The Friends are gathered in the Hullahoo Bar for their Christmas drinks despite last week’s acrimonious debate. The bar is festive, decorated with a brilliant Christmas tree, bells along the walls, and joyful Christmas carols playing in the background.
Let’s listen in.
Melissa: “Sure I am frustrated! Pelosi should have sent the impeachment to the Senate! But she may be smarter than Coalminer McConnell.”
Frank: “I told you the whole thing was a prank to drug her left-wing.”
Mary: “You mean she’s not going to pass it on after all the fireworks?”
Frank: “She doesn’t need to. Critics on TV say she’s making herself more and more ridiculous, but I think she’s foxier than you think: Her majority, even though diminished, got what they wanted all along, they got Trump “impeached”, quote-unquote. So they went home to jubilate and overdose at the Democrat Christmas tree.”
Mary: “She just ditches it? But that’s making havoc of the impeachment process!”
Cindy: “I agree with you but also with Frank. Pelosi knows the art of double-crossing. She satisfied her left, gave Trump a black eye, and moves on with the business of signing on to the Trade Deal and the budget, as if nothing happened, to give manna to her more moderate followers in the swing states.”
Ted: “But that leaves the Senate waiting for nops!”
Tom: “Waiting for Godot, you mean.”
Caitlyn: “She calculates that by the next November elections nobody remembers all the fuss.”
Cindy: “She keeps it as a harbinger and she’ll use it each time when she needs it to annoy Trump.”
Fred: “But that’s hyper Machiavellic! Utter hypocrisy!”
Caitlyn: “Hypocrisy and politics are synonymous, Fred.”
Melissa: “Times should have named Pelosi the Woman of the Year. She managed to schmooze her left and right at the same time, and walk away unscathed.”
Fred: “But what happens next? She’s keeping a sword of Damocles hanging over everyone!”
Melissa: “Only over Trump and the Republican Party. I bet she’ll keep the house and remain Speaker, when a Democratic President is elected.”
Mary: “And a Democratic Senate, so that I get my free rent. And then she can convict Trump and remove him from office with her Senate majority if he gets re-elected.”
Jason, bringing in new beers, turns around: “Don’t keep dreaming, Mary, my job offer is still open! Join and you can pay your rent!”
Tom: “Who would otherwise pay your rent, Mary? Me, the poor taxpayer?”
Mary: “I’ll vote for Bloomberg. He’s got money enough and will pay. He got me a free soda last time!”
Jason, going back to tap more beer: “You can’t live on soda’s alone, Mary!”
Caitlyn: “The Dems won’t nominate another billionaire. Besides, Bloomberg has no charisma. Trump would make marshmallow soup of him.”
Melissa: “For once I agree with you. Biden is a far better fighter.”
Fred: “Ha, ha! Biden said he would beat Trump in the back alley of a prom! He can only bite his wife’s fingers. Give me a break.”
Frank: “And what would Biden do to Trump in the debates, Melissa?”
Caitlyn: “Let me answer that. He’d choose truth over facts, look for smart, abolish chest-thumping on Twitter, and share America’s lunch with China.”
Tom: “And put Hunter back on the Burisma board.”
Mary: “And pay for my gas bill! Shut down fracking and import all we need from Ukraine.”
Jason comes by with a tray full of drinks, and says: “There’s somebody in the back again who pays for all this!”
The friends turn their heads. It’s President Trump this time, smiling broadly.
President Trump: “Hey guys! You see! I am not impeached!”
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The Friends are mad. Their chats at the Hullahoo Bar have become louder and louder. Everybody’s mad nowadays. Even the waitresses. There we go again.
Frank, from one side of the counter: “That’s so typical, Melissa! When you lose your argument, you start calling us names. So I am a misogynist, a bigot, a homophobe, a white supremacist, a racist, what have you. Well, your tribe’s a bunch of leftist hooligans that destroy America!”
Melissa, from the other side of the counter: “You destroy America! We want Medicare for all, you dump Obamacare, and we’ll all die of the climate change you started!”
Ted: “You, Melissa, belong to that loony Alinsky bomber crowd of community organizers that want to fundamentally change America! We heard Obama say that.”
Tom: “Yeah, elections have consequences, he said. Well, we had new elections! We, the irredeemables, want to keep it the Founders’ way!”
Melissa: “You’re so wrong. What did those Founders know then anyways! Socialism is good for all, look at Sweden. You are zealots, wackos and have been doing a nutjob. You’re obstructing the welfare state!”
Tom: “Nonsense! Sweden is not even socialist, but a market economy with a hefty welfare system paid for by high taxes.”
Caitlyn: “A country of ten million people, less than New York State, and we have 330 million. Their system wouldn’t work here and they’re trying to trim it down because it’s too costly.”
Ted: “Melissa’s side screams that the rich will pay for everything and then there won’t be any rich left and we’ll all end up miserables and deplorables!”
