The Science Has Settled

The foul stench of burning lithium batteries – thermal runaway – mingled with the rancid smell of decaying protein – rotting victims of spike protein injections – fills the air. The reek, still in my nostrils from yesterday’s walk, lays on my tongue as a putrid tasting film. The heavy odor of gases formed by decomposing batteries and humans attaches to everything. Another rotten egg day. One didn’t have to be a prophet to see these days would come. Two plus two equal four and man versus God equals 2030.

My basement apartment, packed with a six-year supply of food and water, and several cases of Zero candy bars, is a bunker. The street level windows are barred and painted over. My door is reinforced with steel plates. The tiny apartment quarters are safe and suffocating. Going outside was not safe but a bit of relief.

I put on an N95 mask to go outside. You had to. One couldn’t be sure of what was floating in the air. Destruction followed destruction in the name of Progress. The old had to be torn down to allow the new to rise from the ashes. That’s what OneChannelTV preached and people believe its gospel. The air is filled with all kinds of crap.

While mankind pinches its nose and turns to the TV to give them their tomorrows, I take long walks along Jemison Lake. The breeze off the lake wafts free. The wind blows where it wants to. I feel and hear and see its effects. Walking along the lake, I am reminded once again that I am a human living among the technology possessed.

*****

Many humans gave up their feeling-seeing-hearing ghost to a 24/7 smartphone addiction. I saw it happen in 2020. People gave themselves over to a digital life and to a complete dependence on handheld machines. The Metaverse became their augmented reality encompassing relationships, work, shopping, and entertainment. They began to love their avatar as themselves.

In their quest for not-having-to-think autonomy, people became automatons. They learned from the XYZists that independent thought was dangerous. It was discouraged and censored as not being inclusive or as “racist” or not XYZ. Not thinking began to be believed as freedom from punishment-incurring ‘wrong’ thoughts. What you were to think came from a smartphone that you kept with you 24/7.

The XYZists were happy to give people their ‘freedom’ and to do the thinking for them. With the ruse of a public health crisis in 2020, they instituted a biotech process to reprogram the masses. They began with mandating DNA and RNA-modifying COVID vaccines.  They had their reasons for doing so – population control and remaking people into their godless image.

The XYZists and their minions hate people. That is why they are never happy or satisfied with the human race. They must redo creation. They must rid the earth of the excess and neutralize what is left behind.

Since the XYZists hate everything that doesn’t reflect their own words and thoughts, challenging them meant you were a “Supremist”. Not responding to them in kind meant you were “racist”. The XYZists had their own published style guide to be used in their presence. If they considered you to be a “supremist” or a “racist” or a “bigot”” or a “XYZistaphobe” then you would receive “social justice”. Force, aka mandates, is used against those who resist the XYZist societal transformation and the New World they espouse.

So, they began to use vaccines to cull a significant portion of the population and to modify those who survived. They used biotechnology to produce people that they might abide. And that meant turning those humans into Uh-huhs. The non-thinkarians quickly submitted to authoritarian XYZists out of fear for their WIFI streaming lives. The XYZists tell people what to fear and what not to fear. They use rollover-and-play-nice psyops to get people to comply.

These days I can never be sure if I am talking to the actual person or to an app controlling their thoughts. So, I test them: I say “Jesus is Lord”. If they look at me blankly, I know they have given themselves over to an app.

*****

Ever since the latest burst of electromagnetic radiation – a sun burp or manmade the weekly public affairs program Mask the Nation wouldn’t say –it’s been Halloween. Mindless ghouls and zombies with vacant stares walk the streets. These had submitted to vaccines during the years of TransMandates.

The vaccine cocktails included modified RNA, Luciferase enzyme and graphene oxide nanoparticles -GONPs. Graphene is highly conductive and anxiolytic. So, the freakish and fuddled, who glow blue at night from the bioluminescent Luciferase, can’t find their way home and they don’t care. Their apps went haywire.

Following the vaccines, transcranial electromagnetic stimulation had been imposed on most of the world’s population. Brain chips were mandated by the Emergency Use Authority as a cure-all for mankind – as I said, the masses were viewed with fastidious disgust by XYZists. In the years following 2021, XYZists became members of the Central Life Oversight and Utilization Department or C.L.O.U.D.

TMS brain chips gave C.l.O.U.D. a read-write capability over neurons. The chips could probe and stimulate them. Democracy’s Last Hope Alliance, contracted by the EUA, monitors and modulates neuronal activity. Controlling the outcomes of the brain-chipped Appoids was the purview of DLHA and the EUA. After the EMP, they were working feverishly together to get their Appoids back inline again.

The G2G pass app implanted in Appoid brains told them where they could or could not go. Each Appoid was to check in with a smartphone photo during the day. But after EMPs things go bonkers sending the brain-chipped into spirals of confusion.  The DLHA and the EUA  rush to get new community organizing smartphones and new cats handed out.

The cats, you see, have been implanted with a camera, microphone and an app that reports back to DLHA the activities and conversations of the Appoids. But, the Catoids also go haywire after EMPs. The defective Catoids are scrapped and replaced by a DLHA C. A. T. unit – a Clean Account Transmission unit. I am not making this up.

*****

The World Truth Federation, C.L.O.U.D.’s central committee, keeps tabs on everyone except for us Blanks. Me and a few of my close friends claimed the “Blanks” label when COVID Compliance Officer Heinrich B. Smersch called the unvaccinated “blankety-blank fools” on Mask the Nation. “Blanks” you see, are off the radar.

“Blanks” blend in. We move through crowds of Appoids without being noticed. We hide in plain sight. We don’t call attention to ourselves. On my way to the lake and to Joes, I stumble around with a mask on and with my eyes glazed over. I wear dirty smelly clothes like the Appoids. And since there are C.L.O.U.D cameras and UniForce police everywhere I have to be careful. As a “Blank” I have never submitted to “the science”.  I have to avoid getting close enough to a UniForce officer. He will scan me for Appoid status.

The ubiquitous presence of WTF surveillance is matched by the ubiquitous presence of souls that have converted to “the science”. Among these souls are the Appoid women of the Thought Temperance Union. They march down the street with signs that read “No Jab No Justice”. Their children, the ones who survived the vaccine’s miscarriage properties and survived abortions – their aborted fetal cells being used for vaccine testing and XYZist life-extension serums – panhandle for food money. And there is ever-present smell of death coming from “the science” converted.

*****

On my way home, I stop at Grocer Joes – a black market supplier. I trade Joe two of my Zero bars for another night of hot plate Spam. I use Joe’s Faraday-caged Crypto ATM for transaction privacy. The People’s IRS began monitoring all transactions in 2022.

I finish up and put my crypto wallet back into my military grade Faraday bag. I tip my hat to Joe and sign “later” and “one”. I head to over to Last Chance Pizza.

Melanie is waiting for me. We go into a back room. Melanie signs “tonight” and “One”. I sign “Yes” and 6 Mil”. We hug and I head home.

6 Mil is the guy who lives across the hall from me. I gave him the name because he has so many bionic parts that he reminded me of the Six Million Dollar man. His brain chip was fried by solar storms. He didn’t opt for a new chip so he was fired from the UniForce. 6 Mil lets me in the back door and I invite him in for Spam.

You’ll need some backstory at this point.

*****

Back in 2021, one would have thought that ministers and priests would have alerted their congregations to the evil that was being sown around them. But they kept giving their people the soy milk of the word.

Many of the faithful in 2021, who lived on a thin margin of faith, began to unload their faith. They didn’t have to imagine what would happen to them if they didn’t mask and vax up. So, they submitted to the authorities by calling it Biblical to do so. Their faith was easy pickings. The State swooped down and grabbed it up. These now attend Our Lady of Perpetual COVID.

There were those faithful who didn’t have much of a faith history to fall back on. They heard gospel things and spoke up, making all kinds of noise about the evil going on. But under public scrutiny they folded and bowed to the self-proclaimed gods of the State, rendering to them everything demanded of them.

There were those who fell in with Progressives. Their faith was quickly choked. For, Progressives have an overpowering bent toward social justice gospel.

Then there were the five. Those I am aware of “five”. We meet secretly, two or three at a time. How did I come across the others? More backstory is needed.

*****

Ever since I turned sixty-nine in 2021 there has been a voice inside me that tells me to not resist and to just retreat. “Just go along and finish your life. Do what they say. Sit on your patio, smell the cut grass, feel the sun, look back on what you’ve accomplished, feel safe, don’t stress, forget about conflict.” But another voice is telling me “I go where I will. I’ll show you what needs to be done.”

In 2021 I was stirred by the second voice. I began to memorize Scripture. After I memorized The Gospel According to Mark, I started to go out to street corners and recite it out loud. I had to recite and walk so that I was wasn’t considered to be loitering. I continue to do this today.

In the afternoons I go out, take off my mask and recite the Gospel of Mark out loud. There are many in the streets right now who have lost their app connections because of the EMP. Some have refused to be reconnected and are looking for a way out. So, I am able to connect with souls and not just app personifications.

What you may find interesting is that when I am reciting the gospel out loud, the UniForce doesn’t notice me. Angels come between me and them so that the good news gets out.

Then there were five. Over the course of the past year four have begun to follow Christ. They are Joe, Melanie, Violet and 6 Mil. I have discipled each of them. Tonight, we are coming together for 6 Mil’s baptism.

We hold baptisms at Jemison Lake after midnight. We put blue glow sticks under out shirts to throw off the Uniforce and the surveillance drones. We use sign language until we are sure we are alone.

Since 2020, electronic gizmos have been implanted into brains and bloodstreams. Nature and society have been repackaged into a simulated environment. Virtual reality replaces realism. Life has become a bizarro graphic novel . . . except for a few minutes by the lake.

*****

You ask about me? My current name is Lena. I was baptized in my eleventh year. I lost my job in my sixty-ninth year because of the vaccine mandate. Nine years later my body is fragile and my faith solid

I can’t bear to see the destruction all around me. I can’t bear hearing the anguished cries of the souls who gave their lives to “the science”. But I can’t ignore any of it either. These were once fully human, so they must long for healing. And, they must want justice for what’s been done to the human race.

2030 and the science has settled. Its putrid tasting film lays on my tongue. Humans have been sacrificed for “the science”. But MATTERS aren’t settled yet. Wait and see.

©Jennifer Ann Johnson, Kingdom Venturers, 2021, All Rights Reserved

*****

Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.

-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago and The Wisdom of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – YouTube

*****

Episode_1299 You are in danger of becoming a debt slave Dr. Betsy McCaughey, Dr. James Poulos, Dr. Peter Navarro, Joe Allen
Episode_1336 Jam for Freedom tour discuss censorship with SG Cheah and talk with Dr. Wolf on her new platform with GETTR.

*****

Informed Dissent:

(UPDATED) Exclusive Summary: Covid-19 Vaccine Concerns | Sharyl Attkisson

More than 500,000 adverse events reported after COVID vaccines, from temps to neuropathy | Just The News

Ivermectin has been used in humans for 35 years and over 4 billion doses have been administered. Merck, the original patent holder, donated 3.7 billion doses to developing countries. In 2015 the two individuals who developed Ivermectin were awarded a Nobel Prize for medicine.

Looking for life saving protocols for the prevention and treatment of COVID?

Home – FLCCC | Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (covid19criticalcare.com)

100-200 Members of Congress treated with Ivermectin… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Doctor revels how the FDA and CDC are hiding the truth on COVID Vaccines

Study Reveals COVID Vaccines contain Graphene, Other Toxins – Vision Times

“Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America” – Here Is The ‘Spartacus COVID Letter’ That’s Gone Viral | ZeroHedge

BREAKING: Sen. Ron Johnson: There is NO an FDA Approved COVID Vaccine in the U.S. (welovetrump.com)

Antibodies Persist with Natural Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 (jeremyrhammond.com)

RECEIPTS! Patent PROVES Vaxx is Obedience Training Platform – THE FINAL VARIANT! (redvoicemedia.com)

Natural Immunity and Covid-19: Twenty-Nine Scientific Studies to Share with Employers, Health Officials, and Politicians ⋆ Brownstone Institute

Covid-19 vaccine antibodies may disappear after 7 months . . . 

Durability of immune responses to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine | bioRxiv

NO COVID VACCINE MANDATE (jacksonlahmeyer.com)

Analysis of the Effects of COVID-19 Mask Mandates on Hospital Resource Consumption and Mortality at the County Level

Exploring the binding efficacy of ivermectin against the key proteins of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis: an in silico approach

Deaths Among Teenagers Up 56% Since Vaccine Roll-Out Began – The Daily Sceptic

Effects of Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles on the Immune System Biomarkers Produced by RAW 264.7 and Human Whole Blood Cell Cultures – PubMed (nih.gov)

NBA player got blood clots from Vaccine… ‘Hawks told me to keep it secret’… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

UK Medicine Regulator confirms there have been four times as many deaths due to the Covid-19 Vaccines in 8 months than deaths due to all other Vaccines combined in 20 years – The Expose

Pfizer whistleblower claims vaccines glows | LifeSiteNews (gab.com)

What is Luciferase? | Comfort for Christians (alecsatin.com)

Epic video showcases falling vaccine effectiveness rate and makes mincemeat out of Fauci | Bianco (gab.com)

‘The fully Vaccinated are the superspreaders’… Dr. Robert Malone explains why… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Peter McCullough speaks at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons on October 2, 2021.

Dr. Peter McCullough ‘Therapeutic Nihilism And Untested Novel Therapies’ | AAPS (rumble.com)

BOMBSHELL Deaths Skyrocketed by 300% After COVID Vaccine – Funeral Director Blows The Whistle | Red Voice Media (gab.com)

Telehealth:

Schedule Telehealth Appt (rhsusa.com)

Ivermectin:

Ivermectin + Immune Boost | Remote Health Solutions (rhsusa.com)

Prescription of Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine as Off-Label Medicines for the Prevention or Treatment of Covid-19 | Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson

Transhumanism:

Dr. Carrie Madej – Covid mRNA Vaccines altering our DNA – and what is ‘Luciferase’ (bitchute.com)

Transhumanists Gather In Spain To Plan Global Transformation (thefederalist.com)

The Message

In his current state, it might take years for Vic to recover his right mind. He’s been flaying around and mumbling the whole time in the back seat of my car. His mind, no longer aware of surroundings, seemed to be in a state of virtual reality. And that is the reason for the all-night drive.

