The Glass Shoe

The house looked familiar and reassuring. It was six years since Aimee had last been here, and yet it looked exactly the same as when she used to stop by to see grandma right after grandad died. When she was fourteen. And then less often though highschool.

It was a blue Victorian, set back from the street. There was a tall birch in the front yard, and a bench on the front porch.  Reaching back to memories, before grandad got sick, she remembered them sitting on that bench on Sundays, reading.

She remembered it so hard that she could almost see it: both of them sitting there, smiling at her as she approached.

When she was very little grandma’s house had meant cookies, and malted milk, and being indulged in a way her parents would never do.

Now—

Now she was afraid of what was inside that door. She’d called grandma, once a month or so, the last six years. But it wasn’t the same.  And now Mrs. Jones, who looked after grandma said that she was losing touch with the real world. That she might be gone any minute.

The truth was that Aimee had problems with death and ending. Not just death and ending of people but of everything. Cats, dogs, relationships.

She’d thought the world was safe and predictable until ten years ago, when mom and dad divorced. Then there had been her high school friends, until the group dispersed as if it had never been.  Then—

Then college friends for a little while. And then work.

Until the last year.  In the last year, it seemed to her half of her friends had got married and half had left for parts unknown.  The last year had been hard, between moves and breakups, and–  Well, Brad!

And on that moment, as she sat, parked in front of the house, her cell phone rang.  She watched, without answering, as Brad’s name came up on the screen, and that goofy picture of him that she’d taken a year ago, at breakfast at the diner.

After a while the phone stopped ringing, and there was a ping, announcing he’d left a message.

Right. She was going to go in and see grandma. Mostly because it would it would be easier than listening to that message.

She slipped the phone into her pants’ pocket, picked up her purse, and got out of the car.

***

Mrs. Jones was around fifty years old, and a widow.  She lived down the street.  Mom had told Aimee about her, and how she was perfect to watch grandma, because she had training as a nurse.  And then the other lady, whatever her name was, stayed with grandma at night.

Mom had arranged it all by phone, from California.

Aimee couldn’t really throw stones, since she also hadn’t been back to see grandma in much too long.

Mrs. Jones greeted her with a smile, anyway.  “You must be the granddaughter, Aimee.”

Aimee smiled, as Mrs. Jones stepped back into the cool hallway with the marble table by the entrance, where the mail used to be set down. It was now clean, gleaming.

Mrs. Jones led her across the living room.

“Does she know I’m coming?” Aimee asked.

“Well…. Yes, we told her.  But she’s talking about the ball again.”

Aimee blinked.  “The ball?”

Mrs. Jones looked over her shoulder, a diffident smile on her faded countenance. She reached up, to pull strands of salt-and-pepper hair back from her face.  “Yes.  I mean, you know,” and then, obviously realizing that Aimee didn’t know, added, “She is in her right mind, you know, but—”

“Yes?”

“But lately, this last week or so, she’s been talking about the ball, and she’s been trying to find her shoe.”

Aimee stared.  “She lost a shoe?”

“Well, some things have been given to goodwill, yes, but—” She sighed.  “I don’t know.  I gather she went to some ball with your grandfather? Sometime ago?”

Aimee didn’t know. She remembered her grandfather as a kind gentleman who smelled of pipe tobacco and always had a sweet about his person for her.  That and crispy five dollar bills, which he dolled out like he had a printing press in the basement.

Which she was almost sure he didn’t.  It occurred to her, as she went up the dark stairs, with family pictures – mom and dad’s wedding, her baby picture, the picture of her brother who had died ten years ago, just before the divorce – that she really didn’t know that much about her grandmother.  Despite all the times spent in this house, eating cookies, reading comic books, talking about what fascinated her at the time, she really didn’t know much about her grandparents.  They’d always been old, in her mind. Though she supposed they’d only been in their late fifties when she was born. And that was not old. Not really.

***

Grandma’s room was bright. The windows were open, and the late spring air blew through.  If there was a smell underlying it all, it wasn’t the smell of sickness so much as the smell of chemicals. Grandma’s old dressing table, by the door, the one she remembered playing at when she was still a toddler, had been divested of all its sweet-smelling powders and floral perfumes that used to fascinate Aimee, and instead was crowded with medicine bottles.

And grandma was by the open closet, rummaging.

She didn’t look like she was dying, despite what grandma had said on the phone.  She looked older, of course.  Like time had taken all the spare softness from her, dried her out, leaving only essence of grandma.  Like she’d been dried and toughened and reduced to her absolute central core.  But she was standing on her on her own feet, and looking through the closet.

She turned and smiled, “Aimee.”  She came close and hugged Aimee, in a fluid movement, and that close she smelled like the perfumes, of roses with a hint of lavender.

“Grandma.”

“Let me look at you.” Smile. “You’re all grown up. You remind me of your mom when we met her.”

“Mrs. Jones says you’re looking for your shoes? Something about a ball?”

Grandma looked as if she’d been caught out in something she hadn’t meant to be discovered. “Let’s have some tea,” she said.

And Aimee remembered that’s what they’d done, last time she’d been here, just before she left for college. They’d had tea and the special, “for good” bought cookies that came in the tin. That’s how grandma referred to them, and she always thought they were better than the ones she made.

This time, the tea was the same, and very sweet. Grandma got the good teapot out, and the saucers cups and plate from the matched set.  “This was my wedding set,” she said. “I’ve put it down in the will for you.”

“Grandma, I don’t—”

“Oh, I think I’ve used it maybe a dozen times in my life, most of the time with you. It doesn’t matter. You should have it.”

Grandma poured two cups, but she seemed to just wet her lips with her tea, and not really drink it. She didn’t eat any of the cookies. Aimee didn’t know how to ask about that. Mom had said, “She’s stopped eating. Since you’re in Denver for the new job, you should go see her. It might be the last time.”

Aimee offered the cookie box, feeling stupid.  Mrs. Jones had made herself scarce.

Grandma smiled, “No, thank you, honey. I’m not hungry. Tell me about you. What are you doing? Your mom said you had a job?”

“Uh…. Yeah. It’s just an entry job, you know, executive assistant, and… well, that’s what it is.”

“And there’s a young man, your mom told me.”

“Well, there was…”

“But?”

“But he wants to get married.”

“And you don’t?”

“Well, not yet, not at twenty four,” she said. “I mean, it seems like we should…. Do things, learn who we are first.”

Grandma wet her lips with the tea.  “You’re running down the staircase,” she said.

Aimee had no idea what Grandma was talking about.  And it got worse from there.  Mrs. Jones ducked in and said something. Her sister had called, she had to go. Could Aimee stay a few hours? She gave Aimee her phone number in case of emergency.

While they were talking, grandma made it back up the stairs.  It seemed to Aimee if she were dying, she wouldn’t be able to walk all over the house.

But Mrs. Jones looked worried about leaving her alone, and Aimee smiled and said, “Never mind, we’ll be all right.”

Then she went up the stairs, after grandma.

Grandma was at the closet again.  “The problem,” she said turning to Aimee. “Is that I can’t find the shoe.  And I don’t think they’ll let me in without the shoe.”

All right. Aimee had no idea what that was all about, but then – she glanced at the dressing table – all those tablets must have weird side effects. Aimee remembered how she had hallucinated all sorts of odd stuff when she’d taken pain killers.

“All right. How about you sit down on the bed, and tell me what you’re looking for, and I’ll look? What do these shoes look like?”

Grandma’s closet was scarily large and very full.  One shelf was taken entirely with sweaters, which she remembered grandma wearing all the time, except in the height of summer.  But there were things hanging that had to be older than her: A beaded skirt, a beautiful embroidered dress.  The shoes were under everything on the floor, she knelt down and started shuffling through them, then stopped when grandma said.

“Not shoes. Just one. He has the other one. And it’s glass.”

“Like Cinderella’s?”

“Exactly like that.” She paused a while.  “You see, I went to the ball and met your grandfather.”

“You met him at a ball? Or was it prom or something?”

“No, no, listen, not this world. The real world.  It was a ball. He was the prince, and he sent a notice for every young lady to come, so I put on my glass slippers, and I went.”

“What? No fairy godmother?” Aimee asked, feeling discomfited.  She’d read somewhere that when people had dementia you should just humor them. But Grandma didn’t have dementia, or at least no one had said she did.  Still. What was the use of arguing.

She looked over her shoulder and grandma looked pensive. “No,” she said. “I think they added that in afterwards. I just had to find my glass slippers, and I stepped through and…. It was beautiful, Aimee. Really beautiful. There was this castle, which was made of glass, only it was white glass and…. Well, it sparkled, all of it sparkled.

“And everyone wore these wonderful gowns, but he came walking through, and he chose me.  We danced all night.” She paused.  “Only I knew that I couldn’t stay in the real world.  Sure, no one dies in the real world. But no one lives either. There are no babies born. There is no time… So, I chose time. And when I chose, the clock struck. And I ran.  I lost a shoe. And the other one, I kept. It’s in the closet. It should be in the closet.”

Aimee, knowing it was crazy dug through the closet. There were leather pumps, and crocodile-skin shoes, and a pair of red patent leather stilettos she couldn’t even imagine grandma wearing.

“He came after me,” grandma said.  “That’s how you know he loves you. He comes after you to this world.”

Aimee looked over her shoulder again, and grandma was looking straight ahead. She sighed. “It was a good life, Aimee. Even if your brother left us much too early, and then your mom and dad couldn’t deal with it.”

“And then dad died this summer.”

“Yes, but that’s the risk you take, when you leave the real world. And it’s still worth it.”  She sighed.  “Only now he’s waiting for me, you know? He’s gone back to the real world, and he’s waiting for me.  At the passage. He has the other shoe, but I have to take the one I have. It’s the only way to go over.”

At that moment, Aimee’s hand touched the thing.  She knew it before she pulled it out from the corner, where all the skirts hung to the floor and hid it.  She felt the glass, cool and very smooth, and pulled it out, and there it was. A pump. Size seven, like the other shoes.  But all made of glass. Only it couldn’t be glass, could it? It had to be crystal.

“You found it.”

Aimee was very careful with it, handing it over.  Grandma took it.  She was speechless for a moment, then she said, “I knew you’d find it. Probably just like your own pair.” She turned it over and over in her hand, then looked up.  “I think I’ll rest a little bit, before getting ready for the ball.”

When Aimee left the room, Grandma was half-sitting half laying against her pillows, holding the glass shoe.

Aimee went to the kitchen, and washed the tea things, then listened to Brad’s message. “Aimee, please call.  If you want me to move there, I’ll move there. I don’t need to date other people. I know what I want. I want you.”

That’s how you know it’s real, Grandma had said. They come after you.

She felt suddenly very sleepy and lay down on grandma’s sofa, like she used to do when she was little.

***

She was putting glass slippers on.  She was sitting up and putting glass slippers on. And grandma was standing there.  She was barefoot, but holding her slipper.  And she had on the beautiful embroidered dress.  It hung kind of loose on her frame, but it still looked beautiful, all white and gold.

Grandma smiled at Aimee. “I thought you could wear my wedding dress,” she said. “I’ve saved it all this time, and I thought maybe you could wear it.  You can’t go to the ball in jeans.” But she didn’t have any wedding dress. She just stood there, waiting, as if the two of them were late for something.

So Aimee got up and followed her, and grandma was moving like she was much younger, towards the little room at the back, past the kitchen, the one with the books and the sewing machine.

But there was a great light there, and the sound of voices, and music.

Aimee saw grandma step through what looked less like a doorway, and more like a big tear in the wall.  Someone she only saw as a shadow was there, and he handed grandma something. It must be the other shoe, because grandma stopped and lifted her feet to put shoes on, and then she gave the man – yes, it was a man and he looked like pictures of grandad when he was young, tall and straight and dark haired – her hand, and the two of them stepped through into the crowd. They both looked young and beautiful.  They turned to each other, and–

“Grandma,” Aimee stepped after, walking into…

It was a glass castle, only the glass was also light.  And her own glass slippers tinkled on the floor as she walked. Looking down, she saw that she was wearing a white lace dress.  Se could feel something like a tiara in her hair.

“Aimee!” It was Brad’s voice, and she turned to him.  It was Brad, but also it wasn’t Brad. It was Brad as he would be if he were perfect, wearing a tux of a deep sparkling blue, with a crown on his blond hair, which for a change lay perfectly straight, instead of half up in the air, as always.

She forgot grandma, and grandad, and she danced with Brad.

