Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Thank you for the card.
Two days ago, I found an, for lack of a better word, “effect” in Photoshop that allows for ephemeral like images. I call them ephemeral as they are almost there and it is as if one took the image as it was fleeting or fading. As with everything else, I pushed it a bit. I sent the first image that I accidentally fell upon yesterday—the outline of trees sort of floating in the clouds. Today, I have a few more that I intentionally created. The first is of a man cleaning windows. I took that shot when Nancy and the Nurse went to get the car on Monday (Nancy was unable to get in because someone parked so close to her side. The nurse, a very slim woman could crawl over the front seat console and thus get it out.) I have attached the full shot and the ephemeral crop. The second image is of a tall cedar tee about 100 yards from our house. Again, the ephemeral and original shots are both attached. Third is of the sky, mostly blue, both the original and the ephemeral shots are attached. All three photos were taken on the afternoon of my back surgery. I didn’t get out much that day, so I made the most of what I could take with my cell phone.
I have done some thinking today about a political strategy for 2018. Realizing full well that the pestilence’s supporters do not see the sham his ego perpetuates, nonetheless I think we need to make friends with them. Their grievance seems to be that they, mostly white middle and lower class Americans, have been left out over the past decades: jobs, entitlements, affirmative action, and whole host of programs that have attempted to equalize the support for all citizens. What needs to be done is establish a series of programs that overtly include everyone, not just those who need it most. Yes, that is costlier, but then, the rich can well afford to pay. It is not difficult to show that the rich not paying their fair share has not resulted in anything but them exporting jobs and hoarding cash. Then too, the trickle down economics of the pestilence’s promises, need to be debunked. Third, the notion of politics by fear needs to be addressed. FDR was right, fear is the only thing we need to fear. Fear paralyzes people. We need to provide a positive message not one that depends upon fearing the pestilence and his wrongheaded thinking. Trump is the second only to fear that we fear. We need to stop fearing him and be vocal directly to our representatives on a regular basis, especially those of us with Republican representatives in Congress. It is time to change the political game from a zero-sum one to a gain for all game.
I do hope this finds you warm, healthy, and happy.
Warmest regards, Ed
014 Agents Clarkton Seek Advice
Fiction in 1241 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
“It would appear that Melissa Beaverton expected us to apprehended her before she was able to abduct her daughter,” explained Agent Amanda Clarkton. “We would have gone back farther, but that would have involved disturbing the lives of both her daughter and her former husband. So, what tack do you suggest we take?”
Special Agent Fleishman said, “This is all too familiar. The simplest course is to activate her implant to bring her home. However, that would result in her leaving her child wherever and whenever they are down line. Her implant has about 29 days left before it does that anyway. Do you suppose she planned on that?” Turning to Outreach Agent Simmons, Special Agent Fleishman asked. “You say she knows about the blue syringes removing the transplant?”
“Yes, I told her about the three colors,” replied Outreach Agent Simmons.
“OK, then let us assume the worst,” said Special Agent Fleishman. “We assume she has a blue syringe. First check inventory Outreach Agent Simmons.” Turning to Agents Amanda and Brice, “You check with the city police and get her identity tab from them, and track her movements since she got out of prison. Perhaps we can get a fix on where and when she went or prepared to go.”
Amanda and Brice decided to follow the temporal order
of where Alice Beaverton spent her monthly allotment of credits. Alice’s first stop was a feeding center where she ate dinner. Next, she entered the public sleeping cubical where she spent her first night out of jail. They entered the room; and, Amanda quizzed the computer there. “Computer, when Melissa Beaverton stayed here what services and information did she request?”
The computer replied, “Alice Beaverton watched session 1 of the ATI training for implant course. She slept for 7 hours and 33 minutes while the six-hour sleep module for the ATI course for implants was supplied to her. She had questions about monitoring prison, public and private spaces. She had no warrants to monitor private spaces. She did not request other monitoring.”
Reading the entries on Alice Beaverton’s identity tab, Brice said, “The next stop on Alice’s identity tab was the library where she requested some 13 books. Do you want to pivot, or should I?”
