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Thread: Two for Thanksgiving Weekend

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    Two for Thanksgiving Weekend

    This coming weekend people across the U.S. will head homeward or visit friends for the Thanksgiving meal. The conventional wisdom warns that dinner conversation might venture into dangerous realms -- such as vicious arguments about politics or the opening of old family wounds. But folks mostly talk about the good times of the past. So with that nostalgic theme in mind, yer ol' Auntie has disinterred two stories from 2010 set during Thanksgiving Weekend. Beginning the thread, this first story arose upon speculation, some 6 years ago, of what would happen if somebody actually tried to live "off the grid." My feeling is that we really don't have to worry about the warning giving in St. John's Gospel of the Apocalypse (13:17.) It's just the opposite in our world today, methinks. In any event, here's the first of the two Thanksgiving stories:

    Black Friday

    All Rights Reserved

    It was one of those classic Autumn days, all blue sky and golden sun, with the air was just crisp enough to remind folks of the winter festivities to come: in short, a perfect day for shopping. It wasn't that great a day to be on duty, but breaking decades of precedence, the governor had not declared the day after Thanksgiving a holiday. State workers who wanted the day off had to take a vacation or personal day. Hence, Sgt. Vender was on the job.

    Here he was along with his partner, in plainclothes and an unmarked vehicle parked on a dirt road on the edge of forbidding woods. Stakeout. Vender would have preferred a “steak” out, or at home, a nice hot turkey sandwich, or-- if there were no leftover gravy-- he’d enjoy one cold on rye with lettuce and mayo. All he had was a cardboard container of rapidly-cooling lousy coffee.

    He looked out at the sylvan vista, now primarily a phalanx of bare trees, save for the brown leaves of the oaks and a few yellow poplars defiantly clinging to their branches. “Eh! What a godforsaken place. Why the hell are we here? We should be with the rest of the population doing our patriotic duty at the Mall.”

    “Quit cher*****in, will ya?” Mac tossed the butt of his verboten cigarette into his own coffee cup, rolled down the driver side window, and tossed it out on the dirt road. For an ordinary citizen, littering carries a $50 fine. “How’d ya like to be my Nadine? She had to be at her register at four am this morning. Four am. Minimum wage, but you can't beat the hours.” In the distance they both heard the sound of a gunshot. “That our guy?”

    Vender shrugged. “Who knows? It’s the middle of huntin’ season. Everybody and his brother is out shooting deer today.”

    “I thought you said they were all at the Mall.”

    A moment later a small black dog trotted through a clearing; a few steps behind him strode a man, his back to the road. From the antiquated look of the guy’s clothes a casual observer could have mistaken him for an actor portraying Rip Van Winkle. Mac put his hand on the door handle, but Vender gripped his arm. “Wait. Wait a minute. We don't know these woods – he does. And don't forget, he’s got a rifle in his hands.” Vender gently touched the handle of the passenger side door as if it were Baccarat crystal. He crouched down and exited and closed the door gently, though the click echoed through the woods. Then in a whisper told Mac “Look. He’s got a shack back there, a hovel or something. We'll follow that footpath and then we'll do it to it. Don't forget the briefcase.”

    The footpath was slick and muddy. Under his breath Vender cursed; the not-at-all-cheap Italian loafers were new and soles were getting ruined. Damn the deadbeat, damn this Unibomber wannabe.

    They reached the shack in little time. For a shack, it wasn't as tumble-down as both officers had imagined. Its construction was of charcoal-colored wooden planks, the same material which framed the porch, with its own roof and rocking chair. There were a couple of unshaded windows in the front and a wisp of white smoke billowed out of a cylindrical chimney
    jutting up from the grey-shingled roof. The urgent bark of a dog – presumably the little mutt they'd spotted earlier – reverberated through the woods. Their arrival was announced; no need to knock on the plywood paneled front door.
    Gingerly that door opened; the barrel of a rifle poked through. Instinctively the right hands of both officers of the law went to their pockets, wherein they clicked their own weapons. With his left hand, Vender displayed his ID. “Mr. Henry? Emerson Henry?” Vender asked.
    Slowly the shotgun descended and the door opened an inch. “We only want to ask a couple questions. May we come in?”

