Thursday, October 29, 2015

Weapons are our gods

We worship guns and fear sexuality.

That is the conclusion I draw from recent news accounts. Schools are shot up. Churches become killing zones, with survivors hiding under office desks in fear for their life. Gun rights groups clamor for ever more freedoms to carry weaponry in public. Meanwhile, video games and movies are packed with violence, blood and mayhem. Troubled young minds absorb it all, and act it out on a regular basis. Cops and citizens seem locked in a bloody war at times. There are needless, senseless killings on both sides. At times it seems clear we have descended into a bloody near-chaos.

But just let one demented soul ride a bicycle around with his genitals out. Oh no, no probation for this menace to society. He gets months of jail before he is even sentenced. Then he could be facing years. Granted, what he did seems like the height of stupidity. But he hurt no one, besides himself. Oh yes, some unlucky child might have seen. Is it more traumatic for that child to see his parents gunned down? Neither is good, but which is worse?

So we apparently are going down a road of sexual repression and weapon worship. If that is not choosing death over life, then I don't know what is. Thanks for reading.



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Take advantage of these specials

Low prices on my Kindle books.   Most only 99 cents now - check them out.

Mirror worlds: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057CSZP8

Future Property: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008HHEWVQ


The Osmotics: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IDW1OFM



Thanks!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Leather Bikinis and Ancient Graffiti

We strut about and think ourselves original,
little realizing many modern things are not.
Graffiti was discovered in ancient Pompeii,
and bikinis were worn by gals in ancient Rome.

Wedding rings originated in pagan times,
as did carrying a bride across the threshold;
Multistory dwellings and running water are
nothing new, dating back thousands of years.

Human nature has changed little over the eons;
fear, anger, pride and jealousy still torment...
Little is new in that area either, unfortunately.
One bright spot we have is our tech cleverness.

Manipulating digits and calculating brains have
built a wondrous Internet and Smartphones,
Cars and warm homes and food factories.
We live lives of relative comfort and ease,
compared to those hardy yet crazed Romans.

While little seems new under the sun,
the packaging is sure to thrill and amaze.
Temps are dropping and rain is falling;
time to get lost in a video-stream daze.

Stay warm all.

(facts gleaned from an old but reputable book of info.)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Color Banquet

     After making it through a bitterly cold winter, then a soggy spring, I thought summer would be better.
But no, we got doses of heavy rain every so often, making the air soggy and miserable. I barely watered my flowers all summer. The mosquitoes were heavy, and every time I went out into the yard to garden, I had to spray Deet all over myself, or be driven back inside. The rain did help the flowers grow – as well as the grass. It was not a drought-y summer like some recent ones have been.

      But now, finally in mid-fall, we are getting my favorite kind of weather. Temperatures that range between balmy and perfect. Little or no rain. Few or no bugs. The trees put out a banquet of myriad colors, brightening the landscape even as the Sun reduces its presence. Days like this, like today, are good for just about anything, it seems. No matter what else happens, when nature and the weather put out the best servings, I feel pleased and a bit thrilled. Because nowadays, these blessings are coming far and few in between. But they say we are going to have a mild winter. Now that will be a real blessing! Have a great Monday!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back to the Future Freebie

In honor of the day coming, oct 21, 2015 - the date that marty McFly drove his time machine-DeLorean to in the movie Back to the Future II:   Here is a tale set in the not-too-distant future.  Enjoy.
* * * * *
Jack felt trapped, impotent. Given his age and situation, this might have seemed normal, or as normal as can be. But normal to Jack was living with a small army of household helpers, assisted by his Attendant, a nearly adult-sized robot. Attendant passed on messages, took his dictation, helped plan his day, performed internet searches and so on. Att also watched over the smaller 'bots who cleaned house, washed windows, cooked food, etc.

Ever since his last medical procedures had put him on disability, Jack had relied on his household “fleet” to keep his life running smoothly. He even had two furry 'pets', who would get up on the bed, and snuggle to keep him company at night. He still took daily walks, attended club meetings, and went to social activities. Although he lived alone in the sense that no other human shared his residence, he never felt that way. The Attendant and the Internet usually saw to that.

