Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Butterfly Dreams (40)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-

Lost In The Clouds

As if I had been nothing more than a computer, Jordan had just struck a methodical sequence of 'CTL-ALT-DEL.' My mind was nothing more than a damaged hard drive, my memories but corrupted files.

I was grateful that neither he nor Baxter spoke for the next several minutes. I needed those minutes to digest their revelations. I needed to plunge into the abyss that my mind had become, to salvage any part of my being that might lurk in the depths.

Except for the dream of the two little boys, if it was indeed a dream, I could evoke only memories of my life as Ben Bering. From nowhere in the recesses of my mind could I induce recollections of ever being Michael Black.

I began to concentrate on one ego, that of Ben Bering. I willed my mind to rewind, to play backwards to the earliest memory of Ben. To my dismay I hit a wall, a seemingly impenetrable barrier. Had I reached that point where they'd surreptitiously tampered with my head? Was this the point where Ben Bering's life had begun? The memory that manifested itself in my mind's eye was not quite ten years earlier.

Ben, was twenty-five years old. I was an observer, watching Ben on his first assignment as a reporter for the Globe newspaper. He was at a night club, one of several he'd visited that week, to observe the use of drugs at those venues.

The pretty young girl who'd asked him to dance seemed attracted to him. Despite the seven years difference in their ages, he was also attracted to her. Before the night was over they were in bed having wild and wanton sex.

He would not see her again until eight years later. She, Susan Parsons, was behind the wheel of a pickup truck to drive him to that first meeting with Michael Black.

Aware of the situation of that moment, I cleared my head of the second-person thoughts. I could sense that both Baxter and the professor were observing me. They must have known that I was beginning to fit some of the pieces together.

Although separated by nearly eight years, that night at the club and that night in the truck were not happenstance events. They were not coincidental meetings. However, they were significant in that I remembered them. There were other encounters, none of which Susan and I remembered because they had been erased from our minds.

It had been quite a shock to both Susan and I that we'd been sexually intimate before we'd ever met. Whoever had wiped our memories clean had not anticipated that we would see the tapes recording what took place during the experiments of Michael Black and Michelle Gray. They never had counted on us learning about the dating service which had matched us. In the end, it had never occurred to them that Susan and I would ultimately fall in love.

I was a passenger aboard an aircraft which was soaring above the earth at about thirty thousand feet. I was lost in the clouds, both literally and figuratively. I needed to reassess my life such as it was, even though it was becoming more and more apparent that my entire life had been manipulated. Yet, somehow I had an inkling of an incredible conspiracy.

I cleared my throat to break the uneasy silence before speaking. "Gentlemen, allow me to tell you a story. You'll excuse me if the who, what, where, when and how parts are not in chronological order." The two men nodded and adjusted their postures in their seats. I reached into the cooler for another can of beer. After emptying half of the contents down my throat I stood up and faced them.

"There is one person not on this plane," I began, "who is not the minor player I was once thought he was. I was curious as to why he was already at our destination. Why is that? Is he with Michelle even as we speak? Is he having the similar discussion we are having?" I looked directly at Professor Jordan, "He's informing Michelle that she isn't and never was Susan Parsons. Isn't that right, professor?"

He lowered his head and muttered, "Yes, it's true."

"If I may," Baxter interjected, "It was never intended for our enemies to know that he had any knowledge of their operations. Michelle and Ben were supposed to have been on this flight with you and Susan. When you were separated, we were forced to change our plans. We had no choice but to send him ahead."

"I take it then, that our learning about our backgrounds was imperative in order for your plans, whatever they may be, to be successful."

"Correct!" Baxter snapped. "Tell me, was it the absence of Stu Jankowski that helped you put together your story?"

I drained the remainder of the beer and bobbed my head in acknowledgment. "Yeah, I realized that Stu was a common denominator in my so-called life. I had to ask myself, what editor of a large newspaper would send an inexperienced cub reporter to cover a story about the usage of drugs on the night club scene?"

I shoved my hands into my pants pockets and continued, "Then a flood of questions raced through my mind. Why did Stu not espouse 'freedom of the press' when the Feds stopped the presses on my story? Why did he shake hands with General Gates who was in charge of the shutdown?"

"See, Jeremy," Jordan said, "I told you that your brother could deal with the truth." He glanced at me apologetically and said, "I'm sorry, please continue with your observations."

"The more I thought about events before that, the more the pieces started to fit together. I remembered that it was Stu who first took me to that diner and introduced me to Rosie. It was he who arranged a date for me with Faye, Rosie's sister. When Faye and I were married, it was he who gave away the bride because her father, General Gates could not be there."

"Most of us working on the mind project realized that General Gates had objectives of his own," Jordan said, "objectives counter to the goals of our work. He desired power and he saw that with mind control he could attain it. We could not get Bishop King to hear us on that matter. At that time he greatly favored the general."

