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04/01 Direct Link
“SEE ANY good movies lately?”

— “Um. Yeah. I must have. I remember seeing one that... God, what was it?”

“Psyched for the next ‘Spider-Man’?”

— “Yeah. What was the name of that movie? ‘Frozen’?”

“You saw ‘Frozen’?”

— “Yeah. That’s not the one I’m thinking of, though.”

“Was it animated?”

— “I am drawing a total blank. There was one I just saw. I just saw it. I remember loving it.”

“Legos? The Lego one?”

— “That was awesome. But no.”

“Will Ferrell rocks.”

— “This is driving me ... insane. What was the damn movie I just saw?”

“I don’t know. Anyway, uh, later!”
04/02 Direct Link
“Hey.”

— “Hey.”

“Just these?”

— “Yeah. Hey, um, I’m sorry about yesterday.”

“What happened yesterday?”

— “I couldn’t think of that movie. I had been to a movie and couldn’t think of the name.”

“Oh, hey, that’s cool. Do you remember which one it was?”

— “No. I meant to go online and, like, you know, look on the Web, but I’ve ... I forgot to look.”

“The Winter Soldier’s coming out.”

— “Mm.”

“That looks pretty good. Have you seen that, like, eleven-minute clip they’re showing?”

— “I can not for the life of me remember that movie I saw that I liked.”

“Seven eighty-eight.”
04/03 Direct Link
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Seeing the object in 4-space is insufficient when what is desired is manipulation to ends (we contrast with incidental intersection which in any event is self-evident), and here the user may be tempted to grasp the familiar 3-space perturbation, which has its own center of gravity and nuclear modus. Never deform the object along its interstitial modus: it is perhaps counterintuitive, but for proper manipulation (for inspection, comparison, relocation, sub-position, superposition, and certain builds ex-genera) grasp your object by its origin alone, noting your (relative) angle of approach and taking care not to engender worship.
04/04 Direct Link
“SORRY, sorry.”

— “It’s OK. When you’re well enough to stand...”

“I feel ridiculous. Clinging to the shadows.”

— “Perfectly natural. You crave the familiar. There’s dignity in that moment of couch.”

“I can sit on any part of it.”

— “You can.”

“Or be celestial.”

— “Yes.”

“This is like vertigo.”

— “Transient hyperthagonism.”

“OK.”

— “So relax. Stay there.”

“No. I want to see it all.”

— “I won’t lose you. I promise. Baby steps if need be. Are you ready?”

“I... The couch in a dump.”

— “Yes.”

“And in the store.”

— “Yes.”

“Who are those lovers?”

— “One wonders.”

“The wood mill?”

— “Come. See more.”
04/05 Direct Link
A TEST

“Follow him. Guide him. Lead him. Do not let him recognize you.”

— “His whole life?”

“Yes. See? You have done it.”

— “But I haven’t.”

“Ah, John. Here, here, and here. And seven others. Show me.”

— “So much volume.”

“Take to higher ground. You’ll see where you dip in.”

— “I have to fold over.”

“Yes. And you’ll see what?”

— “The underlayment. The stitching from below. And that’s even weirder.”

“I’ve shown you three. Where did you go between and among those?”

— “Here when he’s a bank robber. Here where he’s a policeman. Here when he’s ... he sells furniture.”

“Yes.”
04/06 Direct Link
“YOUR BOOK!”

— “Yes.”

“How was the reception? I’m so sorry I couldn’t attend.”

— “It was fine.”

“I thought of you all day.”

— “I ... thanks.”

“Was Kelton there?”

— “He was.”

“And?”

— “He was cordial. He ate cheese and left.”

“Tell me everything! You’re hurt, I know, and I apologize, and I look forward to making amends, but tell me everything.”

— “All right. You would have loved it!”

“I knew it!”

— “Kelton, Provençal, Amperg, that whole troop. You should have seen them, sharpening their knives.”

“Down to the hilts!”

— “Yes! Yes, exactly. Oh, it was delicious.”

“And Kitchener?”

— “‘Galley issues.’”

“Ha!”

— “Heh.”
04/07 Direct Link
“CRAM DAGGLER. Now, you’re the man who—”

— “Stop.”

“What?”

— “Wait a second.”

“What’s up?”

— “I just need a moment. Please.”

“OK.”

— “Sorry.”

“It’s cool.”

— “‘Cram Daggler.’ Jesus H. Christ.”

“Yeah.”

— “OK.”

“Yeah?”

— “I’m OK.”

“You set?”

— “Yeah.”

“Good to go?”

— “I guess. I fuckin’ guess.”

“Now, hang on...”

— “No, I’m sorry. I’m ... yeah. Good story. Got a good story here. I got this.”

“We can tell him we don’t want to.”

