Write something now

When opposites are paired, newer vision becomes aged. If I haven’t ever seen this before, I’ve imagined it like a sketch art done by a third party.

I’m not supposed to talk much, besides what’s custom. That’s okay. For the first time in my life, I can tonight. Strange time.

You actually can sit in this booth. I mean top wise, on the table. I don’t even notice, thanks to the imagination pre-ready. 

It isn’t immaturity when I know the other end.

Extreme extrovert, look at me and talk, has lived her life, as have I. It’s cool. Lucy was a dancer, while Nancy had pants.  I never say anything because sure.

It all feeds the spark. Saw a girl once, brunette gymnast type, do the splits between two chairs. Saw the power of God. And it was real.

That was a while ago, before the twenty-five on stage ruined the actual beauty of dance.

I clear my throat. Cough. A few times, and onward.

Sure, as yes. I go out of here the same as you would. Kill the imposter gods, the freaker lords, the whatever belligerent. If who cares, I would.

No, really. Both of us are almost there. A partnership, because of what can be achieved for us both? What do you think?

Shots for my girl, up them. Looking at me, with all these eyes, I think so.

Three dicks on cable. I can understand, girl. I do actually understand. If no one else could fix you, your words, I know a party. It will do, for now.

Sip me, weep me, call me on an I-phone.

Extrovert, control: Introvert look at control, feedback like a Jimi.

We switch rolls, death. You have no one, can talk to no one really. I never have.

Hunter. Put it down.

“Bots.”

I’ve been had before.  I get paid, because when I was fifteen, or twenty, I was the good person you should let drink their beer and not sell drugs to, regardless.  I’m older than that, now.

Maybe it is a ‘bot, feeding on internet searches, that gets things just a little bit wrong.

For a last meal I take scallops, not great but a bunch of very good scallops, with a beer, Samuel Adams.  I always thought I would say Budweiser, and still could have, I think, not caring that they are a European company now.  Frig, for them, that might be a good thing.  But the words form out of my mouth, Samuel Adams.

You must understand.  Hamilton is action.  Toronto is home.  Quebec isn’t talked about.  And in all worlds, in my age, I now have work understood in Quebec.  Freaky, ain’t it?

Work.

May I explain?  At a casino smorgasbord, you might get salmon, and that is good.  People really love crab.  I don’t mind it, but it’s time consuming to eat.  I’ve always been very happy eating there.  Sneak a steak even.  Maybe I’ve seen scallops, but not often, ever.

In New York City, the name that can be named is not the constant name.  Or so I hear.

 Are you a ‘bot?

No one wants to live forever, except everyone.  I offer you a chance at a different outcome.

I play for the home team.  The outsourced princess against the ages, and me.

Secret.  Vengeance, to individuals, is often a horizon effect.  When you see better, with the weak biology eyes of a human, you understand ‘love’ in its right kind.  You particularize.  You come to terms with, ‘love’ in a context, and whatever else, a screw up.  So, you point forward.

A guy offers a girl a leather jacket that’s his, you understand what the feel could be.

Vengeance comes from the ‘forms’ of the matrix, and nothing in time will stop that.  Jump up and down, dance, scream, and sing, it comes.  So, the haiku is phrased.

‘Bot.  Robot.  Girlfriend.  Gone.

Of a kind.  Mistakes were twitter made, facebook sadness drunk.

You know.  Like an old song no one remembers who sang, never mind who wrote.  Like Journey’s ‘Wheel in the Sky’.  Not like you could get permission to use it.  Apparently, Steve Perry and the band isn’t getting along on any level.  And pirates are wrong, of course.

Just ‘saying.

Point it over there, dude or dudette.

Play instead the Karkaos mushroom song.

Scallops are for me.

No.  It’s actually absolute non-sense.

The model has failed.  But no one wants to recognize it.  And significant pain will follow as a result.

Like a church which doesn’t want to recognize the world goes around the sun, because the people can’t handle it right.  People aren’t ready for it.  You do, frig, what has to be done.  Sure, they know.  That’s not the point.

