Flash Fiction #183

Retirement Village

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

RETIREMENT VILLAGE

Wuz anybody famous ever born here? Y’alls gotta be jokin’! We wuz gonna have Thoreau Theodore, thuh weather-forecastin’ prairie-dog, but thuh little varmint wouldn’t come outta hiz hole. Wouldn’t matter if’n he seen hiz shadow or not, we’d jest git ‘nother six weeks of whatever’s outside.

Some Eastern dude retired here. Place useta be called Nowheresville – motto, “Civilization’s Thataway ->”. Folks renamed the town after him. Think he wrote a book – sumpin’ about fishin’ at some pond, ah think. Doan know why ennybuddy with a pond ta fish in, would come to a place like this, drier than a popcorn fart.

***

Click to hear ‘Wild Horses,’ Canadian Gino Vanelli singing about parts of the US where the population density is so low, that you can be, “a hundred miles out of town.”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

I Have Poor Relatives

Shabby Man

Once upon a time there was a poor little boy from a poor family. His Father was poor.  His Mother was poor.  The maid was poor.  The cook was poor.  The butler was poor.  Even the chauffeur was poor. One day, he went to his father and asked if he could have a pony.  His Father said no, because they were too poor to afford a pony.  The poor little boy went to his piggy-bank, took out enough money to buy himself the pony, and put the rest back….

We are often so busy with our own lives, that without really obvious clues, we think that everyone is pretty much like ourselves. It takes an observant and analytical mind to notice the struggles of those at the bottom of the financial, pissed-on trickle down ladder.  I am distressed that a $180 pair of distressed designer jeans looks just like my four-years-old $24.95 Wal-Mart pair.

This is why politicians, who are already being paid far too much to do a job that their predecessors did without pay, as a Public Service, feel free to waste millions – Billions – of our dollars, and still fraudulently pad their office budgets and expense accounts.  They have no idea, and don’t care, what it’s like at the bottom of the pile, and it’s been this way since long before Marie Antoinette offered to “let them eat cake.”

It is just as illegal for a millionaire to sleep under a bridge, as it is for a homeless man to do so.

I recently had a conversation with a friend. It seemed that both of us were keeping an eye on family finances – total income vs. expenses – only I think that he was doing it at a much higher level than I was.  I’ve never asked how much he makes.  It’s none of my business, and doesn’t affect our friendship.

With his experience, training, intelligence and education, I suspect his annual salary is somewhere north of $100,000/year. His talented wife probably makes half of that.

With my learning disabilities, and poor short-term memory adding to my tendency for procrastination, I’m lucky to have accomplished what I have during my life. About 15 years ago, before I retired to live on Government and company pensions – with a bunch of overtime, I grossed $44,000, but the wife had been ‘downsized.’  Earlier, when I made $38,000, she added $19,000.

This is not a whine! I’m still doing better than a lot of people, including the little guy who busks in the cold, outside the local grocery store.  As an engineer, Jim Wheeler says that it is not worth his while to stop and pick up a penny.  I still grab the occasional one or two from the ‘Need A Penny/ Leave A Penny’ tray at the corner store.  People abandon them because the Mint has stopped making them.

I always check the reject chutes of the coin-counting machines in stores. Sometimes I find Canadian coins, as well as foreign ones which I add to my collection.  It’s quick and easy to eyeball the change chutes of vending machines.  I’m not too proud to (discreetly) stick my finger in the few payphone chutes that still exist.  The last time I did, I found $2.  It’s all relative.  $2 to a millionaire is nothing, although Bill Gates (or his minions) cashed a check for 39 cents.  $2 to someone who is eating cat food (We don’t.) means a lot.

Having pets is a wonderful experience. I would not want to get rid of any that we have, but the wife wants even more.  I cannot convince her that, between food, treats, litter, and vet bills, each animal costs us about $1000 a year.  I would sooner have that money to pay down our still-existing mortgage, or use it to take enjoyable trips, while we are still physically capable of doing so.

Some people waste money, too often MY money!  Some people scrimp and save, show restraint and fiscal control, and budget their money to get them the most they can.  I’d be patting myself on the back, but I’m busy crawling around on the floor, trying to find that quarter I dropped.  I’ll be back up at the computer in a couple of days.  Please come back again then.   😉

Being Canadian

Canadian Flag

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, there was a viral media story about an immigrant Muslim woman who appeared in court in the province of Quebec.  Her teen-aged son had been pulled over by the police with a suspended licence.  In a case like that, the car is impounded for 30 days.  If someone can show reason to need the car back before that, they have to appeal to the court.