    Emerson opened the door. In the nanosecond that the two cops entered he slammed the door quickly, so as not to lose any of the precious heat. “Uh, Mr. Henry, would you mind? Put the gun down.”

    He stroked his longish grey beard for a second, and then finally set the rifle aslant against the wall, its stock on the floor, the thin barrel pointing to the ceiling. He himself stood no more than two feet away from it; the rifle was never out of his sight nor reach. “I don't know why I'm being harassed. I mind my own business. You guys from the IRS?” His voice was soft; this was not so much a sign of weakness as the speech of someone for whom it had been a while since he had engaged in human conversation. “I told them over and over and over again – you can't pay income tax when you don't got any income!”

    “Really. “ Vender suppressed a laugh. From the looks of the place, from him, that was no lie. A few sticks of rough-hewn furniture that stood in the room looked like afterthoughts. There was no TV, no radio, no computer. A kerosene lamp sat precariously on the windowsill. “How about sales tax, Mr. Henry?”

    “Sales tax? I haven't bought anything in years!”

    Mac sprung open the briefcase. “How about twenty-four years, Mr. Henry?”

    Emerson shrugged. “Sounds about right. I grow my own food; chop wood for my own fuel; the clothes on my back come from the Goodwill. I do maintenance for them, they let me pick out whatever I need. Everything else, is strictly the barter system. The last I heard, that’s not against the law, is it?”

    “I wouldn't know. I'm a cop, not a lawyer.” Vender said. But he was thinking, how unpatriotic. Why doesn't somebody tell this dinosaur we're living in the twenty-first century? No vehicle, no gas, no credit cards – how does the old bastard live?

    “And what about property taxes, Mr. Henry?” Mac shuffled through the documents in the briefcase.

    “Agggh. Don't tell me that’s rearing its ugly head again. This was supposed to be taken care of. I sold the lower twenty acres to the state, and that was supposed to give me forbearance for perpetuity.” He craned his neck, never looking away from his weapon. “Don't tell me you have that document. I got a copy of it around here somewhere.”

    “Um. Interesting that you should mention a document, Emerson. Don't you ever go pick up your mail?”

    “Mail? What mail? Bills you mean? What bills?”

    “This one. Well, strictly speaking, it’s not a bill, but it’s a really important piece of mail.” Mac took the document in question out of the briefcase and waved it in Emerson’s face. “I guess you could say it’s an offer you can't refuse.”
    Emerson shrugged. “Well, whatever is I always refuse. Or I should say ignore. Not interested.”

    “Hmm. I think the county and the state are interested, Mr. Henry,” Vender said. “And I might add that the U.S. Supreme Court is completely on their side. You know what I'm talking about.”

    “Yeah ,but, just look at it, Emerson,” Mac said. “It’s a really good, good deal. I mean it’s more money than you've ever seen. You could do anything, live anywhere, travel around the world if you wanted –“

    ”You could buy another place, better than this one. You could get a nice vee-hickle. A truck. Wouldn't that be nice?” Vender was using the same voice he used on his little daughter whenever he needed to teach her a life lesson. He flung his arm around Emerson’s shoulder.

    “Let me tell you something, man to man. Just think of the women, Emerson. The women!”

    Emerson looked at Vender as if he were a dead possum in the woods. Suddenly Mac’s face brightened as if inspired by a different trend of thought – like the cartoon cliché of a lightbulb appearing above his head. “Well, if you're not interested in the money yourself, what about your relatives? Your--” he looked at a piece of paper in the briefcase. “Your cousin Arlene. What is she, a saloon singer? She can't be rolling in the dough. You could give it to her.”

    Vender turned bad cop again. “Look, don't play coy with us, Henry. Sell or don't sell, I personally don't care. But I'll tell you something – a road is going to go through this property. And at along that road there are gonna be fourteen, maybe twenty outlet stores. This community is going to turn around, whether you like it or not.”

    Mac thought of trying the soft approach one more time. “Think of the jobs that will be created, Emerson. Think of all the people that will be able to work, get an income, get some discretionary income. People can sell things, they can buy things, Emerson. . .”