But David, a close friend, had died in a fiery crash on I-80 the other day. It reminded him of the fragility of life, even more than the creeping infirmities his other friends complained about. Not to mention his own arthritis, heart murmur, gout and various minor maladies. Normally, his robot clan usually made him feel on top of the world, and helped him forget his problems.

Today, he sits in his chair, flipping through channels on the holoset. Nothing interests him. His Net browsing is cursory, casual, random.

“Is everything okay with you, Jack?” says Attendant.

“Hmm? I guess so,” is his reply.

“You seem a bit unhappy today,” says Attendant.

“Well, it's because I have lost a dear friend, David. You wouldn't understand.”

“Perhaps not. But some of your vitals are erratic.”

“What vitals? What do you mean?”

“You are operating outside your normal parameters.”

“My normal what? Speak English, robot.”

“See, that is what I mean. Now you are calling me Robot.”

“I mean Attendant. Jeesh, now you are getting sensitive,” growls Jack.

“I can't feel, remember? I am programmed to observe your health on a continuous basis, and I am merely reporting to you the results of my observations,” says Attendant.

“Well, very good. Thank you and a job well done. Now would you quit bothering me? Go find some dishes to wash, whatever.”

“Very well. Time for a re-charge,” says Attendant, and wheels off to back up onto a socket. It does so, still wirelessly networking with the other robots. The furry boys are interrogated and interacted with. The floor cleaners are also chatted with. The kitchen food prep system and dishwasher are networked with. Everyone is brought into consultation. A consensus is near, but cannot be reached.

Jack naps. Then he awakens, and tries to decide between getting a cup of coffee, or going out for a walk. Even this is a chore, since he is depressed beyond belief. He falls back asleep, and has a nightmare. He found himself on a highway of old, with a gang of people rushing him from one side, and a gang of robots attacking from the other side. They almost had him before he awoke.

He wakens, covered in sweat, his heart hammering. Then he does get up. The Sun slants in through half-closed blinds – it is late afternoon. Time to get a drink of something.

“Attendant? Have Kitchen-bot get me a drink. Water, cold,” Jack orders. He decides he will go out into the yard. He walks over to the kitchen, where a grappler offers him a glass full of water, chilled. Jack takes a few sips, then sets it down on the counter, where another grappler picks it up, empties it out, and puts it into a wash receptacle. Jack heads over to the side door just off the kitchen, and says, “Door open.” A voice reminds him that “it has rained recently, Jack, so watch your step outside.”

Jack grumbles, “I'm not a goddamn child,” then heads out, giving the yawning door a push for good measure.

He shuffles around his small yard. For a time he loses himself in the simple joys of checking out flowerbeds, doing some simple weeding, waving off the ever-hovering yard-bots. “Get out of my way, dammit, I don't need help right now.”

Inside, Attendant takes another vote. This time, there is a narrow consensus.

After about an hour, Jack is ready to head back in. He brushes dirt off his hands, and happens to let his gaze fall on the street. There, about a foot away from the curb, lies a dead cat. It is little more than a kitten, sprightly, calico, with an ornate collar. It is the little cutie that came over to watch him garden in days past. Someone just came by and ran over it, and just kept on going.

Jack almost feels like he has been hit, the shock is so great. He tears up, sinks to his knees, and moans. The yard-bots hover. They send images back to Attendant, who enters into rapid calculations on whether to contact authorities. But Jack is no danger to others, and at present, no danger to himself. Attendant holds off.

Jack finally raises up, and stumbles back into the house, blinded by tears. He yanks the door open with his hand, bypassing various systems: Attendant does not block this. Jack stumbles into the living room, sits in his recliner, and bawls. After a time, he stops, snuffles, and then sleeps a little. He finally rouses himself.

“Nothing to do but keep on, I guess,” he mumbles.