Already, at that point in the story, I was having trouble with it.  Despite the public wanting safer roads by having dangerous drivers taken off them, do you know how hard it is to suspend this teen’s licence??!  As a minor, and a Good Muslim, to whom alcohol is forbidden, was he caught drunk driving?  Has he been convicted of multiple traffic offences, like speeding, racing, leaving the scene of an accident?

On her side, has she been blithely unaware of multiple traffic offences, at least one court case, and the suspension of his licence?  If she was aware of his suspension, did she uncaringly allow him to illegally use the car?

cmu15 0227 Hijab 12b.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

When she appeared before the judge, a lovely lady judge, she did so with her Muslim tea-towel wrapped around her head.  The female judge told her that she would have to remove her head covering, as a mark of respect for both the judge, and the court.  Things like scarves and sunglasses were not allowed, and must be removed, or her case would not be heard.

She chose to leave the court without recovering her car.  Instead of hiring a lawyer, she chose to arrange a pity party news conference.  Instead of claiming religious discrimination, she told enthralled TV and print reporters that she had worn her dish rag when she became a Canadian citizen, and now the judge had made her feel like she was not a true Canadian citizen.  Wah, wah, wah!    😦

The judge had already told her that scarves and sunglasses were not allowed.  Canadian-type rednecks, with tattoos and 2-digit IQs, are told to remove their ball caps.  These rules apply to everyone.  The closest she came to playing the religion card was to claim that Jewish men were not forced to remove their yarmulkes.

For pious Jewish men, the wearing of the yarmulke is a decreed portion of their religious observance.  Her wearing of some window curtain is merely personal preference, not a dogmatic Muslim tenet.  I now wear my glasses at all times, yet when I go to have my passport photo taken, I am told to remove them for better identification.

She whined about not feeling like a “real Canadian”, yet every member of every level of ‘Canadian’ police, every ‘Canadian’ EMT tech, every ‘Canadian’ firefighter, and every member of ‘Canadian’ Armed Forces, male and FEMALE, remove their head covering in court.  That’s what “real Canadians” do, they show respect, and they obey the law.

Militant Islamism is more dangerous, but this type of Muslimism is more insidious.  Many Muslims come to North America with the honest hope for a better way of life.  Far too many though, come here saying they want a change, but the only change they want is to our way of life.  They play the long game.  They plow their twisted view of the Koran, and sow our welcoming multiculturalism, so that they can eventually reap the crop of the universal Caliphate.

Niagara bridge

 

 

 

 

This woman is no more a ‘real Canadian’ than the two, fortunately inept, terrorists who were going to dump a Niagara train and bridge into the gorge.  She’s just more subtle and long-range manipulative about it.  Sadly, there are too many politicians loaded with gullibility and White Man’s Guilt, who will feel sorry for her.

An Englishman arrives at his mate’s flat, to find him desperately packing. “Where are you goin’, an’ why??” “Well, it’s about homosexuals!” “What about ‘em?’ “Two hundred years ago, if you were gay, you were hanged, drawn and quartered.  A hundred and fifty years ago, you were flogged and sent to a penal colony.  A hundred years ago, you went to prison for life.  Fifty years ago, it changed to ‘live and let live’.  A few years ago, that became ‘Don’t ask – don’t tell.  I’m gettin’ to Hell out, before it becomes mandatory!”

Only three days after her little video went viral, she had crowd-sourced $20,000 to pay for a lawyer to represent her, to thumb her nose at Canadian traditions and the legal system.  I don’t know if I’ll be more disappointed to find that the bulk of the funds came from apologetic Christians, or hard-core Muslims, financing the firm insertion of the thin edge of the wedge.  Sharia law, here we come!

 

Fully Insured

The following are actual statements found on insurance forms, where car drivers attempted to summarize the details of an accident in the fewest words possible.  These instances of faulty writing serve to confirm that even incompetent writing may be highly entertaining.

Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.

The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.

I thought my window was down, but I found out it was up when I put my head through it.

I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.

A truck backed through my windshield into my wife’s face.

A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.

The guy was all over the road.  I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.

In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.

I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home.  As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.

I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.

The telephone pole was approaching.  I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck the front end.

I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.

As I approached the intersection, a sign suddenly approached in a place where no stop sign ever appeared before.  I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.

To avoid hitting the bumper on the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.

My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.

An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.

I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat, found that I had a fractured skull.