— “Nope. If it’s not this it’ll be something else. Come on. You’re up.”

“From the top?”

— “Yeah.”

“OK, man. ... Cram Daggler, you’re the man who owes me a spaceship!”
04/08 Direct Link
“IT’S BULLSHIT. Totally unacceptable.”

— “Senator...”

“Five hundred fifty-three million dollars, Dr. Proctor. Do you know how much that is?”

— “Well...”

“Don’t give me any of your double-talk. You science types... Junk science! Now I have to explain to my caucus that we have nothing to show. This isn’t just your ass; it’s mine! I was promised weapons!”

— “No, Senator, we—”

“I was promised cutting-edge R&D that would yield inter-dimensional leverage over our enemies. You sent a man into the Zone and now he says it’s exactly like Earth! ‘No difference’!”

— “Senator, all dimensions co-exist.”
04/09 Direct Link
“YOUR BUTTON.”

— “Thank you.”

“Sign here. ... And here.”

— “Is it charged?”

“Hang on, we’ll get to that. Did you watch the video?”

— “Yes.”

“Do you have any questions about it?”

— “No.”

“Sign here.”

— “I was the only one in there.”

“Pardon?”

— “In the screening room.”

“You’re it for today.”

— “OK.”

“Stand over here. Look here.”

— “Should I smile?”

“Doesn’t matter. Hold it up. Up higher. Near your face. Good.”

— “Can I see?”

“Here.”

— “That’s me”

“All right. Date of birth?”

— “March 17, 1966.”

“Mother’s maiden name?”

— “Lewis.”

“Press it once. ... Your button is charged.”

— “Wow. Thanks.”

“You be careful, now.”
04/10 Direct Link
“I TALKED to him!”

— “Cool! What did you say?”

“I said, ‘Good morning, General Washington.’”

— “What did he say?”

“He said, ‘Discipline is the soul of an army.’”

— “Wow.”

“Yeah.”

— “What do you think he meant?”

“‘Meant’?”

— “Did he say good morning back?”

“No.”

— “Just that? Just...”

“Just, ‘Discipline is the soul of an army.’”

— “Sweet.”

“Why?”

— “I don’t know. That’s way cool. That’s wicked, man. Come on, we gotta get back.”

“What’s wrong with what he said?”

— “Nothing.”

“He said it right to me. I’m stoked.”

— “Totally. Cool. Totally.”

“So...?”

— “Well, could he have meant it as an admonishment?"
04/11 Direct Link
“OK, so what about it?”

— “It leads to ... another place. It’s a portal.”

“Uh huh.”

— “Anything you put on there will disappear. Everything falls in eventually.”

“So, like, this book...”

— “Don’t put that there; I want to read it.”

“Uh huh. These keys...”

— “Don’t!”

“I gotta go.”

— “I’m not kidding. It’s a goddamned portal.”

“It looks solid.”

— “It is.”

“It looks like I can touch it.”

— “You can. Just don’t sit on it.”

“Uh huh.”

— “Look.” [Raps on coffee table]

“Your hand didn’t fall in. It didn’t pass through.”

— “All I know is what I know.”

“Where are the kids?”
04/12 Direct Link
He woke, opened his eyes, recoiled at his strobing surroundings, gasped, immediately tasted sulfur, and rolled over to vomit. Half of what he expelled reached wetly into purple sand; the other half had splattered his blanket, all-weather, emergency, aluminum.

When had he last eaten? What was that?

He wiped his mouth with a dry, green sleeve. He stood.

The strobing continued. He held his hand up to shield his eyes. Something in the sky pulsed: light smashed the world.

A camp. His. A backpack on the ground. A tent, deflated and abandoned.

No web belt. No canteen. No boots.
04/13 Direct Link
“WHAT IS that?”

— “You’ll find out.”

“I’m not going in there.”

— “Ah, but you are. You signed up.”

“I don’t remember signing anything. I said I’d see. I’m seeing. I want to know what that is.”

— “It’s ... well, you tell me.”

“It’s disgusting.”

— “Here are your swim fins. This is a flashlight. It’ll—”

“Fuck that! I’m not going in there.”

— “Let me just read this checklist. This is my job. I don’t care if you go in or not, but I have to read this. When I’m finished you can take it up with management.”

“Uh huh.”

— “Tape recorder, charged.”
04/14 Direct Link
“ANY QUESTIONS?”

— “First, there’s no way in hell I’m going into that tank. Second, I appreciate that you’ve been so thorough in bringing all these supplies. Third, I would appreciate it greatly if you would let me move my legs.”

“Look, John...”

— “I’m not going in. I didn’t sign anything and I would like to talk to management. I’m requesting a meeting with management.”

“I’m afraid I was disingenuous. I am management.”