Baxter sighed deeply, "Gates disapproved of you as his daughter's husband. He didn't know anything about you. He became suspicious when he could find nothing about you before you started working for Stu. He grew paranoid and then he convinced Faye to seek a divorce from you." He looked into my eyes, "Haven't you ever wondered why she married Brock O'Day so soon after the divorce?"

I nodded, "At the time, yes. The marriage makes sense though. O'Day served under Gates in Vietnam. The general must have felt he could keep him under his thumb. Of course, Faye was there to keep him apprised of any developments in the civilian sector."

"It was when his good friend Jimmy was killed that Mr. O'Day's loyalty to Gates came into question. Although he had no evidence to support his suspicions, the Sergeant knew that Gates was behind it," the professor asserted. "He has become a valuable ally in our attempts to stop all of this ... this madness."

I slipped back into the seat next to the professor and addressed him, "Well, I might not know who I am, but at least I know who I'm not. Perhaps, when this is all over, if we are successful in bringing it to an end, you'll help Jeremy and me find those missing twenty odd years of our lives. I'd like to know what happened to those little boys who were being bathed by that naked woman with the butterfly tattoo on her thigh. I'd like to know where I was before I went to work for the Globe."

"I will try, Michael. I make no promises, but I will try," he replied directing his words to both me and Baxter.

"That's all I can ask," I said with a broad grin. "I think it's time that you filled me in on your plans. At least there is one thing in our favor. We don't have to worry about Bishop King and Julius Gates getting in our way."

"True," Baxter said, "their specter might be present, but the dead will cause us no harm."

"Dead?" Jordan roared. "Oh, no. Bishop King and General Gates are very much alive!"

( To be continued

A Date With the Dead )


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don't Call Me Shirley !

Leslie Nielsen, who traded in his dramatic persona for inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in Airplane! and the accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun comedies, died at 5:34 p.m. on Suday, 11/28/10, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.

Surrounded by his wife, Barbaree, and friends, the Canadian-born actor died from complications from pneumonia according to a statement by his agent John S. Kelly.

“We are saddened by the passing of beloved actor Leslie Nielsen, probably best remembered as Lt. Frank Drebin in ‘The Naked Gun' series of pictures, but who enjoyed a more than 60-year career in motion pictures and television,” said Kelly.

Nielsen came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York. With a craggily handsome face, blond hair and 6-foot-2 height, he seemed ideal for a movie leading man. Nielsen first performed as the king of France in the Paramount operetta The Vagabond King with Kathryn Grayson.

His first film for that studio was as the space ship commander in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet. He found his best dramatic role as the captain of an overturned ocean liner in the 1972 disaster movie, The Poseidon Adventure.

He became known as a serious actor, although behind the camera he was a prankster. That was an aspect of his personality never exploited, however, until Airplane! was released in 1980 and became a huge hit.
As the doctor aboard a plane in which the pilots, and some of the passengers, become violently ill, Nielsen says they must get to a hospital right away.

“A hospital? What is it?” a flight attendant asks, inquiring about the illness.

“It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now,” Nielsen deadpans.

When he asks a passenger if he can fly the plane, the man replies, “Surely you can't be serious.”

Nielsen responds: “I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.”
Critics argued he was being cast against type, but Nielsen disagreed. “I've always been cast against type before,” he said, adding comedy was what he'd really always wanted to do.

It was what he would do for most of the rest of his career, appearing in such comedies as Repossessed (a takeoff on the demonic possession movies like The Exorcist) and Mr. Magoo, in which he played the title role of the good-natured bumbler.

Nielsen did play Debbie Reynolds' sweetheart in the popular Tammy and the Bachelor. He became well known to baby boomers for his role as the Revolutionary War fighter Francis Marion in the Disney TV adventure series The Swamp Fox.

He remained active in television in guest roles. He also starred in his own series, The New Breed, The Protectors and Bracken's World, but all were short-lived.

Then Airplane! captivated audiences and changed everything.

Producers-directors-writers Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker had hired Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges and Nielsen to spoof their heroic TV images in a satire of flight-in-jeopardy movies.

After the movie's success, the film making trio cast their new found comic star as Detective Drebin in a TV series, Police Squad, which trashed the cliches of Dragnet and other cop shows. Despite good reviews, ABC canceled it after only four episodes.

“It didn't belong on TV,” Nielsen later commented. “It had the kind of humor you had to pay attention to.”

The Zuckers and Abraham converted the series into a feature film, The Naked Gun, with George Kennedy, O.J. Simpson and Priscilla Presley as Nielsen's co-stars. Its huge success led to sequels The Naked Gun 2 1/2 and The Naked Gun 33 1/3.

His later movies included All I Want for Christmas, Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Spy Hard.

Between films he often turned serious, touring with his one-man show on the life of the great defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow.

Nielsen also was married to: Monica Boyer, 1950-1955; Sandy Ullman, 1958-74; and Brooks Oliver, 1981-85. Nielsen and his second wife had two daughters, Thea and Maura.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lawyer Infested Post

Charitable Barrister

The Salvation Army realized that it had never received a donation from the city’s most successful lawyer. So a Salvation Army volunteer made an appointment to see the lawyer in his lavish office.