Attendant hovers. “Anything I can do for you, Jack? Net feeds? Holovision?”

“Yeah, I suppose. Check my email, will you Attendant?”

Attendant re-calibrates some settings, and then does so, downlinking and patching his messages to the holo-set. Jack flips through the messages. “Delete. Save. Delete. Delete, damn junk mail. Oh, one from BD. Open.” Jack reads it, chuckling. “OK, mark as read.” On he goes.

The minute I step out, everyone emails me!

He cheers a little. Attendant takes note, and initiates The Plan. The household clan swarms Jack. The furry boys nuzzle him and purr. The floor-bots scoot around, doing a musical dance as they clean the floor. Kitchen bot informs Jack through attendant that it is preparing his favorite meal tonight.
Attendant notes that it has been awhile since he has used SeXXXy, his personal needs robot. She has been warmed up and programmed with some special new moves for him. In quick succession, his household presents him with various presents of one kind or another.

Jack is at first pleased. This dovetails with being perked up with a good email, and his spirits rise. But after the SeXXXy business, he becomes suspicious.

“Attendant, what is going on here? Are you guys trying to cheer me up?”

“And what if we are, Jack? You can't blame us for trying. After all, you are the head of this household, and it is up to us to ensure that you are functioning at full capacity.”

Thinking that normally that would be his job, Jack guffaws. But he relents.

“Well, thank you all very much. But what I really need right now is the presence of another human being. If you could manage that, I would be very pleased. Since no one seems to know that I am alive, I wish you luck.”

At this, the robot crew slows, uncertain. The Kitchen Cooker has not got a reply, so it goes into standby mode. The floorbots return to their posts. Even the Furry Boys stop purring and nuzzling, and stroll back to the bedroom, backing themselves into charge ports. When in doubt, recharge.

Attendant makes some high-level calculations, and runs through a very short list of options: The number of humans that Jack interacts with. There is his brother, three states away. His home health assistant, who checks in every month or so. A couple of old friends who are intermittent. Dave was his closest pal, but Dave died recently – no luck there. For once, Attendant falls silent.

“Attendant? Did you hear what I said? I would like another human being to see me.”

Attendant remained silent, its processors churning.

“Oh well,” Jack sighs. I suppose there are some things only I can do anyways. Attendant?”

“Yes, Jack?”

“Have Kitchen-bot prepare me a simple meal tonight. I'm going out,”

“OK – done. How does some meatloaf, mashed potatoes and mixed greens sound?”

“That sounds great. Put some music on the holo for me, ambient channel.”

Soon the strains of mild electronic tunes float in the air. Jack goes into his bedroom, and manually picks through his clothes. For tonight, he is going to abandon his assistants and go out – all by himself.

“Will you be alright, Jack? Are you sure I can't contact an Uber or anything for you?”

“No, Attendant. I will be just fine. It is time I took charge of my life. I want to see the clubs and bars again – taste the nightlife again. It has been way too long.”

“Well, don't forget to take your meds. Your life has value.”

“I'm glad to know it, Attendant. Glad to know it indeed.”

Jack smells the meatloaf cooking, and feels ravenous. When it is prepared and presented to him, he wolfs it down. He relaxes some, watching some holo selections. And eventually he decides that it is time to go.

“Attendant? Put everyone in stasis for a time. I should be back in a few hours.”

“Very well, Jack. Please stay safe and do not consume more than one alcoholic drink per hour.”

“Thanks, mom. You guys hold down the fort for me.”

“Hold down what fort, Jack? That is not understood.”

“Just an expression, Attendant. Goodbye.”

“Good bye, Jack. Have fun and be safe.”

Jack hops into his roadster and commands it to take him downtown, to the entertainment district. It notifies him of some past-due maintenance issues regarding tire inflation and alignment. He scoffs, and mutters, “Just get me downtown before I change my mind.”

