco and pick up my computer glasses that have been there since the day after Nancy got home from her hip replacement. They were scheduled to be in three days before, but Costco’s optical folks missed that timing so the glasses waited until we could get down that way. (Besides the ones I have been using work just fine; and, I think I prefer them to the new ones, anyway). I picked up the glasses and Nancy made an appointment for her next eye exam. Then we had more fuel (lunch).
We made our second appointment, I guess you call it a pre-op consult, with about 30 minutes to spare. Again, I tried to write a few words and just barely got another 100 in. I am not at all sure that writing on the fly, so to speak, is very productive. This session was devoted to my particular case (Yes, even the medical profession finds me particular, or is that peculiar. I get those two words confused often). It turned out I needed an EKG and some blood word done. So, after that second appointment we next door to the hospital where the doctor will perform the surgery and I had an EKG and gave what seemed to be a gallon of blood (I swear there is a black market for the blood they draw in the vampire community I know exists because the make movies about it and peddle them as fiction rather than the documentaries and histories they really are). That got us out a bit later than we thought.
The main thing I learned is that there is indeed a recovery period of some significance. I cannot carry or hold more than 10 pounds. I cannot bend. I cannot soak in water (I forgot to ask if I could internally soak in gin). I cannot drive. And, under no circumstances can I get constipated (The thought of mentally controlling my lower intestine and bowls still blows my mind). But, I am supposed to walk as much as I can. These restrictions last for a week and then I go in for a post-op (How I am supposed to get into an automobile without bending to get home and get back to the post-op, I need to find out). At the post-op, someone will tell about changes in the restrictions. This stuff could go on for about 6 weeks, if I am unlucky. I say someone, because each time I go to that medical firm I see different people. They are never the same nurses, doctors, PA, or finance people (they call them schedulers) except for the grouchy receptionist (the frim need to give her a “people person implant”).
We then drove to Beaverton just ahead of Portland Area rush hour traffic, and had a nice visit with Jeff. Elaine, Jeff’s assistant, gave us some instructions and a map so we could skirt the rush hour traffic that we normally would have to face by going back into Portland to come north. She showed us how to get from Beaverton to US 30 (The Columbia River Highway) and come back via Organ crossing the river at Longview rather than at Portland. Had she not shown us the route, I suspect we would not have gotten home until well after 9. She gave us the extra time to stop for dinner at the Mast Head. You may recall that is the restaurant we dined in in Longview that had the good onion rings.
I am attaching the next episode of Amanda7, formerly known as the Amanda Saga.
I trust this finds you healthy, warm, happy and not crying too much at what passes for television news these days (as Whoppi Goldberg says, “Alternative Facts are what we used to call lies”).
Warmest regards, Ed
055 Brain Storming
Fiction in 1398 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Mr. Murphy scratched his chin, pulled on his jacket and asked Special Agent Fleishman. “You went over. I don’t suppose you have any video of what is there?”
Special Agent Fleishman responded quickly. “No, I did not anticipate the need for a visual record. Then too, I made the decision to go on the spur of the moment. It was an impulse. I was in in the park, on the swings. The answer was so obvious at that point. As it turned out I was only there a very short time. The woman who was pushing Mandy on the swings was very panicked when I appeared instead of Mandy. She pulled an alarm and cried out for help that I surmised would quickly summons people to physically detain me. Since I could not get a reading on where and when I was I activated the return to last location function. I suppose it would have been just as easy going back to my transporter base. I don’t know why . . .”
Mr. Murphy interrupted. “No, that isn’t what I was asking. Rather, can you describe what you saw over there? What was it like?”
“Oh, yes. Remember, I was not there but a minute or two. The playground was changed from the one on this side. It was under a bubble, neither snow nor dirt to make into the mud on as on this side. The park was largely intact with similar structures for children to paly upon minus the bushes, dirt and open air. There was a canopy like structure in the center where the woman ran to and pulled a cord to summons help. Is that what you mean?” Asked Special Agent Fleishman.
“Yes,” said Mr. Murphy. “Could you elaborate on the bubble and the canopy like structure?
Special Agent Fleishman raised his right eye brow by scrunching up his cheek and said, “I should more properly say the place, the playground and a much broader area around it, were in a dome. In my memory I can see a series of triangle like shapes forming the dome, but I only looked up for a moment. The canopy like structure seemed to be made of four poles at corners with something that looked like fabric and dangling cords or stings on at least the side I could. That is pretty much all I can remember.”
Detective Philipson asked, “What did the woman look like?”
“She was Amanda Clarkton’s identical twin,” said Special Agent Fleishman.
