Barbarella
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I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. — John Steinbeck

‘I’m going to ask you both to sit in the back, because Riley doesn’t like to sit anywhere else — this is his seat,” Robert said. I chuckled at my father-in-law’s jest and then smiled at David, as if to say, you go ahead and ride shotgun, I’m fine with the backseat. But rather than nodding and heading for the passenger side of the jeep, David opened the door behind the driver’s seat and shot me a glance before rolling his eyes, at which point I realized no joke had been intended — Robert, who had come to collect us from the ferry we take twice a year to the island on which my parents-in-law live, expected us to ride bitch so his new bichon frisé could sit beside him up front. David and I were happy, albeit a bit bamboozled, to oblige.

When I first met my man’s parents, they had a shepherd mutt named Murdoch, who, though a part of the family, was considered to be incontrovertibly canine. Everyone mourned the day Robert had to take Murdoch to the vet for the last time. David’s sister Michelle, Murdoch’s original proprietress, officiated a stirring burial ceremony in her parents’ backyard. As sorrowful as it was to lose the pooch, at no point in the dog’s life or death did anyone elevate Murdoch to the rank of personhood. My in-laws hadn't had Riley for six months, and, already, dog was Robert’s copilot.

Of my man’s Hungarian clan, it was only David’s aunt Judith who was known to have a penchant for extreme anthropomorphizing. Mikey, her Yorkshire terrier, was not a teacup toy accessory but a furry elfin child. I never met Mikey, but I remember the outpouring of support for Judith when her companion died unexpectedly. I also recall how quickly she sought her beloved boy’s successor, a puppy of the same make and model that she named Nicholas Alexander. Judith’s preoccupation with each of her hirsute “sons” (of which I believe there have been five) has engendered a fair amount of razzing from those around her. Even her sister, Ency, has been known to occasionally seize the opportunity to draw attention to a given Yorkshire’s evident dogginess. Which is one of the reasons I was so flummoxed to witness the way my in-laws were pampering their new pup.

Judith, with her perpetual escort scuttling at her feet, arrived later on the same afternoon as we did. An onslaught of summer rain had made the drive from her home in Philadelphia more arduous, but Judith assured us that Nikki — a lover of road trips — had helped pass the time. Once inside the door, Judith paused and used a towel hanging by the entrance to wipe down each of Nikki’s paws, which had been dampened by the ten-foot sprint through the saturated grass between her car and the house. Before I had a chance to speculate as to why the towel had been there in the first place, Ency rushed forth to crouch and give Riley a rubdown from head to paw. (To mark the occasion of Judith’s arrival, the shaggy white mop of an animal had run outside yapping, tainting his tootsies in the process.)

At the dinner table, Ency, Robert, and Judith spoke as many words to the pooches milling about under our chairs as they did to each other. At one point, while in the middle of answering a question posed by David, Judith suddenly turned her head to the floor at her side and said, in her Hungarian-accented drawl, “Listen, you little beggar, doesn’t your mother feed you?” In response to his monarch’s attention, Nikki pogo’d on his hind legs four or five times, his head appearing over the edge of the table, disappearing, appearing again, and so on, until he gained enough momentum to propel himself high enough to land on Judith’s lap. With the creature in plain view, the thread David had begun to weave into desirable discourse was dropped, and the table-talk turned dog, infusing David’s elders with a youthful exuberance.

To illustrate their assertion that Riley doesn’t care for playing, Robert and Ency explained how, at a neighbor’s party, Riley snubbed another pup’s attempts to engage him. This prompted Judith to expound upon Nikki’s enthusiasm for fetching toys. After the comparison of preferred puppy leisure activities came a chain of anecdotes featuring sleeping schedules and eating habits.

While the others were caught up in an especially ardent moment of dog-parent bonding, I turned to David and said, “Remind you of anything?” I was referring to a few select visits we’d had with my family that — in the course of our nightly musings — we’d concluded had been blighted by baby-centricity.

“Yeah,” David whispered back while everyone else at the table was preoccupied with the adorability Riley had achieved — his ear had flopped into an unnatural position over the top of his head after he’d gone to town scratching at what was likely some kind of insect infestation. “But at least babies actually are people.”

I thought of the dog owners I know and realized that most don’t discipline their pets so much as attempt to reason with them. My friend Skye once took 20 minutes (during a soiree she was hosting) to admonish her pups before lecturing them on the merits of good manners. Rosa and Josue use biscuits to bargain with their furry boy, Chucho, a mini schnauzer for whom they purchase clothes at Baby Gap. Ency and Robert actually seem to expect answers after querying Riley. And Judith, leading the pack, concentrated all her maternal instincts onto a son so small she can carry him in her purse.

As much fun as it is to mock, a part of me is envious of these puppy-parent relationships. I too would someday like to keep a hairy confidant, to have a devoted follower. I thought how wonderful it would be to have a living being whose sole purpose in life is to love me, without question.

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:41 a.m.

Vlad the inhaler, the antagonist, Katy's ex. He's a stalker. Occasionally bringing Viking hordes, they raid, but Katy's too smart for the bastards (with bastard swords, no less!). One quiet evening is rudely interrupted when Tim Churchman busts uncontrollably through the wall of Katy's apartment.

"What the eff are these Vikings doing chasing me?" Tim protests, narrowly missing double-fisted swipes by Vlad's cohorts.

"Shut the eff up," Katy let loose, while her wonderfully detailed heels kicked some Vicking skull. It was impressive. Time ran out on Tim. Or maybe, Tim ran out on time. He had no idea the time machine was in his apartment. But he didn't consider it, either way.

"Wuss", Katy said, taking out yet another Viking with a high heel. It was going to be a long night. She thought about ordering Thai, but there were still eight Vikings left, and she had to kick their butts back to the seventh century. If not her, then who?

Certainly not Tim, who nursed a slightly sprained ankle in front of the door man. The door man's name was Ted, but no one knew that. "Wuss," he said to Tim. Tim sat on the couch in the lobby. How in the hell was he going to explain this away later?

He imagined it. "Mr. Blade, I'm going to be delayed. Apparently, Vikings have taken over my apartment. I'll be in as soon as I can." he cringed.

"Tim Wuss, I admit it," he said to the door man. "Just find me a motel nearby. Please."

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 2:50 a.m.

Oh! And we need ground rules. We have to have them. I propose a couple.

First, we do this by the end of November. Target of 80,000 words. Then we spend a f&%k-ton of time editing. And our name (nom-de-plume)? (brilliant?) is Sandy A. Goreader. We have to make a pact on this, right here, right now.

And if, by accident, some publisher actually thinks it's worth publishing? We give ALL PROCEEDS TOWARDS some worthwhile cause. Like the homeless.

Tell me now that wouldn't be awesome...

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Robert Hagen Aug. 1, 2009 @ 7:52 p.m.

When Mystery Man saw that Don Wall had lit up the new Camaro, he went crazy.

¨Kato!!!!!!! Transform the car!! You must transform the car!!!!¨ he cried.

Now then, among Kato´s capabilities was multitasking. He ignored the intel Dilbert, clicked his right turn signal as if he was going to pullover like a good law abiding citizen, and simultaneously dropped his drivers side window. Thne he whipped the car around, and slid it into the right side shoulder of the freeway, slightly nose end out.

San Diego motorcycle police officer Don Wall immediately sensed something was wrong, whipped around to in front of the car, and got on his bullhorn.

¨Kato, get out of the car with your hands up.¨

Then Don Wall unsnapped his trigger guard, removed his Colt .45 pistol from the holster, got off of his bike, and approached the new Camaro.

Don Wall did not play.

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Altius July 9, 2009 @ 10:52 a.m.

Could the whole doggy show have been an elaborate way to say: We want some grandkids?

It's funny, I've seen that kind of extreme doggy devotion before. And, like you, I feel repulsed and yet a tiny bit envious when I see it.

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Barbarella Fokos July 9, 2009 @ 3:19 p.m.

Ha! Altius, that's an interesting point, but I don't think it's the case. They know they're not getting any from us. I must clarify, at least for my in-laws and doggy friends cases, that I am not "repulsed" by their behavior, just fascinated. Dog asses on the carpet? Yeah, ick, but loving your furry friend? Just fine.

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Robert Hagen July 11, 2009 @ 11:24 a.m.

The mystery man was beside his limo, trying to lure Kato out with a donut.

"It's so soft, Kato. So soft and delicious."

Veronica just had to get a look at this man. She had given Tim Versace his usual glazed twist, because otherwise he would bitch.

'Who the hell ate my glazed twist donut?!' Tim would ask, and stomp around the showroom until he thought he detected the guilty party.

Otherwise, Tim Versace would know the man split for the backlot. Then it was process of elimination time. Hey, Tim Versace was not a fighter, he was a lover, but he had grown up on the mean streets of Detroit. When a bully tried to chase him, he'd run through traffic on a busy street. The bullies would pull up on the sidewalk, wave him off and say to themselves, 'we'll get that loudmouth later.' Then Tim Versace would choose a rooftop, because he knew where all the mean dudes hung out.

'Why don't you go pick on someone your own size?!' he'd yell.

The first thing the bullies would do is start scanning roof tops. 'The little chumps' on one of these rooftops.' the bullies would be saying to themselves. Anyway, back to the story.

Veronica sashayed on over to the limo and said

"Kato, would you like a donut?"

The door opened and Kato stepped out of the limousine.

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Barbarella Fokos July 11, 2009 @ 4:01 p.m.

Diegonomics, are you trying to publish a novel, comment by comment? What gives with the abstract stuff?

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David Dodd July 11, 2009 @ 4:25 p.m.

"Diegonomics, are you trying to publish a novel, comment by comment? What gives with the abstract stuff?"

Yeah, but you have to admit two things: It's wonderfully non sequitur, and those donuts sound yummy.

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Robert Hagen July 12, 2009 @ 2:20 a.m.

Dear Barbarella, Its an internet serial. USA Today has a new Superman serial every Wednesday, so its a fairly legitimate form of blog. Heres the next installment. Tell me what you think, or if you think its inappropriate:

Mystery Man rushed toward Kato and said

"Theres no more donuts! I want to fight you Kato, because you broke my car! Why should I pay you?! I call the cops on you, Kato, so fast. You dont know me! I want you to respect me, Kato. So now, Kato. You give me keys to transformer car."

Kato just looked at him.

"Now, Kato, now!" demanded Mystery Man.

Tim Versace was over looking at the dent in the rear quarterpanel. 'Its not that bad' he thought.

Kato saw Tim Versace in his peripheral vision. In a veritable blur, he ran over to the dent, turned his back to it, and delivered a horse kick using the underside of his heel to the undercarriage of the stretch Benz. It raised up on its suspension as Kato ran back toward the drivers door, snatched a donut from Veronica, and jumped back in the car. When the car settled on its suspension, the dent popped out on its own, pretty as you please.

'I just cannot believe this guy' thought Tim Versace.

"Kato, would you like a napkin?" said Veronica, practically swooning.

Kato stepped back out of the vehicle, looking at Mystery Man. Veronica went up to Kato, smoothed his lapels, and adjusted his shirt collar. She saw a necklace chain, and pulled it out, saying

"Ooooh, Kato! Whats this?"

It was a small yin and yang.

"It for luck." said Kato.

"But what does it represent?" asked Veronica.

"It mean balance. Daytime, night time. World change by itself. Daytime, go to work, body tired, but get strong. Night time body rest, not work, but still grow strong for balance. My grandfather give this to me, and say Kato, your mashal art for you to learn how life is."

Veronica could not believe what she had just heard.

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Joe Poutous July 12, 2009 @ 1:02 p.m.

I have seen the "dogs are people" syndrome happen to friends parents... and it always makes me think "damn I'm glad my dad is into the whole "god is people" think instead.

You can't buy god clothes at Baby Gap. No one talks all cutsie to god.

Joe

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SDaniels July 13, 2009 @ 9:59 a.m.

I know "Mashal arts," too, diegonomics. Boil some fine peeled or unpeeled Yukon golds, then inundate them with butter, cream, and a medley of herbs of your choice. Mash away, but be careful not to let the works get too gluey. Serve steaming hot with a little grated Asiago.

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Barbarella Fokos July 13, 2009 @ 11:40 a.m.

Okay, it's not even noon, but now I've got a hankering for carbs and cheese. ;)

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 3:52 a.m.

I agree with everything but the proceeds going to charity. Not that I don't support charity; I practice random acts of kindness whenever I creep out of my tent in the back alley, and brush off the leaves.

Seriously, it would feel better to be paid for writing for a change--and buy some new shoes--NOT Ed Hardy, however. Christian Louboutins. Electric red. Jeez, with all this talk of shoes, one might think I worship them, like my "fetishist." Thanks, Mindy :)

refried, I am fried, but will comment on our Viking 'baby' tomorrow...yeee--ahhhnnn.

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Robert Hagen July 14, 2009 @ 8:28 a.m.

(Sounds tasty, SDaniels, just don't mix martial arts with too much alcohol:) Yes, I believe the ultimate purpose of martial arts is not to fight, but to learn not to fight, and instead how to live life better. When you start out, you have to protect yourself, and maybe, like young people do, you may get into a scrap. As people see that you can defend yourself, you don't necessarily have to fight, and you can begin to learn Ugokido - art of motion. I totally dig cheese, Barbarella:)

No, Kato! You are incorrect once more. The yin & yang mean harmony between male and female. The color is not day and night, it is good and evil. The symbol make a human face. You see the eyes? You see, Veronica? There is a little bad in even the best person, and a little bit of good in even the most bad person. If you learn about yourself, and understand yourself, then you can become human, like the face. Kato doesn't know, because he can't read or write. I give him magazines and say 'Kato, you want to read?' He just look at the pictures of the pretty girls."

Kato was munching on a donut, seemingly not paying any attention to Mystery man. Veronica took a napkin and wiped a little around Katos mouth. She liked to flirt. Kato had read whole books on the meaning of the yin & yang. Tim Versace was peering over Veronicas shoulder at his small medallion, deep in thought. He rubbed his chin for a moment and said

"Hey Kato, you want to take the new Camaro for a spin?

"Yes. Sweet." said Kato.

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CuddleFish Sept. 26, 2009 @ 12:51 p.m.

"This is a groundbreaking internet serial called 'Condo.' " Move over, James Joyce.


LOL!

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Robert Hagen July 16, 2009 @ 7:25 p.m.

"Kato! I will drive transformer car! You do not know the path! Look at the Yin & Yang! You don't see it! It is the path a person must travel through life. On one side is good. On one side is bad. Each day, we must choose between good and bad."

Kato tensed up, and Veronica asked

"Kato, are you alright?"

"Yin & Yang not make a face. It make a mirror of you, and who you are." said Kato.

Mystery Man launched into a tirade in Chinese, stomping angrily and gesticulating wildly. He was stating his thoughts on the meaning of the Yin & Yang. Finally he stopped, took a deep breath, composed himself, and said in English:

"You contradict me, Kato. Don't lie, because I just heard you contradict me. Next time you contradict me Kato, its over. Its over for good. I can drive, Kato. I don't need you. You need me. I always try to take care of you, Kato, but I can't. Because you want to fight with me. Because your skull is too thick. So I say to you, Kato, give me the keys to Transformer car, or I call the cops on you. I mean it, Kato."

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Robert Hagen July 21, 2009 @ 1:22 p.m.

"Okay, boss" said Kato simply, as he handed the car keys to Mystery Man.

"Oh, Kato! You make me happy and overjoyed!" cried Mystery Man.

Both men turned expectantly toward Tim Versace, who said

"Veronica, please lead these fine gentlemen to the latest spectacular offering from the new General Motors."

Veronica bowed ceremoniously, and said

"Right this way, gentlemen."

The group stepped onto the lot, and right next to the new Camaro, was parked a 2010 Ford Mustang. Tim Versace feigned surprise, and said

"Veronica, why is there a 2010 Ford Mustang parked next to the new Camaro? You know how the Mustang displeases me."

"For comparison purposes, Mr. Versace." replied Veronica pleasantly.

"But the rear hood seam where it transitions to the windshield. Its hard on the lower lumbar region when one is kicking back on the hood." remarked Tim Versace.

Veronica giggled at that one. Tim Versace was a real class clown, and always had been.

"Has the Mustang been configured in a style of my liking, beautiful Veronica?"

"It has a V-6 with standard transmission." said Veronica.

"Awesome. Then lets do this. Kato, I suggest we drive both cars, to make sure the Chevy is what you want."

Mystery Man leapt in and jabbed a finger.

"Kato will drive transformer car first!" he demanded, and handed Kato back the keys.

"Okay, boss." said Kato simply.

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SDaniels July 21, 2009 @ 2:24 p.m.

diegonomics: My advice is to start your very own blog here on the Reader, rather than gum up Barbarella's or anyone else's threads (fyi, it really isn't polite).

Just click on Neighborhoods to get started :)

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Robert Hagen July 26, 2009 @ 10:37 p.m.

"Kato!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"You must race the barbarian!" yelled Mystery Man.

Veronica got excited when Mystery Man said that. She knew that Tim Versace was a legend on the Mile of Cars for his driving prowess. She remembered the last time someone challenged him.

Her mind flashed back:

Early one morning, Tim Versace was reading the morning paper when he heard a throaty husk. He peered over his newspaper and saw a Dodge Challenger (probably modified) cruising by the dealership.

VROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!! VROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The goofy fu#%er revved his engine, then took off in a split second. Instantly, Tim Versace crushed the styrofoam cup of coffee in his hand, and said

"Chevy!- Chevy!!" ala Timmy on South Park.

Veronica was all aflutter in the showroom.

"Tim, don't!" she cried, because she knew that Tim Versace had racing in his blood. The Dodge Challenger whirled around, and made another fast pass by the dealership. Tim gestured to Veronica, but she was already on the phone, and said

"Tim, he's from out of town, and thinks he's hot stuff."

Tim Versace stood up, and strode for the Corvette keys that were on the board. He got in the car, took it to the back of the entry lane on the lot, accelerated full bore, brought it out over the sidewalk, and swung it around in a full 360 degree spin. It came to a halt perfectly positioned in the right hand lane. Tim Versace stuck it in neutral, revved the engine, popped it into gear and took off into light speed. At the next light, he braked, whipped the back end around, and made a perfect stop, backwards, at the limit line. He roared back to the dealership, kicking the back end out as he made the left turn into the lot, then slowed, and parked the Corvette.

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Robert Hagen July 26, 2009 @ 11:56 p.m.

I saw that post. Who runs this blog? Is it SDaniels? Or you? If I needed advice from debutantes I'd ask. If Barbarella doesn't like what I post, she can say so. Instead, I see the furry creatures thread is still going. If either you or SDaniels can match my journalistic credentials, in any way, shape or form, then say so. Otherwise russl, see #17.

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SDaniels July 27, 2009 @ 12:12 a.m.

"Diegonomics, are you trying to publish a novel, comment by comment? What gives with the abstract stuff?"

by Barbarella

Your journalistic credentials might have provided you the hint, diegonomics.

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David Dodd July 27, 2009 @ 12:36 a.m.

diego, while I can sort of dig how your steampunk-meets-the-Green-Hornet stuff is wonderfully esoteric, I feel that it's my obligation as a giving, caring, and concerned fellow writer to remind you that whatever you comment here is probably no longer publishable. Somewhere, presuming that a publisher or a literary agent discovers your genious, they WILL google a sentence or two of what you submit. And when they find it on the internet, they are going to send you one of those form letters that says, "Thanks, but I don't think that we can adequately represent you at this time."

And, presuming that you've been published, then you know the letter I'm talking about.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 3, 2009 @ 4:27 p.m.

Kato looked in the rearview mirror. Don Wall had his pistol in hand, but unlevelled. Kato looked to Don Walls off hand. Don Wall signalled. He pointed toward his walkie talkie and opened and closed his index and thumb fingers.