Amanda held her hand up and said, “Neither, let’s retrace her steps instead.”
Leaving the public sleeping cubical and taking the elevator to the walkway, Amanda pointed to the library five levels below the walkway and across the plaza and said, “I’m guessing she stopped in one or more of these merchants on her way to the library. Why not check them all?”
“She did shop in the Fabrications shop,” said Brice pointing to the nearest shop, “a few days later. It looks like she spent quite a bit of her first monthly allotment there.”
When Amanda and Brice entered the Fabrications Shop, a smiling young man approached the said “Welcome, what can we make for you today?”
Amanda handed the young man a set of images of Alice Beaverton and said, “We are with ATI and are looking into where this woman had been in the last week.”
The young man looked at the set of images and said, “Yes she was in here about five to six days ago. I showed her around. I recall she had a device I had never seen before and wanted to know if we could duplicate it with its programming intact. I thought that it was strange she knew so little bout fabrication.”
While the young man was speaking, Amanda opened her purse and took out Alice Beaverton’s identity tab. She held it up and asked the young man, “Was it like this?”
The young man held out his hand, “I think so, let me feel its heft.” He took the device from Amanda and turned it over in his hand, and said, “Yes, exactly like this.” With that he handed the identity tab back to Amanda.
“How is it you remember so clearly?” asked Brice.
“Most of the people who come in know what they want and how many and they want them yesterday. It was as if she walked in here by accident or on a whim. Yet, she was very interested when I explained what we did. I recall she was interested in replicating something that was old and would show its age under testing.” The young man shook his head and said, “It was one of the few times I had to try selling and I sold nothing.”
“So,” Brice said, “It was as unusual an encounter as the one you are having now.”
“Yes, we don’t have many conversations with people who come in here. As I said, they know what they want, how many and they wanted it yesterday. By, the way, if you need a fabrication come back and ask for me,” pointing to himself, “Jackson, we are on commission.”
“Well, Jackson, her financials show she came in two days ago, and had things made,” said Brice. “Can you get us records of what your firm fabricated for Alice Beaverton?” asked Brice.
Jackson turned beet red and yelled “SCOT!” He stood there for a moment and then yelled again, “SCOT!” He waited a few moments and then turned on his toes and marched back to a door in the back of the shop. Ash he reached for the door latch the door opened and a man dressed in antique clothing stepped out.
“What is all the noise about?” Scot asked.
Jackson pointed to Amanda and Brice, “These two cops want information about what you made for Alice Beaverton. Then we will deal with your stealing commissions.”
“Who is Alice Beaverton? “Scot asked.
While Jackson had been berating Scot, both Amanda and Brice moved toward the two men. By the time, Scot asked ‘who is Alice Beaverton,’ Amanda handed him the set of images of Alice.
Scot took the images and asked “is this Alice Beaverton?”
Amanda nodded and said, “Yes and we need to know what you made for her the day before yesterday.”
“Step over to this screen and I will ask the computer to list what we made for her,” said Scot to Alice and B rice. As he passed Jackson he hissed, “I stole no commissions, she did not ask for you; she just walked in.” Then in full voice, “Computer please list the items we made for Alice Beaverton.”
Amanda asked, “Could you please have it display pictures of the items?”
“Computer provide illustrations for each unique item we fabricated for Alice Beaverton,” said Scott.
The computer screen displayed a 2-carat diamond solitaire ring with the notation of 25 next to it, six identity tabs, and dozens of small squares of what appeared to be pieces of paper some with straight edges and some with ruffled edges.
“Please enlarge some of the small squares,” asked Brice.
Scott asked the computer to do so and Brice commented on the result. “Just as I suspected, rare postage stamps. She is going to have trouble peddling some of those.”
“Why?” asked his wife.
“Brice shook his head and said, “My Dad dragged me to countless stamps shows when I was a kid. Some of the stamps she had made are one of a kind. Others, like,” and he pointed to one from the Panama Canal, “are only owned by the Philatelic Museum, part of the Smithsonian. They would never sell.”