Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Last spring when Timothy died, Chloe went off her feed. Since the cat food we had on hand was to try to save Timothy from gaining more weight, the search for cat food that Chloe would eat took us to a broader range of, shall we say, gourmet foods. Fortunately, the cat next door is not as fussy, so we kept them supplied for a good long time until Chloe responded favorably to one of the cat food varieties made by Blue Buffalo. Now that stuff “ain’t” cheap. So, I cast about online and found a place that sold it at a discount if one ordered two bags and went on an automatic refill schedule. Needless to say, two large bags of cat food last Chloe a lot longer than I estimated. I changed the “automatic” order date three times. I also reduced the quantity to one bag. Finely we are down to the last few inches of the second bag. I allowed the shipment date of January 29 to stand; and it arrived yesterday. We now have another six months’ supply of food for Chloe. This closely matches what we have on hand, in case of a natural disaster, atomic emergency or further action by the pestilence for Nancy and I.
This involuntary stocking-up amuses me. 15 or so years ago, when my sister moved Mom into assisted living, I emptied Mom’s house to ready it for sale. In cleaning out her house, she had “supplies” in various places: the garage, under the bed, in the credenza, wooden boxes on the back porch and even in the book shelves in the living room. She had labeled the various caches of supplies “Y2K” in anticipation of the world-wide crash of computers because programmers were too lazy to put the 1 and 9 in front of years’ dates. I am amused, as Mom had a reason. We don’t, we just do or damnedest to keep the local economy moving by spending money at the local grocery stores. If we stay here much longer, we ill have to buy a bigger house to store all of this emergency supply of food (or we could open a food bank and pay interest for withdrawals).
I am attaching the next installment of the Amanda Saga. It is too wet for photos today; and, yesterday was a washout in terms of clouds—no definition in the clouds whatsoever. Bummer.
I hope this finds you healthy, happy and warm.
Warmest regards, Ed
057 Outreach Agent Simmons and Special Agent Fleishman on December 23rd
Fiction in 1138 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
When Outreach Agent Simmons returned to the small park in the 1200 block of Mission Boulevard on December 23rd, he was carrying a cage full of mice. Outreach Agent Simmons watched as Special Agent Fleishman walked around the swing set. Finally, Special Agent Fleishman sat in the swing and began to swing. Special Agent Fleishman stopped, twirled and laughed out loud. After a few minutes of playing he got off the swing and walked towards where Outreach Agent Simmons was standing and watching him.
“Hi, Johnathon, what are you doing here?” asked Special Agent Fleishman.
Outreach Agent Simmons held up the cage full of mice and said “If you want to get into a place, send in a mouse and follow it.”
“But, I don’t know if it will work,” replied Special Agent Fleishman.
“It’ll work. I saw you go in; and, I saw you come out,” said, Outreach Agent Simmons This time I want you to go in with the mice. After you get there, open the cage and let them out. Then you will find it expedient to come right back.”
“How did you know where to find me?” asked Special Agent Fleishman.
“Later, you will bring me here and tomorrow yourself,” replied Outreach Agent Simmons. “Now, I need you to take this cage, sit on the swing, transport over to tomorrow when you use the swing to get into the universe called level 4 number 7. Let the mice loose and they will do the rest.”
“Do you want me to bring the cage back?” asked Special Agent Fleishman.
“That would be a cleaner operation. So, if you can, bring it back,” replied Outreach Agent Simmons. “Oh, I’ll meet you when you get back to tomorrow from the level 4 number 7 universe. O.K?”
Special Agent Fleishman took the cage that Outreach Agent Simons held out for him and headed towards the swings. He sat down, waved, said, “See you tomorrow, Johnathan,” and vanished.