'Talk to me.´ was the signal.

Kato removed his modified pòlice scanner from his breast pocket, depressed the transmit button, scratched the microphone lightly, and kept pressing the button. Don Wall heard a little static, then Mystery Man, completely going off.

¨Yes! Yes, Kato! I want you to use the control and transform the car! I want you to make a big robot! But dont smash anything, Kato, or I will f/%& you up! Do it, Kato, or Ill fu(/ you up.¨

Don Wall heard every word through his walike talkie. He reholstered his weapon, stepped back to his Bavarian Motor Works Police Special, and said through the bullhorn

¨PASSENGER. STEP OUT OF THE VEHICLE.¨

Mystery Man said

¨Kato!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The cop want to talk to me!! Open the door for me, right now!¨

Kato reached across the front seats of the new Camaro, opened the passenger door, and lightly pushed it.

Mystery Man leapt out, more furious than ever before.

¨Kato!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You supposed to open the door for me from the outside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!¨

Mystery Man whirled around in a blur, closed the door with a spinning back kick, whirled around again and with a powerful side kick, broke the passenger window.

¨Im so sick of your s***, Kato! You dont know me! Dont leave. Dont go anywhere, Kato. I be right back. You stay here, Kato. If you leave, I will fu·$ you up. Im not lying to you, Kato, because I dont tell lies. I told you before, Kato.¨

With that, Mystery Man went back to talk to Don Wall.

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Robert Hagen July 29, 2009 @ 7:40 p.m.

R.F: You misspelled genious, but hey, I´m not trippin. And BTW, if Commie Girl loved me half as much as MY homegirl Randi Rhodes does, I´d be a happy camper. The plain fact is, I used to tweak balls, but now I don´t. If my Dad makes me sleep outside for misbehaving, whats it to you?

AND, YOU DONT KNOW HOW TO COOK.)

................................................................. Kato and Mystery Man got in the new Camaro.

¨I want you to go fast, Kato!¨ said Mystery Man.

Kato turned around and looked at Tim Versace. He raised his hand, and beckoned, ´come here´. Then he started the Camaro, and revved the engine. Tim Versace hurried for the 2010 Mustang.

¨Jump in, Veronica!¨ he said.

¨Really?!¨ exclaimed Veronica, even as she jumped in the passenger side, and clicked her seat belt.

Kato took off down the street, absolutely hauling ass.

Tim Versace pulled out, kicking the Mustangs rear end hard to the left, back around to the right, and then swinging it into line as he shifted into second. Knowing he would catch Kato, he took a look in the rear view at Don Wall. Don was hopping on his bike when Tim Versace turned his attention back to the road.

´Hes making for the freeway´ thought Tim Versace.

Sure enough, Kato wound out the new Camaro, weaving through traffic as he went.

¨Faster, Kato! You embarass me!¨ cried Mystery Man.

Tim Versace knew where the freeway onramp was and estimated his speed. When Kato took the rounding right at over 60 mph, Tim Versace put the pedal to the metal, and put his right hand on Veronicas shoulder.

¨Hold on, babe.¨ he said, as he slid the Mustang into the side of the new Camaro in the turn, knocked Kato into the roadside dirt, upshifted, and engaged his turn signal, ready to merge.

When Kato hit the dirt, he stomped on the accelerator to gain traction, made a huge rooster tail, and whipped back onto the road. Tim Versace was looking in the rear view mirror and could not believe what he just saw.

The race was on.

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SDaniels July 29, 2009 @ 9:17 p.m.

Well refried, is it still "wonderfully non sequitur?" For the record, I'm sure you can cook :)

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Robert Hagen July 29, 2009 @ 10:58 p.m.

You are too kind, SD.

When Don Wall approached the onramp on his Bavarian Motor Works Police Special, he saw the dirt Kato was spraying as he corrected after Tim Versace sideswiped him, and knew that was no place for a motorcycle to lean into. He hit his lights and siren, braked, and rode straight up the embankment, turned, and began rolling down the hill. Don Wall was not about to slide out, if he could help it.

Don Walls Rules of the Road:

1) Let the good times roll

2) Watch the road

3) Signal your intentions

4) Avoid intoxicants while driving

5) Arrive alive

6) Learn to ride on the dirt before riding on the street

7) Wear appropriate riding apparel

8) Kids, don't try this at home

9) Brake evenly with front and rear brakes

10) Remember that I am on patrol

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David Dodd July 30, 2009 @ 12:27 a.m.

I can cook just fine, thanks, SD ;)

And I couldn't care less what diegonomics stick into the comment section of Barb's story, I was simply pointing out something obvious.

It reminds me of a story. Maybe fifteen years ago, in the middle of my horseracing days, I had a friend named Robert. I met him in the race book in Tijuana and we became friends. We were both pretty good, we won a lot more than we lost. We would be there all day, and leave when we ran out of anything that we were interested in betting.

When Robert won money, he liked to visit the strip joints. He was single and he loved Mexican women. He would drag me along, my Spanish was much better than his. Sometimes I would translate his negotiating if he found a girl attractive and, well, you know. He would leave with he and I would go home.

One evening after a profitable day at the races, he took me to a place I hadn't been before. I had seen it and known about it, it was a fairly rough biker hangout that had floorshows every couple of hours or so. We sat in there and drank overpriced beer and watched the strippers do their thing until that round of shows ended. Then they open up the floor for general dancing. In such circumstances, the dance floor isn't very crowded, the guys would rather just buy the girl a drink.

Suddenly, four kids that were eighteen or twenty came in and started dancing on the stage, provocatively, rubbing all over each other, putting on quite a show. I looked at Robert and he just shrugged. He told me that he'd seen it before and didn't understand it either. They left after about five minutes. Apparently, the troupe went from bar to bar and did this.

In a literary way, I suppose, diegonomics reminds me of those guys.

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SDaniels July 30, 2009 @ 6:44 p.m.

In that case, the show should be over soon :)

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Robert Hagen July 30, 2009 @ 6:54 p.m.

R.F.

I don´t frequent biker bars, because when I grew up in Arizona, if you weren´t a biker, you didn´t go in there. But nowadays times have changed. Betting the horses is something I think should be recreational, but I´m not a lucky gambler. Anyway, thank you for the kind words. I´m down in Tijuana right now, and plan on going to the Pepe Aguilar concert tonight. I appreciate you guys letting me blog on the reader site. I know I´m something of an eccentric geek, and am still working on controlling my tongue, and keyboard, when I´m buzzed. Thanks again.

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Duhbya Sept. 27, 2009 @ 7:04 a.m.

Response to #102: I'm guessing you've already considered this, why not take a stab at Pedro Pistola? That could be epic (urean?).

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Robert Hagen Aug. 6, 2009 @ 7:14 a.m.

"What the hell is going on here?" asked Don Wall.

"Its a long story, officer." said Mystery Man.

"Alright, well lets get this vehicle off the road. Is Kato alright to drive?"

"Yeah. If he would pay attention, if he would do what I tell him, and not make me angry, I wouldn't make trouble." said Mystery Man.

"Okay, well I'll meet you back at the dealership, and we can see whats going on here. Fair enough?" said Don Wall.

The Origin of Kato

Many years ago, in China, Kato was a small orphan who lived on the streets, less than ten years old. One morning, Mystery Man was getting out of his Mercedes coupe. Mystery Man was a successful business man, the owner of a dojo, and a master of the art of negotiation. He heard yelling.

"Bring that back!" yelled a grocery seller, racing after little Kato, who had two vegetables in his hand. The grocer caught Katos collar, but then Kato ducked down and rolled on the sidewalk, allowing the grocer to trip and fall over him.

Kato jumped back up, and whizzed by Mystery Man, then skidded to a halt. A policeman, with baton in hand, approached and said

"At last, we meet again. Do you remember when you kicked my shin?"

Kato whirled, saw the grocer on one side, and the cop on the other. He looked at Mystery Man, with stark fear in his eyes, then darted under Mystery Mans Mercedes, and began chomping hungrily on the food. Nobody cared about Kato, only he cared about himself. Mystery Man peered under his car and looked at the grocer. He averted his eyes when the police officer arrived. He had a decision to make. Save the young waif if he could, or go his own way. In China, the police could be dangerous. It was a delicate situation. Mystery Man said to the grocer

"Im so sorry my helper did not pay for the food I asked for. Here, please accept your payment." Mystery Man handed him about a months pay. That mollified the grocer, to say the least.

"Come back any time." he told young Kato, and left.

The police officer was now intrigued, and disposed to negotiate. Maybe the rich man would take young Kato away. The orphan boy was too fast to catch, and it hurt him to think of punishing a boy so young.

"I wish there was something I could do, but when boys begin a life of crime, who knows where it leads?" said the police officer.

"I think this may be my grandson, but I don't know. His face is do dirty." said Mystery Man.

"Take him home, then." said the police officer.

Thats why Kato was scared of cops. And the Grandfather who gave Kato the yin & yang medallion? It was Mystery Man.

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Joe Poutous Sept. 27, 2009 @ 7:24 a.m.

A good working title might be "Furry Children". Sounds like the title to an extremely wack soap opera.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 7, 2009 @ 8:23 a.m.

Don Wall led the new Camaro back to the dealership, and into the lot. Kato parked it in the same location.

Tim Versace was over at the Ford dealership, bragging and imitating Eric Cartman on South Park, in front of the salesmen and employees.

"RESPECT MY AUTHORITY! YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!"

He exclaimed. His arch rivals at Ford were just shaking their head.

Tim and Veronica strolled off of the lot, leaving the loaner Mustang, and headed back to their place of employment.

When Kato was parked, Mystery Man said

"Kato! Open the door for me!"

Kato emerged from the vehicle, leapt in an angular direction over onto the roof, landed on his butt on the roof, and slid off of it by the passenger door. He opened it for Mystery Man.

BLAM!

Mystery Man kicked the interior of the door outward from his seated position to make it hit Katos leg, but Kato stepped out of the way. Mystery Man leapt out, furious.

"You supposed to walk around the car, Kato! I told you before! You don't know me! I'll put you in the zoo, Kato!"

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Robert Hagen Aug. 7, 2009 @ 9:12 a.m.

"Whats the deal here?" asked Don Wall to Mystery Man.

"Kato dont want to obey me." said Mystery Man.

"Would you describe him as uncooperative?" asked Don Wall, diplomatically.

"Dont you understand English? I just told you, less than fifteen seconds ago, Kato dont want to obey me." said Mystery Man.

Don Wall cleared his throat and put his head down a little bit, like as if he was thinking, then said

"Would you describe this as a situation that can be resolved, peaceably."

"If Kato will do as I say, then yes."

"Thats really all I wanted to know. Im going to issue a verbal warning, and then get back on patrol. Are you cool with that?"

"No, Fu$% no, I not cool with that. You know what Kato do this morning?" said Mystery Man.

"No, what?" replied Don Wall.

"He leave my golf clubs at hotel. Every fuc&%ng time he leave my golf clubs at hotel. I say 'Kato, where are my golf clubs?' He know very well where are the golf clubs. They back at hotel. Now what Im supposed to play golf with, my putter?"

"So, you detect a pattern of misconduct?"

"He dont obey me. He say 'I eco-style, boss. Golf course waste water.' But the truth- Kato very thirsty when he was little boy."

"Actually golf courses do use alot of water and resources." said Don Wall.

"Thats why I pay alot for golf course. I negotiate on golf course, and do business. It relax me, too. You see, Im smart. You know else Kato do?" said Mystery Man.

"No, what else did he do?" asked Don Wall.

"He join Army. I tell Kato, 'Kato, you must study and go to school. I pay for everything. I want you be a scholar.' He dont listen. He go join Army, anyway."

Don Wall just nodded understandingly.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 10, 2009 @ 11:19 p.m.

Kato - Origins - Field Jump!

The airplane soared toward the mountain top. Kato crouched, placed his right gloved hand on the forward edge of the side opening. He was attired in the very latest experimental Chinese Army parachuting equipment. He looked out and forward. At the right time he would jump, and attempt the one of the most dangerous of parachute jumps - the low altitude low opening jump. The LALO. The idea was to catch the onrushing wind as it came over the mountain top. It would open his chute just in time and he would land on the front side of the mountain side. Hopefully.

In his mind, he remembered the words of his grandfather:

'Don't be afraid, Kato. Never be afraid.'

The jumpmaster cried "Go, Kato! Go!"

He leaped from the aircraft, tucked into a ball, flipped over once, and with his back to the forward side of the mountain top, pulled his ripcord. The parachute opened explosively, just as he was about to hit the mountainside. Into the forward side of the mountain he flew, then landed, first with feet, then throwing up his forearms just in time to prevent his upper torso from impacting into the mountain. He released his parachute and saw it fly over the mountain top, flipped onto his back, dug in with his heels as he began sliding down the mountain, came to a stop, unholstered his weapon. Then he listened, looked and moved.

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Barbarella Fokos Sept. 27, 2009 @ 10:36 a.m.

Tikicult says: "you guys are rad."

I second that emotion.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 11, 2009 @ 9:23 a.m.

"You know what else?" asked Mystery Man.

"No, what else?" responded motorcycle patrolman Don Wall.

"Kato afraid of the cops."

"He's what?"

"No bulls%*t. He scared a the cops." said Mystery Man.

"Why?" asked Don Wall.

"Because, when Kato was young boy, he always run from the cops. He scared the cops going to catch him." explained Mystery Man.

Don Wall did have to admit to himself that he sensed a certain amount of apprehension from Kato, but this was a revelation.

"Thats hard to believe." said Don Wall.

"Its true." said Mystery Man.

"Well, why don't you go speak with him for a moment."

Don Wall decided to play this incident as a domestic disturbance. Have the squabbling parties speak with each other, and observe their demeanor. He had no intention of getting into it with Kato. It was obvious he was some sort of GI Joe.

Mystery Man stalked over to the new Camaro.

"Get out of the car, Kato! The cop going to arrest you now! He going to write you a ticket, and take you to jail! He want your autograph, Kato, on his ticket!" cried Mystery Man.

Kato looked in the rearview at Don Wall, who slouched slightly and innocuously. Katos eyes widened as he listened and looked, in case there was back up on the way. He emerged from the vehicle.

"Go talk to the cop, Kato, so he could handcuff you!" said Mystery Man.

Kato knew there was no way one police officer was going to catch him, and had a good feeling about Don Wall. Yet the plain truth was that police gave Kato the willies. The obvious choice was to make for the Mercedes limo, jump in and hunker down. It was practically impervious. Kato knew, because he was a test driver for Mercedes security limousines. What made him comply was Don Wall's motorcycle. Kato remembered when he got his first bicycle, and what a joy it was to ride. He wanted to know more about Don Walls motorcycle, so he walked over to Don Wall, while removing his sunglasses.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 11, 2009 @ 9:23 a.m.

Don Wall faced slightly away from Kato, toward Mystery Man, and said

"I don't think it's necessary to arrest Kato."

Mystery Man stomped his feet and threw his fists downward, and yelled

"I want you to arrest him. I want you put him in a zoo, someplace!"

"What that?" asked Kato to Don Wall, pointing to his shirt sleeve, below which showed a tiny bit of a tattoo.

Don Wall pulled up his shirt sleeve and showed Kato his tattoo, saying

"It's a peace sign."

"What is it, Kato? Get back, I must look first!" cried Mystery Man excitedly.

"How can you have that?" asked Kato.

"Fu%&in A, Kato, I'm a peace officer." said Don Wall.

"It mean he a hippie, Kato! I know what that means! Get back now, I must see the hippie symbol!" screamed Mystery Man, now in a frenzy.

Kato knew just how to distract him. As Mystery Man went to look at Don Walls tattoo, Kato took off for the Mercedes limo, and leaped in the passenger door, at absolutely astonishing speed. Don Wall could barely believe what he just saw.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 11, 2009 @ 11:19 p.m.

KATO -ORIGINS - BAR FIGHT!

After Kato made that test jump, his homeboys said

"Look, Kato, go drink over at that bar."

So he went.

Inside, he ordered a beer, and stooped over it. Then, a commotion could be heard outside. Kato turned and looked toward the entrance. A man appeared, dressed in slick black leather. Then an enormous bouncer sauntered up to him, and said

"No, you will not come in here tonight."

Then the bouncer smiled, what Kato thought was a stupid smile, because, why smile?. Kato knew it meant the bouncer thought he could beat the man in slick black leather.

"Are you sure?" asked the man in slick black leather.

The bouncer just smiled more, meaning yes, he was sure.

Now Kato was really interested, and saw everything.

SLAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The man in slick black leather slapped the bouncer so hard and so fast that the bouncer looked at the man in black stupidly, rocked around on his heels once or twice, and fell forward, face first, unconscious, to the ground.

The people in the bar murmured. The man in slick black leather tugged his black leather jacket down from the waist, and sauntered toward Kato, and said

"HEY! KATO!"

Kato responded

"Yeah?"

"I heard you made a pretty good jump!"

"Who are you?" asked Kato.

"They call me Jet."

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 2:54 p.m.

"What type of person am I? Do I embrace groundbreaking, really quite revolutionary art forms, or am I a thread burning type, lurking around the web with a torch and a few spooked neighbors in the wee hours, probably after filling up on Yukon Jack?"

Clearly, the latter, considering some of your transmissions to other posters. Alcohol does not mix well with your meds.

"Hi." said Don Wall, querulously."

"Nothing." said Veronica, entirely non persuasively."

Wow! Groundbreaking! I am glad you use a lot of adverbs, diego--otherwise I just wouldn't know how to feel about things! ;)

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David Dodd Sept. 26, 2009 @ 3:03 p.m.

"Wow! Groundbreaking! I am glad you use a lot of adverbs, diego--otherwise I just wouldn't know how to feel about things! ;)"

Yeah, and between that and whatever is constantly going on in or around Veronica's armpits, I'm pretty sure that the people from Oprah aren't going to be on the trail of this urban-steampunk meets Sailor Moon adventure anytime soon.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 17, 2009 @ 9:29 p.m.

Can I buy you a drink? asked Kato, relaxedly.

"Yeah, sure." said the Jet. Then he sauntered over to the bar and sat beside Kato.

"BARTENDER! My usual!" exclaimed the Jet.

The bartender emerged from the darker recesses of the bar, trembling visibly. He poured a cup of the very best tea, then delivered it on a saucer. He looked at Kato helplessly.

"Where's my chaser!?" demanded Jet, standing up.

"Please, Kato. We don't want more trouble."

Kato just looked at the bartender even more piercingly. The bartender shuffled over to his fountain and poured Jet a large cup of water. The Jet took the glass of water and splashed it on the prostrate bouncer's face. The bouncer awoke, shook his head, saw the Jet, and scurried out of the bar without so much as a peep.

The Jet went back to his seat. Kato saw everything, but showed no emotion. Instead, he asked "Jet, don't you want a beer?"

"I would like to drink a beer, but when my father came home drunk, he abused my family physically. He made me go get beer on credit, then I have pay the tab by working for the store.So I don't want to make my fathers mistakes."

Just then, an even bigger bouncer, with a club in his hand walked in and said

"Jet, you know we don't have a problem with you. But every time you show up, you scare our customers. I ask you formally, please go, Jet. Then tomorrow, maybe you are not so mad, and can be welcome."

"Are you sure?" asked the Jet.

"Yes, I'm quite sure." answered the bouncer with quiet determination.

BLAMMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Jet had backhanded his teacup into the bouncers face at near supersonic speed. He dropped clutching his mouth, and whimpering.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 18, 2009 @ 10:30 p.m.

The Jet then took his tea saucer, and threw it toward the downed bouncer. It landed in front of the downed bouncers face. Then Jet threw a hook kick, over the bouncers head.

POW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jet dropped his heel on to the mans head, and it smashed intothe tea saucer, face first.

