Fun with words and words for fun

The Crosshairs

crosshairs

Unless you’ve been in the sights of the big powers out there, any big power, you don’t really know the force of the powers that be. And if you’re one of those people who have never been in the crosshairs, you’re likely to scoff at the idea of the notion that the powers out there even have crosshairs. That’s why this blog featured a series of entries entitled Which Shoes Do You Wear. That series simply says that depending upon which shoes you wear, that’s how you see the world.

Now in the scope of things that’s probably not a tremendously profound statement, but in the reality of the world today it speaks to whether you are one to believe the antics of either side of our government or one to be skeptical about them both. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

So I started by telling the story of the Ohio State University riots circa 1970 where more than 600 people were arrested.  Most of the arrests at Ohio State that day were thrown out of court when it was discovered that the riots were started by undercover FBI and undercover policeman who were waiting to beat up and arrest demonstrators.  That series of riots led to the Kent State shootings where four students were shot by National Guardsmen.  And so it went.

That I was in the crosshairs there and saw it firsthand, experienced it firsthand because I was the first one arrested at Ohio State, only goes to show that I can attest to the fact that the crosshairs of the powers that be truly do exist.

Shoot forward to today. Ask Michael Flynn about the crosshairs. Ask any of the organizations earmarked by the Obama IRS for not getting tax-exempt status about the crosshairs. Ask the policeman in Baltimore, those six who were eventually acquitted, about the crosshairs.

I could go on and on and on and on. Ask Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters and Elizabeth Warren who’s in their crosshairs. And just to be fair, ask President Trump who’s in his.

Truth is, the crosshairs exist. People are targeted all the time. Before the civil rights movement you might say it was the blacks in the crosshairs. Today, you might say it’s the whites, particularly white males. That’s depending upon which shoes you wear, of course.

One thing is sure, once you’re targeted by any one of the big powers out there, your life as you once knew it is pretty much over.

Some truly diabolical things are going on and have been going on for a long time in this country but more so since the Obama presidency. When Obama began his run for president the media showed their true colors, how in the tank they were for the liberal cause. Now in and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with the media supporting a side. However it is very dangerous when a biased media portrays itself as a free press and enjoys the protections saved for the free press despite the fact that it is not acting in good faith as a free press.

Crosshairs! We’ve come to the point where we’ve thrown reason into the garbage and have split into two sides with each side holding the other in its crosshairs. What’s next, another Civil War?

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Fiction Outtakes 258: Bill Wynn 245

kitchen-4

Except for the internal intrigues, the days were all pretty much the same now. For his part, having learned all the prep cooking that was done here and how to cut meat, Bill was bored a good part of the time. He was a crackerjack broiler cook now, one who could, if he so chose, command his salary. The worst that could happen to him for asking for a raise would be being turned down, and he wasn’t about to go looking for a job which he knew he could find without any problem. In fact, several times while working on the West side on their open hearth he had been approached by other restaurant owners and asked if he’d wanted to make a switch. Robert had heard this once, and Robert, not one to hold anything back, had said in his usual way, “What’s good to you is good for you, so do what you want to do.”

Bill didn’t know what he wanted to do. Bill was happy at this point in time making money and putting money in the bank. From having been totally broke and down and out, he and his fiancé now had a good bank account, a decent car, were able to buy things if they wanted to, and they had paid off their loans. That her father had never loaned them money stuck in Bill’s craw, but in the long run that was neither here nor there, just   one of the things that would put a nail in the coffin of their marriage   many many years later. His father, who didn’t have any money to spare, took a personal loan to loan him  money when he needed it to get along.

He thought nothing of having found his fiancé with Tim and Jack in the bed. He had not slept any at all, and if it weren’t for the black beauties he would have found himself in a tough way. But as it were, he was used to the speed, and more than any other drug this was the one he really loved. Later in his life, he would become intimately acquainted with cocaine and he would love that even more than black beauties.