The model is dead, and the non-burial brings more diseases.  Lie, they say, to keep the model.

That time has passed.

Me?  Old leather.  

Sweet power.

The truth is too great and greatly felt not to chuckle.

I love the taste of scallops.

Are you a ‘bot?  Lie. 

        That was the summer the Tesla RV caused a tipping point .Elon Musk was a very old man and clearly he enjoyed messing with our heads. His big release that year was a $10.000 electric station wagon directed at the newly prosperous middle class in the third world. Under his vision the world had gone from one billion carbon spewing cars  to almost four billion electric cars in a few decades. He has created the NIR New Industrial Revolution.

        Of course the world had over eight billion people so all he had achieved was a car for every two people. But we were about the new Tesla RVs. A culture had sprung up on the web of people who had given up their wage slave jobs in the city and headed to the country to live in their RVs and work on the web.  

        Of course a year before that the new tesla product had been a perfectly sealed and robotic greenhouse. That along with an impressive test tube meat machine from Yamaha and people believed they could be self sufficient in food.

        It must be understood that people weren't only heading to the country to camp in their new RVs. There had been a revolution in 'urban camping' that meant 50% of the new drop outs stayed in the city.

        When rule changes made it allowable to rent a parking spot in a high rise parking garage and camp there it was a big help to homelessness.      

        That's where I live, the twenty eighth floor of the arena parking garage, but my brother wants me to take a ride on his omni tractor. He wants to go see his girlfriend in the Sahara Seawater gardens.  

         I wasn't going to go until the east Siberian arctic shelf began spewing methane and I decided we were doomed.

       Why the hell not take a ride across the ocean. The thing about these omni tractors is that they can drive across the bottom of the ocean but by law you need a navigator.  Zero tolerance for steering wrong and heading into deep ocean. That's where I come in.

Sure, he was sixteen, and couldn’t draw at all.  But he couldn’t, wouldn’t stop drawing, except, unlike other people, he never got any better at it.  Still he drew, mostly face sketches to match his character creation process in gaming.

This week the story would surely be his year.  It was a supplement as the Anti-Paladin.  The roll out was simple and predicated on this:  An insidious attack on freedom.  The Anti-Paladin would have ‘Lay Hands On’ which would blight in a very specific way:  Rolls would be made to a particular tension the character being effected/affected currently was under, say goal A or want B, on a charisma difficulty class.  On failure, all proceeding effort to achieve goal A or want B would work against their intention – a poison in the pond everyone drinks out of.  For example, if you meant to kill the kobolds to achieve peace, rather more kobolds come to be as a result of it, and more war.  By poisoning the water of the kobolds, you poison the water of everyone.  The character in such a position can only escape this destiny by overachieving in any specific attribute a number of times, for instance dexterity, where above and beyond X times by Y margin would break the curse of sorts.

The realization that you had/have served the enemy is a game moment.

Also, he wrote in, add a sword ability, call it, “For the Greater Good”, which on a difficulty class calls a percentage onto combat, such that when character A attacks the Anti-Paladin, on X percentage, successful attacks become, in a mentally fuzzy world, the Anti-Paladin’s attack on character A, for a period of time Y, where misses (failures) by character A remain as posited.

The Anti-Paladin may consort with wraiths, with full first edition style level suck, in number as the Anti-Paladin levels.

“To serve one’s Master” is a status a character may roll into after prolonged fighting with an Anti-Paladin.  This makes the character in question somewhat paranoid, and to speak uncontrollably about secrets to other characters he/she doesn’t really know, to the determent of his/her party.

And that became his style, at sixteen and all, not having and never to have the ability to draw, drawing everything.  He looked to fate.

GreenDreams, dude.  You and me both.  It might be time to move on, with both web sites disappearing before the next book.

8WonGulz, I love you.

So, power, that doesn’t fade, is beautiful, and that’s my dying thing.

Silly BS and nonsense passed.

This sonnet is for you:

8WonGulz, there are some things you can never know.  A person gives you a finger, and you knew him a year before that.  Fifty / fifty, or 1 to 99.  I do not know on a spectrum.  So, it is, and so, yes, it goes.