Arriving at level 4 number 7
Special Agent Fleishman opened the cage. The mice poured out and scampered in every direction. He heard the woman and saw her run to the canopy like structure and pull the chord, but he was trying to shake the last mouse out of the cage. He was too busy to pay close attention. Finally, he reached into the cage and picked up the mouse by the tail and said “Time for you to go to work, little friend.” He gently placed the mouse on the ground and it scampered off. Then finally able to look around with some curiosity, the sound of the woman’s urgent request for help got through to him and Special Agent Fleishman disappeared from the level 4 number 7 universe. As he left, he thought about the woman calling for help, ‘she is Mrs. Clarkton’s identical twin.’
Returning to December 24th in this universe, Special Agent Fleishman was in time to see the tail lights on Patrolman Francis Milson’s patrol car disappear around the corner. Mrs. White was just stirring. Special Agent Fleishman scampered behind a bush and Outreach Agent Simmons crouching there. “My it is crowded here,” said Outreach Agent Simmons. “Oh, good you brought the cage.” He smiled and took the cage. “It is times like this I wonder how history ever gets made with so many people about. Why didn’t anyone tell me about doing outreach in a crowd”
Special Agent Fleishman held his finger up to his lips and pointed to Mrs. White looking around for Mandy. The two men watched until Mrs. White finally left the small park. Then Special Agent Fleishman said, “That is how history is made, by our staying out of the way.” Looking at the cage Outreach Agent Simmons was holding he asked “When do your spies come back.”
“They are not spies, they are carying valuable instrumentation that may allow us to get back there without that swing.” Outreach Agent Simmons was on a roll until he heard Special Agent Fleishman laugh. “Oh, you were pulling my leg again.”
Special Agent Fleishman said, “Maybe, but when do we get the information from their instruments?”
“They are scheduled to return to my lab in a week or so, relative time, or 600 years from now, give or take a few years or decades.” He smiled broadly, “I had to after you pulled my leg.”
Transporter bases for the mice
released in the level 4 number 7 universe covered a table in Outreach Agent Simmons’ lab. The mice transporter bases were small cages which were scaled down versions of the very room which Special Agent Fleishman called his transporter base. ‘I never thought of myself as a lab rat until now,’ he thought.
As mice began to appear in their transporter bases, Outreach Agent Simmons removed a harness like affair from each mouse, took the instrument from the harness and put the instrument in a tray. He then gave the mouse a shot from a small syringe.
Pointing to the syringe, “removing the implant,” asked Special Agent Fleishman.
“Yes, we always remove the implant with Nano-surgery-bots. We put a new implant in for the little fellow’s next assignment.
That allows us to reset the recall for the new assignment.” Explained Outreach Agent Simmons. “It got crowded in here before we figured out to rest the recall destination to different points in time.”
Having finished processing the arriving mice, Outreach Agent Simmons turned to Special Agent Fleishman. “I’ll take these to the physics guys. Want to come.”
Special Agent Fleishman shook his head yes, but said, “Actually, I need to check in at my transport base or I’ll be automatically recalled. I also could use some refreshments.”
“Ah, I have heard about the hot chocolate with marshmallows. I’ll pop by and you can offer me a cup when I get the results. If it is half as good as pizza, we should go in to business.” With that Outreach Agent Simmons disappeared, try of instruments in hand.
Special Agent Fleishman was enjoying a steaming cup
of hot chocolate with marshmallows when Outreach Agent Simmons knocked on the side of the opening to his transport unit. He looked up and said, “Come on in Johathan. Want some?” he asked holding up his cup.
“Say, that knocking thing could catch on” Outreach Agent Simmons said as he reached for the cup in Special Agent Fleishman’s hand.
Rather than getting burns on his hand in a tussle over the cup of hot liquid, Special Agent Fleishman released the cup quickly and said, “Sip Johnathon, sip or you will burn your mouth.”
Outreach Agent Simmons said, “They found a way in from the data we got for them.” Then he took a gulp of steaming hot chocolate with marshmallows and immediately dropped the cup, clutched his mouth and screamed in pain.