Dear Ted and Jody:
Between last night and now I have had two antiseptic showers. I have two changes of fresh clean cloths; and now, I am in loose fitting, just washed sweats with a freshly washed sweater. I guess the hospital has so many of their own germs they don’t want us day patients bringing any more in. The only thing is, I checked the membership requirements of the RWD&DOM (Really Weird Ducks and Dirty Old Men); and, if word of my current state of cleanliness get out I will be unceremoniously drummed out of the order that it took me years of claiming not to shower to get into. Shhhh.
I thought I should send this early (while I still can) with the missing episode, #7, of Agent Amanda (below). Let us hope the surgeon has had enough to steady his hand and not blur his vision.
I hope this finds you well, happy, warm and less anxious than I am.
Warmest Regards, Ed
PS: Mother Nature gave me this gift of a sunset last evening:
007 Alice Does Research
Fiction in 881 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Alice Beaverton awoke to the night sounds of prison. She stretched her arms while still in bed and smiled. ‘That worked. I slept a whole lot better last night than I did the first night in one of these sleep cubical,’ she thought. “Computer did I successfully complete the sleep module for the fourth course required prior to receiving an ATI implant?” she asked.
The screen in her cubical came to life and the computer replied, “Yes, you successfully completed the sleep module for the fourth course required prior to receiving an ATI implant. Did you want the night prison background sound track to continue?”
“No, computer you can discontinue the prison background sounds now,” replied Alice.
After taking a shower and putting on her face, Alice took her clothes out of the sleep module’s apparel refresher unit. She said, “Computer, display your front facing camera.” She held the dress she had been wearing since released five days ago, the one she has been wearing four years ago when she when began her sentence, and said, “this needs to be replaced.” She thought, ‘I can have one delivered here.’ Then she said, “Computer, please display current female attire for casual wear, start with dresses.”
The computer asked., “For what age group do you wish me to show you current dress for casual wear?”
“25 to 35,” Alice replied.
The computer replied, “I have the first 25 casual dressed for women 25 to 35 years of age on the screen. They are the most frequently ordered. I have 2078 more that you can view. I await your instruction.”
Alice looked at the screen, held up her old dress and then seemed to decide. ‘Not out of style, and not worn. This will do until I pivot.’ Then said out loud, “Thank you, computer, that will do. Can you give me a list of the 10 dates and places from the first 200 years after the invention of computers where a 32-year-old woman and a 4-year-old girl would have the greatest probability of healthily surviving in that time and place for full average life expectancy for the time and place?”
“I have the list of optimal places and time, where and by date, both a 32-year-old woman and a 4-year-old girl had the greatest probability of healthily surviving to the average life expectancy,” replied the computer.
Alice had purchased a replica antique, paper, note book and replica mechanical pencil the day before. She kept both in a side pocket in her purse. She got out the notebook and copied down the places and dates into the notebook that the computer had provided for her. Then she made another request, ‘Computer, for each of the places now on the screen what are the ten most valuable items that would not exceed one kilogram in that time period other than what is used for money in that time period and would be safe for a human being to carry without protection?”
“Please clarify how value is to be determined?” asked the computer.
“In term of whatever is used as money in the time and place,” replied Alice Beaverton.
“The ten most valuable items by weight for each time and place are now shown on the screen,” the computer replied.
Alice reviewed the list and mentally ticked off several items, ‘precious metals, gems, spices, stamps, coins, baseball cards, comic books, autographs, paintings what a strange assortment’ she thought. Then she asked, “Computer for each separate item on the screen, if one were to obtain the items here and now, which would be the cost to obtain each? No, strike that, what would be the worth then and there of one credit’s worth of each of the items purchased here and now?”
“Each item has a past value of one credit worth of the item purchased today,” replied the computer.
Alice looked at the valuations on the screen and whistled. “Computer, why are these things so cheap today?”
“Today, we fabricate what we want,” replied the computer.
“Computer, are you telling me that something we make in a fabricator today would have the same qualities that made it valuable in those places and times,” asked Alice.
“Yes, current fabrication techniques are up to current test standards,” replied the computer.
“Computer what does that mean?” asked Alice Beaverton.
“Current production of items meets the standards applied to testing those items for authenticity,” replied the computer.
“Computer, what about things that degrade or change over time? How is that built in to the fabrication of new copies of the items?” asked Alice.
The computer replied, “Specific time degradation or change, as you call it, is built into the materials used to fabricate the item.”
Alice made notes, in her replica notebook about the value of items. She looked at the screen and said, “Computer, forget the questions and information I asked and obtained in this cubical.”
The computer replied. “The past 9 hours of information requests and responses are erased.”
“Computer, put that selection of dresses back on the screen,” asked Alice.
The computer replied, “I have no reference in my memory for that request.”
“Good, now it is time to go shopping,” said Alice, putting her purse over her shoulder and opening the door to the outside world.