The volunteer opened the meeting by saying, “Our research shows that even though your annual income is over two million dollars, you don’t give a cent to charity. Wouldn’t you like to give something back to your community through the Salvation Army?”

The lawyer thought for a moment and said, “First, did your research also show you that my mother is dying after a long, painful illness and has huge medical bills that are far beyond her ability to pay?”

Embarrassed, the Salvation Army volunteer mumbled, “Uh… no, I didn’t know that.”

“Secondly,” says the lawyer, “did it show that my brother, a disabled Veteran, is blind, confined to a wheelchair and is unable to support his wife and six children?”

The stricken volunteer began to stammer an apology, but was cut off again.

“Thirdly, “the lawyer said, “did your research also show you that my sister’s husband died in a dreadful car accident, leaving her penniless with a mortgage and the burden of supporting three children, one of whom is disabled and another who has learning disabilities requiring an array of private tutors?”

Completely beaten, the humiliated Salvation Army volunteer said, “I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”

And then the lawyer said, “So, if I don’t give any money to them, what makes you think I’d to give any to you?”

My lawyer is very generous; he makes large donations to every possible charity. And to prove that he doesn't do it for the glory, he makes the gifts anonymously--he won't even sign the checks!


You Won't Go To Jail

A man who had been caught embezzling millions from his employer went to a lawyer seeking defense. He didn’t want to go to jail.

But his lawyer told him, "Don’t worry. You’ll never have to go to jail with all that money.”

And the lawyer was right. When the man was sent to prison, he didn’t have a dime.

Hear about the terrorist that hijacked a 747 full of lawyers? He threatened to release one every hour if his demands weren't met.

The Genie's Dilemma

While strolling on a beach one day Kevin comes across an old lamp. He rubs the lamp and a Genie appears and says that he will grant him a wish.

"What might your wish be?" the Genie asks.

Kevin pulls out a map of the world and points to the Middle East. "I want there to be eternal peace there," he declares.

"That's a rather tall order," the Genie says. "And to be honest, I'm not all that experienced yet in granting wishes of that magnitude. Is there something else I can do for you instead?"

Kevin ponders this for a while. "I guess I'll settle for the name of an honest lawyer."

The Genie rolls his eyes. "Let me see that map again."

Merry Christmas in Legal Terms

Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, and gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice (but with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or for their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all) and further for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated onset of the generally accepted calendar year (including, but not limited to, the Christian calendar, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures). The preceding wishes are extended without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee(s).

The Truck Driver, Priest, and Lawyer

A truck driver used to amuse himself by running over lawyers he saw walking down the side of the road. Every time he saw a lawyer walking along the road, he swerved to hit him and there would be a loud "THUMP". Then he would swerve back on the road.

One day, as the truck driver was driving along the road he saw a priest hitchhiking. He thought he would do a good deed and pulled the truck over.

"Where are you going, Father?" The truck driver asked.

"I'm going to the church 5 miles down the road," replied the priest.

"No problem, Father! I'll give you a lift. Climb in the truck." The happy priest climbed into the passenger seat and the truck driver continued down the road. Suddenly, the truck driver saw a lawyer walking down the road.

Instinctively he swerved to hit him. At the last moment he remembered there was a priest in the truck with him, so he swerved back to the road and narrowly missed the lawyer.

Certain he should've missed the lawyer, the truck driver was very surprised and immediately uneasy when he heard a loud "THUMP".

He felt really guilty about his actions and so turned to the priest and said, "I'm really sorry Father. I almost hit that lawyer."

"That's okay," replied the priest. "I got him with the door."


Friday, November 26, 2010

Really Thankful !


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble a Giggle

Happy Thanksgiving to any readers who happen to stumble upon this site on the holiday.

To better enjoy your feast, I offer this piece of advice:

Pay more attention to the turkey your eating than those turkeys gathered around the table with you.

Per tradition, the White House turkey is pardoned.

President Obama thanks the bird for its generous gesture.


This 80 year old woman was arrested for shop lifting. When she went before the judge in Cincinnati he asked her, "What did you steal?"

She replied, "A can of peaches."

The judge then asked her why she had stolen the can of peaches and she replied that she was hungry. The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can.

She replied, "Six."

The judge then said, "I will then give you 6 days in jail."

Before the judge could actually pronounce the punishment, the woman's husband spoke up and asked the judge if he could say something.

The judge said, "What is it?"

The husband said, "She also stole a can of peas."


It looked warm and dark, and juicy and inviting.

I wasn't sure just what I wanted to do with it.

I carefully pulled it apart with my fingers to look into it better.

I knew how great it would be if I just started eating it.

But first, I decided to put ketchup on my burger.

...And you were thinking what?