I was sure that the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.

The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run, so I ran over him.

I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car.

The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.

I was thrown from my car as it left the road.  I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

***

Condom

 

 

 

 

 

Consistent with the Bi-Cultural Policy, the Canadian Government is now considering changing the National Emblem from the Maple Leaf, to the condom.  The reasons are that the condom withstands inflation, slows down production, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives a false sense of security while one is being screwed.   🙄

Gun Safety vs. Gun Control

 

Colt 1911

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Government;

Please roll me up in bubble-wrap, and put me in a big box full of non-toxic packing-foam peanuts, so that nothing – not even a bad word – can hurt me.

***

Recently, some Idiot (a woman, as it turns out – just to disprove female claims that all Idiots are male.), managed to get herself shot to death in an American Wal-Mart, when her 2-year-old son reached into her purse, beside him in the shopping cart.

She was described in local papers as “an atomic scientist.”  She was a chemical technician who worked at a power plant.  This is not Big Bang Theory!  She was an ‘atomic scientist’ in the same way a homeless panhandler is a “Charitable Donations Canvasser.”  Still….

In an outpouring of telling others how to run their country and their lives, a Toronto area man sent the following letter to the Toronto Sun, titled More Gun Control:

I just read about the tragic death of a 29-year-old mother in a U.S. Walmart.  She was shot by her two-year-old after the youngster pulled a gun out of his mom’s purse.

I can’t think of any reason why it would be necessary to bring a loaded gun to go shopping.  What a waste of life, not to mention the emotional scars this child is going to have to deal with the rest of his life.

The NRA and its lobbyists need to be muzzled and better gun controls in the U.S. are long overdue.  There’s been too many of these senseless events for far too long.

I agree that it was a sad and preventable occurrence, but this writer leads a far too protected life, and uses way too many hysterical mistakes and lies to justify it.  Even the term “loaded gun” is a loaded term.  Can he think of a reason to bring an ‘unloaded gun’ shopping?  The title is another flag to show his bias.  He doesn’t advocate ‘Greater Gun Safety’.  He demands ‘More Gun Control.’

Through lack of forethought and research, I recently spent a weekend in a dangerous part of Detroit.  This was near Eight Mile, where the white rapper Eminem got street cred by growing up in a tough Negro area.

My motel had an armed security guard patrolling after dark.  My place was quiet, but the downscale motel directly across the street was well known for gunshots and police and ambulance calls.  The pizza shop on Eight Mile had floor-to-ceiling, half-inch thick, bullet-resistant Plexiglas.

The ‘Trade Center’ (more like a cheap flea market) that we went to on Sunday, had signs on the doors which read, “All hoods must be removed on entering”, and “We will provide a security escort to your vehicle, but we will not carry merchandise.”

As an unarmed Canadian tourist, I was very careful where I went, and when.  I can understand and sympathise with local residents who feel the need to carry firearms to protect themselves from gangbangers and drug dealers.

If even the Trade Center management feels the need to provide protective escorts, there must be a good chance that there might actually be someone in the parking lot to protect from.  I might not need a handgun while I’m shopping, but if there’s someone out there who wants to rob/rape/kill me before I get to my car, then I might need the gun when I leave the store.

Just what further “gun control” does this conservative Canadian feel Americans need?  The woman in question underwent a background check, and endured the 10-day waiting period.  She paid for, and enrolled in, a concealed weapon carry permit training session.  She was psychologically stable, and the weapon was duly registered.

Sadly, stupidity still carries the death penalty, and she’s posthumously (there’s no other way) enrolled in the Darwin Award hall of shame.  While she might have been intelligent enough to work at a nuclear generating plant, neither training nor legislation can instill common sense.

To have a loaded gun is one thing.  To have a loaded gun with several children around, including a busy, curious two-year-old, is something else entirely.  The story does not say if the purse was open, but even if it was closed, she was not paying sufficient attention to the child and the gun, sitting side by side.  The gun was not merely loaded, but almost surely must have been cocked, and the safety off.  Little two-year-old hands can’t do these things.

Just what ‘senseless events’ is he referring to, the accidental shooting death of a mother by a young child?  I don’t ever remember hearing of another!  Perhaps he could worry less about the NRA’s somewhat overzealous desire to preserve the legal right to possess firearms, and vent his indignation on gangs and druggies and other criminals who make carrying them seem like a good idea.

And that’s a view on Gun Control vs. Gun Safety from a grumpy, old, unarmed Canadian, north of the border.

