Good Afternoon Ted and Jody:
If I have the day right, Happy Anniversary. If I am early, hold that thought. IF I am late, Happy Anniversary for next year.
Nancy showed me a video that a kid that grew up with her kids created, Nate Kranzo https://kranzomagic.myshopify.com/products/the-moving-tanline . He was into magic as a kid and when he grew up he became professional. I think the trick is cool.
Speaking of cool, it is 3:35 in the afternoon on July 10 and it is 72 degrees F. out. We have some clouds, but not the kind that would cause this much cooling. I fear the county forgot to pay its heating bills again.
When I was on my trip to nowhere this morning I heard a market forecast on CNBC. I do not know the fellow’s name. Anyway, he predicts a market adjustment in September or October. When pressed for a reason he said that people would all be back from their vacations and notice the numbers on the economy aren’t as good as they are touted (presumably in tweets from the pestilence); and, the conditions mirror 1929 when we had an inexperienced President and a Republican controlled Congress. If he is right (and I have no reason to expect he is, for he is similar to a weatherman whose bad forecasts are forgotten as soon as the next day’s forecasts are made), hang on to your seats for it will be one hell of a ride.
Warmest regards, Ed
022 Still Following the Money – Two Years Before the Present
Fiction in 1142 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
There was a utility pole beside an empty parking space in front of the bank. When Agent White materialized she leaned against that utility pole and waited. ‘I should try to look nonchalant and relaxed,’ she thought. ‘That will disturb Ralph almost as much as him finding me here.’ She had timed it so she only had a 15-second wait. The SUV pulled up and Bart looked confused at seeing her. He seemed to be stammering something and pointing at her, turning his head repeatedly between looking toward Ralph in the driver’s seat and her leaning against the pole. However, the SUV windows were rolled up so Agent White could not make out what he was saying. Bart’s emotional state seemed to be transferred to Ralph, for it took six maneuvers for Ralph to parallel park. ‘Maybe he is new at this,’ she thought. ‘After all, he comes from a place where they only give people one name.’
When Bart scrambled out of the car he pointed at her and said, “How could you be here first? We didn’t decide where to go until after we left the last bank.” He shook his head and muttered under this breath, “That idiot Ralph, can’t drove, can’t park and can’t shake you.”
Agent White shook her head. “There is something wrong with you logic, Bart. I got here first, that idiot, as you call him, is still stalking me.
Ralph had gotten out of the driver’s door and walked around the back of the door, behind Agent White. She could not see the look of rage on his face. His fists were clenched and he walked like the proverbial Sasquatch. He was close to Agent White and his rage broke loose and he grabbed her in a bear hug from behind. “I’m sick of your meddling,” he snarled as he tightened his hold on her.
Agent White was struggling for breath, but she has enough to ask, “Do you know how to swim?” Agent White pivoted carrying Ralph who still held her in a tight bear hug.
Agent White and Ralph still holding her in a punishing bear hug materialized. They were 25 feet in the air, over a vast expanse of ocean. There were water and waves as far as the eye could see in all directions. As they began to fall, Ralph’s rage turned to fear and the realization that he was falling. While he did not answer Agent White’s question, he could not swim. He did the only reasonable thing. He released Agent White and tried to use his arms to fly. His arms were still attempting lift when he hit the water. Agent White did not witness his continued attempt at flight nor artless entry into the water. While she could swim, she could not fly. So she pivoted.
Agent White materialized in front of Bart. Bart looked like he wanted to jump out of his skin. His face bore more confusion than it normally betrayed. “What did you do with Ralph?” he demanded.
“I seem to recall he was assaulting me,” replied Agent White. “I asked him if he could swim. Could he?”
Bart stammered, “I, I, I, only worked, worked with him because the Don wanted me to, to, to.”
“Where did you leave Mrs. Calkins?” asked Agent White.
“I don’t know,” replied Bart.
“But you were there when the two of you took her from the Credit Union,” asserted Agent White.
“Hey, it was dark,” replied Bart. “It was at an old fashioned looking gas station somewhere in the boonies. It only had leaded gasoline. Ralph moved us, I never knew where or when we were until he told me what date to use on the deposit slips.”
Special Agent Fleishman walked out of the bank and over to Agent White and Bartholomew Wilson. “I trust you left that other fellow someplace interesting.”
Agent White laughed, “In the middle of the air over a patch of the South Pacific.”
“Could he swim?” Special Agent Fleishman asked.
“I did ask him,” replied Agent White. “However, he declined to share that information with me.’
“You don’t look wet,” commented Special Agent Fleishman.
“I didn’t have a change of clothes in my purse, so I let him off about 25 feet above the water and beat a hasty retreat,” said, Agent White. “I really wasn’t that interested in if he could swim or not. I just figured any man that would manhandle a woman was all wet, so I made sure.”
While Agent White and Special Agent Fleishman were exchanging banter over poor Ralph going for an unexpected swim, Bart took several well spaced and tentative steps back to distance himself from the two, the crazy woman in particular. Agent White pointed at him and said, “Stay.” Bart took no more steps; he stood stock still.
“I guess you weren’t really mad at the fellow,” said Special Agent Fleishman.
Agent White returned his comment with a cocked head and frown. “How do you know that?”
“You didn’t drop him into an active volcano,” replied Special Agent White.
Upon hearing the volcanic option, Bart took off running down the street. Agent White said, “I guess he is not well trained. I told him to stay.”
Special Agent Fleishman chuckled, “I’ll fetch him.” He pivoted.
Special Agent Fleishman materialized several feet in advance of Bart’s projected route and slightly off to his left. Special Agent Fleishman stuck his arm out, Bart ran into it and did a flip. Bart struggled to his feet trying to rub his knee and neck at the same time. Once Bart was standing, Special Agent Fleishman took him by the hand and led him back to, where Agent White was standing. Bart was still trying to rub both is neck and his right knee.
“I told you to stay,” Agent White told Bart.
In a very low and meek voice, Bart replied, “Yes, Mam.”
“Now, think carefully, why did you leave her in the boonies?” asked Agent White.
“The Don told Ralph that he was to kill the woman and dump her body where it would never be found.” Bart paused and then said, “After he left her there, alive, I told him the Don would be angry. He told me that he didn’t work for the Don and where he came from petty things like revenge killings are simply not done. Besides, he said, ‘Stephen would tear my guts out if I killed her’. Ralph comes from a strange place.”
“Special Agent Fleishman said, “I think we are talking to the wrong guy. Let’s go see if Ralph is a swimmer.”
Agent White nodded, she pointed to Bart and said, “Stay this time. Then she pivoted Special Agent Fleishman and herself to the point near where Ralph let go of her, 25 feet over the South Pacific.