"Never challenge me. said the Jet, to the whole room.

"Because if you do, I will get you."

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Robert Hagen Aug. 24, 2009 @ 8:36 a.m.

Kato was in the limo, checking out a scene from the new action flick 'GI Joe' on the limos flat screen. Kato loved the movies. Before his grandfather found him, Kato would sneak into the movie theater, and snatch egg rolls from movie goers, drink half empty sodas, and scrunch up in a seat, to watch a movie. His favorites were martial arts films. The movies provided little Kato with a picture of the world at large. Now that he was a man, and had achieved some of the things he had only dreamed of as a child, he still loved the movies.

Meanwhile, Tim Versace and Veronica were moseying down the Mile of Cars, passing by the Toyota dealership. Tim looked over into the showroom, and sure enough, there he was - Cujo, Tim Versaces arch nemesis. Tim had given him his nickname, because Cujo was doggedly persistent, even rabid in his pursuit of car sales.

Cujo would stay until after the dealership closed, working a deal. Cujo would get to the dealership early, examine inventory, make notes, then stretch out and do exercises. Versace thought he was nuts.

Tims cell phone rang. He looked at the incoming call indicator- GM Detroit. 'Oh, Sh*t.' thought Tim Versace, showing Veronica who was calling.

"What are you going to do?" asked Veronica.

Tim shrugged, and took the call.

"Hello?"

"Versace you fu*&ing dirtbag, you're fired!"

Click. Versace hung up on him, and handed the phone to Veronica, saying "Soften him up."

The phone rang again immediately. Veronica answered, saying "Tim Versace Enterprises, may I help you?"

"Give him the phone!"

"Tim Versace Enterprises, this is Tim."

"Versace, I have a report that you've been street racing. Is this true?"

"Well...."

"Thats a yes or no question!"

"Yes." Tim admitted.

"And who were you racing?"

"His names Kato."

"Oh, really? Is he a martial artist?" asked the executive.

"Of course. Hes Asian. All Asians are martial artists." said Tim Versace matter of factly. On the phone he could hear the executive sighing, as if Tim Versace were stupid.

"Where is Kato now?"

"I don't know. I sideswiped him and I think Don Wall pulled him over."

"Don Wall, huh? Is that a cop?" asked the executive.

"Yeah, hes a motorcycle cop." said Tim Versace.

"For what city?"

"City of San....Diego." Tim replied, finally wondering to himself what Don Wall was doing in National City. 'Oh sh&*.' thought Tim Versace again. He looked up and Cujo was staring at him intently from the showroom, then shook his head slowly, like as if Tim was such a dummy.

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SDaniels Sept. 29, 2009 @ 5:09 p.m.

Ah, at least three of us work from la casa, then Duhbya; hence the ability to indulge one's frequent bouts of Tourette's :) I think your input on any creative project would be very valuable--you are the s***, and your helpless little (IT clients, I assume) whingers best know it!

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Joe Poutous Sept. 26, 2009 @ 7:40 p.m.

Maybe we should all start contributing chapters and F it all up.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 25, 2009 @ 8:08 a.m.

"What do you have to say for yourself, Versace?" demanded the head honcho from Detroit.

"I was just trying to move some units, that's all."

"Thats the same B.S. excuse I get from dealerships around the country. You're a kink, Versace. A well dressed kink."

"Yes, sir." said Tim Versace, quietly.

"Don't let this happen again, you hear me?"

"Yes, sir."

"Alright. And hey, Tim-"

"Yes?"

CLICK. The call ended.

Tim Versace sighed and put his cellphone in his pocket, giving Veronica a look. No sooner did he do that than the phone rang again. Versace checked the incoming call indicator- it was Tim's Los Angeles Mercedes body man, Ben. He took the call.

"Yeah Ben, what's up?"

"Tim, I got the color match for the Mercedes limo, but there's something I think you should know."

"Fill me in."

"That limo has unique color code."

"Unique how?" asked Tim Versace.

"Unique as in there's only one painted that color. The Mercedes factory had it painted in Dusseldorf."

"You're kidding me." said Tim Versace.

"Nope. Not only that, the chauffeur of that limo is a test driver for Mercedes security limos. He trains chauffeurs for some of the richest people in Hollywood."

'Oh, s%$t.' thought Tim Versace, rubbing his eyes.

"Okay, well special order the paint from Germany right away."

"You got it. Tim, can I ask you a question?"

"Yeah."

"What the hell is going on down there?"

Tim Versace sighed.

"Just trying to move some units, Ben. Just trying to move some units."

"Okay, then. But be nice to that guy, huh?" said Ben.

"Sure."

The call ended and Tim Versace's shoulders drooped. He was feeling very deflated. Veronica didn't say anything. They started walking again, when they heard a voice.

"Hey, Versace."

Tim turned around. It was Cujo.

"Come on in, I want to buy you a cup of coffee. Where you been?"

Tim Versace's mood brightened immediately. Maybe it wouldn't turn out to such a bad day after all.

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 4:19 p.m.

Aw, shucks! :) Why don't you two join in when you have a chance? We can illustrate with some of Joe's fine photographic works, and Barb can consult on refried's domme-style Katy character.

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 4:21 p.m.

Oh, not to forget Duhbya, whose rapier wit will sharpen those "big 'effin swords!" :)

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Robert Hagen Aug. 26, 2009 @ 8:21 a.m.

Veronica took Tim's hand, and they walked onto the Toyota dealership lot, toward the showroom. Veronica had heard of their receptionist. They called her 'Toy', and the rumor was that she was incredibly beautiful, with a wonderful disposition. Cujo sidled up to Tim Versace and said

"Cash for Clunkers is done, but we got a major clearance event lined up. What do you think about our line up?"

"Damn good cars, Cujo. They practically sell themselves. I like the new Celica GT. Its got looks and performance. What about the Celica Supra?"

"Its not out yet. Theres no word from the factory."

"That'll definately move some units." said Tim, now on more familar ground, which was just what Cujo intended.

Sales is a stressful job, but Cujo always made it look easy. His secret?- he listened. Cujo's philosophy was that if he could ascertain what the customer wanted, a deal could be made.

They entered Cujo's office. It was a small desk, comfortable chairs on both side, and a white markerboard on the side wall, which Cujo would use to diagram deals, and brainstorm.

Cujo sat behind his desk. Tim and Veronica sat on the other side, and Toy entered. Tim forced himself not to look at her, because Vedronica was there. Toy set a coffee service on the desk, and cermoniously poured coffee for all three. Also on the tray was a bottle of Bailey's Irish creme liquer. Cujo gestured, and Toy poured him some Bailey's. Cujo gestured toward Tim, he nodded, and Toy poured him a dollop of Bailey's in his coffee. Tim then smiled at Toy, but not lasciviously.

.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 26, 2009 @ 8:22 a.m.

Toy exited, and Cujo and Tim sipped their coffee. Somehow Toy knew that Veronica rarely drank. It was fattening, and she was a lightweight anyhow.

"Tim, you're from Detroit, huh?" said Cujo, presently.

"Uh huh. The Motor City." said Tim.

"I'm from San Francisco." said Cujo.

"Really? I wasn't aware of that." said Tim, pleasantly.

They sipped more coffee.

"Hey Cujo, what do you think the Yin & Yang means?" said Tim.

Cujo regarded Tim narrowly. Was this another of the racist barbs that Tim Versace was famous for? Apparently not. Cujo could tell by Tim's reaction that he meant no offense, he was just trying to learn. 'This is a start', thought Cujo. He opened his desk drawer, and pulled out a small bttle of Jack Daniels. Everyone on the Mile knew that Tim Versace was partial to good whiskey- after work, not before. Cujo put the bottle to his lips and took a swig, practically gagging, then handed it to Tim. Tim gestured toward Cujo, and took a good swig himself, then set the bottle on the desk.

Cujo arose, went to the marker board, drew a yin & yang symbol, and said

"Yin & Yang can mean many things. Remember that its not the symbol, but what it represents to you. To me, the yin & yang means family. See, we all come from our family. Also, the Yin & Yang symbol means to me that we can always do more with less, if we are in harmony with our family and the people around us. But thats just me."

Cujo sat down, and took the small bottle of JD, took a minute swig, and handed it to Tim. Tim took a generous swig. Apparently Cujo had put some thought into this oriental symbol, Tim realized.

"Tim, what do you think the Yin & Yang symbol represents?"

"Oh, I really wouldn't know. I wouldn't want to offend you by acting as if I knew." said Tim Versace sincerely. He had already got in enough trouble for one day.

"No offense at all, Versace. What do you see when you look at it?"

Tim Versace thought for a moment, and took a look at Veronica. Her look was clear- 'Try not to fu%& this up, Tim.' Versace cleared his throat, and thought to himself 'Screw it, just be honest.'

"Cujo, when I first looked at it, I thought about my childhood."

"Really? Show me." Cujo said, gesturing to the marker board.

"That's alright, Cujo. No offense."

"No really, Versace, I'm interested."

Tim arose and went to the marker board. He pointed at the Yin & Yang.

"First off, its round, like a basketball. I always played a ton of roundball when I was a kid. And see, its white and black. In my neighborhood, the white and black kids basically intermingled in one location. On the basketball court. We didn't dislike each other, don't get me wrong, but the basketball court was where we hung out together."

Cujo leaned back in his chair, put his hand on his chin, regarded Tim Versace, and nodded slowly.

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Joe Poutous Aug. 26, 2009 @ 9:17 a.m.

I don't get it. Diegonomics, why don't you have your own blog?

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David Dodd Sept. 26, 2009 @ 7:55 p.m.

Joe, that's a fantastic idea.

In fact, DEAR READER! Why not make this your next contest/promotion/barrel full of fun? A collective writing endeavor. We start it this way:

It was a calm and warm night...

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SDaniels Sept. 29, 2009 @ 5:13 p.m.

PS: refried is the project manager, but may need to be out of town for a week. We should think of some interesting plot lines and characters meanwhile; if we do use "Veronica's Armpit" as a fictional venue for central casting, multiple contributors will be able to write in turn, introducing ideas and having characters interact. I like the idea of something growing organically in this way, and dialogic exchange just 'happening,' while everyone keeps a few themes and plot directions in mind. Just an idea :)

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Russ Lewis Aug. 26, 2009 @ 2:06 p.m.

At least no one actually has to read any of this.

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 8:02 p.m.

Well, there is always Kato Kaelin of OJ trial fame. Maybe we could work him into the plot, rather than mess with the short-on-dialogue, already-perfect personage of Clouseau's Kato. :)

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 26, 2009 @ 8:36 p.m.

He started the Chevrolet, and the engine rumbled to life with a throaty roar. Versace gently depressed the gas pedal:

VROOM - VROOM.

Wow, another nugget of gold from diegonomics and the Romper Room school of creative writing....

Vroom Vroom!

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 26, 2009 @ 8:39 p.m.

Well, there is always Kato Kaelin of OJ trial fame. Maybe we could work him into the plot........

By SDaniels

Yes, work a plot around Kato Kaelin, the male version of Anna Nicole Smith......I sense a winner already.

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 8:42 p.m.

Romper Room hostess, holding up mirror: "...and I see SurfPuppy, and refried, and Joe, and SDaniels, and..."

You're in this too, Puppy! We know you have some background in composition :)

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David Dodd Sept. 26, 2009 @ 8:47 p.m.

You have to admit, it would be a hell of a lot more fun than City Beat's fiction contest. Hell, we could write an effing novel! November's coming...

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 8:55 p.m.

Ok, well, I have a LOT of work to catch up on this week, and still have a fictional romance blog to write (still can't think of the perfect object of my fictional obsessions), but am in. Why don't we all write a portion when we can. November sweeps!

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 9:13 p.m.

Veronica listened to the Corvette take off with a growing sense of something. She could feel a certain prickly sensation in her armpits--the kind of feeling a girl had either from forgetting her super-potent babypowder deodorant pads--which tended to encourage the growth of itchy-causing bacteria--or from a powerful attraction to a certain man. The kind of man who "thought to himself."

Veronica didn't know for sure how she felt, but she aimed to find out. Meanwhile, Don Wall was headed for the rear exit, knowing that Tim Versace had left by the back. She was just not a back door kind of gal.

Veronica had to think fast, and try not to act suspiciously.

VROOM! VROOM!

Thinking fast, she whipped several stale "Black Forest Delite" donuts out of her tote, purchased earlier at Vons according to plan. She hastily poured some stale coffee, left brewing on the dealership hotplate, into a styrofoam cup. There was no time to grab any sugar--or artificial creamer. Time was of the essence.

As Don Wall swung the Vette back around toward the front of the building, Veronica kicked open the glass door of the dealership, and saucily threw the donuts onto the tarmac. Damn! A splotch of piping hot joe sizzled down her neck and into her armpit. But Veronica was not about to be burned again.

Don Wall screeched to a halt noisily, a quickly deflating tire barely grazing the cherry topping one of the "Black Forest Delites." His eyes lifted frantically, and slowly focused.

There stood Veronica wildly, sticky cup in hand.

To be continued...

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antigeekess Sept. 26, 2009 @ 9:35 p.m.

Daniels contributed:

"Veronica listened to the Corvette take off with a growing sense of something...."

LOL. Seriously. I couldn't possibly touch it (or Veronica's armpits, either).

:)

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Robert Hagen Sept. 2, 2009 @ 10:48 p.m.

Tikicult,

Well, its a nice thing to get noticed on a well established web site. I mean afterall, content is what we're all struggling for. I mean look at Rebecca's recent work, it's like

'Say hello to my little post!' ala Tony Montana.

Anyway, Cujo, Tim Versace's arch nemesis, a super whiz Toyota salesman, was trying to get Versace drunk, and then ply him for information. He proferred Tim Versace the bottle of Jack Daniels, and smoothly inquired of Tim Versace

"Tell me about basketball."

Now everyone was enthralled. Tim Versace's absolutely out of this friggin world basketball game, which everyone knew about, was coming into play. The women hung on his every word.

"Alan Iverson is everything that I ever strove toward being as a player. His contribution to the game is just....messianic."

"How Tim? How can I become the best basketball player possible?" asked Cujo, in a super smooth monotone, almost like a supercomputer.

"Drive to the rim. Take the ball to the hole. If you can see the rim, then you can drive toward it. Thats winning basketball. Penetrate." said Tim Versace defensively. He'd heard the same question on many occasions. Tim Versace continued:

"Obviously the team that plays defense and rebounds in combination is going to end up winning the game. But what about you, Cujo? What do you know about martial arts?" asked Tim Versace archly. Tim felt that this would be an interesting line of questioning.

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magicsfive Sept. 3, 2009 @ 7:05 a.m.

Joe is absolutely right. why don't you just write your own blog? write one every day...but why do it in someone else's blog when it has nothing to do with the subject?

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Robert Hagen Sept. 3, 2009 @ 8:28 a.m.

What's the matter with variety? Whats the matter with creative expression? Writers are supposed to write. I hate to be the conscience of the internet here, but blogging- in all its glory, is hardly a settled science. Did you know that Disney just paid $4 billion for Marvel Comics?

I mean I'm hooking you up here. A cool, progressive motorcycle cop- Don Wall.

Chinese super heroes like Kato and Jet.

Hotties like Veronica and Toy.

Mametesque salesmen like Tim Versace and Cujo.

Acquaint me again with your complaints? Where is the problem exactly?

And if you check upthread, I already tried to start a blog, but I couldn't find the link. Moreover, there are millions of threads in the blogosphere. It just so happens that 'Furry Children' has a rad web serial called 'Condo.'

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magicsfive Sept. 3, 2009 @ 8:40 a.m.

nothing is wrong with variety diego..i just think your blogs would be more effective on your own space, don't you think? i mean you wouldn't have to share it with anyone else and it could be like "the continuing saga of condo". ok, so i'm no good with titles. if you need help to find where to start your own blog i'm sure we would all be happy to help. i can only speak for myself when i say that i am not trying to discourage you from writing, just maybe in a more appropriate space :)

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Robert Hagen Sept. 3, 2009 @ 9:04 a.m.

Its about web cred, people.

And if it brings traffic to SDReader.com is that so bad? Whats the matter with writing a story? I had a column at Montgomery High School, I had a column at Southwestern College and now I'm blogging on Barbarella's actually very cool web log, or blog for short.

Why can't you be more affirming of my efforts? Why does it have to be about highjacking a blog or something? In the words of Moliere

"God, how I suffer."

You see? I'm literate, and can throw out literary allusions and so forth. I think you should be accepting and embrace diversity, versus being territorial and grumbling under your breath, figuratively speaking.

Why can't we celebrate the fact that we have an incredible internet, and make use of it creatively?

That's really all I'm saying, but if you all are firm that I should start a blog I'll look into it.


"Martial arts? Is it because I'm Asian, Tim? Is that why you think I'm supposed to know martial arts?" asked Cujo.

"Well, I figure you may have some insight on the topic." said Tim Versace.

"First, allow me to propose a toast- to Allan Iverson." said Cujo, and hoisted a shot glass with barely a thimble full of Jack Daniels, while Versace had the bottle.

"To Allan Iverson." said Versace, and they drank. Cujo's face was starting to get a little warm, and he was beginning to get a contented sort of feeling. Soon he would be drunk, at this rate.

"To Shaq Diesel!" cried Tim Versace, hoisting the bottle and pouring Cujo a fresh shot.

"To Shaq Diesel." said Cujo, and they drank. Toy got behind Cujo and started massaging his shoulders.

"Yes, thank you, Toy." said Cujo.

Bap. Toy lightly slappeded Cujo playfully on the head, and he started giggling. Veronica was making careful note of everything. This was shaping up to be a doozy of a meeting.

"The martial arts is about conquering fear in my opinion." said Cujo.

"Go on." said Tim Versace.

"It's Kung Fu Panda, Versace. There's no secret- it's you." said Cujo.

"I always suspected something along those lines, but you really know how to put it into words."

"Tim, what do you think is going to happen to the NUMMI plant?"

"It's all yours, Cujo. New GM is downsizing, and the last Pontiac Vibes are going to a rental fleet, at least that's what I heard."

"What do you think about the Camry?"

"Its big for a Toyota, but it's got a lot of what makes a Toyota in it. What do you think about the new Malibu?"

"Great mileage, Tim, no doubt about it."

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SDaniels Sept. 3, 2009 @ 11:29 a.m.

I'm not sure where you got your ideas about "Web cred," diegonomics, but this is not the way to earn respect. You've been advised multiple times, including by the author of the thread herself, that what you are doing is not cool.

If you start your own blog, you then might have a chance at getting some regular readers whom you have earned by yourself, rather than just irritate people looking for Barbarella's content, and attempting to force them to read you. Good luck!

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Joe Poutous Sept. 3, 2009 @ 6:30 a.m.

Yeah, but even if your s*** was good, I'd never read it. I know that I'm not the only one that thinks a thread hijack is in really poor taste.

But whatever. - Joe

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Robert Hagen Sept. 4, 2009 @ 2:23 a.m.

I beg your pardon, SDaniels, but I've been advised of no such thing. Barbarella asked me what I was doing:

Post #5:Diegonomics, are you trying to publish a novel, comment by comment? What gives with the abstract stuff?

I answered, and she later remarked in post #10:

Okay, it's not even noon, but now I've got a hankering for carbs and cheese. ;)

These are cut and paste quotes from this thread. Why would you mischaracterize Barbarellas posts? And doesn't it occur to you that if Barbarella were so displeased with this thread she would simply remove it from her blog?

Be honest, SDaniels. Aren't a number of you ganging up on me demanding that I get my own blog, etc. etc. when in reality, if you want to tell other people what to do, it is you people that should get your own blog? Physicians, heal thyself.

And whats worse, is that noone is forcing you to read my super rad web serial 'Condo.' Nevertheless, you all feel compelled to censor me. I wonder if there is a hidden agenda at play?