Mary, loud and shrill: “I’m miserable already, so I don’t give a hoot if the rich get miserable too!”
Cindy, even louder: “Why don’t you commies and socialists all move to Russia and China, and see for yourself what misery means. Leave us alone with our hard-earned freedom and prosperity!”
Caitlyn: “No, better you move to Greenland and start your Kibutz in zero temperatures there without stealing our tax money!”
Ted: “All you commies want is equality and free goods. Sounds so nice in the beginning until tyranny takes over and life becomes one stinkhole for all!”
Tom: “Except for those in power who live like the rich they destroyed. It has been tried many times over and failed. Look at Venezuela. Get wise!”
Waitress Jane: “If you want your beer, Mr. Wise, you better give me your tip first before you run out of money.”
Tom: “Thanks Jane, but with Melissa’s socialism we have already run out of money. And you haven’t even smiled.”
Jane: “Here’s your beer, Mister!” Jane plunks the glass down, fakes a smile, scoffs, trots away, kicking her splendid bottom left and right.
Melissa, from the other side of the counter: “You see, Tom, how you treat Jane, misogynist!”
Caitlyn: “You know how you were born Melissa?”
Melissa: “What you mean?”
Caitlyn: “Well, I presume your mom and dad made love, no? Was he sexist and misogynist too?”
Melissa, shouting: “You’re changing the subject, Caitlyn. We have different times now!”
Frank: “Precisely! Your socialist communal band of hippies wants us to live in shabby tents, pee and excrete on the street, and yell at each other!”
Mary: “I live in a one-bedroom shack with mice and cockroaches skirting over the floor because I can’t find a job!”
Frank: “Crazy, there’re six million job offers to be filled. Ever looked around?”
Jason, putting a beer in front of Mary: “If you need a job, come over, Mary, you’ll earn good bucks here with your smile to pay for a better place.”
Mary: “If Trump hadn’t stolen the election, us people would’ve had a free home from Hillary!”
Ted, crooning: “Take that Jason offer, Mary! One more woman employed, the highest number since decades!”
Mary: “I don’t want to be employed by the Trump machine, the way he talks about women. He must be impeached.”
Caitlyn: “That’s all you guys want, impeach, impeach! You’ve been screaming that since he was elected. Ever thought about what America wants?”
Melissa, shouting: “We want one party for the U. S.! Democrats are good enough for democratsy.”
Frank: “Okay, Melissa, go take a ride on Biden’s Malarkey bus.”
Melissa: “It’s ‘No Malarkey’, buthead!”
Frank: “Would Biden know the difference?”
Jason comes to the counter: “There’s somebody in the back offering free drinks, except large sodas.”
Everybody looks to the back.
It’s Mike Bloomberg in jacket and tie, waving and smiling.
All Friends cheer and order more beers and double small sodas.
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“A diverse set of witty and entertaining tales.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“In clear crisp text, the stories are well-paced, replete with action, suspense, intrigue, surprise, sorrow, and humor.” Mary E. Wuest.
“While they cover a wide range of genres each one contains a glimpse into the magnificent mind of this talented and creative writer. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.” George Vercessi.
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A glimpse of the 12 stories:
The Flatfooters reflects my exchanges with friends in and from the broader Middle East and my fears that something like this might happen when driving home in fierce sunlight on I-95 south. (SHIVER)
Ghana-The Burial Train of Mr. Ashok resulted from a pressure cooker Algonkian Writers Conference with Michael Neff (recommended). (SNICKER)
Killing The Elephant Poacher is based on my World Bank work in the Central African Republic and a first step to developing a Boutique Killer assassin series. (SHIVER)
Leave Flying To The Birds came from a bad landing while piloting a small plane. (SHIVER/SNICKER)
From the Horse’s Mouth is how my horse felt about my horsewoman instructor. (SNICKER)
Mother Centipede was inspired by Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Stephen King’s Just After Sunset. (SHIVER)
The Mice Patrol and Attic Ghosts Talking are tales of mice and squirrels in our household and were sparked by reading Mark Spencer’s wonderful book Ghost Walking. (SNICKER)
Chantal’s Baby Grand really happened but don’t tell anybody it was me. (SCHMOOZE)
The Heliphone is based on bad dreams as you can imagine if you know my Double Dutch life. (SNICKER/SCHMOOZE)
The Medium stems from my younger days when I lived irresponsibly and had to apologize to a revered baroness whom my family and the entire country knew. (SNICKER/SCHMOOZE)
The Train Rider is a tragicomedy, remembering a society friend I played tennis with during my youth in Holland and whom I tragically found riding in the train gone mad. (SNICKER)
Links of other books for winter and dark days:
https://amzn.to/2IwinKc Francine – Dazzling Daughter of the Mountain State: Corporate scheming and love.
Enchanting The Swan: Classical music and musicians muddied in banking fraud, murder, and…love.
Get them now in paperback or Kindle. Or great gifts for Sinterklaas (Holland) and Christmas ( Everywhere).