In this world of hi-tech, I have noticed that many who send text messages and email have forgotten the "art" of capitalization.

Those of you who fall into this world, please take note of the statement below. I cannot stress enough that grammar is important:

Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.

-( Thanks John )


It's Been a Rough Year

But not everyone is as lucky as I am......

The economy is so bad that I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

I ordered a burger at Burger King, and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you have to call them and ask if they mean you or them .

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

Burger King is selling the 1/4 'ouncer'.

Parents in Beverly Hills and Malibu are firing their nannies and learning their children's names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into the Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!!
The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear !

And, finally...

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, and our bleak future, that I called the Suicide Lifeline and was connected to a call center in Pakistan .
When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

A Cardiologist's Funeral

A very prestigious cardiologist died, and was given a very elaborate funeral by the hospital he worked for most of his life... A huge heart... covered in flowers stood behind the casket during the service as all the doctors from the hospital sat in awe. Following the eulogy, the heart opened, and the casket rolled inside. The heart then closed, sealing the doctor in the beautiful heart forever.

At that point, one of the mourners just -burst- into laughter. When all
eyes stared at him.

He said, "I am so sorry, I was just thinking of my
own funeral... I'm a gynecologist."

....The priest fainted.

A Thanksgiving feast of turkey and all the trimmings ...

Friends and family ...

And Football!

It doesn't get any better!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Butterfly Dreams (39)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
Michael Black,
This Is Your Life

The plane, still ascending, banked to the right into a long arcing turn until it settled in on its westerly course. Behind us the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon.

It was obvious that Baxter must have requisitioned the prepackaged food from the base commissary. While I wasn't a big fan of chips and chicken salad sandwiches, I had to admit that it was better than the bag of pretzels we would been given on a commercial flight. The meal wasn't a total bust, at least my can of beer was cold.

I drained the contents of the beer and pushed the remaining half of the sandwich aside. Professor Jordan was still eating, but Baxter was not partaking of the refreshments. He was sitting still, his arms folded across his chest looking at me.

"Tell me, Jeremy," I said, "what awaits us when we reach our destination? It seems that everything that has happened has been leading to someplace in the southwestern desert."

"The fate of the nation's government," he stated.

His quick reply sent chills up and down my spine. I knew there was a power struggle waging between the military and the unnamed agency, but I didn't want to think that our government might be under siege.

His face turned sober and he added, "There are those in power who will stop at nothing to maintain that power. There are others who crave that power. Our democracy, although not perfect, insures a balance of power. However, the possibility of mind control and the ultimate possession of it, could shift that delicate balance."

Jordan spoke, "The value of the sword is not that it fall, but rather, that it hangs."

"What?" I queried.

There was a wry smile on his lips as he replied, "Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always hangs?" He noted my confused countenance and added, "Those were the words of Cicero nearly two thousand years ago."

"Yes," Baxter asserted, "the Professor is making a reference to the Sword of Damocles."

I nodded, remembering that the Sword of Damocles was often cited regarding the threat of nuclear weapons. "I see. It all comes down to power, the haves versus the have-nots. If everyone has it, then balance is maintained."

"Quite right, Michael," Jordan asserted, "however, there is another way to achieve parity." He rubbed his hands together and asked, "What if no one had access to or control of our respective works? Would that not level the playing field?"

I bolted to my feet and faced the two men, "How do hope to accomplish that? There must be literally hundreds of people who know about it. We can't just undo our research and results. You can't make everyone forget." A foreboding thought popped into my head, "My God! You're talking about ... eliminating them?"

"Heavens no!" Jordan yelped. "I deplore violent measures." He pointed to my vacated seat and said, "We will discuss what has to be done later. Now please sit." He cleared his throat and whispered, "For now, we must address your legacy."

I sighed deeply and took the seat. "Alright, Professor," I began, "if I'm not Ben Bering in the body of Michael Black, who am I? Who is Michael Black?" I twisted in my seat and faced him, "Who are you?"

He interlaced his fingers and rested his chin on his thumbs. "It is well documented that during World War II, Nazi scientists conducted horrible experiments upon human subjects."

Short on patience I sniped, "Granted, but what has the past got to do with now?"

Unfazed, he continued, "They were particularly interested, no, fascinated with twins." He paused and watched as Baxter and I exchanged glances in reaction to his statement. "The High Command of the Third Reich ordered Ernst Fischer to use twins in his mind reading experiments."

I nodded, "Ernst Fischer, the man who would escape from Germany and eventually become one Bishop King ..."

"Yes. Before he died, he told me that had revealed his past to you and a few others." He cleared his throat, "I must say that he chose wisely in choosing you and your wife to take over his assets."

Choosing to ignore his praise I rubbed my chin and said, "Knowing that the Nazis were interested in them, I take it that he too saw the potential in twins and incorporated them into his experiments."