She didn’t know how long they danced, but everything was perfect. And she, who could never run without falling was dancing the waltz as if she’d been doing it her whole life.  Around her were beautiful, happy couples.  She thought she saw her brother.  Only John had died when he was single, but here he was dancing with a beautiful young woman, a stranger.  Then she caught a glimpse of grandma and grandad, enthralled, in each other’s arms.

And the dance was more than a dance. It was being together, really together, as you couldn’t be ever in life.  It was…. The real world. Where everything was magical and perfect.

Someone stood up from a throne she hadn’t seen before, and a voice rang out.  It was male, and in her mind she knew it was the voice of the king.  He said something about all the couples here, all perfect, all forever.

“But But no one lives either. There are no babies born. There is no time… So, I chose time.”  Grandma’s voice sounded in her mind. And Aimee realized she could stay here. Here forever, in perfect harmony with Brad. But she’d never live.  Yes, sure, she’d never lose him. She’d never lose a child as she’d lost her brother. And they’d never divorce like mom and dad had done.

But they’d never live.

“So, I chose time.”

Time. There must be time. A place ruled by time, where love was far more perilous, but also… grew. And there were children, and laughter, and a good life.  It was worth it.

She heard, somewhere, a clock strike, and everyone stopped in their dance.

Time. She had to choose time. She had to leave the real world.

She pulled away from Brad – it was the hardest thing she’d ever done – and she ran.

She ran across the beautiful ballroom and down what seemed like an endless staircase made of glass. She lost a shoe halfway down, and saw ahead of her, the rent in the real world that led to grandma’s sewing room.  She plunged through it, and felt the second shoe come off her foot as she rang through.

And there were sirens.

***

After the ambulance had taken what remained of grandma, Mrs. Jones made tea, “There’s no reason for you to blame yourself,” she said.  “She went in her sleep. And you slept too, and that makes sense, seeing as how you drove all the way from Denver.  But there’s nothing you could have done. She stopped eating three days ago, and she didn’t drink either. It was just her time. Se missed your grandad.”

Aimee nodded, dumbly.  “Did you… They didn’t take the glass shoe, right?”

“A glass…. Shoe?”

And Aimee thought she’d probably dreamed that too, just like she’d dreamed the ball and grandma and grandad twirling together.

***

While Mrs. Jones was washing up, Aimee went up the stairs. She couldn’t imagine the paramedics taking the glass shoe in the ambulance. But it wasn’t anywhere in the room. She looked everywhere, even under the bed.

She must have dreamed it.  It was all a dream.

Her cell phone rang, and she picked it up, and turned it on without thinking.  It was Brad, “There you are,” he said.  “I’m coming up. You’d best give me your address, or I’ll go door to door with these glass shoes till I find you. And there’s a lot of doors in Denver. It could take forever.”

“Glass shoes?”

“You lost them, in the staircase.”

“But that was a dream,” she said.

“Maybe,” he said. “But I was also in the dream. And I have a pair of glass shoes.  Your grandmother told me to tell you she’s okay. And that I am to come to you and stay with you. Because it’s worth it. I wouldn’t dream of disappointing her.”

“You can’t have had the same dream I had!”

“No? then how do I know what happened.”

“Oh,” she said.  And she gave him her address.

There was time enough for the real world. She’d keep the glass slippers. But meanwhile they’d live and love, and have a few babies, maybe.

And some day she’d find the glass slippers again and step through to the ball that never ended.

These Are The Crazy Years a Blast From the Past from July 17 2013

BREAKING NEWS, PASS THIS ON BY EVERY CHANNEL AVAILABLE TO YOU: Emails: Top Ukrainian Exec Asked Hunter How to ‘Use Your Influence’ on Burisma’s Behalf AND Facebook, Twitter ‘Reducing’ the Distribution of New York Post Story on Hunter Biden Emails (And by reducing the distribution, read “banning.”) Pass it on: email, phone, your blogs. Just pass it on. Show them they can’t silence AMERICANS!

*Uh Uh. Well. You know, reading this I thought “oh, honey child. You didn’t know what a crazy year even WAS. – SAH*

It’s become a thing among Heinlein fans, writers and readers alike.  We get together for a good talk, and a glass of wine, and one of us will mention something nuts and the others will go “Well, these are the crazy years.”

Things like the girl who had to remove a decoration from her purse before boarding a plane because the decoration was in the shape of a revolver, though about finger sized and evidently cut in half lengthwise.  The TSA thought the ban on guns applied to this too.  (Of course, she’d flown with it before, so it was just this TSA station, but nonetheless its rulings were absolute.)

Things like the little deaf boy who can’t sign his name because one of the letters looks like a gun.

Things like kids getting in trouble because of a fictional story they wrote.  Things like my younger son – it’s a theme, yes.  The boy is lightening rod on his mother’s side.  More on that later – getting sent to the school psychiatrist because he used the following sentence in an essay “Some people think I’m crazy.”

Then there is the shooting in the Aurora theater, which doesn’t even make any sense, except in a culture where it’s better to be famous for killing people than to be obscure.

There’s half (half?) of our literature and movies, which glorify behaviors that in real life get you killed or make you a bum.  There’s the fact that being thrifty, hard working and honoring your contracts makes you “uncool.”  There the fact our women are taught to hate all men and men are finally learning to avoid women.  There’s…

You say it in groups of Heinlein fans, and people go “Well, these ARE the crazy years.”  And you move on.

I’m here to tell you these are not the crazy years, these are the fracking insane years.  Yesterday I went for a long walk and because I didn’t have my son – he was volunteering at the hospital – and therefore had to stay off the more interesting parts of downtown, I took an audio book to keep me company.  The book, because I’m writing space opera and trying to internalize his rhythms (and also because I really am trying to avoid using his terminology, etc, by reminding myself what it is.  I grew up with it, and to me it just means “science fiction” but of course it’s more than that), was Methuselah’s Children by Robert A. Heinlein.

When he hits the description of the Crazy years – you know, kids striking for less homework, more pay (for going to school) and eating clay sandwiches and such, I thought “Brother, you didn’t know from crazy.”

Part of his explanation – built into his world building – was that the crazy years were brought on by population pressures.  One must give the man one strike, and that’s a big one, but it’s one he shared with every scientist of his time.

At least he seemed to have a clue what really was at the bottom of it.  “Semantic confusion.”  Semantic confusion is a big big issue, and it is what is at the bottom of our own insanity.

Heinlein believed that semantics would become an exact science.  Since he based his beliefs on the scientific magazines of his time, I’m going to assume there was research into this.  But it seems to have come to nothing.  Or did it?

Was this one of those sciences that was never published?  One of those things that were considered too dangerous for people to know?

Let me put it this way, if I say “Women should sleep around with every guy possible, because guys want to have women available to them with no strings attached” most women figure out that’s bad, right?  But if I say “Women should sleep around with every guy possible so no man will hold strings on them and they can be free” this is liberating, right?  Semantics.  Not looking beyond the significant for the signified.

But the emotions know, if the head doesn’t.  Pretty words can beguile women, and tv shows can show the wonderful joys of the slutty lifestyle, but every one of a us knows a woman who is turning forty and fifty, still raising the fist of liberation but finding fewer and fewer takers and, let’s face it, sinking into a pit of quiet despair.

Because men and women are different, and studies prove this.  You shouldn’t need studies.  It’s evolutionary.  It benefitted men to sleep around and so those who did it with no issues were the ones who left most off spring.  It did not benefit women to sleep around.  It benefited them to have a guy know (or think) the kids were his, and therefore bring her the best hunk of mammoth from his hunt.  Her kids survived.

Studies have shown that though in both cases sex creates attachment, the effect is much stronger among women.

There’s other stuff.  We won’t talk about the human papilloma virus, now endemic in populations, which apparently causes interesting forms of vaginal, penile and mouth cancers.  The widespread dissemination of it requires that most people have MANY partners.

BUT at the heart of it, guys enjoy the hooking up culture, women don’t.  I’m not saying there weren’t always women who enjoyed it – of course there were – but statistically speaking, women favor attachment over hooking up.

How in hell did “liberating women” turn into “make them available for men’s fun with no pressures and no commitments?”  How can we believe “Men and women are exactly the same, despite different evolutionary pressures, despite the fact we can see and hear they aren’t?”

Semantic confusion.  We confuse equality before the law with equality.

How did not teaching your kids to read – whole word, making the classroom fun, “new methods” of learning for something that has been done in a mass setting and successfully since at least the Roman Empire – become “pedagogy”? and “Desirable”?  Semantic confusion.  We think “new” is better and trust “new discoveries” to make learning “less boring.”  (Almost all basic learning is mind bogglingly boring.  But it opens your wings to the sky.)

How did “Question Authority” become “Question all authority except your hippie teacher?”  Semantic confusion.  The teacher is after all cool and still behaves like an adolescent and assays your fears of growing old and unhip.  And he says the authority are those other people.  You know, the unhip ones, like your parents.  And you don’t think that the teacher has power over the classroom.  That he has his own authority.  And that he’s using it to manipulate you.

How did “Speaking Truth to Power” become saying platitudes that are already enforced from the top down in our laws and in our societal assumptions.  You know, things like “Anyone could be homeless.  They just need compassion.”  (Actually this is true, but for the long time homeless compassion should come in the form of making sure they take their meds and at least moderate their behavior enough to live in society.)  Things like “Women are exactly the same as men and any differences are cultural.”  (Actually women are driven by different hormones which shape thought, which shape – oh, never mind.  Yes, some women are more masculine then men, but not the vast majority.)  Things like “You should be able to make a living at whatever you want to, whether it’s something other people want or need or not.”  Things like “What’s wrong with capitalism is that it doesn’t distribute money equally.”

This is “Brave and courageous” I suppose because they can give you your very own TV show, for parroting what the authorities want people to believe.

But the thing about semantic insanity is that words aren’t the truth.  Words are just words.  Our lying eyes still insist on telling us where reality differs from the words, and things start cracking up.

The first symptom is an amping up of insanity.  Do women feel used and treated like dirt?  Do they get upset because younger women (DUH) attract more men?

Well, you get screams of “harassment” at mere words said in passing; and you get “lookism” and its being considered a bad thing to note someone is in fact female.

They could step back and think that perhaps sex for its own sake is bad, and perhaps there is a reason for mating for life and having support in your middle or old age.  But that would require real talking truth to power.  And that they can’t do.  Because everyone knows married people are unhip.

Is your kid failing to learn to read by the new spanking shiny methods?  Well, then he must have a disability and it must be the fault of something that’s tragically unhip, like irradiated food.

… But insanity can only be amped so much.  After a while even the crazies know it’s crazy.  And then, there’s the fact that semantic insanity encourages the sort of behavior that makes things worse and takes society apart faster.

And then the crash comes.  The normal result of the crash is a strong man regime, and maybe that’s where we’ll end up.  Only not the current strong men, because they’re semantically insane.  The very people trying to speed up the crash are the ones least likely to survive it.

Because most of them are third generation indoctrinated and unable to think of the signified beneath the significant.

I’m an odd duck.  I’d prefer no enforcement of even the old morals.  It makes most of us Odds distinctly uncomfortable, when any societal normal is rigidly enforced.  And it makes it difficult for creativity and invention to flourish.

But that’s where we’re headed if we don’t rein in this semantic insanity, because a strong-man regime that’s closer aligned with the majority of people is better than what we have now, which is only aligned with the reality inside people’s heads.  (Or at least the kakistocracy’s heads.)  It will allow people to survive better.

Or we can turn back now, and try to think clearly and believe our lying eyes and not the pretty stuff we want to believe.

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

There is a new post over at Mad Genius Club. 

Read this and Consider It

It’s two weeks and change to the election. And we’re all worried.

I’ll confess to you I’d not be the least bit worried if it weren’t for the fact that I know there will be fraud.

We saw enough of that in 18 when polls were kept open much later than they should be, until “the right people won.”

And to those of you who are shrugging and saying “both side cheat.” Yes, I AM sure some Republican somewhere cheated. In fact there seems to have been vote fraud some years ago by some guy running for the equivalent of dog catcher in some backwater place. I know, because it is the instance brought out every time we say the left has committed fraud.

I will just say this: if you want to look for where the fraud is, look for those who facilitated it. Go no further than Motor Voter. “But it was a way to encourage people to vote” you say. “It removed a barrier to registration.”

It removed many barriers to registration. I have an accent you can cut with a knife, and never once, when registering to vote after moves have I been asked if I am in fact a citizen, whose fate is inextricably bound up with this land and these people, and not a casual, passing visitor. (Note that yes, Francis is a friend. I might in fact have asked him to link this because the other ones I read about — all very similar, including a Japanese journalist here on a brief visa, who had to fight not to be enrolled to vote — were in the paper, in the two or three years after the passage of the motor voter law, and all of them are now out of reach.