Downstairs on this particular morning, with the snow falling outside and the prospect of the day being a slow one due to the crummy weather, all three of them changed in the hall. Bea, ever herself, ever playful when it came to acting out in front of Mary, took herself a copious feel of Bill. Bill allowed her the feel and pushed himself forward toward her. He told her to go inside his underwear which she had no trouble doing. Mary, somewhat jealous but not wanting to put it out there, asked if they wanted privacy. In answer to her question, since Mary had not put her dress on yet and was still in her panties and bra, Bill reached between her legs and took himself a generous feel of her.

“Maybe we should all go somewhere together,” Bill said.

“Maybe we should,” said Bea.

“Maybe we should get our asses upstairs,” said Mary.

“Party pooper,” said Bea. For the first time ever, she reached to Mary and her hand met Bill’s where it was. Together, Bea and Bill pressed Mary against the wall and held her there while they fondled her. Bill leaned in and kissed Mary.

“Goddammit,” said Mary, her voice somewhat slurred due to her being kissed, “you know we got to get upstairs.”

“Ain’t nothing much going on today, not with this snow,” said Bea.

“We gonna have plenty of time to mess around,” said Bill.

Bill moved his hand up toward Mary’s bosom. Bea continued stroking Mary down there. As Bill continued fondling Mary and kissing her, he thought about the intricate webs that were being woven and the complications that could surely happen. Bea’s touching Mary was but another of the strange surprises that had occurred within the last few hours, this despite the boredom of the ordinary day at work.

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Fiction Outtakes 257: Bill Wynn 244

kitchen-4

At 5:15 he quietly went out the door. He was careful not to wake them and he didn’t bother to go and look at them again. This would have been the end of it all for him if Tim and Jack were not gay, but even though it looked really bad, he knew it was innocent, that she was innocent, that when all was said and done, he was very far from innocent.

He drove carefully, noted that it was starting to snow, and made sure not to speed. The police rarely bothered him anymore, this because Bailey had taken the time to speak with both departments, Columbus city proper and Whitehall. Bailey was not so innocent himself. He was playing the numbers with Robert and eating for free at Steakhouse West most of the time. He was also making a play on that gorgeous hostess, Lucy, but she was elusive and standoffish and it didn’t seem as if he or anybody he knew was going to get with her. Lucy, gorgeous as she was, did as she pleased, with whom she pleased, and she answered to no one except Mr. Bowman. She was an integral part not only of the restaurant but of the numbers game too and she well knew that her best fortunes were tied to that numbers game. This meant stringing Bailey and everyone else along but doing her damnedest not to give anything up.

Bill was early. He left his car running with the heater blasting and reclined his seat all the way to the back seat. He would’ve fallen asleep under normal circumstances, but because he was speeding, sleep was hard to come by. He had not changed his clothes, not even his underwear, and he was unhappy about this, but in the long run it was better than waking them up. He didn’t know if she knew that he was even in the house and he didn’t much care. He was holding a trump card now and that was a good feeling given his activities.

When Mary and Bea pulled into the parking lot they saw Bill there. Mary made a comment to Bea as they parked beside him. Bea just shrugged her shoulders. She didn’t much care what Bill did and who he did it with as long as she got hers. But Mary, who cared, already had a sense of apprehension.

When Bea and Mary got out of their car, Mary tapped on Bill’s window. A moment later Bill emerged from his car and walked with them to the front door even though Tommy was not there yet. It was about a minute to six and they knew Tommy would be there almost instantaneously. Anyway, snow falling, it wasn’t too cold, just about mid-thirties.

“You look like shit,” said Mary.

“Thanks a bunch,” said Bill.

“You been home?” Mary asked.

“Yeah.”

“You okay?”

“Aw, leave the boy alone,” Bea said. “Look at his eyes. He’s on drugs. I bet he didn’t get any sleep.”

“You gonna be okay to work?” asked Mary.

“Why shouldn’t I be?”

“He be okay,” said Bea.

Tommy’s car turned from Delta Road then. Not only did they see the car but they heard his tires on the gravel of the parking lot. He pulled up next to Bea’s car and quickly walked from his car to the front door where they all stood. As Tommy said good morning to them all, he put his key into the front door, opened one lock, then the next, then pushed the door open. As was their practiced routine, Bill went down the hall and turned off the burglar alarm. Mary and Bea walked on past Bill and turned on the lights to the kitchen. By this time Tommy had already begun turning on the lights in the front of the house.

