Dear Ted and Jody:
Outside the temperature fluctuates between slightly above freezing (sometimes up to 50) during the day and slightly below freezing (sometimes into the low 20s) at night. Yet, the dwarf orange tree in my living room window, a south facing window, is blooming like the dickens. I got that tree, along with dwarf coffee, dwarf lime and dwarf lemon trees in early 2007. When the seed company shipped them the plains were, like now in the grips of cold and snow. The initial coffee tree did not make it. It did not make the second trip either. It seems it froze in the truck on the way here, probably between Utah and Oregon on I-84, or in the Snoqualmie Pass on I-94 depending upon which route the truck took. The third time was a charm for the coffee tree (but then it warmed up by May). Both the coffee and lemon tress produce some fruit. The first year, I got a full-sized lemon from the lemon tree and lime tree. Unfortunately, the lime tree gave up the ghost after that. The lemon tree, continues to produce, this year six small lemons. The coffee tree produces a couple of beans every year. the orange tree, after sitting quietly for 8 months burst into blossom. It produces three or four dozen orange every year. They are smaller than a golf ball and bitter, but they would qualify for either a crop or a hoard from a tree that sits in a pot of dirt 10 inches in diameter. The dwarf orange tree continues to amaze me. The next time I move, I would like to get a place with at least 100 feet of south facing windows so I can get more dwarf trees—say, an orchard of olives would be nice.
I have attached a view of the outside from last evening and some inside orange shots for contrast.
I have also attached the next segment in the Agent Amanda story.
I trust this finds you happy, healthy, warm and as well rested as I finally am this moring.
Warmest regards, Ed
004 Unhappy Alice
Fiction in 1178 words by T, Edward Westen, 2017
Alice Beaverton left the attorney’s office. She though “That bastard psychologist cost me a bundle telling me I’d need to see an attorney to get my Baby Jessica Ann back; he knew the system would keep me on my knees until the damned 9 months are up. Come back then, the shyster says, come back and pay me more money to tell you dick again.’ As she approached the public transport door, she rummaged around in her purse for her identity tab. Pulling it out, she started to move it toward the panel on the door to the public transport entrance. ‘Wait,’ she thought. ‘This is supposed to give me access to everyplace.” She turned the identity tab over in her hand, looking at it with a new realization. Then she moved it closer to the door to the public transport entrance and thought, “yes let’s see how much access I have.”
Disembarking at the center of the city,
Alice Beaverton stopped at the bank of public screens and held the identity device close to one and said,” Computer please display the agent training schedule for The Agency for Timeline Integrity.”
The computer replied, “Please specify what leveled of The Agency for Timeline Integrity, ATI. Courses you wish listed: New Trainees, Specialties, Recertification’s, and Counsel Clearance.”
“Computer, list new trainee courses, Replied Alice.
Alice Beaverton looks at the list of course that the computer provided. ‘My goodness, what a variety,’ she thought. ‘Surely agents can’t take all of those.’ She looked at the list and decided. “Computer show me the schedule for preimplant training.”
The computer put up a list of four course available on demand. Each course required attention periods of 25 minutes and a six-hour sleep module.
“Computer, what are the requirements for receiving an ATI implant?” Alice Beaverton asked?
“Prior to receiving an ATI implant one must pay attention to each course presentation, determined by retinal confirmation of the four attention periods, and then successfully complete the sleep modules after each course presentation. If one has not successfully completed the sleep presentation of any given module, aspirants will not be able to initiate the next sleep module until the previous one has been successfully completed,” replied the computer. “After completing the four courses, aspirants will be able to schedule an implant session at ATI offices.”
Alice Beaverton thought, ‘I have the time now.’ “Computer initiate the first ATI course presentation.”
The computer replied, “I am unable to comply. You need to make your request at a screen fitted with retinal scanning devices. Do you wish a list of screens fitted with a retinal scanning device?”
“Yes, computer, please list the nearest 25 screens fitted with retinal scanning devices,” replied Alice Beaverton.
Reviewing the list of nearby screens fitted with retinal scanning devices, Alice Beaverton said, “computer, are any of the screens listed located in public sleeping cubicles?”
The computer replied, “Yes, seven of the screens listed are located in public sleeping cubicles. I have highlighted them, for you.”
‘Yes, there may be a way to be with my Baby Jessica Ann all the time,’ Alice Beaverton thought. ‘I see you in six days, Baby, then I will know.’ She then went back to the center city transport entranced and embarked to the nearest screen with a retinal scanner in a public sleeping cubical.
Alice Beaverton awoke with a start.
At first, she panicked as she did not know where she was. Then feeling the fabric on the coverlet, she remembered ‘I’m free, sort of. But I’s not with my Baby Jessica Ann.’ Then she panicked again. ‘What time is it? Did I sleep long enough to complete the sleep module for the first course?’ She shearched her memory and could only find references to watching the first course presentation. “Computer, did I successfully compete the first sleep module for the first course required prior to receiving an ATI implant?” she asked.
“Yes, Alice Beaverton, you successfully completed the first sleep module in preparation for a time travel implant by ATI,” the computer replied.
“Computer, why do I not have any awake knowledge from my sleep module session?” she asked.
The computer replied, “You have successfully encoded and stored the required information in your brain. You do not have the required implant to access it. Access will take place once you have received the implant.”
“Computer can I start the second course now?” Alice asked.
“Accumulated data on successful completion of ATI sleep modules shows a 99.8% non-completion rate for attempts to assimilate a module when sleep is induced. Since you finished one module 26 minutes ago, it is 98.8% unlikely that chemically, electronically or hypnotically induced sleep will result in your successful completion of the 2nd module,” replied the computer.
Alice Beaverton actually pouted at the computer’s response. In prison, she lived a regimented, and structured set of daily activities: rise, brush teeth and clean up for the day, line up for breakfast, do assigned tasks in the workshop repairing gadgets, lining up for lunch, return to the work shop and repair more gadgets, exercise in the gym, return to the workshop to repair even more gadgets, line up for dinner, attend group, quiet hour prior to bed, brush teeth and clean up prior to bed, lights out and sleep. Sleep in prison was to the sound of, well, the sound of prison: doors opening and shutting, matrons patrolling, murmurs, women crying out in dreams, women weeping, women talking between cubicles, women praying and the constant sound of the fans running.
Last night Alice had a difficult time getting to sleep. “Computer, can you provide background noise such as one would hear in a women’s prison while I sleep?” she asked.
The computer replied, “Yes background noise such as one would experience in prison for a requested period to time is possible. Specifying a prison and block would be helpful to meet such a request.”
“computer, do you regularly monitor the prisons? she asked. ‘The could be helpful tonight,’ she thought, ‘I’ll get to sleep a whole lot faster than way.’
“Everything is monitored,” the computer replied.
“Do I have access to things that are monitored?” Alice asked.
“Everyone has access to only public places, events, and the like. You need a code for access to private space activities.” Replied the computer.
“How do I get access to private space activities?” asked Alice.
The computer replied, “One needs a warrant authorized by a judge or magistrate to invade someone’s private space.”
‘Rats!’ thought Alice Beaverton. ‘I can’t even watch my Baby Jessica Ann without the damned courts getting involved.’
Alice looked around the public sleeping cubical. ‘I only have a purse and its contents. I guess there is nothing left for me until it is time to go back to sleep. I wonder how the city has changed since I got sent up for trying to prepare a better life for my Baby Jessica Ann?’ she mentally asked herself. Putting her purse over her shoulder, she left the public sleeping cubical to re-explore the city.