Face it SDaniels, I busted you totally mischaracterizing Barbarella. Doesn't it embarass you to be browbeating someone who is participating, and therefore enhancing Barbarella's blog, when you would be better off contributing, not censoring like some sort of petite Gestapo? And when you say good luck, after all that, I get the creeps a little bit. So why not respond in kind, or just drop it and get on with your life?

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SDaniels Sept. 4, 2009 @ 2:39 a.m.

Diegonomics, I do have my own blog, as do most of the people who have asked that you get your own (guess you forgot to check, huh). Have you read the reasons you've been asked to do so, or are you going with the "hidden agenda" motive?

One main reason not yet s-p-e-l-l-e-d out for you is that every time you post to this thread, it pops right back up on the home page under Barbarella's name. This is irritating for regular readers sorting out articles and threads they want to read. It is misrepresentation because you are not the author of the thread. Multiple people have let you know--it isn't 'enhancing' Barbarella's column, and in effect distracts from her writing, which is a social no-no on your part. Right, you aren't forcing anyone to read you; you are just misdirecting our gazes for a moment, until we say--Oh, it's just that guy again.

"Okay, it's not even noon, but now I've got a hankering for carbs and cheese. ;)"

That comment was in response to a joke I made about mashed potatoes, so I'm not sure how I've mischaracterized anything.

It's a pretty small issue, but as a writer one would think you'd be a little better at reading between the lines, and getting the hint. Consider everything spelled out for ya (most politely at the very start, if you recall), and consider it dropped. ...And good luck with that blog. Once you get your own, I promise I will leave your very first encouraging comment :)

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Robert Hagen Sept. 4, 2009 @ 3:03 a.m.

Boy oh boy, Johnny on the spot.

Point well taken on what Barbarella was referring to on the second quote.

I do appreciate your consideration, and arguments in the blogosphere can take on a life of their own.

Truthfully, SDaniels, I like blogging on Barbarellas site because its populated with thinking individuals. Call it a marketing ploy, but a start up blog can get lost in the shuffle so easily.

Heres what I propose:

I'll start looking at the different blogs, and come up to speed on whats au courant. Because I think every site has its own protocols, and the blogosphere is a fast evolving thing.

So I do acknowledge I may have been stubborn and anti-social. What i tell people is that you aren't going to take a man who's been abusing drugs for over ten years and turn him into a perfect ten in an instant. Its not going to happen. My life is a work in progress, and I count our conversation as an improvement in my life. Would you be cool with this game plan?

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Russ Lewis Sept. 4, 2009 @ 3:07 a.m.

"And doesn't it occur to you that if Barbarella were so displeased with this thread she would simply remove it from her blog?"

Actually, Diego, that would most likely require a bit of technical skill that Barbarella may or may not have. It's not a given that she would just remove anything she didn't want.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 4, 2009 @ 12:05 p.m.

I do have my own blog,

By SDaniels

The Pup would like his "own" blog too. I can call it "Puppy Power".

Can you help a poor (but house trianed) K-9 out, SD?

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 4, 2009 @ 4:57 p.m.

Try this, Puppy (and Diego or anyone else): http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/cr...

By russl 2

http://croutonboy.typepad.com/photos/peo...

By tikicult

Thanks guys! Good links. I especially liked the Scrappy Doo cartoon.

I was going to post this video on my first blog entry, it is me singing at a bar mitzvah, tell me if you like it;

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SDaniels Sept. 4, 2009 @ 5:53 p.m.

SurfP, if you ever do start a blog, I will also be the first to post an encouraging and complimentary (also in the sense of free!) post.

Why don't you make it legally informational, and call it "K-9 411?"

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Robert Hagen Sept. 4, 2009 @ 7:46 p.m.

You cats are tremendous.

....................................................................

"Dance machine."

Toy just said that out of the blue, Veronica noticed. By now Cujo was completely wasted, and so was Tim Versace. The difference was that this was familiar ground for Versace. His strategy was to propose toasts. Toast basketball greats. Once the subject has bitten, eventually move the topic to Larry Bird. You'll run out of booze before you run out of toasts.

Now Tim Versace was curious.

"Whats the dance machine, Cujo?" he asked.

"Come on, JoJo, dance machine." said Toy, in a rather erotic tone of voice if you were to ask Tim Versace. Cujo's real name was JoJo, but noone called him that.

Cujo stood up, pushed his desk to the side of the room, pulled out a remote control, rolled out a dance mat with circles on it, and activated his state of the art flat screen. The office turned into a disco, when Cujo engaged a special lighting system.

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 11:08 p.m.

Ok, if not AG's, then someone else's turn?

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Robert Hagen Sept. 6, 2009 @ 8:50 a.m.

The lights went down, and the music rose. It was Bee Gees 'Stayin Alive.' Toy helped Cujo take off his suit jacket, and Cujo started moving one of his legs to the beat. He struck a pose, unbuttoned the top part of his dress shirt, and spun around.

Tim Versace looked at Veronica, who looked back at him.

Unbelievable. Cujo could really dance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHWeuQyFouo

As Cujo danced, his feet touched the circular lights on the dance mat, when they lit up. It was like a Wii video game, sort of. Cujo pointed a finger in the air as he danced, and the women squealed spontaneously, and started clapping. Toy had a huge grin on her face. Cujo could really get down. She knew that he could use this system to compete in dancing contests on the internet, and she had once seen a Honda salesman from Northern California dancing on the flatscreen, trying to provoke Cujo. Cujo demolished him that evening, but the guy was persistent and wouldn't go away. He knew Cujo from high school, and even back then, they battled on the dance floor.

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Robert Hagen Sept. 6, 2009 @ 8:55 a.m.

When the song was over, everyone clapped for Cujo.

"Come on, Toy, lets dance." said Cujo.

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Robert Hagen Sept. 6, 2009 @ 11:06 p.m.

When the song ended, Cujo led Toy over to Veronica.

"Perhaps you ladies would like to see the showroom." said Cujo.

Versace looked at Cujo. He wanted to talk turkey.

"I'll be stepping outside for a moment." said Tim Versace.

"Fine." said Cujo.

The ladies went their way, chatting like old friends, arm in arm.

Versace got on his Blackberry, and it wasn't to twitter. He wanted info from the factory, on economics.

In the office, Cujo's cell phone went off. Cujo answered.

A bunch of jabbering in Japanese assaulted his phone ear.

"Hey! Wait a minute." cried Cujo.

Click.

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Robert Hagen Sept. 7, 2009 @ 8 a.m.

Cujo came dashing out of his office in a full panic, and Tim Versace whirled around just as Cujo was about to run into him.

"What's the matter?" asked Versace, slipping his Blackberry into his pocket innocuously.

"Where's Toy?!"

Versace turned around, looking for Toy and Veronica. He turned around again to tell Cujo he didn't know but Cujo was already gone.

'Huh' thought Tim Versace.

He ambled toward the showroom, thinking the ladies were over by reception, and as he turned a corner from the office hallway, there was Cujo, sticking coins in a coffee machine like a fu*&ing maniac. Cujo pounded on the machine as he waited for coffee.

"Hurry up!" yelled Cujo. He grabbed the coffee cup from the dispenser, his cellphone rang, and Cujo literally sprang into the air with a start. Hot coffee spilled on his hand.

"AGGHHH!" cried Cujo dropping the cup and clutching his hand.

The showroom intercom sounded:

"Cujo to the reception area, please. Cujo to the reception area."

Cujo took off like a shot for reception, and Versace followed at a discreet distance, peering around a loaded Tundra truck.

Cujo had Toy by both arms, and was jostling her, saying

"I said slap me! I need to sober up! The factory called! Slap me!" Cujo let her go.

POW. Toy slapped him, and said

"Sit your ass down, JoJo!"

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David Dodd Sept. 26, 2009 @ 11:15 p.m.

In all honesty, SD, we need to develop the characters first. Or else, just create new ones, and the plot shouldn't take 10,000 words just to get off of the car lot ;)

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Robert Hagen Sept. 7, 2009 @ 12:53 p.m.

Cujo was slumped in Toy's reception area desk chair. He was a total wreck. One phone call from the Toyota factory was all it took.

"Mousse me, Toy, quick!" cried Cujo. He was afraid his hair would fall out.

CCCCHHHHHHH! CCCCHHHH!

Toy applied hair mousse to Cujo's scalp extra liberally. Then she worked it in, saying

"Cujo. Roawerr! Roawwerr! Cujo!"

Veronica had her arms crossed. She walked back towards Tim Versace when he appeared from behind the Tundra truck. Tim whispered to her

"When I throw you the phone, google me some stuff on economics. Get me some key words or something, so I can fake it. Act like your texting, capische?"

Veronica nodded.

"VERSACE! What are you doing?!" cried Cujo.

"Nothing. What is this, Cujo? You're a very heavy hitter, and the factory needs you." said Tim Versace.

"You don't understand, Versace. You don't know how much pressure I'm under to move inventory. It's constant. It never stops. If it's not my family's expectations, it's the factory. They hate my guts, Versace. They hate me!"

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 11:16 p.m.

Whoa, you are serious about this, then?

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rickeysays Sept. 26, 2009 @ 11:26 p.m.

Little did Veronica know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anudrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. Earth was a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who had been observing, and were now determined to destroy the human race. The Anudrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Veronica.

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David Dodd Sept. 26, 2009 @ 11:31 p.m.

Sure, S.D. I just don't want to carry on with diegonomics' plot, but anything else, no matter how silly, would be fun!

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Robert Hagen Sept. 10, 2009 @ 9:57 a.m.

"Wheel me out for Dragon Breath." said Cujo to Toy. She pushed him outside on her office chair, and he lit a cigarette, but just went through the motions of smoking, looking for all the world like a wheel chair bound retiree. Versace had slipped Veronica his Blackberry, and then accompanied Cujo outside.

"I know you're up to something, Versace." said Cujo.

"Why, because I'm Italian that means I've got to be up to something?"

Two could play the race card, and Versace was not above doing so, especially when someone started getting suspicious.

Veronica cleared her throat, and took a chance, saying

"Tim, you've got a call from your broker."

Tim Versace gave her a 'what the hell is this? look', as he took the phone. His broker, never ever called, or returned calls. Veronica had to have called him. But Tim Versace trusted his stock broker, because he was Jewish, and as everyone knew, Jewish people are very shrewd with money.

"Kyle?" said Versace into the phone. He noticed Cujo's eye brow arch minutely. 'Here goes.' thought Tim Versace.

"Did you buy the gold last year like I asked you to?.....So now I'm fu*%ed....Wheres this market going, Kyle?....Your insane, this markets- inflationary."

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Robert Hagen Sept. 10, 2009 @ 12:36 p.m.

"Kyle.........Kyle........Kyle!" Versace pulled his Blackberry away from his ear and gave Veronica a 'nice going' look. Everyone could hear Tim Versace's stock broker screaming into the telephone. Finally the tirade stopped, and Versace put the phone back to his ear, saying

"Are you quite finished?.........No, look Kyle, I'm buying a condo whether you like it or not......Because I want a condo....How can the check not clear? The check had better clear.....You think you're smarter than me, don't you Kyle?....No, thats not a rhetorical question....Kyle? Kyle?"

Tim Versace hit his end call button. What a fiasco. Kyle had hung up on him. Of course Kyle was smarter than Tim Versace, that's why Tim Versace entrusted him with his investment portfolio. And Versace liked for Kyle to be a little territorial, but this was ridiculous.

"Versace, you never went to college, did you?" said Cujo.

That caused the women to fidget and play with their hair.

"No."

"You know how I know?" asked Cujo.

"How?"

"The way you strut about in your $300 Italian loafers, trying to compensate."

"Did you go to college?" asked Tim Versace.

"Of course. I graduated summa cum laude from Stanford University."

"What did you study?"

"Economics."

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 11:34 p.m.

Well, there you go. rickeysays has obliterated at least one character, and the path is a little clearer.

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David Dodd Sept. 26, 2009 @ 11:42 p.m.

Hot damn! Okay, but who else do we keep? Keep in mind that we have to develop these characters quite a bit beyond whether they prefer coffee or donuts...

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Robert Hagen Sept. 11, 2009 @ 9 a.m.

Our fearsome foursome was just standing around, except for Cujo, who was still sitting in Toy's office chair, out front of the Toyota showroom. It had just come to light that Cujo, in addition to being a John Travolta on the dance floor, was an economist. Tim Versace pursed his lips for a moment and glanced at Toy. She had an unmistakable 'Well that settles that, doesn't it?' look on her face. Then she looked down at Tim Versace's immaculate Italian loafers. Versace turned to Veronica and said

"Sidebar."

The two walked into the showroom and conferred in private.

"You are a real streudel, you know that?" said Tim.

Veronica just looked at him and shrugged.

"Give me the phone."

Veronica gave it to him.

"Watch carefully... Google.com.....economic terms.....Hallelujah, Veronica, economic vocabulary that could have kept me from just being humiliated in front of my arch rival. You see this?"

Before Veronica could say anything, Tim marched back out in a huff. Tim Versace was a pro.

Veronica pulled a compact from her purse, and applied a little lipstick, then smiled winningly into her mirror, clapped the compact shut, and sashayed outside like an attorney that had just won a Supreme Court case. It was her lawyer stroll, and it bespoke confidence.

Outside, Cujo was seated under a comforter, sipping tea delicately. 'Oh, Jesus' thought Versace.

"Cujo, do you think I should buy gold, or get a condo?"

"I don't know Tim, I haven't seen your portfolio. It usually depends on what your goals are."

Versace stole a glance at his Blackberry.

"Would you describe the economy as inflationary?"

"No, price points are low across the board"

"So is it deflationary?"

"Not at all. Price point flexibility to arrive at market clearing prices is helping our economy recuperate from a severe dislocation in credit markets."

"But if its not inflationary and its not deflationary, then what is it?" asked Tim Versace.

"Fluid and dynamic." said Cujo, sipping tea like a Kung Fu master.

"You know Cujo, one of the reasons I want a condo is because I think I can get in one for a decent price if I move now. And I really don't care to own gold, because it just sits there. I wouldn't know what to do with it."

"Gold is a hedge against inflation, Tim."

"What about real estate?"

"No, not in a volatile market, but its a good investment overall." said Cujo.

"So, if I buy this condo, then I'll have your blessing?" asked Tim Versace.

"Sure, Tim Versace. Buy the condo. You have my blessing."

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David Dodd Sept. 26, 2009 @ 12:30 a.m.

I was into it until Veronica broke character, and now I'm left completely disappointed. It's like I wasted a full twenty-seven minutes of my life here...

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:17 a.m.

...and no studly stick-shifting men, or Charlie-Chan-speaking mystery fellows? :)

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Robert Hagen Sept. 13, 2009 @ 12:47 p.m.

Back at the Chevy dealership, SDPD motorcycle cop Don Wall was adopting a bemused expression, as Mystery man continued to berate Kato:

"I not going to buy you a transformer car, now, Kato. You know why? You piss me off. Thats why. You know what I got in this briefcase? You want to guess?"

Mystery Man actually had the briefcase stuffed with cash. He estimated enough to buy the establishment, kit and kaboodle, if negotiations led in that direction. It was a lubricant to commerce, and Mystery Man knew how to use it.

"You in the dog house now, Kato. That mean you in trouble. Because I told you before, make sure you bring my golf clubs. You my chauffeur, you supposed to remember things like that" said Mystery Man.

Kato was positioned by the front door of the stretch limo. He shuffled his feet a couple times, looked down, crossed his arms, and leaned back up onto the door. He figured the car salesman would be back, eventually. Everything works if you let it.

Kato scanned the area. Sure enough, there was Tim Versace, walking up the boulevard with Veronica.

"Boss, look." said Kato, pointing behind Mystery Man.

Mystery Man whirled, saw Versace, and whirled back around on Kato, jabbing a finger, saying:

"Don't go nowhere, Kato. I got to talk to the car salesman, you wait for me, right here. You understand, Kato? If you go somewhere, I will not buy you nothing, okay? Right here Kato, I want you to wait right here."

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:19 a.m.

I think we should have at least kept Veronica's armpits. Frankly, I only read a couple of the posts in order to write mine, so you'll have to decide which characters stay, refried.

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:26 a.m.

Oh, hell, that's the TITLE! "Veronica's Armpits"!

I say we keep Tim, but change his last name. Tim is a biblical name. Tim Churchman. Something like that. And Kato can stay, but I like your spelling better, SD. Or, maybe we change Kato into Katy, we could use a busy female protagonist. I'm wide open. Nothing like hijacking a hijacking ;)

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:29 a.m.

"Veronica's Armpit;" singular, henceforth "VA" for short. What were the names you came up with for another phony story? There was a 'Mary Blankenship'--I liked that a lot. So Peyton place-y. But we need a framework here. A plot outline. Perhaps rickeysays or anyone reading cares to step in and make some suggestions, too.

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:31 a.m.

"Veronica's Armpit" is a classy dive bar, inhabited by various noirish characters?

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Robert Hagen Sept. 16, 2009 @ 10:34 a.m.

As Tim Versace and Veronica walked on to the lot to greet Mystery Man, Tim Versace was stoked. Anyone with a chauffeur like Kato and a Mercedes limo specially painted in Dusseldorf was obviously loaded. Time to get some down payment money together for the comfort condo. Versace's plan was to take his paycheck to the liquor store and cash it there. That way Kyle the stock broker couldn't tie up his money.

WIIIUUUU!!

Tim Versace whirled around and there was Don Wall, on his motorcycle, hitting his siren. Don Wall parked the bike, got off, got out his ticket book, and approached Tim Versace.

"Hi, Don." said Veronica, flashing her most radiant smile.

Kato was watching everything from inside the limo.

"Yes, officer! He hit and run! He a wrong way driver menace to society!" cried Mystery Man.

Just then, when everyone was distracted, Kato checked his rearview and eased smoothly into traffic. Noone saw the limo leave.

"This is for leaving the scene of an accident, Versace, but I want you to appreciate that I'm giving you a break here." said Don Wall, handing the ticket book and pen to Tim Versace.

Versace nodded. How could he complain? Right in front of him was the up (potential customer) of a lifetime. He signed the ticket, and handed the ticket book back to Don Wall.

Don Wall removed the pink copy of the traffic citation, and handed it to Versace, saying

"And another thing, Versace. No getting into pissing matches with anyone for the rest of the day. Especially not with Kato."

Tim Versace looked over toward the limo. 'Holy Shazbot, its gone. It was just there two seconds ago' thought Tim Versace.

"Where is Kato?" asked Tim Versace.

Don Wall turned around, saw the limo was gone then turned to Mystery Man, who ran out to where the limo was parked and looked up the street, yelling

"Kato!!!!"

He stomped angrily and said

"Everytime he do this. Everytime."

Mystery Man got on his cell phone, rubbing his face as he walked back onto the lot.

"Kato!... Where have you gone?...TO GET GAS!!??!!"

Mystery Man launched into a furious tirade in Chinese, gesticulating wildly. Don Wall could practically translate just by looking at Mystery Man. 'Come back here....right away....no, come back here now...

'Uh huh' thought Don Wall.

Mystery Man hung up, looked down, put his hand to his temple and composed himself.

"Is there a problem?" asked Veronica.

"You see, Veronica, Kato do this all the time. He leave me stranded." said Mystery Man wearily.

"I'm sure he'll be right back." said Tim Versace with suitable empathy.

"He be gone two hours, maybe more. I just know it." said Mystery Man.

"Where do you think he went?" asked Don Wall.

"Where do you think? He go look for American white girls."

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:37 a.m.

"'Veronica's Armpit' is a classy dive bar, inhabited by various noirish characters?"

Or else Vikings! Hell, everyone loves vikings!

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Robert Hagen Sept. 18, 2009 @ 9:28 a.m.