— “OK. Great. I’m happy to talk to you, then. I am not going down into that muck. There’s been a mistake.”

“This was your idea.”

— “Nope. Nope. No.”
04/15 Direct Link
“YOU HAVE everything you need. This was all your idea. I’m not surprised you don’t remember, but once you’re in there you’ll see you’re really OK.”

— “You are full of shit. I don’t care who the hell you are. No. OK? It stinks in there and it’s full of death and I’m not going in.”

“Let me explain again the function of the breather.”

— “Hey! You’re not listening! I’m out of here! Let me move my legs!”

“The breather mask forms a snug, safe seal that cannot be breeched from the outside. Your oxygen regulator operates—”

— “Jesus Christ! Help! Help!”
04/16 Direct Link
“I’LL NEED YOU not to try to attack me. I just need to fit this belt to you. Would you prefer to do it?”

— “You’re insane.”

“This belt contains most of your emergency supplies. You can think of it as Batman’s utility belt.”

— “Batman. Mother-fucking Batman.”

“Or however you would prefer to envision it.”

— “I don’t want to go in.”

“I know.”

— “Please don’t make me.”

“Your laptop clips here. It’s been treated and will work perfectly. It will not be permitted to access Facebook, so I apologize there.”

— “If you make me do this...”

“You are deeply loved.”
04/17 Direct Link
NOW the point of view —

Water —

Not water —

Mine.

— Under.

Heavy.

Black? Green? Buffeted by?

God, no.

Thin. A thin sound in my earpiece.

The mask! Let the mask hold.

God damn him.

No floor. Feet, flippers, no floor, no...

The thin sound—

“Meter! Watch your levels. Relax. Just breathe. Just breathe, John.”

Where is he?

Throat filling.

Slipping!

“Doing fine. You’re an old pro.”

Can’t see. Am I wiping the mask?

“I can see you just fine. Do you see me? Thumbs up?”

Man’s a monster.

I can breathe. I’m in filth. God damn him.

“OK, bud, your show!”
04/18 Direct Link
Up is not an option. No ladder, and he’s up there, waiting. Drag him down deep with me. See how he likes it. Get it in his eyes, his hair, his nose, his ears. Always talking, he won’t be able to help himself. Gulp! Show him. No, he sends me below.

Supplies. Not my supplies; his supplies. I don’t need any of this. Makes me heavy.

Probably yammering on about, “Keep it on, keep it on.”

Stupid fucker.

Don’t need it.

Damn, that’s better.

Finally! Real peace and quiet.

Home to see where this thing goes. Not so bad, really.
04/19 Direct Link
“Whuzzat? Where am I?”

— “Back up top. I lost you down there.”

“Didn’t want to be found. I like it home. Lemme go back.”

— “Sorry. I miscalculated. If we split—”

“Fucker! Lemme go in! I know what I’m doing! I like the splash. I’ll go far.”

— “You’re not quite right. You need to be up top. I really do apologize. There: you’re clean.”

“I hate you.”

— “I know.”

“You ruined everything. You always do.”

— “I know. From your point of view this is true.”

“You talky bastard. Well I say no! I’m going back! I’m—”

— “We missed dinner.”

“We did?”
04/20 Direct Link
Lovely spring day! A tad chilly, but my windbreaker is the height of fashion. Fits better, too, thanks to my morning runs with Will and our dogs. Will tends to talk business the first mile, but then we settle into enjoying the scenery.

Met Dara and the girls at church for 11 a.m. Weep, then helped Jeff and Pat (Brannon) set up for Blessed Make Royal. Fr. Grand Danish is introducing his son, Skip, for merrimash, so Vanessa is excited. She has a crush on him and loves to hear him review.

(“Daaaaad.”)

Dara says that’s progress. Maybe :)

Bon Appreive!
04/21 Direct Link
I WROTE a letter to the editor yesterday calling for county residents to spend a minute, from noon to 12:01 p.m. next Friday, screaming in a panic all the consonants from H to W.

I said, “It doesn’t matter in what order you scream the letters, only that you give it your all and that as you scream you’ll listen for an identical character raised in anguish at a shared moment.”

I expect some folks will scream their consonants in order. Others, like me, will flail, probably stray from the set once or twice. I just hope this catches on.
04/22 Direct Link
I NOTICED something in the newspaper today that I wanted to share. I wonder if you’ve seen this in your local paper, or if it’s something unique to the Courier-Tradesman.

I mentioned yesterday that I’d sent in a letter to the editor the day before (it hasn’t appeared yet, naturally). In the space I believe they’ll use for my letter — the fifth column, top, immediately below where it says “may be edited” in their letters policy — there appeared today a letter from a man named Shipman.