SOS DD. In the kitchen Bea started a small pot of coffee on the Bunn. Mary and Bill, unbuttoning their coats on the way, headed for downstairs. Before he went down the stairs, Bill turned on the exhaust fans.

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Fiction Outtakes 256: Bill Wynn 243

kitchen-4

He stood a long while, or what seemed like a long while, in the bedroom doorway. He had planned to gently kiss his fiancé hello/goodnight before he undressed and went in for his shower and then to join her in the bed laying up against her all naked and cozy, but standing there, seeing what he was seeing, that idea quickly got scrubbed. He blinked several times, took in the whole scene, did an about face and went back down the hall to the living room where he sat down on the sofa and leaned back. He put his feet up on the trunk they used as a coffee table—it had been his trunk/coffee table (from his apartment) before he had moved in here with her—and leaned back into the sofa. Sitting in the dark, he finished his beer then got up for another one. On his way out of the kitchen, he grabbed the bottle of bourbon on the kitchen table.

The bottle of bourbon in hand, he stopped for a moment back at the bedroom and took in the scene for a second time. He did this simply to make sure what he was seeing was what he was seeing. Assured that his eyes were not deceiving him, he went back into the living room. On his way back, he shut the hall light so the apartment was totally dark.

Back on the sofa, he kicked off his shoes and resumed his leaning-back position, feet up on the trunk. He drank some bourbon, sipped his beer, lit a cigarette.

It was a bit after two in the morning. He saw this when he’d checked the clock in the kitchen. He would have to be leaving in a couple of hours. He still needed a shower but he wasn’t so inclined to do it now. For now, he decided, he could sleep in his clothes where he was. All he really had to do was get the alarm clock from his bedside. Or he could keep drinking and pop some black beauties, which, he knew, no matter how much he went over it in his mind, was what he was going to end up doing.

He wasn’t angry. It wasn’t as if his fiancé were cheating on him, like he was doing to her over and over with different women. The notion that, as one of those women had told him, it made him a better lover for her, well that didn’t cut it. It was pretty good as far as rationalizations went, but that’s all it was, a rationalization.

He took a long drink of the bourbon then a good portion of the beer, then, leaning deep into the cushions of the sofa, he closed his eyes. The first thing he saw was the scene he’d seen in the bed. She was in the middle. Jack, in just his underwear, was next to her on one side. Tim, in men’s pajamas, was next to her on the other side. Snug as a bug in a rug! Next to the bed, on the night table, was an ash tray in which sat a hash pipe.

The second thing he saw was Marie. He saw her face as she approached him. He felt those teardrops falling on his cheek against hers. He heard the sigh. Then he felt her against him, him pressed into her, and then they were locked together in something that was sex but not sex, something that was almost like a remedy for the sadness they both felt. She was sad for her life, for the way her life turned out, and he was sad because she was sad, or because her sadness reminded him of his loneliness and surely he empathized with her.

There in the dark, Marie in his eyes even though he didn’t want that, he sipped the bourbon, smoked a joint, looked at the tiny micro dots in his closed eyes until it was time to pop the black beauties and go back to work.

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Fiction Outtakes 255: Bill Wynn 242

kitchen-4

Marie happily popped a black beauty. She swallowed it with a good swig of bourbon and then put on her coat which she had carried with her into the meat room. Both she and Bill were dressed and ready to cut out. Neither one of them spoke about what happened. Bill had not wanted it but Marie was pushing for it. If only the walls of the meat room could talk!

Tommy stopped them on their way out the front door. He asked what they’d been doing and if the kitchen was fully shut down. Marie kept quiet, let Bill do the answering. He was partially honest saying they were talking downstairs and yes, the kitchen was put to sleep.

Tommy locked the front door behind them. There were still customers at the bar and Bebe was cleaning up as Bill saw when they passed by. Tommy would personally open the front door to let out the remaining people.

