Saturday, August 23, 2014

Have You Missed Us?

We thought not. Ironically, in the two month since we posted anything, web traffic on this blog has actually increased slightly! Nevertheless, at the risk of losing our readership, we shall soon begin posting a revised (and hopefully improved) draft of the novel Aphrodite Shuddered (since its author - K.D. Bishop - can't think of an entertaining ending for it yet!) As an added "bonus", the author has incorporate the novel's 16-chapter prequel, formerly titled Stray Cats. So be warned!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Can Jesus Save Corporations?

Apparently, some so-called privately-held corporations in the U.S. now have the same right to religious freedom as do individual American citizens, according the the U.S. Supreme Court. Does that mean that a corporate "entity" will go to heaven or hell after it goes out of business? Can a corporation accept Jesus Christ as its personal savior? 

Monday, June 09, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 48

Chapter 48
Into the Black

Seconds later:
As soon as I got into the back of the old Continental, the driver put it in gear and initiated a tire-spinning U-turn, leaving a cloud of dust in our wake. Perplexed, I looked at Mel, who was sitting beside me, and complained, “Whoa – what the fuck, Mel. Where the hell are you guys taking me?”

“To Nellis Air Force Base, for starters.”

“The Air Force again, eh. Don't tell me they're sending me out of the country again.”

“I can't tell you anything, at least not yet. Before I brief you, I'd like you to perform remote views to try to find out, on your own, what the assignment is. Of course, you're not expected to be totally accurate about the details.”

“I should hope not. But I'm still going to need time to prepare.”

“You'll have time for that, but not a lot. We just need to test the level of your effectiveness before sending you on to your final destination.” In other words, if my remote views turned out to be completely unrelated to the assignment, he would send me home and use someone else for the job. I suspected that at least a dozen skilled remote viewers were working for US intelligence. In spite of a somewhat cavalier attitude about intelligence work, I nevertheless had as much pride as most men, not wanting to look stupid by failing to perform, especially if it really was “an urgent matter of National Security” as Mel had claimed.

Being naturally skeptical, I asked, “Hey, is there anything political about this job you want me to do? Because if there is, you can just drop me off at the airport and I'll be on my merry way.”

“Don't worry, this has nothing to do with politics. You got any other objections?”

“Not off the top of my head, no. But this had better be as important as you say, after being more-or-less abducted like this.” He didn't respond to that, understandably unwilling to reveal anything further at the moment. Now we got onto the northbound freeway, the car's huge V-8 quickly accelerating us to over 90 MPH. With a sigh of resignation, I closed my eyes and told him, “If you don't mind, I'm gonna meditate until we get there.”

“By all means. We should be there in 15 minutes.”

For the rest of the ride, I ignored my surroundings and mentally fixated on a pitch-black orb rotating against a blinding white background. The imaginary sphere gradually grew in size until all that remained was an impenetrable darkness - nothing at all. When pressed for time, that is a quick-and-dirty method by which to clear the mind of all conscious thoughts. When Mel nudged me out of my trance outside the main gate at Nellis, it felt like only a scant minute had passed. A short time later we stopped in front of one of base's Transient Officers' Quarters buildings, a spartan two-story “motel” constructed of orange-painted cinder blocks. Mel handed me a room key and told me I had one hour to mentally prepare myself.

Alone in the quiet, plainly appointed room, I mediated cross-legged on the scruffy green carpet. About an hour later, a knock on the door caused my eyes to snap open. Mel let himself in and asked, “Ready to go to work?” I nodded, and then he handed me a sealed envelope which contained the randomly generated four-digit target code number. Next he placed a small Bayer aspirin bottle, its normal contents replaced with marijuana-extract tablets, on the coffee table. “I understand these might help you concentrate – good ol' THC pills like they the ones they gave you in Remote Viewer School.”

“They will definitely make you forget all your problems, if nothing else.”

Mel glanced down at the fancy chronometer on his wrist. “Okay, I'm leaving but I'll be back at noon. Call me if you've got something for me before then.” As he closed the door behind him, I opened the envelope and read the code number printed on the enclosed card. The number, 3336, meant nothing to me. Now mentally prepared to perform a remote view (without the help of THC), I sat down on the floor and assumed the lotus position again. Remote viewing is the flip-side of Transcendental Meditation: Rather than trying to blot-out every thought as in TM, a remote viewers is trained to shut off his mind's defense mechanisms, to consciously recall every unconscious psychic reaction to nervous-system stimuli, no matter how bizarre or frightening those reactions may be - a sort of self-induced psychoactive drug trip. Thus by some unknowable preternatural process, the mission code number (such as 3336) would - in theory - trigger impulses in my nervous-system which in-turn would trigger unconscious visual and aural images, with my conscious mind interpreting their meaning. However, I interpreted their meaning correctly “only” slightly over 50% the time.

Now freed from having to suppress my thought process, as during meditation, I allowed involuntary images and sensations to invade my consciousness.

I found myself standing in the middle of a enormous field of wheat, billions of stalks of tall, ripening grain undulating in the soft breeze from from horizon to horizon. It was sunny and very hot here, but quite comfortable compared to Las Vegas in August. For no logical reason, I took it for granted that this was North Dakota, even though this place could have been located in almost any farming region in the world.