It’s a fake out.  The whole thing is put on.  It’s a lie, and a bad one.  One of the worse poker calls in history.  Oh, make believe this and that; I thought all this was real.

8WonGulz, simply.

Dead, in a superstitious way, names.

Robots and moon over the bed posters, ready.

Freedom.

8WonGulz:

Bitch Fahrenheit, the tongue looped hard on dust,

So, goes the world, the roles we must play.  Jerk

And happy, goes the wrong mail received, must

Wave gooked translation, half who’s part a perk.

There are some things worth dying for, half gate,

Blow job, and dance the stage, shoot lawyer, face,

Cartoons, Metallica on Justice, fate

And at a funeral, I don’t know, lace.

Me, no idea, point like a black hole

That Disney made, as troopers died, with rot.

Sweet girl, you hit me eighty-one times, soul

Not worthy receive, but say the word, hot.

Womb memory, a flash of figment, stash

That once, a long time ago, under lash.

***

If I miss you, I’ve never known you.

8WonGulz.

Halo?

(I WROTE THIS ON A MANUAL TYPEWRITER WHEN I WAS 17)

 

 

An Enormous Lie

 

 

 

 

 

By Bill Meikle

 

 

 

 

This is a short story. A contrivance of the mind. Totally fictional. If you think the characters are like pals of yours and the author is a character thief,  you’re wrong. If you think the setting is like a movie you saw last week, wrong again. It’s a short story. No bullshit. Really.

 

 

                                               ******

 

             One of the characters in this story (who in no way resembles the characters from any  other story) has the unlikely title of ‘Edmund The Big Brown Bear’. Edmund The Big ?brown Bear is not. I mean a bear. He is a man of great kindness and stature. His eyes are sad and his eyebrows have outdone themselves. He has  brown hair and a fluffy brown beard but no paws.

                       Edmund is not a bear.

 

 

                                        ******

        

            And it’s a train story…. well actually a subway story. There are no cowboys and Indians or nations to be railroaded. Just walls and a city.

The author, encouraging the reader to use their imagination, has chosen not to the town where it runs. It can be New York, or Boston, Tokyo or vWalla Walla,

          However it isn’t any of the last three.

 

                                       *******

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Martina

 

       I was living in the Sahara in my tiny home, as a seawater volunteer, when I met Martina from Berlin. She was exotic and beautiful, more gypsy than aryan race, and was pulling a tiny home herself, behind her 30 year old Tesla. So we had that in common.

      I was intrigued.

     Those were the days we were greening up the deserts, from Australia to New Mexico,  pumping seawater in for desalination and growing algae in ponds we hoped would evaporate and create rain. Everybody on the web was involved somehow, from the massive Patreon accounts on Youtube  to the thousands of tiny home seawater volunteers like me. The oil burners hadn't admitted yet that we were effecting the PPM of carbon in the sky. Their lawyers held them back from that.   But they were paying for plastic pipe and inflatable desalination domes  under the table being responsible partners even if they couldn't admit responsibility.

       Martina mostly took cold baths it seemed. Hours of soaking before she'd emerge to her tiny deck wrapped only in a towel to torture me with her nudity as she dried in the sun.

       We were about an hour north of Tamarasset on the main highway to Lagos, and next morning I made the drive into town in my dusty model 3 to do some shopping. Martina came with me for the hell of it, and I realized she might like me a bit too.

      She told me she was heading to Chad to see her boyfriend so I was confused. And I saw that that was how she liked it. We had a definite chemistry that we both tried to ignore because I had a girlfriend back in Canada, that I was trying to stay faithful to as well. 

         “How did you grow. a jungle in the middle of the desert?” She asked me as we were leaving,

           “It’s all about casting seeds and drip irrigating with desalinated water,” I responded.

           “That dome makes beautiful fresh water,” she said, “I took a bath in it.”

             “Only ten years ago we wouldn’t have had extra for that,” I told her.

        “I’m glad I'm here now,”she added in her accented tones.              