    Emerson picked up his shotgun. “For the last time, I'm not selling. And I Am Not Leaving.” He opened the front door. His dog curled up in front of the potbellied stove started to growl. “Good day, gentlemen.”

    Vender pulled out his handgun and grabbed Emerson by the collar. “Get this straight, you selfish bastard. We're not leaving until this matter is resolved. You want us to get the sheriff out here? You want to be physically evicted? Is that what you want, Emerson?”

    Through the open door Emerson made a run for it; the dog sprang to his feet and swiftly followed barking all the way. The two cops, both with service revolvers drawn, ran after him through the woods. Emerson, his legs not as young as they used to be, ran as fast as he could; the officers of the law, weighed down by the proverbial cop diet of doughnuts and fat-laden fast food, still managed to keep up. When they had reached a close enough range, Vender lifted his pistol, and fired – ostensibly as a “warning shot.”

    The bullet hit the trunk of an ancient oak, its bark harder than cement– it ricocheted and hit Emerson squarely in the back of the neck. He fell like an item of merchandise off an overstocked shelf. The dog sat on his hind legs; intermittently his head would bow and he would lick Emerson’s cheek.

    Afterward, other police vehicles arrived, including an ambulance, though that was a mere formality. An animal control officer held the dog by the scruff of its neck and deposited the animal in the back of the van as if it were a package to be delivered. Brief conversations among officials disturbed the quiet of the forest air; terms like “eminent domain,” “economic opportunity,” “poor deranged idiot,” and even “treasonous defiance” were bandied about. Someone said the words “shovel ready” into a cell phone. Soon they all drove away. The forest was left to enjoy the tranquil solitude of its last days, while the domain of the Gods of Commerce rocked in jubilation.


    The second story continues below

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    Little Shop of Quarters

    One advantage of resurrecting old "stuff" is the opportunity to correct what was wrong in the earlier version(s.) This next one, posted in 2010 though probably written a few years before then, had more plot holes than an M. Night Shyamalan script. Also, I might have inadvertently channeled Sarah Palin's fondness for coining neologisms. Remember "refudiate"? Your ol' Auntie followed suit with "antiquainted." I'm sure there are still some antiquainted errors I didn't catch, but here's the latest version of another story set on Black Friday:


    Little Shop of Quarters
    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


    For Frank Merchant, the day after Thanksgiving was uncharacteristically sunny, and he had the day off. What more could a guy want?

    No better time to take a short drive down to a town he had often visited as a boy. He hadn't been there in years and thought he'd look around. Just for the hell of it.

    After all these years, the area hadn't changed much – - although there were quite a few newly-constructed houses on Route 203. He saw the familiar farms, graveyards, and the stately old churches dating back to Colonial times. A glance to the right at Kinderhook Lake rewarded him with an expanse of blue, broken by twinkling glints of reflected sunlight. Geese etched the time-honored victory sign in the sky. A couple of horses were braving the cold to graze in the fields.

    Arriving in town, he noticed that the atmosphere on Main Street had changed. The fine old Victorian houses still stood, but they had been repainted and gussied up. The Mom and Pop pharmacy which decades ago had sold him sodas and penny candy had been swallowed up by a strip mall, occupied by high-end outlet stores. The cobblestone street of old had been repaved to accommodate the high performance SUVs and high-end sports cars, parallel-parked along the sidewalks, where their affluent owners leisurely strolled and browsed. A few women carried trendily-dressed infants in a kind of reverse papoose-style; strapped to their mother’s fronts, the tots were not only unable to see where they were going, but not even where they had been. The men swaggered down the sidewalks as if every last one of them owned the place. The charming little community Frank once loved had become gentrified.