Kato pulled the stretch limo into a strip joint in San Diego with the windows down, jamming Led Zeppelin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svR3iXKTJvc

A valet approached the limo.

"Where I park?" asked Kato.

"Right over theres fine."

"Okay. My boss want to see your place." said Kato.

"Great."

Kato wheeled the limo in extra slow, and turned down his music gradually. The idea was to lull observers.

When he was parked and the windows were going up, Kato leapt into the back of the limousine and changed from his chauffeur's uniform into a business suit, all in about one minute. Then he removed ten $100 bills from the rear glove box, and emerged from the back of the limousine. He looked exactly like a rich businessman.

Back at the dealership, Veronica was consoling Mystery Man, while Tim Versace showed him brochures.

"This is our new Spark. Have a look."said Tim Versace

http://spark.chevrolet.com/geneva-v1/en_US/index.htm

"It look real small." said Mystery Man.

"You bet. Green is in. Check this out. It's the new Chevrolet Volt, and you can pre-order as many as you like:

http://spark.chevrolet.com/geneva-v1/en_US/index.htm

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Robert Hagen Sept. 18, 2009 @ 9:31 a.m.

"I have electric golf cart." said Mystery Man.

"This is a little snazzier. Check out this video." said Tim Versace.

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Robert Hagen Sept. 18, 2009 @ 12:55 p.m.

Kato approached the immense bouncer at the door of the strip club.

"Pull over for a quick pat down." said the bouncer.

Kato stopped, and raised his arms. The bouncer patted him down, and said

"You're clean. You do martial arts?"

"Yeah." said Kato.

"What kind?" asked the bouncer.

"We call it 'Whoop a Fool.'" said Kato, smiling.

The bouncer laughed and said "Welcome."

Kato closed his eyes as he walked in the darkened strip joint. It would help him adjust his eyes to a low light level. Inside, the music was throbbing:

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antigeekess Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:41 a.m.

Intergalactic Vikings? YAY!!!

:)

Shades of the cantina scene from Star Wars?

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Robert Hagen Sept. 19, 2009 @ 9:34 a.m.

In the low light of the gentlemen's club, the dancers looked radiant. Krissy sashayed toward Kato, projecting remarkably good...posture.

"Bouncy" said Kato admiringly, with a winning smile.

Krissy smiled demurely, and turned her torso, just so.

"Cheeky" said Kato with a big grin.

Krissy laughed, and took Kato by the arm. She looked into his eyes, and was struck with the unmistakable feeling that this man was a real life superhero.

"Whats your name?" she asked dreamily.

"Kato."

Krissy gasped. She knew it!

The other ladies were watching, and when they saw Krissy's reaction, they all instantly turned their attention toward Kato.

"Come and meet everyone" said Krissy, taking Kato by the arm toward the main stage.

"Hey everyone, this is Kato!" cried Krissy, above the music din.

A super fine blonde in a skimpy bikini gave Kato a big hug, which he reciprocated in full. Now Kato was surrounded by fawning young women, saying

"Kato! It's Kato. Oh, Kato!"

The place was all a twitter and no one was even texting.

At the dealership, Mystery Man and Tim Versace finished watching the Chevy Volt commercial- I mean informational video. Veronica extracted the DVD from the player, and set it on the desk, between Mystery Man and Tim Versace.

Versace said

"You see sir, if we pollute the earth, what will our children live in? A pile of trash."

"That's true," said Mystery Man.

Tim Versace stood up, leaned over the desk and said

"I'm talking about a Mad Max universe where the sky has turned black. Do you want that?"

"No, I definately don't want that."

"I don't either. Thats why I drive a four cylinder Malibu. For gas mileage. I pollute less, save money and still have enough power to get around. But I want this Volt, because it's General motors 100th Anniversary car."

"You gonna buy one?" asked Mystery Man.

"I'm ready to commit today. How about you? If I can get you the cars you want, at the price you want, are you ready to make a deal today?"

"Good prices?" asked Mystery Man.

"I'll get you fleet prices, amigo. Fleet prices." said Tim Versace in sotto voce as he sat down again and put both hands on the desk, palms down.

"I be with you in a minute." said Mystery Man, as he extracted his cell phone and made a call.

"Kato! What is that music?! Where are you?!.......Its too bad for you, because I looking at a new, new car, its electric model.......I think its better than transformer car..... Uh huh, yeah, ecostyle....Too bad you on my sh%*list, Kato, so I will not buy nothing for you....I gonna buy you a cow bone."

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:47 a.m.

Oh, at least. Vikings with massive bastard swords. What could be better?

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Robert Hagen Sept. 19, 2009 @ 11:12 p.m.

"Yes, Kato, I so very sorry." said Mystery Man into his cellphone.

Tim Versace hung on his every word, even while penning out a deal and punching numbers into a calculator. Mystery Man continued speaking to Kato:

"What, Kato? Mercedes got blue technology? What is that?.... Oh.... that's interesting......Wait a minute, I gonna ask car salesman a question."

Mystery Man set his cell phone down on Tim Versace's desk and said

"Car salesman."

Tim Versace looked up from his worksheet and said

"Yes?"

"What blue technology Mercedes got?"

"It's a high mileage turbo-diesel configuration. You don't want it, believe me. You need electric drive to attract women." said Tim Versace.

Kato thought that was a bit ironic. He was listening to every word Versace said through the cell phone sitting on the desk, even as he stroked the thigh of a stunningly beautiful brunette at that very moment.

"How can you be ecostyle if you a Republican?" asked Mystery Man.

"How do you know I'm Republican?" asked Tim Versace, with angelic innocence.

"I check your name in Registrar of Voters."

"Oh. said Tim Versace, drolly.

"Well I'm pleased as a Republican to be able to profit on green technology without getting demolished on my taxes."

Versace listened to talk radio, and fantasized sometimes about getting into political debates with foreigners.

"But Mercedes better, isn't it?" said Mystery Man.

"Chevrolet is better than Mercedes. Who do you think caused the crisis of 2008? Mercedes drivers. Driving a Mercedes in this day and age is so over the top." said Tim Versace. Noone could spread rumor and innuendo about a Mercedes Benz downer or dirtier than Tim Versace.

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PistolPete Sept. 26, 2009 @ 3:39 a.m.

You guys didn't know about diegonomics spamming the boards? WOW! I knew not to pay attention to that pie of s*** a full month ago.

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PistolPete Sept. 26, 2009 @ 3:41 a.m.

Hell,I'm drunk and I knew not to give him the time of day....

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 12:57 a.m.

Pirates! Effing big giant Viking pirates with big giant bastard swords!

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Robert Hagen Sept. 22, 2009 @ 8:41 a.m.

Mystery Man pounded on Tim Versace's desk and said

"I drive Mercedes, I don't cause no crisis!"

Mystery Man then stood up over the desk and said

"Americans cause crisis."

"Take it easy. I'm simply saying that Americans caused the crisis. It so happens that some of them drove Mercedes. Probably a coincidence."

Mystery Man sat down, saying

"I still offended."

"Maybe this is an opportunity to stimulate the economy cooperatively. I mean Mercedes isn't the only one with blue technology." said Tim Versace.

"Who else got blue technology?" asked Mystery Man.

"General Motors has an Opel ECO-speedster diesel that gets over a hundred miles per gallon." said Tim Versace, matter of factly.

"You bulls%^ting." said Mystery Man.

"No, have a look." said Tim Versace, showing him an image from the web:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Opel_ECO_Speedster_with_1.3_CDTI-worldrecord-Diesel.jpg

Mystery Man snatched the phone and began going off in Chinese. Kato had heard everything, and although he couldn't believe the car salesman would criticize Mercedes, Kato was definitely interested in the new Volt. He had a passion for sustainability and living in harmony with nature. Meanwhile the outrageously good looking brunette was wiggling around on his lap, like a cat getting cozy. 'Nature at its finest thought Kato, 'and worth protecting for future generations.'

Mystery Man hung up, and looked at his phone.

"Aha! Look car salesman, I got the location where Kato is at! Come on, we gotta go! I going to catch him red handed this time!"

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Robert Hagen Sept. 22, 2009 @ 12:14 p.m.

"Hey, I just signed a ticket for 'leaving the scene of an accident" said Tim Versace.

"I take care of your lawyer fees." said Mystery Man.

"But Don Wall is out there." said Tim Versace.

"The cop might be gone by now." said Mystery Man. He really wanted to catch Kato.

"Oh, I think he's probably out there right now." said Tim Versace.

SDPD motorcycle cop Don Wall had been posted up across the street from the Chevy dealership most of the day. Ever since Mystery Mans Mercedes limo had arrived, in fact. Probably a coincidence.

"Then we gotta fool the cop somehow." said Mystery Man.

"Where is Kato, exactly?" asked Tim Versace.

"He at 'The Gentlemen's Club.' at this address." said Mystery Man, showing Tim Versace the display of his cellphone.

"Well, lets MapQuest this thing, and figure something out. Veronica, two styros please." said Tim Versace.

Veronica left to get two coffees.

"We gotta go fast!" cried Mystery Man.

"Then we'll want a Corvette." said Tim Versace.

Tim Versace was more than willing to haul ass over to Kato's location, as long as he could get by Don Wall. It was these people's nature evidentally, to make the most of test drives, and who was Tim Versace to argue?

"I want the fastest thing you got." said Mystery Man.

Veronica reappeared with two styrofoam cups of coffee. The two men took the cups and clutched them as they hunched over a computer screen showing Katos location. Tim Versace sipped his coffee, and thought to himself, 'If we leave by the backlot without being detected by Don Wall, I can drive outside of earshot, open up the 'Vette, and be there in a matter of minutes. Mystery Man will be impressed, and might buy a Corvette, too. That $80,000 vehicle would pay Versace $4,000 in commission. The trick would be to get by Don Wall. If he could do that, the Chevrolet Corvette was a rocketship:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJOGq5XTojo

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SDaniels Sept. 26, 2009 @ 4:40 a.m.

Several of us have already had a lengthy 'talk' with diegonomics, fairly near the start of the thread. Why don't you give it a go, PP?

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rickeysays Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:01 a.m.

Captain Gringo looked across the bar. He didn't like the way Smelly Pete was looking at him. He'd never liked Smelly Pete, and this seemed like as good a day as any to do something about it. "Ignore him", pleaded mSDaniels, the hostess of Veronica's Armpit, he's harmless. "Maybe so" said Captain Gringo, "but I just don't like his face".

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:02 a.m.

Ah. Vlad the inhaler. Our first character. He can't drive, so forget about the Corvette.

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David Dodd Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:08 a.m.

Ricky, I think we would be better served at keeping the characters completely fictional (and preferably as vikings with big effing bastard swords!), I don't know Pete, and I don't dislike Pete's face. I don't always agree with Pete, but unless I'm carrying a big giant effing Viking bastard sword, I'm not going to say much about Pete.

Use your Viking imagination, man!

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antigeekess Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:16 a.m.

Vlad the INHALER?

OMG, dude. That's hilarious.

:D

Definitely a character to keep around, if only for the name.

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antigeekess Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:19 a.m.

BTW, if you're in SD tomorrow (well, today), here's an event that might provide some inspiration:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/events/2009/sep/27/10513/

You could go and get your Viking on.

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:25 a.m.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBq5DTdaR... WTF?!!!!

"SDaniels, the hostess of Veronica's Armpit..." Heh, heh, heh! I actually worked as a hostess as a teen--not for long!

Vlad the inhaler, mildmannered ENT pharm rep by day, big effin' sword-wielding protector of all humanity by night!

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SDaniels Sept. 27, 2009 @ 1:27 a.m.

"Norwegian Fish Club Odin and Sons of Norway Lodge" is where Vlad hangs out, when he's not at "The 'Pit."

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Robert Hagen Sept. 23, 2009 @ 10:06 p.m.

Tim Versace pressed in on Veronica, who was already practically splayed against a wall, saying

"I need this, Veronica. You have to distract Don Wall with coffee and doughnuts while I make my getaway in the 'Vette. This is not a request. You have to do it."

"I don't know....." said Veronica.

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Robert Hagen Sept. 24, 2009 @ 9:24 a.m.

"Come on, car salesman! We don't want Kato to leave!" said Mystery Man.

"Listen Veronica, take Don Wall a honey bun and a styro and flirt with him a little bit. he's a great guy." said Tim Versace.

"Tim, drop the mafioso routine. Let me breathe." said Veronica.

"Okay, come on." said Tim Versace, backing away from her and then trying to lead her to the door.

"Wait a minute, Tim. I think this is a bad idea. Why don't you take an Aveo instead, and go the speed limit. You're going to get in trouble." said Veronica.

"I'm not going to argue with you. You're going to distract Don Wall. So lets go." said Tim Versace adamantly.

"Yeah, Veronica. You can do it. We be back in half an hour, one hour tops. We just going for Kato." said Mystery Man.

"Well......." said Veronica.

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Duhbya Sept. 28, 2009 @ 11:05 a.m.

Aw, shucks, also, SD. My 12 hour workday precludes me from providing much input beyond my "slash and dash" style. Pesky customers looking for instant answers, you see. (god love 'em) Working from mi casa does allow for a bit more leeway, however. I'm in! Thanks for the endorsement.

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Robert Hagen Sept. 26, 2009 @ 10:22 a.m.

Oh God, its like 'The Office' around here. Alright, people. Team meeting.

First off, I don't know what you're complaining about, Surfpuppy, there are cars in the story for you to chase after.

This is not spamming the board(s) Pistol Pete, but thank you for your Yosemite Sam like feedback. Spamming is sending large amounts of unsolicited e-mail, usually with the intent of selling something. This is a groundbreaking internet serial called 'Condo,' so its only natural that people are going to get a little tense as we draw near a climactic episode!

Its sort of like when it was discovered that the Earth was round, there were still people who insisted the Earth is flat. Or when we went to the moon, and a few people still insist, even to this day, that it was all a hoax. Obviously, the relevant questions you should all ask yourselves is-

What type of person am I? Do I embrace groundbreaking, really quite revolutionary art forms, or am I a thread burning type, lurking around the web with a torch and a few spooked neighbors in the wee hours, probably after filling up on Yukon Jack?

.............................................................

Veronica bent down to pick up the honey bun, completely flustered. Don Wall could now smell a rat.

"Whats Tim Versace up to?" said Don Wall.

"Nothing. Why?" said Veronica, looking down and smoothing her hair self consciously.

Don Wall just looked at her, when it hit him- a decoy. He looked over toward the dealership and back at her. Tim Versace was going to leave out the back, Don Wall thought to himself.

Behind the dealership, Mystery Man and Tim Versace got into the 2009 Corvette, and buckled up. Versace carefully placed his cellphone on the dash, motioned Mystery Man to be quiet, reached over, and pulled on the top of Mystery Mans seatbelt, hitching it to make sure it was nice and tight.

He started the Chevrolet, and the engine rumbled to life with a throaty roar. Versace gently depressed the gas pedal:

VROOM - VROOM.

He backed the Corvette out of its slot, and made his way for the back of the dealership, with the cell phone to his ear, trying to hear what was going on out front.

What was going on out front was that Don Wall took a sip of the coffee, put it down, and went for his motorcycle.

"Where are you going, Don?" asked Veronica, half into her armpit.

In the back, Versace stopped the Corvette instantly.

"What happened, car salesman?" asked Mystery Man.

"Ssshhhh," said Tim Versace, putting his index finger to his lips.

Out front, Don Wall thought to himself- 'busted.' Veronica was acting too suspiciously.

"Wait right here, Veronica. I'll be back in just a sec." he said, then jumped on his motorcycle, and pulled out.

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Robert Hagen Sept. 26, 2009 @ 10:25 a.m.

Veronica watched him with growing dread. Sure enough, he took a right on the side street that led to the rear of the dealership. In a near panic, she pulled her cell phone from under her armpit, and cried into it

"Tim, Don Wall's headed for the rear exit!"

"Wheres he at right now?" asked Tim Versace.

"He just rode over there."

"Okay, get back inside." Versace hung up, whipped the car in reverse and turned around in a flash. He sped through the back lot, and out to the front of the dealership. As Veronica was hanging up the phone, she saw the Corvette emerge from the back. Versace stopped at the entrance, checked both ways, and stepped on it, making a left then a quick right. Veronica heard the Corvette roar away at top speed:

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:-PLQSs_pQwWlVM:http://www.carbodydesign.com/archive/2007/12/27-chevrolet-corvette-zr1/2009-Chevrolet-Corvette-ZR1-3-lg.jpg

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Robert Hagen Sept. 25, 2009 @ 9:24 p.m.

Veronica relented, despite her concern that Tim Versace was embarked on a harebrained scheme. The more assertive Tim Versace became, the more it indicated his insecurities. Then he started with the rough stuff. 'Like exactly right now, for instance' thought Veronica, as Tim Versace said

"Okay Veronica, I'm going to wire you up. So you call me on your cellphone, leave the line open, and stuff the cellhone in your bra. Hurry up."

"No way." said Veronica.

"WAY!" yelled Tim Versace.

"Oh my God, Tim. Do you hear yourself?" retorted Veronica.

"Put it under armpit." suggested Mystery Man, with that incisive air of his. Veronica just looked at Mystery Man.

Car buying is an emotional experience.

In a matter of two minutes, Veronica was walking out the front of the dealership, and crossing the street towards SDPD motorcycle cop Don Wall. She approached Don Wall with a styrofoam cup of coffee in one hand, and a honey bun, half in its wrapper, in the other hand. She made quite a spectacle, under the circumstances, and Don Wall was instantly on his guard.

"Hi, Don." said Veronica.

"Hi." said Don Wall, querulously.

"Here." said Veronica, handing him the food. Once Don Wall took the coffee and donut, all she had to do was make sure the earpiece of her cellphone didn't get covered. Thats all. Nothing to it. She couldn't believe that she was doing this. She remembered Tim Versace's stiff ultimatum:

"You're going to do this, or its curtains. Now come on."

Veronica had looked into Tim Versace's eyes and said 'yes' and now here she was.

Don Wall took the cup of coffee in one hand, but when he went to take the honeybun, Veronica rushed it, and their fingertips tapped, as the honeybun slipped to the ground.

"Oh!" exclaimed Veronica.

"Whats going on?" asked Don Wall.

"Nothing." said Veronica, entirely non persuasively.

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antigeekess Sept. 25, 2009 @ 11:36 p.m.

One case in which I can agree with SurfPuppy.

I think it's safe to say that there's nobody reading this guy's crap. What an annoyance.

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Russ Lewis Sept. 26, 2009 @ 10:50 a.m.

"This is a groundbreaking internet serial called 'Condo.' " Move over, James Joyce.

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Robert Hagen Nov. 10, 2009 @ 7:23 p.m.

Well, well, well, if it isn't the Trail Mix Gang. A loose collection of nuts and fruits. And hey- call Viacom! Somebody read 'Internet Bullying for Dummies' to them. You don't want to meet their ringleader, SDaniels, unless you have Van Helsing on speed dial.

As for Pistol Pete? Obsessed- the Air Force thinks- with Bullwinkle the Moose.

His arch-nemesis.

Yeah.

A dedication for Rebecca:

U2 Zoo Station Live, Zoo TV Tour, Detroit, Michigan 1993

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArXIiDRRO4s

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Robert Hagen Nov. 14, 2009 @ 3:38 p.m.

Yes, it would appear that the Trail Mix Gang has had its its fifteen minutes of fame, and is ready to ride off into the sunset.

The Reader hard copy this week really exemplified the attitude of SDaniels, who is quoted as complaining about young, church goers parking on the street in quote unquote ´Liberty Station.´

SDaniels cites this sort of deviant behaviour in criticizing these same, young churchgoers going out to help the homeless in downtown, San Diego. It totally escapes this internet bully that church going is to be commended, and helps San Diego society. Has anyone read the demographics of church goers? They are some of the best people in San Diego.