Desiring a better view, I suddenly seemed to be rising straight into the sky, shooting to an altitude of over 1,000 feet almost immediately. Upon seeing a four-lane highway in the distance, I flew down to it in order to get a clue as to my exact location. One nearby road sign read: North Dakota Hwy. 46. Further on, at a highway junction, a sign pointed with an arrow to Farm Road 3336. Then, a dark-blue Air Force pickup truck going in the opposite direction turned in front of me onto the Farm Road. Intuitively, I began tailing it. A few miles later, I followed the vehicle as it turned onto an unmarked side road. Several hundred yards down that road, I was confronted by a red-white-blue sign that warned:
From my high vantage point, I could see that the Air Force vehicle and myself were approaching a long, low-slung wooden building. It and the roughly 20-acre compound on which it sat were protected by a tall, electrified fence topped with spools of razor wire. The vehicle then stopped at the heavily guarded gate, where an inconspicuous metal sign blandly stated in hand-stenciled white letters: Minot AFB / A-01 (MAF). Not having seen any aircraft or runways in this vicinity, I presumed that this facility was in some way involved with nuclear missiles (as I found out after the fact, MAF stood for Missile Alert Facility).

It was common knowledge that Minuteman and “Peacekeeper” nuclear missiles, housed in hardened silos, were based within a vast area beyond the environs of Minot, North Dakota and its neighboring AFB of the same name. This building possibly was the above-ground entrance to one of the many underground missile Launch Control Centers which were scattered around a couple thousand square miles of Dakota prairie.

The gate guards evidently recognized the two people occupying the vehicle, as they waved them through after a cursory ID check. I then proceeded into the compound, passed unchallenged through another armed security checkpoint and entered the austere white building. Inside, another security team was monitoring a bank of a dozen or more large TV screens displaying various views from security cameras. Most of their cameras were scrutinizing areas in and around the group of missile silos that were controlled by this facility, which, for increased survivability in the event of nuclear attack, was located miles away from its missiles . A large emblem affixed to the imposing front desk told me that this was the home of the 714th Missile Wing. Their motto: Fidelitas et Fortitudo. Some of the emblem's design elements looked, at second glance, a bit surreal: a stylized missile being orbited by electrons (or by something). Pictured below the missile was the curiously distant-looking Earth, as if shown from a perspective of about 100,000 miles away. In the upper left corner, two stars were prominently depicted. The oddest aspect of the design was that the missile appeared traveling far from the Earth and being targeted at the two stars (or whatever those stars represented). As I pondered the emblem's possible hidden meanings, two baby-faced Air Force lieutenants - Osbourne and Rhoads - the same two young men I had followed here, entered the office and signed-in. Then the duty officer, a female second-lieutenant, issued each of them an automatic pistol with holster and buzzed them (and me) through electrically locking glass doors. Lieutenant Osbourne then said to her: “This morning's security briefing was interesting. Delta-Flight had several unidentified airspace incursions last night. Nothing picked-up on radar - just visually. And, some local farmers out there contacted Minot Tower about seeing strange lights in the sky.”

“Yeah,” the she replied. “The same thing happened at Baker-Flight since you guys were briefed, about a half-hour ago. Their cams recorded two unidentifieds. On the security video, they look metallic, but Minot didn't detect any unscheduled traffic on radar. Even in broad daylight, they looked just like those metalized balloons I bought for my daughter's birthday party.”

“I wouldn't be surprised if they turned out to be balloons after all. But I remember reading a book, years ago, that talked about similar incidents. You know, kinda like these airspace violations, but happening back in the 60s.”

Getting flirtatious, she said, “Really? So, what did you think they were - Little Green Men?” she asked, tongue-in-cheek.

“Hey, you didn't hear that from me,” he replied with faintly defensive laughter.

Then I followed Osbourne and Rhoads to the end of a corridor, stopping in front of closed elevator doors, where Osbourne punched a code on a keypad that opened the elevator. As I followed them inside, Rhoads muttered to his partner, “Well, back to the salt mines for another 24 hours. I hope tomorrow's debriefing doesn't take too long. I'm supposed to have a rendezvous with a cute blonde in town tomorrow afternoon.” With their working a 24-hour shift (and wearing sidearms), I gathered that they were Launch Control Officers.

Osbourne replied, “Don't get your hopes up. If those unidentifieds keep popping-up around here, we'll be putting-in tons of overtime in Debriefing.”

Rhoads said with a scowl, “Fuckin' UFOs. That's all I've hearing about on TV lately. Ninety-nine percent of it is pure bullshit. People talking about being abducted and getting a giant probe shoved up their asses - HA!.”

Osbourne laughed along with his partner and said, “I think you're just pissed-off because you won't be doing any ass probing any time soon.”

“You got that right,” Rhoads groused.

“That's one good reason why LCO tours are limited to 18-months - any longer than that and you start to go bonkers.”

From ground level, the surprisingly slow elevator descended at least fifty feet before coming to a stop. Inside an airlock just outside the elevator, Rhoads keyed-in a code number, which caused a massive steel vault door, about two feel thick and seven feet in diameter, to swing open. Now we could go into the actual Launch Control Center. Once inside, the first thing I noticed was that their computer equipment looked pretty old (even by 1992 standards). The eight-foot long, four-foot tall missile control console, with its dozens of toggle switches and flashing colored lights, looked like something you might see in a 1950s sci-fi movie.

At this point, unfortunately, my concentration started to waver, since remote viewing is very taxing, both mentally and physically. Even after only 15 minutes, this was beginning to feel like the end of a long graveyard shift, with my wanting nothing more than to go to sleep. But I was able to maintain my focus for a few more minutes as Osbourne and Rhoads relieved the missile-launch crew coming off-duty. Before leaving the LCC, the outgoing crew showed them video footage of unidentified aircraft recorded that morning at a Minuteman missile site controlled by another Missile Alert Facility, Baker-Flight. Osbourne observed, “They do look a little like silver balloons, except for their abrupt movements.”

Rhoads begged to differ. “Aw, that's just the wind moving them around, Joey. The goddamned wind never stops blowing around here.”

Not long after the outgoing crew closed the vault door behind them, a phone started beeping on the missile console, and Osbourne answered it. After exchanging a few words, he hung-up and activated a video monitor on the console. Then he told Rhoads, “Security at Charlie-Flight is monitoring unidentified air traffic right now - check it out.” The monitor showed what looked like a missile silo, covered by an enormous movable slab of concrete.

