The Lone Ranger, but no Beto T-shirt

Unless one lives outside of the U.S., I’d be willing to bet that they’ve seen a “Beto for Congress” t-shirt. Beto is a junior state congressman from El Paso, Texas, who’s running for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz. And while I live in Florida, I’m a huge Beto supporter. I really want, nay, need a Beto t-shirt.

On Sunday afternoon my son, grandson, and I attended a concert/rally for Democratic candidates in downtown Dallas. I just knew I’d be able to buy a Beto t-shirt during the event.

The rally began at 2 p.m., but the three of us figured that Beto wouldn’t speak until near the end of the night. We spent the morning going to estate sales, went out for brunch, and then took a short siesta before driving to the concert around 4:30. Finding a parking place wasn’t difficult, but we had quite a hike from our “$10 a day” parking lot to the park where the concert was in full swing.

Jason had loaded a backpack with a blanket to sit on and we all took umbrellas since there was rain in the forecast. Unfortunately after we walked all the way from the parking spot we encountered a sign telling us that backpacks weren’t allowed. Grandson Jackson and I went to the end of a long line of concert goers while Jason ran back to the car with the backpack.

As Jackson and I waited in line a guy came by asking if anyone had extra tickets. The folks in front of us happened to have a pair and he bought them.

My brain said, “Huh.”

“Is the event sold out?” My mouth asked.

“Yep. Right as we arrived they put the signs up.”

“Well crap,” said my brain.

I instructed Jackson to hold our place in line while I went in search of spare tickets. I only needed two since kids’ admissions were free. I tried my luck behind us first since the guy who scored the tickets in front of us had already tried that direction. Nothing. So I went to the front of the line hoping the guy had been mistaken. Nope. The event was indeed sold out.

I texted Jason, and went back for Jackson who was nearing the front of the line. We stood near the press line figuratively beating ourselves up for not purchasing tickets in advance. Then, just as I noticed Jason crossing the street to join us, a young man came around the press barrier.

“Here,” he said. “I heard you needed a couple of tickets.”

When I tried to pay him, he refused to take the money and disappeared back into the press area with a wink and a smile. He was like our knight in shining armor, or the Lone Ranger. Hi ho, Silver!

Jason, having just read my text about the concert being sold out wasn’t expecting to see Jackson and me smiling from ear to to respective ear as he approached.

“He just gave the tickets to you? What did he look like?”

“Like the Lone Ranger, my son. Like the Lone Ranger.”

Our little group then made the rounds of all the booths in search of Beto merchandise. Unfortunately, though, like the event tickets, the Beto t-shirts were all sold out. And this time, no Lone Ranger to help out. I managed to buy this one at a booth promoting the band, Polyphonic Spree:

But I was in search of one like this:

Finally I gave up, had a Shiner (a wonderful Texas beer), a gourmet slider, and enjoyed the rally. And what a rally it was! Beto was the main event, though, and he did not disappoint. He’s running a positive grassroots campaign, never once mentioning his opponent by name, and refusing to accept money from political action committees (PAC’s).

Beto has visited every county in the sizable Lone Star State at least once and several multiple times, speaking sometimes to a handful of people and other times to groups of thousands. Texas has long been a “red” state, but Beto has a chance to upset that apple cart.

I will wear my alternative shirt proudly back in Florida. My only regret is not being able to cast a ballot for this young man in November.

Peace, and hi ho Silver, people.

Piano Player in a Whorehouse

In light of additional evidence that Donald Trump has the morals of a sewer rat, I thought I'd give my post-apocalyptic piece about The Great Trump Wall another run. Let me know what you think.

Piano Player in a Whorehouse                       By Leslie Noyes

Welcome to the Divine Church of the One True American Religion. Don't mind me. I'm the organist dressed head to toe in black robes. But if you do look carefully you might see the chains confining me to the organ. I'm playing our opening hymn, "Come, O' Come to the Cruz" as a choir of veiled women blend their voices in harmony behind me.

