Good Moring Ted and Jody:
One of the first things I recall about Graduate School at Rochester was Bill Riker saying “Rules matter.” It is so obvious that we often forget and take rules for granted. But rules are constantly being chipped away at by all sorts of people—conservatives and liberals alike. Speaking of conservatives and liberals I remember in the preface to his book on Conservatism in America (1955), Clinton Rossiter saying something to the effect that “liberals think people are stupid and need taking care of; conservatives think people are stupid and need to be taken advantage of.” In chipping away at the rules, conservatives are trying like hell to return to an imaginary world circa 1950 that never existed other than in television sitcom scripts and liberals are trying like hell to keep up with the changes that Americans are demonstrating in their roles as, well, everything. Surprisingly neither side seems to quite understand that the resulting government they have generated as they have chipped away at the rules, especially campaign finance rules, is a government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich. The rules favor the wealthy, pure and simple. This is truer today than it was during the days of the Robber Barons
Watching the snippets of speculation while I ride the exercise bike over the past several days is almost enough o convince me to stop riding the exercise bike. The pestilences’ war against America is not running at all smoothly. He and his minions and all the other Republicans want to repeal Obama Care. They speak of its demise and frighten insurance providers and people. The net upshot, is they are repealing it on a daily basis with their negative comments and condemnations. In effect what they say, not what they do. What they did was take a House action and have a Rose Garden Party which was dancing on the graves of people hurt by a failing Obama Care and that failure is because the party in power does not honor and respect the existing law. And it is law until they repeal it, replace it or not. It is so strange that the party of big business does not seem to understand how insurance works. I’ll not get into the day to day versions of who was responsible and why the FBI Director was fired. I pray they have tapes.
Now, if none of this makes sense, consider what I am writing about.
I trust this finds you well, cherry and on the verge of a cross-continental trip.
Warmest regards, Ed
Fiction in 1070 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
“I did not believe that old woman for a minute,” said Detective Philipson. “She knows where her sons are. I saw no signs of worry when you told her about Tommy the Sandman wanting to kill Wilbur for snitching. Indeed, I thought her neck twitched as if she wanted to check with someone behind her.
“Yes, I saw that twitch too,” said Agent White. I would wager those boys were in the room behind her and heard every word.”
“It could well be, but I am glad neither of you acted on your suspicions,” said Captain Batan, “I had the same observation and drew the same conclusion but since we have no probable cause to even talk to those boys in this jurisdiction much less for an entry or a search, if we had gone in we would be in it up to our necks. The boys are wanted on no charges here, at present.”
I wonder what you found when you searched the garage, Special Agent?” asked Captain Batan turning and looking for Special Agent Fleishman. “I thought he was with us.”
“No, he gave me a signal just before I pivoted us back here that he had someplace else to go,” replied Agent White.
“You guys have secret signals?” asked Captain Batan.
“Not really,” replied Agent White. “If two time travelers are together and there is a presumption that they will go the same place there is no need for communication. However, if one of them wishes not to go or has someplace else to go they can either give the one making the pivot a palm down wave of the hand or can shake their head no. In this case, I knew only to include the three of us in the pivot.” She looked thoughtful for a moment the continued, “While that is covered in our training, you must have silent communications between partners in a lot of situations that you wouldn’t be likely to think of as secret.”
Both the Detective and the Captain looked pensive and finally, Captain Batan spoke up. “Yes, I see what you mean. Each time I had a new partner, there were occasions that we need to coordinate without speaking. Often after an event, we talked it over and agreed on some kind of signal. But, most of the time it is just guesswork.
“Kind of like following the other’s lead in a bluff like with the story I told Mrs. Seams?” asked Amanda White.
Yes, it is a sense of the situation,” replied Captain Batan. “And . . .
But he cut short his reply when Special Agent Fleishman materialized wearing a broad grin. “I hope I am not interrupting anything, but,” holding out his hand with a small piece of wood he said, “I found this in the Seams garage and it matched a piece missing from a painting crate in the burglarized museum vault. A Renoir was in that crate.”
“We think Wilbur and Walter were in their Mother’s home when she interviewed us at the door,” said Detective Philipson. “You will remember the door behind which she had a shotgun?”
Epical Agent Fleishman asked, “Oh because she kept wanting to turn her head and consult with whoever was behind her??”
“You mean we all noticed?” asked Detective Philipson.
Captain Batan laughed and said, “We are all trained detectives. Besides, I think . . .The Captain interrupted himself as he saw Edith Gunderson and Outreach Agent Simmons come through the detective squad room door. He waved them over. “What brings you two up here today?”
Outreach Agent Simmons opened his hand and revealed a small figurine which looked like a lead soldier from a collector’s kit or diorama. “I can make it look like anything and any size. I thought of a gold coin but thought, as cheap as those are in the 27th century, in your era someone would pick it up and walk off with it. A toy soldier would be less prone to, err, walking off in a police station than would be a gold coin.” He held his hand toward Captain Batan. “I believe this should go on our desk.”
Captain Batan reached out and picked the figurine out of Outreach Agent Simmons hand. “And this is?”
Special Agent Fleishman laughed, “I do believe Johnathon has brought you a way to let us know you desire contact with the distant future.”
Outreach Agent Simmons nodded vigorously. “Yes, finally, it took some time to figure out how to make the receiver tune in on a precise spatial-temporal location. It would have been easy if I could have given it an implant, but it is not alive and I thought it should be small at, looking around, this end. I figured you wouldn’t want everyone to know what it was. On the other end, everyone can know.” Outreach Agent Simmons chuckled, “After all, we are used to time travel.
“Captain Batan had been examining the figurine while Outreach Agent Simmons was talking and asked, “How do I activate it?”
“Turn its head,” replied Outreach Agent Simmons who reached out to take the figurine back. He held it up by the base between his left forefinger and thumb and used his right forefinger and thumb to illustrate that the head would turn to the right. He then turned the head back and handed the figurine back to Captain Batan. “To the right turns the beacon on, to the left turns it off.”
“How do I know if it is on or off?” asked Captain Batan.
Outreach Agent Simmons laughed. “If it is on us, or one of us, shows up. If it is off our presence is not predicated.”
Captain Batan persisted, “Yes, but what if someone comes in and play with it and turns it on and I don’t notice?”
I suspect in that case, you might offer whoever shows up a hot cup chocolate with marshmallows or a pizza,” replied Outreach Agent Simmons.
“Or if you look it is, the head appears natural when off and it looks like he has a problem if he keeps his head in the on position—it simply looks awkward when turned on,” said Special Agent Fleishman.
Edith Gunderson reached out her hand and asked Captain Batan, “May, I?” He handed her the figurine and she turned the figurine’s head and said, “Anyone for hot chocolate?”