        The highway was dotted with solar telephone  booths installed back in the 1980’s and at least two times we saw guys standing in the shade there talking on their cell. phones.

       “My boy friend Kurt would love your place.” Martina told me.

         “You’ll have to bring him by,” I I invited.

          “He’s green army 2.0,” she said, :so he’s full of criticism.”

           “I’ve read about those guys. They’re very interesting.,” I conceded.
           “We’ll find out when we go and meet him,” she said  bringring up a trip to chad for the first time.

         I’ve driven the gap past Tamaraset before heading to Lagos,” I offered.

           “We turn left at Naimey while you went right,” Martina told me. 

           “And I’m tagging along in your Tesla sleeping in your Tiny home?”  I wondered.

            “Kurt has an apartment when we get there. You’’ll have the house to yourself,” she told me.

           “It’s kind /of based on whether we succeed in the city right now,”I told her.

          “Because you’re trying to hire a caretaker,” Martina guessed.

 

 

    Tamaraset was uneventful. I found a kid to hire as the caretaker of my place and. Martina and I got an ice-cream.

        “The guy who runs Kuet’s Green Army 2.0 chapter is Elon musk’s grandson,” She said to me when we were back at my place.

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe writers are better off living on someone else’s bridge, hoping nobody big notices.

Who doesn’t fear the machine, when it offers you residuals, and pretty, publicity shots?

It’s like being in a band, that might make it one day.  The thought of that.  Stupid childhood.

No.  Writing isn’t about the machine.  Some still write because they have nothing to lose.

So, who, exactly, flinches, when an idea about a story idolizing the 80’s springs to life?  It sounds like marketing, or worse, newspaper people trying to be relevant.  The truth is, if you read, you might find charm.

That said, whatever.  Until Spielberg decides to direct.  What?  Why?  It’s not like he has 200 movies left, and it isn’t his girl, so to speak.  I mean, sure, one would be for writing, and one for a visual take, but I don’t buy it.  Not his girl.  So, what do you do with it?

And not just to produce, but to direct?  The only answer is Spielberg must have something to say, but I have no idea what.  He doesn’t need this to do a car chase.  Except…

I may have received a Chinese cookie, with a fortune inside.  It was from Spielberg, saying he was being held hostage in a factory by the Yakuza, and needed help escaping.  Meaning ILM has him locked in a room somewhere on drugs.

So, this is my thing.  The eighties will play REALLY BAD as a post-modern subject rape fantasy, meaning they better start explaining and not making crap up.  Which brings us to the environment this film is now going to be dropped into.

The truth.  Donald Trump is the end of story for the peace and love generation.  That’s act three.  What do you want me to do?  The end of gen x, that’s still being written.

It’s supposed to make you question who’s full of it.

I think there’s a lot of Nazis taking this temporal opportunity to look like Democrats on social media, like pedophiles joining the clergy or boy scouts, or becoming teachers.  Pikachu stuff.  So, we out them with what’s behind their images and thought.  

Spielberg would be perfect for this.

It will be Goonie fun for kids, but let me say cyberpunk should be snuck into it.  I would even say philosophic ‘realism’, thankfully.  Like the later Platonic monism.

The two cores are going to get it on tonight, in a way Lady Tessier-Ashpool didn’t quite understand – in a real way, a way in which ten thousand generations of humans couldn’t figure out.

Jump start my heart, sky dive naked out of an airplane, or something like that.

Something which is actually scientifically possible.

In short, 80’s allusions, as a story sounds bad.  But the book cheats with subtext.  Has its own magic.

Will Spielberg keep the 80’s subtext strong?

Are Democrats fighting Trump by having their own hand carry the agent orange?

Remember, kids growing up in the eighties were very close to Vietnam, even though they may not have known it at the time.  And as adults, see Trump, there is nothing new under the sun, as they say.

No shit.

And yes.  I bought my D&D books out of a model store in 1983.  I still have a love of alligators in the sewers.  Trust me, D&D does not have to be modernized, see Trump.  And, yes.  In my later young years, I actually played D&D with real life (female) strippers, away from club work.  If you could see through these eyes:

All that growing up.