At the top of the video screen, two luminous silver-colored orbs, pulsating in-time with each other, were hovering about 100 feet above the silo. “Ho-ly-fuck,” Rhoads stated in awe. “Those must be experimental Air Force shit, right?” Then, without warning, the silo's concrete cover began to move slowly to the side, to expose the underlying missile. Rhoads exclaimed, “What the hell! We weren't briefed about any missile testing going on today!” On the console, an alarm sounded and a string of 10 lights, labeled C (for Charlie-Flight), were one-by-one changing from red to green. Rhoads immediately got on a hot phone and said, as calmly as he could, “This is Rhoads out at Able-Flight. Charlie-Flight is showing Presidential Authorization. Is there confirmation on that?...No confirmation?...No, everything is cool, here.”

Then another alarm began to bleat, this time coming from a bank of electronic devices next to the console. Osbourne rushed over and checked it just as 10 red lights on one of the panels began turning green. He turned pale and said to himself, “Ready for launch - that's fucking impossible!”

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Billionaires' Wealth Nearly Triples Under "Communist" Obama Regime

Recent news stories have reported that the filthy rich Koch Brothers' combined financial holdings have increased from $34-billion in 2010 to $100-billion in 2014. Not bad for a pair of Capitalist Heroes who are constantly under siege from the socialist economic policies implemented by the evil Obama Administration. Their extreme wealth notwithstanding, the out-of-touch Koch Bros still contend that the communist take-over Ayn Rand predicted in Atlas Shrugged is becoming all too real!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 47

Chapter 47
National Security Blanket

Political-organizing work was keeping me so busy that it was disrupting my strict transcendental meditation routine. Drinking more heavily didn't exactly help, either. But there was also an underlying reason behind this psychic neglect and laziness: Ever since the unwelcome emergence of telekinetic ability in me last month, I had tried to hinder its further development by slacking-off on my daily regimen of yogic-type breath control combined with hours of meditation (which Angie jokingly referred to as my “hippy-dippy time”). The last thing I needed was to attract the attention of the CIA, which would surely want me as a test subject to see if my burgeoning talent for telekinesis could be used against America's Enemies. If what an instructor at Remote Viewing school had once told me was true, not a single American (including myself) had ever scored above zero in a scientific test for such talent. I abhorred the notion of myself being the first one to do so. It may be perversely satisfying to explode car tires and ignite fires at-a-distance as if by magic, but once others (like John Gall) find out about that, it's like having a bulls-eye on your back. To the Intelligence Community's way of thinking, the rare person who possesses telekinetic skills is simply too dangerous (and valuable) to be allowed to run around loose.

By this time, my only wish was live a normal life again - if being involved in politics can be considered normal. Nonetheless, I had agreed (however reluctantly) to do psychic intelligence work for the US government and was very well paid for it. I had briefly considered telling the nation's intelligence services to shove it, and just walk away when my contract expired at year's end. This time, however, there was to be no running away from it all - not that I had a choice in the matter. I was well aware that if this proverbial “Mysterious They” ever demanded my services again, and I refused, I would soon find that my Social Security Number was no longer valid, and that my employment records and school transcripts had disappeared, bank accounts inexplicably overdrawn, et cetera, effectively rendering me an Un-person until I finally decided to come crawling back.

In spite of all of that, there remained the hope that in the event of Cliff Williamson's election as president, three months hence, I would be shielded from such intimidation. Of course, that was the sole reason why I had wanted to help elect Williamson in the first place. To that end, we were doing our small part by registering as many new voters as possible, especially young voters. The most recent Gallop Poll showed that three-quarters of Americans between ages 18-25 (including 90% of young women) preferred Williamson over President Hedges. In nearly every other demographic group, the votes were almost evenly split between the two candidates. Therefore, most of our efforts were directed at the thousands of students now trickling back to Nevada's college campuses for the upcoming fall term. By happy coincidence, the America Votes For Freedom Committee's offices in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City were located near the three largest universities in the state. The most important responsibility of committee staffers was to ensure that our field registrars didn't get lazy or greedy by submitting fake registrations, on forms they obviously had filled-out themselves. Having had past experience with that problem, we combated it by paying our registrars relatively high wages, which kept the cheaters honest to a certain extent.

On an insanely hot Las Vegas morning in mid-August, I was hurriedly preparing to leave for the airport to catch a flight to Reno, where I would be interviewing prospective employees for our brand-new committee office. Angie was supposed to be going with me, but she was still sleeping-off the effects of too many late-night shots of Jack Daniel's. Knowing that it was now a hopeless task to get her up and ready in time, I just wrote her a terse note saying I'd be back by eight o'clock that night. Then I phoned Jane, who was going to introduce me to two of her friends who desired staff positions in the Reno office. After I told her that I was headed to the airport, Jane said to me, “You make it sound like Angie's not coming along.”

“Afraid not - she's a bit under the weather today, if you get my meaning.”

Jane laughed and said, “Is our party girl still down for the count?”

I chuckled drily. “I should've known that booking an eight-AM flight wasn't going to work. 
Anyway, my flight arrives at 9:30.”

“Cool – I'll be there to pick you up, baby. I can't believe how hot it is today - hey, when we're done with business, you should come over for a swim at my place.”

“That's a good idea. We'll, I should get outta here now. See you in a few hours.”

“Kisses, baby. 'Bye now.” Then I started thinking: She sure laid it thick after she found out Angie wouldn't be there. But damn – she's fuckin' hot. I can't wait to see her tanned body in a tiny string bikini, with water beading-up on her ass and big tits...

