Lettuce Look at Some Prices

   by Walter Brasch   I was resting at home when Marshbaum called to ask if I wanted to go with him to look at the lettuce. “The supermarket’s got lettuce for less than two bucks a head,” he said enthusiastically. “What’s so unusual about that?” “Because it’s going to be extinct in a few weeks.” “You’re buying up lettuce and selling it on eBay as antiques?” I sarcastically asked. “Don’t be ridiculous! I’m buying the best heads, storing them, and selling them for four bucks in a couple of months.” “What makes you think anyone would pay four bucks a head when they can get them now for less than two bucks?” “Weren’t you listening, Ink Breath? I said, … Continue reading

Shuffling Federal Paperwork

The right-wing part of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with John Boehner in the role of spineless lackey rather than courageous Speaker, has shut down much of the federal government. Eighty Republicans had signed a letter expressing their intent to shut down the government. It was a political act of defiance against government by people who themselves were government. The millionaire representatives have grabbed the media, which they publicly say they hate—except for one TV network and a few loud-mouth blowhards on radio—to proclaim their demands. They demand the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, be defunded. To these ultra-conservatives, the most important health care insurance protection in the nation’s history is a socialist trap, just like Social … Continue reading

Practicing Un-Medicine

          by Walter Brasch Clutching a sheaf of newspaper clippings in one hand and a medical bag in the other, Dr. Franklin Peterson Comstock III, knocking down pregnant ladies, students, the elderly, and even two burly construction workers who were waiting for a bus, rushed past me, leaving me in a close and personal encounter with the concrete. Since he had given up medicine to invest in a string of service stations and an oil distributorship, I assumed what was in his medical bag was the morning’s take from obscene profits. “Medical emergency!” Comstock cried out. “Gang way!” “You’ve returned to medicine?” I shouted after him. “I’m going into un-medicine!” he shouted back. “I’m getting the big bucks not … Continue reading

A Father’s Day BBQ–Washington, DC, Style

By Walter Brasch   It’s Father’s Day, and that means the Great White Republican Hierarchy in Washington smells burnt charcoal and is ready to barbeque some Democrats. Because Father’s Day is special, the Republican-proposed Sequester is waived, and there is no budget limit for the day’s food and frivolity. It’s warm this Father’s Day, but the Republicans aren’t complaining about all the fracking heat from their propane grill or the sweat they’re putting into making a nice dinner. They’re sure that it’ll be ice-age cool next year because the destruction of the ozone layer and Climate Change don’t exist. First onto their searing grill is a slice of prime Benghazi. The meat has been marinating for nine months and is … Continue reading

Look for the Union Bunny

Bullied, harassed, and lied to, District 1 of the Amalgamated Association of Easter Bunnies, AFB-CIO (American Federation of Bunnies–Cottontails International Organization) went on strike, forcing a halt to this year’s Easter egg hunts. At Bunny Headquarters, Solomon P. Bunny, union executive secretary, and a militant corps of Easter bunnies were preparing picket signs. I walked in, notepad in hand. “Excuse me, Mr. Bunny, but why aren’t your members delivering eggs this week?” Bunny looked up from the papers on his desk, chomped harder on his cigar, looked at me, scowled, and answered harshly, “Don’t you know!?” “No, sir,” I replied apologetically. “I always thought you were happy and content passing out your Easter eggs.” “We love it,” growled Bunny, “but … Continue reading

The Problem with the Bahmas

His face flushed, his cheeks puffing half-syllables of super-heated air, Sen. Porkbelly Fishbottom was about to swallow an aneurysm. I threw water on his face, trying to cool him. It just sputtered and sizzled. I tried quietly talking to him, trying to calm him down. He wasn’t listening. After five minutes, I was about to call 911 to report a stroke victim, when he said his first two-syllable word. “Bahma!” “Bama?” I asked. “Something wrong in Alabama? Is the school cancelling its professional football team?” “Bahma!” he said, spitting out both syllables. His fire-red cheeks drained into his neck, leaving a pasty-white face. He was returning to normal, and there would be no need to call out a $2,500 lifeflight … Continue reading

Vouchering an Educational Adventure

                                                            by WALTER BRASCH   I hadn’t talked with Marshbaum for a couple of years, ever since he left newspaper journalism for more lucrative work in the fast food industry. But here he was in my office to ask if I would publicize his new educational adventure. “That’s great!” I said. “You’re finishing the last three years of college.” “I own the school. CEO of Little Minds Charter and Voucher Corp. We’re on the leading edge of the trend to privatize schools.” “How does mumbling into a broken speaker box make you qualified to run a school?” I asked. “Interpersonal communication skills,” he replied. “That, and knowing how to count change and arrange work schedules for the three … Continue reading

Spearing a Tax Deduction

                  by WALTER BRASCH  On a bright Monday morning, a day before tax returns were due, I bumped into my ersatz friend Marshbaum who was placing a change container at the Gas-High Mini-mart on Low Octane and Greed avenues. “March of Dimes?” I asked. “Dimes. Quarters. Ten-dollar bills. Whatever.” Since he misunderstood my question, I tried it another way. “What charity? Humane Society? MS? Veterans Relief?” “Even better. A museum.” “Science museum for kids? Art museum?” “Not even close.” “I’m not playing 20 Questions. Put the danged label on your change can.” From a tattered vinyl briefcase, Marshbaum took out a peelable label proclaiming donations for the “Marshbaum Museum of American Culture.” “You can drop your spare change into it now.” … Continue reading