So, it comes down to this.  Rush Tom Sawyer?  Good and better than the median.  Want cred?  Sneak in ‘The Trees’.  Do what it takes to get ‘The Trees’ hit on.  Do you want your movie to work?  How about ‘Fly by Night’, which is quite good - - - No!  What did I just say?  ‘The Trees’.

Look.  I was in grade one or two, say, and all the kids in class were at recess talking about what happened on last night’s episode of the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’.  The kids were just pretending, making stuff up.  I saw the actual episode, and interjected.  (It aired at 8 or 9 at night, pretty late for a kid.)  The teacher overheard, and gave me heavy crap for being awake that late at night.

I grew up by watching television, because my parents let me regardless of hour.  Frig, I think I stopped eating supper at a common table at age eight.  My whole life I ate supper in front of the television.      

PS.

War Games has always been one of my favorite movies.  Perhaps somewhat unintended tension.  Beautiful tension.  [Would you go to Vietnam because the Russians wanted to stop you having sex?  As it turns out, sex was about the only thing the communists did and had, around that time, to half joke, some of which wasn’t with consent.  => I mean the cold war.  May it rot in hell.]

         I was living in the Sahara in my tiny home, as a seawater volunteer, when I met Martina from Berlin. She was exotic and beautiful, more gypsy than aryan race, and was pulling a tiny home herself, behind her 30 year old Tesla.

      I was intrigued.

     My name is Grant. Grant Belcher.

     Those were the days we were greening up the deserts, from Australia to New Mexico,  pumping seawater in for desalination and growing algae in ponds we hoped would evaporate and create rain. Everybody on the web was involved somehow, from the massive Patreon accounts on Youtube  to the thousands of tiny home seawater volunteers like me. The oil burners hadn't admitted yet that we were effecting the PPM of carbon in the sky. Their lawyers held them back from that.   But they were paying for plastic pipe and inflatable desalination domes  under the table being responsible partners even if they couldn't admit responsibility.

       Martina mostly took cold baths it seemed. Hours of soaking before she'd emerge to her tiny deck wrapped only in a towel to torture me with her nudity as she dried in the sun.

       We were about an hour north of Tamarasset on the main highway to Lagos, and next morning I made the drive into town in my dusty model 3 to do some shopping. Martina came with me for the hell of it, and I realized she might like me a bit too.

      She told me she was heading to Chad to see her boyfriend, Kurt  so I was confused. And I saw that that was how she liked it. We had a definite chemistry that we both tried to ignore because I had a girlfriend back in Canada, that I was trying to stay faithful to. 

          “How did you grow. a jungle in the middle of the desert?” she asked me as we were leaving,

           “It’s all about casting seeds and drip irrigating with desalinated water,” I responded.

           “That dome makes beautiful fresh water,” she said, “I took a bath in it.”

             “Only ten years ago we wouldn’t have had extra for that,” I told her.

        “I’m glad I'm here now,”she added in her accented tones.              

        The highway was dotted with solar telephone  booths installed back in the 1980’s and at least two times we saw guys standing in the shade there talking on their cell. phones.

       “My boy friend Kurt would love your place.” Martina told me as we drove.

         “You’ll have to bring him by,”  I invited.

          “He’s green army 2.0,” she said, :so he’s full of criticism.”

           “I’ve read about those guys. They’re very interesting.,” I conceded.
           “We’ll find out when we go and meet him,” she said  bringing up a trip to chad for the first time.

         I’ve driven the gap past Tamaraset before heading to Lagos,” I offered.”you’re on. your own beyond the pavement.”

           “We turn left at Naimey while you went right,” Martina told me. 

           “And I’m tagging along in your Tesla sleeping in your Tiny home?”  I wondered.

            “Kurt has an apartment when we get there. You’’ll have the house to yourself,” she told me.

           “It’s kind /of based on whether we succeed in the city right now,”I told her.

          “Because you’re trying to hire a caretaker,” Martina guessed.