Meanwhile good little fascist lap dog SurfPuppy619 is giving his good housekeeping seal of approval to San Diego cops rousting people in the Rock Church for helping homeless people get nice haircuts and a delicious, nutricious meal. Its these sorts of interactions that can help a homeless person change his or her life. People that have really hit the skids need that community support.

But City Hall is too busy scooting itself million dollar pensions to lift a finger for the homeless. So when Rock Church does, the San Diego police show up to prevent an act of charity. They know fascists like Surf puppy and SDaniels will cover for them, because like good little government brownshirts, they´ll turn their back on such rank corruption, in exchange for special favors, and the ability to bully normal people.

Thats whats at play here. But as soon as you say something, they scatter like cockroaches when the light turns on.

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Robert Hagen Nov. 21, 2009 @ 8:42 p.m.

Alright, but anyway, heres U2 'Even Better Than the Real Thing' dedicted to this hot little LA hooker that I used to know:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sUXZ8RNzco

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Robert Hagen Dec. 3, 2009 @ 7:03 p.m.

Heres a dedication for Barbarella herself:

Its Pedro Fernandez, who happens to be playing a Ford salesman on a major Mexican telenovela called 'Hasta Que El Dinero Nos Separe' on a major Mexican television network just now, but anyway, heres a cut called 'Amarte al Antigua' which can be translated a number of ways, but scholars would deduce is best described as 'To Love you as Before'.

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Robert Hagen Dec. 5, 2009 @ 9:59 p.m.

Heres a really choice cut called 'Scatterlings of Africa' which I saw performed live yesterday during the World Cup draw, which went rather well BTW.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj7paXrhOdY

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Robert Hagen Dec. 19, 2009 @ 3:10 a.m.

Condo - Part II

Tim Versace, Chevrolet salesman extraordinaire, was reading the newspaper one December morning, posted up on the showroom floor, where he could scan for approaching potential customers whilst keeping an eye on the front office. He was enjoying his usual glazed twist donut with coffee, but not drinking from a styro. Instead, he sipped from a classy, commuter receptacle, emblazoned with

'Go Green or Go Home'

Tim Versace had gone green. How did it happen? Very simple.

Tim Versace had just recently sold 100 pre-orders for the Chevrolet Volt, to Mystery Man, at $3,500 a pop. Even after splitting the deal with fleet sales, he had made enough to make a handsome down payment on a nice condo in Little Italy.

The background:

Mystery Man was a master diplomat from China, with a superhero chauffeur named Kato, and he was loaded. The stretch Benz security limo they had arrived in was Tim Versace's first clue.

Tim Versace had raced Kato in American muscle cars, then demoed Mystery Man in a ZR-1 Chevrolet Corvette at speed. Mystery Man called it 'Dragon Car,' which Tim Versace liked. Mystery Man was so expressive, in his way.

When Tim Versace finally pulled Mystery Man and Kato into the box, (the office where sales were closed) Mystery Man opened his briefcase, and it was full of cash. Mystery Man said:

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Robert Hagen Dec. 19, 2009 @ 3:15 a.m.

"You see, car salesman? I got'em one on top of another. But I never let money change me. Rich money very dangerous. You see my driver, Kato? He my grandson. I make him drive for me because I want to see him, because I love him so much."

At that, Kato dipped his head a modicum, and his heart glowed. Tim Versace noticed. He was a people person. Mystery Man continued:

"Now car salesman, I tell you a little bit about Kato, because he not mad at you that much, like before. When he got mad, because you said wrong things, I gather your background. You come from nice family. Kato not like that. When Kato small child, he live in trash dump and get food there even. But he survive, and I find Kato, and bring him home to my dojo. He learn that his ancestors do care.

"I want electric model because Kato tell me 'Boss, with clean air, new children don't have to live in trash because their father don't care."

Tim Versace didn't know what to say. It was true that Tim came from a nice family. He knew how tough some children had it.

"Go on." said Tim Versace.

"Kato my grandson, and I love him so much. He very strong man. You know what strong man is, car salesman?" said Mystery Man.

"A leader?" ventured Tim Versace.

"Depends. Strong man make others strong, so yes, can be a leader. Strong man have strong love. Kato very strong, very, very strong."

"I'm touched. I always got a good vibe from your grandson. My respect." said Tim Versace.

Kato nodded, and said

"Ka man, earth air like mans skin. It hurt real easy, it real thin. Earth ocean like mans blood. It should be clean. I rescue commando in Chinese Army. I swim in ocean and see so much trash, it make me afraid. I don't want no kids live like I did. I know how bad it is when men don't care."

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Robert Hagen Dec. 19, 2009 @ 4:13 p.m.

Tim Versace was released from his reverie by his boss, who stuck his head out of his office and said

"Versace, get in here."

Tim got up, straightened his tie, and brushed off his suit. Inside the general managers office, the G.M. said

"Versace, have you ever won a walk around contest?"

A walk around is when the salesman walks around a vehicle and shows it off, explaining its attributes.

"Yeah, back home in Detroit." said Tim Versace.

'No wonder' thought the G.M. who said

"How come you never compete in our annual walk around contest? Its several hundred bucks to you, if you win."

"I like to give the young bloods a chance. I watch them, and really enjoy it, as well as learn from them. I've seen some promising young tigers go at it, and I feel that it adds to my game, while letting them come up. I'm going to make my money anyway."

"Cut to the bottom line, Versace."

"If I watch the youngsters, I pick up game. If I show the youngsters, I give up game. I coach the young men and women that I feel are real tigers on a more personal level. And you know that. I never let an untrained salesperson on the lot. If it comes down to it, I'll tell them straight up they're not cut out for the job. I keep our crew going, and not just by example. I'm a people person and I know a man or woman's got to make a living."

"Versace, you're a wop after my own heart. Detroit HQ wants you to walk around our 2010 lineup."

"Where?"

"At some mega-giant confab in Copenhagen, Denmark. Tomorrow."

"You're kidding me, right?"

"I bulls*** you not. You're to leave post haste, stop over in Detroit for your briefing on the presentation, and arrive tomorrow evening. Heres your travel orders."

Tim Versace was speechless. Finally, he said

"Jesus, boss. What am I going to say?"

"Detroit HQ has it all worked out. Its a power point based presentation. My personal instructions to you are explicit: If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. Understood?"

"Yes, sir."

"Versace, your audience is going to be some of the top car pros from around the world."

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Robert Hagen Dec. 20, 2009 @ 7:40 p.m.

Veronica walked in, all a titter. The general manager said

"Veronicas going with you. You know I never let her out of my sight. I don't want any hanky panky with those Europeans, much less you after a few drinks. Shes going to help you make the presentation."

Veronica beamed. She had never been to Europe before.

The General Manager rubbed his face, pursed his lips, and opened his desk drawer. He withdrew a plain white envelope and said

"Veronica, this is a little something from those of us who work the front desk (general managers) for US Auto here on the Mile (Mile of Cars, National City, Ca.)Its from GM, Ford and Chrysler desks alike. Its a few K cash. Don't lose it."

"Who do I give it to?" asked Veronica.

"The briefer in Detroit. Its for factory hands who have had an awful tough year. Its holiday money."

"Jesus boss, you should have said something. I would have chipped in and passed the hat around. It all adds up." said Tim Versace.

"Well, you made a once in a lifetime grand slam on the Volt pre-orders, I imagine you've done your bit for the less fortunate in this season of giving."

Tim Versace wiped his mouth and blushed, which he almost never did. He hadn't. Not a dime.

"Tim?"

"Boss, I did make a grandslam. I made 25 k and I'm putting it down on a condo. I close tomorrow."

"Oh, Tim." said Veronica, gasping involuntarily.

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Robert Hagen Dec. 20, 2009 @ 7:41 p.m.

The general manager shot Veronica a mean look- 'Don't.' Veronica put her hand over her mouth.

"Boss, its a huge tax bite I'm avoiding, and I'm buying real quality at the bottom of the market. I worked that real estate agent into the ground, I swear I did. I ground him into powder then blew. The fat down was the lynchpin to the whole deal. And my disposable savings are tied up in a money market account. My broker won't approve anything, he won't even take my calls since I brought up the condo. I don't want to blow him out (fire him) because over the years, hes been a solid performer. Everybody got wiped out late last year. My portfolios been recovering little by little. Its my nest egg. When I got this windfall, with prices being down and all, I said its time to pull the trigger."

The general managers eyes bore holes into Tim Versace and he growled venomously

"Then you rework that deal, you hear me? Your very own father worked the line for GM his whole life, to give you an opportunity. You with your gab and big language. 'Have heart, have money' you like to say when you pull a good gross. Maybe you need to pour a little water on your own heart, Versace."

Tim Versace ducked his head and put his hand over his eyes.

"F*** your condo, and your fine clothes, Versace. I'll stand no self servers, do you hear? Over the years, you've always stepped to the plate when someone had an emergency. But I wonder if you did it to look good, or because your hearts in the right place. Thats all."

Tim Versace jumped up and almost ran out of the room.

Veronica chased after him crying "Tim! Tim!"

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Robert Hagen Dec. 21, 2009 @ 10:04 p.m.

Veronica ran into Tim Versaces office. He was sniffling, and rubbing his eyes. On his deak was his briefcase and the manila envelope with travel orders to Copenhagen. He was organizing.

"Tim, are you okay?"

"Yeah yeah. I'm fine."

"Tim, the general manager is hard on you because you're his best salesman. He didn't mean anything personal."

"No, he was right. He was absolutely right."

Then Tim Versace got more emotional, put his fist to his mouth, and turned around. Veronica quickly closed the door. Versace wiped his eyes and grabbed his fine Italian suitcase. He withdrew a moneybag, unzipped it, and pulled out the $25,000 in cash he'd popped (made in commission) on the Chevy Volt pre-orders.

"Tim, what are you doing with all that cash?!" cried Veronica.

"I hammered my paycheck (cashed it at the bank of origin) and used it for eye candy when I dealt with the real estate agent. Hes a young suck, a green pea (a rookie).

Tim Versace looked at Veronica with pure guilt in his eyes.

"Tim, what did you do?" asked Veronica.

Tim Versace went to the mini wet bar in his office, grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels and chugged from it like it was water. He wiped his mouth on his hand, looked at it, set the bottle down and rubbed the moisture obsessively. Veronica saw that all of his body language was like Dr. Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde. Tim Versace turned around, and said

"I ran him over (intimidated him into the sale) Veronica. I ran him over so bad he won't be able to hit the ceiling when he comes to."

Tim Versace wiped his mouth again, went to his mini wet bar, grabbed a fine Italian glass tumbler, filled it to the brim, suck down half of it, swirled the rest, took another drink, refilled it, and slumped into his office chair, peering into the oblivion of the glass. It was all show. All Johnny Depp meets Alec Baldwin on the Mile of Cars. On the surface. Tim Versace perceived that Veronica was going to ask him whats up. Veronica knew things, she had a sixth sense about people.
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Robert Hagen Dec. 21, 2009 @ 10:23 p.m.

"Tim, what did you say?" asked Veronica. The thing about Tim Versace was he would say outrageous things.

Tim Versace took another slug of the hard stuff and said

"Give me the envelope."

"Tell me what you did." insisted Veronica.

"First give me the envelope, and then I will."

Veronica handed him the plain white envelope with secret Santa money in it. Versace withdrew the cash, counted it, put it back, pulled a stack of hundreds from the 25k, licked his finger tips, counted out a number of bills, drained his glass again, stuffed those bills into the envelope with the rest of the money, refilled his glass, took a nice swig, and handed the envelope to Veronica.

'Goodbye, condo' he thought.

He said:

"There was 32 hunje (hundred). Heres ten k flat. Take it."

"Tim, whats wrong with you? Whats got into you? How could you  act this way? What is it about this condo?"

Tim Versace slugged down what was in his glass, and went to refill. Veronica grabbed the glass out of his hands, and cried

"Slow down! What happened with the real estate agent?"

Versace whirled, took another glass from his office mini bar, poured a lesser amount into it, drank, turned around, and said

"I convinced the youngster I was in the mob."

"Oh my God, Tim. You hate the mob." gasped Veronica.
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Robert Hagen Dec. 21, 2009 @ 10:30 p.m.

"I DONT HATE THE MAFIA! I DONT HATE ANYBODY!" screamed Tim Versace, throwing down his glass and shattering it on the floor.

"My father had to leave Italy because of a vendetta! Because of the Sicilians! The Versaces work for ours! We don't kill anyone, we don't hurt anyone, we don't fight any one!" yelled Tim Versace.

"Don't yell at me, Tim. And get ahold of yourself. You're freaking out when you're about to embark on the most imprtant sales presentation of you life."

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Robert Hagen Dec. 25, 2009 @ 8:50 p.m.

Buon Natale!, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, from Tim Versace's family to yours. Heres Anita Baker, 'the Detroit Songstress' with 'Noone in the World' live:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7vpowqgLDM

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Robert Hagen Jan. 22, 2010 @ 3:25 p.m.

Mid December, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark:

The top car pros in the world were assembled to hear Tim Versace walk around the 2010 GM line up. But Tim Versace had not been sent there to pitch Chevys. He was there to share a vision, with the world. The lights dimmed, and the music played, accompanied by a big screen presentation of Chevy's newest, best.

The Chevy Cruze, rated at 41 mpg, not a hybrid, a four cylinder turbo, available in second quarter 2010. The ZR1 Corvette, rated at 198 miles per hour, The fastest car General Motors had ever built. The Impala, the Malibu, the Equinox, the Traverse, and the Chevy Volt, the first true electric drive model in the world that offered internal combustion independance, available third quarter 2010. This is the music that played:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg3OKtFL_Yg

When the lights came up, Veronica strode onstage, full of confidence and sass. The car people whooped and hollered.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mister Tim Versace!"

Tim Versace strode onto the stage, immaculately dressed, full of purpose, ready to go. The spotlight was on him. The applause was polite, nothing more.

"Hello, thank you! My name is Tim Versace. I'm speaking English, but for those of you who don't, we have Dragon Systems, on the fly translators to bridge the gap.

Welcome to Copenhagen!"

Tim Versace gave a flourish and a bow to his fellow car pros, at the mega-conference on green, sustainable living. He continued:

"Of course I'm a Chevrolet salesman, but I'm not here to pitch a Chevy car, because lets face it, theres a ton of good cars out there, from all around the world. We're here in this city, on this day, to talk about where we're going. Now, a car is about the greatest tool ever invented. Agreed?"

There were murmurs of assent from the huge crowd.

"But a car can't take you anywhere, if you don't know where you're going. No tool can, not even a computer. Technology, by itself, is but an illusory mirage, a disfigurement of what is natural, and all too often, as we have seen, a pre-cursor to conflict, as we imagine that some technology or other, some device, can solve our problems, and overcome our all too human defects.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm here to tell you that technology by itself is more dangerous than money. Money can't buy happiness, but it can definately postpone misery. We too can postpone misery- through money- but if we do, then what will become of our children? If we continue to trash the world, our children will live in trash, and if we continue to pollute the world, our children will live in a dark atmosphere of hopelessnees, and our childrens children will be born without hope, only to see a black, foreboding sky. It will be our fault."

Now Tim Versace had their attention.

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SDaniels Jan. 22, 2010 @ 4:02 p.m.

I see diego has decided to continue to spam in installments, despite a lack of interest. What's it worth to force your writing on others, diego? You are just going to get called out for your disrespectful practice of spamming the board rather than following the rules and starting a blog like everyone else. Isn't there some little cyberpunk zine with your pseudonym on it, where you can legitimately submit your work?

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Robert Hagen Jan. 23, 2010 @ 7:11 p.m.

(Its not spam first of all. And isn't the blogosphere itself built on installments? For example, your serial harassments, I've had to take in installments. But I'm not tripping. You're hooked on 'Condo', SDaniels. I have a readership. Just follow along with the story, put on your nice face, desist in thinking that Pistol Pete is some type of role model for you, and let it happen, okay?)

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Robert Hagen Jan. 23, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.

Tim Versace said "But there is a better way. Working together, global auto can bring an orderly transformation from carbon fuels to green, sustainables. We're going to dim the lights, listen to some new age music, and get in the mood to relax, and conceive of a better, sustainable, clean future for ourselves and people around the world. Dig this video people." . The lights dimmed, and this video played:

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SDaniels Jan. 23, 2010 @ 8:56 p.m.

No, diego, I am not hooked on whatever you are calling this boring, fifth-grade-level--SPAM.

I'm going to repeat this clearly and just once more, and then I'll leave you to the oblivion in which it and you appear to exist:

You are spamming the staff story board.

You have been reminded of this multiple times by multiple parties.

It irritates others, searching for content.

If you develop an interest in social cues and getting along with others, you will get a neighborhood blog like everyone else.

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Robert Hagen Jan. 24, 2010 @ 10:04 p.m.

Well, I never!

This is not a staff story board, its a thread. I'm creating a great story here, which shouldn't irritate you or others.

I'm interested in the neighborhood blog thing, as I've said. The problem is that I'm not getting the live links needed to register.

BTW while we're on that, what is this about being like everyone else? 'The reasonable man adjusts himself to society. The unreasonable man expects society to adjust to him. Therefore, all progress relies on the unreasonable man.'

Thats a paraphrase of a writers quote. Certainly English.

In any event if you're not hooked on 'Condo' then 'mores the pity.' Thats Shakespeare.

FYI spam is unsolicited e-mail sent for commercial gain to multiple parties. On a message board, or public forum, spamming may be considered as overposting, in which case the moderator, or group of moderators, may intercede. Are you a moderator? Or do you prefer to refer to "social cues" and play the part?

Because SDaniels, theres three things I don't particularly like about you-

1) That smirk- you may be that good looking, but you're not that smart. Nobody is that smart, for Gods sake. Do you want to see what a decent web shot looks like? Here:

http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/93/m_2bb03bb79bc3364be8ace87dd40aab05.jpg

2) Your coziness with Pistol Pete, who whizzes about the board, spreading Rush Limbaugh shtick slathered in braggadocio, and who is in this time and place, frankly alarming and unseemly. But I don't care to have him censored, my preference is to allow others to participate, and call it atmosphere.

3) The way you lie in wait. If I meet your approval, I get an occasional stroke, but overall, its all about you controlling the situation. If someone is spamming, in the looser use of the term, its Pistol Pete and yourself, certainly not me. I think you're crowding people out and making people feel uncomfortable.

And, just so we get this clear, if you have some private connection with Barbarella, you need to disclose that. Then we can take this straight upstairs to Jim Holman. Similarly, if Pistol Pete has any connections with law enforcement, that needs to be disclosed. Forthwith. Lets do this all right here and right now.

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PistolPete Jan. 25, 2010 @ 12:39 a.m.

For the record, whereintheworldiscarmensandiegonomics, I don't really give a f*** what you do. I've scanned all 165 posts here and the only one made by me was an off the wall and out of character off the cuff comment typed while trashed. You'll have to excuse my frenemy, SD. She's kind of like nails on a chalkboard. Unfortunetely for her, I'm a freak and think of her whilst I shave my naughty parts with whipped cream.

If this was my blog, I'd be pissed. But it's not so I ain't. :-D Creating a short, whimsical muse for us to heartily guffaw at is one thing. Finish the damn novel already! :-P

You want my blog? I'll let you use it while I'm locked up making sweet love to a black man named Leroy.

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Robert Hagen Jan. 25, 2010 @ 1:07 p.m.

Well then, I think a dedication for Rebecca is perfectly in order. This is Julieta Venegas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0gvnLBreK4

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Robert Hagen Jan. 26, 2010 @ 5:14 p.m.

In any event, the story really isn't that important. I want to apaologize to SDaniels, for remarks that were uncalled for. I honestly don't even know her, so to get personal like that was just totally ungentleman like and wrong. So I apologize.

