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It is a whirlwind in here

Month

June 2021

I Am Among The Anointed Pure Of The Earth

I have had my second shot (or “jab” as her Blessed Majesty, The Queen, refers to it}.


Pfizer, one month earlier than scheduled,


I didn’t follow the yellow brick road (though it was as good as) but a series of yellow tape arrows down some stairs and then down more stairs then through a Fire Door [DO NOT LEAVE OPEN] and then a corridor that led to another corridor where a fellow got my name and checked his iPad and looked at my card and before I could say “Yes, it’s me” a voice came from an office door “Dale, is that you?” and in i went and appreciated how efficient it all was.

So I sat myself down and was asked ‘which arm’ and then asked if I wanted some warning or if just to give the jab and I had barely indicated the latter choice And a little round band aid was applied. and then it was done. Didn’t feel a thing.


 Then I got a piece of paper with the time limit to which I was supposed to wait {10:59} and  a little pin I could pin to my shirt which says “Fully Vaccinated” with a cross of two band aids underneath.


And when 10:59 popped up I was offered my freedom and before I was out the door my chair was being disinfected for the next person, kept outside in an antechamber.


And then, back along the yellow lines and arrows {except going against the arrows}, and I didn’t leave the fire door ajar, and up the two flights of steps and into the sunny (and not too hot) morning.


Jeez – maybe I should have worn my button.

Alison Alexandra And The Beautiful Game

Alison Alexandra is wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat. She has a light blue ribbon tied around the hat, the ends of which trail down the back of her neck. She also wears oversize sunglasses, with broad, mirrored lenses that show nothing but reflection. Even if she is recognised from her past brush with fame, and her tiny fraction of team ownership in the beautiful game, she won’t really be seen.

Against her better judgement, though in accord with her better interests, Alison Alexandra is attending a knockout game in the semi finals of the World Cup. Two full periods and (if necessary) an extra half hour and (if necessary) a penalty shoot-out. The beautiful though slightly too hot weather for the beautiful game makes her attire more than appropriate.

Her companion, who ceded to her years ago the tiny fraction of team ownership, still pursues his desires for her renewed interest, whether from helicopters at sea to entertainment like the World Cup with all the trimmings. And this time – because it will be a nice antidote from her staggering travail with R/Jane-the-Ghost- she accepts.

And she knows that – actually – he is going to be interested in the game.

Alison Alexandra does not like the sanitization of owners boxes and enclosed spaces – “May as well be watching it on television,” she says – so, although they actually have some of the best seating, they are not in the crowd and exposed to the turmoil and noise and passion of the tens of thousands of rabid fans. Which is what “real” is – and Alison Alexandra likes “real.”

“It might get hot,” says her companion.

“I’m dressed cool,” says Alison Alexandra.

And indeed, is a sun dress the material of froth, and her jaunty and all-covering headgear, Alison Alexandra is prepared for heat beyond her comfort zone. But that heat has not happened today.

“Are you glad you are here?” asks her companion.

I am,” says Alison Alexandra. And she is.

“Is it exciting?”

“It is.”

“Do you want to make it more exciting?”

“I do,” says Alison Alexandra. She always does.

“Will you sleep with me if the team I’ve been cheering for wins?”

“What’s in it for me?”

“You get to sleep with me.”

Alison Alexandra likes this answer and appreciates his arrogance – she always did. And the sex was pretty good, too. But she wants something more.

“I’ll bet,” says Alison Alexandra. “But this is the way I’ll bet.”

She takes a notebook and pen from her shoulder bag. She writes a word on one of the pages and tears it from the notebook. She puts notebook and pen back in her bag, then folds the page neatly. She tucks the page in her bra.

“If this country wins, then I win, and then I get what I want.” She taps her chest.

“What if it’s the same country that I choose?”

“Win/Win,” says Alison Alexandra. “Isn’t that perfection?”

“And what if I lose?”

“You can’t possibly lose,” says Alison Alexandra. “Because you get to remove the page.”

He laughs at that, and Alison Alexandra is glad he laughs at that. He has matured as some men do, and he was barely out of boyhood when they cheered each other in bed. Her aunt would have said – if ever her aunt had known – that Alison Alexandra had been cradle-robbing – but sometimes that’s what cradles are for.

“You’re flirting,” says her companion.

“It’s all part of the beautiful game,” says Alison Alexandra.

Birds At War – One Crow Sorrow

 I don’t know how it started – I heard it, but didn’t see it.


There was a harsh thud against the window. If you are used to it (I have heard it enough) you know that a bird has struck the glass. Generally  hard enough to stun or kill. Break their necks. When he was a child, my father saw a bird hit a window so hard that it smashed the glass and ended inside the room. It was dead.


So I got out of my chair and pulled the blinds open and took a look. By the sidewalk was a blackbird, dead enough looking for me to assume it was dead. As it proved to be. But, also on the scene were  five or six blackbirds, calling and fluttering and diving and raising right hell .I thought it an unusual commotion even for the death of one of their own,
And then I looked up into the fir tree on the corner of the property. A third of the way from the ground was a crow. A very cautious crow. A crow twisting its head every which way it could.


