The “S” Word is on the Way & 028 Agent White’s Interview with Col. George Blackwell

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

The weather folks are using the “S” word to describe next week. You know, that time in the Great Pacific Northwest when the sun is out, the temperatures are in the 80s to god knows how hot and it is dry. They are positively doling at the prospects. Those kinds of climatic conditions drive people out to search for water in which to immerse themselves (I suspect it is because we have not quite shed our amphibian ancestry). Ironically, it is these same conditions that melt the snow pack that keep the flowing bodies of water at temperatures guaranteed to induce hyperthermia in minutes. The weather folks note this as well but still drool over the prospects of 80+ degrees.

What this all means, is that the flowers on trees are all by over. However, there is one holdout, the flowers in the water which should continue well into next week. I took time out from my busy day on the exercise bike (while the stationary bike is not helping me get rid of that pound that I am only four or five pounds away from shedding, it has seemed to lower my overall blood sugar by several points) to shoot the flowers and present them here. (I have not figured out how to get proper clouds in the shots that are directed downward, but I am working on it).20170518_1329 9 shot Panorama ns1 email.jpg20170516_084048 email.jpg

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The pestilence leaves for the Middle East today. Let us pray they like him and want to keep him.

I trust this finds you in good health, spirits, and happily not in hyperthermia inducing water.

Warmest regards, Ed

028 Agent White’s Interview with Col. George Blackwell
Fiction in 932 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

“Col. Blackwell, thank you for agreeing to talk with me again,” said Agent White.

“It is my pleasure to assist the ATI in any way I can,” replied Col. Blackwell. “What precisely do you want to know.

“Normally I would be advised to mask what I am looking for,” said Agent White. “however, you are too smart for me to play games. I am looking for any way you could still travel in time.”

Col. Blackwell chuckled, “I gave that up for my health. I had the implant removed and had another ATI agent bring me here. Here I am not likely to encounter contemporary time travel in my lifetime. Sort of removed from all temptation, so to speak.”

“How is this for your health?” asked Agent White.

“I am what you might call a danger junkie,” replied Col. Blackwell. “I tend to go in where the ammunition is in the air, or bombs are going off. A person could get killed that way. At least that is what my lovely wife tells me. She used to get physically ill when I went on missions. 43% of my operational command over the years did not return alive. She explained that she loved me too much to want to have to get a folded flag. So, she was going to leave me. As much as I love danger, I love her more. She agreed to, shall we say, rough it and live in an earlier time where there was no civil or international warfare. Now, to be precise if I gave up my commission and implant. So, here I am and here I will stay.

“Is that your wife,” asked Agent White pointing to a woman seated on a bench some distance off.

“Yes, your presence makes her nervous,” replied Col, Blackwell. “We have been here five years now and I suspect she thinks I yearn for the old life. I suppose I could, but I don’t, I write instead. I write fantastic science fiction stories about military operations across time. I used the old high energy approach to time travel in my novels—fictional adaptations of actual events to come. I often wonder if I am influencing any people in the future to be more circumspect.

“So, you gave it up for her health and your continued marriage to her. Could you ask your wife to join us?” asked Agent White.

“Yes, certainly,” replied Col. Blackwell. He stood up and waved to his wife. Cupping his hands over his mouth he called out “Julia, come and join us please.”

When Julia rose to join them, Agent White could see the woman was pregnant. Agent White rose and walked toward Mrs. Blackwell and greeted her and said, “Mrs. Blackwell, I am Amanda White. I am here to clear your husband as a suspect in a series of time crimes.”

Julia Blackwell laughed, a laugh bordering on hysteria. “Thank God, I thought you were here to recruit him. And I thought we were doing so well, him not coming back from missions missing body parts. He seemed to enjoy the writing and his agent brings money. But still, it isn’t the same as being shot at is it?”

Agent White changed the topic, “When are you due.”

Julia Blackwell patted her stomach and said, “21 days.” Smiling broadly, she asked, “What crimes?”

Agent White shook her head and then replied, “We noticed when five bodies materialized in the 21st Century that were not contemporary to that period. We initially thought it was a dumping ground for a murder for hire or a scam on cryogenics. We subsequently found wine theft from a long time ago, baseball cards and we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. Quite frankly, someone who fits your husband’s taste for danger would not normally be a suspect as these crimes have all been rather sneaky. However, he is one of four former time travelers who are now off the grid I have to check out.”

“I trust my husband; but, I check on him,” replied Julia Blackwell.

Amanda White looked confused, “Check, how do you check?”

Julia Blackwell cocked her right index finger and said, “Come inside and I will show you.” As the two women entered the house, Julia said, “Everyone has favorite things, or habits or things they depend upon. You know the kinds of things you think you can’t live without. Back in real time, I call it real time as this is more like a dream. Back in real time, George was never without a cigar. It was not so much she smoked them as they were part of his attire. He liked a brand called South Pacific. When I check, I look for that particular cigar. In this dream world, he uses a different brand of cigar, a wholly different style or shape. I look for evidence of South Pacific cigars. I know George and if he were still moving around in time he would not be able to resist picking up a canister of South Pacific cigars and bringing them home. In five years, I have not seen one after the first week when he ran out and had to switch to a contemporary brand.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Blackwell,” said Agent White. “You don’t know how much you have helped my ability to check out the other three on my list. If I am reading you right, if they are staying where they are, they won’t have the thinks they used to not be able to live without.”

Julia Blackwell nodded.

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Water, Heat & 008 Tuesday, June 16, 1926, Where to Go? Where to Look?

Dear Ted and Jody:

It was good to hear your voices yesterday. It was not good to hear about the 5 or more inches of water in the lower level of your house from the storm late last week. But good to hear the Service Pro people got it cleaned up. I remember well when they moved fans and large dehumidifier in when we had that problem with a water pipe to the dishwasher breaking. As you said on the phone, “This too shall pass.” Hang in there.

Summer here has temporarily ameliorated with a bit of a lowering of the heat. However, that can’t last as there is humidity involved and the 4th of July is rapidly approaching. Cool weather on the 4th is definitely not American and humidity is against local ordinances. I anticipate a swat team will be dispatched to deal with the humidity and cool temperatures. I hope the swat team dresses appropriately for the sweat bath that will ensue.
Warmest regards, Ed

008 Tuesday, June 16, 1926, Where to Go? Where to Look?

Fiction in 1238 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

“There is nothing physically wrong causing your memory loss, Mr. Calkins,” said Doc Emerson. “Given you were held at gunpoint and forcibly taken I would hazard that there is mental trauma. I have read about it in the New England Journal of Medicine some time back. As best I recall, it goes away. Either something will jog your memory, or one day you will wake up and your memory will all be there.”

Mrs. Calkins lips tightened and he face became sad. “I don’t know where I belong, but I don’t belong imposing on Tom and Thora. I don’t know where to go and I have no money. So, what am I to do?

Doc Emerson’s face showed he had an idea. “Norma Rae,” he called out and waved his arm so Norma Rae could see him and respond.

“Yeah, Doc?” she replied.

Doc Emerson grabbed Mrs. Calkins’ hand and said, “Come with me, I have an idea.” The two marched across the crowded living room to where Norma Rae was talking to a tall, thin fellow wearing a sidearm and a badge.

“Phil, Norma Rae, this is Aida Calkins, Mrs. Calkins,” Doc Emerson said.

Norma Rae said, “We met in the kitchen after the service for old Nathan and before Thora and Tom got hitched.” She turned to Mrs. Calkins and said, “You did a nice job on her makeup and lookin’ good in that dress.” Norma Rae winked. Then Turning back to Doc Emerson she said, “What can I do for you Doc”

Gesturing towards Mrs. Calkins, Doc Emerson said, “This lady has lost her memory. A far as I can tell it is only the important stuff like where she lives, works and the like that shew can’t remember. The not so important stuff like language, mathematics, how to apply cosmetics, dressing herself, which fork to use and reasoning powers she retains.”

“What are you getting at, Doc?” asked Norma Rae.

“Quite frankly she needs a place to live, work and all that important stuff until her memory comes back” replied Doc. Emerson. He paused and looked Norma Rae in the eyes. “You remember when Clive Stevens little boy was born and he almost lost him because the switchboard was not operating cuz you went to the store?”

