Cobwebs in the Attic

“Why do you screen all of your calls like that?” Anita asked her older brother.

“I think it’s a good thing to do,” Barry said. “Most of calls I get are people trying to sell me something, getting me to contribute to some cause, or trying to scam me by attempting to extract personal information from me. I’m not going to fall for that crap.”

Sounds to like you have some latent hostility you’re dealing with,” Anita said. “What if it’s an important call?”

“No hostility, just common sense,” Barry replied. “If it’s important, the caller will leave a voicemail message and if it’s a legit call, I’ll call them back.”

“Yeah, I guess that makes sense, Anita said. “I’ll stow that advice up here in the old attic here,” she added, pointing to her head.”

“Make sure you clean out all the cobwebs up there first,” Barry said, chuckling to himself.

Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (screen), The Daily Spur (good), Fandango’s One Word Challenge (extract), Youf Daily Word Prompt (latent), Ragtag Daily Prompt (stow), and My Vivid Blog (attic).

Friday Faithfuls — Boy’s Town

Jim Adams, in his Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Friday Faithfuls prompt has asked us if we’d ever been to Mexico. He also wanted to know if we’d ever celebrated the Day of the Dead. I have been to Mexico, but I’ve never celebrated the Day of the Dead. So I’m going to ignore that part of the question and just focus on the times I’d been to Mexico.

The last time I was in Mexico was in the mid 80s when we went on a family vacation to the Yucatán peninsula. We stayed in Cancun and we had a great time. But I’m not going to go into any details about that trip. Instead, I’m going to talk about Boy’s Town.

The Boy’s Town I’m referring to is not Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, the home for wayward boys that Father Flanagan established in 1921 on the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska, and which was made famous in the 1938 movie starring Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan and Mickey Rooney as one of the boys he took in.

The Boy’s Town I’m referring to is a commercial district in the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. It’s primarily as a “zone of tolerance” in the city for legal prostitution, and also a variety of other “nocturnal entertainment.” It is a walled compound containing three short east-west streets and two short north-south streets. It houses a range of brothels, bars, restaurants, small stores, a small police station, and a health clinic. Seems it hasn’t changed much in the fifty years since was there.

Back in 1969 I was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where I was doing my advanced training as an army medic. One weekend, one of the guys I became friendly with asked me if I wanted to rent a car with him and head down to the town of Nuevo Laredo in Mexico, just across the border from Laredo, Texas. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the base, but he assured me it would be worth it. So I agreed.

After we crossed the border into Mexico, we drove around the town, stopped and grabbed some lunch, bought some souvenirs, and, eventually, as evening approached, we headed to Boy’s Town.

We drove into the walled area, found a place to park, and paid a guy a U.S. dollar to keep an eye on our rental car. My buddy, who could speak Spanish, asked the guy where a couple of GIs could have a good time. He pointed to a bar, so my buddy and I headed there.

Once inside it looked like a regular bar, except for the fact that there were a bunch of young girls lined up along on wall. When I say “young girls,” I’m not talking about underage girls, as I’m pretty sure they were all over the age of 18.

A waiter came over, put a bowl of nacho chips on the table and asked us what we wanted to drink. Our choice was tequila or beer. We ordered beer and right after the waiter brought them to us, two of the girls who had been standing against the wall when we walked in came over and sat down at our table. My buddy called the waiter over and ordered tequilas for our guests.

My fellow soldier was speaking with the girls in Spanish and I had no idea what he was talking to them about, but after a moment or two he asked me if I had five bucks. I nodded. One of the girls got up, grabbed my hand and started to pull me out of my seat. “Go with Inez,” my buddy said. And I did.

Inez led me to a room. I followed her in and she pointed to the bed. She didn’t speak a word of English and I didn’t know any Spanish, so we had to communicate non-verbally, which, under the circumstances, was not a problem.

I sat down on the bed and she stood in front of me and started taking off my clothes. After I was naked, she took off her clothes and then positioned herself in bed next to me. For the next three hours we, well, you know what we did. Multiple times in multiple ways. Hey, I was only 23 at the time!

After three hours or so, I got dressed, gave Inez ten dollars, apparently double the negotiated rate, and headed back into the main room of the bar. My buddy showed up a few minutes later. He looked at me and at his watch and said we’d better head back to base if we wanted to get there before dawn.