Bill did follow Marie home, or almost all the way home as it worked out. About two blocks from her house he blinked his lights and pulled over. Marie pulled over too and backed up to where he was. She got out of her car and came into his.

“I’m gonna leave you here.”

“I’m good to go.”

“Sure you’re gonna be safe?”

“I told you. He ain’t coming home till the morning. Maybe not even till just before I go to work.”

“Well, here you go.” Bill handed Marie a joint and two Quaaludes. “Pop the ludes with some wine or beer. Smoke the joint. Take a hot shower or bath and relax. They’ll help you sleep.”

Marie kissed Bill on the cheek. “Thanks,” she said. “Thanks for everything.”

“Let’s just keep it between us.”

“Fine with me.”

“See you tomorrow.”

“Night white boy,” Marie said.

Bill waited until Marie was back in her car and heading off before he made the next turn and drove home. In the scope of things, he was not all that late. Still, he entered the foyer quietly and climbed the stairs trying not to wake his fiancé. First thing he wanted to do after checking in on her was take a long shower. He wanted to wash off the kitchen funk, especially the greasy feeling and kitchen odors he invariably came home with. He also wanted to wash off any scent of Marie. He wanted to wash off the memory too, but that would never happen. Ever. In fact, this memory would get etched into his being, not because of anything other than how it had all ended up, with them in a deep embrace and something intimate rather than expressly sexual occurring.

“Nothing eases the sense of loneliness,” Marie had said.

“Think you’re the only one that feels it?” Bill had asked. “Just cause you got a spouse doesn’t mean that you’re not lonely. That’s why I held you. That’s why this happened.”

“You sorry?”

“I don’t know what I am.”

That was true. Bill didn’t quite know what had happened or how he felt about it. Well, he knew what happened but he didn’t know how it ended up being the way it was or why. He melted when she started crying and he certainly related to her loneliness. Then they were locked into this thing that was much more than anything either of them had anticipated.

But that was not the only surprise of the night for Bill. It was just the first one. When he got up the stairs to the rooms of his apartment, he threw his coat on the sofa then quietly went into the kitchen and got himself a beer. He was sipping the beer as he walked through the hall into the bedroom. He used the light in the hall so he did not to have to light up the bedroom so he did not risk waking his fiancé. What he discovered was the second surprise.

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The Breakdown of Language and Reasoning (part 3)—a repost

disfluency_logoSo an Orthodox Rabbi was asked how Orthodox Judaism had managed to survive all these years without changing any. The answer came amazingly quickly and was stunningly simple.

“If you don’t want anything to change, you don’t change anything,” he said.

Period.

In our society we have this discussion all the time. You can see it on the news every day. It’s generally a question of where you draw the line. In fact, in today’s world, one of the most dramatic examples of this involves free speech. If it’s okay for a leftist activist to speak at a university, how can it not be okay for a right-wing conservative to speak at the same university? Or, where do you draw the line?

Common sense says either you allow both to speak, or you allow neither one to speak. But if you don’t want the right to free speech to break down in America, you can’t pick a side according to an agenda.

Orthodox Judaism has made some adaptations. With the advent of electricity came non-stop elevators in high rise buildings so an Orthodox Jew can now live on the forty-fifth floor of an apartment building in New York and go out to synagogue on Sabbath since it is not considered riding (like riding in a car) and it isn’t considered work (since one doesn’t have to push a button to pick the floor to stop on). Similarly, slow cookers and crock pots allow food to stay warm all Sabbath long without one actually cooking.

Adaptation is okay. After all, it is how the human race (should we call it hu-people?) has come about and gotten to where we’ve gotten. But… when it starts to go against reasoning that’s a different matter.

English Language Learners (ELLs) have caused a dramatic breakdown in our language. More precisely, allowing multiple languages to be spoken by offering accommodations to people living in America such that they don’t have to learn the language is what has done so.  Again, reasonable adaptations to the language are expected, but out and out grammatical breakdowns and misinterpretations are not acceptable.