Norma Rae held out her hands palms forward as to ward off his words, “I got back in time, didn’t I?”

What if you hadn’t?” asked Doc Emerson. “That was a breach birth. Either Clive’s son or wife could have died. What if you had help?”

“I have explained to everyone that the company won’t pay more for switchboard help,” said and exasperated Norma Rae. “Besides why do you have to bring it up at a wedding reception for God’s sake?

“I bring it up for her sake,” Doc Emerson said pointing to Mrs. Calkins. “She needs someplace to live, sleep, eat and work until she remembers where she belongs.”I suspect we could raise the money right here.” At the top of his lungs, Doc Emerson yelled “ATTENTION EVERYONE. ATTENTION.” The murmur of conversation in the kitchen and living room began to die out.

Phil, the tall thin man wearing the silver star said in a strong firm voice, “Listen to Doc everyone. He has an idea you all need to hear.

The rooms went silent.

Doc Emerson moved to the staircase and went up two steps so he was looking over the heads of everyone. “I am sure that you all know about how Mrs. Calkins, Aida, got here last night. I am sure that even though I just finished my examination of her you all know she has what we in the medical profession call temporary memory loss.” He looked around and saw that most of the folks were nodding their heads. “Well, she needs a place to live and work until her memory comes back.” He paused and said, “Norma Rae, how many telephones do you handle?”

Norma Rae spoke up “Forty-three.”

“If we could get the switchboard open an additional 40 hours a week, how many of you would be willing to pay say, 60¢ more a month on your telephone bill?

Every person in the room raised a hand.

Doc Emerson said, “I find the vote of this special meeting of the Committee of Telephones Users of Carbon County, Wyoming unanimously approved a rate hike of 60¢ a month. Meeting adjourned.”

A voice called out from near the front door, “I didn’t hear no meeting called to order.”

Doc Emerson responded, “It was a vote in support of your boy, Phil.”

Phil Collins replied from the front door, “Well that’s alright then.”

Doc Emerson turned to Norma Rae again, “Looks like you need to hire an assistant. What do you say to 35¢ an hour, room and board?”

Norma Rae laughed. “I appear not to have a voice in this.” She turned to Mrs. Calkins and said, “What say you? Do you want a job, bed and board, Mrs. Calkins?”

Only if you call me Aida, Boss Lady,” replied Mrs. Calkins.

Norma Rae smiled and said, “No more boss lady, I am still Norma Rae.” She stuck our her hand and when Mrs, Calkins shook it, Norma Rae said, “You are hired, Aida.”

the room burst out in applause and whistles and “Alrights” and one “good show.”

{Present Day} Agent White and Special Agent Simpson entered the detective squad room from the stairwell.

They saw Detective Philipson at his desk glued to his computer screen. His only movements were his right hand guiding his mouse and periodic clinks of one of the mouse buttons. “Any luck?” Agent White asked.

Detective Philipson shook his head no. “Nothing so far. If they dropped her off in the past where we have computer records, she should have shown up. The thing is, she doesn’t know we are looking for her as time travel is not something in her universe.”

Until now,” said Agent White.

Right,” replied Detective Philipson. “But she can not have deduced time travel is possible and routine and had no idea she should leave us a clue. If she is smart she will keep her head down and not panic.” Detective Philipson looked thoughtful for a moment. “The bright side is that unidentified female bodies are easy to find. We keep track of them. She isn’t one of those.”

Special Agent Simpson said, “There is nothing ordinary and routine about time travel?’

Agent White asked, “Do you want to try Gettysburg again?”

No, what I mean is I get you can do it. I’ll be damned if I know how. But it is not part of normal things to do in a day. The woman has to have some idea of what happened to her, but she will not know it was purposeful. She must have read enough fiction to come up with all sorts of implausible reasons she is where she is”

And When, she is” added, Agent White.

Yes, as I said, I am still shaky when it comes to this stuff. But I would go where I knew something or someone if I were her.”

OK,” said Detective Philipson, “I’ll try building Mrs. Calkins’ past so we can try to figure out where she would go if she were dropped in any time period.”

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Heat, a Car, a Book & 007 Tuesday, June 16, 1926, Interview with the SheriffCars

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

I think my thermometer is broken. At 4:00 A.M. It showed 50 degrees F. By 9:00 A.M. It showed 85 degrees F. Now I know it is supposed to be summer, but that is a bit early in the day for 85 degrees.

Yesterday, I was behind a 1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner on the way home. I know the car as a friend at IU when I was a junior in there had one that we were forever having to find as he would leave parked in an open lot and walk back the dorm after drinking in a bar the night before. It was almost a game of finding Tom’s Starliner—dark green. The one I followed yesterday on I-5 for 12 miles was beautifully restored. The old fellow (or he was wearing a balding and white wig) and his lady seemed happy enough driving along at 70 mph. It did get me to thinking. Yes, it would be cool to have an old restored car. But, on a day like yesterday (it got close to 100 here in the late afternoon and is supposed to do that again today but from the other side of 100 today) even with the windows wide open, it probably was more of an acquired taste than actual comfort. It made me think that Jay Leno has the right idea with lots of cool old cars in a large, air conditioned garage with enough room to drive them in the garage.

Your copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel arrived. It has been a couple of years since I read it (OK, over 15). So I have decided to reread it before sending it to you. Like Sapiens that I already sent, Gun, Germs, and Steel makes one think. I have found a copy online as a PDF file. You might ask Jody to download it and see if having it in a PDF file on her tablet and the ability to enlarge the print might be a better way to read it than in hard or softcover.

Warmest regards, Ed

007 Tuesday, June 16, 1926, Interview with the Sheriff

Fiction in 1246 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

A man, standing over six feet tall and weighing in over 275 pounds with a small bottle of Coke-a-Cola buried in his huge hand, a pistol on his hip and silver star on his left breast smiled and said. “I’m Sheriff Matthew Gilbertson. Everyone calls me Matt or Sheriff. You must be the Aida Calkins Tom told me about.

“That is me, or at least I think I am Aida Calkins,” replied Mrs. Calkins. “All I know if there was a robbery where I worked yesterday morning. I don’t know where that is. But I do remember the man with the pistol saying ‘if anyone calls the police we will kill her.’ He pointed the gun at my head. He took a large case full of money and me. He pushed me into an auto with a big man already in it and the next thing I knew it was night and they pushed me out of the auto next to Tom’s gas pumps.”

“That’s all you know? Asked the Sheriff.

When Mrs. Calkins nodded her head, he asked, “Would you like one of these?” holding up the bottle of Coke-a-ColaTM.

Again Mrs. Calkins nodded and said, “Yes, please, that would be heavenly.”

The Sheriff cocked his finger and said, “Come with me.”

Sheriff Gilbertson lead Mrs, Calkins down a well-worn path from Tom’s house to the gas station. Once inside, she could see that what she took for a Coke-a-ColaTM machine the night before was an icebox painted red with a Coke-a-Cola advertisement stuck to it. The ice box had a coin slot jury-rigged to the door handle so that when you put a nickel in the handle would pull the door open and the nickel dropped into the interior of the door. The Sheriff dug deep into his pants pocket and pulled out a handful of change. He selected a nickel and put it in the door handle, opened the door and Mrs. Calkins could hear the coin drop. “If Tom patented this,” the Sheriff said pointing to the lock, he would become a rich man. Inside the box, Mrs. Calkins could see the small block of melting ice and a few dozen bottles of Coke-a-ColaTM. “Tom set this up a few years back when he realized that old Nathan was drinking all the Coke-a-Cola. He said his Dad was pissing away their profit margin. Well, I tell you word spread and he goes through more of that bottled stuff than any place in the county. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sells more Coke-a-ColaTM than he does gasoline. People come out on hot days just to buy a Coke-a-Cola from that coin activated icebox. Every one of them says. ‘Who would have thought it?’ Tom did,” said the Sheriff chuckling. He reached in the box, pulled out a bottle of Coke-a-ColaTM, shut the door, popped the cap on the bottle with an opener fashioned from a bottle opener screwed to the door and said, “You sure that is all you remember?”