What We Want

Groups like entertainers, politicians and retailers are often urged to, “Give the people what they want.”  This often doesn’t happen, because that’s not what they want.  What they want, is the maximum return for the minimum expenditure.

What we want, is often predicated on what we already have.  A teenager in Ruanda might just want some food, while a teenager in Beverly Hills wants a new Smartphone to match her new gown, which already matches her new Lamborghini.

Back when I was a cube drone, one of my more-enlightened slavedrivers bosses sent me to a one-day, How To Be More Efficient instruction module. What he wanted, for the outlay of a couple of hundred dollars, was greater output and efficiency, and for me to think he cared, and stop bitching.

This seminar was given by the same guy who was surprised we didn’t describe ourselves as Honest.  He asked us what else we wanted from our jobs.  This was the first time I became aware of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

He explained that we can do without air for four minutes, without water for four days, and without food for four weeks.  Some of the guys who didn’t have them, wanted business cards, to seem professional.  Some wanted bigger offices – the corner office with the windows.  Some wanted impressive titles, even though the work would remain the same.  I didn’t care much where they put me, or what they called me.  I pulled a Jerry Maguire – Show me the money!

I had been a buyer, the lowest of the bunch.  Then I was a Purchasing Agent, a step up.  I had worked up to being an underpaid Materials Manager.  One pretentious egotist wanted the corner office with his title on the door – Senior Vice-President In Charge of Walking Around With My Nose So Far in the Air That I Can’t See or Smell the Peons – And Coincidentally Acquiring Stuff the Company Needs, As Long As No-one Knows I Actually Work For a Living.  If that didn’t fit, he wanted a bigger door.

Since the hotel they’d been using for a couple of years had a lot of steps, the Free Thinkers have been shopping around for a new venue.  What they want, is a place with a varied menu, with decent food at decent prices, a separate room or area, handicap access, adequate parking, and located on a major transit line, because a couple, like the Mennonite lady, come by bus.

We tried a new-to-us, but old, downtown restaurant in March, and will go back in April, but it does not bode well.  It’s not as upscale as it would like people to think – and that’s what we do.  Almost as many steps as its up-the-street neighbor – what a surprise, no parking – walk a block, no breakfast buffet, and five items on the breakfast menu.

What at least three in the group wanted, were Belgian waffles, just like Momma IHOP or Denny’s makes, with whipped cream and powdered sugar.  What they found was that, those are “dessert waffles”, served in the evening.  What they got, were breakfast waffles, without.

What they wanted was a menu, or server, that would explain that the place didn’t do things the usual way, and that whipped cream&sugar was available for a mere 50 cent surcharge.  What they wanted, was a dispenser of real Canadian Maple Syrup.  What they got, was a rip-it-open-and-spill-it-on-yourself, plastic container of genuine, imitation, looks vaguely like Maple, pancake syrup.

What I wanted – what I specifically, firmly and clearly ordered, was a cup of hot chocolate, with a good dash of coffee in it, almost a mocha.  What I got, was a server who brought me a Chi-Chi “drink”, a breakfast shooter, see illustration below.

What I wanted was a mug of hot chocolate, with coffee.

Home made

What I got, was this gay-bar, bud-vase, clear glass cup (?), with four layers, an inch of chocolate syrup on the bottom, with a layer of (ugh) warm! milk above it, a layer of coffee above that, and topped with whipped cream, which I didn’t want, and should have given to the lady beside me with the Belgian waffle.

Uptown Hot Chocolate

What I want, is what I want, but, as most of you know, unless you own Belgium, and not just the waffles, very few of us get what we want.

 

 

Winter Vacation – Part II

We each got a couple of hours nap Friday afternoon, but both our sleep schedules were F..ouled up.  Son wants to hit the hay at 11 PM – I still want to read a newspaper and do a crossword.  Can’t do that in the room, so I take my stuff and go over to sit in the lobby, only to find it locked.  I eventually located a second vending machine room with only an ice machine…and a nice little bench, ta-da!

Afternoon clerk Stephanie was white. Now I get to meet and speak with Miss Annie, an impressive, older Negro lady.  Even older than me, she’s 72.  The clerk at the Taylor motel has been there 27 years.  Miss Annie has been here over 30, and finally plans to retire near the end of this year.  Nice lady, but she don’t take no shit.  I also met and talked with Mark, the armed Negro security guard.  Tough neighborhood, remember?