But this pious servitude hasn't always been my lot in life. Just a few months ago I was playing piano at May's, an establishment catering to men in need of female companionship.  

It was a Saturday night and the working girls were sashaying down the broadly curved staircase in groups of two and three. Only May herself entered the room by herself. It was part of her routine, this grand entrance, and she looked saucy and elegant in her gown of turquoise.

Men, both the rough and the refined, began assembling in May's ornate waiting room shortly after sundown on that cold winter's night, and were waiting respectfully as they viewed the diverse display of feminine beauty descending the stairs as if from heaven.

At the end of the evening, some of the men would go home to waiting wives, women whose days of child bearing and child rearing, housekeeping, laundering, and cooking, had left them too exhausted for frivolous activities such as lovemaking. 

Most of May's potential clients, though, would return to their dreary rooms in equally dreary boarding houses back in an even more dreary Texas border town. For them, the vivid pageantry at May's was the brightest spot in an otherwise colorless world.

For that moment in time, though, they were all in high spirits after a long week of hard labor building and policing The Great Trump Wall.

Through it all, the expectant arrival of clients and the sultry parade of scantily clad, prettily painted ladies, I poured my heart and soul into playing May's well-tuned grand piano, a true gem of an instrument, magnificent in appearance and quality. I played the classics: Lennon and McCartney, Morisette, Bowie, and Joplin (Janis, not Scott).

Occasionally a regular client or one of the girls asked me to sing, and often I acceded to their wishes, belting out one of the near forgotten feminist anthems from the turn of the century and bringing the listeners to tears. "I'm Just a Girl" was a crowd favorite. 

The men, all regulars, treated me with respect, and the ladies looked after me like a gaggle of big sisters. May was the mother I never had. So when an unfamiliar, but well-dressed man came through the foyer, and grabbed my left arm in mid-song, I was immediately surrounded by a protective circle. Pete, a cowboy from near El Paso, was the first to intervene.

"Hold on now. No one touches Ella," he growled menacingly. Pete knew this because his attempt at escorting me upstairs was discouraged in much the same way upon his first visit to May's.

Other men's voices chorused their agreement with Pete, but it was May herself who stepped forward to confront the man face to face. 

"Sir," she smiled gently, laying a hand on my shoulder. "Ella isn't available for my clients. She's our precious pianist, and we place great value on her artistic services." This last was said with a tinge of steel in May's voice, and gratefully I leaned back against her protective bosom.

"I'm not here for her services," the man sneered, while extracting a badge from the pocket of his embroidered waistcoat. "I am Custis L. Biggs, deputy sheriff of Hidalgo County. This woman is under arrest for inciting unpatriotic emotions under code T-001024."

"Surely, you must be mistaken. Our Ella is but an excess child. If she's done any wrong it was out of ignorance, and not intentional disrespect," May assured him.

"Excess child or not, she's been written up and must be taken in for reeducation. Ignorance of the law is no excuse." 

Without further ado he snapped cuffs on my hands and yanked me to my feet. I began crying, realizing that there was nothing May could do but stand wringing her hands as the officer led me from the only true home I'd ever known.

A chorus of supportive words followed our departure. May called, "Don't lose hope child! We'll see you again!" And I thought it was Pete's howl of frustration I heard as I was led from the protection of May's.

As it turned out my reeducation consisted of me sitting in a cold, damp cell in plain view of The Great Trump Wall. Each day for six weeks I was made to kneel while reading from The Gospel According to Cruz. From my reading I learned of the great spiritual awakening decreed after Emporer Trump created the position of Minister of Ministry and named one of his former political rivals to the post. 

I also learned that excess children like me had few rights other than the right to be born. Most like me had been abandoned at birth to be raised by strangers. I thanked my lucky stars for the seventeen sheltered years I'd enjoyed at May's, realizing they might have to suffice for a lifetime.