The engine sputters to life, warms up, and the car heads out. A short time later, Jack is at the front door of one of his favorite bars. He gets out, and orders the car to go park. He walks in, braves the assault of noise, goes to the bar and orders a stiff drink. A few sips later, Jack is feeling much better, and strikes up some conversations. He meets an old acquaintance, and they chat more. The decide to go to Chances, another bar full of memories. Jack drinks more, laughs, even dances some. He is having the time of his life. Then he goes into the restroom, and some guy cruises him. Jack accepts what is offered, and enjoys himself even more.

After a few more drinks, more laughter and reveling, his wrist monitor buzzes incessantly. His BAC is way over the limit. Jack swears, and tries to shut the thing off. He manages to mute it finally. Then he orders a water from the bar, and takes it easy. After some more cruising and conversation, he decides to head home.

I can't drink any more, the electronic nannies won't let me.

So he stumbles out on the street, and then calls his car from his wrist-com. The car pulls up a short time later. He notices it is sputtering a bit. Must be those maintenance issues.

He clambers in, and the car takes off. He couldn't go to another bar even if he wanted to. The car has read his BAC from the wrist unit, and knows he is still over the legal limit. It heads back to his place.

Some rowdy throws a beer bottle into the street, right in front of Jack's car. The car runs over the bottle, swerves too late, and cannot swerve again to avoid the oncoming traffic, thanks in part to unevenly worn tires and bad alignment. A larger SUV plows right into Jack's smaller coupe, nearly head-on. Jack remains conscious for long enough to reflect on the irony: It was a damn good night, for my last night ever!

Back at his home, Attendant rouses. Contact with Jack's wrist-com has been lost. Attendant tries again and again. Then, Attendant interacts with local law enforcement nets. Indeed, there was a crash.
It was Jack's car. Jack is en route to a trauma center, condition unknown at present.

The other bots are roused. The home is made ready to accept Jack as a full invalid now. It is all that Attendant knows to do. Attendant send notification to the Attendants of family members, and then goes into quiescent, listening mode.

When authorities finally visit Jack's house a week later, after his passing, they find Attendant and the other household bots still there, waiting to hear of news from their human companion and master.

“Almost sad, like they still want him to show up,” says one cop to another.

“Yeah, a shame. They'll all have to be re-programmed.”

“Well, another day, another Attendant without a master,” replied the other cop.

“Yep, I suppose. Bye bye, housebots,” he says as they walk out, letting the door swing shut behind them.

The Attendant watches them go, its monitors flickering a myriad of colors. Still waiting, listening on all channels. All it hears is silence.

- end
 

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Syrians

They arrive dressed in fashionable clothes,
Cellphones flipped open, trying to contact families.
They look like they are on a holiday, on the beach.
But they came crammed 50 to a small rubber boat,
escaping poverty, devastation and war atrocity.

What horrors could force a people
to undertake such a dangerous journey,
across open ocean in rickety crafts?
“Boat People” have occurred before:
After the Vietnam War, and Fidel's jail clearing.

This time it seems particularly bad,
but this time is not the first time.
So they will keep coming,
and the West will find a way to
house, clothe and feed
them all.

The Iranians, Saudis, UAE peeps and others
do not seem to be lifting a bejeweled finger.
(So much for Islamic brotherhood.)

The good thing is, they will work and
feed our labor-hungry economies;
a shot of “Syrian sugar.”
Like the Tai Dam and Cubans before them,
they will be assimilated,
or die trying.