ELLs are not to blame, of course. But the global nature of things has magnified the effects of multi-languages being spoken in America on dysfluency. So, for example, when you call your credit card company and someone in India answers the phone to handle your customer service issue, you may not only not understand him/her due to his/her accent, but you may also be subjected to a host of incorrect English speaking, misunderstandings, non-understandings and even, perhaps, confusion. Sooner or later, the language breaks down. It breaks down much more rapidly under these conditions.

The internet is another way this happens, again because the person writing the text you are reading may have extremely limited English language skills and, after all, the work is being outsourced since it is less expensive. The company doing the text might be located anywhere in the world, but usually of course they are in countries where the labor rate is much lower than here. There’s no guarantee that the editor, if there is one, will pick up any errors.

The sum effect of this, over time, is a breakdown in the language. With errors occurring being overlooked, sooner or later an error occurs in an area where it actually affects meaning and/or interpretation of the wording.

Bingo! Then it depends upon what the definition of is is.

Once again, what is most germane in this discussion of the breakdown of language and reasoning is who benefits from it. If one can say nonsensical things and not be called out for them and one can put forth wholly illogical arguments without being shot down for them, language and reasoning go into a free-fall, which is kind of like where they are now.

You have to ask: who benefits from this?

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Fiction Outtakes 254: Bill Wynn 241

kitchen-4

“I’m lonely and frightened and sad,” Marie said. She pressed in against Bill who leaned against his butcher’s block. He let her press him and settled his arms around her so she was tight to him and they were cheek to cheek. As they stood there, he rubbed her back and stood patiently allowing her all the time she needed.

Not long after they’d settled themselves into one another, Bill noticed that Marie had started crying. He felt it first, felt the wet of her teardrops, so he moved his face to look at her.

“Ain’t my fault,” she said. “I give him anything he wants. I gave him kids. And I was faithful too, all the way till one of his girlfriends embarrassed me out in public. Then he just denied it and denied it. But it was true. Till then I lied to myself. I told myself he wasn’t cheating. But he was.”

Bill held her even tighter than they were. He couldn’t help but be aroused, but he made no moves on her sexually and he hoped she didn’t make any moves on him or make any demands either. He had no idea what to say, so he simply said “It’s all right. Go ahead and cry.”

“I ain’t crying about him. I’m crying for the way my life turned out. I’m stuck with two kids and a man who don’t love me who messes around on me all the time.”

“That why you started with Henry Lee?”

“That was a accident. I wasn’t looking for nothing. He just caught me when I was changing one day and he said something and I felt pretty again. So I let him look at me, then touch me and then we were doing things that felt pretty good and didn’t seem so bad given my circumstances.”

Marie stepped away from Bill. She didn’t bother to cover herself when she walked over to the towel drawer and took herself a clean kitchen towel. After she’d wiped her face, she stepped back toward Bill, helped herself to a drink of bourbon, then took his hand in hers and led it over her body.

This was something they’d done before. This was something Bill had not minded and did not mind now. So he let her lead him, guide him to exactly where she wanted his fingers which was under her dress and around her so he held her bare back and could rub it. As he rubbed her back, she kissed him once on the lips and asked him to hold her some more.

“You got any Quaaludes?” she asked.

“I do. But I ain’t giving you any if you’re driving home”

“I’m planning on driving home. And pretty soon too.

“Then I’ll give you some speed. And I’ll follow you to make sure you get home.”

“That would be great.”

Marie reached down to Bill’s kitchen pants and unbuttoned the fly. Bill did not stop her, but when she started to reach inside he asked her not to. He told her it was better if they just hugged for awhile then changed then left.

He held her, rubbed her back. She pressed against him, moved against him down there even though she could not feel him bare against her. She kissed him some, soft kisses that were sweet and almost romantic. In fact, it was downright sensual, so sensual that Bill heard Marie moan, not once but several times.

“You don’t know how nice this feels,” she said. “You don’t know what you’re doing to me.”

“You gonna tell me?”

“You really want me to?”

“Do I?”

“Don’t you already know?”

“Pretty much,” said Bill.

“Then maybe we’d better just finish this and let ourselves enjoy it.”

“Not here,” said Bill.

“Right here,” said Marie.

Again she reached inside Bill’s now-unbuttoned fly. This time Bill did not stop her.

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