I was told to not bring a phone or any electronic device with me. I was given a hand-drawn map with sketched landmarks to direct me once I left Highway 16.

Down the backroads, I questioned what I saw. Those Aspens by a fence – is that what’s shown here? Was that the rock formation I was supposed to turn at?  Where are the three lone towering Ponderosa Pines? Is that the field of wildflowers I drive alongside?

After two hours I found myself at a huge rock formation that jutted out northward per the “N” on my map. According to the sketch, an Indian would be there waiting for me. What happens now?

Out from behind a rock came the Indian. He came over to my car and looked inside. When he saw Vic, he shook his head. He looked at me, pointed to himself and said “Notah”. He asked me if I had any electronic devices. I assured him that I didn’t. He told me to follow his pickup truck.

After driving an hour or so, somewhere around Bighorn National Forest, we drove up to the off-the-grid Fire and Flame Human Refuge. Notah helped me walk Vic to the door of the lodge. A petite older woman came out and helped me walk Vic inside. I turned to thank Notah but he was gone.

Inside, there was pine wood everywhere. I felt I had returned to summer camp. A door swung open and the room filled with the aroma of baked corn bread . . . and chili?

With the woman’s help, I brought Vic into the Great Room. I settled him in an arm chair that faced outside. A field of wild flowers was in view. In the distance, fir tree-skirted mountains. Vic put out his hand and began twitching his thumb as if flicking a TV remote button.

There must have been twenty-five people in the Great Room. Catatonic people.

Sharon introduced herself. She was the one who had helped me with Vic. I learned that she managed the refuge. I asked about the people in the Great Room.

“Do you see that woman standing by the window?” Sharon pointed.

“Yes.”

“That is Marisa. She is not looking at the wilderness in front of her. She sees only her reflection in the glass. Up till now Marisa has spent most of her time taking selfies and posting them on social media.”

“What about that man who seems to be constantly scrolling with his finger?”

“Before Bill came here, he was constantly checking social media pages for updates. He developed the scrolling-finger habit as part of a social-validation feedback loop. Dopamine was released into his brain when someone liked or commented on something he posted. Right now, he’s in withdrawal from the social-validation feedback of dopamine.”

“What about that teenage girl over there? The one with the wide-eyed look?” I asked.

“Myra was brought here by her mother. She had isolated herself from her family. She spent hours of the day on social media. Myra has a fear of missing out. It is a common phenomenon for teens to want to be socially connected. Technology offers a non-stop social-validation feedback loop. A teenager, fearing the possibility of social alienation, goes online constantly for validation.

Myra developed a sleep disorder after staying up all night texting. Her school work suffered. She developed poor eating habits and gained weight. The negative effects of her social media interface made her depressed, angry and less social. Technology presents teenagers with a false sense of relational security while ignoring those in the same house.”

“Is that young boy here for the same reason?” I nodded my head in the boy’s direction.

“Yes, similar reasons. His father brought him here. John was online playing games for hours and hours. His father asked him to spend time with him outside – play catch, go fishing. But John refused. Like Myra’s social-validation obsession, when John didn’t play or interact with the games, he thought he was missing out. His father could see that John was missing out on life, so he brought him here.”

“What about that older couple sitting in the arm chairs?”

“They are Jim and Sally. Their close friends brought them here. They were very concerned for them. They told me that Jim and Sally would get up in the morning, turn on the TV and listen for the weather forecast. They would leave the TV on the rest of the day and sit and listen to the world’s take on things and the advertised solution: problem, problem, problem, cure; problem, problem, problem, cure; problem, cure; day and night.

By their friend’s account, Jim and Sally had become terrified, angry and even despairing by what they heard. Honestly, that’s what Noise does to people. C’mon. Let’s listen to them for a moment . . .”

“Jim, you are a racist.”

“We both are Sally. They said so.”

“They’re telling us that we could die from cancer or climate change or COVID or the guy in the White House if we don’t do something.”

“How about we just die, Sally, and be done with the whole business?”

“Now Jim. We should listen to them. They know better than us. They’ve told us so many times that we can’t trust our own thinking . . .”

“I am glad their friend brought them here,” Sharon said. “They needed relief from the Noise . . . At Fire and Flame, we don’t give people sedatives. We give them space to work out their salvation.”

Sharon then asked me why I brought Vic to Fire and Flame.

“Vic has been a friend of mine since high school. We hung around each other and kidded each other all the time. But then things changed when he got devices. He was no longer present with me or to anyone, really. It seemed to me and his other friends that Vic was using technology to avoid us. He talked incessantly about what this and that could do.

Vic’s other friends gave up on Vic. They had come to find out that Vic had spent large portions of his paycheck on new devices. He bragged about the new devices until one day he came to one of his friends and asked him for a loan. Vic wasn’t able to pay the mortgage. He had to borrow money. But that wasn’t the breaking point for Vic.

I heard from a friend that Vic wanted to join me at the Remnant camp to escape the COVIDians. Two people had come to his door and asked him for his Vax papers. Vic learned the reason they came to his door: they had been monitoring him through his devices. He didn’t have Vax papers because he refused to be vaccinated.

The two COVIDians declared Vic “unsafe’ and told him that he was banned from the Internet, email and online accounts. They took away his phone, laptop and internet connection. They wrote his name down on a ledger and said they would be back the next day.

I relayed back to Vic that he could come to the Remnant camp but he would have to go to Fire and Flame first.”

As I was talking to Sharon, Vic got out of his chair and began walking around the Great Room. He was again flaying his arms and mumbling to himself.

“When they first come here,” Sharon said, “they are agitated.” They haven’t been used to having their hands free. They are restless, hyperactive, and full of nervous energy. They cannot tolerate a sense of boredom and look for highly stimulating activity. They walk around and say and do things and are unaware of the effect they have on others. It will take time for Vic to become focused and to stay focused on reality.

“Fire and Flame . . .?”

“Fire and Flame is a portal to a world away from the constant pinging of digital devices. The Dark Forces of this world produce relentless Noise. It is meant to unsettle and distract you from The Message. Here, there is Signal not Noise.”

“Message? Signal?” I asked.

“You will find out tonight.” Sharon replied. “C’mon I’ve prepared a room for you. You can rest before dinner.”

****

A bell rang. We were summoned to dinner and I was again reminded of summer camp. I got up, splashed some water on my face, got dressed and headed down the hallway.

 The dining room was another pine-paneled Great Room: floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides and a fireplace. Twenty-four pine-wood tables filled the room.

When everyone had gathered and were seated, Sharon asked “Evangelist Mark” to please ask the Lord’s blessing on the meal. Evangelist Mark stood up and prayed the blessing on the cornbread, chili, salad and the lemonade (what I used to call “bug juice” in my camp days). Odd how the past and present comingle and not just in my dreams.

I looked around the room. Six people sat at each table. And though so many filled the Great Room, there was little chatter. I saw many somber faces. Some stared off and ate, unaware that others were sitting across from them. Others fidgeted with their silverware and played with their food. A few were animated and tried talking to those around them but received no response.

Sharon sat down and gave a big sigh. She and her helpers had made sure everyone had food before sitting down. “How’s the food?”

“Delicious! The aromas had made me when I came in this morning,” I replied. “Is that Bach I hear in the background?

“Yes. Bach is the sound of redemption. It is particularly effective in helping to balance our brains between dissonance and consonance. The mind is then able to focus and attain deep concentration. This enables an inner quickening of the imagination, creativity, memory and intuition.”

Across the table from the two of us sat Joe. Sharon asked Joe to tell me why he had come to Fire and Flame.

“Well,” Joe began, “. . .  a 5G network. I was told that it was the bee’s knees. They said it was designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. With it, I was to be almost omniscient – aware of everyone and everything through a mobile ecosystem.

But using it day after day I found myself thinking about the device and what it wanted me to be aware of and wanted me to do next. I had become connected to an impersonal object that was directing my life with its AI. I was fooling myself – actually, I was subverting myself – pretending to be aware and to be in control of my life.

“That’s what brought me here. The addiction to being omniscient and to controlling things was intense. I spent most of my time working the device. I was doing apps, pushing buttons – nonstop! I finally asked myself “Why does my heart tell me to think like this? Inside my head . . . it was like John Cage music playing over and over.

One day I heard of Fire and Flame from a neighbor who was fleeing the COVIDian and Woke persecutions. He said that he was going to the Remnant camp. One night I left everything behind when his car showed up. He drove me here.”

Joe ended his account with a smile.

“Jennifer,” Sharon leaned over. “This afternoon Vic broke into my office. He was looking for a device to get on the internet. I have none. Then he started breaking into cars and trucks looking for a way to connect and found nothing. Then he ran into the woods. Notah found him and brought him back.”

“Vic may try again tonight. If he does Notah will follow him. No one is a prisoner here. We understand it’s a major struggle to be free from Noise. Notah will ask if he wants to return. If not, he will take Vic to a bus stop many miles away from here.

“We are a refuge for humans. We can’t help trans-humans, if that is what Vic wants. They are wired for Noise. We are to live as humans, we are to love. Trans-humans cannot live, cannot love. They only obey digital prompts and inputs.”

****

At twilight, the group from dinner came down to the fire pit. We sat down on the semi-circle of logs around the bonfire. The sun had gone down behind the horizon of mountains and no longer gilded their peaks.

Above us, in the blue-to-black July sky, a conjunction of terrestrial objects – Venus, Mars and the moon. They were easily visible. Venus shone brighter and slightly below the red planet. The familiar moon was making its circuit below.

Across that cosmic vista came a silhouette of a black whirring object. And then another. Sharon leaned over and told me “They are the regime’s Charon drones. They are keeping an eye on us. The regime and the people of the Noise are terrified of the people of the Signal”.

At that moment, a young boy, maybe ten or eleven years old, got up and stood next to the fire. He began . . .

Psalm 1

Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees . . .

The boy recited the Psalm from memory. He sat down and then an older woman – a grandmother? – got up. She began to recite Psalm 61 from memory . . .

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
    when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy . . .

When she had finished, a teenage girl stood up and recited Psalm 104 from memory . . .

 Bless the Lord, O my soul.
    O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
    wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,

    you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
    you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
    fire and flame your ministers . . .

When she had finished, she sat down. Each of them had recited their Psalm as a dramatic reading. The words came from their soul.

The drones, now four of them, blotted out starlight as they hovered and circled. I looked around. Was I the only one who noticed them?

Someone yelled “Evangelist Mark! Give us the Good News!” More joined the call.

A man, fiftyish, got up. He took off his glasses and handed them to Sharon. (I learned later that they were husband and wife.) He covered her with a blanket.

The night air had become chilly. More wood was thrown onto the bonfire. People huddled together under blankets. Faces became animated with the fluctuating glow of the roaring fire. All eyes were on Evangelist Mark.

This is where the good news starts – the good news of Jesus the Messiah, God’s son . . .

I recognized the words from the opening of The Gospel According to Mark.

“A shout goes up in the desert; make way for the Lord! Clear a straight path for him! . . .” . John the Baptizer appeared in the desert . . . “Someone a lot stronger than me is coming close behind” . . . This is how it happened . . .After John’s arrest, Jesus came in to Galilee, announcing God’s good news. “The time is fulfilled! God’s kingdom is arriving! Turn back and believe the good news!” . . .When the sun went down and evening came, they brought to Jesus everyone who was ill, all who were demon possessed . . .

Jesus went back to Capernaum . . . a crowd gathered with the result that people couldn’t even get near the door as he was telling them the message . . . A party arrived: four people carrying a paralyzed man, bringing him to Jesus. They couldn’t get through to him because of the crowd, so they opened up the roof above where he was . . . they used ropes to let down the stretcher the paralyzed man was lying on.  Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralyzed man, “Child, your sins are forgiven!” . . .

Evangelist Mark, from memory, continued his dramatic narration of the whole gospel to its conclusion . . .

When Jesus was raised, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first of all to Mary Magdalene . . . Later Jesus appeared to the eleven . . . he told them off for their unbelief and hardheartedness . . . “Go into all the world and announce the message to all creation” . . . When the Lord Jesus had spoken with them, he was taken up into heaven, and sat down at God’s right hand. They went out and announced the message everywhere. The Lord worked with them, validating their message by the signs that accompanied them.

For over an hour, the fireside group sat captivated by The Message. When Evangelist Mark sat down, someone in the group began singing. Then others joined:

If we die with him, we shall live with him;

If we endure patiently, we shall reign with him;

If we deny him, he will deny us:

If we are faithless, he remains faithful. For he cannot deny his own self.

While they sang, I looked for Vic. Then I saw him leaning against a tree, back from the group. Shadows came and went across him, as many began walking back to their rooms. Was that a sparkle of belief in his eyes? Was that the glistening of a tear?

Sharon and her husband Tom – “Evangelist Mark” – walked me back to the refuge rooms. I was tired. Tomorrow I would make the long drive back to the Remnant Camp and to people of the Signal there. Sharon told me that Notah would help me ditch the drones. He knew when they came and went. He could tell by their noise.

©Jennifer Ann Johnson, Kingdom Venturers, 2021, All Rights Reserved

*****

*****

War Room Episodes:

“Episode_1093 The people aren’t waiting politicians to save them anymore, and we discuss the effects of the vaccine.”
“Episode_10979 Our military is being weakened and Christian churches are under attack in Canada”

*****

Who is Dr. Malone?

*****

Informed Dissent:

Camilla Canepa was operated on by Gianluigi Zona, director of the neurosurgical and neuro-traumatological clinic of the San Martino hospital: “I had never seen a brain that was affected by such an extensive and severe thrombosis.”  . . .