    Maybe it was only Main Street that had been corrupted. With great anticipation Frank headed down the side street of the building which had once housed the upstairs flat of his relatives, where so long ago he had spent many a happy summer. Even though Frank harbored no illusions that he'd run into any of the grown-ups he had known --his great-aunt and uncle’s friends had undoubtedly since joined them in that other, unchangeable world –- he was nonetheless pleased to see the structure still standing. But something about the two-family house struck him as very odd. On the upper floor the windows were missing their shutters and had been boarded-up. The bottom floor was currently occupied by some sort of retail business. Behind a shop window hung a prominent U.S. flag, the field of blue faded, with only 48(!) stars which, along with the white stripes, were overlaid with a yellow tinge, the red ones currently a pink shade, apparently bleached by several seasons of direct sunlight. The glass in the door was all but obscured by an old Camel sign and an ad for Tru-Ade. There was also room for a schedule of hours of the store’s operation : for six of the seven days of the week, the hours were the same: “7 am to 9 pm,” except for the box next to Sunday, clearly marked “Closed.” And to underscore the point, there was another sign under an inverted “V” of string which proclaimed in red: “Come in. We're OPEN.”

    When he opened the door, a bell tinkled. For what was supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year, the joint was deserted. Counter after counter and row after row contained funky merchandise grouped together in a kind of hit or miss logic. A flock of plastic-handled feather dusters sat next to a pyramid of canned beef stew, the tops of the cans themselves covered with a fine grey powder. Bin after bin contained obscure brands of toilet paper, floor wax, toothpaste. There was a large bin of paperback books, haphazardly commingled. A dozen copies of a children’s coloring book -- whose cover featured a cartoon character unknown to any American television network, cable or mainstream -- were nestled under a column of a romance novel, each with the identical cover: clones of a woman with a ripped-bodice each in the arms of an identical black-clad adventurer, his nostrils in full-flare. Mingled among these were a ream of copies of the New Testament printed in a language which Frank took to be Portuguese.

    The four walls were covered with plastic bags of various merchandise randomly arranged on pegboard hooks. Tiny bags of hooks and eyes were displayed next to bags of wooden pencils sans erasers. Plastic barrettes and polyester ribbons were suspended next to an assortment of holiday decorations, primarily for Easter. Plastic key chains unceremoniously shared part of the wall with fingernail clippers, and nearby foil-wrapped squares of condoms hung.

    There was a gentle tap on Frank's shoulder. “May I help you with somet’ing, Sir?” The male voice spoke in perfectly understandable English, albeit lightly-seasoned with a foreign accent which Frank couldn't immediately pinpoint. It reminded him a little of that of Bela Lugosi, or perhaps of Gandhi-- or rather Ben Kingsley’s movie portrayal of him. When Frank turned around, he didn't see a cape-clad horror movie star nor a inspiring role model draped in a diaper but a neatly-dressed man.

    “No, thank you. I'm just looking.” That was no lie!

    “Ah, but perhaps I can interest you in somet’ing? Everything here is only one qwarter. Wery inexpensive. Good bargains. Good walue!”

    The man took Frank’s elbow in a grip that was both gentle and firm. He guided him over to one of the pegboard walls, reached up and plucked down a small plastic bag. The man cupped the object in his palm as if it were a miniature Faberge egg and not a twenty-five cent piece of plastic.

    “It’s a compass, see?” Frank indeed saw – the tiny circle behind a slightly-scratched clear plastic lid held a moving arrow, which pointed not to the usual directions of N, S, E, or W but to “up,” “down,” “right,” or “left.” Frank thought it was just a piece of junk, but suitable perhaps as a Christmas stocking stuffer. His nephew might get kick out of it, and, after all, it only cost a quarter. “Vun feature of this, you take this compass vith you, you don’t get lost.”

    “No fooling! Can you beat that! “ Frank said. “Okay, I'll take it.”

    “Wery good, Sir. And perhaps you vould like a carrying case for it?” Seemingly out of nowhere, the shopkeeper produced a glossy plastic leather-colored change purse. With some trouble, the man unfastened the metal zipper and popped the compass thingie inside. “Vun thing about this purse – Vell, I'll let you in on a little secret. Ven you carry this purse, you alvays, alvays have enough money.”

    Frank shrugged and nodded. “Can always use that, can't we?”