Unfortunately, my sexual reverie soon was broken by the beeping of my encrypted cell phone, which hadn't rung in weeks. I growled to myself, “Fuck, they would have to call today!” Just then I heard the crunch of gravel as a car rolled up the driveway. I turned the phone on but didn't say anything into it as I peeked between curtains to see the late-70s, black Lincoln with tinted windows parked outside. After long seconds of silence, a male voice finally spoke the proper code word: “TRITON.”

I then replied with my code name, “Okay, this is TYPIST. What's up?”

“You see that Lincoln-Continental with government plates parked outside?” His voice was rather familiar to me.


“I'd like you to get into the backseat of that car, and we'll talk further.”

“Look, I'm super busy today – can't this wait til tonight or something? I'm supposed to be on my way to the airport – but you probably knew that.”

“That's right – sorry to break-up your pool party with the young lady, but this is an urgent matter of National Security.” Now I realized who it was: Mel Function, erstwhile Army major and ex-chief of the Army Remote Viewer School. There was no telling which government agency he was representing now.

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Official Whisky of the NHL

BREAKING NEWS: The world is full of hypocrites...I'm watching a liquor commercial on Hockey Night in Canada right now.  Why does the National Hockey League need an "official" liquor sponsor? And why is hard liquor advertising allowed on television anyway?  Oops, I forgot - it's on a cable/satellite TV channel, so the federal regulations against liquor advertising don't apply! I won't give the whisky brand any free advertising on this blog (let's called it "Clown Loyal", which trumpets the fact that it is "The Official Whisky Partner of the NHL"). Don't forget, kiddies, while you watch your sports heroes: Cigarettes are horrible, but booze isn't so bad, after all. In fact, a cigarette taste so good after a few belts of Clown Loyal!

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Last Link to Old Hollywood is Gone

With the recent deaths of Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple, the last of the old time Hollywood stars are gone forever. Being so young during their heyday, virtually all of the people associated with their movies died long ago, including their child-star contemporaries like Freddie Bartholemew, Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland. Other child performers from that era undoubtedly are still living, but the only conceivable "star" still alive from back then is Margaret O'Brien, who was born in 1937 and began her movie career in 1941. She's best known as Judy Garland's little sister in Meet Me in St. Louis. When she was seven years old, she won the Academy Juvenile Award as the best child actor of 1944.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 46

Chapter 46
Open Secrets

Early August 1992
In the two weeks since the National Security Council and White House had disowned me, Angie and I managed to ramp-up our voter registration operation in Carson City with the assistance of Jane Hartwell, with whom Angie had finally kissed-and-made-up. Angie had been resentful of Jane's using us as a stepping-stone to a position on Cliff Williamson's presidential campaign. For days after Jane quit working for us, Angie had seethed in anger over it. Finally I had told her, “You know, if it hadn't been for Jane, and Tim, we wouldn't have met Cliff in the first place - and you'd still be trying to graduate from cosmetology school, instead of making a thousand bucks a week running the committee. Quit taking everything so personally.”

“I can't believe you're defending that traitor! Ever since we met that fuckin' whore, it's been so obvious that you're hot for her ass!”

Admittedly, Angie was right, as the long limbed, big breasted Jane was truly delectable. “That's bullshit,” I had fibbed in reply. Her accusations fizzled-out then, as Angie had suddenly lost interest in further pursuing the potentially redounding question of who-wanted-to-fuck-whom.

But ever since meeting-up with her in Carson City recently, Angie, slowly morphing into a real politician, softened her attitude once she realized that Jane possessed useful political connections within the State Capitol. Jane, who was in-charge of Cliff Williamson's fund raising efforts in the Reno/Carson City area, gladly helped to get our registration drive off the ground, especially since Angie offered to share with her all of the new registrants' names and addresses. Then, with the prospect of landing a few thousand additional contributors to the Williamson campaign, she re-doubled the favor by helping us set-up an operation in Reno, as well.

Thanks to the flow of generous unsolicited donations to our America Votes For Freedom Committee, we were able to offer substantially higher wages to prospective “volunteers” and staffers than most of the other political committees in the region. Thus we had little difficulty finding enough qualified people to run the offices and to register new voters.
* * *

Although the NSC had recently severed all ties to me, I remained tethered to my bothersome little CIA-designed cell phone. However, that device had been rendered virtually unusable for now, until such time that my new Intelligence Community contact (code-named TRITON) phoned me on it. But until that call came, I was, as far as the federal government was concerned, just another overpaid computer consultant working under contract for the United States Department of Agriculture.

I spent hours wondering what my next intelligence assignment would be, since Gall had informed me that I had no immediate Need-to-Know what it was. Curious, I tried to tease-out a possible hidden meaning embedded in my contact's code-name. I did have a vague recollection of the word “Triton” from my teenage readings of Greek mythology. From what little I remembered, Triton was the name of an androgynous minor deity who, together with his/her father Lord Poseidon and the rest of Poseidon's gender-neutral offspring, resided in a golden palace at the bottom of the sea. I couldn't resist considering the unlikely possibility that TRITON was an obscure reference to the alien undersea base in the Caribbean that I had helped to discover, during the search for the missing attack-submarine Silverfish, almost exactly one year ago. If my speculation proved to be correct, I would soon be taking a trip to the bottom of the Caribbean in a nuclear sub, as Gall had once hinted to me months ago. (Incidentally, the secret of the existence of that alien base was revealed [along with other secret matters I have written about] in 2010 by Australian computer hacker Julius Assuage, founder of the politically dissident website LeakyWicks, with the internet publication of millions of digital pages of classified US government documents. In fact, LeakyWicks exposed so MANY secret documents that a huge percentage of them have remained, as yet, unknown to the general public)

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 45

Chapter 45
Kitty Litter

Next day:
Angie and I were all set to fly up to Carson City to visit a real estate agency about taking out a lease on some local office space. But at Las Vegas' McCarren Airport, my encrypted cell buzzed right before our scheduled departure time - John Gall wanted to have a face-to-face meeting with me immediately, at the Federal Building. Considering the timing of his call, I immediately assumed that Tina's recent travails was the reason for the meeting, so I attempted to ask him, “Does this have anything to do with, uh - ”

“I'll give you all the details when you arrive,” he said, cutting me off in mid-sentence. "Get down here as soon as possible, if you would,” he added peremptorily, then hanging-up without waiting for a response. Judging from his uncharacteristically abrupt manner, I sensed that the meeting was going to be about as enjoyable as undergoing dental surgery.