The girl arrived in the emergency room in the Lavagna hospital on June 3, just a week after the AstraZeneca shot. She had complained of severe headaches.

Beautiful young Italian girl killed by Vaccine… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Aussie police execute door to door ‘Vaccine Education’… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Two studies: Covid-19 vaccines trigger Graves’ disease in some female health care workers | Sharyl Attkisson

Biden’s Door to Door Vaccine Sales Pitch Leaked: Tells ‘Ambassadors’ to Ignore ‘No Solicitation’ Signs and to Withhold Vaccine Side Effects (thegatewaypundit.com)

(UPDATED) Exclusive Summary: Covid-19 Vaccine Concerns | Sharyl Attkisson

‘Unvaccinated should not be allowed to work, have access to children’… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Macron — The un-Vaccinated officially become second class citizens… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Natural infection vs vaccination: Which gives more protection? – Israel National News

45 Year Old John Hopkins Hospital Employee Dies After Reaction To Mandatory Covid Shot – The Empoweror

Vaccinated people now make up almost 47% of all new Covid cases, symptom-tracking app claims | Daily Mail Online

“This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit”: mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries | ZeroHedge

Archbishop Viganò: Vaccines made with fetal tissue are a ‘human sacrifice of innocent victims offered to Satan’ | Blogs | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

Woman Has Both Legs and Hands Amputated After COVID Jab | Populist Press 2021 ©

Bombshell lawsuit: Gov’t whistleblower says coronavirus vaccine deaths at least 45,000 | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

47 studies confirm ineffectiveness of masks for Covid and 32 more confirm their negative health effects | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

*****

Anti-vaccine groups changing into ‘dance parties’ on Facebook to avoid detection (nbcnews.com)

How anti-vaccine groups are camouflaging themselves on Facebook (yahoo.com)

Added 7-27-21:

>>>>>>> You will want to listen to this video about the COVIDian vaccines before it is removed from YouTube:

“. . . So, it is absolutely inevitable that blood clots will form . . . permanently damaged lungs . . . “

No Cause for Alarm

The account of my neighbor Mr. Jones . . .

Just yesterday I saw a van pull into our apartment building parking lot. The van was white with big block letters on the side: COMMUNITY CARE. And beneath, Wellness Starts and Ends with You! Above the van was a swarm of police helicopters.

Five figures got out of the van. They were covered head to toe in chemical hazard PPE. Each carried a canister with a hose and nozzle attached. I thought What the heck is this? Are these guys the new pest control? There must be some huge cockroaches! I watched as they entered my building.

Through my door’s peephole I could see them knocking on the door of my neighbor’s first-floor apartment. The door opened and a hand came out. A bony finger pointed at my door. What is going on?

Then I heard a knock. I opened slightly and said “Can I help you?” The hazmat suit answered, “I am Inspector Lazarus, head of COMMUNITY CARE. I want to talk to you.” Hazmat guy then stuck his cannister into the door opening.

“What do you want?” I asked trying to push the cannister out the door with my foot.

“Didn’t you see the notice posted in the lobby?”

“What notice?”

One of the hazmat suits ripped a yellow paper from the bulletin board and handed it to Inspector Lazarus.

“The rule is simple”, Lazarus read, “get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do.” He handed me the paper. “You sir, are out of compliance according to your neighbor! Step aside!”

Hazmat pushed the door open and sprayed me with some acrid smelling mist. Four hazmat suits followed him in.

I yelled “Stop!” but the four hazmat suits began spraying down my apartment. One in my bedroom, one in my bathroom, one in my kitchen and one in my living room. I headed toward the bedroom.

“Back off!” Inspector Lazarus grabbed my arm. “Let them do their job!”

“The job of what, may I ask?”

“Community care and wellness,” Inspector Lazarus replied. “Our records show that you have not been vaccinated.”

“There’s no law that says I have to.”

“Ah, but there are regulations. Public health must be regulated. And what will your neighbors think if you do not obey the simple rule, Mr. Jones?”

“My neighbors can think what they like.”

“Ah, but that’s where you are wrong, Mr. Jones. Community wellness includes peace of mind.”

“Then tell them that I . . . Look! I’m healthy! . . . I just had my yearly physical. I’m in perfect health! My blood pressure is low, my cholesterol is low, my . . .my doctor will prescribe Ivermectin if I have symptoms.”

“Is your doctor a Wellness doctor, Mr. Jones?” Lazarus tightened his grip on my arm.

“A what?” “What is that horrible stuff they’re spraying?

“Mr. Jones, this is a public health matter. Not just any doctor . . . It’s what you don’t know that will hurt you, Mr. Jones! That’s why the National Public Health Recovery & Rebuild Administration was created and given plenary power of public health. You must choose a doctor on their list. It’s that simple.”

“What’s simple is that I have a doctor. I’ve known him for years.”

“If your doctor passes the NPHRRA certification program then he can put a Wellness sign on his door and web page. If not, you will have to choose from the list. Here’s doctor Smoltz. See him this afternoon. I made an appointment for you.” Inspector Lazarus held up his phone and showed me the screen.

Right then a hazmat suit walked up with my laptop, phone and my handguns. Through the window I saw my car being towed away.

“Hey, you have no right!”

No cause for alarm, Mr. Jones. We are taking precautions as part of the NPHRRA proactive initiatives. We remove anything that may cause future harm. We are to Build Back Better, as they say.””

“You have no right! I’ll take you to court!”

“What are you going to do, Mr. Jones? Go all Supreme Court on me? Listen! The courts are comprised of cooperating judges. They are accountable to NPHRRA and not to the law and certainly not to that thing called The Constitution. What does it say about public health science? Nothing!”

“Get the hell out of my apartment!”

“Calm down Mr. Jones. There’s no cause for alarm. You’ll get your things back when you comply with the simple rule. Oh, and we have detained your sister until you do.”

“What the hell?! You can’t do that!”

“Public health is a matter of national security, Mr. Jones. How can your neighbor Mrs. Niblock feel secure if you are not complying with a simple rule?”

“She can mind her own business to feel secure!”

 Now, here’s what’s in store for you Mr. Jones. You are to be confined to your home until further notice. I will come back tomorrow. If you have not visited Dr. Smoltz and haven’t worn your mask you will be publicly censored by the community. Your name will appear in the press.”

“I don’t have a car now. How could I even get to this Dr. Smoltz?”

“Use this NPHRRA approved phone to call the NPHRRA approved Uber to get you to the appointment. Oh, and another thing. If you do not comply with the simple rule, your rent will increase and you will be forced to pay state and federal VAX taxes.”

“This is insane! This Is not fair!”

“Mr. Jones, please! The NPHRRA operates under the direction of the Center for Progress Control. NPHRRA’s mission is to enforce health equity —embed equity in practice, process, action, innovation, and organizational performance and outcomes; build alliances and share power via meaningful engagement; ensure equity in innovation for marginalized and minoritized people and communities; push upstream to address all determinants of health; and foster truth, reconciliation, racial healing, and transformation.

When you are vaccinated, Mr. Jones, you will be given a CPC ID card. The card will provide access to all benefits and functions approved by the NPHRRA. The card will remain valid as long as you follow CPC/NPHRRA guidelines. See. There is no cause for alarm. It’s that simple, Mr. Jones.”

With that, the hazmat suits left. I opened my windows. The sharp-tasting air made me sick. The whole business made me furious.

I had no way to contact anyone. When I finally decided to leave the apartment, I saw Mrs. Niblock wagging her finger at me through from her apartment window. I wanted to give her the finger but I thought better of myself. I walked over to my neighbor Jennifer and told her what had happened. We came up with a plan.

When COMMUNITY CARE came back the next day – hazmat suits and helicopters, I told Inspector Lazarus that I would see Dr. Smoltz that afternoon. I had made a new appointment. I told Lazarus that I was afraid the day before but now I was willing to comply with the simple rule. I even put a mask on to take out the garbage that morning so that Mrs. Niblock would see and report it to Lazarus.

Then, I pulled Lazarus aside and offered him $5000.00 dollars to have my sister released immediately. I showed him the money. He took it and called to have her released.

“Mr. Jones, I am happy to hear that you are willing to comply. As our motto states Wellness Starts and Ends with You! I didn’t want wellness to be the end of you.

Anyway, Mr. Jones, this isn’t about you or me. This is about salvation itself. Dr. Smoltz will report back to me. So, there should be no further cause for alarm.”

When the helicopters and the COMMUNITY CARE van left, that was the signal for Jennifer. She drove to a side street a block away from the apartment building. That morning she had packed up her things and put them in the car. I carried all the things I could and snuck out the patio door so as to be out of Mrs. Niblock’s sight. I placed my things in Jennifer’s car.

We left town that morning. On the way out we bought some burner phones. We drove by my sister’s house and gave one to her. We told her to leave town. Then we drove all day and night to a remote location. We joined the others, The Remnant, who had fled “community care”.

That location shall remain unnamed. Who knows who may be reading this?

©Jennifer Ann Johnson, Kingdom Venturers, 2021, All Rights Reserved

Added 7-7-2021:

Psaki announced on Monday that the administration has a plan to go “door-to-door” to convince people to get their vaccines.

Psaki Says Biden Will Use Door to Door Outreach to Get Americans Vaccinated

*****

Episode 993 – The Clever Lies of Covid-19 … Dr. Michael Yeadon Exposes Why

*****

Fauci Court:

Dr. Ezekial Emanuel tells Fauci — Covid seems ‘less harmful’ than the Flu… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

SMOKING GUN: FAUCI LIED, MILLIONS DIED — Fauci Was Informed of Hydroxychloroquine Success in Early 2020 But Lied to Public Instead Despite the Science #FauciEmails (thegatewaypundit.com)

Fauci Privately Advised Obama Staffers to NOT Wear Masks: ‘Not Effective’. – The National Pulse

Critics slam Fauci after book announcement on ‘truth’ and ‘service,’ claiming he’s profiting off pandemic | Washington Examiner

Fauci Turns American Dating Apps Into Vaccine Tracking Devices – Revolver

ICAN Fauci Emails_2021_06_03 (mediafire.com)

COVID Court:

Israel reports link between rare cases of heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccination in young men | Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org)

Vaccine researcher admits ‘big mistake,’ says spike protein is dangerous ‘toxin’ | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

COVID infection elicits long-lasting immunity, nullifying worldwide vaccine push: study | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

Fully vaccinated people who catch Covid variants may pass virus on, study finds (telegraph.co.uk)

Massive Undercounting of Potential Side Effects

Revolver Series, Part One: Exposing the Media’s Plot to Hide Record Vaccine Deaths and Deceive Americans – Revolver

FORMER VP OF PFIZER DR. MIKE YEADON SAYS VACCINES “FRIGHTENING” DON’T TAKE! COVID IS ABOUT CONTROL

The First Noël

The following took place during my thirteenth year . . .

A week before Christmas Day, a gaggle of us self-conscious teenagers loaded into three cars. We headed to Elgin State Hospital, formerly called the Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane. Our church’s youth group leader had decided that, in the spirit of Christmas, his charges should bring hope and joy to the less fortunate.

Four of us sat bunched together in the back seat of one of the cars. We kidded each other about who was the crazier. We cackled and fidgeted and sniffed the mimeographed sheets of Christmas Carols and became giddier. None of us knew what to expect. “But for the grace of God” is all I heard the youth group leader say before I got in the car.

The high school senior driving our car asked us if we wanted to hear about “Elgin State.” We became quiet and ready to squeal like when the four of us sat at a campfire last summer. Jeff slowly spun out his words and waited for our reaction.

 “They say the place is . . . haunted … horrific experiments had been performed there . . . spirits of the unclaimed dead walk the cemetery grounds and, . . .  in the buildings, . . . the criminally insane live there.”

It didn’t take much. Jeff’s description of Elgin State and the winter wind that howled through Jeff’s rusted-out car gave us goose bumps. I wound and unwound the pretty purple printed sheets. Lise snapped her gum. Mary kicked the front seat and Joan kept biting her nails.

The three cars drove through the front entrance and down a long driveway towards the largest brick building I had ever seen. I suddenly felt out of place. I saw no signs of Christmas anywhere.

We parked along the front of the building. The youth group leader led our group of sixteen through the front door. He announced us at the front desk. Soon an older gentleman came down the stairs.

Dr. I-Forget-His-Name was bald and wore thick-rimmed glasses. In his white lab coat, he looked like the mad scientist I’d seen in a movie that I wasn’t supposed to watch but watched anyway at a friend’s house. Up close, I could see small blood vessels on his nose and cheeks. Whispering to Lise, I wondered if that is what happened when you work here. I tried not to stare when he escorted the group upstairs.

On the second floor he directed us to a double-door entrance. We walked through it. The room before us was bigger than any church sanctuary I had been in. There were large windows along the length of the room. They were foggy, providing a pale spectral light. None of the patients stood near them.

There were no curtains around the windows. There were no pictures on the walls, no paintings, and no Christmas tree or decorations. The furniture, wooden chairs and tables, was scattered around the room on the dull linoleum floor. The hall seemed soulless and indifferent toward the fifty gowned inmates within it.

The patient’s voices, moans, yelps, and shrieks sounded like they were coming out from a deep cave. Many sat staring off blankly. Some of them bobbed their head endlessly. Those who walked around seemed content to be walking in no specific direction. Our appearance at the double-door made no difference to them.

We gathered in two rows just inside the doorway and began signing Jingle Bells. Our voices reverberated and then seemed to go off somewhere. Our captive audience didn’t stir. We followed with Silent Night. There were a couple of moans of recognition. Then we sang The First Noël.

The First Noel the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
In fields as they lay
In fields where they Lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s…

Out from the hallway behind us came a naked man. He began shouting and writhing right in front of us. One of the girls shrieked. The patients whooped and hollered.

Two men with white coats tried to grab the man. But he squirmed and threw them off again and again. He jumped and shouted and flung his arms right in front of us. He wanted to be right in front of us.

More white coats came to help. They surrounded the man and subdued him. He was dragged from the room.

