Amoeba’s Lorica: Electshun

At an undisclosed location – mostly because he has been in so many locations lately, he couldn’t disclose which one this was if he had to, because he can’t remember – Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba was wandering through an old bookstore when …

“So how old was it, OC?”

How old was what, dude?”

“Tha bookstore!

Few years, maybe. Basic strip mall. It wasn’t doing the haunted house jive, not yet anyway.

“So it wuz a new bookstore, amirite?”

I don’t think so, dude. There’s no such thing any more, yeah? You want to tell me when’s the last time you held a new book in your hands that you didn’t have to plug in to read? The stores that are left …

“… ‘r all owned by Bernie Sanders??”

[… Ahem] The stores that remain all peddle old books. You know, paper? Glue? Heavy, need shelves, a pain to move? Fire hazard? Really retro stuff. Like vinyl records.

“An’ yer boomer peeps want this stuff? Smh, man. So ya wuzn’t at no old bookstore, OC, ya wuz at a oldbook store.”

Yeah …

So howcum ya didn’t say so in tha first place?!? See ya …”

Bah. Who invented this English language anyway? Whoever it was, they’ve got a lot to answer for. Anyway (sorry for the interruption), YFNA was wandering through this [ahem] oldbook store when he came up with a copy of something that he thought only existed in an old writer’s imagination: The Lunarian Astonished, from a Pfeiffer & Co., Boston, 1803. Except that this copy, despite its seriously yellowed paper, cracking binding, and apparently-authentic 1803 date, contained dialogues with modern-day Hawaiian citizens about modern-day Hawaiian events. Rad …

     *                    *                    *

LUNARIAN: “So how come we’re sitting in this traffic jam?”

HAWAIIAN: “Sorry. It’s election season.”

LUNARIAN: “You have a regulated hunt for elections? Why? Are they good to eat? I’ve not yet seen any in your supermarkets. Are they pests that you’re trying to control?”

HAWAIIAN: “No. And don’t tempt me.”

LUNARIAN: “Is this some kind of sport?

HAWAIIAN: “You’re getting warmer. But the hunt is for votes. During our election season, the candidates who wish to be selected by the citizens of this state for leadership positions in the government, and their supporters and their signs, gather by roadsides and let people know that they are candidates.”

LUNARIAN: “And give the people who pass by information on their qualifications for the offices they wish to serve in, and the policies they intend to follow if elected.”

HAWAIIAN: “No, mostly they just wave.”

LUNARIAN: “What purpose does that serve?”

HAWAIIAN: “Well, if a candidate stands by the side of the road and survives, then I guess that shows that the candidate is not enough of a pest to be controlled right then and there. So that’s something. Then, there’s the size of the party accompanying the candidate. The larger the party, the greater the impression that the candidate is peddling something people want, and maybe the person driving by will think so too and join that party.”

LUNARIAN: “Without any information on what that party actually stands for?”

HAWAIIAN: “Yeah, but if a lot of people are standing there, whatever it is must be good, hm?”

LUNARIAN: “Do citizens have any other sources of information about what the candidates for office stand for and plan to do?!?”

HAWAIIAN: “Well, there are always the slanging matches that take place on broadcast and social media, during which the parties pretty much scream and hurl insults at each other. Otherwise, nothing that the citizens will actually pay attention to.”

LUNARIAN: “Right. Pray tell, what kinds of decisions are usually made at parties?”

HAWAIIAN: “Usually, ones that you regret the following morning. Big time.”

LUNARIAN: “Can’t we just bounce over this jam?”

HAWAIIAN: “Sorry. We’ve been over this several times already. Earth has a lot more gravity than the Moon.”

LUNARIAN: “When you run your political process on the basis of parties?!? I don’t see any evidence of this gravity of which you speak.”

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He and She: Expanding Contractors and Other Whoas

He: “OK, riddle me this.”

She: “Happy to. Hand it over.”

He: “Hand what over?”

She: “The thing you wish me to riddle. I hope it will go through the sewing machine, as that’s the only thing I’ve got right now that will poke a lot of holes in something quickly. Even if I had a submachine gun, the neighbors would complain if I got it out.”