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Robert Hagen Jan. 31, 2010 @ 6:45 p.m.

Tim Versace scanned the crowd after the ambient music played. Tim called it new age, but that was because he was old school. He saw the different salesmen, and different nationalities, all arrayed in front of him. They were watching with more than a little expectation. One or two had left during the new age music. Tim was glad to have them gone. When an old dog can't learn new tricks, it's run its course. Tim Versace wasn't totally of the 'try something new everyday' crowd, but when he did try something new, he did it with discernment, and sincerety. Tim Versace told the worlds greatest car pros in Copenhagen, Denmark:

"The new age music is intended to reach us emotionally, and set us on a tempo that is more along the lines of what happened before us. Every culture looks to its ancestors for guidance and advice. When things are changing fast, we still need to learn from our forebearers. If we don't learn from them, how can we teach the young?

"Are we or are we not part of one world family? This is my question? The economic crisis? That was caused by Mercedes drivers. Fat cats, in too much car. Riches are an illusion."

Tim Versace was staring at the Mercedes Benz contingent when he said that. They immediately huddled, to discuss the finer points of Tim Versace's most recent statement. It didn't take them long to determine that he was insulting them. Their leader rose and shouted

"You can't challenge us that way. Chevy sucks. We want the microphone, now!"

With that, the Mercedes contingent filed into the aisle and began approaching the stage. The world's greatest car pros gasped.

In the Chinese contingent, Kato was dozing next to Mystery Man. He could have sat in the Mercedes contingent, since he was a test driver for Mercedes security limousines, but he wanted to be in the Chinese section. It was his call.

Mystery Man elbowed him awake and said

"Kato!! Mercedes team going to beat up car salesman! Go help him!"

The Smiths: 'How soon is now?' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U5Hpe...

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Robert Hagen Feb. 3, 2010 @ 1:13 a.m.

Kato surveyed the situation. The Germans were advancing with a leader upfront. That was Wolfgang. Then there were two or three salesmen, and then a couple of heavy bruisers bringing up the rear. Kato took off low and fast, hit the aisle they were in, flew down it and hit the two bruisers from behind, with his feet kicking them so hard in the calves they would not be moving too fast in the immediate future. Katos chest flew between them and he caught himself on their shoulders, more or less all at once.

"Sorry!" he cried, Jackie Channing the situation, as he scrambled by. Then he elbowed aside the middlemen, and caught Wolfgang. He jumped in front of him, and said

"You only. No fighting. I mean it."

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Robert Hagen Feb. 11, 2010 @ 2:43 p.m.

Wolfgang Loescher strode onto the stage. He didn't bother giving Kato an 'I'll deal with you later' look. He was furiously pissed at Tim Versace, Chevrolet salesman extraordinaire. Wolfgang Loescher was a Mercedes Benz salesman extraordinaire. How did he come to be such a man? Very carefully. With true German engineering precision, Wolfgang Loescher had risen to the top, from his humble beginnings in Dusseldorf, Germany.

'Patience is protection' Wolfgangs father had always counselled.

'Drink your beer and watch your words. Enjoy your work.' Were other bits of advice Wolfgang Loescher's father had given him.

Tim Versace hustled over and greeted Wolfgang, saying

"Here is a Mercedes salesman. Your name, sir?"

Tim Versace tilted the microphone to Wolfgang, who snatched it out of his hand, and said

"Versace, my name is not important. What's important is that we recognize that Mercedes Benz was not in the least bit involved in the financial crisis. The fact that we build some of the best cars in the world, and that Chevy sucks, probably played a role in your rank lies, which all the worlds best car people are here to observe me labeling as such, and placing on the record.

"Financial frippery practiced by Wall Street, political deviance practiced by self promoters in office, and most of all the United States now decade long proclivity for acting as if life is some sort of reality TV show, and then worse, believing it! That, ladies and gentlemen, THAT is what the problem is. Versace, I wouldn't trust a Chevrolet on a snowy road, and I wouldn't wash my Mercedes Benz with your toxic American beer, much less drink it."

The worlds assembled car pros went absofu@#ingly nuts. Tim Versace blushed, a deep red, as the crowd of almost two thousand strong cheered Wolfgang. So many times he'd daydreamed about arguing politics with foreigners, and upstaging Mercedes Benz. And now this. Tim Versace looked over toward the side stage, where Veronica was. Her shoulders had slumped involuntarily, probably when she detected that Wolfgang spoke English with more precision and care than Tim Versace.

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Robert Hagen Feb. 14, 2010 @ 8:20 p.m.

Tim Versace took a quick look at the auditorium, and its acoustics. He didn't really need the microphone. So he simply raised his voice plenty enough to be heard throughout the hall and cried

"If the issue is politics, then I wonder how much Americans have learned from Europeans! I certainly know that our politics are degraded, in the nation where I live! The United States of America! I'm not a politician! I'm not going to argue with a Mercedes salesman over politics! Because! Because of this! If the USA were as bad off as this gentleman seems to say, who hasn't yet said what his name is, then we wouldn't be selling Mercedes in our country! The fact is that we do! Why??!!"

"Because if we didn't, that would mean that we can't compete! Thats not a yes or no question, thats a fact!"

A murmur was heard throughout the crowd. Tim Versace continued:

"I've heard a great deal of talk about car safety, namely that Herr whatever his name is wouldn't trust a Chevy on a snowy road! Talk is cheap! I don't deny that Mercedes Benz makes a dynamite vehicle, but frankly, I would be just as happy with a Volkswagen! Because what good is a car that is so safe if you can't afford it!? And if I had the money and were so inclined, I sure as hell wouldn't buy an MB, I'd do myself right and get a Porsche! Furthermore, people, and listen to me close now, because I'm about to educate you not with University English, like this man speaks, but with the truth! Are you ready?!" Tim Versace yelled, without a microphone. You could hear a pin drop.

"Awesome! People, its not the car, its the driver! If you can't drive a fuc*ing car, get a Mercedes! If you can drive a car, choose well! This man says he wouldn't trust a Chevy on a snowy road! Well then, who wants to race!!?? I'll take an Impala SS up to a Switzerland rally track and race anyone of you, or your test drivers. For real money. Dollars, ass%oles! Who wants to see how it really is?! Tell me now!"

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Robert Hagen Feb. 16, 2010 @ 8:54 p.m.

Now then, everyone who is really into cars knows that a car person has the car that he loves, and some car or other that automatically becomes the object of his or her disaffection. Its like sports, or nationality, or even politics. For Tim Versace, Mercedes Benz was the marque he couldn't stand. But for Wolfgang Loescher, it was Porsche. And when something like this comes up, and rage fills ones eyes, it stops being about what you love, and like a charging bull, like what someone waved in front of your face, to make you mad.

Wolfgang Loescher cried

"PORSCHE!!!!!! YOU WANT A PORSCHE?!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!!"

If the crowd was dead quiet before, now you could feel the place just going into a vacuum. Wolfgang thrust off his very expensive hounds tooth suit jacket, threw it down on the stage, and began rolling up his sleeves. Both cufflinks went into his pocket as he cried

"Versace, you are headed back to that federal ghetto of San Diego, that Guantanamo West of yours that you so dearly love- on a stretcher!"

Just as Wolfgang went for Tim Versace, Kato leapt up and grabbed one of his ankles. Didn't faze him. Wolfgang's powerful, soccer playing legs dragged Kato onto the stage. The truth is, Wolfgang barely felt the extra weight.
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Robert Hagen Feb. 18, 2010 @ 1:41 p.m.

Heres a dedication for the very talented, very exciting Ms. Aaryn Belfer. Its a little Alicia Villareal bit, called 'Si Me dejas Ahora' (If you leave me now) with a Beatles twist:

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Robert Hagen Feb. 20, 2010 @ 6:32 p.m.

When Kato's grasp of one of Wolfgang's akles didn't slow him down, and Kato was literally getting dragged across the stage, he went for Wolfgang's other ankle, being sure to leave enough slack so that Wolfgang would not fall. Kato's next move would be to throw a scissors kick on both of Wolfgang's legs, but to the front side. Making people fall backward with a scissors kick was very dangerous, and totally unnecessary.

Now Wolfgang was dragging Kato with both legs, but his speed had slowed to a crawl. He was doing a Frankenstein shuffle. The world's top car pros were in the process of absorbing this latest, when Werner Beck, Porsche salesman extraordinaire, stood up and cried

"Wolfgang, have a care! If the man wants to race, and he has money, then lets entertain his ideas! I personally am interested in seeing what the American can do, even if you're not!"

"You're a reprobate Werner, and next on my list if you don't be quiet!" cried Wolfgang.

"Next on your list?! I've been tops on your list ever since you learned what driving a Porsche is all about! But what I particularly love is how Mercedes has favored Chrysler with an older, big wheel chassis!"

Now the car pros were again aroused to stomping and shouting. The Dragon Systems on the fly translators were working without a hitch.

Wolfgang stopped in his tracks o the stage. Kato leapt up and dusted himself off. Tim Versace had already moved to the apron (front edge) of the stage. If this crazy German rushed him he would sidestep and let him fly off the stage. If he was incredibly fast, Tim was going to duck off the stage himself. Either way, Tim Versace was not about to get pummeled by a Mercedes man in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wolfgang Loescher said

"Mercedes Benz makes the best car chassis in the world! We don't think people should drive on a roller skate, and we put the engine in the front, where it belongs."

"Well at Porsche we put the driver in front, where he belongs. I liked what the American said about that. Its the driver, Wolfgang."

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Robert Hagen Feb. 24, 2010 @ 10:20 p.m.

"Werner, I'm warning you for the last time to stay out of this particular incident. I haven't time for your nonsense. You're a decadent playboy in any event. Why don't you spray some perfume on yourself, and head out for a nightclub?" said Wolfgang Loescher, Mercedes Benz salesman extraordinaire, to Werner Beck, Porsche salesman extraordinaire, during the GM presentation portion of the program at Copenhagen, Denmark. All the great cars were represented there. Also there were Audi people.

Werner Beck had brought a small group of Porsche salesmen to the mega confab on green, sustainable living taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark in late 2009. His primary instruction to them was to avoid laughing at competitors or otherwise appear condescending. Werner Beck wasn't headed into the conference looking to make enemies. Porsche had it good, there was no doubt about it. But a Porsche isn't for everyone anyway, even for those lucky enough to be shopping in its price range.

But anyway, it wasn't until Tim Versace, Chevrolet salesman extraordinaire, had issued a racing challenge, on a snowy road, to the assembled, worlds greatest car pros, that Werner Beck had spoken up. He wanted a piece of that action. If there was going to be a race, Werner was in. To Wolfgang Loescher, Werner Beck was some sort of Charlie Sheen character, but the truth was, Werner Beck was one of the fastest men on the planet. Literally.

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Robert Hagen March 7, 2010 @ 10:12 a.m.

Werner Beck was standing in the audience. Wolfgang Loescher had taken center stage, Tim Versace was pacing back and forth at the front of the stage, and Kato was hovering around the two very casually, making sure a fight didn't break out

Werner Beck said

"Its just like you Wolfgang, to disparage my personal character as a means of attempting to recover after throwing a public tantrum and threatening physical violence on a man you barely know. You're a hot head, Wolfgang."

The crowd murmured at that. Werner wanted to corner Wolfgang before taking up the race challenge. Otherwise Wolfgang would doubtless throw a monkey wrench into the proposal. By calling Wolfgang a hot head when he was furious, Werner Beck estimated Wolfgang would calm himself down. Strait laced Wolfgang Loescher was predictable enough to give it a try.

Sure enough, Wolfgang Loescher stormed over to his houndstooth jacket which he'd thrown down on the stage, snatched it up, brushed it off vigorously, turned his mike down, handed it down to one of his salesman and quietly hissed

"Drycleaners. Shnell."

He turned his mike back up and said

"I suppose in the spirit of this Copenhagen Conference that we should dispose of the acrimony. I'm a fair man. I hold no grudges."

Tim Versace jumped in:

"I just want to say that I'm amazed at how good you speak English, and also apologize for the offense. I'd like to shake your hand."

The two met at center stage and shook hands. The palpable tension in the auditorium evaporated, and a smattering of applause became an enthusiastic round. Car people are by nature gregarious. Kato drifted to the back, knowing that the crowds eyes would follow Tim and Wolfgang. When they went to shake hands, Kato glanced up at Mystery Man. Mystery Man was a master martial artist, sitting with the Chinese contingent, and Kato's grandfather. He nodded to Kato imperceptibly- 'good job. Stay there.'

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Robert Hagen March 9, 2010 @ 1:19 p.m.

Veronica was side stage, and when she first saw Kato, she didn't recognize him. Then she saw the way he moved, and knew it was him. It only added to her anguish. The Copenhagen Conference was supposed to be about green sustainable living, and protecting the environment. Tim Versace had explicit instructions to be diplomatic, but as soon as he had hooked the audience, he had reverted to form. Bagging on Mercedes Benz and challenging people to race. Veronica didn't think that would go over very well in Europe. Then when Kato showed up, Veronica was embarrassed and ashamed. Why couldn't Tim take care of himself by acting like a mature adult? Kato was mature, and Veronica knew he was a kind of superman, but he carried himself responsibly, and never shot off his mouth like Tim Versace.

Kato noticed Veronica, and how upset she was. He slid over to her, and hugged her, saying

"Don't worry."

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Robert Hagen March 9, 2010 @ 1:20 p.m.

KATO - ORIGINS! - FIELD DIVE INTO THE PACIFIC TRASH GYRE

Kato was wearing his Chinese Army uniform when he walked into the briefing office. There was the Jet, in his Chinese Air Force uniform. He didn't know what it was all about. He went and said hi to the Jet and sat down. The Jet was tense, even for him.

An intel Dilbert walked in, and said

"Men, there is an enormous gyre of trash in the pacific ocean. We wish for you to dive into it, collect samples, and return them to us for analysis. It must be done in secret, for we do not wish to share our actions or understandings with other parties, at least for the moment."

Kato started to sweat visibly, but the Jets eyes were locked onto the briefer, who continued

"You will leap from a commercial aircraft at over 20,000 feet, collect samples, swim to a shipping lane, and secretly board a ship back to China. Are there any questions?"

The Jet looked over at Kato, who was now pale in addition to being covered in sweat.

"Sir, may I have a word with Kato?" asked the Jet.

"Of course. Take your time. Go into the next room."

Kato and the Jet went into the next room and closed the door.

BLAMMO!

The Jet grabbed Kato by the lapels and slammed him into the wall.

"You're afraid aren't you?!" he hissed into Kato's face.

BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kato shoved the Jet in his chest, and he went flying backwards across the room, fell backward and slid on his rear. He jumped back up.

"Don't touch my uniform, Jet. I wouldn't like if you disrespect my uniform." said Kato.

The Jet flew back into Kato's face, and growled

"You disrespect your own uniform, because you're scared. Don't accuse me of anything. This is not a suicide mission, its not even that dangerous. Why are you afraid?"

"When I was a child, I live in trash dump. The ocean is so big. Think Jet- if our superiors want us to examine the trash, it must be very big. It scares me."

"You must do this, Kato. I envy you because you feel fear. I don't. I just have rage in my heart. The sky and the ocean are where I feel free, where I can be happy. I chose you to accompany me and you are afraid at the first mention of things. Do you want our children to live in trash like you did?"

"No."

"Then we must do as we are told, dive into the trash, and bring some back so it can be analyzed. How can we solve such problems if we don't adequately understand what is happening?"

"I understand. Okay."

Kato and the Jet walked back into the briefing room, where the briefer was laying out maps and instructions. He acted as if nothing had happened.

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Robert Hagen March 10, 2010 @ 9:48 a.m.

The Chinese intelligence briefer handed Kato and the Jet packets of information and began a Power Point demonstration.

Here is an authentic video on the trash gyre and efforts to collect smaples and investigate it, like Kato and the Jet were being tasked to do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLrVCI4N67M

When the briefing was over, Kato and the Jet were pretty concerned, and they understood why their superiors were sending them. But why in secret, and why the rush?

Kato asked

"Sir, what will be done with our research, if I may ask?"

"Your findings will be used by scientists at the highest level to expand our understanding of the trash gyre. Much is being written and researched about environmental concerns. China must know what is factual, for economic and political decision taking. It won't do much good for China to expand opportunities for our people if it causes a catastrophe in coming decades. Secrecy is important on this mission because of the delicate politics that surround these issues. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is that you accomplish these tasks. Our government will soon begin negotiations with counterparts on these vital matters, which affect all of humanity. These issues will be discussed at the forthcoming Copenhagen Conference."

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Robert Hagen March 11, 2010 @ 9:54 a.m.

"Time is a train, makes the future the past, leaves you standing there, your face pressed up against the glass."

                              - U2 'Zoo Station'

See the theme from 'Condo' U2 Zoo Station live in Chicago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsni9fEl4ws

Kato and the Jet were scrunched into a compartment of a China Air airliner crossing the Pacific. The roar of jet engines, wind, and echo filled the tiny compartment. The Jet looked over at Kato. He was really scared. Really really f***ing scared. The Jet thought, 'time for the pep talk'. The Jet never got scared. He welcomed death, to relieve him of the terrible tragedy of his feelings. He knew no man would ever be able to desecrate his death. The Jet spoke into the microphone of his state of the art field suit. He could leap from the aircraft and dive into the ocean with it. The utility belt was about as good as Batman's.

"Hey, Kato."

"What?"

"You know what military honor is?"

"It's doing what you are told to do even though you don't want to do it." said Kato.

"No, that's not what it is. It's how you honor others." said the Jet.

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Robert Hagen March 11, 2010 @ 2:36 p.m.

Kato looked at the Jet. He would have to think about that. Someone pounded twice on the container: prepare to jump.

The small, square container was mounted in the lower rear tail section of the China Air 747. A few seconds later, explosive charges in the bolts of the fuselage panel of the compartment blew,and the panel gave way, to join the rest of the garbage in the Pacific trash gyre. Kato and the Jet fell out of the plane, and a replacement fuselage panel slid into place a split second later. Techinicians began dismantling the compartment.

In the air Kato was beginning some stretching exercise as he fell to Earth. He had been cramped in the compartment. The Jet was whizzing around Kato in a cork screw, his arms back and to his sides. It would be a few minutes until they reached the point where they would deploy parachutes, and land in the hot zone of the Pacific trash gyre.

Kato could tell that the Jet was having the time of his life as they rushed on into the future:

Julieta Venegas - Bien o Mal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOYWgg33JMU

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Robert Hagen March 13, 2010 @ 10:37 a.m.

After Kato had stretched he followed the Jet on a course for the edge of the Pacific trash gyre hot spot. They pulled rip cords, and began angling for the precise landing area. Winter storms had clumped huge mounds of trash, some looked practically like islands. It was going to be a dangerous dive.

They landed in the ocean feet first, released their parachutes and tied them together with heavier equipment, tethered themselves together, and donned enormous swim fins. On their diving hoods were powerful lights, cameras and inside, intercoms.

The Jet had a long pole. On either end was a powerful melting device. Kato had a large spot light/digital camera. The Jet would lead and Kato would illuminate the way from slightly behind.

They descended into a Dante's Inferno of lifeless debris.

The Jet was pushing debris out of the way with the pole, while he made his way downward, his swim fins rising and falling, rising and falling. Kato was filming everything.

"Jet! Go right!"

An entangled mass of trash, with a steel I beam protruding from it came out of nowhere. The Jet whirled to his right, struck the I beam with his pole, and went backward. Again he struck the I-beam to regain balance, and got underneath the peril.

Within a half hour they were underneath the massive pieces of trash.

"Hey, whats that?" Said the Jet.

"What?" asked Kato pointing the spotlight where the Jet was looking.

"I saw a flash of light. Come on." said the Jet.