“But the voter is supposed to know he can’t vote” you’ll say (if you’re not so crazy as to think everyone should be able to vote who lives here however briefly.) Perhaps they should, but they don’t. I would say that our schools no longer teach the rights and duties of citizenship, but if they did it would be overwhelmed by TV shows who show it as “you’re in the US, you’re American now.” I actually heard some idiot saying we can’t put barriers in the way of people becoming citizens as soon as they land here, because “it used to be you came off the boat in NYC and voted the next day.” Maybe so, because the NYC machine politics (weirdly even then not Republican) were always corrupt, but they shouldn’t have voted and were not legally entitled to vote.

I don’t know when the knowledge was lost, but my own MIL, the year I got here asked me if I’d registered to vote, since “you’re an American now.”

That’s not how any of that works, and not informing people that you need to be bound up with the destiny of the US, you need to have skin in the game, you need to know that what you vote for you will most surely experience. Otherwise you’re voting for things with the interests of other countries, or your family abroad, or whatever in the mix. (I confess to the extent that the US holds up civilization and prevents it from being under the boot of China and communism/fascism (the two have blended in China and most of the modern left) I will fight for the US not just for my family here, but for my family abroad.) I only became a citizen when I was at the point that I had acculturated enough that my home was here (I took two years beyond the point at which I was eligible, because I took it seriously) and my loyalties were here. And even though Portugal allows dual citizenship, the US doesn’t. And I had become American and had no divided loyalties, so I mailed the passport back.

The point being, I’m not even sure people with dual citizenship should vote, much less visitors or people passing through. But the Motor Voter facilitates that. How many non-citizens vote? I don’t know. What I can tell you is that if that hurt the Democratic party, Clinton wouldn’t have rammed it through.

And really, there’s no excuse for it. NONE. I wouldn’t be offended if people asked me for proof of citizenship. I KNOW I HAVE AN ACCENT. Anyone so fragile as to refuse to sign up to vote because they might be embarrassed by a question, shouldn’t do it. “But Sarah, people who are racist” (Do you want to add sexist and homophobic too) “Might use it to make people who are darker jump through hoops.” Sure. People are dicks. They might also, in areas that are predominantly black make blonds show proof of citizenship. AND? The solution to that is not to ask NO ONE to prove citizenship and thereby at best clutter our rolls with thousands upon thousands of people who never vote, and thereby give us thousands (millions?) of harvestable ballots. At worst, it’s giving people who don’t understand us and have nothing to do with us, and who get their news of the US through the peculiar game of telephone that is the MSM a say in how our country is run. The solution is to ask EVERYONE to show proof of citizenship.

NOTE NO OTHER COUNTRY LETS ONE REGISTER TO VOTE WITHOUT BIRTH CERTIFICATE OR PROOF OF NATURALIZATION. Not a single one. Because they are not stupid, and not infiltrated to the degree we are.

Other things that facilitate voter fraud, like mail ballots…. Note which party is pushing for that. No other country does this either. Given the convenience — hello Colorado — of registering on line, without seeing anyone/proving you exist, and then getting a ballot automatically mailed to you, I wonder how many imaginary people vote. And I kind of am ashamed of myself that I haven’t registered Havelock and Valeria Hoyt to vote. I mean, seriously, at least they exist.

How do we know this was intended for fraud or that it helps the left? Well, after Coloradan voters soundly defeated the idea of all-vote-by-mail the barely majority Democrats used it to make it a thing. Over our heads. And since then — strangely — no Republicans win.

Kind of like, have you noticed, when forgotten ballots are found in the trunk of someone’s car, it’s always for the left.

This was all fun and games while it was restricted to Chicago and other hell holes, but now they’re playing for all the cookie chips.

And if you bother — and those of you on the left won’t, I know. You like to be “smart” by taking all your opinions from your betters — to read the program on Joe Biden’s campaign website, you’ll find that yes, he’s all on board for the Green New Deal. And if you read the Green New Deal and you’re mildly sentient (say like my cats) you’ll find that the Green New Deal amounts to the government controlling everything you do, from how you heat your house, to how far and when you can travel, and what you can eat. Worse, if you read Joe Biden’s history, his family has received millions of dollars from China (Yes, Ukraine too. If you allow yourself to read the truth) and China has hegemon ambitions. You know, China, the place ethnically cleansing minorities and starving their own people. Did you know why Wuhan was so vulnerable to the flu? No, do you want to know? Then read this.

And read or ask people who have relatives in Africa what China has done to Africa. If you think being a Chinese colony under the boot of communism is a good idea, you might be insane. For the young who’ve been sold an idea of communism, you’ve been lied to. I’ve seen communism close enough (though it never kept a hold in Portugal) and its cousin hard-international-socialism which is only degrees away from it. You don’t want either. You might not starve, but there are good chances you wish you would. Let’s say I have family in Venezuela.

Yes, I know, but Orange Man Bad and he’s “packing the court.” Get your head out of AP’s ass. They are running their game for their international overlords. Choosing judges of the president’s own ideological stripe is not packing the court. There is no obligation to actually “balance opinions”on the court. If thee were, we’d vote for judges every four years, and/or the court wouldn’t have been PREDOMINANTLY leftist and at times crushingly so for many decades in our past. Packing the court is adding judges of the president’s own strip to it in such numbers that we become an effective one-party state. What FDR that great fascist the left reveres (no? Look into his philosophy) tried to do and Biden has said you don’t deserve to know whether he wants to do. (Oh, but they’re selling it already.)

Speaking of packing courts, that’s exactly what Chavez did in Venezuela, thereby ensuring only fraudulent elections in the future. I have family in Venezuela. Not many now. Most have run. Some even with more than the clothes on their back.

What I want to ask you is this: if you think Orange Man Bad is “trampling the constitution” (Mostly by doing exactly what it prescribes. Yes, he sent federal troops to the cities, but ONLY to defend federal property. Note that any other president would have had pacification troops in the horrible flare outs. But of course that was the trap laid for him. And yes, he nominated a judge. Well, so did Obama. No, the Republicans didn’t vote on it, because they could not vote on it. Also, because a self-declared communist can’t fulfill the roll of adjudicating on the US constitution. Thank heavens you escaped that bullet, and move on.) and that things are so bad evil, horrible (note that the lockdowns were imposed mostly by democrat governors, and if you think that your RINO governor is a bad person for joining in, you have no idea what you’re talking about. None. I traveled across the country. The worst GOP governor is more lax than te best democrat. Possibly because the PURPOSE of the lockdown was to destroy our economy and defeat orange man bad) you have no idea how much worse than can be. So, when you have electricity two hours a day, when cancel culture becomes “the law” and you can be arrested for speaking out of turn, when the court is packed and you can’t vote yourself out of hell…. where are you going to go? Where will you run to?

Spare me fantasies of France or Sweden, or wherever your fervid brain thinks paradise is. Without the US to defend them, those countries are done for, and will fall under the same boot we fall. Besides “climate change” is a global crisis. You wouldn’t want to use electricity and risk setting the Earth on fire, would you? (Brought to you by the same people who said COVID would kill millions of Americans.) So no traveling. You want to drive to the next county? Well, first of all, why do you still own a private car, and second, show us your papers determining you have a necessity.

And if you think I’m exaggerating, consider the Covid lockdowns as a dress rehearsal. And consider what they already did: Airlines, deprived of the ability to fly anywhere have already started scraping airplanes. When/if air travel comes back, if the crisis is ever allowed to end, it will be as expensive as when I was a kid, when only the rich dreamed of traveling abroad. In an increasingly isolated world, the state will OWN you. And you won’t even be able to complain about it.

All of this is promised AND PREMISED in the Biden/Harris program. They have taken in Bernie and Occasio Cortez as advisors. Those are openly communist. They want the state to control your every breath.

Sure, Trump is Trump. His style doesn’t bother me, probably because I’m old enough to remember men like him who weren’t bad people, just brash and uncouth males with chest hair and leers in the seventies. Note that for all his faults, the most they could find on him that wasn’t obviously money-seeking was his saying “women are hypergamic” in a blunt and uncouth way. For a man who’s been married three times? that’s amazing.

As for his twitter, has it ever occurred to you he needs that as a distraction, so he gets to do some actual work?

However this election we’re not voting for men. We’re voting for systems. If you like the Western world and civilization, vote for the Orange one. We don’t even have room for third party votes — and I say this as someone who was a registered Libertarian for 20 years — because the clash is fundamentally this: Do you want to save the Western world and everything we have (And yea “unjust” comparing to what, tovarish? Because compared to any other system in history it has the most opportunities and gives even the poor the best life ever) or are you going to go chase the mirage of communism, which like some infernal creature will not let you go, no matter how much you want to escape?

When I say this is no election to vote third party, even in “safe” states, it’s because, listen up: the fraud is going to be massive, huge, unimaginable.

Take it as read that the people who were willing to lock us down for months and destroy the economy, the people who say that we don’t need electricity all the time, the people who say you don’t deserve to know if they’ll pack the court will stop AT NOTHING to take power. That’s what they’re in this for. Communism/Socialism/Authoritarianism has two classes: the rulers, who own everything and live very well indeed, and the rest of the populace, who don’t even own their own thoughts.

But here’s the thing, our congressmen fill their pockets enough (look at their worth sometime) and the leaders in communism live worse than our city mayors. So why do they do it?

Because they want power. They want power more than anything. Most of them are mediocrities and know they are. But they need constant adulation and power to convince themselves they’re worth something. AND they need other people to be totally in their control.

And if you don’t give them control? Well, they’ll cheat and break their way into it.

The left has already told us that there will be a “red mirage” in which Trump seems to win, but then mail in voting will “reverse it.” Question. How do they know mail in voting will reverse it? Well, because they plan to reverse it with mail in voting. I mean, it’s not that their partisans are too stupid to get the vote there in time. No, it’s a matter of knowing exactly how many votes they need, and then mailing more than that in. As every time the left is allowed to get away with this.

And if they still can’t win they’ve promised to burn, look and murder their way into power. “No justice, no peace” is not a demand for justice. It’s a hostage situation. Because justice has two sides. But if you don’t decide things their way, they’re not going to give you peace.

Are these the people you want in charge? No?

Then secure your vote. Because we’ve never been in so much danger. If 2016 was the Flight 93 Election, this is the aftermath. We’re in the cockpit, but the terrorists who seized control of our bureaucracy and machinery of state are still clinging to the controls and trying to fly us into the ground.

If we can win this election by a RESOUNDING MARGIN above the fraud, perhaps we can take those controls back and even — with immense luck because after 2020 it will take that — maybe save us and our beloved country, the beacon of Liberty to the world.

They want to extinguish the beacon, because then it will just be a boot stamping on the human face forever, all over the world.

I wrote how to secure your vote. Note I’m reversing myself on something: Vote as soon as you can. I presume the Trump campaign is prepared to stop endless recounts and forever-mail-in-vote. But it’s really hard to prove your vote was stolen and even if they let you vote again, the other vote will already be in the system, diluting or canceling yours.

From the article, the essentials:

VOTE AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE YOUR BALLOT.  I know I’ve encouraged you to vote on Election Day, in person, but considering how many arrive there only to find out they already voted and that Trump’s campaign – who probably knows better than I – is advising “as soon as possible voting,” do that. At least it obviates someone voting in your place. And maybe the campaign is prepared to fight the “red mirage” scenario. Maybe.

Find out your precinct’s voting rules. If they issued you a mail-in ballot, and you can vote in person, destroy it and vote in person ASAP. If they issued you a mail-in ballot and you can’t vote in person, drop it off ASAP. If they close all polling locations, drop it off in a mailbox in an affluent liberal precinct (to avoid the post office trashing ones from R districts wholesale).

Ensure you have been removed from the voting rolls at previous addresses. You don’t want to find you voted twice! Do the same thing with loved ones who have recently died– it’s painful, but we’re dealing with people who will happily take advantage of the dead.

Also, check with your county registrar and ensure you don’t have any cats or dogs registered to vote– I keep hearing people complain about it, and while it might be rare, we need to plug that leak.

Find your loved ones who have dementia or are very old in general Find out how they’re getting their ballot and how the place they live usually fills them out. If you don’t like the answer, put yourself in the middle. Make sure YOU are the one who helps them fill it out. If your batty aunt wants to vote for Biden, just ensure she’s doing it under her own recognizance, not because someone is guiding her hand.

For the rest of it, and some more sophisticated ways to protect your vote go here.

Whatever you do, if you choose communism, choose it with your eyes open. Don’t virtue-signal and bullshit yourself into it, only to end up finding that yeah, it’s really communism, and it’s not what you wanted.