While we were conversating, a young man walked in, and said, “I want a room for the night.”  I’m sorry sir, we’re all full.  But I have a reservation.  What’s your name sir?  Xxx Yyy!  I’m sorry sir; I can’t find a reservation in that name.  He pulled out a tiny scrap of paper, and said, “Here’s my confirmation number.”  Well, ya coulda led off with that, and your name, instead of just asking for a room.

I print the entire page and present it to the clerks, because it gives every last iota of needed information.  I’m sorry sir; I can’t find a reservation here under that number; are you sure it’s correct?  I’m very sure; check again.  She tapped away for a few seconds, and finally told him, Yes sir, you do have a reservation – at the Plymouth Red Roof, 25 miles from here.  And he was sober – maybe just a brain freeze.

I spent a few dollars extra to get a room with a microwave and fridge.  After boring myself sleepy, I returned to the room – and bed, only to find that the fridge has a loud annoying buzz when it runs.  Woke us up two or three times during the night.  The second night I unplugged it, and we both slept much better.

Up at 8, we both had toast and juice, and I made myself a hot chocolate to take with me in a thermos, to the show.  I went over to the office to add some of their coffee, to make a mocha, and met Aletha, another young Negro gal.  Never met a stranger.  The only clerk we missed was Brian, because he doesn’t work weekends.

I-696 to the show venue ran right behind the motel.  Getting on was almost as easy as falling out of the parking lot.  I remembered to take the camera.  Signs on the front doors insisted, “No outside food or drink!”  I slipped the hot chocolate into my inside jacket pocket, and didn’t sip till I was way back at the back, where no officials could see.

I was irked by the fact that every second vendor had a Dunkin Donuts coffee, or Starbucks, or hotel coffee in a thermos.  I saw one guy making a roast beef and cheese sandwich, but I can’t bring in food or drink?  The WTF factor is going up.

Last year I could access my blog from computers in the entryway, but this year they were locked out, to access only the Center’s site.  After paying, and entering the display hall, I was faced with a sign that said, “No cameras allowed without the permission of the show manager.”  I left mine in my shirt pocket.

Halfway around, I met a woman waving her cell phone camera.  Some of the dealers threw a little impromptu birthday party for a compatriot, and everybody got a picture taken.  I just got the sign….and rising blood pressure again.

One of the knife dealers explained that the anti-gun nuts come to shows and take photos of the plethora of firearms and publish them as “proof” that we’re all going to die in a gigantic shoot-out.  If I had asked the show manager, I would probably have been allowed to take pics, although some gun vendors have table signs which insist, “No Photos!”

There were even fewer hand-made knives, and more “rusty jackknives.”  I took photos of all the interesting knife collections last year, so I didn’t use the camera.  I think we’ve had it with this show.  Unless we can find a show in Zanesville or Cincinnati, I think the wife and I will wait for good weather and just go to Detroit for shopping and a getaway.

It snowed on the way to the venue, and while we were there.  As we were leaving, it was changing to freezing rain.  I’m maybe a bit better at driving in that shit, but the 25 mile trip back was interesting.  One guy just fell off the road and tangled with an overpass support, ripping off his rear bumper, and throwing the back wheel across the freeway.

Since we didn’t want any of the over-priced, captive-audience, crap food at the venue, we stopped at a McDonald’s on the way home.  My bill ended in 43 cents – and I still had that 42 cents left from yesterday.  I picked a penny up off the counter that the previous customer didn’t take, and my pocket was now completely empty.

And then I leaned down and picked a penny off the floor – and went back to the motel and sat on the bed, and picked up a penny beside the other bed.  Later that night, when I went for another walk, I was telling Mark, in the vending room, about keeping my eyes open, and picked a dime off the floor.

The next day, at a Meijer’s store I found a quarter and a penny on a self-checkout bagging platform, and later used my knife to pry a nickel out of a 25 cent gumball machine.  The reason it was there may have been because it was Canadian, but the pocket’s getting heavy again.  Somewhere I picked up a brass game token.  I wonder if the son remembers where.  I don’t.

After another nap, we decided to go out for supper.  While we didn’t want to eat there, the wife had requested a blooming onion from Outback, so we started there.  I had researched online maps, and driving instructions, including Google Street-view.  Son fed the address into Miss GPS and got, “Accessing satellites….accessing satellites…. cannot access satellites.”  Oh, yeah.  Snow/rain storm.  We found it the old-fashioned way, by looking.

Tomorrow we’re going to, not one, but two, Trade Centers.  Anybody want to come along?  I’ll buy a hot pretzel, with mustard.