It took a few minutes for our youth group leader to get us back to singing. When we did, we kept looking behind us to see what was next. But nothing happened after that.

When we finished singing our host escorted us down stairs. At the door, he thanked us for coming. On the way home we had a lot to talk about. Jeff said nothing.

That night I told my parents about my experience at Elgin State. Father said he was reminded of the Gadarene demoniac. Mom said “That poor man.”

Two weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, I was allowed to stay up late. I sat with my father as he watched the newsman recap what had happened in 1965. Something was said about demonstrations and Vietnam and The Great Society. But I sat there thinking about “that poor” wild “man” in Elgin State. He sure reacted to The First Noël.

“Where the Hell Are We?”

Perhaps we have become characters in a David Lynch movie. Odd nightmarish dream sequences are occurring one after another. A surreal ethos is surfacing from the subconscious of the Blue Planet producers.

Dream-like logic, flickering lights, blurred lines, a maze of curtains, chthonic characters, dual personalities, personifications of pure evil, noxious nihilism . . .  things are not just a little off in the production of Blue Planet.

Blue Planet production and its Day 45 of the Baghdad-style ‘Green Zone’ occupation perimeter set up in Washington DC. (Why is DC occupied by troops? Why is DC locked down? No one in the Biden Regime will say. Maybe the White House is afraid that its dementia patient will wander off.)

WATCH: Biden Excuses Genocide of Uyghurs as a “Cultural Norm” – The National Pulse

Biden is The Reincarnation of Russia’s “Goofy Drunk” President Boris Yeltsin – Revolver

Within the Blue Planet production, males are re-symbolized to be hypersensitive and docile . . .

(Yet, in another world …

China wants to end feminization of adolescent boys (freewestmedia.com) )

Within the Blue Planet production, reality is metamorphosed into a fantastical gender spectrum where curves are flattened but cases of gender identity grow . . .

“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention.” The handout was part of an effort to educate teachers and administrators about transgender issues, educators told the Lincoln Journal Star. – Normalization, Indoctrination & Degenderization Are Sweeping The Nation | coreysdigs.com

Hospitals Instruct Midwives to Use Terms ‘Chest Feeding’ and ‘Human Milk’ to Be ‘Gender Inclusive’ (thegatewaypundit.com)

How the Transgender Movement is Destroying Women’s Sports | Women Are Human

Within the Blue Planet drama nothing makes sense: 2+ 2 does not equal 4, being required to show proofs is racist and no one is to be held accountable except for whites. (Apparently, for Blue Planet producers, individual bits 0 or 1 are racist and you don’t have to file anything with the SEC if you are a public company.)

“White supremacy culture infiltrates math classrooms in everyday teacher actions,” a lesson from the group says. “Coupled with the beliefs that underlie these actions, they perpetuate educational harm on Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, denying them full access to the world of mathematics.”

Gates Foundation behind effort to end white supremacy in math instruction by eliminating need for students to show work (washingtonexaminer.com)

Blue Planet producers are worried about cow flatulence affecting their production. They want to normalize eating synthetic meat:

Billionaire Bill Gates Wants to Force You To Eat Fake Meat (pjmedia.com)

Blue Planet producers, duplicitous doppelgangers, exempt themselves from the standards they impose on others:

Blue Planet producers want you to “Think upon your sins” . . .

NYC public school asks parents to ‘reflect’ on their ‘whiteness’ (nypost.com)

Reverse Racism • The 8 White Identities, by Barnor Hesse. Breaking… (tumblr.com)

As in any psychological horror film noir, Blue Planet producers want you to experience fear, come back for more, and then move into an “acceptance phase” of their contrived reality:

How Phony Coronavirus “Fear Videos” Were Used as Psychological Weapons to Bring America to Her Knees – Revolver

As Covid-19 Vaccines Raise Hope, Cold Reality Dawns That Illness Is Likely Here to Stay – WSJ (archive.fo)

These same Blue Planet producers do not want you to be afraid of the human avalanche occurring at our southern border nor of the cartels that profit tremendously from the smuggling of illegals . . .

A surge of migrants at the border is already overwhelming holding facilities (Update) (hotair.com)

Biden Cancels Trump Emergency Order to Fund Border Wall (theepochtimes.com)

BIDEN ANNOUNCES 3 CITIES AS DUMPING GROUNDS FOR ILLEGALS | Populist Press 2021 ©

Aspiring Immigrants, Foregoing Caravan Tactic, Are Massing in Northern Mexico on Biden Promises (cis.org)

Blue Planet producers want you to embrace scientism . . .

And, wear double diapers on your face . . .

CDC Begins Recommending Wearing Two Masks | ZeroHedge

(In Real World . . .)

And, carry Vax Passports and accept HR’s “Reasonable Management Instruction”

Blue Planet producers want to normalize blackouts for their dream sequences:

Texas is experiencing what California has – with California affecting the entire Western Interconnection due to its policies. Blackouts are a feature of the push to have more unreliable renewables on the grid. Must pay $$ for reliable backup w/ renewables 10/10

Thread by @ChuckDeVore on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App

The Blue Planet production employs the motifs of purges and show trials, recurrent characters such as the stupor-addled Biden,  “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime” Lavrentiy Beria, and the SJW Karens of the world. Of course, clapping is required at all times.

Don’t Be the First to Stop Clapping – American Greatness (amgreatness.com)

Our COVID Karen Clown President | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics

When you sleep, you don’t control your dreams. Enter the Blue Planet, producers of magic realism to control your dreams. But, what good is a Blue Planet dream production if you keep waking up and look around? The Blue Planet producers ban all daylight from their dream theaters by using a mind-altering “glitch” in their production algorithms . . .

Top 10 Worst Cases of Big Tech Censorship in 2020 | Newsbusters

Life on Blue Planet . . .

You Guys Saved AMC. Now Save Movies. – The American Mind

Blue Planet producers want to control everything . . .

Episode 746 – Christianity- the Secular Left’s Next Real Target

Added 2-23-2021:

Democrats stole the election. Along with the main stream media they made this doofus the leader of the free world. What does that say about the thieves, the media, and the voter? What does that say about the social media techies of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et al. covering for this idiocy?

What do their actions mean for the direction of this country?

Beyond Parody: The World Of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy Is Better Than Joe Biden’s America – Revolver

Blue Planet Producers (and the Lavender Mafia) have no problem abusing children (but never the planet or animals) for their production. Here’s a Blue Planet chthonic character advocating for just that . . .

Biden’s HHS Pick Advocates Sex Changes for Kids. (thenationalpulse.com)

Transformative Knowledge

 

The opening of the poem The Agony by George Herbert speaks of the modern way of knowing: the rational scientific mode (“philosophers” = natural philosophers). Herbert says there is so much more to take into account; there is so much more to knowing. He seeks to balance, heal and re-inform our ways of knowing. To radically transform our ways of knowing, Herbert invites us to turn to Christ at the intersection of sin and love – Christ’s Passion.

Closer to home, have you noticed that churches have ways of presenting sin and love? There are churches that speak about sin and damnation. They are ready to point out sin and make love conditional. And, there are churches that speak of unconditional love and inclusion while making sin conditional. Herbert reminds us that transcendent love can only be fully understood when we come to a knowledge of our sin and the meaning of cross.

 

The Agony

Philosophers have measur’d mountains,
Fathom’d the depths of the seas, of states, and kings,
Walk’d with a staff to heav’n, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love.

Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skin, his garments bloody be.
Sin is that press and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruel food through ev’ry vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike
Did set again abroach, then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.

Watershed at the Well

 

This day began like all other days in Sychar. The man that stayed with me last night left my side early, while it was still dark. I turn over and wait. I go out when the sun is highest over Mount Gerizim so as to not rankle the locals.

You see, I have a reputation in this town. It has to do with the men who have come and gone from my life. I keep going back to the well for a different man. Those I’ve been with have been dull, uninteresting and not satisfying at all. The one I’m with now: ehh! I could do better …

No matter. I am supremely self-reliant, like my people the Samaritans. We don’t need the Jew’s affirmation. We have our holy mountain, our Pentateuch and the true religion of Israel. And, I have my ways …

It is time for me to go for water. There is a spring way off in that direction, but I much prefer the water from the well of Jacob our patriarch. Come with me and I will tell you about my people. Cover your head, for the sun is scorching, and carry this water jar. We will fill two water jars today …

My people remained in the land of Israel and were not carried off to Babylon like those of Judah. We are the true remnant of Israel. We are guardians of Israel. We have preserved the true religion of our fathers. Our ways were not altered and distorted by the Babylonian captivity. When the Judahites returned to Israel, they presumed their ways to be true Israel. They presumed their own holy place …

Look at blessed Gerizim. Mount Gerizim is our holy mountain. It has been the true holy place for Israel since the time Joshua conquered Canaan … It is the mountain designated by Moses for our place of worship …

There, at its base is Bir Ya`qub, the well of Jacob our patriarch. That is where we are headed. It is near a crossroad for those traveling north or south … that well is where our father Abraham sent his servant to find the future wife for his son Isaac. The servant was to ask for water. If offered water by a woman there then that was the sign that she would be Isaac´s future wife …

Those who returned from Babylonian captivity despise us. According to the Jewish polemic Ben-Sira, we are “the foolish people that dwells in Shechem” and an enemy of Israel. Over one-hundred years ago a Jewish king, John Hyrcanus, destroyed our holy city of Shechem and our temple on Mount Gerizim. I suspect that the Jewish authorities didn’t like us trying to stop their rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem when they returned. They also don’t like that we married foreigners and took on their ways. They call us half-breeds! …As you can imagine, there has long been religious and ethnic enmity between us and the Jews …Why, they even have hatred against their own people and prophets. They kill them! … So, I want nothing to do with them …

The well is to the right of the road where it bends from the great plain of Makhneh into the pass of Shechem. The well is deep. The water is clear and pure. You must taste it ….

If you haven’t realized it yet, I am fiercely independent like my people, the Samaritans. I support myself. I own property, earned through my dealings with men. I am fiercely independent like my people, the Samaritans. And we are an open-minded people. We have welcomed criminals and refugees and the excommunicated – the violators of the severe Jewish laws. They have found safety with us from the Jewish authorities … I am comfortable living as I do among the rejected …

It is good that we go to the well now, while the sun is hot and the chatter cooled. The women of Sychar have all drawn water early this morning and have returned home. We will be left alone …

I am not only a Samaritan but also a woman of the world. When the Greeks came and conquered Samaria, we took on many Greek ways while keeping our traditional ways. We called our sanctuary Zeus Hellenios to honor God in the language we became familiar with. And, why shouldn’t we acknowledge their gods as being the same as our God. We are open-minded and not like those uppity Judeans who returned from exile with their Judaism. They refuse to associate with foreigners and us Samaritans. They keep their distance and we keep our distance. They have their land and we have ours. They have their ways and we have ours. And when the Messiah comes, he will put things right. The Messiah will show those Judeans that we were right all along …

Just a little further. I can almost taste that cool water …wait! Who’s that? A Jew? Why is he alone? Is he a running from the Jewish authorities? One doesn’t come through these parts alone for fear of being robbed and left to waste. Remember those men we passed earlier? Maybe he is with them. He must be passing through … Look! This ‘foreigner’ has nothing to draw water with. We will ignore him and pretend that he isn’t there in our space. Those Judeans have nothing to do with us Samaritans. They think we are all demon possessed. We will have nothing to do with them….

Give me your water jar. I will lower it into the well … there, water cool and clear.

“Give me a drink.”

(Whispering: This is odd. Why is he asking me for water? He is not my husband. Doesn’t he know that women and men don’t keep company? Doesn’t he know that Samaritans and Jews don’t associate? He is crossing a line. I’ll deal with him.)

“What! You, a Jew, asking for drink from me, a woman, and a Samaritan at that?”

“If only you’d known God’s gift and who it is that’s saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you’d have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

“But sir, you haven’t got a bucket! And the well is deep! So how were you thinking of getting living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, with his sons and his animals?”

“Everyone who drinks of this water will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I’ll give them won’t ever be thirsty again. No: the water I’ll give them will become a spring of water welling up to the life of God’s new age.”

“Sir, give me this water! Then I won’t be thirsty anymore, and I won’t have to come here and draw from the well.”

“Well then, go and call your husband and come here.”

“I haven’t got a husband.” (Whispering: Where is he going with this?)

“You’re telling me you haven’t got a husband! The fact is, you’ve had five husbands, and the one you’ve got now isn’t your husband. You were speaking the truth!”

(Whispering: Hmmm. This guy is perceptive. Let’s see what he does with this!)

“Well, ahem…Well, sir, I can see you’re a prophet …Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain. And you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

“Believe me woman, the time is coming when you won’t worship the father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You worship what you don’t know. We worship what we do know; salvation, you see, is indeed from the Jews. But the time is coming – indeed, it’s here already! – when true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth. Yes: that’s the kind of worship the father is looking for. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

(Whispering: OK, I’ll try this.)

“I know that Messiah is coming, the one they call ‘the anointed’. When he comes, he’ll tell us everything.”

“I’m the one – the one speaking to you right now.”

(Whispering: Did you hear that? Did you hear him tell me everything about my life? He told me what was true about me and did it without patronizing me. How can someone know me who doesn’t know me except if he is from God? Could he be the ‘anointed One’? …Now, who are these guys? Judean Jews? They must be with him. They are looking at us and whispering. C’mon let’s go back home. I want to tell everyone and bring them here …What’s that? The water jars? Leave them. They will draw water and refresh themselves. They will be here when we come back with everyone. C’mon. Let’s hurry! …I forgot to ask his name! I’ll call him Joshua. C’mon! Let’s run. My community will want to meet him! This man has a new way of looking at things! A new reality we need to hear more of! My people know me well enough to know that I am no fool! ….