Pocketing my accursed phone, I told Angie, “I won't be able to go with you - something important's come up at work.”

“I almost forgot that you still have a job,” she joshed, in reference to my apparently cushy work schedule of late. She sighed and said, “Well, have fun, then.” With self-assurance she added, “I think I can handle it by myself.”

When the flight was announced over the PA seconds later, I kissed her goodbye and said, “I still remember what happened the last time you went to Carson City, so behave yourself.”

“What the hell are you talkin' about! Deke was the one who needed to behave himself, not me.” Last spring, cops busted-in on the hotel suite she was sharing with Senator Dodder's son Deke, who minutes before had been arrested for drug possession, near the State Capitol building. They searched the suite in the expectation of discovering more drugs, but according to Angie who happened to be there, Deke earlier had stolen the last of her crack cocaine while she was out of the room, hence nothing incriminating was found. In the back of my mind, I still wondered if she had gone to bed with him on that occasion, in spite of her furious denial of it back then.

Eyes downcast, Angie then pouted as she was prone to do under the mildest criticism, and I replied, “That's debatable but we can discuss it some other time. See you tonight...okay?” But by now she had turned away from me and began marching petulantly toward the departure ramp. On that sour note, I left the terminal and headed to the parking garage.

I was tailed by at least one vehicle all the way from the airport to downtown, but I hardly took notice of physical surveillance any longer, accepting it as a matter of course. During the drive to the office, I heard this on a local radio talk show. “...My first guest today is Kelly Kitty, author of a brand-new unauthorized biography of former president Roland Regulus and his wife Nancy. In her book, which hits retail bookstores this week, one of her sources claims that during his presidency, Regulus secretly consulted with his very own psychic adviser. That's a little frightening, if true - now here's a guy who had his finger poised on the nuclear button for eight years - The World's Most Powerful Man - and he's taking advice from some gypsy fortune teller gazing into a crystal ball?” That revelation made my face tingle in nervous response, as President Hedges himself once told me that Regulus had indeed employed a psychic adviser.

The talk show host continued: “Another source claims that Nancy Regulus, during her tenure as First Lady, received sage advise from her personal staff of astrologers. We'll also discuss the book's startling allegation that Nancy had a long-standing affair with movie star Lance Steele - while she was married. This is pretty amazing stuff, folks! I'll be back with Kelly Kitty right after the next commercial break, so don't go away...”
But before I could catch that sensationalistic interview, I arrived at the Federal Building. Up on the 10th floor, I unlocked my crummy little office, where Gall was already waiting for me. Plopping down into my desk chair, I greeted him with, “Hi, John, you won't believe what I just heard on the radio. Roland Regulus supposedly consulted with a psychic - while he was in office.”

“Since you've heard about that, you should have an inkling as to why this meeting was necessary. Some on the White House Staff were already disturbed by the fact that you had direct access to the President, and now there's this stupid book about Regulus coming out.”

I replied gloomily, “And this just happens to be an election year, right?”

“Exactly. Whether that book is a crock of shit or not, it really doesn't matter – the media could get it in their heads that President Hedges is taking advice from a psychic too. The President hates losing your services on behalf of the NSC, but he would hate losing the election even more.”

Fishing blindly for information, I asked, “Is there any other reason why I'm suddenly being kicked to the curb?”

“I don't know, Denny.” Then he did a little fishing of his own: “Should there be?”

There were several possible reasons why the White House Staff would consider me persona non grata, but some possibilities were too dangerous for me to talk about, pertaining to political secrets that I had psychically blundered into. In dealing with anyone who was aware of my psychic abilities, I always had to walk a tightrope of pretended ignorance without having the appearance of being evasive. “Well, aside from the craziness of my personal life these days - which you must be well aware of - there's the small matter of my helping the Democrats raise campaign money.”

“The president wasn't bothered by your campaign work for the Democrats, in fact I think he found it mildly amusing. But if his Chief of Staff ever found out about it, it certainly wouldn't help your position.” Now I started to wonder what else his Chief of Staff - Jake Sononno - might know about me. Evidently trying to catch me off-guard, Gall asked, “Hey, what was that threatening phone call all about? - the one you received at your committee office the other day.” Seeing the stunned look on my face, he chuckled and said, “Don't tell me you're surprised that I know about it.”

Sheepishly I replied, “Ha – no, I'm not surprised.”

“So far, I don't have a clue who that guy was. His phone number was a dead-end, of course – he called from a local pay-phone. You got any ideas?”

Avoiding the topic of Tina's role in Donna's death, I told him somewhat disingenuously, “Hell, I don't know who that was. DISC, maybe? Williamson operatives? White House plumbers? Take your pick, John.”

“Denny, I seriously doubt that anybody in government would want to put a bullet in your brain – you're too valuable an asset, as I've told you many times. Even though the NSC will have to break all ties with you for the foreseeable future, you'll still be under protective surveillance by other agencies.”

“It's so nice to be wanted,” I grumbled. “Who'll be watching over me this time – the CIA? FBI?”

“That's classified.”

“So, who or what do I work for now?”

“For the time being, that's classified too.”

Feeling more relaxed, I sat back and clasped my fingers behind my head. “Not that I really care, since I only got four months left on my contract anyway.”