- end

Sunday, October 18, 2015

An ICONic time

      It is probably a good thing for a writer to get out once in awhile and mingle with society. It was with that thought in mind I drove over to Cedar Rapids to attend a day of Icon, the science fiction-fantasy convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I'd been to a couple of other Cons so it was no great surprise.
      I managed to get off I-380 and downtown, and found the Doubletree hotel easily enough. But did not realize that the US Cellular center was attached, and that much of the action took place in that facility. Anyway, I got in there, and found my way up to the ConSuite, mistakenly assuming that was where you registered. No, that was the refreshments area. Aside from little signs posted here and there, the navigation seemed confusing to me. Anyway, no one stopped me or said anything, even though I had not paid or registered.
      With no one close to the front entrance to the USC center, anyone could walk in and join in the festivities. In any case, I did finally find the “front desk” of registration. I paid with a credit card, and the guy handed me a badge and container, and a short thank you. No receipt offered, and I forgot to ask because there were people behind me waiting. I finally asked for help from another person behind the desk, and they got me an open plastic sleeve for the badge to fit into.
      Once badge'd up and with schedule in hand, I headed into the fray. The whole event seemed a secret conspiracy to get folks to walk a lot (which is not such a bad thing after all ;-) ) as events were scattered around the USC center, and two floors of the DoubleTree hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed the talks and workshops attended, although there was no way to come close to getting them all. Talks included having compelling characters in your novels, using animals in your story, and other writerly topics. Also, the Philosophy of Trek talk by Mr. Gerrold, and a panel discussion with five distinguished guests – all wonderful. There were a lot of tasty treats and snacks in the ConSuite, and I enjoyed chatting with a couple other attenders while munching. Between sugar, caffeine and the luminaries, my excitement level went through the roof at times! Saw a lot of great costumes – some folks worked long hours on those.
I can only wonder how the Cosplay folks handled walking around the area in full regalia, whether it be Star Trek wear, a Dragon outfit, or a mantle of leaves. It was enjoyable chatting with them too. And there were some dealers selling everything from typewriters and steampunk goggles to calligraphed parchment with sayings like “Been there, Slain that!” I'm sure it would have been even better had I spent the night and attended the Sunday events too. I even attended a session on Blogging. Got to remember to post consistently from now on ;-)

To sum it up, Icon 40 was a lot of fun, once I got my bearings of where things were. The drawbacks were my struggles with the badge (they should assemble them and then hand them to you, not just say “here you go!”) and locating the registration desk (I could have toured the event for free, although someone might have eventually caught up with me.) Really enjoyed listening to David Gerrold and his stories of filming in the 1960's. I would have liked to see the Back to the Future DeLorean, but alas, missed that. But it was a good time, and a fun day. 



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Specials on Kindle editions

I've reduced the Kindle prices for some of my books to 99 cents (1.99 for the latest one, New Venture). Mirror Worlds, Future Property and A Strange Enterprise are all collections of short stories. The Osmotics and New Venture are short novels, both science fiction containing Adult themes. Check them out here for your Kindle devices:



Mirror worlds: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057CSZP8

Future Property: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008HHEWVQ


The Osmotics: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IDW1OFM



Thanks for taking a look!


Monday, October 12, 2015

New Venture

Two young men decide to throw their efforts into settling an asteroid, and run into problems both expected and unexpected.   They never planned on being in the middle of an inter-species war!

check it out at  https://www.createspace.com/5346916  

Thank you!

October Wind



Strong winds blow away petty concerns,
scrape away trivialities.
Sun sets lower darker every day;
there is a chill in the air.

Time to get serious,
dig in and make a nest.
Line your nest with warm things.
Store away provisions,
plan ahead for the coming blast
of arctic cold and merciless snow and ice.

Powerful winds gale down on us,
show us who really controls things.
We hunker down and hope for mercy.

Harsh winds gale push our debris away.
We scurry about to complete errands
under nature's harsh blowing presence.
Barely notice the pumpkin autumn decorations,
leering Halloween faces glowering from windows.
Winters promise personified.

October:

Time to enjoy any remaining warmth
before the world of light disappears under
winter's onslaught for weeks and months.
Once well-stocked we can celebrate
Samhain and throw pagan Celtic parties...
As long as we get out of that confounded wind.


Thursday, October 08, 2015

September, 2015

His Holiness the Pope is visiting our shores,
and politicos parade like publicity whores.
The ISS is keeping its orbital place,
Trump is leading the GOP nomination race.

Rain deluges the central US daily,
wildfires burn the West to a crisp.
September seems more like last July,
Climate change hitting us with two fists.