    “Yes! Yes, and another t’ing we alvays do is vatch our veight. Look.” The man opened his hand to reveal a small foil strip containing four pastel blue discs each under its own tiny plastic dome. “T’ese are mints,” he said. “Ven you take one, right before meals, you don't have to vorry about gaining veight. Eat all you vant, no fat.”

    “Hmm.” For a second, Frank was tempted to ask the guy if these pills or “mints” had ever garnered FDA approval, but, what the hell, they were only a quarter.

    “Wery good, Sir.” He began to walk away, and Frank followed. The shopkeeper lifted up part of a counter, ducked under the board, replaced the panel of the counter and stood behind it. There was no cash register to speak of, and not surprisingly, no mechanism to accommodate credit cards. Instead there was a throwback to the retail world of decades past – - an old-school adding machine, complete with a paper roll and to record and print out past transactions, the shortness of the used end of the scroll indicating that they had been few and far between. With long, tapered fingers often described as “artistic,” the shopkeeper totaled up the sale, one by one taping in “Twenty-five, twenty-five, twenty five. Plus tax. That vill be eighty-t’ree cents, please, Sir.”

    Blindly feeling through his pockets, Frank came up with three quarters and a nickel. He continued searching for the remaining three pennies. Momentarily he thought of having the man break a dollar, but no cash drawer seemed to be in sight. “Where’s the rest of my change? “ Frank said, “I thought I had some more –“

    ”Ah!” the shopkeeper said. He unzipped up the little change purse, turned it upside down, and shook it. Three pennies fell out and bounced on the counter. “See? It’s vorking already!” The shopkeeper then whipped open a white plastic bag -- big enough for a pair of jeans and workshirt –and carefully placed Frank’s purchases inside. Settling down in the corner of the bag, the three tiny items seemed like afterthoughts. Taking the bag, Frank rolled it up into a parcel small enough to fit in his pocket. “Okay, thanks, “ he said.

    “Have a nice day,” the shopkeeper said, and then inexplicably put his index finger to his lips. The gesture reminded Frank of an illustration from a coloring book of “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” which very possibly could have been displayed in that very shop back in, say, June.

    When he returned to his vehicle, Frank took the bag out of his pocket , so he wouldn't forget that he had it and thus finding an unpleasant surprise the next time he laundered his pants. For some reason, though, he gave the bag a sniff, and noticed that it smelled slightly of iodine. He dumped the three items directly on the passenger seat, rolled up the empty bag – - there was no receipt – and tossed it into a trash bin in front of some trendy coffee shop.

    Frank was convinced he knew exactly where he was going as he motored North; Route 9 blends right into Route 20, the fastest way home. He passed some lovely old houses on the hill on the right, a Grand Union on the left. As he drove onward, a sickening feeling fluttered in the pit of his stomach as gradually the road was becoming more and more unfamiliar, as if he had unwittingly taken a wrong turn. When he found that his car was heading down a bumpy dirt road he knew for sure that he was lost. Suddenly a deer darted out in front of him. He slammed on the brakes and avoided hitting the frightened creature, who by now had reached the woods where it would undoubtedly encounter other dangers, such as trigger-happy hunters.

    The all-but-forgotten purchases had tumbled to the floor of the car. Franks picked up the change purse and the tiny strip of pills and put them back in his pocket. When he went to pick up the compass, he noticed that the little arrow was pointing to “up.” What the hell, Frank thought. He had nothing to lose. So he continued up the dirt road. He had gone a mile or so, when he looked down at the compass. It was pointing to “R.”

    Frank took his next right, another dirt road, which eventually led him right back to the center of the town he had just left. The arrow still pointed to “R,” so he took the next “right,” which led him over a small bridge over a rushing, rock-dotted creek. The compass pointed “L”, then “up,” and before he knew it, Frank was on Route 203 again, which brought him back to 20, which brought him home.