… … …

“Everyone! Everyone! C’mon everyone! Come and see a man who told me everything I did! You don’t think he can be the Messiah, do you? …I hear what you’re saying …you’re saying that you already know everything I have done. But listen. He doesn’t know me and yet he told me everything about me. You don’t have to believe me. Come and see for yourselves! He has a different way of looking at things, things you need to hear for yourselves! Come! Hurry, before they leave the well!”

… … …

My friend, thank you for coming with me this day. This day began like all other days in Sychar but ended like no other. My people were amazed at Yeshua’s words. They believed in him, some based on what I had said and others on hearing him for themselves. Now they want to be baptized by his disciples in the Jordan river.

I must go. We have invited these Judean Jews, the ‘anointed One’ and his disciples, to stay with us before they head to Galilee. We created space for them in our homes. Yeshua has much to teach us … We are learning how to love God and our neighbor with “spirit and truth” righteousness. I thought I was clever, but I’ve had to rethink many relationships today …. I am abandoning my pluralistic and sectarian ways. I am embracing Yeshua and his ways. There is no one like Adonai among the gods. Those old ways now seem foolish and childish and full of carnality and resentment. I was like the Dead Sea, always taking and never giving. Now, I want “living water” to flow through me, to refresh and satisfy those who ask me for water.

Before today, my people had no use for the Jewish prophets. But now, because of the anointed One, I will quote his reciting of Isaiah the prophet:

“And the LORD will continually guide you,

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

 

 

 

 

… adapted from the Gospel According to John, chapter 4

Same Road. New Vista.

 

What’s that you say? You’ve just arrived from Cyprus and you are new to the area? And, you’ve heard some incredible things? You want me to tell you all that’s happened? Come in for some water and …some bread.

Where should I begin, stranger? There is so much that has happened the last three days – the last three years, in fact! And long before now! Since you are a visitor from Cyprus, I will start with some necessary background so you will understand why my husband and I are so giddy.

My husband Cleopas and I – I am Mary – settled many years ago in this fertile valley below Jerusalem This area is known as Emmaus. We call this place Motza. Our village is about 30 stadia from our beloved Jerusalem.

As you have seen, it is a well-watered area with rich soil and an abundance of willow trees. During the Feast of Tabernacles celebration many come to our valley and gather willow branches. They take the willow branches and stand them up on the sides of the altar with their tops bowed over the altar.

Our valley has many springs watering it. Our people come down to one of Motza’s springs to get water for baking their matzo for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

I’m sure you noticed the Roman Centurions stationed here. My husband says it is a strategic position for them as they can protect the ascent to Jerusalem on the road leading from Jaffa. And, it is strategic in the ways I know of. Cleopas has overheard some of them saying that they would like to retire here because of the many springs and because north of our village the valley widens offering them plenty of room for settlement and for growing food.

My husband and I are simple farmers. But life for us and our people has not been so simple. Many of us have long desired to be freed from the rule of those who do not worship the One true God. When the Babylonians overtook Jerusalem and carried our people away into exile it was the Isaiah the prophet who spoke for us …

O Lord our God,

other lords besides you have ruled over us

but we acknowledge your name alone.

Now, we are back in our land and still the pagans lord over us. So, we wondered: Would our God act again to bring us out of this exile as he took us out of Egypt? And, when will God resurrect Israel and restore her as a nation? When will the messiah, the Anointed One and Son of the Most High from the line of David, restore the house of David? When, when, when …when would God redeem his people and set up his everlasting kingdom on earth?

On many Sabbaths, as we gather in the synagogue, words from the Torah are read. And then the words of the prophets – the haftarah. We all felt the hopelessness and despair in the words of the prophet Ezekiel: “our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” Our leader would then pray these words:

Vindicate me, my God,
    and plead my cause
    against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
    deceitful and wicked.
 You are God my stronghold.
    Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?
 Send me your light and your faithful care,
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you dwell.
 Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

 

Yes, there were times of renewing hope and rejoicing. This past fall my husband and I and pilgrims from Cyrpus and from faraway lands went up to Jerusalem for the feast of the tabernacle. We carried with us willow branches and olive branches to build to sukkah – our temporary booths. When we all gathered together, we shouted praises to God, sang the songs of Aliyah and waved our fragrant lulavs – our willow branches and palm fronds – before the Lord in a spirit of thankfulness.

After the feast, we walked home with the pilgrims on the Emmaus road, the same road that brought you here. Our hearts were burning with expectation as to what God would do. There was much animated discussion about the events of those seven days. And, it all centered on Jesus. You must know about him, don’t you? How can anyone not know?

That day as we walked along we talked about his feeding the five thousand by the shore of Galilee. We talked about our seeing him healing the blind and the lame. And, Lazarus had been raised from the dead! We marveled that demons were being cast out and at Jesus’ authority over them. And, his words! No one ever spoke like he did about the Moses and the prophets. We discussed how our religious authorities despised him and wanted to do away with him. This made us all fearful, as it would negatively affect our synagogues. Yet, they each said that many were believing in him as the one who was to come.

But Miriam told the group that that even his brothers did not believe in him. She learned this from a young doctor named Luke, whom she met at the feast. He told her that Jesus’ brothers wanted Jesus to show himself publicly so that he could become well-known. “Show yourself to the world!” they said to him. They wanted to put Jesus in a situation which would make him prove he is the Messiah. But Jesus told them “My time is not yet. The world can’t hate you, but it hates me, because I am giving evidence against it, showing that its works are evil”. He told them to go up to the feast. Miriam said that Jesus went up later in secret and now we know why. There was a considerable dispute in the crowds. Some said “He’s a good man and others “He’s deceiving the people!” There were those who hated him and wanted to do away with him.

Ruth told us about the twelve-year old Jesus. His family had gone up to Jerusalem for Passover. When they left to return to Galilee with a caravan of friends, they had traveled a day’s journey before realizing that Jesus wasn’t with the group. He had vanished! So, they went back up to Jerusalem and searched for him for three days. They couldn’t find him anywhere. When they finally did put their eyes on him, he was sitting with the teachers of the law. He was listening to them and asking questions. Those listening to him were amazed at his answers to their questions. But, Mary was neither amazed or happy. She scolded him for disappearing. “Child”, she said to him, “why have done this to your father and me? We have been frantically searching for you”. Jesus told his mother, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I would have to be getting involved with my father’s work?” They didn’t understand a word of what he was saying. Wasn’t his father a carpenter?

Oy, there is so much to tell. I will focus on the last few days and on what happened to Cleopas and me this afternoon. What happened the last few days in Jerusalem we learned from the Jesus’ disciples as Cleopas and I were in Jerusalem for Passover. I can tell you that it was a time of weeping and anguish.

As you may have heard, on the night of Passover Jesus was captured by the authorities – ours and Roman. Though he had done nothing wrong he was sentenced to death on a Roman cross. Our authorities pushed for this, shouting “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea and then released by Pilate to the angry crowd. Jesus was crucified like a common criminal. When we learned of this our hearts were broken, our hopes were dashed. “What good is a dead messiah we asked each other? We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” God be praised! There is more to tell you!

We were in Jerusalem this morning. We heard many, many accounts and rumors of visions and of Jesus’ tomb being empty. The disciples were at a loss as what to make of it all. Peter had gone off to see for himself and confirmed that the tomb was indeed empty. But he was as perplexed as the rest of us. We waited for while longer to see what might come of it all and then we decided to head home. Now, this is the part I’ve been waiting to tell you… I can barely …

Cleopas and I headed home to our village. Along the way we discussed all that had happened that morning. We argued, too, about what it meant. As we walked a stranger approached us and began walking with us. He was not at all familiar to us but he must have overheard us. He started the conversation:

Rowan LeCompte and Irene Matz LeCompte, “Third Station of the Resurrection: The Walk to Emmaus” (detail), 1970. Mosaic, Resurrection Chapel, National Cathedral, Washington, DC. Photo: Victoria Emily Jones.

“You’re obviously having a very important discussion on your walk. What’s it all about?”

We stopped walking and turned to him. He must have seen that we were both downcast. Cleopas answered the stranger. “You must be the only person around Jerusalem who doesn’t know what’s been going on there the last few days.”

“What things?” he asked.

“To do with Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet. He acted with power and he spoke with power, before God and all the people. Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. But we were hoping that he was going to redeem Israel!

And now, what with all this, it’s the third day since it happened. But some women from our group have astonished us. They went to his tomb very early this morning, and didn’t find his body. They came back saying they’d seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Some of the folk with us went off to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”

“You are so senseless! So slow in your hearts to believe all the things the prophets said to you! Don’t you see? This is what had to happen: the Messiah had to suffer, and then come into his glory!”

At this point, we were quite perplexed. Who is this stranger and why is taking this so personally? We were both taken aback by the zeal and authority with which the stranger spoke. We searched his face for answers to what we didn’t recognize in all of the Sabbath words. He began walking and we followed.

We listened to the stranger explain Moses and the prophets and all of Scripture in terms of the One who was to come and ransom Israel and bring her and the whole world out of exile. He told us …

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

He talked about a kingdom on earth and about creation and new creation. As he spoke, everything we had been taught began to look different. Everything was coming into focus and the focal point was Jesus. Everything was becoming clear except for the stranger. He remained an enigma.

We reached the intersection to our village. We turned down our road. The stranger kept walking down the Emmaus road. We called after him urging him to stay with us. He kept walking. Cleopas finally ran up to him and pleaded with him to stay with us. “Sir”, he said, “the day is almost over. Stay with us.” The stranger agreed to come with us.

We invited him in and gave him a bowl of water and a towel to wash his hands and feet. We gave him water to drink. We sat down to a small meal. The stranger took the bread up into his hands and prayed, giving thanks for the meal. He then broke the bread and gave it to us. It was then …it was then …it was then that we were shocked beyond belief! Our jaws dropped and we looked at each other with wide open eyes. Cleopas and I saw that the stranger was Jesus, the resurrected Jesus! And, as soon as we saw him, he vanished from our sight! Poof!

We were speechless. The Anointed One and Son of the Most High was walking with us and talking with us and sitting down to eat with us! Everything we hoped for had come true in our sight, as Anna the prophetess foretold and Simeon prophesied! … Our eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people!

Now, our new friend, Cleopas and I have to return to Jerusalem to tell our brothers and sisters all that has happened this afternoon. We must break bread with them. Come with us and you will see him, too!

 

As we walked the 30 stadia back up to Jerusalem, Cleopas and I kept pinching each other. We walked and danced and walked and ran and clapped. We kept asking each other “Do you remember how our hearts were burning inside us, as he talked to us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us? Cleopas, in his booming voice and with a smile on his face, kept repeating “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave” and the words our Sabbath leader prayed:

Why are you cast down, O my soul

And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him.

We both shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

 

The Cypriot, not sure what to make of all this, watched us from a distance. There was an amused and perplexed look on his face.

 

 

 

 

Adapted from the Gospel according to Luke (2:41-50)

 

The Annual Meeting

 

Friday

After driving six hours from Chicago, Joe Smoltz arrived at the Splendent Hotel. It was Friday night. An intense two days of meetings would start first thing in the morning. As the Midwest manager of a national chain of appliance stores, he was required to attend the annual “Strategic Management” sessions. The four area managers, when gathered at a bar after previous sessions, called them “Pat ‘em on the head and kick ‘em in the butt” meetings, as the sessions would invariably come down to putting fire in the bellies of the managers with the owner’s version of “Strategic Management”.

Joe found the hotel, an austere looking ten-story structure, in the middle of a high-tech office park. He parked his car and walked into the lobby. The first thing he noticed was the utter cheerlessness of the place. It was like he had walked inside a cube, a sterile cube. The white-walled two-story lobby was empty except for a few chairs, a front desk and a staircase. The massive window on the street side framed the skeletal form of another ten-story building being constructed across the street from the hotel. In the middle of the lobby was a staircase to the second floor. Its design looked as if it had been taken from an Escher drawing. The huge spare lobby had no flair and no ornamentation. There was not a plant or tree in sight. There was only floor, bare walls and the massive windows offering a view unworthy of the windows. One painting, a swoosh of color, hung above the front desk. The place looked familiar to Joe. The owner had chosen similar-styled hotels in the past for their annual meetings. The octogenarian was all business, just like the hotels he chose for their meetings.

“Ugh! Let’s get this over with,” Joe grumbled.

After checking in, Joe rolled his suitcase over to the elevators. The four elevator shafts at the center of the atrium were a vertical column within a four-sided stack of rooms. Between the elevator doors was a sign: “Elevator Testing Today”. That is odd, he thought. “What am I supposed to do with that information? Is something going to happen? Will I be stuck in this thing? What if I one of my service guys went over to a customer’s house and placed a “Dryer Testing Today” sign on one of our customer’s dryer and then he left with no further instructions?”

He thought for a moment and then smiled.

“That would be a great slogan for our stores: “We don’t leave our customers hanging out to dry. No Doubt Dependability!”

Joe pressed the up arrow. He got in the opened elevator and pressed “7”. The elevator closed its doors and began to shuttle him upwards. “Oh, thank God!” he thought, “No elevator music.”

“Hello Joe. Remember me? You’ve led a lousy life Joe. A lousy life. Three marriages and three divorces and countless sexual affairs. Your kids want nothing to do with you. Endless frustration with your lack of self-control. A lousy life, Joe. A lousy life. Go to the tenth floor and …”

Joe shook his head the voice stopped. “You again. Go away! All that is behind me now. I am a different man.”

The elevator door opened on the seventh floor. Joe got out and looked back at the elevator. “Go back to where you came from.”

Joe walked to his room, limping and his head whirring. The constant white-noise chirring in his head began about two months ago. He had thought at the time that the incessant hissing might just be an electrical noise from one of his appliances at home. But when he left the house and sat in his car, the intruding hiss was there. And, it was loud. Joe didn’t know why it had started. All he could do was name it: Tinnitus. And, his knee? The bone doctor couldn’t offer any precise explanation for what was going on with his knee.

“It could be arthritis” he was told after the doctor had taken X-rays and found nothing affecting Joe’s left knee. “Unspecified Chronicity” was written on the exit form. Joe was given a script for an anti-inflammatory pain killer and an order for physical therapy. “The body gives no senior discounts,” Joe thought when he left the doctor’s office, expecting another medical bill.

