A Short Note & 18th in the Agent Amanda Story: Return to the 21st Century

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

Just a short note today.  I sent out a dozen notes (emails) to people I know are unhappy with Trump.  I asked for feedback on my plea for people to writing to Congress.  I got back 4 responses, three of which were, yes, I’ll read it later.  The forth was from an activist who wanted me to join her movement instead.  To be honest, I didn’t expect that much of a response.  But, it does make me feel that I am going to have to run for the damned office to get people to listen to anything, and then they will want to know my position on things Congress has no role in such as abortion.  Regardless, I will keep at it.  Don Quixote will not be the only one tilting at windmills. 

I did use the P900 to try for a panorama at full zoom. 20170222 0550 5 shot _Panorama 0147-0151 ns BW email.jpg I am not at all displeased.  This next image is several horizontal photos, taken with the cell phone, stitched together to make a vertical panorama.20170222_1728 7 shot vPanorama ns email.jpg

I trust this finds you happy, well and still enjoying a day or two of Spring.

Warmest regards, Ed

018 Return to the 21st Century

Fiction in 1343 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017


Amanda and Brice materialized in the stairwell of the Hall of Justice.  They, “popped” in just as an uniformed policeman, totally absorbed in his hand held device, entered.  The policeman said, “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”  The he chuckled, “I give out tickets to drivers and pedestrians who are as distracted as I am.  I should really know better.  Again, I do apologize for my walking distracted like that and practically running you down.”  He held up the cell phone for the couple to see, “I just got this photo of my six-year old holding the first tooth she lost on the string she used to pull it.” Again, he smiled and shrugged his shoulders.  “Now that she knows about stings and door knobs, what am I going to do when she is toothless.”


Amanda said, “No officer it was our fault.”  She shook her head approvingly and said, “And your daughter is beautiful.”


Brice nodded in agreement with his wife and said, “Beautiful.”


The policeman beamed and said, “I think so too, but then, she’s my little girl.”  He took the stairs two at a time.


Brice looked at Amanda, and said, “I guess I should have shot for a bigger space.”


Amanda took ahold of the door handle to the stairs leading down to Child Protective Services and said to her husband, “Perhaps walking the rest of the way is the safest way to get there.”


Brice, however, did not look one bit chastened.


After entering the Child Protective Services office, Amanda asked the woman working at the desk, “We,” using her forefinger to indicate Brice and herself, “would like to make an appointment to meet with Ms. Gunderson.”


The woman working the desk asked, “What does this concern?”


“An abducted child from another jurisdiction who may be held here,” Amanda replied.


The woman working the desk, flipped a page in a ledger and said, “She should be free at 4:30 this afternoon.”


As Amanda nodded assent, the woman asked, “Whom shall I put down?”


“Amanda and Brice Clarkton,” she replied.


The woman asked, “Is the child yours?”


“No, we are agents from the jurisdiction from which the child was abducted.  We will be back at 4:30. Thank you,” said Amanda.


“Yes, thank you,” said Brice as he opened the door for his wife.


Once in the hall with the door shut, Brice said, “Your turn.”


Amanda pivoted them to 4:30.


When the Clarktons reentered the Child Protective Services Office, the woman working at the the desk looked up and said, “I should have thought earlier to give you these.”  She handed Amanda a blank form and said, “You could have filled this out.  It often helps Ms. Gunderson, to see something in writing.  Besides, the forms will be necessary for us to take action should we, er, that is, you or our agency find the child.”


Amanda said, “Thank you.” She handed the form to Brice and said, “See if our documentation would suffice or if we need to augment it with this form.”


Brice sat in a chair, opened his portfolio and started to compare the form with the information they had on their warrants, authorization to transport and inter-jurisdictional cooperation request.  While he was doing that, Amanda looked at the certificates on the walls.    She was about to make a comment about one, when the door to Edith Gunderson’s office opened and a 21st Century version of Miss Marple, in tweeds, said, “Mr. and Mrs., Clarkton, please come in.”


About the same time, Amanda and Bryce were meeting Edith Gunderson,

Alice Beaverton walked into a stamp, coin & comic shop not two blocks away. The proprietor of the shop was putting stamps into a stock book.  Alice looked on with interest and finally ask what why are you using tweezers to handle the stamps?