Mrs. Calkins held the cold bottle in her head and resisted the desire to rub it against her forehead. ‘Wyoming in June is warm,” she thought. Responding to Sheriff Gilbertson’s question of what she remembered, she nodded and said, “I am afraid so. I should know more, but I think I am Aida Calkins and I think I worked in a bank as there was lots of money in that bag. I know I sat next to a big man and he opened the door and pushed me out, The took me when the place I worked opened, I know that. That would be before 9:00 A.M, probably closer to 8. I felt that I was in the car with them for only a matter of minutes, yet, June days are long and it was definitely dark when they kicked me out of the automobile. Somehow I am missing more than twelve hours and only remember who I think I am.”

The Sheriff cocked his finger again and lead her out of the station to one of the Model Ts sitting by the pump. “Show me how they kicked you out of the Motel T,” he said, pointing to the nearest one marked SHERIFF inside a silver star painted on the door.

Mrs. Calkins shook her head. “It wasn’t a Model T. It has a back seat and back door.”

The Sheriff said, “So, you think you were in a Model TT?”

“I don’t pay attention to what automobiles are called,” replied Mrs. Calkins. “It definitely had a back seat and doors back there.”

“Tom tells me he was stuck by the amount of light,” said Sheriff Gilbertson. “Can you tell me if the robbers had more than one car?”

“I only knew about the one,” replied Mrs. Calkins. When they left there was only one.”

“The thing is, Tom knows automobiles and he saw too much light. The other thing is four doors on Fords are not common—it would be a fairly new automobile,” said the Sheriff with a frown. “I have never seen one. Maybe we should go back to the house and let Doc Emerson talk with you.”

“O.K.,” replied Mrs. Calkins.

Walking back to the house the Sheriff said, “I saw what you did for Thora. Thank you. She looked beautiful. I think Tom was more than surprised.”

“It was my pleasure and the least I could have done,” replied Mrs. Calkins. She paused and then said, “I showed up here in the middle of the night, she made tea and talked with me until I calmed down. She gave me a bed, clothes and even left a note for me to find the coffee when I awoke. Yes, It was the least I could do for her. She is a natural beauty. Why is it they waited to get married?”

“She was hired to take care of Old Nathan,” replied the Sheriff. “That was three years ago. She took real good care of him. She and Tom wanted to wait until the old man no longer needed her so he could have all of her attention.” The Sheriff gave a little laugh. “Anyone who saw Tom and Thora together knew they were in love. I suspect the old man knew as well. But, they are married now.”

“If his father was 98 why is his son so young?” asked Mrs. Calkins.

“Nathan had 15 boys from five different wives,” replied the Sheriff. “All but Tom were like their old man, stubborn and cantankerous as all get out. They all ran away at about 15. When Tom’s mother died, he had to stay to help the old man. I do believe he is like his mother and not like Old Nathan.

As they entered the house, Mrs. Calkins said, “Thank you. Which is Dr. Emerson.”

“I’ll introduce you,” said the Sheriff. He walked over to a man seated at the kitchen table drinking a tall glass of amber colored liquid in ice. “Doc, this here is Aida Calkins, Mrs. Calkins. She is missing some time yesterday and most of her memory. See if you can help her find both.”

Dr. Emerson pointed to his glass, “Would you like some unsweetened peppermint tea?”

“I’d much rather have the ice and a washcloth to put on the back of my neck,” replied Mrs. Calkins.


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Juli and Art Updates & 006 Tuesday Morning, June 16, 1926

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

After six to eight weeks of going without a massage, (I stopped counting least I fall into a deep depression) I finally got a massage this morning. Oh, what a relief it is. I probably should have scheduled 4 or 5, but she has other clients; and, I did learn to share in kindergarten. Juli is between nursing positions. After being put in jeopardy of getting black marks for the actions of her superiors, both times by her immediate supervisor, twice she resigned as head of nursing at a nursing home. She gave them 30 days notice. Since they were in the middle of an annual state review, she stayed 45 days to get them past that. I suspect her next position (which she starts in mid-July) will be a bit less tense. Anyway, it was great to talk with her this morning and get caught up with her children and parents. Besides, I was in dire need of a massage.

I stopped for breakfast before my massage and ran into Art. Art is in an apartment now and has found the books at the dollar store. He just finished a biography or autobiography of a former head of one of Sony units in America.. so Art was full of news from twenty to forty years ago in the broadcast and music industries.

On a more current news cycle, I was interested to see the Washington Post story yesterday about what Obama knew about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and his dilemma in dealing with it.

Since the pestilence is so far into his denials about its existence, it is pretty clear the Russians will be back with more sophisticated ways to do it again.

I hope this finds you enjoying summer.

Warmest regards, Ed

006 Tuesday Morning, June 16, 1926

Fiction in 998 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

The night before, the gas station and post office at Ladoga Wyoming looked deserted and darker than Mrs. Calkins had ever experienced in her entire life. Today the sun was out. Moving to the window she looked out in the direction of the gas station some 100 yards bellow the house she was now in. There were three Model Ts, two motorcycles and seven single horse-drawn wagons parked by the gas station. ‘I suspect they would call them buckboards,’ she thought remembering her childhood Saturday morning movie days. . ‘A virtual population explosion,’ she thought. “But where are the people,” she said out-loud. She could hear no voices and saw no movement from the window she was looking out. She called out, “YO0-HOO, ANYONE HERE.” Getting no response she moved to the window on the other wall and saw high desert as far as the eye could see. She found her clothes neatly folded on a chair and remembered folding them and changing into the shift that Thora had given her when they came up after a long talk over a cup of tea. Thora told her, ‘this is the room the first young one will have, after we get the papers, you know.’ Mrs. Calkins asked her why the papers were so important. Thora responded that ‘Otherwise it isn’t right in the eyes of the Lord.’

Having changed into her clothes from the day before, Mrs, Calkins opened the door and took the stairs down to the kitchen. Out the back door of the kitchen she could see a knot of people on the top of the hill to the north, just as the night before, Tom Ladoga had told her they would be burying his father. While it was difficult to count the people at the distance they were away from her, Mrs. Calkins estimated a dozen or more people were gathered on that hill. Turning to the interior of the kitchen she saw a notepad set up like a tent on the table next to a coffee cup. She went over and found it was a note from Thora telling her the coffee was in the pot on the stove and bread in the pie safe.

The coffee was hot and strong. No cream, no milk, so Mrs. Calkins went to the hand pump on the sink and pumped until she had a small stream of water and added water to the cup to cool it and make it less able to hold a spoon upright. Pulling her fanny pack off and laying it on the table, she opened it and took her personal items out one at a time taking inventory: cellphone, cellphone charger and cable, lipstick, compact, mascara, gum, ibuprofen tablets, wallet with useless money and credit cards and a driver license that won’t be valid until well into the next Century, her wedding ring that she had carried every since Frank died, and key ring with house, car, and safety deposit box keys. ‘All the evidence around me says this is 1926. If I tell the sheriff what happened and when I will be sent to what passes for a mental institution in 1926. Better I have amnesia,’ Mrs. Calkins thought. She emptied her wallet of all the cards, and money and ids. Using the cloth she had used to pour the coffee, she opened the lower door on the stove in which coals were bright red. She added her money, credit cards, and ids to the coals. The ‘fresh fuel’ briefly flamed sending up a bit of black smoke through the chimney. She went to the door and saw that the knot at the top of the hill was still in place. ‘If I am lucky, no one saw the bit black smoke the plastic made,’ she thought. She returned to the table and put the remainder of her ‘belongings’ back into her fanny pack and strapped it on. ‘I don’t know why I am keeping the cell phone, but it will be easier to explain than had I tried to burn it,’ she thought and sat down and calmly drank her still strong but cooler coffee.

Thora was the first person back down the hill from the funeral. She looked excited and happy when she entered the kitchen. “Pastor Braton from Rawlings came for Nathan’s funeral. He going to hitch Tom and I after they all have  coffee.”

Mrs. Calkins stood up and asked, “What can I do to help. What do you need me to to do make it easier for you, Thora.”

Thora pointed at Mrs. Calkins and said, “Do you have any more cosmetics? I mean you didn’t seem to have a purse last night, but today your face looks freshly made up. Do you have more.”