"It's not surprising," Jordan acknowledged. "Scientists, not the least of which include Psychologists and Psychiatrists, have long studied twins. Most twins display unique bonds and an inherent link to one another. They tend to think alike. Even when separated they seem to possess the same mannerisms and skills. In some cases if one is injured, the other feels the pain."

I reached into the cooler and pulled out another beer. After taking a long sip of the cold liquid I implored, "Just how long was my brother and I a part of King's research?"

He shrugged and replied, "I cannot say for certain. There were so many twins involved, too many for me to remember any details."

"My God!" I snapped. "Where did all of these sets of twins come from? Their parents consented to these experiments?"

A sullen look came over his features. "You have to remember that the government and the military were heavily involved with the development and funding of King's research. I am thankful that I had nothing to do with the procurement of the test subjects. I never wanted to know how or from where they gathered up those twins from across the country."

"Professor, you speak of them as if they were commodities, nothing more than fodder to be harvested," I lectured.

There was regret in his voice as he spoke through trembling lips, "Oh, I heard stories. Some of them were picked up in orphanages. Some came from homes where the parents died in unexplained accidents. Supposedly, some were even taken from hospital maternity wards."

Incredulous, I muttered, "How did they care for them? They must have had some facilities ..."

"Of course." he uttered. "The twins were placed in designated foster homes. There were foster parents at their disposal and under their control."

"Under their control?" I paused and stared wide-eyed at him. "There was a list! That list contained the names of two hundred women! They all had one thing and one thing only in common ... a blue butterfly tattoo!"

Baxter broke his silence and addressed me, "Remember? Our foster mother had one of those blue butterflies on her inner thigh."

I lowered my face into hands and muttered, "Then it was not a dream, but a subconscious memory?" I looked up at Baxter, "The backyard, the two little girls, the baths ... it was all real?"

"Yes. You were remembering but a small piece of our childhood." He let out a long sigh, "Sometime later, they tampered with our heads. They erased those memories and planted new memories."

Jordan continued, "As you have no doubt surmised, the two little girls were in fact Rosie and Faye Gates, the daughters of General Gates. When he was in that area on business he would drop off his daughters for your mother to babysit."

Despite the beer, my throat was dry and I struggled to swallow. "Now, you're going to tell me that Benjamin Bering and everything about him was a planted memory, a fabrication? There is and never was a Ben Bering?"

Professor Jordan's stinging reply was terse. "Exactly."

( To be continued

Lost In The Clouds)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Behind the Accidents

What causes the most automobile accidents?????



You guessed it-

inappropriate footwear!

...And if you happen to be driving behind me ...

Watch my rear end - NOT hers!

(A tip of the hat to my brother-in-law, Don.)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Butterfly Dreams (38)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
Family Secrets

The drab-gray plane we boarded was essentially a Boeing 707 modified for military use. There was some resemblance to the exterior of a commercial airliner, but the likeness ended the moment I passed through the door.

I was inside of what must have been a small control room. Every inch of the interior seemed to be lined with sophisticated electronic equipment. Flashing lights, digital displays, crackling static and intermittent beeps left little doubt that the plane's systems were up and running. Several airmen wearing headphones were stationed at the various pieces of equipment.

We passed through a door into a larger cabin. It was smaller than that of a passenger liner having only seats for about a dozen people. Brock and Baxter helped Susan into the front row of seats. After securing her seat belt Brock took a seat next to her and fastened his own belt.

Baxter gave me gentle nudge toward the back of the cabin and pointed to another door. "We'll be riding in the next cabin, Michael."

Although I was curious as to why we were being separated I said nothing but strode ahead. Motioning for me to follow Baxter opened the door and stepped inside. I turned to look back to the front of the cabin. As I expected, Wingate and Professor Jordan were close behind us.

Once Jordan passed through the door Wingate snapped, "Corporal Baxter, I don't know what connections you have, but they must be pretty high. You've got until we land to find out what you can. If you fail, I can assure you that my methods will be fruitful."

"Captain Wingate, I'm surprised at you. Don't you remember that water boarding has been outlawed?" Baxter countered.

The man sneered and walked away. Baxter chuckled and closed the door. He glanced at me and said, "Don't worry, he won't get his clutches on you or your wife."

I grinned and said, "I'm kind of curious about those connections too. How is it that a corporal has Colonels and Captains hopping?"

"Let's just say that I answer directly and only to a higher authority."

I let out a low whistle and stepped aside as the professor took the window seat in the cabin's front row. "Very well, Jeremy, I won't question your rank or loyalties anymore."

I sat down next to Jordan and glanced at each of them in turn. I cleared my throat and said, "I take that the seating arrangements mean that we'll be having an informative, albeit it private, discussion."

It was Professor Jordan's turn to clear his throat. Seeing that he had my attention he uttered, "Yes. It is time for both of you to learn the truth, the family secrets if you will."

Baxter nodded and said to me, "As educated as you think I might be in this matter, there is much I don't know."

There was a sudden rumbling outside followed by the whine of the plane's engines. I glanced past Jordan at the window and leaned forward for a closer look at the five individuals approaching the plane. Though I should have been beyond surprises, I gasped nonetheless.