"Are you sure?" The poles melting rod produced a white hot flash, that they had to look away from. Maybe the Jets eyes were playing tricks on him in this lightless environment.

"I'm positive. Lets go."

They swam toward the light the Jet had seen. When they got there, they found what looked a little like a small satellite.

"What is it, Jet?"

The Jet swam around it, examining it.

"LOOK!" the Jet cried. There was an American flag on the strange device.

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Robert Hagen March 13, 2010 @ 2:26 p.m.

Kato immediately turned his spotlight to full power, and encircled the device, filming it. Then the two swam quickly away from it. They had other things to do, and the device was heavy. Their orders were to collect samples of the water in different places. They had done their Michael Moore bit. Now it was the time to bring back samples. They knew where the device was.

They swam below and around the hot spot. They surfaced, swam to their gear, pulled it out, swam to the collection point, and spent the next many hours collecting water samples.

The time came for them to swim away, to a shipping lane. That took a good while. Finally Kato and the Jet arrived in a shipping lane where they could hitch a ride back home. They were really tired, as they floated on the water, resting. They had removed their hoods. They had all they're equipment, they'd achieved each goal in the mission, and they'd filmed an American sensor. All in all, a good few days work.

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Robert Hagen March 14, 2010 @ 9:18 p.m.

It was starting to get dark when a huge freighter ship came into view. Kato and the Jet were really happy, because they were tired and sleepy. They boarded it at the helm, with grappling hook, hauled their bounty of scientific samples aboard, and climbed a stack of shipping containers. At one row the front one was lower than the back one- good cover from the bridge. They spread their stuff out and crashed. Noone was going to be climbing around the containers on the deck of the freighter at this time. With a good nights sleep, they could reconnoiter the ship at first light. When you get on a ship in the middle of the Pacific ocean, after all you've been through- sack out.

Morning came. They awoke, perused the ship stealthily, and returned. They ate energy bars, and relaxed.

"Hey, Kato. How come you so happy all the time?" the Jet asked.

"You don't want to know." said Kato.

"Yeah, I do. You not happy all the time, but you are alot happier than me." said the Jet.

"I read Dalai Lama." said Kato.

The Jet laughed out loud at that, even having to make sure he didn't laugh too loud. The sun was out, they were laying on shipping containers on an enormous east bound freighter.

"I'm not kidding, Jet. You ever read Dalai Lama?"

"Hell, no. That's not approved reading. Was it assigned to you in Westernization class?"

"No, my grandfather make me read it when I join Army."

"Why would he do that?" asked the Jet.

"My grandfather know when I join Army, I be in trouble if I read Dalai Lama. Also, he very mad I join Army."

The Jet laughed again.

"Kato, you impress me. Now you surprise me. I don't have to read Dalai Lama to be happy. You know what makes me happy?"

"What?"

"Being in the military makes me happy." said the Jet.

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Robert Hagen March 15, 2010 @ 7:14 p.m.

"You see, Kato, I was lost in the world, I had no outlet for my bad feelings, and a lot of problems in my neighborhood. The military take me, and give me a constructive thing to do. Defend China, experiment with new technology, participate. I'm so happy in the military, but then I say to myself- you're not happy with yourself, you're happy because you're in military."

"If it make you happy, whats the problem?" asked Kato.

The Jet pulled out a very trick thermos, shook it and opened it. It was tea. The Jet loved to drink tea. He offered it to Kato, who took a drink, and handed it to the Jet who drank, and said

"I want more self-control of my feelings. What did Dalai Lama say?"

"Dalai Lama say art of happiness is first a skill that must be developed. Slowly but surely, increase things in life that make you happy, and decrease things in life that make you unhappy. That way, you learn to be happy."

"That's logical." said the Jet.

"Get this- Dalai Lama say there was a study on people who win lottery. Without exception, after initial shock and surprise of winning lottery, maybe one year, everyone go back to being just as happy or just as sad as they were before winning lottery."

The Jet laughed again. Real laughter. He said

"That's ironic."

They drank more tea.

"Hey, Jet?"

"Yeah?"

"What do you think is the meaning of the Yin and Yang?"

"Ask who created it. Maybe he knows, or maybe not. To me, Yin and Yang represent discernment. To know what is true and what is false. To know where success lies, and where failure lies. Most people fail because they failed to discern. But, if you live long enough, you should gain discernment." said the Jet.

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Robert Hagen March 25, 2010 @ 9:35 a.m.

Back at the Copenhagen Conference of 2009, Tim Versace was summarizing the General Motors presentation. There had been a slight interruption, or as Tim Versace would later characterize it- 'audience participation.' He said to the assembled world's greatest car pros:

"Dynamic interaction is important. Too often in the U.S. we have accepted that people come from other places, but we haven't interacted sufficiently with people from other parts of the world. All of that has to change. As car pros, we can have our beefs, but our responsibility as professionals and bread winners is to understand the new green, and incorporate it into our products, and then move the new, greener units. We have to explain to the buying public the relationship between value and green. When people think technology we think cars. If we fail, we're not going to get the bounce back in the economy- others will. Working together, we can make the world a better place, and keep our own standards of living high. Its not going to be easy, but it is doable. Me, I'm an optimist. I love my country, I love people, I love my product and I love selling it. I have a great life. The way its been explained to me is this:

'Now's your opportunity to give a little bit back, and even more than that, to make a difference in the world- a real difference.'

Ladies and gentlemen, lets make hay while the sun shines. When we leave this conference, we can go back to the old ways and stagnate, or we can stay busy. If we do, let it be green. Thank you so much, I appreciate your attention."

There was sufficient applause for Tim Versace to steal a glance at Veronica. She was really upset, because she thought Tim Versace was making a fool out of himself. She looked at Tim Versace and drew her hand across her throat- 'Cut it short.' Tim gave her a very special bemused expression that he reserved for certain people and certain times. It connoted- 'I can see that you have doubts. Now watch me.'

"Alright, as promised, I'll take questions." Tim Versace announced to the crowd at the Copenhagen Conference of 2009.

"On any topic?" asked a voice in the crowd.

"Anything." said Tim Versace, point blank.

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Robert Hagen March 25, 2010 @ 10:10 a.m.

A man stood up and asked

"Can you explain the situations of the big three American car makers and your impressions?"

Tim Versace stuck his hands in his pockets for a moment. looked down as if in deep thought and said

"We have Ford, GM and Chrysler/Fiat. Ford is doing it right. Top to bottom, their line up is solid, reliable and imbued with the characteristics people associate with and look for in a Ford. With GM and Chrysler going through abbreviated BKs last year, Ford has snapped up market share and maintained a profitable, viable market position.

Chrysler/Fiat- Chreysler got crunched by the 2008 spike in energy prices the worse, because Chrysler makes a bigger, more powerful automobile overall. With the partnership with Fiat, there's going to be a greater balance. Fiat has tremendous small cars, real world beaters. Meanwhile Chryslers larger models are old school Detroit iron with unique value. GM and Ford are both gravitating away onto new styles. So, Chrysler's green outlook is coming on strong.

For those who will continue preferring a larger model, Chrysler has it in spades, at decent price points. The larger you go, the worse you're going to get hurt, because big now means high end. Finally, Chrysler has Jeep, which is a world class division that really commands buyer loyalty. You can't find a used Jeep for sale, because people love them. So, Chrysler was hit hard, but its repositioning courageously.

Uh, GM..........GM............"

The crowd laughed appreciatively as Tim Versace hesitated.

"Yeah, tell us what happened to GM, Versace!" someone chimed in, causing more laughter.

"That's fair. In January 2008, GM was sitting on a $34 billion cash horde and moving more units than anyone else in the world. People thought we were crazy sitting on that much cash. When energy prices spiked and the real estate bubble burst, GM took severe losses and began burning through the cash stack. In late 2008, when the financial crisis struck, GMs reserves began running out. The question was: seek capital overseas or not. GM chose not to. Instead we accepted assistance from the Federal government, and now we are owned by the Feds. That's not a permanent situation, but it is reality in the here and now. Ultimately, I look at it as there's been a real crunch, and GM has definitely felt the pain. As America goes, so goes GM. We want to diversify, and we want to be part of the global market into the future."

There was silence for a moment, then warm applause broke out. Veronica's face brightened. Maybe Tim Versace could pull this off after all.

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Robert Hagen March 25, 2010 @ 9:05 p.m.

¨How do you see the politics of the current situation, vis a vis China?¨ asked someone.

¨GM China has been moving units, whereas Fords China sales have been flat. The green dynamic is sensitive for China, because as primary global manufacturers, they create pollution. But so does the US. Indeed, you can look at it as a two way problem. China produces, US consumes. Theres a political dynamic where China holds US debt. But China only got that money by selling products to the US and elsewhere. In other words, we´ve successfully created a global economy, the question is whether politics will screw it up. As an American, I want to partner with China to the extent possible, but not shirk from the prospect of having to compete, if conditions aren´t right. Now, General Motors will never allow anything to prevent better markets and more prosperity. We can´t survive otherwise. The plain fact is, without free markets and prosperity, GM can´t move units. Like everyone else here, moving units is what we do.¨

There was a hush in the auditorium. Then Wolfgang Loescher, Mercedes Benz salesman extraordinaire, said

¨Versace, you are a Republican, yes?¨

¨Yes.¨ said Tim Versace.

¨What do you think of Barack Obama?¨

A muted whisper of extreme interest resounded throughout the hall. This everyone wanted to hear.

¨Okay, the first thing is this, I´m a Republican because of my tax position. I´m being honest. As for president Barack Obama, I think very highly of the man. He´s a scholar, he commands the respect of his peers internationally among heads of state one would hope he would, and hes unlike other politicians. Because if you look at the man, what you realize is that where other politicians come up short, for whatever reason, Obama does not.¨

Now you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium.

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Robert Hagen April 4, 2010 @ 1:22 p.m.

CONDO - Part III

San Diego, California - Present Day

SDPD motorcycle police officer Don Wall got ready to do what bikers do on any Sunday- get out his bike and go for a ride. Don Wall's destination was Tijuana. His bike was a KTM 920, an Austrian earth mover. It was a V-twin, and it was dual sport, meaning it was as good on the dirt as it was on the street- if you had the leg power to maneuver the beast. Don Wall did, although riding a motorcycle to Don was a zen activity- it should be effortless. The trick was concentration, which took a lifetime to develop. Don Wall had it. To the Donald, there was no difference between work and play, between happy and sad or between life and death. To Don Wall, the only distinctions were the subtle ones. He lived in the eternal moment.

Don Wall donned appropriate riding gear, and that included his Tech .45 caliber service pistol. It had a supersonic load and a laser sight. It was good to 20 yards, and Don Wall could shoot instinctively. He shoulder holstered it and stepped on to his bike, started it, revved the engine gently, snicked it into gear, gently released the clutch, and took off.

When Don reached the border area, he split lanes like any other biker commuter, and took pains to show civilian body language. He didn't want to get sent to Mexican secondary. The traffic was crowded, but he made it through okay. On the TJ side he sped up. Before you knew it, he was pulling up to Memo Rodriguez' small home in a worker's neighborhood in Tijuana. Memo was a Tijuana motorcycle cop.

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Robert Hagen April 6, 2010 @ 10:20 a.m.

In front of Memo´s pad was a bunch of motorcycles. There were police specials, a few street bikes, and at the end of the parking cluster, a number of expensive Ducatis. It was a big party.

Don Wall parked his bike, and went to Memos pad. The gated entry was open, and kids were scurrying about, playing. When Don Wall got inside the gate, a TJ cop friend of Memo´s was at the door. Don Wall checked his weapon, grabbed a cold beer of Tecate, and entered the living room. Memo's wife was usuually there to greet him, but today there were a bunch of heads, and Memo was in the back, in the kitchen. Don nodded at everyone, made his way to the kitchen, and saw Memo. He was on the phone striding back and forth.

"Si, jefe. Si, jefe. Claro. Claro. Entendido." said Memo, who then hung up, sighed loudly and looked at Don Wall. The look said everything. Memo had been talking to the Tijuana Chief of Police. That dude. That very real dude that everyone had heard about.

"Don Wall, how are you?" said Memo, hanging up the phone.

"Bien compadre, gracias a Dios." said Don Wall.

"Then you doing better than me. Come on, lets relax, eat something, we figure this out. Too much things happening, Don, you know?" said Memo Rodriguez.

Don Wall downed his Tecate, and gave Memo an abrazo. They slapped each other on the back hard, twice.

The two cops went toward the barbeque to get a taco. People were everywhere, and the music was pumping 'Tucanes de Tijuana.'

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Robert Hagen April 8, 2010 @ 11:44 a.m.

Don Wall and Memo Rodriguez walked into Memo's backyard. There was a bunch of TJ motorcycle cops mingling with street bikers and Ducati riders. The air was redolent with juicy carne asada, and music playing. People were conversing, hanging out. When the food was out, there followed bottles of the good, white tequila. Shots were downed, with wedges of lime back up. None paid any special attention to the Donald, nor Don Wall to anyone else. It was a cool party, and afterwards, the bike ride would be on.

Don Wall swigged from a bottle of good tequila, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The DJ was putting on some gabacho music, loud. Don looked at Memo, who just looked back. 'What a cool Mexican,' thought Don Wall. Don and Memo had known each other since the 90s, and trust had developed over the years.

The Social D played as the men relaxed:

"...So take me down the road Take me to the show It’s something to believe in That no one else knows But don’t take me for granted..."

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Robert Hagen April 8, 2010 @ 3:06 p.m.

Memo Rodriguez was kicking back, and grabbed a glass. He poured several fingers of Tequila into it, swirled it, and took a sip. He regarded Don Wall narrowly. He said

"Don, I know that we are just personnel assigned to do our jobs. I have some ideas to communicate, I'm sure they should provide benefit. First thing, 'Viva Mexico.' You copy that?"

"Yeah, for sure." said Don Wall.

"Good, 'cause my kids not going to grow up speaking Chinese, I want to assure you of that. I not even sure they need English, you feel where I come from, compadre?"

"Yeah." said Don Wall.

"Estoy para Mexico, Don Wall." said Memo Rodriguez, taking a swig from his tequila. The stereo played more gabacho music.

"Another thing, Don, 'cause I know you a good listener-"

"Yeah, whats that?" asked Don Wall.

"All that Harry Potter Bull sh%t, don't mean nothing to me. Im a cop, and every day my mission is to get people home safe, and at the end of patrol, get myself home safe. I pay no attention to the stupid stuff."

"Straight." said Don Wall simply.

"Chief of Police just got off the phone with me, you know what he say? He say if everywhere in the world go crazy, Mexico not going crazy, Mexico not going nowhere. The more instability elsewhere, the better reason to have stability in Mexico. Commitment, Don Wall."

Just then, the Social D played, loudly:

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Robert Hagen April 11, 2010 @ 3:18 p.m.

Don Wall looked around and then went in his premium Luftmeister slick leather riding jacket.

"Do you mind?" he said to Memo Rodriguez.

Memo knew Don Wall wanted to get high. Memo stood up and said

"My wife not here, so its okay. But not here, come with me."

The two cops went into Memo's study and Memo closed the door. Don Wall whipped out a jungle doob of California Chronic.

"So, is that s*** anygood?" asked Memo, a little too casually.

"You bet. Its called sticky situation. Here." said Don Wall, handing the fattie to Memo. Memo sparked it, puffed and passed. Before you know it the two were incredibly stoned, I mean Cheech and Chong stoned. They philosophised. Don Wall said

"I'm going to take a week off, call in sick, and ride Baja."

"Sweet. said Memo.

"Hey Don, you want to drink a shot?"

"Absolutely."

The duo drank some more tequila, and Memo said

"Hey Don, whats going on with Tim Versace and the Chinese fools?"

"What?" asked Don Wall.

"Versace, the Chevy salesman. I got info that he in Detroit right now, that he went to Copenhagen Conference, and before that he selling Volt pre-orders to the Chinese. I hear you seen everything."

"You'll have to be more specific." said Don Wall, tentatively.

"Okay, I got specifics." said Memo Rodriguez. He reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a manila folder. He opened it and pulled out a picture of Mystery Man.

"You know this guy?" asked Memo.

"All Asians look the same to me." said Don Wall, while he scrutinized the photograph.

"No te hagas pendejo, Donald. Thats the Mystery Man. He a high ranking Chinese intelligence officer, and he very rich. He a master of martial arts, and he got a grandson. This man-"

Memo pulled out a picture of Kato.

"You know this guy?" asked Memo.

"Thats Kato." said Don Wall. Obviously Memo had some intel, so a good faith proffer was in order.

"He a super hero Chinese GI Joe like they say?" asked Memo.

"Yeah, Memo." said Don Wall simply.

Memo threw the pictures back in the folder brusquely and said

"F***, Don what we going to do? Chinese going to kick everyones ass, huh?"

"I wouldn't characterize the situation quite like that, Memo." said don Wall.

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Robert Hagen April 15, 2010 @ 11:04 p.m.

"Well, how would you characterize it?" asked Memo.

"I think our problem is internal. Theres characters in the government that did the wrong thing, and don't want to be held accountable. They conspired with who knows who, and theres noone there to hold them accountable." said Don Wall.

"Que no quieren pagar al fiscal?" asked Memo.

(They don't want to pay the prosecutor?)

"Yeah, they did the crime, but don't want to do the time." said Don Wall.

"So they going to take the whole world down with them? Bulls***. That cannot be true." said Memo Rodriguez.

Don Wall said

"It is true. I'm a cop. You can't lie to me that much, or that easy. The government in the USA is rife with conspirators. All they want is their payday. Nothing more. That's why they got in the business, to get their payday."

"Damn, so the Chinese going to have their way?" asked Memo.

"The Chinese live on the other side of the world. The question is, what are we going to do? If you ask me, the USA is done, not because of China or anyone else, our republic bit the dust because rich countries do that."

"So there's no hope then?" asked Memo.

"Memo, why ask me for hope?" said Don Wall.

THE END

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Robert Hagen April 21, 2010 @ 4:23 p.m.

EPILOGUE

Memo Rodriguez arose from his seat, went to the door, opened it, shouted in Spanish, closed the door, turned to Don Wall and said

"Pinche Donald. You always do this s*- get drunk and marijuano, start talking about how you a cop, and get a bad attitude. I know you a cop because you such an ahole."

Don Wall rubbed his face as Memo went back and sat down. There was some truth to the remark. He said

"Mexicans are always badmouthing Mexico."

"Yeah, but not in front of gringos. We do it ourselves, and anyway, thats not the point. You supposed to do what Americans do. I can´t believe you bring me that. Own what you say."

There was a knock on the door, and a young lady brought in coffee service, then left. From the tray, the two cops made their coffee. It had a rich aroma, spiced with cinnamon. They drank coffee in silence. Finally, Memo said

"You lucky you didn't know me before I join the force."

"Yeah?"

"Hell yeah. I was a satanist."

"No way." said Don Wall flatly.

"You think I'm lying? I prove it to you. I tattooed '666´above my lip. Look." Memo spread the hairs of his moustache. Don Wall peered closely and said

"I don't see anything."

"Ah, well, maybe they sevens."

Don Wall broke out laughing.

"Donaldo, lets call Tim Versace."

"Why?"

"Car sales are important. Everybody love their car in the Californias. My info is the car is just as important as a computer. Its a great tool and-"

"Cut to the chase."

"Thats rude, Donald. Interrupting someone one of the rudest things you can do." said Memo, diffidently. Obviously he wanted information.

Don Wall looked at Memo, then pulled out his cellphone, made a call to information, and called Tim's dealership in National City. Veronica answered.

"Veronica, this is Don Wall."

"Hi, Don!" said Veronica. Don Wall always made her enthusiastic. For one thing, he spoke to her on peer to peer terms. For another thing, Don had a reputation Veronica admired. But ultimately, Veronica thought Don Wall was one cool dude.

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