Mrs. Calkins turned the fanny pack from her back to her front, unzipped it and pulled out mascara, lipstick and her compact. He handed them towards, Thora. Thora put up her hands, “I don’t know how to use them. Can you put them on me? Please, I want to look, well you know you’re being a Missus and all. . .”

A woman dressed in black entered and looked at the two women and said, “You better freshen up Thora. I’ll tend to the men’s coffee. The Pastor has to be back in Rawlings this afternoon.”

Thora said, “Thank you, Norma Rae,” Pointing to Mrs. Calkins, she said, “Norma Rae this is Aida Calkins, Mrs. Calkins. She is going to help me get ready.”

Norma Rae, frowned, “Best she change clothes too or there will be talk what with her wearing pants like a man. Sure there will be talk.”

Mrs. Calkins said, “You are right and nice to meet you, Norma Rae.” Grabbing Thora’s hand “Come upstairs we got a lot to do and no time to do it.” The could hear the sound of men walking and talking about what a great fellow Nathan was as they flew up the stairs.

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His brother bought him a Mercedes & 005 Mrs. Calkins Is Temporarily a Bit Disoriented

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

The other day at lunch a couple sat down at the table next to us and told us about their lives. Now, keep in mind that in restaurants I do have a bit of difficulty hearing everything that someone says when children object to what they are eating, people fill their cups with ice and the staff communicates with one another at maximum volume. However, I am relatively convinced that I got about 12% of what the couple told us. The wife lost her pension when the firm she was working for went belly up and she is not yet on Social Security. The husband used to own a hotel where he paid $70,000 in insurance premiums for his employee’s health care. His brother, in his 90s, bought him a Mercedes (answering Janis Joplin’s request of the Lord), that he thinks is a hoot to drive around in. They have two horses that cost $400/month each to board and that does not include feed. The wife was in the hospital the day before when her blood pressure dropped to 70/40 because of dehydration (but she feels much better now). While from San Francisco the moved to this area because of the children. And, the only place to get sourdough bread in town is Safeway (but it is the most expensive grocery in town). All of this information and I don’t have a clue as to what their names are.

Yesterday, Nancy and I drove separate cars due to odd appointment times for her. I got to lunch first and as soon as I sat down the Mercedes driver came in, got a soda and sat down and expanded on his story. His brother saw an Alfa Romeo for $48,000 and wanted to by him that. He demurred as it was over 15 years old and he is unlikely to find parts for it if he needed repairs (I guess Mercedes are easier to get fixed in SW Washington. He was out buying parts for a weed wacker as he had plum trees in his backyard and wanted to be able to pick the fruit when it ripened. He has only stopped for a drink so he could as he put it, kill a little time and work his nerve up to actually whack the weeds (he is, at base a funny man). I am going to guess his name is Rick, or his brother’s name is Rick, given the vanity plate on the front of his Mercedes. I have a feeling he and his wife will be a fixture at the next table once they figure out our schedule. That will not be bad., It will just take a little getting accustomed to for us.

We are looking at July 5th weather today through Sunday with 90 being the minimum high-temperature forecast. Looks like more watering is on the schedule as pots dry out much faster than the soil around them.

I trust this finds you happy, healthy, wealthy and cool.

Warmest regards, Ed

005 Mrs. Calkins Is Temporarily a Bit Disoriented

Fiction in 1213 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

Aida Calkins did not understand why they did not bind or blindfold her. She was in the backseat next to a burly man who made no pretense to hide his face. She looked at the door handle and the man next to her shook his head and said, “Child protective locks,” and then snorted. She knew the route well. She had driven it many times on her way to meetings out of state. ‘I guess they are escaping the state to throw off pursuit.’ she thought. But then the car made a sharp right onto Douglas Street and went past the hospital. But what confused her most was when the car went from daylight to night and from a paved to a dirt road in the blink of an eye. “What in the world just happened?” she blurted out.

No one answered. The SUV continued for only a few more seconds before it pulled up to an old fashioned, gravity fed, gasoline pump that showed the fuel to be dispensed in the glass at the top of the pump. She recognized the flying red horse, the old Mobile brand markings. The doors clicked and the man next to her asked the driver, “Do we need gas?”

“Not that gas, the lead in it would mess up the engine,” replied the driver.

“You mean it would mess up the catalytic converter,” said the man next to Mrs. Calkins.

“Whatever,” said the driver. “This is where the lady gets out. She has had all the free ride she is going to get from us.”

The door opened and the man next to her pushed her out. “Out lady, you have arrived.”

As she struggled not to fall down,“Where am I?” Mrs. Calkins asked.

“Here,” said the man laughing as he pulled the SUV door shut and the vehicle drove away in a cloud of dust.

Mrs. Calkins looked around. She was indeed in an old fashioned looking gas station. There was one bare bulb hanging in the back of the shop. The interior of the shop contained odds and ends and a small soda machine in the corner. She took her cell phone from the fanny pack she wore under her jacket, activated it and found she had no bars. The time on her smart phone showed to be 7:55 A.M. With no location. Switching on the flashlight app she found a notice in the window proclaiming June 15, 1926, to be a day of mourning for the recently deceased founder, Nathan Ladoga. Above the notice ‘Ladoga Wyoming Post Office’ was stenciled in black on the window. She put her face against the window and tried to use her cell phone flashlight app to see more of the interior of the store. There appeared to be a crank style, wooden, telephone mounted on the side wall. Walking around the outside of the building to that side of the store, she could see two wires running from the store to two poles by the road. One wire ran to roughly where she thought the old fashioned phone was in the store and one higher up. The poles with the wires ran in only one direction. Mrs. Calkins turned off her flashlight app and switched on the compass app and noted the wires ran South-East from the gas station. The road, she noted ran North-West as well as South-East. ‘I guess the folks to the North-West don’t have a telephone or electricity. Or maybe no one lives that way,’ she thought.

Her thoughts, however, were interrupted by a man calling out from behind the building. “Who goes there? What do you want? Step out where I can see you.”

Mrs. Calkins first instinct was to move closer to the building. But she could see a light bounding about on the dry grasses and weeds to the South-East and decided if there was a light that could be a good sign. She took several steps away from the building until she could see a man holding a railroad lantern in his right hand and a stick of some sort in his left walking toward her. “Over here,” She called out and waved her hand even though it was unlikely the man could yet see her in the darkness. “I’m over here.”

Mrs. Calkins stood still and waited for the man. As he got closer, she has second thoughts as the turned out to be a rifle. To try to keep him from using the rifle, she spoke loudly and calmly, “My name is Aida Calkins, Mrs. Aida Calkins. Two men who robbed the place of business where I worked this morning threw me out of their car just a few minutes ago. I must have been hit on the head, or drugged for I do not know the time, day, or year or where I am. I do know I am Aida Calkins. Can you help me?”

The man reached her and said, “Yes, I saw the lights. Never seen lights that bright nor tail lights that bright red. I thought there was a bunch of cars, there was that much light. You sure there was only one car lady?”

“I was in one car,” replied Mrs, Calkins. “There could have been more, I have no way of knowing. But there were two men in the car I was in, the driver and a big man in the back to keep me from bolting.”

“Why did they take you hostage?” asked the man.

“They told the other workers if they called the police they would kill me,” explained Mrs. Calkins.

“Cowards,” the man said as if he were spitting. Then he put the lantern down, fired the rifle in the air, turned toward the direction he had come from, cupped his hands and yelled, “THORA, PUT THE KETTLE ON.”

From the sound of the blast and the flames from the barrel, Mrs. Calkins knew it was not a rifle but a shotgun.

Picking up the lantern he turned to Mrs, Calkins and said, “Thora is my wife. We don’t have the paper that says so yet, but will when the preacher comes for service in the next month or so.”

Mrs. Calkins asked, “Shouldn’t we call the sheriff or someone?”

“Can’t til after Norma Rae opens the switch board in the morning after she milks,” replied the man. “Oh, my manners, you told me your name, I’m Tom Ladoga.” He swung his arm. “My pop built this place 40 years ago as a stable and place to water horses. He was a blacksmith by trade.” He laughed, “He watered men too, if you know what I mean. Imported potatoes from back east and made vodka just like his pappy taught him back in the old county. Pappy died two days ago. We will have a lot of folks here later today for the funeral. The sheriff will be here with his four deputies. Pappy’s going to be buried on the only hill for miles,” Tom Ladoga pointed off to what Mrs. Calkins realized was North. “That way he can keep watch over the place he built and loved. Lived here from the time he was 18. Six days shy of 98 when he died”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Mrs. Calkins said. She thought to herself,. ‘I must be asleep for it can’t be 1926 like the notice in the window says.’