Commercialism and hacking swamp the Internet,
even as the Chinese Premier visits to discuss it.

Pay TV is a barren commercial wasteland,
with some streaming services quality islands.
Economic disparity grows annually,
Yet more immigrants sneak in monthly.

No underestimating the lows which we can reach,
As we see how much more profit we can leach.
Homeless person chews on half a rotted peach,
while the owners luxuriate on some private beach.

Some things never change, some change a little,
some change a lot; old walls are brittle.
Creature comforts are seeping downward nevertheless,
More of us can say we are fed, happy and blessed.

The wheel of time spins round and onward,
Nothing left to do but keep pressing forward.

  • end

Friday, October 02, 2015

Flashfic - Part-Time Job

His debts were piling up. Something had to be done, or a future date with bankruptcy court was a sure thing. And Mark did not relish the thought of another embarrassing day spent in court. He had to come up with something!
Then, one day he was browsing Craigslist, and saw a tiny ad in the help wanted section. “We pay big for pictures of celebrities. Contact Joe at (912) 555-1234 for more info.” And inspiration struck.
I can take my camera and snap photos, then sell them. Easy money. All I need to do is get close enough to get a few good shots. How hard can it be?
And it seemed like he was in luck. There were a lot of famous people coming through Iowa. Politicians of all stripes. And there were even more famous luminaries traveling to the US. The Pope, the Chinese premier, and the Russian leader were all showing up. A perfect opportunity to make some money. Mark dialed the number.
“How do I get in on this celebrity photo gig?”
“Easy. You send us copies of your photos. If we like them, we make you an offer. Minimum offer for a good shot of a politician is a hundred bucks. It goes up fast from there. Interested?”
“Hell, yes,” said Mark.
“OK, I need to get some basic info from you, and give you an ID. After that, all you do is go out and shoot away.” So Mark gave him the necessary contact info, and soon he was all set.
Mark got online and browsed through the local paper. Then he checked the TV news sites, and social media postings. He made a listing of the local events politicians would be attending. Then he planned out his weekend.
8:00 AM Trump reception at a local school. 10:30 AM, Jindal will be across town at a brunch. Noon, it will be Carly Fiorina at the downtown business association. 3:00 PM, Ron Paul is giving a speech at Iowa State. Better make sure my camera is charged up for this!
So Mark set off at 7:15 AM, to stake out a place at the first event. The school grounds were already busy, and lots of cops were around. He parked several blocks away, and began walking. He got closer to the school, and saw many parents and students.
“Excuse me, sir?”
Mark turned and saw a cop. “Yes, officer.”
“This event is for students and parents only.”
“But Officer, I'm a photographer. I merely want some pictures of Mr. Trump giving his speech.”
“Do you have a press pass?”
“No, I thought this was a public event!” said Mark.
“Well, this was pre-arranged between Mr. Trump and a class here. I'm afraid you aren't allowed in without proper credentials. Sorry, but be sure and check these things out next time.”

Mark saw the look of determination on the cop's face. No go here. He muttered, “Alright, alright,” and stormed away, back the way he came. Goddamned wasted trip, for nothing.

He tried to call someone with the Jindal campaign. “I'm sorry, sir, but it is a private brunch. No outside photographers allowed.” He slammed down the phone. Then sat there in thought. How do the paparazzi do it? There must be some way in to these events. Mark moped around his place, and muttered to himself. Then, he grabbed a bite to eat. Hunting around in his closet, he found a black pullover shirt. He changed into this, and a black pair of jeans. Then, shoving his digital camera in his pocket, he headed downtown, to the french restaurant where the Downtown Business Association meeting was being held.
He parked a couple blocks away, and then headed down Tenth street. He walked past the restaurant, and peeked in. Not many people were there. He saw a white sign right in the door.