I have to admit that I visited Boy’s Town a few more times before my four month stint at Ft. Sam Houston ended. Again, I was only 23 at the time!

Don’t Sweat the “Small” Stuff

Americans are not known to be long-term thinkers. We seem to focus on our immediate needs rather than on our future needs. We seem to be driven by the 24-hour news cycles and by the latest tweets. We are more tactical than strategic. And that doesn’t bode well for America in the midterm elections coming up in a week and a half, where the long term survival of America’s democracy is on the ballot.

Between the efforts by Republicans in red states to disenfranchise voters, to make voting more difficult, to control the voting processes in their states and decided which ballots to count and which to toss, and by many GOP candidates suggesting that they will not accept the results of an election if they lose, I don’t hold out much hope for the survival of democracy in America after this election.

Sure, the economy, inflation, gas and heating oil prices, women’s reproductive rights, jobs, gun rights, the stock market, religious freedoms, and other factors that affect daily lives are important. But we can’t worry about those things exclusively and not take the existential threat to democracy for granted. Because if we do, democracy will surely slip through our fingers.

I urge everyone who votes next Tuesday for your U.S. senators and representatives, for your governors, secretaries of state, state attorneys general, state legislators, and other local officials to think strategically, to think beyond the hotly contested issues of the day, to think longer term, and to think strategically. I urge you to imagine what life in America — your life in America —would be like under authoritarian rule.

Because if the Republicans gain control of the U.S. Congress and tighten controls in red states across the country, that could very well be the last nail in the coffin of America’s democracy.

Fibbing Friday — Recycled Questions

Di (aka Pensitivity101) and Melanie (Sparks From a Combustible Mind) alternate as hosts for Fibbing Friday, a silly little exercise where we are to write a post with our answers to the ten questions below. But as the title suggests, truth is not an option. The idea is to fib a little, a lot, tell whoppers, be inventive, silly, or even outrageous, in our responses. This week it’s Di’s turn and she is recycling some questions from Teresa Grabs (aka The Haunted Wordsmith), who originated Fibbing Friday.

1. Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a whale…he was swallowed by a ____. Jonah and his local coffee shop were swallowed up by Starbucks.

2. Who (or what) could make even the fiercest pirate quake in his boots? A category 5 hurricane.

3. What did Huckleberry Finn have to really paint? Kids’ faces at the local county fair.

4. What is the best food that can be paired with red wine? Ben & Jerry’s Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream ice cream.

5. What’s the best thing to wear in the sun? Nothing … if you want to get that healthy glow of an all-over tan.

6. Why do dogs chase after cars? Because they’re bored. The dogs are bored, not the cars. Although most cars are pretty boring.

7. What did the cat say to its kitten about the humans? Play your cards right, kiddo, and they’ll treat you like you’re a god.

8. Goldfish are not fish. What are they? Snack crackers.

9. What would you rather do instead of sleeping? Chase cars with my dog.

10. The Phantom didn’t haunt the Opera House…he haunted ____. My nightmares as a kid.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — October 21st

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 21st) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on October 21, 2017.

Oh Right. The emails

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“What did you expect?” Blake asked his co-worker, Aaron.

“I really thought he’d change after the election. You know, become more presidential.”

“Oh, for crissake,” Blake said. “He’s a 71 year old man. He is who he is. He’s nothing but a loud, obnoxious carnival barker. And he’s a conman. Everyone who voted for him fell for his con.”

“But I honestly thought he’d grow into the role,” Aaron responded. “I figured that the things he said and the way he behaved during the campaign was just a bunch of  bravado and that if he won the election, he’d become a serious president, maybe even a great one.”

“A man that age doesn’t ‘grow into the job.’ And that old man, the one who is now the most powerful man on the planet, grows more senile with each passing day. Thanks to people like you, Aaron, who ate up all of his bullshit, our country is being destroyed from within. It’s like what Abraham Lincoln said. He said, ‘America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.’ And that’s exactly what’s occurring.”

“Yeah, well, Blake, I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for his opponent,” Aaron said. “You know, man. The emails and all.”

“Oh right. The emails.”

Written for today’s WordPress one-word prompt, “expect.”