May was allowed to visit me once. She brought me a delicate handkerchief embroidered with words of comfort from a pre-Trump Bible: 

Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go….

I sobbed when the guards took her away, but she only said, "Be patient, child, for Pete's sake."

Upon completing the readings and swearing renewed fealty to Emporer Trump I was dressed as you see me now, in voluminous black robes that provide not a hint as to my gender, and I was reassigned to the Divine Church of the One True American Religion. My days are now as drab and lonely as my nights once were filled with excitement and affection.

Worship is mandatory, and every man who works on The Great Trump Wall must attend services daily. The staggering number of men working in shifts means that I play organ for six separate services: three in the morning and three in the evening. Only Saturdays are worship free. 

Every man now is required to give twenty-five percent of his weekly earnings to the "greater good." A slip of the minister's tongue, as he fumbled with my robes in a drunken stupor after services, informed me that the "greater good" was how the wall was being financed. I cried silently at his awkward intrusion and filed the information away for another day, taking note of where he stored the revenue.

Now as I play the solemn strains of the offertory hymn, "Render Unto Caesar" I notice a movement from the second row of the choir. A piece of cloth falls to the ground and comes to rest beneath the risers. This cannot be an accident, for the choiristers are forbidden to hold anything in their hands during services. 

None of the singers waver in their neat lines, but beneath a veil I swear I see a hint of turquoise. I blink twice and surreptitiously glance into the congregation. There on the front row nearest me, sits Pete, eyeing me earnestly, and I feel a surge of hope. The minister might be in for a bit of surprise when he comes for me tonight.

http://youtu.be/PHzOOQfhPFg

———————————-

Copyright 2016 by Leslie H. Noyes. All rights reserved.
This bit of post-apocalyptic fiction was inspired by this quote from President Harry S Truman. … "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician."
I'm not sure I'm finished with this piece yet, and would appreciate feedback. 

Peace, people.

Politics: The Lighter Side

I have to admit this political season in the United States is getting to me. One cannot turn on the TV without encountering a nasty story or stories about this candidate or the other. 

On social media one might scroll through dozens of political memes before encountering even one cute kitten video, and weren’t cute kittens the reason social media was invented? 

I’m guilty of posting the political stuff on my Facebook page. Even though there is absolutely no one on my friends’ list who doubts my political leanings I am compelled to seek out and share that one photo that just might make everyone, even obstructionists like senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, change their minds and see things my way.

  
Can you imagine? The phone rings, 

“Hello?” I say.

“Ms. Noyes, this is senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.”

“No effing way!”

“Yes, it’s me. Surprise!”I can hear the smile and goodwill in his voice.

“Look,” he continues, “I want you to know that SCOTUS meme you posted…it really made me reexamine my position. Now, not only am I going to urge members of my party to visit with the President’s nominee, but I’m going to suggest they give him a down vote so Mr. Obama can nominate a true Liberal to the court.”

“Well, it’s about time you saw the error of your ways. Would you now please ask jackassinpoughkeepsie to stop trolling me online?”

“Sure! Sure! Anything for someone as politically astute as yourself.”

Something occurs to me, “Say Mitch, you know if you go this route with the Supreme Court nominee the National Rifle Association is going to pull its support so quickly that not only will your head spin, but the heads of your children and your children’s children will look like multi-colored tops orbiting the equator.”

“No worries! I’ve stockpiled the um, donations the NRA has made to my campaign for years, so I’m set for life. For several lives, actually.”

“Good to know, Mitch. So I’m pretty busy. I need to get back to scouring the web for cute cats. I hear there’s a great video showing them jumping out of boxes.”

“Okay! Hey, keep up the good work. You really made me see the light.”

“‘Bye Mitch.”

“Goodbye Ms. Noyes.”