The man looked up, smiled and said, “These are specialized tweezers called stamp tongs.  We use them because we have dirt and oil on our fingers that can permeate fragile old papers and cause them to deteriorate.  Not only that, we could bend them; tongs are the safest way to handle valuable stamps.”

Alice nodded and said my grandfather left me some stamps in an envelope.  Could you please show me how I could put them in something like what you’re doing?  So, I could keep them safe and not hurt them.”  

The man looked up and said, “It would be my pleasure.  How many stamps did he leave you?”

Alice said, “About a hundred.”

The man asked, “May I see the envelope.”

Alice took the envelope from her purse and handed it to the man who cracked it open and whistled.  “My, my, is this a treasure trove or is this a collection of facsimiles?”  

Alice said I suspect they are not facsimiles because Grandpa was very particular about things; and, he could afford to be.”

The man said, “I think you will want a stock book that will let you look at these stamps, show them off; because they are things of beauty; and, you don’t want to take them in and out very often so I recommend a stock book with clear crystal pockets.”  He pulled a stock down from the shelf behind him and said, “This one runs about $33.99 

“Yes, I’ll take it,” said Alice.  However, I really don’t understand how to do this.  Could please show me.?”

The man open the stock book, picked up the tongs and used them to remove a stamp from the envelope.  He used the corner of a three-by-five card to raise the crystal sleeve slightly so that the stamp would slide into the crystalline pocket without doing any damage to the stamp by bending a perforation or corner. He looked at Allison said, “That’s pretty much how it’s done.  If you do it often enough you will get to the point where you don’t need the three-by-five card; but, I recommend you use it for these stamps.  Do you have any idea what these stamps are worth?”

Alice said, “Grandpa left me a Classic Scott Catalog and I’ve looked them up. That was very difficult because I’m not used to foreign stamps; but, they seem to be worth a lot of money according to that catalog.”

The man smiled and said, “They would be assuming they’re not facsimiles.”

Alice asked him, “You can’t tell?”

“Well they look okay but one needs to handle, and I don’t mean with their hands but with tongs or look at many copies of a stamp before one can get comfortable knowing whether one has the real thing,” the  man said.  “Then too, to one needs to handle a lot of different stamps in order to become should we say informed enough to say one is an expert. The simplest and safest thing to do is to join the American Philatelic Association and then submit these stamps to them for an expert opinion; it’s called expertizing.

Alice asked, “How do I do that?”

The man smiled again and said, “Well I just happen to have applications right here.  You can either send this in by mail or you can go online and apply. The dues are relatively cheap and its really worth it if you’re going to do anything was stamps even if it’s only trying to sell these later.  It will save you a bundle on fees to have someone expertise them.”

Alice said, “Thank you very much.  You’ve been very helpful.”

The man said, “Come back anytime if you need any further assistance or want anything else.  I would love to see your entire collection.  He stuck out his hand and said, I’m Ernie.”

Alice shook his hand and said, “I’m Sylvia.  Perhaps we can show them to you right now if you wouldn’t mind helping me to organize them.  Please.”

Ernie beamed and said, “It will be my pleasure Sylvia.”


About democratizemoney

Retired University Professor
This entry was posted in fiction, photographs, political and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Short Note & 18th in the Agent Amanda Story: Return to the 21st Century

  1. beetleypete says:

    Ah. Stamps, and Edith Gunderson. We are getting there.

    The second shot is very good, for a phone camera.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the first shot best, there is a quality to ‘proper’ camera shots that just doesn’t show in phone shots for me, but the 2nd shot is lovely anyway, beautiful sky. Another name for Alice! And Edith’s back!! Things are cracking in Amandaland 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you.
    I am prejudiced about having clouds in the sky. To have reflections is a bonus for me.
    I do like the sound of “Amandaland.” Names, names, names–it is much like which cup is the pea under?
    Warmest regards, Ed


  4. Eddy Winko says:

    Now I wonder if Edith will recognise A&B or if this is before the last encounter and if so does that mean that Edith should have had a memory of them on the last book? 🙂 Ernie is going to have a big surprise soon!
    That’s a pretty amazing picture for a phone, very impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.
      If this is after, the whole incident from the last time was erased when Fleishman piked up the Judge before he did all of that bad stuff. Just like it never happened. If it is before, then we have to see how this one ends. I do think Ernie is hooked.
      I do love the quality of photos from the Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 phone.
      Warmest regards, Ed


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