“As for when your contract expires, I wouldn't plan too far into the future, if I were you. For reason of National Security, your contract may be extended by Executive Order at the end of the year, like it was last year.”

“Ah shit, I hope not,” I said with a groan.

“Face it, Denny – for the rest of your life, with the secrets you know and the things you're capable of, the government will always have a keen interest in you. But look on the bright side – you won't have to worry about being unemployed ever again.”

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 44

Chapter 44
Temper, Temper!

The 1992 Democratic National Convention, held in New York City, turned-out to be a stage-managed anti-climax. Before the convention had even begun, Burt Gort inexplicably dropped out of the race in order to accept Cliff Williamson's offer to be his vice-presidential running mate (12 hours after Donna died, incidentally). With Gort's sizable chunk of delegates now in his pocket, Williamson's nomination was nearly a forgone conclusion. Topping it all off, his powerful friends in the Democratic National Committee (including DNC Chairwoman Amy Richardson) controlled the convention's most important committees, thereby deciding who would be allowed on the floor and who would be allowed to speak, as well as stifling any organized effort by wayward delegates to deny Williamson the nomination on the first ballot. As it became obvious, early on, that Williamson possessed a clear majority of delegates, all of the remaining candidates (except for California Governor Jeremy Brownstone) suddenly swung their support to him, so as not to be left out in the cold should he actually become president. An impressive 80% of the delegates (over 3,000) opted for the Williamson/Gort ticket on the first ballot. President Hedges and Republican power-brokers had to have been disturbed by this rare display of Democratic Party unity.
Like most political observers, I had been bewildered by Gort's announcement, on the eve of the convention, that he was throwing his support to Williamson. At the time, the melodramatic part of my mind feverishly imagined that Donna's death had emboldened Williamson to strong-arm Gort - by means fair or foul - into quitting the race, without the threat of Gort (or his many supporters) using his relationship with a transsexual as political leverage. One less noisy skeleton rattling in the closet. I had scolded myself then, Forget it - don't even THINK about that shit! It was more probable that Gort had knuckled-under because he realized he was doomed to fail, what with Williamson's supporters pulling the strings at the convention.
Angie had been floating on Cloud 9 ever since Williamson clinched the nomination, even after having been unceremoniously dumped from his campaign. Dreaming of reaping political rewards should Willamson win the presidency, she immediately redoubled her effort to register new voters. And very soon after the convention ended, she got further energized when couriers dropped-off at the committee office two $20,000 checks from wealthy liberal contributors, to fund the Democrats' all-out national effort to expand the voter rolls. But she was none too pleased when I reminded her (yet again) that we, in turn, were legally compelled to donate all monies in excess of legitimate expenses to other Political Action Committees. In response to that, she replied with political astuteness, “In that case, we should open more offices to eat-up more expense money. I've been thinking we should do that anyway - have branches in Reno and Carson City. We can afford it, now.” At least this latest scheme of hers fell within the range of legality. And I liked the idea that it might keep her too busy to backslide into the habit of smoking crack.
“It's your decision, babe. I just work here.” She then plopped down into my lap and gave me several stimulating kisses. “Mmmm – feel like playing around with the help? We can duck into the janitor closet or something.”
She giggled indulgently and slipped out of my grasp. “Don't be silly, Den. We've got to get busy! There's a hundred phone calls to make if we want to open those new offices before it's too late - the election's less than four months away!”

* * *
Next day at the committee office, Angie answered a phone call and then hollered from within her small private office, “Denny, this guy specifically asked to talk to you! He didn't mention a name - he's waiting on line two.”
Glad to break-up the monotony of verifying the signatures and addresses on voter registration forms, I replied, “All right, I got it.” A moment later I said into the phone, “Denny speaking. What can I do for you today?”
An unfamiliar male voice rasped, “Listen, shithead, you've meddled in our affairs once too often. You've managed to seriously annoy some very important people – you understand? You think we don't know what you were doing in Atlanta and who you were talking to? If you don't want to end-up in the middle of the desert with a bullet in your brain, then I advise you to mind your own fucking business from now on - and that goes for that loony black bitch you run around with, too. Think about it.”
Both fearful and furious, I could see nothing but the color of blood before my eyes, and wanted nothing more than to reach through the phone line and throttle his neck – so much for my recent vow to keep a tight rein on my temper. “HEY, you fucker! Who is this?” But he had already hung-up. I was about to slam the phone receiver down into its cradle, but stopped short when I noticed its suddenly decrepit condition. Unconsciously, my right hand, now throbbing in pain, had cracked it open, breaking the thick plastic component nearly in two while the guy was threatening me.
Angie came out of her office and asked, “What the hell was that all about, Den? Who were you yelling at?” Then she jokingly asked, “An angry husband, perhaps?”
“Yeah, right. I have no idea who that was. Whoever the creep is, he called me a shithead and warned me to mind my own business, among other things.”
“Hey, do you suppose it has anything to do with our wanting to expand the committee into northern Nevada? The last thing those goddam Republicans want is more people registered to vote.”
“True enough, but that call had nothing to do with the committee. It's just some government-related crap I can't talk about – it's nothing, really.”
She wasn't convinced, as she rolled her big blue eyes. “You always say it's 'government-related' when you don't want to discuss something. I bet the Republicans are tapping our phones - again!” Glancing down at my desk, she then exclaimed, ”Holy shit, Den! What happened to your phone?”
Putting on an act, I waved a hand dismissively. “Aw, it's cheap imported junk like everything else they sell these days. Tsk - you can't even slam down the phone anymore without it flying apart.” But in reality, one would need the strength of a gorilla or The Incredible Hulk to inflict so much damage to the nearly indestructible receiver, yet somehow I had managed it almost as easily as crushing an empty beer can (my aching hand notwithstanding). This was the third such incident I had experienced in the past 30 days - the second incident since only last week. It now appeared that In addition to my on-again-off-again psychic powers, I was developing into some sort of third-rate superhero, possessing physical powers that only emerged on occasions when my anger boiled out of control.
Considering the implications of that harassing phone call, it must have been the fact of Donna's death that had gotten those very important people so annoyed with me. I could scarcely believe it, but “They” appeared to suspect Tina and myself of having been part of a sinister political plot to murder him. On the surface, their suspicion about us almost made logical sense, owing to our personal connection to Williamson, my curious phone call to Donna's mother in Atlanta and meeting with Grant Hawthorne immediately afterward, and, obviously, Tina's role in putting Donna in the hospital. Moreover, if this mysterious “They” were also aware of my psychic capabilities, then their suspicion suddenly made a whole lot of sense.