He: “You’re pretty good at poking holes in my arguments, without machines.”

She: “Well, somebody’s got to keep an eye on your machinations.

He: “That’s got to be really hard on the eye. I’d put it back in its socket where it belongs if I were you.”

She: “Speaking of sockets, are you going to tell me what this is all about before I pull the plug on my attention span?”

He: “Of course it’s all about! How could you have missed it? Every place you look, somebody’s building something. Even the very island’s on a building spree! And in front of most of the sites, there’s a big sign naming the contractor. I don’t know how come Pele hasn’t started doing this, she’s got the biggest job site, after all.”

She: “Doesn’t want to attract attention to herself, I guess, in case some state bureaucrat decides that her work needs to be permitted and inspected.”

He: “Oy. I can hear the screaming from this distance. Who’s the god here?!?

She: “Pele?”

He: “The bureaucrat. But, why a contractor?

She: “Every job needs a supervisor, you know.”

He: “Yeah, I know, thanks a lot, I’ve been told that enough times in my life. But, a contractor? Every site that I know of, somebody’s taking a flat piece of ground – or, at least one as near to flat as anything gets here, and putting like a five-story building on it! If that’s contraction, it’s the funniest sort of contraction I’ve ever seen. Job like that doesn’t need a contractor, it needs an expandor! Amirite?”

She: “I don’t hear about anybody making money by going onto these job sites and selling weight loss programs, so, no. Besides, somebody has to make the necessary plans and calculations before anybody sticks a shovel – or, around here, a stick of dynamite – into the ground, yes?”

He: “No. For that, you need a protractor. Or, you used to. I suppose you’ve got computers and software to do all the pencil, paper, and cheap tools stuff any more.”

She: “Nope, still need them. At least on a reputable site. Nobody’s going to want amateur tractors!”

He: “Yeah, I suppose that the likes of Caterpillar and Kubota don’t even have amateur tractors on their catalogues.”

She: “So, they’re pros, you’re telling me?”

He: “Yep.”

She: “And all this time I thought that these machines were the poetry of the building trades.”

He: “O .. my ..”


He: “I suppose I’d better be the one to tell you. Before they do.”

She: “Who’s they?

He: “You know, them. Out there!

She: “And what do you think they’re going to tell me?”

He: “That this is getting verse and verse!

She:Pft! They aren’t even going to care about the poet who only works on submarines.”

He: “The .. poet .. who ..”

She: “The subversive! Of course.”

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He and She: The Disloyal Opposition

She: “So I was at the store today, looking at the cast iron frying pans and …”

He: “No.”


He: “No. No. Non. Nyet. Nein. ‘A‘ole. Hie. Ix-nay, ady-lay.”

She: “I don’t suppose any of those mean ‘maybe’.”

He: “Maybe not.”

She: “But why not? What have you got against cast iron?”

He: “The cast part. As in ‘picking you up off the floor and rushing you to the hospital to get one.'”

She: “What, you think I can’t handle my pans? That after all this time you think I’m all thumbs in the kitchen?”

He: “So you want me to call you a panhandler?”


He: “You’re safe. Because it’s precisely the opposite – you’re no thumbs in the kitchen. At least, none that can be counted on to do a day’s work. I’ve been watching you, and I’m sorry, but you don’t have opposable thumbs anymore. You have oppositional thumbs, and disloyal ones at that. Bad enough when one of those thumbs goes postal while you’re holding a fork and it flips egg on your face. I’m not letting you challenge the opposition with a 12″ cast iron fry pan full of hot bacon. Not gonna happen.”

She: “Not even in a pinch?

He: “Love, if you could do that pinch, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, now would we? It does make me wonder how you manage when the recipe calls for a pinch of salt.”

She: “I use pincers.”

He: “Hm. Wonder if that idea’s been marketed.”

She:Of course.

He: “You’re kidding, right?”

She: “Sorry. You’re going to have to cast around for another get-rich-quick idea. That one’s taken.”

He: “Heavy cream.”

She: “… whut?”

He: “About the only way we’re going to get rich. Quickly or otherwise.”

She: “Is this a good time to tell you that I’ve been using part skim …?”

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