 

            Tamaraset was uneventful. I found a kid to hire as the caretaker of my place and Martina and I got an ice-cream.

 

        “The guy who runs Kurt’s Green Army 2.0 chapter is Elon Musk’s grandson,” she said to me when we were back at my place.

        “I’ve read about him. Sounds like he has a next gen boring machine,” I responded.

        “It digs about 10k an hour, into pure rock,” she said respectfully.

        

        Another time she said: “The main difference between green army version one and version 2.0 is they think it’s bad to pump seawater  around to poor people.”

           “You end up with thirsty people who don’t know hoot to do desalination still thirsty.I’ve heard they still do it though,” I countered.

            ‘They process the salt for lithium,” martina said.

          ‘We’ve got a big pile of salt behind the inflatable  dome. I’ve heard you can process it  for nitrogen too,” I enthused.

          “Their pond system actually works too,” Martina pointed out.

         “I heard that South Sudan had rainfall a few times,” I agreed.

 

       Some days passed and we left on our trip to Chad.

 

wikipedia:

]

N’Djamena (/əndʒɑːˈmeɪnɑː/;[2][3] French: N'Djaména; Arabic: انجامينا Injāmīnā) is the capital and largest city of Chad. A port on the Chari River, near the confluence with the Logone River, it directly faces the Cameroonian town of Kousséri, to which the city is connected by a bridge. It is also a special statute region, divided into 10 arrondissements. It is a regional market for livestock, salt, dates, and grains. Meat, fish and cotton processing are the chief industries, and the city continues to serve as the center of economic activity in Chad.

      

            We were going to meet Kurt in N’d’jamena where he had an apartment he’d purchased from an embassy worker. For now he was on a screen far away.

 

      “Road blocks are standard in Chad.. Just tell them you’re off to meet a friend in the capital,” Kurt advised.

        “Tell Grant about what you’re doing with  the boring machine,” Martina told Kurt changing the subject.

        “We’re digging a tunnel from D’jamena to Alexandria.” Kurt revealed.

             “Across the Sahara.” I surmised.

             “It’s the only route we could find without geothermal heat. Something to avoid when you’re digging a cooling tunnel…

                “You’re  trying to provide air-con to North Africa,’ I guessed

                “Cooling to cause  condensation. Purify salt water.…” Kurt answered.

                Maybe with solar panels at .02 cents a kilowatt you can run a refrigerator,” I wondered.

            “The green army 2.0 is mostly based in Southern Sudan. Kurt is one of their main operatives away from there,” Martina told me.

      “I’m just here to keep an eye on this end of the tunnel from Alexandria,” Kurt told us.

 

       We hung up on Kurt and listened to the deafening silence. We were a few hours from Dj’amena and uninspired by all the  places to stop.

         “I guess we’re camping tonight,” said Martina pulling into a dusty spot by the road.

          “I’m used to sleeping in the tiny home now,” I volunteered.

         “I think we both knew we were going to sleep together. Before I met Kurt and would feel guilty. Before Martina saw Kurt and rekindled her bond. Now was the time.

                                          

 

Chapter 2

 

          We looked down on the countryside below. The whole idea that we were on a floating city hanging from an astroid in space went beyond us, and we smoked a joint and relaxed.

“I don’t know how to sell the 8.5 billion ponds idea,”Rajiv said. forlornly.

 

  “I guess that’s the number your computer  came up with.”  I guessed.

  

“To get to 350 ppm that’s what’s required,” he informed us.

   

        “You’re insanely wealthy, you’ll find a way,” Kurt encouraged.

 

          The backstory came clear. Rajiv was an eccentric billionaire who Kurt and I had flown in to see in  Dubai. He singlehandedly had created the green army 3.0.

          “So we represent Green army 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0,” Kurt decided.

        “Except the 3.0 version has only one member,” I clarified.

        “And his employees,” Rajiv insisted.

        “That graphene desalinator you showed us makes me feel like a 1.0 primitive,”I proclaimed.

         “Solar was three cents a kilowatt when you started,” Rajif remembered.