My imaginary conversation with Mitch made me do some soul searching. What if, instead of posting serious political memes on my Facebook page I looked for the lighter side, the Pollyanna version of politics. So with that thought I give you the following. Both sides will get skewered:

Truly. Hitler might be surprised at all of the candidates, left and right, who’ve been compared to him.
My point….
  
 
See, I’m being kind-ish.
 
 
Hadn’t seen this one before!
 
 
Mrs. Clinton does field some odd questions.
 
 
bwahaha!
 
  
  
Now, this is clever!
 
 
Sing it!
 
 
Kasich was the only one I had to struggle to find anything even remotely funny about. Kasich, the only moderately sane GOP candidate.

My personal favorite:

 
But, honestly, wouldn’t we all rather see this?

  
https://www.facebook.com/AndMyCat/posts/1224833260861682
 

And as always, Peace, people! 

The Corners

  

Standing on the corner
Of Hate and Paranoia
Hanging high, a banner
Around me, phobic patter

Blame those with darker skin!
Attack those you think sin!
Do it in the name of God!
Forget that He commanded love!

Easy to go with the flow
Buoyed by their anger’s tow
So many souls kept in thrall
To xenophobic clarion call.

But one block further down
Folks rejoice in sweetness found
Freedom reigns one street east
On the corner of Joy and Peace.

   

 Peace, people.

Piano Player in a Whorehouse

Welcome to the Divine Church of the One True American Religion. Don’t mind me. I’m the organist dressed head to toe in black robes. But if you do look carefully you might see the chains confining me to the organ. I’m playing our opening hymn, “Come, O’ Come to the Cruz” as a choir of veiled women blend their voices in harmony behind me.

But this pious servitude hasn’t always been my lot in life. Just a few months ago I was playing piano at May’s, an establishment catering to men in need of female companionship.  

It was a Saturday night and the working girls were sashaying down the broadly curved staircase in groups of two and three. Only May herself entered the room by herself. It was part of her routine, this grand entrance, and she looked saucy and elegant in her gown of turquoise.

Men, both the rough and the refined,  began assembling in May’s ornate waiting room shortly after sundown on that cold winter’s night, and were waiting respectfully as they viewed the diverse display of feminine beauty descending the stairs as if from heaven.

At the end of the evening, some of the men would go home to waiting wives, women whose days of child bearing and child rearing, housekeeping, laundering, and cooking, had left them too exhausted for frivolous activities such as lovemaking. 

Most of May’s potential clients, though,  would return to their dreary rooms in equally dreary boarding houses back in an even more dreary Texas border town. For them, the vivid pageantry at May’s was the brightest spot in an otherwise colorless world.

For that moment in time, though, they were all in high spirits after a long week of hard labor building and policing The Great Trump Wall.

Through it all, the expectant arrival of clients and the sultry parade of scantily clad, prettily painted ladies, I poured my heart and soul into playing May’s well-tuned grand piano, a true gem of an instrument, magnificent in appearance and quality. I played the classics: Lennon and McCartney, Morisette, Bowie, and Joplin (Janis, not Scott).

Occasionally a regular client or one of the girls asked me to sing, and often I acceded to their wishes, belting out one of the near forgotten feminist anthems from the turn of the century and bringing the listeners to tears. “I’m Just a Girl” was a crowd favorite. 

The men, all regulars, treated me with respect, and the ladies looked after me like a gaggle of big sisters. May was the mother I never had. So when an unfamiliar, but well-dressed man came through the foyer, and grabbed my left arm in mid-song, I was immediately surrounded by a protective circle. Pete, a cowboy from near El Paso, was the first to intervene.

“Hold on now. No one touches Ella,” he growled menacingly. Pete knew this because his attempt at escorting me upstairs were discouraged in much the same way upon his first visit to May’s.

Other men’s voices chorused their agreement with Pete, but it was May herself who stepped forward to confront the man face to face. 