Colonel Allison, the airbase commander, was directing four more passengers to the plane. Following him were the two FBI agents, Landers and Ferrara who were herding my missing employee David and a woman aboard. Stunned I turned to Baxter and cried, "Faye? What in the hell is she doing here?"

Baxter sat down and fastened his seat belt even as the plane started to move away from the hangar. He motioned for us to do the same and replied, "Later. Let us just say that we're going to have one interesting reunion out in the desert."

The craft taxied and turned onto a long stretch of tarmac. Two minutes later the thrust of the engines had us moving along the runway. Gravity momentarily grabbed at my stomach and then the massive jet was airborne.

His chin resting on his fist Baxter said, "Your computer tech, David has been kept out of sight and under the protection of the FBI. They were following him when he was run off the road by an unmarked sedan. When the men in the sedan saw the two FBI agents bearing down on them, they sped away, obviously not wanting a confrontation. David was uninjured by the way."

"That's comforting," I snorted. "We weren't notified of his welfare or his whereabouts because ...?"

"Quite frankly, Michael," he scowled, "we did not fully brief the FBI. We didn't know whether or not the FBI had been compromised. As you are well aware, there is a premium on those who can be trusted."

I made a circular motion with an extended finger and said, "...And the three of us can trust each other, right?"

Jordan, who'd been silent for some time interjected, "If a father cannot trust his sons, who can he trust?" He eyed both of us and queried, "You trust your father, don't you?"

The blood rushed from my head and I whimpered, "No! It's not possible!"

Jordan's smile was brief as he nodded, "Well, it is true in a sense, but not in the conventional manner. I cannot honestly claim to be your biological father. As to the paternal seed, I'm afraid there is no way for that to be determined."

I slammed my fist on the armrest and growled, "Damn it! If you're trying to tell me who I am, you're failing miserably. If you're trying to further confuse me, you have more than succeeded."

"Michael," Baxter uttered, "it's a long flight. I had made arrangements for some food and beverages to be loaded into a refrigerator in the cabin behind us. I suggest we have a bite to eat before the Professor elaborates any further."

Jordan concurred with a jerk of his head. "Then I will start at the beginning."

I fell back into my seat and stared at the ceiling. "Why do I get the feeling that Ralph Edwards is going to walk through that door carrying a book and proclaiming, 'Michael Black, this is your life?'"

To be continued ...

Michael Black, This Is Your Life


Monday, November 15, 2010

Dashing For Some Laughs

If you are planning on getting married and your last names are like the ones that follow, might I suggest that in your announcements you ask the newspaper not to hyphenate your names.

Some can be funny ...

Some can be a little crazy sounding ...

They're going to live in a place with wheels ...

You Think?

Apparently while this picture was being taken!

Awaiting prescription ...

He said she was the ...

I don't know, they last time I saw them they ...

'The main thing I learned in College was .... '

Hurry,hurry ......

'Honest Judge, I'm not really a .....'

'Not only has my rear been itchin', on closer
inspection I find my.... '

'It figures, right after I got my Butts-McCracken

condition cleared up, now I've got an .......'

Couldn't wait until he got to the motel...

No comment .... really!!!

'As soon as I get done here I'm gonna ... '

'My Doctor told me the best way to get rid of my

Aikin-Johnson was to..... '

Again, you might not want to have your names hyphenated. Who knows, your announcements might end being posted on someone's blog and linked to Facebook.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran Humor - 11/11

For Veterans' Day, I thought I'd honor our Veterans with a little military humor.

(Note: This was an actual letter sent to a major newspaper)

Dear Editor,

Today is Veterans Day, so I asked someone who had been in the Armed Service what he did in the military. He said, "I was in the Pacific Theater." I asked him if any other GIs were with him. He said "Yes, there were thousands of us in the Pacific Theater." I asked him how much time he spent in the Pacific Theater. He said that he was in the Pacific Theater every day for five months!

I certainly believe that our fighting men need some recreation, but I think that they don't need to be in the movie theater that long. Back in 1944, for example, our boys in uniform were having a tough time on the beaches of Norway - yet there were thousands of GIs off in the movie theater who could have been helping out. And as a Concerned American, I think it is a bit excessive for a serviceman to be at the picture show every day for five months. Of course, all Veterans were not in the Pacific Theater, and we should be proud of those who fought and who made sacrifices.

A Concerned American

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the Land,
They're running like rabbits in Afghanistan,
Osama's been praying, he's down on his Knees,
He's hoping that Allah will hear all his Pleas.
He thought if he killed us that we'd fall and Shatter,
But all that he's done is just make us Madder.
We ain't yet forgotten our Marines in Beirut,
And we'll kick your butt, with one heavy Boot.