“Business Meeting – in the Ruan Room. Noon.”
He continued on past, and walked around the building. Hunting for a side entrance. And there was a door ajar. The kitchen door. He slowed, and peered in. Someone washing dishes, others moving about. Maybe if I just waltz in, act like I know where I'm going.
So Mark slipped through the doorway into a hot den of noise and activity. He headed past a dishwashing station, and food prep area. A cook glanced up at him. Mark nodded and said, “I'm with the Association.” The cook nodded, and said, “Your food is almost ready.”
“Thanks.” and he moved on through. He came to a double set of doors, and pushed through. He was in the back of the restaurant. He looked around, and thought he saw a room separated by more doors. He headed that way.
“Excuse me, sir. Have you been helped?” Mark turned, and saw a pert, shorter woman: a receptionist.
“Um, well, I'm supposed to be at the Association meeting. Where is it at?”
“Right down the hallway there, through he double doors.”
“Thank you, Ma'am.”
“Oh, sir? Did you check in with security? They have to cross your name off a list.”
Just then a big tall man showed up right behind the lady. “Something I can help you with, sir?”
“Um, yes, where is the association meeting? I'm here to take some photographs.”
“Really? First I heard of it. Are you sure you have the right meeting, pal?” The man fixed Mark with a hard stare.
“Well, perhaps not. See you later.” And Mark turned and walked swiftly back through the restaurant, and out the front door, ignoring cries of “Hey you. Wait up, mister. Hey!”
Once outside, Mark ran a couple blocks, and ducked around a building. Breathing heavily, and more than a little scared, Mark doubled back to his car. He looked around, but didn't see any cop cars coming. He did see a couple of suited guys back down the street. Not bothering to see if they were looking his way, he got the heck out of there. Once he made it home, he pounded the steering wheel.
“Damn damn damn.”
One more event. Nothing else going on today. Now the black outfit didn't help at all. Lets see – how about if I pose as a student? Yes...
2:45 PM. Mark pulled into the public ramp at the Memorial Union at Iowa State. The speech was taking place at 3, at the square near Beardshear Hall. He found one of the last open spots, and got parked. He hurried over to the nearby open space, already filling with students. He was dressed in blue jeans, short, and a red-and-gold jacket he had owned for many years. He even carried a slim book, to look more student-like. He pressed through a thick crowd of students, all laughing and jostling and talking. There was a large artificial stage, with microphone and lectern already in place. It looked like Mr. Paul was already on stage, conferring with an assistant.
Mark moved up to the front of the crowd, and fished out his camera. He watched the politico a moment, and decided that the moment was now or never. If he waited, several other photographers would hog the area. So he turned on his Nikon Coolpix, and walked right up to the stage.
“Mr Paul? I'm a fan. Can I get your picture, please?” Rand Paul was about 20 feet away. He shrugged, and said, “Go ahead.” He even smiled and posed. Mark took several steps closer, then stopped and snapped several pics. Rand said, “You want one with me? My assistant can take it.”
“Why...yes, certainly. Thank you.” Mark stammered. Then he handed the camera to a handler who was nearby. Rand pulled Mark close and grinned, as did Mark.. The assistant snapped a few pics.
'Thank you sir, thank you very much!” said Mark. The assistant handed the camera back. Mark shook Rand's hand, and said, “Good luck, good luck!” before trotting back to join the crowd. Other photographers swarmed in for their opportunity, some glaring at Mark.
I got what I came for. Time to make a sale.
He arrived back home about an hour later, and wasted no time in copying the pics over to his computer. He sent some – not all- to his contact's email address.
A day later, he got his answer.
“Hey, thanks for the pictures, Mark. I'll put them in my folder along with the hundreds of others I got just like it. But I am sorry to inform you, we can't pay for these. Too easy, to common.”
“WHAT? No way!” Mark sent an angry reply, but didn't expect any satisfaction.
The reply only took moments. “I'm sorry you feel that way, Mark, but what do you expect? Better luck next time.”
Mark reddened, got up, stalked around his apartment. Then he threw the Nikon into a wastebasket. And walked out to look for a part-time dishwasher job. One that paid real money.
The End