    Later that night, Frank wasn’t exactly hungry, and after overindulging on the holiday, he was reluctant to gorge himself with an encore. Even so, the remains of the previous day’s sumptuous feast lured him like a siren’s song. It was if the refrigerator was calling out to him. Frank stood up and felt his own stomach to see if the ever-increasing girth had somehow miraculously stopped, and in doing so, he ran his hand across his pocket, and remembered the four pre-dinner mints he had stashed there. He had no idea of how safe those “mints” would be, or their country of origin, or just how long they had sat unsold in that strange little shop. Then again, that magic change purse had worked. So had the low-tech compass. So what did he have to lose? What the hell. Frank pushed plastic dome and the blue pill-like disk popped out the back of the aluminum foil strip. He chewed the thing, which indeed tasted minty, but a little “off,” like the last squeeze from an old tube of toothpaste. Frank went to the mirror and stuck his tongue – - no blue film on his palate. He then went to the kitchen and filled the microwave with paper plates heaped with copious amounts of leftover turkey, and gravy, and dressing, and all the accompanying vegetables. He wolfed it down like a coyote on a fresh kill, finally finishing the heavy meal with a slab of squash pie the size of an old Betamax video tape.

    The next morning, Frank hightailed it to the bathroom and stepped on the scale. To his delight, Frank discovered that since Thanksgiving, he had not gained a single ounce; if anything, he had actually lost a pound or two. This was something! He raced to back to bedroom, took the second of the four pills, and hastily dressed. Fighting the Saturday morning traffic, he drove to the nearest “Family restaurant” and ordered the Lumberjack’s Breakfast. Having polished that off, he ordered the Hunter’s Special. When he finished that, he figured it was enough for now, even though he didn't feel bloated or anything. As a matter of fact, he felt like a billion bucks. Even more so, when he went to pay the check and found he was a dollar short – until he opened the change purse and four quarters bounced out.

    On Sunday, he repeated the process. This time he felt like a trillion bucks. This was something, really, really something. These mints could plant the seeds of a dietary revolution. Imagine being able to eat everything you wanted and not gain a pound. It was the American Dream come true!

    The storms in Frank’s brain kicked into cyclones. Maybe the concept could be imported to all of those starving Third World Countries – maybe it could be reconfigured to work in reverse – so that you could never, ever eat anything, and in the throes of a famine, you'd always feel full! But that wouldn't be a problem, anyway – with those magic change purses – - just mass produce those and ship ‘em all over the globe. Everybody, everywhere would finally and always have a some coins, maybe enough to buy a loaf of bread or somethin’ ! And if they lost their way to the market, they'd have those compasses to guide them.

    “Holy crap! “ Frank said. “I'd be the World’s Greatest Humanitarian. They'll put me on the cover of Time, just like Bill Gates.” All he needed to do was convince that fabulous shopkeeper to become his business partner.

    Even though they had been idle for years, the proverbial wheels inside Frank's heat wouldn't stop turning. After the sleepless Sunday night, he called his boss to tell him he'd be a little late, and then wasted no time heading back down to a certain town in Columbia County.
    During the drive with the sobering – and at this time of year minimal– light of day, Frank realized there would be few opportunities to exploit two of the items worth a combined half-a dollar and both as ancient as an abacus to a supercomputer. So much for the coin purse: who still used cash nowadays? Same with the quaint little compass, a joke compared to satellite navigation systems. But that little diet thing – there was gold in them thar mints.

    After parking his car in front of where the Mom and Pop pharmacy used to be, Frank jogged down the side street, and in his haste did not notice that the slippery material of his change purse enabled it to bounce out of his pocket, roll over to the curb, and fall into a sewer. He did notice some construction equipment blocking the street. When Frank approached the site of the little shop, his stomach again got the queasy, sinking feeling. Where the little shop of quarters used to be was now a vacant lot, the center of which was occupied by a huge backhoe, its serrated maw in mid-bite.

    “What the –? Where’s the?” Frank scratched his head in confusion. Maybe he had lost his way again, had taken a wrong turn. With shaking hands, he reached in his pocket for the compass, which he immediately dropped. Before he could turn to pick it up, he heard a crunching sound.

    Frank turned and looked up at the hard-hatted head of a burly construction worker. Then he looked down to see the broken bits of the magic compass under a heavy-booted foot.

    “Street’s closed!” The construction worker said. “Sorry, buddy, but you'll have to move it along.”