Using the pass key, Joe opened the door to his room and switched on the light. The hotel room had the same stiff angular character he had seen before in the hotel rooms booked for him for his annual meetings. Lines and boxes. A black credenza ran the length of one wall, from the entrance closet to the curtain. At the curtain end was an angular lamp with a USB charging port. To fill the void above the credenza there was an 85” large screen TV.

“Let’s get this over with.” Joe placed his suitcase on the credenza and hung up his sport coat and pants.

After washing his face, Joe reviewed the hotel services menu on the TV. There was a restaurant and bar just off the hotel lobby. He put on a sport coat and went out to the elevator.

When the one of the elevators arrived, he walked in and pressed “L”. The doors shut and the elevator proceeded down.

“You’ve led a lousy life joe. A lousy life. Three marriages and three divorces and countless sexual escapades. Remember the affair you had with the youth pastor’s wife. And, right in the parsonage? What do you have to live for? This lousy sales job?”

Joe’s tinnitus did nothing to block the disturbing noise in his head. He shook his head and looked at his watch. Maybe the other sales managers had arrived and they would be at the bar.

The dining room was empty except for the rather rotund woman tending the bar. She was leaning against the back bar. Her arms were folded across her chest and she had a scowl on her face. Above her, like three thought bubbles of “Clash”, were three muted large screen TVs showing college football games and a NASCAR race. Joe sat down and ordered a bourbon straight up and a sandwich.

Earlier in his life he would have judged the woman, thinking her repulsive and not worth his time. He would have assumed that the scowl on her face was her way of saying ‘Don’t put me in a box. Don’t mess with me. I’ve been through enough’.

But now, Joe reserved judgement only for himself. He saw her as a woman who needed a mirror that reflected more than this world has to offer.

Joe took a sip of his drink and looked around. The restaurant bar area had the same stark quality as the lobby. There was no artwork and no plants, only space with boxy fixtures against white walls. “A coat of Warm Apricot would warm up this place.”

Beyond the rectangular bar, square tables with stiff chairs were set along the right angle of two banks of windows. The windows faced the same new construction as the lobby. Another ten-story layer of containers being built for get-in-and-get-out business just like this hotel. Joe thought.

The bartender placed the sandwich before Joe. She released her scowl for her only customer. “What brings you to Splendent?”

“I’m here for the annual sales meeting. I am the Midwest manager for a chain of appliance stores.” Joe looked at her. She could see that his eyes were bloodshot.

“Did you come along way?”

“I drove from Chicago. It rained the whole way. My name’s Joe.” He put out his hand.

“Amanda.” The woman reached across the bar and shook his hand.

Joe couldn’t help notice her bare shoulders and the black lace top with sleeves that reminded him of bats. A skull tattoo was on the back of her hand.

“Amanda. That’s a pretty name.” Joe winked at the woman and she squeezed out a smile.

At that moment an Asian couple came into the bar and asked for a table. Amanda told them “Sit anywhere you like.”

Both Joe and Amanda stared at the couple. The young man was wearing a black sport coat and tie and black slacks. The young women wore a black skimpy dress that barely covered her bottom. She was taller than the young man. Her six-inch heels made it so. Both Joe and Amanda looked away when the couple turned and asked for a menu.

Joe finished his sandwich and his drink. He paid his tab and asked Amanda if she was working the rest of the weekend. She said she was. He handed her his business card. “If you need an appliance, I can set you up. I have a store in the area.” Amanda thanked Joe and said that her mom might be interested.

“I also have friends in the paint business. So, if your mom needs to redecorate, I can get her a good price on several gallons of paint.” Amanda looked at Joe and wondered if he was being nice to her so he could sell her something.” She thanked him and put the card in her purse.

Joe got up and grimaced as he placed weight on his knee. He wished Amanda a good night. “Amanda, that’s a pretty name.” He left her a handsome tip.

Joe found his way to the elevator and saw that the “Elevator Testing Today” sign was still there. “Hmmm. Let’s get this over with.” Joe pressed the up button and an elevator door opened. He got in and pressed “7”. The doors closed and the elevator began to shuttle upward.

“Go on Joe. Invite Amanda to your room. She is sweet on you. Did you see how she looked at you when you said her name? It’s been years since you were with a woman. You owe it to yourself. Anyone can go to their room and watch porn. Hook up with Amanda and you’ll have at least one relationship in your sorry life.”

Joe looked over the elevator. “What is it with this contraption? I’ve had plenty of people telling me how I should live my ‘sorry’ life. Do this, be this and not that. And now this elevator from hell. Argh!”

The door opened and Joe limped over to his room. He went in. The constant chirring in his head, the electric hiss, was the only sound he heard. He got undressed and turned on the TV.

After searching for something watchable he found a western. He watched Shane until his eyes closed and sleep and the pain pill overtook him.

 

Saturday

The alarm sounded at 6 AM. Joe shut off the alarm and sat up. “Let’s get this over with.” He got up, showered and dressed for his meeting. He went down to the breakfast buffet where he met Haze the restaurant manager. She was a likeable young woman with a nose ring. She asked Joe if he was enjoying his stay. “Its had its ups and downs so far.” Joe chuckled and decided not to go into detail. “The buffet looks good and the service so far is great. Hazel, Huh? I haven’t heard that name in a long time. I like it.”

Joe filled his plate and sat back down. He hadn’t seen the other managers yet. He wondered if they would arrive this morning. He would have liked to talk with them before the meeting and gauge the atmosphere he would be walking into. Sales had plateaued in his market and that would not go over well. He pondered how he would present his numbers. Two of the managers, the west coast and east coast managers, were vying to become national sales manager. They would cozy up to the owners again this year. Joe had no interest in the position. It meant more travel and being away from home. His only ambition, as he told himself over and over again, was to keep from screwing up his life any more than he already had.

“… I was no angel, that’s for sure. I didn’t know any PK who was. Even Peter, adopted by the Lord, denied him three times. I did the same in my three failed marriages.” Joe felt self-disgust rise up in his stomach. “I had to sit through all of dad’s sermons. Never-ending sermons about never-ending judgment. Getting numbers of people saved from judgment was his business. I wanted to be saved from the sermons and the judgment that grew in the hearts of those who heard the sermons, like that woman who scolded me with “Fly right!” after she learned that dad’s little angel had messed up his first marriage. There was no clemency for a PK, especially not for one who squirmed outside the bounds set by the mini providences surrounding me. They still surround me. Little wonder that I responded with anger and rebellion and with the same black and white judgment of those around me.”

Joe looked at his watch. He had another hour before the meeting started. He got up and grabbed another plate of food and sat down. Haze brought him some more coffee. As she poured a young couple with two children came in and reviewed the buffet.

“Have any kids, Haze?”

“Not yet.” Haze walked over and welcomed the family. Joe returned to his thoughts.

“Mothers birth boys and Fathers birth men,” is what dad often said from the pulpit. But dad didn’t birth me the man. But I understand dad. He was day and night busy with the church …. I followed in his footsteps. But not as a minster, whoa! never as a minster, unless you can call selling a coat of paint as redemption for one’s home and selling a new a washer as salvation from unwashed clothes. Work your passions, work for your family…”

Joe checked his watch again. It was time to head over to the meeting.

Outside the conference room a small buffet was set up with coffee and sweet rolls. Inside the room was a chalk board and an easel pad. The west coast and east coast managers were huddled around the owner and apparently sharing funny stories, as the they both laughed at each other. Someone was writing the day’s agenda on the pad.

The south manager walked over from the elevator and came up to Joe. “What the heck is going on with the elevator, Joe? What does Elevator Testing mean?

“Stick around and you may find out.” Joe shook Roy Lee’s hand. “When ‘d you arrive?”

“Just this morning. I wanted to fly out last night but my flight from Atlanta was constantly delayed due to heavy storms in the area.”

“You ready for the next storm?” Joe nodded toward the conference room.

“My numbers are not stellar. How about yours?

“Same. We better go in and get this over with.” Joe led the way into the room. He greeted the owner and company’s namesake, Archibald Whitlock Sr.

“How are you Mr. Whitlock?”

“Call me Archie Joe. Every year I tell you the same thing. Call me Archie.”

“You’re right, Archie.” Joe turned to greet the other two managers who had taken seats on each side of Archie.

At the table the managers began sharing brief personal updates about family. Joe shared that he waiting to become a grandfather now that all his kids were married. And, that he bought a parrot to keep him company.

Taylor, the west coast manager, burst out laughing. “A parrot? Wow! I bet you have interesting conversations with the bird.”

Joe retorted. “Perot can say Archie Appliances.” With that the owner smiled and called the meeting to order.

Archie began with a greeting and introduced his son Archie Jr., “the company’s new national sales manager”. West Coast and East Coast looked at each other with an expression of “How can this be?” Joe thought the announcement a pat on the head for Archie Jr. and a kick in the pants for those two.

Archie Jr. had a Rod McKuen look about him. Beneath his disheveled sandy blond hair, he bore a melancholic disposition. He wore a turtle neck and sport coat and slacks that must have just been pulled out of the dryer. By his looks it would be hard to take him seriously. Here was Joes’ National Sales Manager and his new boss.

Archie Jr. was handed the meeting by Archie Sr. In a slow ponderous voice, Archie Jr. began by pointing at each word on the flip chart as he spoke it. “Where …Are … We …At?”

“This will be a long day,” Joe thought, “a long lousy day”. The three other managers looked pale and antsy. West coast threw his pen on the table before him. East coast stared at the wall biting his lip. South furrowed his brow and began straightening a paper clip. “When was the next break?” was on each of their minds.

During that morning session that droned on for what seemed a lifetime, the managers learned that Archie Jr.’s background was in finance. He was a numbers guy. And, by the look of his trousers, Joe thought, he didn’t know squat about what they were selling. He didn’t know about the Archie No-Wrinkle Dryer. Joe realized where his thoughts were going and stopped them. He withheld any more judgment, as he had been wrong about so many things in the past.

Then came an endless array of pie charts and Joe grew rankled. He hated meetings to begin with. But pie charts? The business of sales was a relationship between people and not between a red slice of pie and a blue slice of pie. People – him and his customers – don’t belong in pie charts. These charts were like the porn he used to take in – objectifying. Joe sat through the presentation of graphs and charts passively engaged. A growing disdain welled up in him at the thought of his work, his passion, being reduced to a cut and paste graphic.

The group broke for lunch. The managers almost ran out of the room. Each hurried to a quiet corner of the atrium to make phone calls to their stores. After the calls they searched the internet for “Archibald Whitlock Jr.” Their area reports would be required in afternoon session. What else did they need to be prepared for?

Joe went outside for a walk. The conference room had become suffocating. Outside, the whirring in Joe’s head was replaced with the sounds of traffic and construction. Autumn wind buffeted his ears and blew construction dust into his eyes.

Joe had a lot to think about. Archie Sr., who grumbled about every nickel and dime spent, would still ask the managers, “Do you need anything?” But now Sr. was taking a hard line through his numbers guru son who said “Here’s what numbers tell us.” Sr. was silent. Jr. had a spreadsheet. And Joe had prepared for the question “What do you need?”

After almost an hour of pacing the long sidewalk along the hotel Joe headed back to the conference room thinking Here ‘s what I need: Let’s get this over with.

The east coast manager, Charles, began the afternoon session. He had no charts. He passed out a handout showing each store’s numbers for the past year. There were stores that had improved sales and there were stores that were just getting by. He suggested that the slow down at the latter stores was due to many folks in his area dealing with job losses, rising housing costs and high sales and property taxes. He went on to suggest that financing options should be over two years instead of one. He sat down.

The south area manager, Roy Lee, also brought a handout showing his managed stores numbers. Like the east coast area, some stores’ revenue had bumped up and others had plateaued. He talked about the areas that had been hit by floods and hurricanes. Neighborhoods and houses were destroyed. Rebuilding was going on and there was a substantial need for their appliances. Agreeing with Charles, he stated that it was essential that their financing options should be over two years instead of one, as many folks had to wait for Federal assistance and insurance monies. He went on to say that keeping employees was a priority, as they knew the appliances and the customer base. He had to pay higher wages to keep them, thus cutting into the bottom line. He sat down.

Joe was up next. He began by congratulating Archie Jr. on his being selected as national sales manager. Archie Jr. perked up and looked over at Sr., who then winked at him in approval. The other managers nodded, barely moving their heads. Joe began, also passing out a handout.

“What these not-so-stellar figures don’t show are the number of satisfied and repeat customers we have. Warranty repairs costs are down. Customer satisfaction is up. We are getting good reviews online. The upside is that the customers in the Midwest are happy with their Archie Appliances. The downside is that because the appliances work so well repeat sales have long a long turnaround. So, for new sales, I am working with housing developers to have them place our appliances in new homes.

Joe then proposed refrigerator magnets with an 800 number and the slogan: “We don’t leave you hanging out to dry. Appliances and Service You Can Depend on.”

He went on to say that he visited the factory in the past year to learn how the appliances are made and to hear firsthand about warranty issues. He said that he goes on installation and service calls as often as possible. He then turned his laptop screen to face the group. On it was a slide show of clients standing next to their appliances, all with big smiles. The last photo was of Perot. “And this is my communications director.” With that the three other managers moaned. Archie Sr. smiled once again. Archie Jr. looked perplexed at first and then he eked out a smile

Before he sat down, Joe said that he agreed with Charles, the East Coast manager, about the cost of living and making financing a priority. “The Chicago area, in particular, has very high property taxes. Many people are just getting by.” He turned to the South Area manager, Roy Lee, and said that he agreed with him about keeping experienced employees. He stated that employee satisfaction was just as important as customer satisfaction. Wages also had to go up in his area. Joe sat down.

The west coast manager, Taylor stood up. “How do I follow Perot? Good points, each of you. Here are my numbers.” He proceeded to pass out his report.