“Sir,” she smiled gently, laying a hand on my shoulder. “Ella isn’t available for my clients. She’s our precious pianist, and we place great value on her artistic services.” This last was said with a tinge of steel in May’s voice, and gratefully I leaned back against her protective bosom.

“I’m not here for her services,” the man sneered, while extracting a badge from the pocket of his embroidered waistcoat. “I am Custis L. Biggs, deputy sheriff of Hidalgo County. This woman is under arrest for inciting unpatriotic emotions under code T-001024.”

“Surely, you must be mistaken. Our Ella is but an excess child. If she’s done any wrong it was out of ignorance, and not intentional disrespect,” May assured him.

“Excess child or not, she’s been written up and must be taken in for reeducation. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” 

Without further ado he snapped cuffs on my hands and yanked me to my feet. I began crying, realizing that there was nothing May could do but stand wringing her hands as the officer led me from the only true home I’d ever known.

A chorus of supportive words followed our departure. May called, “Don’t lose hope child! We’ll see you again!” And I thought it was Pete’s howl of frustration I heard as I was led from the protection of May’s.

As it turned out my reeducation consisted of me sitting in a cold, damp cell in plain view of The Great Trump Wall. Each day for six weeks I was made to kneel while reading from The Gospel According to Cruz. From my reading I learned of the great spiritual awakening decreed after Emporer Trump created the position of Minister of Ministry and named one of his former political rivals to the post. 

I also learned that excess children like me had few rights other than the right to be born. Most like me had been abandoned at birth to be raised by strangers. I thanked my lucky stars for the seventeen sheltered years I’d enjoyed at May’s, realizing they might have to suffice for a lifetime.

May was allowed to visit me once. She brought me a delicate handkerchief embroidered with words of comfort from a pre-Trump Bible: 

Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go….

I sobbed when the guards took her away, but she only said, “Be patient, child, for Pete’s sake.”

Upon completing the readings and swearing renewed fealty to Emporer Trump I was dressed as you see me now, in voluminous black robes that provide not a hint as to my gender, and reassigned to the Divine Church of the One True American Religion. My days are now as drab and lonely as my nights once were filled with excitement and affection.

Worship is mandatory, and every man who works on The Great Trump Wall must attend services daily. The staggering number of men working in shifts means that I play organ for six separate services: three in the morning and three in the evening. Only Saturdays are worship free. 

Every man now is required to give twenty-five percent of his weekly earnings to the “greater good.” A slip of the minister’s tongue, as he fumbled with my robes in a drunken stupor, informed me that the “greater good” was how the wall was being financed. I cried silently at his awkward intrusion and filed the information away for another day, taking note of where he stored the revenue.

Now as I play the solemn strains of the offertory hymn, “Render Unto Caesar” I notice a movement from the second row of the choir. A piece of cloth falls to the ground and comes to rest beneath the risers. This cannot be an accident, for the choiristers are forbidden to hold anything in their hands during services. 

None of the singers waver in their neat lines, but beneath a veil I swear I see a hint of turquoise. I blink twice and surreptitiously glance into the congregation. There on the front row nearest me, sits Pete, eyeing me earnestly, and I feel a surge of hope. The minister might be in for a bit of surprise when he comes for me tonight.

http://youtu.be/PHzOOQfhPFg
———————————-

Copyright 2016 by Leslie H. Noyes. All rights reserved.

This bit of post-apocalyptic fiction was inspired by this quote from President Harry S Truman. … “My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician.”

I’m not sure I’m finished with this piece yet, and would appreciate feedback. 

Peace, people.

Even Hitler Could Be Charming

don’t tell me how
nice your
candidate is,
what a good
christian
he claims to be;
by his actions
he will be known:
does he care
for the sick,
the disenfranchised?
do his actions
help or hinder
the betterment of the
“least of these”?
does he threaten
shutdowns when he
doesn’t get his way?
do even members
of his own party
distance themselves
from him?
take a dose of
reality
look beyond
your own
narrow interests
and call me in
the morning.