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Good Morning Ted and Jody:

Since I spent a good hour watering the pots and messing around outside, I am going to guess it is really summer and I didn’t miss it at all by going to bed at my regular time the other night. I got to do a close inspection of our fruit crop. We have three Rainier Cherries. Since the variety is not self-pollinating, and since we do not have another cherry tree at any reasonable distance from us (unless you include Yakima some 250 miles to the east), three cherries are, well, just a random occurrence. I will have to look into finding a pollinator for the tree and figuring out how to graft a branch to it or plant a whole pollinator where I just happen to have an open tree space (raised bed). The three cherries look to be very close to ready to harvest from the color. Two are close together and one is on a branch all by itself—it must be lonely unless Rainier cherries can communicate across a whole tree’s width away.  I need to learn more about raising cherries to figure out how to combat the obvious problems you can see on the leaves.20170621_084015 email.jpg

The Honeycrisp apple tree seems to have about 50 apples on it. The Honeycrisp apple is listed as needing a pollinator. However, I know of one apple tree within 300 feet as the crow flies of the Honeycrisp, and there are other apple trees in the area. So, apparently those trees, that neighbors own are providing a stud service via local bees for our Honeycrisp. I suppose I should offer the neighbors with apple trees the pick of the apple litter. However, I have noticed the closest neighbor with an apple tree doesn’t seem to pick the apples, water it, feed it or anything. Perhaps he is allergic to apples.20170621_084038 ns email.jpg

The blueberries seem to be thick, we have a bodacious many on the two plants on the front porch. However, as you will recall last year when you were here you were able to pick some. You were here around the 8th of June. This is is the 22nd and they are still not ripening. But, given the fact that the county finally paid its heat tax and the weather is warmer, they just might ripen soon (cross your fingers).20170621_084559 email.jpg

I trust this finds you happy, healthy, wealthy and knee deep in fresh fruit.

Warmest regards, Ed

004 Special Agent Simpson and Agent White Return from Gettysburg

Fiction in 1092 words by T. Edward Westen

Special Agent Simpson and Agent White materialized in Captain Batan’s office. Special Agent Simpson’s face was drawn. She had a leaf fragment in her hair. Two dark red stains spread on the shoulder of her blouse. She immediately sat in Captain Batan’s desk chair and looked around cautiously. ” My God. I never expected it to be so chaotic. I guess I expected it to be more, well, organized like in films. I expected to see more of an overview and didn’t expect to see a man lose his head to a cannonball.” She shivered. “That could have been you or me.”

Agent White apologized. “I am sorry. I guess I thought since you are a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and since you knew about the corpse of trees next to the Pennsylvania field pieces that you knew what you were getting yourself into.”

“My great-great grandfather was in that Pennsylvania artillery unit,” explained Special Agent Simpson. “He wrote a letter home about the bravery and foolishness of Picket’ s Charge. In his letter, he didn’t talk about the casualties to the right and left of his position. I guess I should have thought it through better.” She paused, looked Agent White in the eyes and said. “You didn’t flinch, duck or even look concerned. “

Agent White pointed to the spreading stains on Special Agent Simpson’s left shoulder and asked, “Were you hit?”

Special Agent Simpson raised her left arm and pulled the cloth so she could see what Agent White was pointing at and said, “No, but I was closer to that poor man than I realized.” Tears formed in her eyes and she pulled a tissue from her purse and dabbed at the moisture. She did a good job of not messing up her mascara. “This will wash out.” She shook her head. “Here I am, a big tough FBI agent getting all teary-eyed about a little blood and gore. You would think I have never been under fire before.”

“Had you?” asked Agent White.

“Twice,” replied Special Agent Simpson. “I assisted in a bank standoff where the robbers took pot shots as us. The second time I was on a protective detail and the subject was almost assassinated. A slug grazed my arm that time.” She paused and then added, “I almost fainted an hour later.”

“Funny how that works,” said, Agent White. After what we just went through, I think we know each other well enough to use first names. I’m Amanda,” she said and stuck out her hand.

Grasping Agent White’s hand firmly and warmly, Special Agent Simpson said, “I’m Cynthia, but my friends call me Cid.”

Both women smiled and said, at the same time, “Glad to meet you.” Then they laughed.

As they were chuckling over their saying the same thing at the same time, Captain Batan and Detective Philipson returned to the Captain’s office. Captain Batan noticed the stains on Special Agent Simpson’s blouse. “Did you catch a round?

Special Agent Simpson shook her head and said, “No, but the fellow I was standing next to was not so lucky.”

Captain Batan picked up the phone on his desk, punched one number, waited for a second and then said, “Sergeant, could you please come in her for a minute?”

Fifteen seconds later Sergeant Doreen Gibson entered and asked, “What do you need, Captain.”

Pointing to the Special Agent he said, “The Special Agent seems to have been in a gun fight and got some blood on her. Can you fix her up with civvies? I should think she would be more comfortable wearing something a little less damp?”

“Yes, Sir,” replied Sergeant Gibson. “The two detectives that caught that boutique break-in overnight just logged an extensive wardrobe into the evidence room. I am sure I can fit her and make her look and feel like a million dollars.” She cocked her finger in the Special Agent’s direction and said, “Come with me. This could be fun.”

Turning to Agent White, “Did you get too close to the action.”

Agent White shook her head, “She wanted to see from the point of Picker’s Charge. We were in the way of the action. We didn’t stay long, only long enough for her to be a believer. Funny, she hasn’t asked any of the usual questions about how we got there and got back. I suspect those will come.”

“Will she understand any better than Eddie and I do?” asked Captain Batan.

Agent White simply shook her head no. “What progress in finding Ms. Calkins?

“Money from the robbery is showing up all over the city and in five other states” replied Captain Batan. “That means we went the wrong way earlier.”

“Yes, if that money is already spread around, it means it was put into circulation some time back,” added Agent White.

“We may have a bit of luck on that as the new bills, the ones for which we have serial numbers were redesigned five years ago, so they couldn’t have been in circulation longer than five years,” said Detective Philipson. “If they put the bills in circulation in the last five years, perhaps that is where they stashed Mrs. Calkins?”

Agent White said, “Play this scenario in your mind. You are dropped in the past and have no money or identification. What would you do? You would go to the authorities and seek their help, especially if you are a Credit Union manager. Now, you are the authorities and a woman comes to you and thinks the year is five or four or whatever number in the future and claims to be the victim of a kidnapping from the future and a robbery in the future of a Credit Union that she manages. What do you do? At some point you have her examined for trauma and mental illness. So, . . .”

“Yes, cheek mental facilities” blurted out Detective Philipson. “I’ll get right on it.” He hurriedly exited the Captain’s office.

As Detective Philipson was exiting the Captain’s office, Sergeant Gibson brought Special Agent Simpson back in a stunning new blouse. She said, “I told you.” Then she laughed, “When the guys find out she is a Fed, they will be in confessing to stealing the Great Seal.”

Special Agent Simpson, said, “Thank you, Doreen.” Turning to Agent White she asked, “Exactly how did you nearly get me killed?”

Agent White said, “It is a bit complicated.”


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Ramblings on Wednesday & 003 Trying to Bring Special Agent Simpson Up to Speed

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

Well, Summer came some time after 9:00 P.M. Last night. (I can’t get this word processor to use lower case after a period, such as the one in 9:00 P period M period. I am beginning to fear that the machines are taking over the language. Pretty soon machines will monitor our speech and zap us when we say something that is grammatically or syntactically ‘improper.’ However, that can’t be all bad if they start with the pestilence’s speech patterns.) I, of course, missed summer for the fifth year in a row. Ever since I started working on the theory that early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, I miss a lot of things that happened after 7:30 P.M. That is early. Now, Ben Franklin may have had in mind saving his eyesight by going to bed early as candle light is not good for reading, but really, in five years of following his juncture, I have become less healthy, less wealthy and stupid. So much for generalities when they come in the form of things to do for self-improvement. I am beginning to suspect old Ben had better genes than I.