“I’ve included a forecast for this next year. The demographics of my area show many lower income folks are moving into the middle class in the areas I listed. The federal tax break has given them some buying power. As they move up, they want to upgrade and buy appliances. The financing Charles and Roy Lee both mentioned is essential for my customers. They want to build their credit rating. By giving them flexibility in financing that can happen. We should also update our nationally televised commercial. My wife Betty says it lacks verve. Maybe the commercial can say “You know you have arrived with Archie in your home”. The spokesperson could be a butler named Archie and there is a cartoon parrot which says “Archie Appliances at your service.”

Joe said a loud “Yes!” Charles was excited too. “Yeah, that might work. There are plenty of annoying spokespeople on commercials right now. But, adding an animal would make sense. People love animals.” Roy Lee saw his chance to voice his approval. “What we have on TV now is a failure to communicate.” The group looked at Archie Sr.to see his reaction. His face unchanged, Sr. looked over at his son. Jr. was biting his lip. No comment.

Taylor continued.

“I like what Joe said about the housing developer market. That will bring new sales. They will of course want discounting for the quantities involved. And, Roy Lee, you are right about our employees. Perhaps we can offer them help with regard to health insurance. We should be able to work with a health care provider to lower our costs because of the number of employees we have nationwide. I see growth but it will take some new initiatives to make it happen. Taylor sat down.

Archie Sr. stood up. “Thank you for your reports and your comments. You have given me a lot to think about. How about you Archie?”

“I learned a lot today. I have a lot to think about.”

Archie Sr. adjourned the meeting by saying that tomorrow his son would present a solution to one of the issues addressed that afternoon. Outside the conference room, the managers gathered in one corner of the atrium to talk about the night’s agenda: dinner and then a gentleman’s club. Joe said, “No, thanks. Been there, done that.” He’d see them in the morning.

Joe returned to the conference room to talk to Archie Jr. Archie Sr. came over to Joe.

“Joe, I was impressed by your presentation.”

“Thank you, Archie.”

“Joe, I’m getting too old for this game. Today proved to me again that my ways are …dated. Fifty years ago my passion was to own my own business. I worked all kinds of hours to grow this company. And, I had to provide for a growing family. So, I didn’t have much time to fool around, as they say. I was very demanding of those around me. Failure was not an option. Archie, here, took the brunt of my time away from home. And now I’m a tough old codger who can’t change my ways …Well, you know me and the background of this company, Joe. I’ve told startup story hundreds of times. I brought Archie on to pass the mantel to him when I retire in six months. I would like you to take him under your wing and show him the day-to-day business during this time.”

Joe watched Archie Sr. put his hand on his son’s shoulder. Was he asking Joe to birth the man?

“I’d be happy to, Archie. In fact, I came back to ask him to come to Chicago and spend some time at the stores there. We can also take a trip to the factory in Indiana. I can show him how we build what we sell. He can meet the people who build our appliances. He can see firsthand what goes into the manufacturing costs.”

“Excellent. Archie, you up for that?’

Jr. looked at both men and saw them looking back at him. “Yes, sir.”

Joe then asked Jr. if he would like to join him for a drink later. Jr. said he would. Joe, famished from not eating lunch, dismissed himself.

“See you in the AM Archie. I’ll see you later Archie.” Joe walked over to the bank of elevators. He noticed the “Elevator Testing” sign was still there. He walked over to the front desk.

“Are they still testing the elevators?’

The woman at the front desk said she would call her manager and find out why the sign was still there. Joe thanked her and returned to the elevator. “Let’s get this over with.”

Joe pressed the up button and a door opened. He got in and the door closed and began its shuttle upward.

“Joe, remember all the times you spent at gentleman’s club …the times you enjoyed women and wanted them. Remember the lap dances and the prostitutes you made love to. Go on. Go out with those guys, Joe. Nobody will know. Besides, all you have in your life is a parrot. This guy you are meeting later is a milquetoast. You need to be around real men. Go on, joe. Go on. It is normal. You need it.”

The elevator opened on the seventh floor. Joe got out. The whirring white noise in his head was oddly comforting to him right now. In his room he washed his face and changed his shirt. All he could think of was eating, so he hurried and went out. A cacophony of voices rose up from below. He looked over the railing.

On the atrium floor entourages in colors chosen by brides and newly-classified monochromatic men converged. It was Saturday night and marriage receptions were taking place. It occurred to Joe that on every Saturday night of his annual meetings, wedding receptions took place in the hotels chosen by Archie Sr. Was it coincidence?

He took the elevator down. Some the wedding party rode with him, thankfully, Joe thought.

Crossing the lobby Joe saw Archie Sr. sitting in a chair. His Wall Street Journal was lowered. He was taking in the flourishes of human activity surrounding him. Joe only knew Archie Sr. from their annual meetings and his phone calls to Joe. This was new impression of Archie and made Joe rethink his boss in terms of being human. Apparently, the prosaic old codger needed more than numbers could supply.

As Joe crossed the lobby he noticed signs posted. “Welcome to the Reception of the Nuygens” “Welcome to the Reception of the Hobarts” “Welcome to the Reception of the Clivens. The Splendent was no longer an empty shell.

Joe’s stomach growled loudly. He entered the bar and sat down. Amanda greeted him with a drink napkin.

“Long day? Bourbon up?”

“Yeah, yes, please. It started out lousy but things turned around. One more meeting and I’m going home.”

“Where’s home?

“Chicago.”

“I’ve heard they have great pizza there.”

“Yeah, great pizza and great hot dogs. You can tell by my potbelly. Say, something is different about you”

“I changed my hair. It was black and I returned it to its natural red. I asked the hairdresser to give me a more relaxed look. I thought I looked a little too severe before.”

“It’s a great look for you, and that smile wasn’t there last night.”

“Yeah, change for the better. What can I get you?’

“I’ll have the rib-eye and a cup of soup.”

“Coming up.”

Joe looked around. An older couple sat at a bar table watching the football games on the screens above the back bar. Other than the couple the place was empty. Sitting there it was easy for him to recall the many times he sat in bars alone during his road trips. It was easy for him to recall what he did when felt isolated and alone. Thinking about It made him sick inside and anxious to get home and back to work.

He checked his phone and found a message from Kim. She sold a washer/dryer unit to a young couple. They were expecting to meet Joe when it arrived at their home. Here was something he could bring to the table tomorrow.

Amanda brought his drink and said she would return with the soup.

The bourbon, double-oaked, went down smooth. Sitting and the strong drink helped to lessen the pain in his knee. He had hobbled from his room to the bar. The soup arrived and Joe asked for another bourbon. After a couple of minutes, the steak arrived. He had to slow his eating. He was so hungry he had woofed down his soup.

As he finished up, Archie Jr. arrived and sat down next to Joe.

“Did you eat, Archie?”

“Yes. Thanks. I went to dinner with dad …someplace nearby.”

Amanda placed a drink napkin in front of Archie. “What can I get you?”

“A glass of Chardonnay, please.”

Well, Archie, your dad must have a lot of respect for you to make you the national sales manager and eventually the CEO.”

“Yeah, well, maybe. I am the oldest and my two younger brothers joined the Navy. So, to keep the business in the family, I was the chosen one. I was initially looking at a career in mergers and acquisitions.”

“Your financial background will be a boon for this company. Each of us managers are so busy making sales and running the store operations that the books are not given their due diligence. “

“Well, I have an idea that I will share tomorrow. I’ll want your feedback.”

“You’ll get it. By the way, how do you like this hotel?”

“It serves it purpose. There is nothing charming about. It is rather cold and business-like for my tastes. I see of a lot the same minimalist thing in LA. – expose the essence of a subject through eliminating all nonessential forms, features, or concepts. Minimalism uses the fewest elements to create the maximum effect.

“Are we the subject?”

“I think the architect is the subject.”

“Non-essential features? Like a coat of warm gray paint on the walls and terra-cotta floors?

“The colorless the better for the unforgiving minimalists.”

“Minimalist, that’s the term for it? How do you know this?”

“I read Architectural Digest. Architecture is kind of a hobby for me. Helps me to refocus. Numbers are unforgiving too. I like classical forms and not the stark boxes being built today. And, this hotel is the latter.”

“Fascinating. I have a lot to learn. Archie, I hate to cut this short but the steak I just ate is making sleepy. It was great getting to know you better. I better head up to my room and get to bed. I have a long drive home tomorrow after our meeting.”

“I appreciate your meeting me for a drink, Joe. I was fairly certain that the managers would be very upset by my father’s announcement.”

“Well, I, for one, think it is a change for the better. I’ll see you in the morning.”

With that Joe paid his bill and told Amanda that it was nice meeting her. He then hobbled back to the elevator. The whirring in his head was replaced by the loud music coming from a wedding reception. The throbbing in his knee and the “Elevator Testing” sign were still there.

“Let’s get this over with.” Joe pressed the up button.

“Joe, Joe, lousy -life Joe. You want flair in your life. You can make it happen. Otherwise you might as well take your boring lousy life up to the tenth floor and toss it off. Your friends and family have abandoned you. You’re a worm in their eyes. They would have forgiven you if you were forgivable. The lousy life you led is unforgivable. You are left to your own devices now, Joe. Joe, Joe, lousy -life Joe.”

The elevator opened on the seventh floor. Joe exited and held the door open. “Your day is coming …minimalist.” Joe let go of the door. “Joe, Joe, lou …”

The party’s music reverberated up to the seventh floor. And we can build this dream together, Standing strong forever, Nothing’s gonna stop us … Nothing’s gonna stop us, nothing’s gonna stop us now.

In his room Joe took his pill and went to bed thinking about everything that transpired that day. Soon, thoughts of his past crept in … He didn’t need a voice to tell him that he had lived a lousy, roguish and profane life for many years. There was Joe by day and Joe by night for a long time. That was until he had a breakdown. Then he made long overdue changes …

That night he had a waking dream. He had committed suicide and knew that he would know he had committed suicide for eternity. Nurses would come and look at him in lying in bed. They would wrench their faces in horror and run in terror. Joe would sit up in bed and make faces at them and mouth words. But they couldn’t hear him and were scared off.

Joe woke up and looked around the room. Whirring. Only whirring. He laid his head back down and fell back to sleep.

Then another dream. Joe was on a stretcher being lowered down. His friends were lowering him down. When they stopped Joe felt a hand on his head and heard “Friend, your sins are forgiven. Get up and walk.” His friends were not happy at all. They wanted a different outcome. But Joe felt elated.

Then the alarm sounded.

 

Sunday

The next morning the hotel was still and the hiss in Joe’s ears pronounced. The wedding guests were sleeping. Joe opened the room’s curtains. He could see the boxes where people worked.

The coffee maker started Joe got in the shower. The dreams, both so vivid, colored his thoughts as he showered, shaved and dressed. He put on his sport coat and headed downstairs to the breakfast buffet.

Exiting the elevator, Joe took a few steps toward the lobby and then stopped. He turned and noticed that the “Elevator Testing” sign was gone. He went over to the front desk.

“I see that the “Elevator Testing” sign is gone.

The young woman at the front desk told Joe that someone had come early in the morning and had removed it. She was told that one of the elevator service men had left it behind on Friday after they tested the elevators. A lot of people had been asking about it, so her manager made a call last night.

Joe smiled and thanked her for taking care of it. He told her that he would be checking out later that morning. His next thought was breakfast. The smell of bacon was in the air.

At the breakfast buffet in a large room next to the bar Joe saw Haze. Her cheerful smile was a welcome sight.

“Good morning Joe. Coffee and orange juice?”

“Yes, thank you.”

Joe began to fill his plate. He decided that he wouldn’t eat again until he got home that evening.

Haze brought the coffee and juice to Joe’s table.

“You’re from Chicago?”

“Yes, do I look the part?”

Haze laughed. “No, Amanda told me. She mentioned that she got to know you the past couple of days.”

“Yes. We talked. I go to know her a bit.”

“She said that you sell appliances …Archie Appliances.”

“That’s right.” Joe pulled a business card from his coat pocket and handed it to Haze.

“Do you sell kitchen equipment to hotels? Corporate is building a new hotel near the airport next year.”

“Yes, we do. We offer commercial ranges, broilers, fryers, ice machines, freezers, hoods, ovens, bar refrigeration. Have them call me.” Joe handed her several cards. “We work onsite with the contractors who install the equipment. The website shows all of the equipment well offer. The prices shown are individual prices. We can bundle the equipment and offer a discount.”

“Wow! Thanks. I’ll pass it on. In our last meeting I told my manager that our chef was not happy with what he had to work with. Apparently, the last time, somebody had purchased the equipment without talking with him.”

“Here’s another card. Have the chef call me and we can talk about what he needs. Oh, and I have friends in the paint business. They can offer great paint at great prices. Have them call me and I can make it happen.”

“Will do. More coffee?” Joe said and yes and then noticed Charles and Roy Lee walk in. They looked in bad shape. A few moments later Taylor straggled in. All three looked hungover. Haze greeted them and asked if they would like a table. They noticed Joe and said that they would sit with him.

The three brought their plates of food over to Joe’s table and sat down.

Joe greeted them. “You guys look in bad shape. Did you paint the town last night?”

“Yeah,” Charles rubbed his forehead, “Taylor is on west coast time. He wanted to stay out later,”

“These annual meeting are killing me.” Roy Lee was pinching his temples.

“It was the five Southern Comforts you had at the club …” Taylor held his stomach until the nausea passed. “You were so lit up last night, Roy Lee, that you kept saying that you heard voices in the elevator. You …” Taylor stopped when the nausea came back. “Uhhhgg. Ishhhh-kabbible.”

Charles continued for him. “You freaked out when you saw that sign by the elevators. You said we were all gonna die if we took the elevator. You wanted to take the stairs up to the sixth floor.”

“I think I did die. I feel like death warmed over.” Roy Lee moaned.

Joe knew how they felt. He had had many mornings feeling as they did. But today, his head wasn’t pounding.

Haze came to the table and asked if they would like more coffee.