Because if we fall now, it will be our children or grandchildren attempting to fight back, barefoot, by candlelight and starving. And if there is an afterlife, you have all of eternity to blame yourself.

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

As most of y7ou know — yes? . — I read at Ace of Spades HQ.

My opinions aren’t always the same as theirs — duh. Their opinions don’t always agree internally either. Because free people rarely agree. Heck, I’ve been known to disagree with myself hour by hour.

The only thing that made me genuinely angry though was their post about how if you’re “in a blue city” leave!

Cities aren’t just the places where we live. And if we’re anything but minimum wage workers, leaving is not as easy as that. Even today, in the “work from home” job marketplace, people have ties to places: homes, property, various organizations they belong to, friend groups they’re part of. All these things, you can slowly disentangle yourself from, at least if your job doesn’t require physical presence. (Dan and I have gone round and round on this, and we think full-telecommute positions are probably no more than 20 to 25% of the workforce.) Obviously if you’re in some training programs, you’ll have to stay with them.

This is before you get into other things, like the fact that we can’t keep moving from state to state and giving ever-increasing swaths of the country to the left, even when they took it through fraud (Hi, I’m from Colorado! But I understand California has similar problems) and consolidated it by moving in massive numbers of homeless (turning our convention center into a homeless shelter is next level though. Polis is something else. Not sure what, but definitely something else) or illegal immigrants to vote them in again and again (Because I guess vote by fraud wasn’t enough.)

If they can take Colorado, which at one time was considered the place for Libertarians to move to, let me assure you they can take any refuge you find, including TX. In fact, they are going to try really hard to take TX, if they don’t manage to take the whole country (vote by fraud!) this November.

So, are you willing to give them the ability to do what the Arabs want to do to the Jews in the Middle East? Just push us into the sea?

Every election they say that the GOP will become a regional party, and they intend to do it by hook or crook. Mostly crook, honestly, because they have no scruples. You see, this is religious for them. The arrow of history demands that they win. And once we kulaks are pushed into the sea, utopia will reign.

Except of course, that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. Every time they take over a place they destroy it, and send people fleeing.

The other part of the problem is that places aren’t just places. They’re part of who we are, our views of ourselves. From the earliest stories of mankind, humans were FROM somewhere. Going somewhere. Defending somewhere.

Remove the places from the Iliad…. And none of it makes sense.

This is part of the reason the internationalist dream was always nonsense (besides varying cultures, different languages, and the fact that no one can govern the whole Earth. They can’t even know enough to govern a moderately large place with slightly varying cultures, which is why we’re supposed to be governed first by states. Never mind.) People and places are part of each other. (Though it’s more like people places and times. We own a place for a certain time, and the span of our lives is far too short.)

I’ve loved three places in my life. The first was the village. I loved everything about it, including the smell in the air, when spring had just burst forth and every wall was covered in flowering roses.

Then I loved Porto, which was twenty minutes away by train, but might as well be another planet. It was basically a big, dirty, and in the mid-seventies, mildly dangerous Atlantic Port city. I loved it in the morning, before the shops opened. You’d catch people sweeping the sidewalk in front of their shops, and it was like catching a beautiful woman without makeup. I loved the coffee shops, some with pictures of 19th century poets who used to hang out there. I loved the bookstores, particularly the old ones, with unsold books up in the attic, still marked at old prices. I loved the little art supply shop hidden in an alleyway.

Both of those places I left before they changed: the village into what is essentially a sleeper-suburb for the city, filled with stack-a-prol apartments, and Porto into what my sons call “euro-disney”, kind of a “not so rich” pleasure town. I tried to take them to all the mildly seedy coffee shops and student hangouts, and they’d all been sanitized “for Englishmen to see” and all served the same rather bland food “that tourists like.”

Now, though both those places are gone, and I can only walk them in my dreams, I will freely admit both places are better for the people who stayed behind. I mean, I loved the village, but dear Lord, there was a set of public showers built outside the elementary school, for all the people who didn’t have running water, or at least running hot water, and that was a majority of the village. People used to line up outside the showers early morning on the weekend, for their weekly shower. And well… I’ve mentioned the main form of entertainment was sitting on the stoop and gossiping.

As for Porto, though it’s now somewhat bland, it’s also much much safer than it was. To put this in perspective, the habits of staying safe on the street in Porto saw me through a visit to NYC on my own, with two other girls in the very early eighties. And it’s CLEAN. And you can actually visit the medieval part of town without having chamber pots emptied on your head. So.

Then there was Denver. My history with Denver is weird. At eight I knew that when I grew up I was going to be a writer and live in Denver. Why Denver? I don’t know.

What I know is that in 92, when Dan and I lived in Columbia South Carolina, in a VERY bad situation (he worked for a programing sweat shop, and I was stuck in an unairconditioned house all day (we only had one car) with a toddler. And I knew no one.) we realized we couldn’t go on that way, and we were dead broke, and there were no other jobs.

So, he said, “We have to move.” And I said “Let’s move to Denver.” (Though he might have mentioned it first, because I’d talked about it before.) So we did. Well, we moved to Colorado Springs, which was close enough sort of.

The thing is the minute we drove into Colorado, both of us knew we’d found home, and though we lived in the Springs for over 20 years, we came to Denver often enough that we got to know every little street, every place to hangout, and we were regulars at Pete’s Kitchen on Colfax long before we moved up.

Most of my memories of spending time with the kids growing up are bound up in Denver: from trips to the Natural History Museum and the zoo, to spur of the moment trips to the Art museum, or to a restaurant, to late-night-drives to Pete’s to discuss plotting over coffee.

Some very difficult times were bridged over by Dan and I driving up to Denver and going for a walk in City Park, around the lake. In summer, they illuminated the fountains red white and blue, and we’d sit on a park bench as it got dark, and watched the fountains and talked, before going home.

In summer, also, we took the kids to Lakeside amusement park. Because I have a middle ear issue that makes most rides torture, to me this involved following the kids from ride to ride, reading a book (Dan sometimes went with them, sometimes not) and people watching, until we were ready to leave, when we’d take the train ride around the lake. One time the kids started singing “When the Saints go Marching in” and the rest of the train joined in, only they were singing in Spanish.

Six years ago, when the kids were both in college and not spending a lot of time with us, we realized that we had nothing to do in the Springs on weekends, which partly led to us moving up to Denver (there were other reasons.) We are not, thank heavens, anywhere near our favorite haunts, because we couldn’t afford a house there, but in a fairly peaceful suburb.

Which I used to think was bad, because we had to drive (even though much less) mostly city streets to get to our favorite places….

Then came 2020 and the lock down. And Polis’ order that homeless get to camp on sidewalks and public lands.

I didn’t actually drive downtown till last weekend….

Let’s put it this way, there’s streets we’ve run across at midnight on the way from a favorite restaurant (because we couldn’t park nearer) that I wouldn’t NOW walk at noon, with two policemen on either side. Downtown looks like Detroit, between the boarded/burned shops, and the threatening “unhoused” addicts clustering in every corner. And please, don’t tell me that I shouldn’t complain they’re unsightly. I’m complaining they’re there at all. These aren’t people from Denver, or people who lived here before they went feral. They just came to Denver because they can do as they please, and it’s the productive citizens who are restricted.

Polis can pull this shit and does because vote by mail allows him to know he can fraud himself in again and again and again.

He’s destroying the state. And Denver is probably hardest hit.

It quite literally is breaking my heart. It’s like seeing someone you love plunge into addiction.

I would like to fight back. I can’t. I don’t even know how one fights back from this. Yes, it would start with cleaning up voting, but at this point we’ve attracted so much scum, from crazy commies to feral homeless, that I’m not even sure that would help. It probably would, but how does one do it. All “vote by mail” was passed by the legislature after being soundly defeated as a referendum.

At any rate, the last month and the trip to low altitude showed that we have to leave. We have to, because the altitude is spinning up my auto-immune. It’s been a slow rev-up, so slow I didn’t realize it, but I’m now more or less always in auto-immune crisis. Except… when we went down from the mountain. Long before sea level, the auto immune clears up as if by magic.

So eventually we’ll have to leave. Not before two years, though. And heaven knows if we have two years.

At any rate, if we move, I know I’m leaving behind not the Denver I loved, but a grotesque, hideous corpse that is losing all the things and destroying all the places I love.

And unlike the village, or Porto, it won’t be good for anyone.

Would I stay and fight if it weren’t for the altitude thing? Possibly. Even though I have no idea how to fight back. But I know we can’t continue losing territory. They don’t even do anything with it, except turn it into a diorama of a war zone. They seem incapable of actually administering or doing anything with what they take. Possibly because they’re at odds with reality.

So, I don’t tell everyone behind the lines to “move already”. It’s not that simple. And if we keep running from place to place, we’re going to run out of land. And long before that, they’ll have destroyed every place we left. I do right now have friends in all of the worst zones, including yes Hollywood and New York City. And they’re all caught between grief and anger, same as I am.

What is the solution? I don’t know. But leaving behind every place we love, which the locusts took by hook or crook (and mostly by crook) is a lot like selling grandma down to Rio. It kills grandma, and it doesn’t leave us feeling very good either.

So, to quote one of their heroes…. what’s to be done?

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM CEDAR SANDERSON: Inktail, Too!: Dragons and Friends Coloring Book

A coloring and activity book full of dragons, with room for you to create alongside the enchanting fantasy creatures you can color in. Inktail is a little dragon with no particular size, and in this book, he has many adventures! Poetry, silliness, and no less than 45 full-page coloring plates will keep you busy. The pages are laid out to allow only one side for primary coloring, the other side can then be safely hidden if you are using markers that bleed or want to hang your creation up to admire. The coloring activity book is designed to appeal to young and old alike, and is sweetest as a shared experience.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Crawling Between Heaven And Earth.

A collection of short stories by Prometheus Award Winner Sarah A. Hoyt. The first edition of this collection was published by Dark Regions Press in paper, only. This updated edition contains two bonus short stories: High Stakes and Sweet Alice.
It also contains the stories: Elvis Died for Your Sins; Like Dreams Of Waking; Ariadne’s Skein;Thirst;Dear John;Trafalgar Square;The Green Bay Tree; Another George; Songs;Thy Vain Worlds;Crawling Between Heaven and Earth

FROM T. L. KNIGHTON: Sabercat (Tommy Reilly Chronicles Book 1)

Despite his rich-kid roots, Tommy Reilly is struggling to make it as a freighter captain. Despite a universe of possibilities, he finds himself running afoul of both pirates and corrupt bureaucrats who seem determined to get in his way at every point. It’s like karma for his bullying past is smacking him in the back of the head.

All of that changes when a figure from his past asks for his help.

Now he’s finding himself at odds with a greedy and overly ambitious business owner who has government backing who happens to be the same man who impounded the very load he needs on his ship. The fact that the load is only the first step in securing information that could bring down the status quo might have something to do with that, however.

Tommy and his crew of misfit rejects have to use skills most of them would rather forget to secure their load, all with eyes watching them everywhere.

FROM MARY CATELLI: Never Comment On A Likeness.

She knows that it is magic, but what magic is it?

Have the Good Folk made her baby look differently than he had before?

Or had they snatched him entirely, and left a changeling in his place?

And what can she do against Sir David’s sly comments on how he can help her?

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: JOG

Witch’s Daughter Installment 16

*For the previous chapters, please go here. These are posted first draft, as the brain dictates to the fingers which are remarkably stupid. Also there will be inconsistencies because until September or so, the timing on these is wonky, and I’ll forget stuff between posts. Eventually it will be cleaned up and fixed just before page is made secret/taken down and the book is published. At that time I will take lists of typos or volunteers to proof read. For now, it’s written in a hurry, usually an hour before it goes up. And, let me remind you, it’s free – SAH*

Illusion and Fear

Well, he had the measure of Albinia Blackley. Or at least he thought he did.

Michael knew she’d dropped out of a window without knowing that someone had used magic, so it landed in another universe, and to far up to be survivable. She’d dropped into his boat in fine and combative mood. She’d also leapt up to save him from a smog fetch. And she’d stood up to her formidable father.

Not counting the fact he found her quite distractingly pretty, while realizing she was probably not pretty by most other people’s perspective, and certainly not pretty as other people he’d heard referred to as “pretty” at parties, and by Caroline, his twin, when she was telling him about other girls, he knew she was going to be a handful. Impulsive, decided, brave, but a little too foolhardy.