Today is the big day. We go to Costco for essentials. Yesterday morning I got to thinking about some idiot hitting the button (you know the idiot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in DC) and realized that we live 20 miles, across several bridges from civilization. So when the idiot hits the button, we will be essentially stuck where we are until the inevitable rescue teams from some twenty or thirty years down the road to try to gather in the remnants of humanity. Funny how we are citizens one day and remnants the next. Well, that mandates a trip to Costco to stock up so we can successfully wait to be rescued. Besides, we are almost out of stuff on the grocery shopping list.

As you can tell, not much is happening here. Nancy got an ice cream maker that does not require the unit to be frozen before use (nor ice and salt). You just add the ingredients, turn it one and come back later for a nice bowl of ice cream. Well, she did exactly that. 45 minutes later we enjoyed a cold cream soup (almost a milkshake). I vote she return it and buy ice cream tomorrow at Costco (we have the insulated bag for getting it home still frozen even in the heat. However, I have two spoons in the Ridgeline in case we have to make an emergency stop to eat the ice cream we buy at Costco least it becomes a cold cream soup.

I trust this finds you home after a trip to the soft serve ice cream establishment of your choice.

Warmest regards, Ed

003 Trying to Bring Special Agent Simpson Up to Speed

Fiction in 1108 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

“What in the hell just happened there,” demanded Special Agent Simpson pointing to the empty space behind Captain Batan’s desk. “The Captain was there, a woman appeared, then they both disappeared. There had better be a trap door or some other trick or you have found a way to repeal the laws of physics. PEOPLE DO NOT APPEAR AND DISAPPEAR. THEY SIMPLY DON’T.”

Detective Philipson held his hand up and said, “Steady. You need an explanation. So sit down and let me try to explain.” He pulled the Captain’s oversized office chair forward and patted the set. “Here, use the Captain’s chair.”

Special Agent Simpson shook her head violently, “What if he pops back into it?”

“Not at all likely,” Detective Philipson calmly said, “You will recall he stood before he, as you put it, disappeared. If he didn’t he would fall down when he got to where he was going. It is my experience that . . . “

“Where was he going?” demanded Special Agent Simpson.

“Let me finish,” said Detective Philipson. “As I was saying when I accompanied Agent White or one of her colleagues we left standing and arrived standing. Things to sit on simply can not be guaranteed at the destination. You see, Agent White is a time traveler.”

“Pull the other one, Detective,” said Special Agent Simpson with a sneer on her lips. “If time travel were possible we at the Bureau would not only know about it but probably keep it under wraps.”

“Yes, I know,” said Detective Philipson. “I have worked with Bureau agents before. Quite frankly I have thought you agents think that there is a finite supply of information and every bit you divulge diminishes the supply of information; and, you all seem to be afraid of running out of it.”

“That is not fair,” replied Special Agent Simpson. “We have stringent rules of disclosure that we follow.”

“Actually that makes my point,” said Detective Philipson. “But then I have observed that telling Bureau folks anything is very difficult. One almost needs to hit them with a 2X4 to get their attention.”

“Now that really is uncalled for,” objected Special Agent Simpson.

“Is it?” asked Detective Philipson. “You just saw a woman appear out of thin air. Then you saw her and my boss disappear into thin air. You, like any rational human being, got upset and wanted to know what is going on. But, then you interrupt and do not listen while I try to give you an explanation. You object before you know to what you are objecting.”

Special Agent Simpson held her hands up in surrender. I do apologize. I will listen.” She motioned her right hand across her lips signifying that she would not speak–‘My lips are sealed.’

“O.K., ” said Detective Philipson. “Time travel is governed or managed by an agency beginning in the 27th Century—Agency for Timeline Integrity, the ATI. Now keep in mind I do not understand the technical details, but initially, time travel was done by high energy. That is how we initially got involved. A fellow in the 27th Century used the fist high energy unit to commit a murder and flee to our era. We ended up assisting the ATI agents in that case. Then the folks in the future found a way to travel without high energy use—some kind of brain implant. From what they tell me they are able to pivot in the 11-dimensional space that is the universe—you know, the space-time continuum or something. They abandoned the high energy approach. Then a descendant of Thomas A. Edison in the 27th Century stumbled upon a one way back in time and they have refined that to move in both directions and ship things back and forth. But mostly they use the implants as they are somewhat easier to keep from causing problems.”

Special Agent Simpson looked skeptical. She shook her head in disbelief.

“Do you have any questions?” asked Detective Philipson.

“This is all very confusing,” said Special Agent Simpson. “You talk about the future in the past tense. You speak of Thomas Edison in the 27th Century. Make some sense.”

“I speak of the future in the past tense as it has happened or the ATI Agents could not be here,” replied Detective Philipson. “Now, if it had not already . . . “

Captain Batan and Agent White came in through his office door and interrupted Detective Philipson, “We didn’t go far enough. We need to think this through,” said Captain Batan

Agent White added, “We found the car, but no Mrs, Calkins and no money. We still do not have information about who owns the SUV nor when and where they live.”

“Special Agent,” said, Captain Batan. “You look a bit confused? Didn’t Eddie bring you up to speed?”

“Eddie? Who is Eddie,” Special Agent Simpson asked?

Detective Philipson waved his hand, “Eddie is what my friends call me.”

“Oh, sure,” replied Special Agent Simpson, “He made up a bunch of stuff about time travel in the past tense.”

Detective Philipson jerked his thumb at the Special Agent and said, “She is a tough sell.” Turning to Agent White he asked, “Can you show her the ropes?”

Agent White laughed. “I have never heard it put that way. But sure. Special Agent, is there any event in history you would like to have witnessed?”

Without hesitation, Special Agent Simpson said, “I would like to see Picket’s Charge at Gettysburg?”

“Do you have a preferred vantage point?” queried Agent White.

“Yes, the corps of trees next to the field pieces,” Special Agent Simpson replied.

Agent White nodded to Captain Batan and Detective Philips and said, “We’ll be back shortly.” The two women vanished.

Detective Philipson said, “You know with the amount of lead flying around at Gettysburg, they will be lucky to come back unscathed.”

Captain Batan nodded and started to say, “Yes . . . “ when his desk phone rang. He picked it up. “Batan, Detective Squad.” He listened for a minute and then said, “Have the Bureau’s list duplicated and then call the detectives not out on cases to the conference room in three minutes.” He put down the phone and said, “The serial numbers on bills taken from the Credit Union this morning are already showing up in bank deposits all over the city and in five other states.”

“How can that be?” asked Detective Philipson.

Captain Batan grimaced, “We looked two years in the future. I think the bank robbers went the other way. Come on.” He headed out the door.

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Sonogram, Adventures with a Tow Truck, New Sewing Machine & 002 Captain Batan Meets Himself

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

According to the sonogram, yesterday, Alexander (Ann Marie’s little boy) is going to have a baby sister. The proud father already knows about the extra expense of having a daughter rather than a second son—fingernail polish alone will require a second mortgage on the apartment they rent (figure that out). Little girls eventually object to hand-me-downs when the hand-me-down is from a big brother (then too at some point they fail to fit into hand-me-downs). And, little girls object loudly. However, push come to shove, little girls are delightful and a major asset to every family. Big brothers need one if for no other reasons than to learn humility, tenderness, and how always to be wrong. I personally would not have missed being the father to a little girl for anything in the world; and, I was a father to two of them.

The parts supplier send the wrong oil filter yesterday morning for the Hyundai, so Fred had more time to talk than usual while he waited for them to bring the right one. His adventures would make a good book. For example, a couple of teen boys got stuck on a logging road in the foothills of the Cascades and manage to call for him to come pull them out. The car needed some attention after before it was fit to drive (the headlight were broken out so it could not be driven at night). So he parked it in his lot until the father could come and get it. The father never showed but called and wanted access to the car to get possessions out. The guy still did not come and called with more abuse. Fred finally looked in the car and found the only thing in it was a pretty little wooden case of drug pipes. The car has been sitting in his lot for several weeks now. That gets expensive as there is a state rate for towed car storage by tow truck operators (otherwise they would accumulate).