        “It was 5 cents a megawatt when 2.0. started, and we thought reverse osmosis salt water desalination powered by solar was a good idea,” Kurt added.   

         “That’s sort of what defines us.1.0 used condensation, 2.0 uses osmosis, and I’m using graphene”

          ”We brought the ppm from 430 to 415,” I pointed out.

       “We have gone from 415 to 400,” added Kurt.

       “And I seem to have volunteered to take it from 400 to 350,” Rajif added.

       “Can you do it?” I asked.

         “Electric Cars and renewable Electricity are kicking in. I’m already wondering about what to do when we get to 350,” he answered.

        “Bonfires for everyone,” Kurt suggested.

       “There should be a story. About a time when people have licence to use a little carbon,”Rajif said.

       “Need to use a little carbon,or they’ll freeze” Kurt added.

      “If we’ve been taking off 3 or 4 ppm a year for 30 years we have to watch out for global cooling,” I added.

         “That would be a great story, people resurrecting their grandfather’s car to heat the world,”Rajif enthused.

           “When campfires were necessary.” Kurt tried.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

“Crap.  Am I in trouble?  You can tell me, Catherine.  Go ahead.”  The hotel lobby was busy as the speaker sat in a big comfy chair with his back to a glass front.

Catherine was overemphasizing pouty.  “Your woman with your people sent me over.”

“Are you trying to tweek me, Catherine?  I will gamble soon.  Look, I wasn’t giving the girl at the counter a hard time.”

“You were making her life easy?”

“I was clarifying, trying to get an answer.  Hmmm.  Let me say it this way.  Catherine, your translation is appreciated.  Vietnamese is different, to say the least.  Did you know governments can’t buy translation as good as businesses can?  For real, seriously, for a number of reasons.  Not in all domains, but in particular ones, especially between countries, we have quicker and more effective communication.  Right now, that is thanks to you.”

“It is nice to have you here.”

“Yes.  I didn’t want to come, actually.  I told you that already.  I mean I’m a professional gambler and all, but this is a bit beyond me.”

“They told you to come.”

“They gave me the option, suggested it with a lot of strong emphasis.  So here I am.  To tell you the truth, there’s a beach in Florida I would much rather be on, not playing cards, and having a drink while listening to live rock bands using Marshall amps.  Instead, I’m here inquiring about Kabuki theater.”

“This is Vietnam.  You have the wrong country.”

“This is Vietnam, asshole.  That is what you should say.  This is an old thought, that beach, everyone wants to be back on it.  But that’s not where life put me.  You understand?  Be happy on that beach, if you are on it.  Do not want.”

“What were you arguing with the counter girl over?”

“I wasn’t arguing.  This is hard to explain.  You must understand, most people only communicate through strange, absolutely ludicrous nothing further than the truth fictions, because reality is something different to them.  Regardless of language, this is a universal to humans.”

“Like crap tv.”

“Yes.  You just have to accept it, then all is good.  So, what I’m going to say, it’s all fiction.  Got it?”

“Yes.”

“There are always different rooms, and this is very important when it comes to playing cards.  For instance, there might be three rooms.  Room 1 is no smoking at all.  Room 2 is possibly smoking but no blowing it in my face.  Room 3 is smoking, and blowing it in my face is accepted.  I just wanted to know which room was which, this being easy if we were talking about smoke.”

“You wanted to know about drinking?”

“Sometimes there is a room which is high stakes, but no naked girl on a pedestal where you walk in.  That girl poker room might exist, but it’s across the street.”

“Sure.”

“We might have naked ladies on Thursday night, once a month.  Who knows?  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m just looking for the room mentioned above.  Why this rule?  I don’t know.  Sometimes high stakes are old people, because of the large amount of money being gambled, and old people can be pissy.  Or even like to be pissy.  I don’t know.  By rule you are not allowed to blame the alcohol or drugs, if such exists, at the table.  I’m not sure if this makes the gambling fairer, or if there is another reason for it.  Anyway, it’s all there if you ask for it.  Your funeral.  What’s important is the rule being up front.  So, ask for the right room, and you might find it.  The sex room is over there, for instance.”