He had not realized she also had a heart soft as butter. But whoever had set this distracting path knew. Oh, they knew. If he remembered — and he had the haziest of memories, magical paths not having figured large in his education, since he’d always thought himself too sensible to walk one — the magical path latched onto whoever the walker was. It felt out the walker’s strength’s and weaknesses. And it–

He barely grabbed Albinia’s ankle, before she stepped off the dark path towards the sound of the crying baby. And she fought him, but he pulled her up by main force, and held her against him, while she fought like a trapped cat.

His brother had once said that Caroline was fine in a fight because was used to fighting with her brothers. Much less a girl with so many brothers. “No,” he shouted. “I beg you, only listen to me. And then if you still think it’s a good idea, I’ll let you go.”

This was another way in which she was unusual. At his words, she stopped completely, and sullenly stepped back, pulling his arms from her and glaring. Then she crossed her arms, tapped her foot and said, “Very well. Tell me.”

“I don’t think that’s a real baby.”

“Oh, and why not?”

“Because Ive read somewhere that haunts that imitate a crying baby are some of the most evil yet.”

“But what if it is a real baby?” she asked. “And what if it is in peril?”

He thought on it. We were supposed to save those who needed saving, or at least help those who needed helping, after all, and the fact was that ignoring a baby was probably pretty awful. Good people protected babies after all.

“I don’t know. Let’s think on it. But please, do not step off the path. I have an idea once we do, we’ll never find it again.”

She smiled. It wasn’t a nice smile. “So, we’re supposed to help whomever we find without ever leaving the path? I must beg your pardon, Milord, but you must be daft.”

“Michael,” he said. “Not Milord.” It was almost a reflex. “No one calls me milord, or lord, except the servants. Please stop it. And stop glowering. It is distracting. You are right that staying on te path always must be impossible. However, when we go from the path, we must make sure we can come back somehow. I’ll think about it. Meanwhile, on this baby–“

The crying had grown more desperate. “The poor thing is going to die before we get to him, if we’re waiting for you to think about things, milord. I know how it is. When my brothers thought about things, they never happened.”

“The other thing you should know,” he said, noting the Milord and deciding not to fight that battle right then. “Is that the path will adapt and change in order to …. To present a unique challenge to the people walking it. It will target people’s weaknesses.”

“Like your tendency to overthink.”

“Or your tendency to jump into things without thinking.”

She glared at him, and he didn’t glare back. Instead, he put his hand on her harm. “Bickering doesn’t help. But both of us are surely trained in scrying. Maybe it won’t work here, but there’s a chance it will too. I suggest we far see what that baby is, and decide what to do after, shall we?”

“We don’t have anything reflexive to scry upon,” she said, as though reluctant to concede

“We will.” He was already on his knees, feeling around for a smooth rock of likely size. He found one, set it right in front of him, and said, “Now, Miss Blackley, if you’ll give me some of the water we brought. A very little will do.”

She passed him a flask, and a very little did. A mere film of water on the rock. He handed the bottle back, and said the right incantation, then aimed the vision at where the screams came from.

It was the most beautiful baby he’d ever beheld. Something out of a fairytale. And fairytale was appropriate, since the child — rosy pink, with huge blue eyes, and pretty blond hair– had pointy teeth and pointy ears.

“It is a baby,” Albinia said.

“It is a baby placed carefully on a tree stump which is covered in something downy, yes. He doesn’t appear to be in any danger, and despite the crying sounds, he’s smiling and kicking his legs. He’s also an elf, and judging from the teeth, not all that young.” He aimed the vision around the stump.

All around the front, where Albinia would have run through, there was a pit dug, and beneath sharpened stakes. He heard her gasp.

Then he aimed the vision behind the stump, where he saw several pairs of eyes. Not animal or human eyes.

“It is a trap,” she said abashed.

“Indeed, Miss Blackley,” he said, as the crying cut off suddenly, and the scrying rock showed only a smattering of lights, and a sound of laughter and scurrying feet echoed off the path.

“But if it had been a baby,” she said.

“We should have found a way to rescue him, yes,” he sighed. “However, for now, I suggest one of us make a magelight, if we can, and we proceed down the path.”

Albinia, strangely subdued, made a magelight, and they walked a while in silence.

“I think,” he said. “That if we stray off the path we must make a way to come back to it after. But not bread crumbs. Those have a very bad history of not working.”

She didn’t say anything. Except, “What is that?” As she pointed a finger ahead.

And there, glowing in the light of their magelight, trundling down towards them at speed, was something that froze his blood in his veins. It was large, brass-colored, had multiple arms, and had almost killed him last time: It was nothing other than the hair cutter and shaver he had invented and which had had to be destroyed with a shotgun.

He had no shotgun, and the thing didn’t appear destroyed, as it approached at a rapid pace.

He did the only thing he could think of, and stepped in front of Albinia. Not that it made any difference, as the machine had knives and scissors enough for both of them.

This Is No Time To Get Wobbly

I know you guys deserve a better treatment of this, but these are things I intend to touch on later, hopefully, if I can ease up on pain meds, in posts for PJM — which I have NOT quit. September just got eaten by a trip that was supposed to take a week, but got extended because of a death in the family and a funeral, and then dealing with various house-related things that went off the rails while we were gone — in more full detail.

And then October decided to get INTERESTING (it is 2020 after all) and I hurt my back ahem… to quote younger son (who was actually VERY worried and solicitous over me, but of course, well….is me.) “running like a dork” in an attempt to lose the poundage of the lockdown. Which has earned me a week of doing bloody nothing. Which is why I need to get off this blog post and go finish the short story they’re waiting an anthology for. Only between the muscle relaxants and the pain killers it’s been …. difficult. (No, not opiates. I HATE opiates. Just tylenol and ibuprofen. But for some reason the combination makes me sleepy. Also until yesterday I still had breakthrough pain. It just took the edge off.) The good news is that it’s just muscle pain. My fear was of course that like mom I had collapsing vertebrae. And the better news is that today it’s bearable without pain killers. I’m staying on pain killers today, though, because pain makes me cranky, distracted and TIRED.

Which is more or less how the current state of the elections makes me feel, too. More importantly, the state of most people in this country.

First, like the rest of you I am terrified of a democrat win in November.

Note I don’t think there would be any danger of it, not even VAGUELY if it weren’t for the fact that the democrats are promising next-level fraud. How do we know that?

  • first, past action. They managed to win the house in 2018 by acts of blatant flagrant fraud with the connivance of local authorities. I believe that is ALSO how Obama won in 2012. And possibly in 2008, though that’s considerably murkier, since the Republicans decided to run Senator McCain (and from an etimological point of view, was a surname ever so appropriate) a senator who openly disliked and reviled the GOP base and since a lot of empty heads voted for senator “but he’s black” Obama, to prove that they weren’t racist. (And instead absolutely proved they were racist, as in caring about race above all else. I remember a conversation with someone in my field who kept saying because she was going to vote for him because he was black and so well educated. GAH. This would be like voting for me because I’m Latin and look, my back is dry. Assumptions, anyone?) BUT 2012? At least Colorado was stolen. And I bet other places were too.
  • Second, the whole “Will you concede if you lose?” A party that knows they can win HONESTLY doesn’t need to keep trying to get their opponent to lock in to an early concession, without investigation. This is the move of someone trying to lock the opponent into being a good loser. Probably because they suspect — rightly — he’s neither McCain nor Romney.
  • THIRD because they TOLD us they intend to steal the election and HOW. The whole “red mirage” thing about how at first it will seem like an overwhelming Trump win. And then ultimately the dems will prevail.
    This is what we know as “The Boulder Victory” here in Colorado, because before the fraud became general by executive order, when they needed to overturn an election, Boulder could be counted on to find however many votes were needed, no matter how many photocopiers needed to be called to serve.
    Note the giveaway there is that never in the history of ever — except apparently in a marginal election, in a small place for something like dogcatcher, which the dems trot out when you mention their history of fraud — have “found votes” that mysteriously appear after the election flip the election for a republican. It’s amazing. must be magic.

Something that worries me even more is the right’s propensity to immediately engage the circular firing squad. Already, in response to uncertainty and stupid polls, weak sisters (sorry, yes, even you. I like you, but this is ridiculous) are sobbing out it’s all down to Trump’s abrasive personality and what he said and shouldn’t have said at the debate and sob sob sob.

In the wake of 2012 I watched various conservative sites do this, and tear themselves, the candidate and the whole GOP apart, hand wringing on what they did wrong. At that moment I wished the entire conservative wing had but one head and I had a hand the size of a large dried codfish with which to bitch slap them.

Less so, but I’ve already heard analysis of “why we lost the house” in 2018 on our side. Because, well, of course we should have won, even though all of the Western states except Texas are fraud sh*tshows, and even so the polls in Arizona, Florida, etc. were kept open for days after until the “desired” result was achieved.

Give me a break. We lost because of fraud. Want to do something about it? Study it, highlight it. Point out vote by mail is always prone to fraud. Point out Motor voter is an invitation to fraud. Get in the left’s faces and scream. Do not sit in a corner rocking and asking yourself what you did wrong.

Yes, you did something wrong. You conceded to the Marxists and let them claim moral high ground. Which they do whenever they win. And never concede even when they’re trounced. For heaven’s sake, the USSR, the fascist hell hole called China, Cuba, Venezuela, poor fucked up Africa whose worst colonial oppression came from having their best educated at our Marxist hellholes, and they’re still saying “it will work this time!”

Meanwhile we, proponents of the philosophy and way of life that FED THE WORLD start wondering what we did wrong.

We did nothing wrong.

And btw, dry your noses, and stop snotting into your sleeves. The left is not that great. They’re not efficient and they’re not invincible. Not even at propaganda, which is the only thing they’re semi competent at. AND THAT only if they control ALL means of information, which they keep forgetting they no longer do. IF they were, stuff like this wouldn’t continuously explode in their faces.

Look, yes, the communists were once very very good at agit-prop (agitation and propaganda) partly because they had the full force of the USSR behind them and well….Russia was good at propaganda too.

But there is something to rigid — let alone messianic, which they are — ideological regimes, that allow loyalty to supersede competence. Over time, they decline. It’s ultimately choosing yes men (and yes, women, and in the case of the current left, people who identify as yellow wingless dragons AND ornate buildings at the same time.) Most people who are creative or deep thinkers (to quote my husband to me this morning while I was brushing my teeth “Of course you’re thinking of something. You’ll always be thinking of something so long as you’re alive.”) are not “yes people.” Look at the crazy arguments in this blog. People who think about things and form their opinions, and are capable of thought have the most knock out drag out arguments (often over stupid crap.)

So idealogies that don’t allow disagreement, usually decay over three to four generations. The bad news for the left is that their long crawl was so long and so painfully drawn out by the stubborn …. Americaness of us that they are already in their fourth generation.

Do let’s us take the Jussie Smolleting of Wretched Whitmer. For the love of heaven, neither she nor the FBI trying to to get back at Trump for daring to declassify documents that prove their corrupt and lying bullshit, couldn’t even concoct a credible plot against her. I mean, what the frick sense does it make to kidnap A GOVERNOR? She’s not queen. Kidnapping her doesn’t mean the state is leaderless. It means someone else of her party steps in, and helps find her. “Keeping her in a secure location in” another state? Yeah, because like in old westerns, once you cross the border, you’re safe from extradition. And what WERE they going to do with her once they kidnapped her, precisely? Sell her downriver to Rio? (Snort, giggle.) A credible plot would be to assassinate her, in revenge for the lockdowns, maybe. But of course, for THAT they’d need it to be a credible and present threat not just steam blowing, which I suspect every citizen in her state has done.

Instead the “big plot” they came up with reminds me of a line in a book about plots against Queen Elizabeth. “The only thing that explains this is that everyone at the time must have lived half drunk.” (I think it’s more everyone at the time lived under the boot of a totalitarian regime, so of course, what survives is the regime’s version. And it’s not a good look.)

They’re not competent.

As we found in 2020 they’re not even sane. This entire bullshit of lockdowns and inflating the danger of Winnie the Flu was concocted as (as Jane Fonda would put it) as an answer to their prayers of how to take the economy down. They also got as a bonus, having more people rely on TV for news than ever before. (Though if they were confident of that, they probably would not be talking about Red Mirage.) Which is something they dearly wanted. Oh, and they drove half of the American people completely fricking insane. In interesting, unpredictable ways.

But mostly they made us REALLY angry. And my guess is if they fraud their way to power, that anger, and the sheer orneriness of the US will ultimately defeat them.

Now, whether we can do it in time to save our country, I don’t know.

We might not. And the idea depresses me beyond measure. Yes, I know the ideas will return. You can’t kill ideas, but I became an American because I wanted my kids, my grandkids, world without end to be Americans. Not the same as the rest of the wretched world.