And yes we remember the USS Cole,
And the lives of our sailors that you bastards Stole.
You think you can rule us and cause us to Fear,
You'll soon get the answer if you live to Hear.
And we ain't forgotten your buddy Saddam,
And he ain't forgotten the sound of our Bombs.
You think that those mountains are somewhere to Hide.
They'll go down in history as the place where you Died.

Remember Khadhafi and his Line of Death?
He came very close, to his final Breath.
So come out and prove it, that you are a Man,
Cause our boys are coming and they have a Plan.
They are our fathers and they are our Sons,
And they sure do carry some mighty big Guns.
They would have stayed home with children and Wives,
Till you bastards came here and took all these Lives.

Osama I wrote this especially for You,
For air mail delivery by B-52.
You soon will be hearing a thud and a whistle,
Old Glory is coming, attached to a Missile
I will not be sorry to see your sorry ass Go.
It's Red, White, and Blue that is running this Show.

Military leaders succeed in building a computer able to solve any strategic or tactical problem.

They are assembled in front of the new machine and instructed to feed a difficult tactical problem into it. They describe a hypothetical situation to the computer and then ask the pivotal question: attack or retreat?

The computer hums away for an hour and then comes up with the answer: "Yes."

The generals look at each other, somewhat stupefied. Finally one of them submits a second request to the computer: "Yes what?"

Instantly the computer responded: "Yes Sir."

Marine Humor A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious.

On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert, and as first aid was given to both men the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.

The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road.

I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum bag who got what he deserved, and he yelled back that Ted Kennedy is a fat, good-for-nothing, left wing liberal drunk who doesn't know how to drive.

So I said that Osama Bin Laden dresses and acts like a mean-spirited hooker!

He retaliated by yelling, "Oh yeah? Well, so does Nancy Pelosi!"

"And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us."

Late one afternoon, the Air Force folks out at Area 51 were very surprised to see a Cessna landing at their "secret" base. They immediately impounded the aircraft and hauled the pilot into an interrogation room.

The pilot's story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, and spotted the Base just as he was about to run out of fuel. The Air Force started a full FBI background check on the pilot and held him overnight during the investigation.

By the next day, they were finally convinced that the pilot really was lost and wasn't a spy. They gassed up his airplane, gave him a terrifying "you-did-not-see-a-base" briefing, complete with threats of spending the rest of his life in prison, told him Vegas was that-a-way on such-and-such a heading, and sent him on his way.

The day after that though, to the total disbelief of the Air Force, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, the MP's surrounded the plane...only this time there were two people in the plane.

The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but my wife is in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night!"

The German controllers at Frankfurt Airport were a short tempered lot, they not only expected you to know your parking location but how to get there without any assistance from them.

So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground and a British Airways 747 (Speedbird)

Speedbird: "Good morning Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the active."

Ground: "Guten morgan, taxi to your gate."

The BA 747 pulls onto the main taxiway and stops.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?!"

Speedbird: "Standby ground, I'm looking up the gate location now."

Ground (with typical German patience): "Speedbird, have you never been to Frankfurt before?!"

Speedbird (coolly): "Yes, in 1944, but I didn't stop."

"Well," snarled the tough old Navy Chief to the bewildered Seaman. "I suppose after you get discharged from the Navy, you'll just be waiting for me to die so you can come and piss on my grave."

"Not me, Chief!" the Seaman replied. "Once I get out of the Navy, I'm never going to stand in line again!"


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Butterfly Dreams (37)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
One Happy Family

There is only so much one man can take before reaching the point where reality and sanity diverge. I was on the cusp of that breaking point.

Until a year ago all of my life, as I knew it, I was one Ben Bering. Then, before I was declared clinically dead, I woke up in the body of Michael Black. A year later, a man claiming to be my twin brother, was telling me that I was not who I thought I was.

I once thought that things like mind reading, remote mind control, and mind transfers were merely fantastic concepts of science fiction novels. Yet, I was living in a nightmarish world where they were only too real.

My jumbled thoughts were interrupted by the movement of the vehicle when it turned right and then came to a stop at a guard post. Two armed Airmen approached, one to the driver side window while the other stood in front of the idling SUV. Baxter produced an I.D. and a folded sheet of paper and handed them to the Airman looking into the window.

He returned the items and signaled to the other sentry who promptly disappeared into the guard shack. Moments later he reemerged and nodded to the first man.

"Mr. Baxter, Colonel Allison is on his way to escort you to your plane and to present you with further orders." He stiffened, saluted and then assumed a parade rest stance.

Brock O'Day scratched his head and addressed Baxter, "Since when do Airmen salute Army Corporals?"

He shrugged and replied, "I suppose he figured that since a Colonel is coming to personally meet me, I must be someone important."

I cleared my throat and asked, "Are you ... someone important?"

His only response was, "Ah, here comes Allison now."

A jeep came to a stop nearby. It was obvious from his gait as he approached us that the man who stepped out of the jeep was a high ranking officer. The two Airmen snapped to attention and raised their hands to the their heads to salute their superior officer. They rested at ease only after the man nodded to acknowledge their actions.