“Smoking.  You want smoking.”

“Have you ever noticed the only time a person entertains the magic of calling to an inside straight, the only time, is late into the WSOP when the camera is on?  And all these rooms to choose from.  But no matter to the rules I just mentioned, the truth is I’ve been here, in this Vietnamese casino is it, say 30 seconds?  Some of the people in this room have been here 30 years.”

Catherine smiles.

“Fiction.  People from China, say, I’m told, sometimes don’t play in casinos for fun, or to win.  Rather it is a social necessity.  You play some dumb gambling game, and end up paying the casino over time by losing according to the law of averages, in order to know people, to feel a part of the group.  What this means is, you do not do meaningful business with anyone you do not know who is, or anything about.  Through the casino, you might get used to people, their names, just enough to trust doing business with them.  This is true, yes?

“Maybe.”

“Let me posit this as a maybe.  Never mind the chicken balls, say a lot of chefs make a pretty good chop suey.”

Catherine raises her hand as if asking a question, “Asshole…”

“Chop suey is legal, right?  But what if there exists a super special chop suey, and I can make it happen.  But the government doesn’t like my chop suey, so it’s illegal.”

“Normal."

“If there is a problem with the legal chop suey, what do I care?  Not at all.  It’s not my problem in the sense that it is not in my place of business.  If there is someone to blame, it isn’t directly me.  The chop suey is legal, and I work with the illegal.”

“Got you.”

“Now my super special chop suey, if there is a problem with that, it is different.  Say I know someone, and sell them chop suey, my chop suey.  Is the person a friend?  Do I know anything about them?  Am I there in the morning?  All of these are good questions.  But what if that person goes nuts, and embarrasses everyone by throwing the chop suey at other diners at the eating table, like Belushi in the food fight scene in ‘Animal House’?  That would be bad, wouldn’t it?  Really bad.  So very bad, a significant amount of the time I might not get a chance to explain why I sold the chop suey to the person.  If I was long lived, and made a lot of phone calls, I might be able to explain the very good reason.  Maybe.  It might not be an inside straight draw, but it’s close to the same house.  I really don’t want to be put in this position.  I don’t want to bet it, because the bet would be against me.  Because 3 years in government food jail isn’t the same at 18 years in the same place.  This is the old if you jeopardize one of us, or all of us, see the rules.  It isn’t a beach.  It’s just how things are.”

“Okay government chop suey.”

“Down side.  My chop suey, I choose who to make it for, like I just mentioned.  But if I made government chop suey, that’s a different gig.  If the person is drunk, I could say no.  Maybe the person is belligerent, then no.  But in the United States, at least, potential law suits are huge on anything that could be any kind of discrimination.  That’s why I prefer, when entering a football game say, that if a body search has to happen, whether I agree with it or not, that everyone be searched.  The second you don’t, people will rightfully look to the statistics, how many white people where searched in proportion to how many black people.  That’s a big-time problem.  You could try random as defined searches, but then you can’t go off of them, as deviation attacks the randomness and you get sued.  It’s fundamentally a different kind of business.  For us adults, especially in older age, it just gets accepted.  But for a younger person, if it isn’t explained it can be a huge negative later on.  You know, going to a concert, and having a bag of weed on your nuts.  Make sure it is a relatively small bag.  It has to be.  You’ll be okay.  But then the concerts I always went to had hard searches, so maybe I’m desensitized.”      

“Are you going to play cards?”

“Yes, but I’m supposed to lose, and I’m bad at it.  And I’ll tell you a secret.  This is the reason poker players hate nothing.  Because knowing what a person really hates, in the true meaning of the word hate, lets you beat them.  On the money.  So, no one wants to give that away, and everyone projects false information.  The question I want answered is, what does the hate rate?  Not like drugs, which is the usual reference to rate, but rather, who can I play that is good enough not to signal their hate enough to let me win?  Because I’m to lose, right?  And I want to lose fairly.  For the social understanding.”

“You like people.  I can tell.  Please don’t mention ringing the bell here in Vietnam.  Thank you.”

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