If this is what was going to happen, rationally, I should have stayed in Europe where I had family connections and credentials for a life of ease. And yet, I can’t really regret having come here, having got to be American while there IS an America.

Nor can I be Portuguese enough to emulate the probably apocryphal manner of death of the national poet, who is said to have died as the Spaniards took over Portugal, saying “The country dies and I die with it.”

No. I intend to live and continue working for the restoration of America. Even if that necessitates (well, it’s the “push” I’m getting) retreating into just fiction for a while.

I will not sit down, I will not shut up, I will not engage in self-recrimination.

Our incompetent, half mad Marxist overlords can wait till the end of the world for me to bend the knee to their fraud and lies.

I will however offer their version of events something: these are my middle fingers. They’re very American, and I have a matched set.

Solomon’s America

One of the first books I read was a book with stories about a mother’s love (being a suspicious little brat, I was convinced this was a plot on the part of all the mothers of the world to instill our minds with propaganda.)

I swear, though most paintings like the one above show no such thing, that the lithograph with that particular story showed the guard holding half a baby, with the other half lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

In the story, for those who just came into western civilization yesterday, two mothers living in the same house (and therefore probably wives of the same man), one of whose sons has died. And both the women lay claim to the surviving son. (This of course in antiquity, particularly in a polygamous family, was not just a son, not just progeny, a baby to love and all that, but status and security for the mother. Part of all the stories starting with Greeks and Romans, and probably earlier (there’s probably prayers for a son written on cave walls) of women who will do anything for a son is that due to the difference in strength and ability to fight and work in unforgiving conditions, the closer a society lives to the “land” and the harsh ways of mother nature, the more important it is for women to have a male who will work and/or fight for them. The old age (which probably started at around 35, given bad nutrition and multiple/continuous pregnancies, not to mention hard work) of a woman with no surviving son was harsh and short. (Or if you prefer short/brutish and nasty.) Her best hope was to be kept as somewhere between a slave or a pet by the family to which she belonged, be that marriage or birth, as long as she could do small tasks of minding the children or menial work. Once she was unable to do that, only a very loving family would care for her in any way we consider humane. And don’t forget long before that, a husband could get rid of a barren wife, and you bet your beepy that “barren” included “can’t have babies that survive.” Which frankly was still true when Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon.

At any rate, in the story, King Solomon, being wise, (that’s why they paid him the big bucks, or at least he had so many concubines that he had to put them on some kind of system of rotation) comes up with a cunning way (and without ever having studied cunningology in Oxford.) to figure out which woman is the true mother.

He orders the baby cut in half and each half given to one woman.

Every woman who has ever carried a child to term and about half of the ones who haven’t just felt her womb contract at the idea. Which is the point. The true mother immediately speaks up and says “no, no, give the baby to that other woman.” And thus Solomon knows who is the baby’s mother.

He was absolutely correct, by the way, even though we can’t know in true fact if the child was the biological son of the mother to whom he was given. No, don’t argue. Yes, I do realize the point of the story is the natural love of a mother for her child. But when it comes to humans “nature” is not the thing, and a lot of people have virtually no instincts (self included) which does not make them bad people. I do know mothers unnatural enough that they’d be happy to have the baby killed if it meant it didn’t go to increase the power and glory of “that woman.” Even if they had birthed it. And I know you do too. And frankly, if I had been the other woman, I might have spoken up first and said “No, no, fine. Give her the child, but don’t hurt it.” Because no matter what it cost me, I …. like humans and believe in life over death.

Solomon CHOSE the woman who would love that child best, and put his welfare above her own. Therefore his “true mother.”

Let’s suppose, however, that Solomon had a little less wisdom, or less power. And therefore gave the baby to the one who was not willing to let the baby go and would rather see him dead.
How good a life do you think that child would have, even if he was zealously kept alive to preserve her status? And how long do you think he’d survive if she’d been able to bear another child who was strong and survived? And supposing he lived to adulthood, how psychologically healthy do you think he’d be?

In what will seem like an abrupt change of subject, but isn’t, 8 years ago I went to a Romney rally near Hoyt Colorado. (Yes, I am mildly embarrassed to admit this, after the insanity that was Pierre Delecto. However, at the time, seeing the fifth “summer of recovery”on the horizon and irreparable evil overtaking our nation and institutions, I’d have voted for Satan himself, and even worked for his campaign because “better the devil you know is the devil. And can’t be accused of being racist against sulphurous Americans for opposing communism.”)

Having seen a lot of more or less open shenanigans played out in 2008, having watched ACORN brag on camera of having “created” 3 million votes for Obama, and then the whole thing memory holed and people deciding that “America really wants socialism” I WANTED to fight against what I was sure was an illegitimate presidency, acquired by force of fraud. I wanted a candidate who would FIGHT.

I ended up standing in line (I didn’t get in, btw. Hell, the line extended to the highway from Denver to Colorado Springs, with every on ramp closed and the highway at a standstill. Yes, Colorado went for Obama. Yes, it was fraud. Insane, galloping fraud. I invite you to imagine the sort of opposition to Obama that made people treat milk toast Romney as they now treat Trump. And yet Obama won. Despite a complete absence of any show of enthusiasm for him in 12. I mean we lived in a college neighborhood and there was not a single sign. Sure. People really wanted to vote for him. And the Democrats’ incoherent attacks of “women in binders” totally worked with the population. Other leg. Pull it. It plays jingle bells.)

As I stood there, in the evening cold, wearing a skirt, because I’m an idiot, a person went up and down the line with a clipboard asking “are you a lawyer?” and taking down names of people willing to fight any fraud in the election. This made me too happy for words.

What didn’t make me happy was poll watching, seeing rampant fraud (a lot through ballot harvesting) and watching my state fall to the dems by a slim margin. (They immediately, and after the ballot initiative was defeated at the polls, btw, by executive order made all the voting in Colorado be by mail only, and also registration be by mail, no …. existence needed. Which is why Colorado went to Hillary, and why we haven’t been bombarded with pollling calls and adds this election even though we’re theoretically a “flip” state. Because, you know, we are in te Democrat bag. They stole us, and they mean to keep us. (It is also why the despicable Polis feels safe in the bullshit he pulls on us, from turning Denver into a vast homeless encampment — and turning the convention center, which cost the state a river of tax payer money into a homeless hostel — to destroying our tourism-economy.)

I called in the irregularities I saw. We all did. I ended up in group calls with poll watchers from all over Colorado, all of us — at once — yelling at campaign staffers. And it will neither surprise my regular readers nor appease them (though it might make them giggle) that I was so furious I went unstable Latina on the campaign headquarters, and end up screaming at Reince Priebus himself.

To no avail. Romney did bloody nothing.

And then I watched everyone on the right go on about how people really, really preferred Obama, and we needed to change ourselves to meet them where they were. We needed to become somewhat socialist, because that’s where the nation was. And if I tried to explain the massive amounts of fraud, everyone would go “well, that’s a conspiracy theory.”

This would be like the mother deciding she REALLY was barren, and her best hope was to endear herself to the chick who was willing to have the baby cut in half.

I come to explain Romney (and the others before him) not to praise him (or condemn him.) It’s easy to call them names, to refer to them as RINOS. Yes, many of them are, but what “Republican” means has also changed. No, not the way the left claims. It has changed AWAY from authoritarianism and towards more individual freedom. Any Republican with Nixon’s positions today would be called a Democrat. But that change in the party had to wait till communism fell and people realized the “scientific” system of governance was no such thing.

And yes, I know about the court ruling preventing republicans from challenging fraud. Those rulings were obviously insane, since apparently the New Black Panthers standing outside the polls in Philladelphia was not “voter intimidation” but asking for ID is “racial discrimination.” I’m convinced (And so was Romney, otherwise why canvas lawyers) that the fraud was blatant enough it could be challenged.

And DEAR LORD the fraud was appallingly blatant. And it got MORE so in 2018 when Arizona kept the polls open till the “right” person won, etc. And it should have been stopped.

The part where I explain Romney is this: It was going to be a horrible fight, and it had an enormous chance of getting us in a civil war. And even if we escaped that, it would destroy the integrity of America and the faith in our election system completely.

He judged it was better if the Republic lived on, even under Obama. Possibly he figured that we’d had horrible presidents before and we’d have them again. We’d survive that, he’d have his shot later, etc. etc. etc.

Look, I’ve said before as horrible as Obama was, and as much as everyone who ever cried out against Nixon over Watergate should go an apologize at his grave, as Obama’s malfeasance comes out, I’m NOT saying Romney was better. Heaven help us, but Obama might have been the best choice that horrible year.

Because Romney might have — in fact probably does — loved America enough to concede a ridiculous, crooked election, but he was no Solomon. (And I leave to your imagination what he would have done if they’d thrown one tenth the bilge they’ve thrown at Trump at him.)

The problem in fact is that there is no Solomon. And that in every election since Clinton put the horrendous “Motor Voter” act as a facilitation for fraud, the democrats have refused to accept defeat, claimed the election was fraudulent (I give you “Tank” Abrahams) and generally behaved like the other party has NO legitimacy.

What we’ve faced since 2000 — yes, Bush got that one, but he never fought against the perception that he’d “stolen” it. Instead he tried to rise above it — is a judgement of Solomon where again and again the baby is given to the woman who demands it be killed if she can’t have it.

And again and again, we’ve seen what that results in. More and more our institutions are corrupted, our children turned against America itself, till we have people on the streets of America screaming “death to America.”

We know the other “mother’s” plans for America too, now.

“No borders, no wall, no America at all.” The other mother, in fact, plans to take the baby out back and slice him and dice him. Or perhaps sell him to slavers. Same dif.

What they plan is to destroy the Republic. Perhaps because they view their status in the “world” is more important and perceive more rewards coming to them from the oligarchs abroad. Or perhaps because they really, would prefer to destroy the last, greatest hope of mankind, if they can’t own it.

Who knows, who cares?

Are we going to see that again? I don’t know. Trump IS a fighter, but he has lost his footing a couple of times. Sure, perhaps the engineered crisis over the “pandemic” was something he couldn’t dodge. But he also didn’t dispute the 18 elections. He did a Romney on them, and let them take the house on fake “victories” and turn the next two years into the hell we’ve gone through. Including and up to the “pandemic” response. Is he going to think his judicial nominations are enough? And step aside, and let the insanity continue after the dems use their fake polls, their “all vote by mail” fraud, their news media, to browbeat the American people into accepting that America really, really, really wants a “zombie win.” Who knows? Heave knows the man has to be tired. Bone-weary.

But the problem is saying “I love America too much to want to see her rent by a civil war, or destroyed by loss of confidence in elections” is no longer an option.

If we lose this one, we’re going down for the long count. The long, long count. Sure, the left can’t keep what they take. But they can do enough to see America divided and parceled out to foreign powers, all of whom behave more like China than anything in Western Civilization.

It’s not that I don’t understand the temptation. Fighting, in courts, first, might be more risky. On the other hand it has SOME chance of winning. For the other…. (opens hand) America shall be nothing but a glimmer in the wind.

And you know, this is America, so there is a Solomon. There is a judge.

We the People of the United States of America. Now. Always. We THE PEOPLE.

There is no option for sitting this one out. And no, I don’t want to hear any whining about how third party is the only way. There is no choice between cake or death.Your choice is, do you want America to live or not? If you do, vote for Trump. He’s flesh and blood, and heaven knows he’s flawed, but he’s trying to keep the Republic to allude to a musical on other “In conditions that a Merciful G-d should scruple to impose.”

Vote as if your life depended on it. Given the crazy Green New Deal and their lust for reeducation camps, it probably does. But more importantly, the Republic depends on it. We are flesh and blood. Dying was always baked in. But the republic needs not die.

And if it fails in the face of what promises to be an unprecedented tsunami of fraud. Then fight. In the courts, in the public square, in ANY WAY YOU HAVE TO.

You are Solomon. You are the king and judge of this land. Don’t give it to those who would destroy it.

Fight to the extent you can, as hard as you can. And in the aftermath get rid of the corruption and those who view America as a toy to control or destroy.

Let not government for the people by the people perish from this Earth.

Be not afraid. Our purpose is bigger than our lives. Fear is besides the point.

Resolved: The Higher The Fewer- A Blast From the Past From September 2019

insane-2666411_1920

*Okay, I have a confession: when I wrote this, I THOUGHT the left had hit the limits of how crazy they could go. And then 2020 happened and they said “hold our pinot grigio and watch this….
May the good Lord in his infinite mercy send them some sanity, so that in 2021 we don’t say “2020 was adorable….” – SAH*

Resolved: The Higher The Fewer- A Blast From the Past From September 2019

Guys, pssst?  Can someone check on the left? Because something is seriously, bizarrely wrong.  I mean, wrong enough that if the left, collectively, tripped into a hospital’s ER, they’d be slapped with a psychiatric hold.  These people — collectively — are not well.