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop

Friday, January 03, 2014

Aphrodite Shuddered - Chapter 43

Chapter 43
That's Show Biz!

One hour later:
When I met-up with Angie in Malibu shortly after midnight, she gave me the rundown on what was happening with Tina. She was telling me: “...Then Jimmy called back and said she's gonna be held overnight at the downtown jail until her bail hearing, sometime tomorrow morning. The lawyer tried to get her released immediately, but I guess the cops can keep her in jail until she sees a judge if they feel like it. She's charged with second-degree murder, Den!”
Trying hard to downplay it, I replied with more assurance than I felt. “Don't worry about it, this'll all blow over soon. Hell, they don't even know the exact cause of his death yet!” Grasping at straws, I speculated wildly, “The District Attorney probably wants to turn this into a carnival sideshow for all the publicity the case'll generate, so, they slap a murder charge on her to grab some cheap headlines. This is LAyou know how it is here.” With false cheer, I laughed, “Ha! You should've seen those cops acting as if nutty shit like that happens all the time.”
“In Hollywood, it probably does happen all the time. Those ex-child actors are always getting busted for drugs or shoplifting.”
“Or homicide,” I said ruefully. “LA cops seem to enjoy media exposure - they could've snuck her out through the parking garage or a side door, but they'd get no face-time on the news if they did that.”
During the wee hours of that morning, the all-night TV news programs repeatedly ran video clips of the crazy goings-on coinciding with the handcuffed Tina being escorted out of the Hollywood police station. Shown particularly often were clips of the flaming protest signs and of several protesters and curious bystanders being pepper-sprayed by the cops. Thanks to me (apparently), three people needed immediate medical attention for burns, and 10 others were arrested. In the aftermath of that public spectacle, Reverend Matthew Powers, during an interview, made the outlandish accusation that the LAPD had set his followers' signs on fire with a secret microwave weapon. I could only wish that, for once, he had spoken the truth.
If actually possessing the ability to start fires merely by willing it, I hoped that nobody found out about this dubious new skill of mine – especially nobody in the US government Of course, the evil side of my personality reveled in the implications: after slinking away from that bizarre scene I had felt a selfish thrill of power, oddly similar to sexual lust, surging through me before banishing it to the dark recesses of my medula oblongata from whence it came. You'd have to be Jesus Christ or a Major Saint to resist the pride and smugness - and perhaps delusions of grandeur - that come with having personal power of that sort. From this time forward, I vowed to maintain a much tighter control on my temper, which until recently had never been an issue for me.
It took two more days to get Tina out of jail, upon the results of Donna's autopsy being submitted to the court. The Medical Examiner had determined that his death was caused by a pulmonary embolism, likely due to past chronic intravenous drug abuse, and thus his death was not a direct result of Tina beating him up. To our vast relief, the judge ruled that the homicide charge be dismissed. However, the DA then turned around and filed a 1st Degree Assault & Battery charge against her, conviction of which carried a maximum sentence of one year in the county slammer. Pleading not guilty to that charge, she was then released on her own recognizance, to the vast relief of my bank account balance.
Learning the cause of Donna's death stirred in me a half-forgotten memory from around 1978. At the time, a co-worker at Air Force Intelligence, during a pot-smoking session with me, had confided a reliable rumor that in the 1960s the CIA had developed a pill, jokingly referred to as a “PEP” pill, which biochemically induces a fatal pulmonary embolism in targets designated for assassination. Now recalling what my colleague had told me, I presumed that such a drug would be ideal to use against targets who were undergoing medical treatment at a hospital. Another way to induce a PE is to inject particulate matter (either deliberately or through carelessness from using a dirty needle) into a major vein in the leg. From there, these foreign particles are carried by the bloodstream directly into the lungs, becoming lodged there and wreaking havoc with breathing and heart rate, killing the victim if not diagnosed and treated quickly. It later sickened me to learn that Donna, with his jaws wired shut, had had much difficulty communicating his symptoms - shortness of breath and runaway heart palpitations - to the unsuspecting medical staff. If not for that unfortunate delay, he probably would have survived and recovered fully.
After the release of the Medical Examiner's report, I half-believed that his death had been an accident after all. However, my suspicion that he was murdered was not going to fade any time soon, since his intravenous drug use would be perfect cover by which to kill him with a so-called PEP pill or by needle injection.
* * *
The Hollywood Station Riot, as it was to become known in Tinseltown lore, (and which I inadvertently incited), served to increase exponentially Tina's already high level of notoriety. Although the court was allowing her to reside in Las Vegas between court hearings, she nevertheless had to stay in LA at least three more weeks so she could finish her scenes in Blow Like the Wind. To evade bothersome papparazzi and tabloid reporters in the meantime, Tina accepted Marta's and Alex's invitation to stay at their mansion, located near LA within the wealthy gated community of Rolling Hills Estates. Before finally driving back to Las Vegas, Angie and I spent Tina's first night of freedom there with her. The three of us gave the enormous bed in her guest room a hard workout late into the night (at least until Lamar had his inevitable screaming fit). Next morning after breakfast, while Angie was trying to sweet-talk Alex into donating a large contribution to her America Votes For Freedom committee, Tina and I took a leisurely walk on a winding path through the estate's immaculately manicured Japanese gardens. Looking out at the slate-blue, gently rolling Pacific Ocean far below us, I glumly told her, “I'm really sorry I got you into this mess, Amazon - and all of the other messes, for that matter.”