Nancy traded in one of her sewing machines over the weekend (the serger event was the catalyst). So most of the morning involved finding all the pieces that go with the machine she was trading in on the new one. I can’t see the point, none of these machines does dishes, windows or takes out the trash. But, all of them seem to sew without her having to sit at the machine all the time, particularly when she is doing embroidery on one.

I trust this finds you happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.

Warmest regards, Ed

002 Captain Batan Meets Himself

Fiction in 1336 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

Captain Batan was holding an enlarged and sharpened photo of the license plate of the Black SUV that Andy Kellog snapped. “I see what you mean Eddie. This plate shows the color that the DMV will use for the year tab on plates two years from now—Green. The kidnappers got the year right. But the plate has not been issued. How do you suppose they fabricated the plate.” He looked at the photograph with a magnifying glass. “It certainly looks real.” He focused on the small amount of trim showing over the plate where the door release should be. Pointing to it he said, “I do not recognize this trim on any current SUV. Do you have a photo that is not enlarged?”

Detective Eddie Philipson handed the Captain another photo. “There isn’t much more detail in the shot that isn’t cropped and enlarged. Andy really focused in on the plate.”

“Anything from the camera’s in the Credit Union?” asked Captain Batan.

“The cashier says they turn them on from Mrs. Calkins’ office when she gets in” replied Detective Philipson. “No images from them.”

“Have we put out a list of serial numbers yet?” asked the Captain.

“The FBI has that under control and has the lead in the case,” replied Detective Philipson.

“Yes, but we still need to pay attention,” said Captain Batan. “Their responsibility, ours. It makes no difference. When we have someone taken hostage and threatened with death, all of us need to be alert and run it as if we were the only ones who could find her. I know Mrs. Calkins. She is the one who signed me up for my account with the Credit Union when I got my first job out of High School. She is a nice lady and we need to find her quickly. FBI or no FBI.”

Detective Philipson picked up the enlargement of the plate. Using the magnifying glass he held it at various angles and then said, “Hang on, I’ll be right back.”

Twenty minutes later Detective Philipson came in holding his cell phone. Without asking he used a cable to connect the cell phone to the printer next to Captain Batan’s desk and pushed a few buttons. The printer made sounds and spit out three prints. Leaning down, Detective Philipson picked up the prints and put the bottom one on the Captain ‘s desk. “I tried to get the same angle on a plate in the parking lot that Andy Kellog got from the getaway SUV. I then took shots of the plate with more and less of an angle.” Pointing to the middle print, he continued, “As you can see this one shows that the plate has a thickness similar to the shot Andy took.” He paused for a moment, “I would almost bet next month’s overtime pay that the plate is real.”

Captain Batan opened a drawer on his desk and took out what appeared to be a small lead soldier. “If that plate is from two years from now, we need to find out.” He twisted the head on the small figurine. “Maybe they will be able to help us figure that out.

“Captain, Batan,” said a female voice from the door.

The Captain looked up and Detective Philipson turned and saw a tall, striking woman with a credentials folder hanging from her neck. “I am Special Agent Cynthia Simpson.”

Captain Batan looked at the soldier figurine in his hand and said, “My that was fast. ATI is really tuned into these beacons.”

Special Agent Cynthia Simpson frowned and said, “I’m with the Bureau, what is ATI?”

Captain Batan rose, stuck out his hand and said, “Pleasure to meet you Special Agent. My name is Mohammad Batan. I’m probably the captain you are seeking.”

Special Agent Simpson shook his hand and said, “I think we need to coordinate our efforts on this kidnapping and bank robbery. But, first what is ATI?”

“It was a credit union, not a bank,” replied Captain Batan. “ATI is a specialized agency we work with from time to time. It would take more time to explain than we have at the moment. But, I . . . “

Captain Batan was interrupted by Agent White materializing behind his desk. “You rang?” she said.

“Where in the hell did she come from and who is she?” Special Agent Simpson said.

“Agent White is with ATI,” replied Captain Batan. “Special Agent Simpson of the Bureau, meet, Agent White of the ATI.” He turned to Detective Philipson, “Eddie will you please explain ATI to Special Agent Simpson while Agent White and I go check out those vehicle plates.” Then to Special Agent White, “I know you need an explanation, but could you take me forward two years to right outside this, err my office door?”

Agent White nodded and she and Captain Batan vanished.

Detective Philipson turned to Special Agent Simpson whose mouth had dropped open and who was both puzzled and nearly in a state of shock and said, “I know that takes a bit of getting used to. It hit me hard the first few times I saw it. However, once you have done it yourself, it, well, it sort of grows on one.” He looked at her and led her to the Captain’s chair, helped her sit down and said, “Now where to begin. . . “

Agent White and Captain Batan materialized outside of the Captain’s office.

“While I should know I am coming since my coming here today happened in my past and I assume I would remember, it is probably best if you announce us,” said Captain Batan.

Agent White knocked once on the Captain’s door and said, “Captain Batan, Agent White here. Are you sitting down?”

They could hear a chortle from inside the Captain’s office. “Yes, Agent White, bring me in.” The two entered and the seated Captain Batan said, I remember when I came here and I was seated. I must say I look a bit different from this angle, Taller, I guess,” He chortled again. “You know I have thought about this meeting for two years. Not all the time, mind you, but off and on. What strikes me is that if I were to write an autobiography and try to describe this scene of meeting myself I would be hard put to put tags on the dialog as to whom was speaking me or, err, the younger me. ‘Captain Batan says’ simply would not tell the reader who was speaking. I remember the, shall we say, event, very clearly. I, that would be the younger me now, did most of the talking explaining what you needed. Well, here,” pulling a file folder out of the top drawer of his desk and handing it to his younger self “is what we have. The plates still have not been issued. The serial numbers on the year and month tabs show they were issued to a nice elderly woman who owns a 1960 red Mustang. It, by the way, has not been out of her the garage in five years. We found the black SUV. It is clean. No trace of the preps or Ms. Calkins. My best guess is we need to check further along the timeline.”

The younger Captain Batan smiled. “I figured you would remember and have the information we needed when we got here. What do we do now, shake hands?”

The seated Captain Batan said, “We didn’t before. I think it is a bit unnatural, but what to heck.” He stood and stuck out his hand and said, “I wish us luck.”

Agent White smiled and said, I get the drift. When we get back we’ll see if we can map out a strategy for working this out.” She and Captain Batan vanished. The older Captain Batan opened his desk drawer, picked up the figurine and thought “If I am still on the job when this ends, I should probably give this back.”

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Chit Chat & 001 Witness and Chase

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

Ann Marie called yesterday. She goes in for a 20-week sonogram today. Given the time difference she probably already had it. It was good to hear her voice.

Word finally gave up the ghost yesterday when I started the new novella in the ATI Chronicles. So, I switched to OpenOfficeWriter and haven’t had a problem with it. Probably best to start a new MS in a new word processor. I kind of miss PCWrite from the DOS era, back when Jim Stachura was teaching me the ins and out of software. I haven’t heard from him for decades. I wonder how he is doing.

The Hyundai goes into Fred this morning for oil and lube. Fred is looking to buy a business elsewhere. He has been her for 15 years and figures the place is drying up. Too many people doing the same job he is doing in Castle Rock. He is looking to get a place with multiple bays he can manage rather than doing all the work himself. His knees are a problem. He is definitely looking for an income in what you and I would consider retirement but he wants to avoid the not working part of retiring.

I talked to Art briefly today. He has started reading again. He bought a few books at the dollar store and is currently on one by a former head of Sony Recordings. He was chatty Kathy about the book. I hope to catch him on Tuesday morning.

I trust this finds you in good health, spirits, and holding a winning lottery ticket.

Warmest regards, Ed

001 Witness and Chase

Fiction in 1263 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017

Andy Kellog grumbled under his breath about the morning rush hour traffic. Every morning at 7:00 A.M. on the dot, Mrs. Calkins exited her apartment building on Jersey Street got into his cab and had him take her through the drive-up window of the Organic Coffee stand on Mulberry and order a Caramel Latte for her and a decaf with one cream and one sugar for him. This morning he was at least a minute late and she was standing at the curb waiting for him. He stopped the cab, got out and ran around to open the door for her.