Look, when I was growing up, one of our merry band was schizophrenic.  When he felt his insanity coming on, he’d go and commit himself, because he didn’t want to hurt anyone.  We can only hope (in vain) that the left could have that kind of insight into their mental processes.

Recently, I heard of someone also suffering from mental illness, who removed every electrical wire from his house, bashed his laptop, the radio, the TV and his telephone, sent in his own obituary and generally posed a danger to himself and others because the aliens/CIA/someone was spying on him through all of those.  He might be saner than the left.

No, seriously. I was texting to Bill (Reader) yesterday and I said something like “the left is so crazy it’s starting to scare me.  What kind of rational human being thinks we should reorganize our entire economy because an indoctrinated SWEDISH teen needs to allay her anxiety?”  And then he said, “Or for instance, that Biden is corrupt, therefore impeach Trump.”

And then I realized there were a ton of other things just as insane from that side of the isle, and I had to think, and then…

Okay, we’ll ignore people like Rashida Tlaib going on about how black market vaping cartridges have coffee and alcohol and other things that can’t be digested by the lungs, and Alexandria Occasional Cortex going on about filming the poisonous effluvia of fracking at a place where no fracking was happening and therefore it was just heat waves from drilling machinery.  We’ll ignore this, because stupid is as stupid does, and the concentrated stupidity in the “squad” is denser and harder than the core of some stars. On the other hand, consider, ladies and gentlemen, that the democrats and the press (but I repeat myself) think that creatures of such impressive density, whose stupidity is even now influencing the orbit of distant galaxies, are worthy not just of being in congress (I mean, the Romans, famously put a horse in the Senate. Who are we to complain about mere donkeys?) but are people we should listen to, and give any type of attention to and/or look to for the future of this country.  No, think about it for a moment. It will prepare you for what is to come.

As I sat there, staring at my phone screen, I realized some of the crazy is so crazy that the mind has attempted to erase it. I always said that the Obama administration had the interesting strategy of covering scandal with scandal, but I swear the democrats/progressives/ happy face socialists, (whatever the hell they call themselves this week. They keep changing names like a bad Chinese restaurant that cooks the neighborhood pets) these days cover crazy with crazy, until your mind rebels at the sheer amount of insanity and regurgitates it, like a cat that has swallowed half a bag of marshmallows (I’m looking at you, Havelock.)

The crazy has been so, you’ll pardon the allusion, fast and furious that I forgot one of the incidents first time through, and probably am forgetting some now.  We won’t even go back till the Mueller investigation was revealed as utterly hollow and probably fraudulent from the beginning.  Mostly because in the aftermath the NYT admitted it was trying to distract us with “racism, racism, racism” and such poor scholarship that even other leftists called them on it.

But somehow, somewhere along the line, the dime dropped that these days you can put the American people to sleep with “racist!” or its new hip variant “white supremacist.”

In between there, sometime, there was the bizarre obsession with “children in cages” which they never seemed to comprehend were ALSO from Obama’s tenure. (And we got the picture of Occasional Cortex staring forlornly into a parking lot, and a lot of other nuttery) And also somehow this morphed into “detention of people trying to illegally cross our border is like German death camps.”  Because you know, the problem Nazi Germany had was all those Jews trying to cross the border to come in.  WHAT?  Yes, it’s exactly like it, except where it’s not like it at all, which is all over.

But the left has minds so completely virgin of history that they make virgin olive oil look like promiscuous olive oil, and so from this bizarre a-historical comparison, they jumped not only to attacking ICE facilities and defacing American flags (question for the audience, what flag do they think they would prefer? Do they really think an invader would put them in charge? Don’t answer that. “Think” is a misnomer for what passes for their mental processes at this point. It’s like the random firing of defective, partially wet fireworks) but also to thinking that “free health care for illegal aliens” and “abolish ICE” is a winning point for their 2020 platform.

Look, guys, can thorazine be made into tranq darts? I think we’re going to need them.

But somehow, this fail-safe way to win American hearts and minds failed (save for a few empty heads in the suburbs who kept bleating “but the children” as though it were kind to encourage unscrupulous parents and kidnapping strangers to grab the kids and drag them the length of the Americas getting raped along the way by making “but the children” a get out of jail card to walk dry shod onto American soil.) I know, un-possible. And yet it failed. Possibly because as the fiercely heterosexual Cory Booker says, so many of us are “despicable.”

And so — because, as I read somewhere (might have been the NYT) they’re counting on (I swear I’m not making this up) scandal fatigue (attached to Trump!) to win them the 2020 election, the left decided to go completely, pants on head, writing obscene words on your naked bods with indelible marker, dancing a jig in subzero weather nuts.  We’re not talking the gentle madness of planning a transatlantic bridge made entirely out of soap. No, in retrospect that was the Mueller inquiry.  This… this is something completely … well, crazier.

So, what have  we seen:

Well we saw Beto O’Rourke not only saying that damn the second amendment, full speed ahead, if he won the election he was coming for our guns, but — mark my words about this, please — having T-shirts printed up with this, as though he thought, nay, was SURE this would be the making of his campaign.  No, seriously.

It is as some liberal but still sane guy said recently as if “The left thinks it’s campaigning in a country slightly to the left of Sweden.”

I’d say more than that. I’d say they think they’re campaigning in a country as disarmed as England.  Let me assure them we still have not just our knives, our screwdrivers, our sharpened spoons, but also our guns.  And saying “you’ll let me take them because I say so” doesn’t sit too well with us Americans. I suppose it’s not Beto’s fault that he never met any of us. I’m going to assume he landed, the day before that debate, from some other parallel world where there are no Americans.

Maybe in that world, the Swedes rule America.

Then there was Kavanaugh thing.  You’re going to say “Oh, old news.” Oh, au contraire, mon frere in suffering through this craziness.
No. Kavanaugh was brought up again, and the left wanted to impeach him — yes, impeach him — because some book recently published said he’d wagged his penis in someone’s face when he was eighteen. The book also said, mind you, that the woman denied and said she didn’t remember any such thing.

And when the supposed victim of this crime said “never happened.” they said that just because she couldn’t remember it, it didn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Yes. The left, ladies and gentlemen, small dragons, wingless birds and feathered mammals, the political side that #believeallwomen, even people who suddenly remember things that supposedly happened forty years ago in a house that doesn’t seem to exist, when a designated victim says she doesn’t remember anything of the kind and it never happened says, “Forget the drunken slut. She doesn’t remember but that don’t mean nothing. Wouldn’t remember her own name if it weren’t tattooed on her butt. Listen to us. We must impeach a supreme court justice because we say so and will stomp our little feet and scream till you do what we say.”

Which funnily enough, between Sweden and tantrums brings us to the next item: Turns out the left believes that the best way to treat a child’s anxiety is to rearrange the entire economy of the world.  No, seriously.

I was on a forum where a woman said we shouldn’t discount the opinions of Greta Thunberg just because she’s mentally ill.

Okay, then. I suppose the guy who ripped out all the wiring of his house should be listened to. I mean, perhaps there were in fact aliens spying on him through the wires.  I’m sorry, if you’re merely depressed, your opinion might have some validity.  Distorted, maybe, but there might be something there.

But if you’re a child who suffers from both a cognitive disorder that makes it impossible to identify irony, hyperbole and lying AND from depression, why would anyone in their right mind pay attention to what you have to say?  Worse, note the CHILD in the last sentence. Greta Thunberg is a child who has not, in fact, finished the equivalent of high school.

Now, I know that children can be geniuses. I am the mother of a diagnosed “profoundly gifted” son, and another who is “at least one standard deviation above him.”  I’m here to tell you that both of them can be very knowledgeable about whatever their field of specialty is.  Which at sixteen was…  Do you know how many bizarre arguments I endured over the best way of making ME a body replacement robot, so I wouldn’t have auto-immune attacks? Or the life history of various comic book heroes, with and without retconning?  I would absolutely listen to them, then, on those subjects. Because they were probably the greatest living authorities on them, and also on various convolutions of Asterix the Gaul. Or in the case of one of them, the economic policies of ancient Rome.

You know what they weren’t authorities on? What international policy and economics should be. You know why not? Because they were sixteen.

Even adults can’t grasp how one could change world economics without killing most of the population, to avert global warming if it were a problem (hint, it doesn’t seem to be. Or at least not within foreseeable future. Or at least none of the people who claim to believe in it actually act like it is a problem.)

But, oh, dear Lord, the left, and Europeans — WTF really is the Monaco Royal Family thinking? Have they reached the level of inbreeding where they’re as dumb as Occasional Cortex? — and the press, think that this girl, because she’s sincere and angry is somehow worthy of talking in front of our congress and the UN (as if the UN needed to further beclown itself) on how we must all change things because we Faiiiiiiiiled her.

I realize that throwing tantrums has got her parents to structure their entire lives around her dictates, but what no one has explained is how and why they expect the rest of the world to do so.

Look, any of my kids when they were young and living with us, telling us we needed to change something like our dinner time because we’d faillllllled them and were ruining their childhood would be told “Tough. Also shut up child the adults are talking.”

But the world is supposed to stop for Greta Thunberg, because she’s disabled and really, really indoctrinated? Oh, and has pigtails.  Well, then. Neither of my boys had pigtails. Must be the difference.

And of course, just in case this failed, the left organized a massive, all out tantrum by giving the kids time off to leave school and demonstrate, stomping their feet and demanding we stop everything because they’re scared.

I guess because they don’t have kids, the left exaggerates the power of children tantruming?  because for us parents, that’s called “Wednesday.”  We used to look at our kids, throwing themselves to the grocery store floor, pumping arms and legs and go “Cute.  Okay. We’re leaving. Call us when you have a job.”  This usually stopped the tantrum and got them walking sheepishly beside us.

Metaphorically speaking, that’s the only response Greta, who comes from a country as far left (in fact) as Sweden deserves from the United States. I don’t care how “sincere” she is. If her fears really were of man-made global warming, she’d be lecturing India and China, not us.

So, take her away from her horrible, insane parents.  Give her to human beings to raise. Whipping the parents in the public square till the blood runs freely is probably not practical, and besides they might enjoy it.

But wait, wait, “You must give us socialism because this Swedish kid is upset and besides we have all these other kids who will take a day off school and hold up signs” isn’t the sum total of the left’s madness… Oh, no.

No. Possibly the best part of the last two weeks is the left demanding that we impeach Trump because Joe Biden is corrupt.

Sure, there’s other stuff there, but already the wheels are coming off, between Trump releasing the transcript of the call, and apparently the “whistleblower” not actually having heard the call to Ukraine, so he’s blowing his little whistle on … hearsay? and… Oh, yeah, this guy works for the Clintons, seems like, or at least that’s what I got from the convoluted chain of who is paying whom…

Is your head hurting yet?  Mine is.

Guys, in my misspent youth, I looked after friends who were suffering through bad acid trips and who were more rational than the left has become.

I fully expect sometime next week they’ll start an inquiry in the House on “Why is a mouse when he spins?” and return a resolution of “The higher, the fewer.”

Which would be hilarious, if these people didn’t have the power of the purse, if (through their press branch) they didn’t manipulate the perception of the US abroad, and if we were absolutely sure that we can beat the margin of fraud.

As is, though, it’s like being locked in a small room with someone who has gone completely and utterly insane.

Any minute now, they’re going to swagger over, wave something in our face and say “See, see? I told you the US is evil and Trump is a dictator. I have proof. Proof, I tell you.”
And we won’t know how to break it to them what they’re holding is a fistful of their own excrement.

The Magical Realm

Ellen realized for the first time how much her husband had changed when she took the tea into his office.

There is such a thing as the force of habit. One goes along, in life, and life itself has a certain force and a certain pull. Ever since she’d married Lir, she looked at him and saw the young man she’d once seen, coming out of the waves, his skin glistening gold under the California moon. A glance at the calendar told her it was thirty three years now since that night, and that foolish young girl sitting on the soft sand, watching the young men.

There were threads of white on Lir’s hair now. Not many, but quite a few. And traces of white on his well trimmed beard. There were wrinkles at the corners of his green-blue oceanic eyes. Laughter wrinkles, mostly. They’d had a good life, she thought.

But there was also a sadness, a listlessness, a look of distant and unavoidable longing.