The Colonel leaned against our vehicle and looked upon each of us in turn. He peered at O'Day for a moment before addressing him, "You must be the police officer who once in Nam under Julius Gates for those early mind control tests?"

"Yes, sir," Brock answered, "but I never knew exactly what they were working on."

He sounded agitated when he spoke to me, "So, you're half of the Mr. Black and Ms Grey team Bishop King financed? Thanks to the two of you, we have a serious crisis on our hands."

Wide-eyed I exclaimed, "What? You're blaming all of this on us? Our research was purely for medical applications. Mind control never entered into our thoughts."

"I'm sure of that, Mr. Black. You had no way of knowing that you sold your souls to the devil. It was King who saw the financial rewards and it was Gates who saw its potential for military applications." He glared at me a moment before continuing, "It's like this, you threw a monkey wrench in the works when you sent that e-mail to that newspaper reporter!"

"Think about it, Michael," Baxter interjected, "you don't honestly think that Ben Bering was the only one who read that e-mail?"

Colonel Allison turned his focus to Baxter, "Ever since Gates went rogue, I knew the shit was going to hit the fan one day." He passed a sheet of paper through the window. "These orders are for your eyes only. Read them and then burn them."

Baxter read the few typed lines and removed a cigarette lighter from his pocket. After setting the paper afire he reached through the window and let it fall burning to the ground. The Colonel, satisfied that the document had been reduced to ashes stomped on the burnt remnants.

"Follow me to the south hangar. A KC-135 is fueled and ready for takeoff as soon as you're aboard," he snapped. Before walking away he added, "Good luck."

"A KC-135? We're flying on a refueling plane?" O'Day queried.

"No," Baxter said, "it's a Stratolifter. It's basically the same aircraft, but it was modified into a flying command post. They're also used for electronic reconnaissance. Most of their missions, including this one, are classified."

I made an attempt to ask Baxter about his orders and our mission but he told me that he couldn't reveal anything until after we were airborne. Accepting his resolve to obey orders, I began to press him about the conversation we were having before reaching the airbase. To my chagrin, his answer was again that we would talk on the plane.

I lapsed into sullen silence and sat back in my seat. Next to me, Susan was beginning to stir. I said nothing to Brock or Baxter in the front. I didn't wish to see her knocked out with that taser again.

When we arrived at the hangar we were hustled out the vehicle and herded posthaste onto the awaiting plane. Carrying the barely conscious Susan, Brock and Baxter preceded me up the lowered ladder into the craft. When I was about to enter the plane I caught the movement of two men approaching the stairs behind me. I should not have been surprised to see that Professor Jordan and Captain Wingate would be accompanying us on the flight.

I shook my head and groaned, "Aren't we one happy family!"

( To be continued ...

Family Secrets


Monday, November 01, 2010

Gran Turismo Omologato

"C'mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO."

When we heard those 1964 lyrics by Ronnie and the Daytonas, there was no doubt that it was a musical tribute to the quintessential muscle car of the 60s. (Both Jan & Dean and the Beachboys covered the song with their own versions.)

Perhaps you might remember that the GTO was mentioned in the lyrics of a hugely popular hit song by the Ramones.
Well the girls out there knock me out, you know,
Rock, rock, rock'n'roll high school,
Cruisin' around in my GTO.
Those of us who had the pleasure of driving one of these machines were saddened to hear the announcement that General Motors has ceased production of its Pontiac Division. Because of the state of the economy, it was inevitable following the same fate of Oldsmobile several years earlier.

A friend of mine owned a red 1966 GTO like the one pictured below. He didn't want anyone even breathing on it, but he did let me drive it a couple of times - on a parking lot. Sitting behind the wheel of that car you could feel its unbridled power.

It wasn't the only muscle car of its era, competing with the Oldsmobile 442, the Buick Wildcat, Plymouth Road Runner, just to name a few, but it was by far the most popular. I wonder how many remember that 'GTO' was an acronym for the Italian phrase, Gran Turismo Omologato, which translated into English was 'Ready To Race.'

1966 Pontiac GTO

Alas, the closing down of Pontiac also brings to mind a muscle car of the 70s and 80s, the Firebird, and its muscle model, the Trans Am.

The Trans Am leapt into the hearts of car enthusiasts thanks in part to its appearance in the 1977 blockbuster film Smokey and the Bandit, 1978s Hooper, 1980s Smokey and the Bandit II, 1983s Smokey and the Bandit 3 and 1984s Alphabet City.

The Trans Am also made it to the small screen in the 80s. KITT, the automotive star of Knight Rider was a modified 3rd generation of the Grand Am.

A victim of environmental concerns, the era of the muscle cars is long gone. It's sad to see these icons of that bygone era reduced to museums and fading memories. Luckily, there are collectors and enthusiasts who continue to keep these machines running.

If you see one on the roads, remember you're looking at a beloved piece of history.

№ 2056