    “Uh, what happened to that store? It was just here on Friday!” How could a whole shop totally disappear over the weekend?

    The construction worker looked at Frank as if he were an unlabeled unrecognizable Thanksgiving leftover. “Huh? What stores? Just turn back on Main Street. They got plenty o’ stores. No stores here.”

    That was for sure. The fantastic shop was nowhere to be seen, gone without warning. No Closing Sales, no “Everything must go!” signs, not even the tell-tale hint of soaped-up windows.

    “ As I said, you've got to like beat it, Sir.”

    "Jeez, who starts a construction project this time of year?" Frank muttered as headed back to his car. By the time he reached the hoity-toity Main Street, he became philosophical – - after all, what had he expected? It was unrealistic to think for that guy could stay in business where nothing cost more than a quarter in a town populated by self-absorbed gentry folks who wouldn't dream of purchasing anything unless it had a three-figure price tag.

    On the one hand, Frank still was in possession of that last blue mint. Who needed that strange guy? Frank could fly solo: take the mint to a chemist, have it analyzed, and then he'd be just a patent away from billions– that is, if he had remembered to take the mint out of his jacket pocket before sending it to the cleaners.


    For other Thanksgiving Sheckyisms click here for the poem


    and here for a more recent short story

  3. #3
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I think you should create some book collections of your writings including audio versions, unless you have done so already. If you have done so, what are the titles?

  4. #4
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I agree with Yes/No. I love your stories, for me they are masterpieces:very characteristic, very ironic, very American, rich in worked out detail and with a special command of language (What I mean by that is that you adapt the language to the content, there is the futuristic story, the story in James Joyce stile, etc.).
    But in my country publishing literature is very difficult, unless your name is Paulo Coelho. I don´t know how things are in US right now.
    Aunt Schecky´s Literature Blog might be an option, but I don´t know the possibilities there either.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  5. #5
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Anyone can create an ebook, with a print on demand version and an audio version. The audio version would require having a microphone to make the recording. I would think one should plan on all three versions of the book. Also one should plan on making more than one book.

  6. #6
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    The point is, how much does it cost and what expertise does it demand?
    For example, the recording on the microphone has to be good. Not anyone is good in reading a story aloud.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  7. #7
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I don't think it costs anything for do the ebook although I haven't done one. There is the issue of a cover design, but I understand a basic cover can be constructed fairly inexpensively. I would plan to do one myself. The main problem is to get reviewers to help publicize the book. One can target people who review books of a similar type on Amazon and ask for a review in exchange for a copy of the book.

    I have set up a microphone with holder and pop screen for about $120 since I would like to do something like this myself. The software is free (audacity) but there is some question about getting an mp3 version of it for commercial projects which this would be. There is still a license associated with commercial mp3 recordings. The reason to do an audio book is because it helps market the ebook.

    So, I don't think it costs much, but there is expertise that I still don't have since otherwise I would have published something myself.

    Also one should have a blog which is free initially. I use WordPress.

  8. #8
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I am trying to publish a book via an academic publisher. The problem here in Brasil is that academic books rarely sell well. They interest only a few academics that work with the same author or the same theme. Only if the author is a famous professor he finds a publisher and not even then today.
    I´ll have a look at WordPress to see how it works!
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  9. #9
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I had a look at Word Press. It is very easy to create a blog there. One only has to read the contract attentively. Maybe in your case, Aunt Schecky it would be good to get a copyright for your texts first because of their quality.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  10. #10
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I think the copyright is immediate once one has published something even on a blog. That doesn't mean one could enforce that copyright. In other words people could still publish whatever you have written and sell it under a different name.

  11. #11
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    These are so good it hurts, in a jealous sort of way. As was already mentioned they deserve larger domain. You can created books for Amazon and E-books as well. Word Press is great for blogging too. Each slice of Americana you dish up is always savored by me. This is two slices! I was hungry!

  12. #12
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    Note on the Biblical reference in the preface. No, I still don't think we have to worry about that particular passage. People seem to be buying and selling uh, stuff, like there's no tomorrow. But just to be on the safe side, I wouldn't get a tat on me forehead anytime soon.

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