She went behind his shoulder and set the cup down at his right hand. He looked up and smiled at her. His hands rested on the laptop keyboard, but she couldn’t help but see the document he had open was blank. First page, first line and nothing on it. He’d taken a sabbatical from his teaching job to write a book on little known myth. He’d been in the office twelve ours a day for two weeks. But there was nothing on the page. And he sat there with his longing look.

She’d had her doubts, many times, when they were first married. Sometimes she caught a look in his eyes that made her wonder if everything she’d done was justified. It had seemed so at the time, but young love as a way of deceiving everyone. Particularly those in love.

Later, when Murdoch and Muriann were born, she’d seen his delight in them. And he seemed so happy. But now, with Murdoch married and living across the country and Muriann away in London doing her post grad… And he looked so tired. So very tired.

Instead of going out the door as she usually did after leaving him his herbal tea, designed to help him sleep, she slipped into a chair in front of the desk. He looked surprised, but smiled at her, his eyes crinkling.

“Is it being difficult?” she asked, striving for a light tone. “Your book?”

He smiled, and shrugged, as if to say it didn’t matter. “Not precisely But for all these years, I thought it was the most important thing to do. I’ve studied so many of these obscure myths, kindled so many students’ interest and curiosity in them, but… I don’t know. I think it’s depression.” He hesitated. “I’ve been seeing a doctor.”

“A doctor?” she asked, surprised. This was the man for whom she’d had to book every dental appointment and every checkup for years. It was as if the concept of doctors and illness had been completely foreign to him. She didn’t pursue that thought.

“Well, a shrink, really,” he said. “For about five years.” He smiled at her surprise. “I didn’t want it to hit you, or the kids. He prescribed some things, and at first it was …. It worked very well. It was like being young and full of fire, again. But lately–” He rubbed at his nose bridge. “Maybe I’m just getting old. I keep wondering who my parents were, and where I came from. At first, the whole…. not knowing anything about myself before the age of 17 was strange, but not…. not that strange. I built myself a life… we built ourselves a life. But now–“

“Yes,” she said. “Yes.” But she wasn’t sure what she meant. She’d loved Lir from the first time she’d seen him, 33 years ago, under a September moon, coming out of the cold waters, the moonlight sparkling on his skin like magic dust.

She still loved him. She couldn’t imagine life without him. But he looked tired, and old. And he’d been seeing a shrink, dosing himself with tablets. The wrongness of it made her wish to cry, but it was now too late for tears.

She lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and got up before he did. At the break of day. She was fully dressed when he woke, and looked at her with wondering, sleep-fogged eyes. Then he reached for his glasses from the bedside and put them on. “You are fully dressed!” he said, and smiled teasingly. “So early!”

“I need to run an errand,” she said, and came to the bed, and kissed him on the lips, lightly. She was going to miss this. “It is nothing much,” she said. “I’ll be back before lunch.”

Before lunch… Her heart shrunk within her at the thought. But this was all wrong. Lir should not need glasses. He should not have wrinkles and gray hair. She did not mind them, but he did.

She must do what she had to do.

***

The people at the bank showed no surprise. Why should they? The safe deposit box had been paid for — had been paid for faithfully, every year — since they’d moved here twenty five years ago. She paid it in cash. Lir didn’t even know about it. Almost the only secret she kept from him.

It had been her intention to leave him the key and a note, and she’d long since given his name and ID as an alternate. If she died, if anything happened to her, she wanted him to be able to reclaim his inheritance.

She hadn’t thought she was selfish. Not really. She thought she’d die before him, and he’d go on to live his life, not the worse for the few years stolen from him.

But what if he died before her, in the high, dry reaches of Colorado, so far from all that was natural? No.

Steeling herself, she opened the box the solemn clerk handed her. It was one of the larger ones, in a vault filled with boxes, secret compartments. How many secrets were as odd and unbelievable as hers?

She opened it, took the bulky item, folded it carefully, feeling its silky folds, and put it reverently in a bag.

The box was now empty. There were no more secrets. Or there wouldn’t be soon.

***

It was ten am when she got home, and the house was silent, the kitchen clean, Lir’s juice glass rinsed and upside down by the sink.

And it came to her she would miss that. Which was stupid. Well, there would be time for crying later.

He looked up as she came in the office, and spared a puzzled glass at her large bag.

She sat down on the chair. “I want to talk to you about the first time we met,” she said.

He blinked at her. “At the college party?” she asked.

She shook her head. “No, before that.”

“I don’t remember meeting before that. Did we? Did I forget that? I’m sorry, I–“

“No, not your fault. It is mine. You see, when I was little, as you know, my parents had a house they rented every late summer and fall. By the sea, in California.”

“Yes, I remember you–“

“Listen, please. You must let me tell this story.”

He looked surprised at her unusual vehemence but inclined his head, in assent.

She took a deep breath. This was difficult enough. “When I was in high school, I wanted to be a marine biologist. So I was very happy when I realized a group of sea otters frolicked in the sea, near my parents’ house. I went there to watch them, early morning, sometime in the evening. They are beautiful creatures and their antics made me happy.

“So one night I decided to watch them in the middle of the night. It was exactly 33 years ago last night. I slipped out to the beach, and I sat on a rock, and watched them. And then suddenly, the otters started taking off their pelts, while still in the water. Suddenly there was a group of young men, swimming and playing like children in the water, even though the water is very cold there. They didn’t seem to mind. They were all in good shape, beautiful really–“

“My dear, if you’re telling a Selkie story, you’re telling it wrong. They’re always female. And the animal they change into are seals, not otters. In fact, the conservation of mass–“

“No. Please listen. All of the young men were very beautiful, and I’d never watched a group of young men, not like that. They were all unself-conscious, and playing, really, like children, with no malice in them. None of the grown up stuff. They didn’t see me, because I was up on the cliff, you know.” She paused, and looked at him, and remembered how young and beautiful he had been. Would be. “One of them, to whom they all deferred, was particularly handsome and powerful… I…. This is very hard to tell. I went back several times to watch him. Not them, him.”

“I’m sure,” he said, with mock gravity. “I can forbid your teen follies.”

“Maybe you can,” she said. “Wait till you hear them. Every time these young men came from the water, they took the pelts, and folded them, and put them each in a place.”

“I’m sure you dreamed that part because–“

“Please, I don’t know if I have the courage to continue, but here it goes. One night, after they came out of the water, I went down and took the pelt of the most handsome one. And I…. hid it. I made sure it was really hidden. I have no excuse. I just wanted him to stay. I wanted to look at him more.” Lir frowned and she wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but she went on, “And you know, I wanted to– Anyway. At sunrise, when the others went back to the sea, he stayed on the shore looking bewildered, and I was scared, so I ran home. After a while the local papers were full of a young man who’d wandered into town, mother naked and having no idea what his name was.”

He opened his mouth, then closed it, thoughtfully.

“I kept track of you,” she said, rushing, afraid of stopping, afraid of reason reasserting itself. “I kept track of you, as you …. well, you learn very fast, so you did high school in a year, and then I met you at college, and you know the rest.”

He was frowning up at her. With the habit of decades, she could see him forming a joke, something to ease the tension. She could see he thought she’d gone insane. Before she lost courage, she stood up and pulled the glossy pelt from her bag and set it on the desk. “Here it is. You are free again. I should never have taken it. Magical creatures should never be forced to live and age in the world of mortals.”

His expression had changed when he saw the pelt. All thought, all worry for her vanished from his face, and something like a light kindled in his eyes. He extended his hand and touched the pelt. Sparks flew, not fire but…. visible. Like tiny stars dancing around his hand. The longing in his eyes was unbearable.

She worried he’d put it on and shift right then and there. After all, they’d moved to Colorado, partly at her instigation, granted, to stop the possibility of his …. of his remembering? But if he shifted now, she’d have to drive most of a day with an otter in the car, to restore him home.

He didn’t put it on or shift though. His eyes shone. His hair became dark again. The wrinkles disappeared. He smiled at her, a smile full of joy.

But enough remained of the human. He took his keys, his cellphone, his wallet. He held the pelt, walked around the desk, put it back in the bag. He hesitated for a moment, then bent and kissed the top of her head.

And then he rushed out. Out the door.

***

The house was very quiet. Very empty. It was like when the children moved out, first. Very silent, very empty. Almost like a house where someone had died. Which now she thought about it, was true. Lir, as she’d known him, was dead.

Oh, she hadn’t thought of it, but she supposed she had to report him as a missing person, or the police would think she’d done away with him. As it was, they’d find his trail and the car, and they’d probably decide he’d disappeared on purpose.

It was going to be hard on the children, but it couldn’t be helped. At least Lir would be happy again.

She cleaned the house that didn’t need cleaning, and she thought about what she’d do with the rest of her life. Sure, she’d never become a marine biologist. And her business degree was quite rusty after years spent raising children. But maybe she could find something. They had savings. She could, at least, go back to school. Maybe study marine biology.

What she wouldn’t do, what she couldn’t do, was go back to that beach and watch the young men frolic in the waves.

The thought came that there were probably selkie females. Maybe he had someone waiting for him. She had a deep rooted conviction that they lived much longer lives than humans. What was 33 years out of eternity?

On the second day she organized their photos, started digitizing by scanning them into her computer. Maybe they’d bring some comfort to the kids, when the news came.

She didn’t want to think of Lir, of where he was, of what he might be doing. Lir, as she’d known him had stopped existing. Perhaps he had forgotten his human life, just like the human had forgotten his magical life.

She’d decided she’d call in his disappearance after a week. Though depending on where the car was, she thought he might call her first.

But she wanted to postpone the intrusion into their lives, and the inevitable shocked and pained phone calls from friends. And hurting the children.

It would have to be done. But she’d give it a week.

All of which would be easier if every time she closed her eyes at night, she didn’t see young men frolicking in the waves under a golden moon, impervious to the cold air.

She moved through her days, like a shadow, feeling lost. The thing about a long-lasting marriage was that you stopped being just herself. They’d been Ellen and Lir. And now he was gone, and she felt as though one of her limbs, one of her essential parts had been amputated.

But she felt the phantom pain.

***

She woke up, without knowing she’d slept at all. There was a feeling she’d heard a door close, stealthily.

Someone had broken in.

She got up, put her glasses on, reached for her robe. The gun was still in the safe in the office. She–

There was a shadow in the doorway. A smell filled the room, one she associated with salt water and sun.

She blinked.

“I didn’t mean to wake you, honey,” Lir’s voice said, very gentle.

“I– No. You–“

He walked towards the bed. He was carrying the bag, the same bag she’d given him and by the look of it with the pelt inside. He went into the closet, and came back out, without the bag.

He opened the dresser and took out his pajamas.

She was dreaming. She knew she was dreaming. She heard him shower and brush his teeth. After a while, he was in the doorway.

The light coming from the window shone on him, and she saw Lir…. Her Lir. There were white threads in his hair, and wrinkles at the corner of his eyes, and she had been there for each of those, for every moment that was marked on her face. He was wearing his glasses, which he took off and put on the bedside.

Her heart was hammering so hard she could hardly speak. “But I let you go,” she said. “I gave you the pelt. I–“

He smiled. His hand — the left one, with the wedding band — reached across the bed to hold hers. His was a little cold. As though the coldness of the sea water lingered in it. Which was impossible of course. “I know,” he said. “And thank you. I now know where I am, where I came from. I went back….” He closed his eyes. “It was….” He also seemed to have no words.

And she thought that it was kind, that it was like Lir to come back and say goodbye, to come back and try to leave her in a better place.

“I understand,” she said. “I should never–“

“No, you listen. It is my turn to talk. It was lovely. Wonderful, really. And I remember many nights like that, sometimes frolicking with my people — all my people, of both sexes — on the edge between shore and sea. Many many nights. Hundreds of thousands of them. Frolicking in a state of innocence and happiness. You were right. I was a prince of the sea. I was…. oh, it’s hard to explain.”

“I know, you didn’t need–“

“No, listen. Only I remembered our life too. Here, where the days change, where the years count. I remembered out life and our children, our happiness, our home. I remembered you.” The hand holding hers squeezed. He bent, awkwardly, as if he hadn’t done this thousands of times, and kissed her lips, gently. “And after two nights I grew restless. I wanted my magic, and my kingdom back.”

“So, you’re going back?” she said. “I know–“

His hand caressed her hair — which she knew also had white in it — and nestled in the curve of her shoulder, which had gotten rounded over the years. She knew an overweight middle aged housewife was nothing to the prince of the seas, but it was kind of him. So kind.

“I am back,” he said. “I am back in my magic kingdom. The real one. I will never leave you. I could not. Leaving you hurt more than losing my pelt. You are my magic, Ellen.”

Before she could find a word, or even get over her surprise, he kissed her.

His kiss tasted of the sea and moonlight.

And magic.