Jeremy Eastman perked up. “Say, how do you think the woman on the other side would react if you sent Amanda Clarkton over?
Millie, held her right hand gesturing to hold it for a second. The she said, “I should think initially she would be more confused than alarmed. You might buy some time that way. But she would still be missing a child, Mandy.”
“Even then, we would not be able to get Mrs. Clarkton back unless . . . No, that wouldn’t work.” Said Special Agent Fleishman.
“Unless what?” asked Jeremy Eastman.
“I think what Special Agent Fleishman was thinking was that we implant a transporter in Mrs. Clarkton,” Said Outreach Agent Simmons. “We have done that with various species when a human traveler likely would be eaten or slain upon arrival at long ago destinations.”
“So, how do these various species, know when to come back?” Asked Jeremy Eastman.
Outreach Agent Simmons laughed, “They aren’t what one would call sentient species; dogs, mice, in one instance a Silver back gorilla, and often passenger pigeons.”
“But, passenger pigeons are extinct,” interjected Jeremy Eastman.
“Well with a little DNA from a short trip to Pennsylvania in the 1790s and some bio engineering they made a comeback in, if you will, the wilds of our laboratories,” said Outreach Agent Simmons. “They are very useful birds and almost always come back. Once, one came back in the stomach of a pterodactyl. That, I can tell you caused us to change return protocols. But I digress, yes, we can implant a transporter in Mrs. Clarkton with, say, a probability of .97.”
Jeremy Easton muttered “A pterodactyl.” And he appeared to drift off into a land of wild speculation.
Mr. Murphy tapped Jeremy Eastman on the shoulder. “So, were you thinking Mrs. Clarkton could do something someone else couldn’t do, if she went back?
Jeremy Eastman looked confused for a second. Then he said, “My mind was wandering. Sorry, what are you asking me?”
Mr. Murphy repeated his question, “What were you thinking Mrs. Clarkton could do something that someone else couldn’t do, if she went back?
“Blend in, seem normal, she would fit in and not stick out like apparently a man or any woman that didn’t look like her,” replied Jeremy Eastman.
“Is fitting in necessary for getting the instruments in and out?” asked Detective Batan.
“Not at for this effort to try to take some readings on their dimensions and get a sense of how to map into that universe. No, I would say we are years away from needing to insert someone to fit in. For now, we just need a way in. As I told Special Agent Fleishman, we need a mouse so we can follow him in, mice get in everywhere.”
Detective Batan shook his head in disbelief. “You told us that you have fitted mice with implants which automatic recall delays. Are the instruments small enough to strap to mice that you could send in by the dozens?”
Outreach Agent Simmons shook his head in dismay, slapped himself on the forehead and exclaimed. “Am I dumb or what! I had the answer before I came. And all this was for nothing.” He paused, and then said “But then, I would never have discovered pizza. Yes, they are much smaller than the, what do you call it, that” and pointed to the half dollar sized video projector resting in the middle of the table. With that ‘reply’, he scooped up the video projector and disappeared.”
Everyone, except Special Agent Fleishman, in the room looked around as if to ask ‘what just happened.”
Special Agent Fleishman looked like he was about to give a sermon as he put his hands on the back of the chair Outreach Agent Simmons had just vacated. He said, “I have known Jonathon for my entire career. He sat next to me in several training classes. He was never known for his social skills, not even in the time he lives. So, I must apologize for his abrupt departure. I do know what he is going to do. He is, simply put, going to temporarily infest level 4 number 7 with more mice than you would ever believe. First, he has to breed them in the lab with automatic return transport implants. Then he has to return to the 23rd of December of last year and convince me, before I get on the swing, to carry all those mice and release them in level 4 number 7. I don’t think I will be difficult to convince. Then he waits for the mince to automatically transport back to their transport bases and give the readings to the Research Agents and we will then have an idea if not a way to get to level 4 number 7 on a regular basis.”
Edith Gunderson sighed. “So, that is it then.”
Special Agent Fleishman said, ‘Not quite. I still have to talk to all the Amandas and see if they will agree to implants.” Nodding to Jeremy Eastman, he continued, “You a good idea. I doubt we will want to use them as agents. However, if we give them implants and transporter bases they will not, as the council puts it, become extant when we put what the Judge has done right. They will still have a future, even the 104-year-old Mrs. Amanda Smithers who is apparently still on a world cruise.” Special Agent Fleishman paused, looked around and smiled. “For, the moment, however, I must take my leave. I should be back very soon; but in case, I am not, I have found you all delightful and nice people with whom to share a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows; and without your help would never have been able to resolve this case.” With that statement, Special Agent Fleishman disappeared into the future, or maybe the past.