Is “Shipman” a family name in your town? I’ve no idea whom this is.
04/23 Direct Link
STILL NO WORD from the editor at the paper. I’m a little concerned because I know it will take time for people to find my letter in and among the paper’s other articles and features, absorb it, and spread it countywide through word of mouth and whatever other publicity it garners.

And that threatens to bump up against the date and time I proposed for my project, which if you’ll recall is for everyone to shout out in a panic the consonants H through W in no particular order for one given minute and listen for coincidental “echoes.”

...Still nothing.
04/24 Direct Link
TODAY they ran letters from two women opposed to the school budget; one letter from a man who drove over a pothole; one letter from a man urging military action against Russia; and one letter from a woman who wanted to hear from other survivors of Paintley Elementary School’s Class of 1959.

My letter, urging a countywide minute of catharsis centered on an exclamation in panic of the consonants H through W, does not appear.

"The Lockhorns" appears. "Classic Peanuts" appears. A large advertisement for a furniture showroom appears. "Beetle Bailey" appears (funny). You catch my drift?

What should I do?
04/25 Direct Link
IN TODAY’S MAIL:

1. Cable bill

2. Sears circular (shirts)

3. Discover Card offer

4. “The Furrow” magazine

5. “TV Guide Magazine”

6. A complaint from Bank of America

7. “The Watchtower” information

IN TODAY’S COURIER-TRADESMAN:

1. That airplane is still missing

2. A movie star (I don’t name names) is a pervert

3. “Classic Peanuts”

4. “Beetle Bailey”

5. A large advertisement for a furniture showroom (oak)

6. A letter from a man who says Halliburton should find the missing airplane

7. A letter from a woman grateful for all of God’s creation

Did you see where I mentioned my letter was published? That's because it was not. I am at my wit’s end. And I pay taxes!
04/26 Direct Link
THE COURIER-TRADESMAN, a widely circulated newspaper covering the county seat from Sheltonvine to Ambrove and uppdy-down the Troop 258 Adopt-A-Highway corridor, so I expected that would be the proper venue for my letter.

There is nothing in today’s issue by me, about my idea, or from Editor Tank Purglish by way of general apology for falling behind in the sharing of readers’ letters.

I grew up in the news business — and know it’s often a busy, bustling environment — from having watched my share (literally hours) of Lou Grant. Seldom sidesplitting, Lou Grant at least had class.
04/27 Direct Link
I WRITE YOU today from Public Media Reference Carrel No. 5, Internet Explorer 8.0, https://www.Google.com search field “COURIER-TRADESMAN” + “LETTER TO THE EDITOR” + “BUCK DUMPHREY” + “CONSONANTS”; Mount Jabanasco Public Library, 180 Deerlong St. (at Oak); with my fines paid down good enough such that I can check out whatever I want from the whole collection (except reference, which they don't let anyone touch except to look at or photocopy even though I know for a fact that’s a violation of copyright 2014).

Re ... turn.

Wouldn’t you know? My search results are zero. Out of the whole damned Internet.
04/28 Direct Link
DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSION

ME (to Joe Caragararagallo): Got a second, Joe?

JOE: Sure. Staying warm?

ME: I am warm. If you were me you’d be warm too. I’m good and steamed, really.

JOE: Oh yeah?

ME: Yeah, and I’ll tell you why.

JOE: OK.

ME: It’s your boss and the lousy rag he puts out. I know it isn’t you; you’re a regular guy.

JOE: OK.

ME: I wrote a letter—

JOE: I don’t know anything about letters.

ME: What?

JOE: I don’t see letters to the editor; I don’t touch them. I have nothing to do with it.
04/29 Direct Link
DRAW YOUR own conclusion…

ME (to Joe Caragararagallo): Got a second, Joe?

JOE: Sure. Staying warm?

ME: Warm, hell; I’m pissed.

JOE: Oh yeah?

ME: Yeah, and I’ll tell you why: it’s your boss and that cheap rag he puts out.

JOE: OK.

ME: I know it isn’t you; you’re a regular guy.

JOE: OK.

ME: I wrote a letter—

JOE: I don’t know anything about letters.

ME: What?

JOE: I don’t see letters to the editor; I don’t touch them. I have nothing to do with it.

ME: How do—

JOE: If you have a problem with Mr. Purglish, maybe take it up with him directly. Anyway, I gotta go. Good seeing you, Buck.

MY conclusion? This goes all the way to the top.
04/30 Direct Link
Dear Mr. President:

I have written you three times on the matter of my “MIA” letter to the editor at the Courier-Tradesman and have not heard back. My sense is that you are a busy man, and so I do not write lightly.

This will be my fourth attempt to get relief from you on this important American subject.

Let me repeat the particulars; maybe that will help: By all of us shouting in a panic for a minute all the consonants from H to W in no particular order—

Oh, wait: they ran it! Thanks a million!

Respectfully,
Buck