She snickered and replied, “Mama always said you'd ruin my life.” Then she took my hand in hers while we strolled and said, a little more seriously: “We've had this discussion before, Herc. It wasn't your fault. If I got a lotta problems right now, it's only 'cause I brought 'em on myself. Y'know, every time somethin' bad would happen, you always told me, 'if only we'd stayed in Seattle, everything would be cool', but how do you know that? No regrets, Herc - if we had stayed there, we might be dead by now, who knows.” Her mood plunging suddenly, she said with quavering voice, “Lord, I still can't believe he's dead, dead! I ain't never been as drunk as I was that night.” She slowly shook her head. “Tsk - man, I flipped-out over fuckin' nothin'. And with a baby to take care of - what a rotten mother I am! She then surprised me by leaning into me, weeping on my chest. I doubted she had ever cried more than a few times in her adult life.
I held her tightly and tried to soothe her. “It was just an accident, honey,” (although it hadn't been entirely accidental). “Donna liked to shoot heroin into his leg veins – that's what really killed him.” I had nearly managed to convince myself with that very plausible explanation. “I'm gonna do everything possible to make sure you don't spend another day in jail. You've never been in trouble with the law before, so the judge'll probably go easy on you and give you probation.“
With a heavy sigh, she said, “I always swore I'd never fall for all this Hollywood bool-shit – what a joke that statement is, now.”
“I know exactly what you mean, Amazon - I swore to myself that I'd never take a government job.”
She giggled in spite of misty tears. “Oh, shut-up, Hercules. You an' yer corny-ass humor.”
“Well? Do you still want to make movies?”
“Maybe. The way things are goin' for me, I won't ever be able to get a normal job anymore, or even good modeling gigs. But I ain't gonna sign any more movie contracts unless I get paid a lotta money in a short time – before I get the fuck out completely. I already told Jimmy that.”
I glanced at my cheap digital watch. “I wonder if Jim's gonna show before we have to leave. Angie and I need to get back to Vegas this afternoon.” Although having promised Jim to discuss my investing in his next movie today, I now hoped to slip away rather than sit through another one of his sales spiels.
Right after we returned to the main house, a triumphant Angie waved a $20,000 personal check under my nose. She gleefully announced, “Success!” After a quick kiss, she told me, “Hey, Jimmy called while you were outside. He's on his way over.”
I turned to Tina and said, “Your contract is up for renegotiation soon, so when the discussion turns to the subject of money, I'm gonna try to take him to the cleaners this time – assuming we make a deal at all.”
Evidently, she lacked confidence in my ability to negotiate a contract. “Herc, if you don't get me a big-ass payday outta this, yer fired.”
Ten minutes later, Jim Walters in his black, 1941 Lincoln Continental convertible rolled up to the front of the ivy-covered mansion. He appeared to be in a better humor than the last time I saw him, on the day after Donna died. On that occasion, he was having a panic attack because he now had to write Donna's role out of the movie or hire a replacement, and either choice entailed the expensive re-shooting of many scenes. But now he seemed back to his usual dapper, pencil-thin mustached self, dressed as he was in a canary-yellow suit with matching patent leather loafers, plus a purple ascot and scarlet beret, looking like a gay Hollywood directors from the 1930s – not unexpectedly, as he was gay.
Marta's maid Serena opened the front door and Jim made his usual grand, gesticulating entrance. Tina greeted him with, “Looking stylish as always, sweet boy.”
Jim hugged her and said, “Kiss-kiss, baby girl. What's my jailbird superstar up to today?”
Tina grumbled contritely, “Stayin' outta trouble – for good.”
“Tut-tut! Now don't go to extremes, Amazon Woman. A little bad publicity never hurt anybody. So, are you ready to go back to work?” Tina nodded and Jim then said, “Wonderful! We're way behind schedule so I need everybody at the studio by 6am tomorrow.” After a minute of small-talk, he draped an arm around my shoulders and whispered, “Big Fella, could we have a little private discussion for a minute?”
“Yeah, let's go into Alex's study.”
As we settled into leather armchairs in the book-filled study, Jim chuckled and said, “Oh my God, that was the greatest unintentional publicity stunt ever when those protesters' set their signs on fire! Every time those goons show up, my movies get tons of media exposure - the TV news must have mentioned Blow Like the Wind a hundred times in the past three days! It's a perfect time to invest - “
I held up the palms of my hands. “Whoa, wait, Jimmy. Before I agree to put any money in, I need to know a few things: What are you gonna do about replacing Donna?”
“Well, at first I thought losing him was a catastrophe, of course, but after considering the situation I've come to the conclusion that we can use the 20 minutes of footage of him we've already shot, dub-over his voice and use a female stand-in for missing scenes– filming his character from behind and so forth. That will save about a million in cost overruns due to delays and having to re-shoot scenes. As an added benefit, keeping Donna in the movie will generate a huge amount of media buzz!”
I was stunned. “Wow – really? Isn't that going to create a big stink with the public? Using a dead guy to promote the movie?”
“Did the producers of Giant have any compunction about doing the same thing when James Dean died? Heavens, no! And remember when Vic Morrow got his head sliced off by a helicopter during the filming of The Twilight Zone movie? The show must go on, Barrymore.” 

Copyright 2014 by K.D. Bishop