Now, I did not see what made the blackbird crash into the window. It is reasonable to assume the crow was somehow the cause. Blackbirds chase crows, and dive bomb them, and worry them, and harry them, and do so with the help of other blackbirds. Crows like to raid their nests and eat their eggs or their young. A crow is a big bird compared to a blackbird. Strength in numbers.


So, I suspect the dead blackbird made an in flight miscalculation while chasing the crow. It got too close. Then, as it tried to get out of range, it crashed into the window. I was quick to look out the window, and the crow was already in the tree. It may have lunged at the blackbird, or spread its wings. or aimed its beak. The blackbird moved too quickly in its attempt to get out of the way.


But the crow was not out of the woods yet. It wasn’t going to take to the sky and attempt an escape. A half dozen blackbirds could inflict injury on the crow. It was going to stay put.


I had the unusual experience of being nearly level with the crow. I watched it. I watched its head. I watched its eyes. Birds have active, cautious, suspicious eyes. Their eyes are large in relation to their heads. Their eyes are jammed into their eye sockets, so they are generally  unmovable. Consequently, when they want to move their eyes, they have to move their head.


So, this crow was moving its head a lot.

Five or six blackbirds kept hovering and diving. Even two blue jays joined in the ruckus, screeching in the background at all the commotion.

This went on about five minutes, then the other birds departed. A couple of minutes later, the crow lifted from the branch. It had murder in its eyes.

The Murderer Of George Floyd Wrote No Notes Waiting For His 22.5 Years

The EX police officer

Of the law

Wrote furiously

Like a crazy man

At his trial.

Yellow pads

Were filled

Page after page,

Minute after minute

Second after second

Witness after witness

Word after crazy word.

Now

On his day of reckoning

He wrote

Nothing.

Not a word.

He did speak some words

Odd words

Vague words

About

“. . . some other information in the future

”  that would be of interest .”

And, it might

It might.

But

Regardless

It will be

Way too little

And

Way too late.

~ DE BA UEL

Circles Continue To Be The Answer . . . To So Many Questions

5e9006cb86c3456ba85963ccc03183d9

Perhaps it is circular, but this observation (from an – admittedly – unreliable observer in one of my short stories) has been a constantly popular post over the last few years. Yes – it has even surpassed interest in Franz Kafka. .So I’ll give it another turn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Circles are the answer.

“Just look at any circle and you’ll see what I mean. Of course, no one else is to know about the circles. They must be very stupid if they can’t see something so obvious.

“Yet, you get hints, don’t you – all the time out there. And in your own life – the way things happen so you never get anywhere. Never change.

“The earth, of course, and the sun – well, that’s something you can see. Either way you look at it, the one goes around the other in a big circle that takes in the whole sky. And the earth and the sun and the moon are round  – all circles in their own right. So you have circles which are going around in circles, if you get my meaning.

“And if you look further – reach out into the universe as far as you can go – they tell us that everything is going around everything else. Smaller circles and elongated circles which take in such large distances that numbers become forgotten.

“Now, this means that everything, eventually, comes back upon itself. The beginning is really the end. That’s what most people would think – and that’s where they make their mistake.

“You see, things don’t start by beginning – they start by ending. It’s the end which comes first in a circle, so, instead of going back to where it started, it comes back to its end.

“That explains it.”

(image) https:////g2.img-dpreview.com/5E9006CB86C3456BA85963CCC03183D9.jpg

Kafka And The Flowers Of Hope – Suitable For The Summer

From my novel Kafka In The Kastle, where I fill in his missing diary entries.

08 April 1917

I seem to end in the most absurd situations. This afternoon, before Sunday dinner, Ottla took me away for some gardening. Rooting around in the earth, with the frost barely gone. Only Ottla could find such a plot of ground in Prague, or expect me to grub about in it like some hungry animal. I was tempted to ask why she was not at the tiny house, or ask her where David Joseph was – certainly not digging around in the soil. But, I’m not to know of him – and certainly not his name. His absence might explain her energy. She said she wanted to prepare for the work on the farm, and this was a sample of what awaited her. It turned out we were not alone.

It was obviously some sort of communal land – such places are popular during this war. There were even families at work. Children also. One small boy was caught between his interest in the garden, and his desire to be a small boy. And what a dilemma it was. He’d work in the ground for awhile, following the example of his mother, then suddenly race around, exploring like a small boy. He came over to Ottla and me, and hunkered down beside us. He shook his head with a sigh of exasperation, and reached over to put his hands on mine. “Mummy says that’s wrong,” and with great patience and determination, began to show me how to prepare the earth. I thought there could be no better proof to Ottla of how inept I was.

I followed the movements of his hands, and between us, we dug quite a hole. At last the little fellow stood, obviously satisfied. “I go now,” he said, and ran away to see some other entertaining oddity. Ottla hadn’t laughed for fear of offending the boy, but she didn’t show such restraint when we were finally alone. It fell to me to find the flowers. Such things prove God’s sense of humour, for I have no interest or understanding for flowers. There was a fellow at university who could talk about flowers for hours. Otherwise, he was quite pleasant to be with. So it seems a joke that I would find them, between a pile of rubble and the wall of a house.