Joe said yes. And then seeing his chance to rub it in he said, “Maybe these guys would like a Bloody Mary.”

Each of them waved off the offer. Charles said, “Hell, no,” and continued.

“I am not looking forward to another meeting with our new National Sales Manager. The guy drones on and on.”

Taylor agreed. “I don’t think I can sit through another three hours of that guy. We are supposed to end at noon. We have planes to catch and, Joe, you have a long drive home.”

Roy Lee, who looked about ready to pass out, said they should tell Sr. that the three of them got food poisoning last night and maybe then Sr. would let them go early.

Taylor chided Roy Lee. “Maybe we can tell him that we all died in an elevator crash and that we just returned from the dead for the meeting.”

Joe laughed. “You guys look the part.”

While the other three were finishing their breakfast, Joe said he had to finish packing, He settled up with Haze and said goodbye.

“How was your stay, Joe?” Haze asked.

“The food was good. The service was great. The people here made all the difference. It was nice meeting you and Amanda. You have my card. I can come down and meet with your chef and corporate to talk about what they need. It was great meeting you.”

“It was nice meeting you, too,” Haze replied. “I hope your knee gets better.”

With that Joe hobbled back to the elevators and to his room. He packed his things and rolled his suitcase over by the door and headed downstairs for the nine-o’clock meeting.

At the conference room just off the atrium, Joe saw the same small buffet with coffee and sweet rolls just outside the room. He decided to pass on more food. Inside, Archie Sr. and Jr. stood talking. Nothing was written on the flip pad except a phone number.

When Joe walked into the room Archie Sr. greeted him. “Joe, how’d you sleep? The music was so loud I couldn’t until after two.”

“Yeah, the music was loud. But the pill I take for my knee must have knocked me out.”

“Knee trouble, huh? My wife’s got issues with her knees.”

Archie Sr., seeing his three managers dragging their feet as they walked across the atrium to the conference room, said, “The music must have bothered them, too. They look worn out” Archie Sr. looked over at Jr. “Maybe we should finish up early so these boys can be on their way and get some rest” Joe couldn’t help but smile.

With the four managers seated, the meeting commenced. Roy Lee sat with his elbows on the table and holding his head in his palms. Taylor sat back in his chair rubbing his stomach and looking at the trash can. Charles kept twisting his head and neck. Joe sat there trying not to look at the other three managers. If he did, he would break out laughing at the hilarious situation that Archie Sr. had presumed.

Archie Jr. began, this time sounding more self-assured.

“I heard what you said yesterday about financing. As you know large home improvement retailers sell everything from hardware and paint to appliances and yard goods. They offer a credit card and financing is handled through the card. The card keeps them coming back. I propose the same financing with an Archie Castle Card. ‘Castle’ because your home is your castle. The card could be used to purchase our appliances and could also be used to purchase home furnishings and remodeling at our other family stores, Archie Accents, run by my sister Analise.”

Joe interrupted. “That’s a great idea. And, I have a friend in the paint business. He has stores. Maybe his stores could be tied in with this card. Then a shopper could paint their castle.”

Archie Sr. looked over at Jr. “Check out what Joe is saying, Archie. We could bundle home purchases and roll out discounts and financing through the use of the card.”

“Will do.” Archie Jr. began again.

“I heard what you said about our TV commercial. It is rather lackluster. I will talk to our ad man and get something going. You guys will be the ones to approve it.”

Hearing this, the three otherwise silent managers perked up.

Charles took his hand from his temples to say “Now we’re talking!”

Archie Sr., seeing his three lethargic managers, told Jr. to keep going.

Jr. went on to talk about a health insurance plan that might work for their number of employees. He mentioned setting up the employees with an IRA and the company matching a percentage of the employee’s salary into their account. “Employees are our greatest asset. They know what we sell and they know the customers.” Jr. went on to talk about the sales numbers for the past year and to say “going forward, the numbers will take care of themselves if we do right by our customers and our employees.”

“Lastly, the number on the flip chart is my personal number. Call me with any concerns.”

Archie Sr. stood up and thanked his son. He walked around the table and shook the hand of each manager telling each one to “Work with my son. Give him the benefit of the doubt.” Then, to the group he said “Roy Lee has invited us to Charleston for next year’s meeting. I am looking forward to that. I’ll get some more golf in. Have a safe trip home.”

The four managers exchanged “goodbyes” and headed on their way. Joe went to his room, grabbed his suitcase and breathed a sigh of relief. The meetings were over. And, the hotel Roy Lee would pick would be quaint and comforting and not business as usual.

At check out Joe was asked about his stay. Joe commended Amanda and Haze for their great service.

Joe drove home with his head whirring, his knee throbbing and with fire in his belly. He would again drive past fields of corn and soy beans and wind turbines. He would once again pass the large black billboard with white letters that read, “HELL IS REAL”. Back in Chicago he would pick up Perot from his former paint business partner Bill, who watched the bird while Joe was away. He hoped Bill had not taught Perot any of his curse words. He really hoped that Bill had not taught Perot the pet name Bill once had for Joe: “Good times Joe”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2019, All Rights Reserved

Insider Knowledge

Maybe you’ve encountered me. I like to be noticed. I am that passing shadow and that clipped voice in a box that spooks the ghost hunters on their TV programs. I’m the cold presence they encounter. What did they expect? I have no molecules to bounce around inside of me to keep me warm. I love absolute zero and the limelight doesn’t affect me as does, you know, the searing light. I dwell in the dark recesses of the universe and come around to revel in the revolting. And, more importantly, to tell people what they want to hear. That is my specialty.

I work with psychics and with those who presume to hear from the dead. And with philosophers. I am the lifeline for their game show. And, what a game it is: humans ante up their souls so they can win esoteric knowledge. What a piece of work is man! Little wonder that Hamlet is one of my favorite plays.

Who could ask for more? Murder, revenge, a ghost, hemming and hawing soliloquys, a disloyal mother, friends with secret motives, suicide, poison, madness, carnage, and a morose and grieving Prince. You know Act One. Prince Hamlet’s friend Horatio, along with two sentries, is visited by a specter that resembles the late King Hamlet. Learning of the visitation from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it for himself and make his own judgement. He knows that my Master likes to deceive the grieving with familiar forms. When the ghost appears to Hamlet, he tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother Claudius. Hamlet must avenge his death. In the moment, Hamlet agrees to avenge his father. After being sworn to secrecy about all he has witnessed, Horatio says the encounter is unbelievably strange. Hamlet tells Horatio to welcome the strange as he would a stranger. How inclusive!

Then, reminded of his time studying in Wittenberg with Horatio, Hamlet tells Horatio that “There are more things in heaven and earth, my friend, Than are dreamt of in our philosophy”. That’s where I come in. The play ends as it should – bodies everywhere. Let the good times Roll! Left to his own devices, man is a piece of work!

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this. I communicate to the spiritualists and theorists what I know. It is easy. I’ve been around for a long time. I know things that have happened. I’ve heard what everyone else has heard. Someone dies and I can speak to medium about what I know about him or her. I can play dead. What fun! This knowledge works well with the ghost hunters. I toy with them. Ha-ha-ha! There have been many times when humans think that they have felt spiritual forces. But it is just a bunch of emf. But I’ll take credit for it. I like the attention.

Speaking of attention, I’m the one that pushes and scratches those who live with me. I infest house and lives …and ideologies. Some will sweep me out of their lives for a time but I come back with new tricks and new guises. I can take on many forms, or, I should say, personas. History has recorded my work.

Maybe you know me as “The end is what you want and the means is how you get it” Saul Alinsky or as “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” Lavrenty Beria. Maybe you know me as the positive materialist who holds that all things, including consciousness and mental state, are the result of material interactions. I am quite involved in those material interactions. The pursuit of happiness, whether by idealism or material necessity, doesn’t happen without immaterial me.

Now, I don’t need to work with atheists. They are already on the right track. They have their reason and no need for the likes of meta-physical me. The conditions of their everyday existence are proof enough that there is no God. So, they resign themselves to the laws of nature and adapt to them and give way to those laws. They end up lonely and pounding their head against the wall. I don’t have to get physical with them. They do it to themselves.

The atheist cannot prove the beauty of a woman, yet, he will demand proof of the Antagonist’s existence from his minions and that is where I come in. How so, you ask? Alinsky said it best: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.” Seeing the Antagonist’s minions foul up with my help, the atheist becomes all the surer that his or her descent into pure reason is where he will find answers. And, once he or she dons implacable autonomous reason (I’m thinking in Halloween terms) they won’t need to get involved with the gooey and merciful Antagonist. I’ve already been there and done that. Things didn’t work out in my favor. But you Atheists, hang with me and before you can snap your fingers three times, you will put on the Imago de Diabolus, the likeness of my High Master. “Will you win his favor?” you ask.

I may be cold-hearted but my Master, his disposition colder than Absolute Zero, warmly welcomes the proud self-assured atheist.

My Master knows that atheists cannot accept mysteries unless they are solved in a movie or at the end of a book, or solved before their very eyes. My Master knows that they refuse to hold in tension any thought which presents itself outside of cold logic. Because of their wonderful quality of unending skepticism, they revere solipsism, science and reason, and the readily explainable. My Master is their lifeline in this game. He explains everything right when they need it. No waiting. The Antagonist draws things out into mystery and keeps you on hold indefinitely.

Some of my best work is done with humanists and social scientists. I use Progressive ideology along with consensus and sentimentality to persuade them into thinking that humans are perfectible, that one day man will reach the pinnacle of human perfection because of their exalted efforts (and if only they were in charge). Their motto: Fortschritt, Fortschritt über alles! (nb: I am working on the chosen people as I pen this.)

The young and inexperienced are the best targets for, ahem, smoke and mirrors. They dream of happiness, regeneration, of utopia. Like moths to a flame, they gather around the prophets of secular humanism. They did so for Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. These heroes of the religion of Revolution offered the utopia of uniformity and universality. They delivered on their promises. Humans were uniformly and universally dealt with, just as I had hoped. Healthcare is my newest moth-gathering flame. Control healthcare and you control people. Another Alinsky saying.

And that is how I work the old – with offers of healthcare. But some of the old are already set in their Antagonistic ways. If they refuse my offers of help then I say ‘He that is not with me is against me’. I walk away and shake the dust off of my Ways and Means Handbook.

The Antagonist has many followers in name only. I call them FINOs. They are fine with a religion without evil. Ha-ha-ha! They even believe in universal salvation! I love it! These FINOs love the amorphous and homogeneity above all else. They are not much different than the Progressive humanists and social scientists. And though they congregate differently from them, the FINOs also believe that there are no limits to human perfectibility. Therefore, they do not oppose the forms of culture I offer.

Kudos to the humanists, the social scientists, the FINOs and the central planners who work to fulfill the mission statement of My Master: reduce humanity to a state of uniformity and universality – the brotherhood of man and all that. And that is why I sow seeds of discontent. I stir up the pot, so to speak. How better to create a unity of the disgruntled than to divide humans into “me, good and you, bad” groups. Again, Alinsky best described my ways with the unwilling and obstinate: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. And of course, I get them to see that difference means hierarchy and all hierarchy is oppression, especially the hierarchy of that realm of hideous and cruel light.

Lawlessness is the only proper response to hierarchy. So, I want you to banish all law-enforcement, judges, priest and pastors, et al. from existence and to unleash the gates of …prisons. You shall know me and my ways and you shall be free.

Of course, I cannot recommend the Antagonist to you. As the Master’s muse I can only sing the Master’s praises. But I do commend the fact that humans have wills and make choices. This makes my job doable. For with the right choices, one can reach the perfection I have planned for them.

Caveat. I don’t deal in consequences. I don’t have to. Humans let the chips fall where they may. They are inclined to do what they feel and to not pay attention to consequences. I am good with that. In any case, they will end up blaming others or society or the Antagonist for their problems. Ha-ha-ha! What fun!

I’m in my element when I create dilemmas – no escape dilemmas. The only solution being to beat one’s head against the wall or the revolver. Either solution will have you blaming the Antagonist and asking “Why am I here?” I’ll tell you why once you stop beating your head against the wall.

You are here to know the power to control others that is available to you. And, I am not just talking witchcraft and magic arts. You’d be interested to know that I am also talking social-economic-political power. And if you are hungry, I will offer you socialism and the brotherhood of man to feed you. If you fall down and break something, I will offer you universal healthcare. It pleases my Master to give you good things and …to remove the confusing things from your sight.

As a non-binary values adjuster, I alter signs and symbols and any of the inherited forms and distinctions associated with the Antagonist. I offer a new sacred ordering of things. One recent example.

Just last week a transgender cyclist won a woman’s cycling championship. And this was not the first time. Ha! The other women in the race whined of unfairness, saying that science was on their side and that men have a physical advantage over women. But science and reason have nothing to do with it. The ends, a new sacred order of things, justify the means – out-cycling your opponents. And what right do they have in reproaching the champion? None! The champion was right to call them out: “You have an irrational fear of trans women.” Ontology trumps anatomy!

“Deal in lies?” you ask. Of course, one should deal in lies. With lies you don’t cross a line. You move the line that someone else put there. With a lie you create a safe space for yourself. Very utilitarian. You can now do this online.

Social media is a Master-send. So, I try to claim every square inch of screen I can. For one thing, I get women to expose themselves on social-media. And why not. Social mores are oppressive, created by dead white men. And by now you know that self-image is a very important part of being on social media. It is also in my line of work. When you are not showing pictures of the food you are eating or pictures of your bikini-self, you will want to portray your ever-day respectable self as you call out others for their evil ways. Be prepared, though. Some on social-media will want to tear down your self-image. Be in their face to protect your self-image. Demand affirmation of yourself against all hearsay.

Enough about you. It is Halloween. I have to diddle some Ouija Boards and knock on some wood at seances. You know. The usual tricks and treats. “Give the people what they want” my Master says. So, I’m off. I must pick up my costume. Nothing ghoulishness. I will be going door-to-door as an aborted fetus.

 

 

 

 

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2019, All Rights Reserved