“Traffic bad this morning, Andy?” Mrs. Calkins asked.

“Yes, Mam,” Andy replied. “A fender bender over on 18th and Madison.

Andy ran back around the cab, got in the driver’s seat and started the cab.

“We still have lots of time to pick up a coffee,” Mrs. Calkins commented. “Pull by the Organic Coffee stand, would you please?”

Andy nodded and said, “Yes, Mam.” He thought to himself, ‘Most of my regulars are in a hurry and want me to talk to make it seem to go faster. I don’t know why, but this lady has class and seems to have all the time in the world. But, I know she runs  the Credit Union where she works. And they can not open without her.’

Pulling up to the window, Cathy handed him the caramel latte and decaf with one cream and a sugar and said, “You are late, Andy Kellog. Another few minutes and I would have had to throw these out and make you wait for your order.”

Andy, bald as a billiard ball said, “I’m having a bad hair day.”

“Yeah, which one?” asked Cathy winking at him.

Mrs. Calkins handed a ten spot over the seat and said, “Tell her the one in the back set” and laughed.

Cathy said, “I heard that,” and laughed all the harder.

Andy passed Cathy the ten dollar bill and said, “See you in the morning. You will recognize me by my new toupee,” and he drove off.

Taking a sip of her latte Mrs. Calkins said, “It is still hot as if she made it just as we got there at the regular time.”

“I can’t think we were more than 30 seconds behind schedule, Mam,” said Andy.

“you really getting a toupee, Andy?” asked Mrs. Calkins.

“No, Mam. I got one. My wife thought I would catch a cold with nothing up here,” he said as he patted his head. But, I figure a Red Sox cap will keep it warm in the winter and the sunburn off the rest of the year.”

“Why Red Sox, Andy?” Mrs. Calkins asked.

“S’where I grew up, Boston,” replied Andy

“You don’t have a Boston accent?” said Mrs. Calkins.

“I ran away when I was 16,” said Andy Kellog. “I learned to talk like others around me so they never would figure out where I was from and send me back.” Pulling into the drive up window behind the Credit Union so Mrs. Calkins could go in the back door, Andy said, “Here we are.”

Mrs. Calkins handed Andy some bills. As usual, he didn’t look at them and simply said, “Thank you for the coffee and for waiting for me. I’ll try to be on time tomorrow.”

Mrs. Calkins opened the door, stood up and leaned back down. “See that you are or I’ll call ahead and have Cathy make you a regular caffeinated coffee tomorrow just to speed you up. Now, go out there and have a good day.”

Andy doffed his hat and said, “You too, Mam. Go out there and make us members some money.” He waited until Mrs. Calkins was inside before driving to the parking lot in front of the credit union where he usually finished his cup of decaf before picking up his next fare, Dorothea Jacobson, a five-year-old piano prodigy for her three block morning ride to kindergarten.

As he tilted his head to take the last of the coffee he saw Mrs. Calkins exit the credit union with her arm linked to a man caring a heavy bag in the other. While not exactly struggling, it seemed to Andy that Mrs. Calkins was not a willing participant. He pulled out his cell phone and quickly zoomed in on the back of the black SUV the man and Mrs. Calkins got into, then he hit the speed dial for his dispatcher and said, “Mavis. Get someone to take Dorothea Jacobson to kindergarten, then call the cops and have them come to the Credit Union. I think someone is kidnapping Mrs. Calkins and I am going to follow. As soon as I have the license plate number I’ll call it in.” Andy hung up before he could hear Mavis respond.

The black SUV put its turn signal on and when there was an opening in traffic, it merged and headed South on 15th Street. Andy managed to pull in six vehicles behind it. Andy thought, ‘Please God, keep the lights green for me.’

Andy’s cell phone rang. He pushed the accept icon on his dash’s computer display transferring the call to his cab’s Bluetooth. “This is Andy.”

“Andy, Detective Philipson here. Mavis called and said you are following a kidnapper.”

“Yes, Eddie,” replied Andy. “A minute or two after I dropped Mrs, Calking off at work she exited the building with a man, arm in arm. I got the impression she was not there of her own free will. The man was carrying a heavy bag. I think a robbery and a hostage to get away. I am following them we are at 15th and Fir St. headed south toward the state line. I’ll keep following. Pray the lights hold, I am five or six cars behind the black SUV they are in. I can send you a photo of the back of the SUV when I am not driving.”

“Stay on the line,” replied Detective Eddie Philipson. “We should have a car in an intercept position before the state line. We also have units going to the Credit Union.”

“They are turning right onto Douglass, Street,” said Andy. There was a brief pause. “Damn, caught by the light. OK, here is a break in traffic, I am back on their tail.” There was another brief pause. “I can’t see them.” Andy looking right and left had stopped in the middle of the street. Finally making a decision he turned into a parking structure. “have your people check out the Douglas Street and all side streets, I am checking out the packaging garage at the hospital.

After what seemed to Andy an eternity, he reached the roof of the parking garage. “Only one car up here and it is not the Black SUV,” he said. I am going to send you the picture of the back of the SUV now. I hope to hell I got the plate as I never got close enough to even see it.”

Detective Philipson said, “They robbed the Credit Union as the staff was getting ready for the day. They told them if they called the police they would kill Mrs. Calkins. If you hadn’t called, we might still be in the dark.” There was a pause. “Something funny about that plate on the SUV. It isn’t in the system and the year and month stickers say it won’t be issued for two years.”

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Happy Father’s Day

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

Happy Father’s Day, Ted. I have long thought it a strange holiday as I tend to reflect on my children more than I do my predecessors on this holiday. For some reason, I have more memories of my children than I do of my father and grandfathers.

Nancy survived her three-day serger class only missing a few thousand of her daily steps. She is well over 11,000 steps/day now. I still do my bouts with the stationary exercise bike. I tend not to watch the speculations (news) while I rapidly get nowhere. I have complained about the talking heads and lack of news I do make an exception for Reliable Sources on CNN on Sunday mornings. This morning one of the folks on the show confessed that his role as a right or left wing commentator was to stir things up–be extreme. I am overstating what he said, but it amounts to that—cause controversy. So the very thing that turns me off seems to sell adverting by attracting viewers. I would like a more objective presentation of what has happened that is noteworthy. I caught a response by a Member of the House to questions that completely dodged the question. I have seen this more and more. They call it staying on point. Unfortunately, they miss the point being asked when they stay on their point.

My masseuse got out of her job without a black mark. Her supervisor threw her under the bus last winter. She responded by resigning. The firm gave her a significant raise to stay. When her supervisor threw her under the bus again in April, she resigned again. This time she got out and is now looking for a job. She did give them 30 days notice and they persuaded her to stay for 45 days. I suspect this means I will start getting regular massages again (always thinking about myself).

I will start a new novella tomorrow. Stay tuned.

I trust this finds you in good health, spirits, and surviving the holiday.

Warmest regards, Ed

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The Osprey Eggs Hatched

Good Afternoon Ted and Jody:
Nancy is in the third day of a serger class. The rain also stopped. So I took off this morning and made a few rounds of photographic sites. My first stop was the boat ramp where the elements cooperated nicely.20170617_0741 7 shot Panorama ns email.jpg
My second stop was breakfast. The only photo opportunity was a man backing his car into a parking space and working at it for a good two minutes until he had a perfectly centered between the lines although some ten feet from the curb so it stuck out causing all other cars coming and going to try not to hit it. I left before any did. I did not video tape it but should have.
My third stop was the west side of the County on the Columbia River. The osprey eggs have hatched. I only have indirect evidence as I cannot see into the nest and did not see their little heads popping up while I was there. However, when I got there both parents were on the edge of the nest. I got set up as quickly as possible and shot just after the male flew off to go fishing. I was there for a good while and the female did not go in to sit on the eggs nor leave the nest. This is further evidence the eggs have hatched—her staying to protect them. Were the eggs not hatched she would have covered them with her body to keep them warm. Were there no hatchlings she would have not stayed but gone fishing too.DSCN0734 ns crop email.jpg
My fourth stop was back at the boat ramp where people were fishing off the dock.20170617_105458 ns email.jpg

So, that was the story of my morning and I am sticking with it.
I trust this finds you happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.
Warmest regards, Ed

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