I had been exploring, much as the little fellow had done. In fact, he was running past when I found them, so I showed him also. They were white, with frail leaves close to the ground. Quite nondescript. But the boy was fascinated. He put his face close, although he didn’t touch them. “Can I tell Mummy?” He obviously thought they were my flowers. “Yes,” I said, and he ran to get her. She followed him as he chattered all the way, and then she too hesitated, looking at me cautiously. “Perhaps your wife would like to see them,” she suggested. It took a moment to realize she was referring to Ottla. The flowers had become my possession. “Yes,” I said, “And tell anyone you like.” “The first flowers of Spring,” she said, and she went to tell the others, taking care to stop at Ottla first.

Tiny white flowers.

I can still not believe the looks upon their faces, as they crowded around. Even the children were silent.

The relief they showed.

My Father’s War Encounter During The Summer Solstice

I don’t post this every first day of summer (tempting though it is), but I find it neat to have such a connection to the Celts, about whom I have written three novels

During World War Two, my father had the unique experience of guarding Stonehenge. Not by himself, of course, there were other members of the Canadian Army with him.

The vast plains around Stonehenge were utilised by the military in both world wars. During the First War, the area was a training ground for troops from various countries. There were many encampments for recruits, with both basic training and preparations to train for the trench warfare awaiting on the continent. There were thousands and thousands of men, and huge amounts of supplies.

During the Second War, the area was used as staging ground for the D-Day invasion. There was great security, and as much secrecy as possible. Soldiers were in place to guard the perimeter.

So, my father found himself not only guarding Stonehenge, but doing so on Midsummer Morn, when the sun rose over the monument. He was a learned man – a school teacher – and versed in the history of the place. He knew of the Celts and the Druids and some of the mythology. He knew this was sacred ground and that Midsummer Morn was especially important. He might have paused and tried to look into the past, and see more in the morning mist than was actually there. I do not know.

He did, however, when their shift was over and they got to eat, tell the other soldiers of the history of the place. He mentioned that, during such celebrations by the Celts, the Druids might have a virgin killed to appease the gods. The other soldiers were shocked.


“What a waste,” said one

Franz Kafka Thinks About His Father – Perhaps NOT Suitable For Father’s Day

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, (and I more and more want to spell Castle with a ‘K’) I have Franz ponder his father in many of the diary entries I create. There was no ‘Father’s Day’ then, but my Kafka might easily have thought this if there was. I do not have as harsh an opinion about Kafka’s father as he, and contemporary scholars, have.

***********************

10 May 1917

Father says that I will see him into his grave, and “… you’ll be throwing the dirt with gusto.” I was tempted to tell him what I was really thinking – a situation which arises more and more. But I merely mumbled and nodded. Had my mind escaped my mouth however, I would have tried to describe the images which raced in my head. Those immediate and dangerous thoughts.

I saw my sisters and myself, numerous of our relatives, and all of father’s employees. We were impatiently standing in line with shovels upraised, awaiting the order to commence. But the voice I hear yelling to “start, start – don’t waste my time,” is my father’s. Then, with precise movements – and in unison – we dig our shovels into the heap of dirt, and the air is soon full of dust from our vigorous activities. The only way we can muffle his voice is to pile the dirt deep. And, he is right – we do so with gusto.

Women In Hardhats Are Sexy – Yes, You Can Thank Franz Kafka

On the bus this evening ,a young lady in a “Security” uniform got on. She was also wearing a hardhat – a snazzy grey hardhat,

This took me back to the days (and many things take me back to the days) when I knew a couple who worked in the movie trade. He was a cameraman and she was an editor – though each knew the others job pretty well.

They were dealing with a scene where a construction company was renovating an old building. It was being shot on location beside a real old building (a railway station) that had fallen into great disrepair. There were big machines, piles of dirt, construction supplies and construction ‘workers’.

The scene focused on two women who were (if I remember) partners in the construction firm. They were on site to direct the operation. A whole scene had been shot, showing the work in progress and various conversations between the two actresses.

But then everything was hauled to a stop.

One of the “producers” (that is, someone who was supplying the money) had an idea. Which is never good from folk who are not expected to have any ‘creative’ say. They are there to count the dollars and cents.

However, this fellow wanted the whole scene (a morning’s work with actors and machines and crew) re-shot. He wanted the two actresses to wear hardhats. He liked to see women in hardhats,

Well, Buddy was helping pay the bills, and everyone would just get paid twice for doing the scene again. And maybe the different lighting would not be noticed.

So, hardhats were found and the whole thing was shot again.

And – yes – we can thank Franz Kafka for this, because he invented the hardhat through his work with the “Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia.”

And, decades later, I have used this dilapidated railway station as a setting for one of the chapters in my current novel – though there are no hardhats.

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