a lesser known classic
Tattoo on my leg, inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s painting “We Rose up Slowly.”
Her earliest memory was chasing those dancing lights through the trees at dusk. She didn’t know what they were, it must have been a dream, some muddled, confused remnant left behind as a gift from her five year old brain to her future self. It was a strange thing to think of now, at dusk, on the side of the old rural road, lying on the ground next to the cooling, twisted wreck of her car. The engine ticked and whirred and dripped on its own schedule.
After a long time, or no time at all, it’s hard to gauge time when your spine is pounding with adrenaline, she got back to her feet. She felt bruised, but not broken, had some minor scrapes, but nothing life threatening. Her cellphone had been on the seat beside her. She looked around at the flattened grass and torn earth of the fallow pasture where she’d come to rest. There was nothing to do now but hope she could find the phone, hope it wasn’t broken, hope she had a signal.
She retraced her trajectory back to where she’d gone off the road at the turn, scanning the ground for a glint of plastic and glass, or the telltale flash of the indicator light. Then she saw it. The flashing, dancing light among the trees at the edge of the field.
She broke into a run.
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I was shooting heroin and reading “The Fountainhead” in the front seat of my privately owned police cruiser when a call came in. I put a quarter in the radio to activate it. It was the chief.
“Bad news, detective. We got a situation.”
“What? Is the mayor trying to ban trans fats again?”
“Worse. Somebody just stole four hundred and forty-seven million dollars’ worth of bitcoins.”
The heroin needle practically fell out of my arm. “What kind of monster would do something like that? Bitcoins are the ultimate currency: virtual, anonymous, stateless. They represent true economic freedom, not subject to arbitrary manipulation by any government. Do we have any leads?”
“Not yet. But mark my words: we’re going to figure out who did this and we’re going to take them down … provided someone pays us a fair market rate to do so.”
“Easy, chief,” I said. “Any rate the market offers is, by definition, fair.”
He laughed. “That’s why you’re the best I got, Lisowski. Now you get out there and find those bitcoins.”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’m on it.”
I put a quarter in the siren. Ten minutes later, I was on the scene. It was a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks. I hopped over them and went inside.
“Home Depot™ Presents the Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. “Nobody move unless you want to!” They didn’t.
“Now, which one of you punks is going to pay me to investigate this crime?” No one spoke up.
“Come on,” I said. “Don’t you all understand that the protection of private property is the foundation of all personal liberty?”
It didn’t seem like they did.
“Seriously, guys. Without a strong economic motivator, I’m just going to stand here and not solve this case. Cash is fine, but I prefer being paid in gold bullion or autographed Penn Jillette posters.”
Nothing. These people were stonewalling me. It almost seemed like they didn’t care that a fortune in computer money invented to buy drugs was missing.
I figured I could wait them out. I lit several cigarettes indoors. A pregnant lady coughed, and I told her that secondhand smoke is a myth. Just then, a man in glasses made a break for it.
“Subway™ Eat Fresh and Freeze, Scumbag!®” I yelled.
Too late. He was already out the front door. I went after him.
“Stop right there!” I yelled as I ran. He was faster than me because I always try to avoid stepping on public sidewalks. Our country needs a private-sidewalk voucher system, but, thanks to the incestuous interplay between our corrupt federal government and the public-sidewalk lobby, it will never happen.
I was losing him. “Listen, I’ll pay you to stop!” I yelled. “What would you consider an appropriate price point for stopping? I’ll offer you a thirteenth of an ounce of gold and a gently worn ‘Bob Barr ‘08’ extra-large long-sleeved men’s T-shirt!”
He turned. In his hand was a revolver that the Constitution said he had every right to own. He fired at me and missed. I pulled my own gun, put a quarter in it, and fired back. The bullet lodged in a U.S.P.S. mailbox less than a foot from his head. I shot the mailbox again, on purpose.
“All right, all right!” the man yelled, throwing down his weapon. “I give up, cop! I confess: I took the bitcoins.”
“Why’d you do it?” I asked, as I slapped a pair of Oikos™ Greek Yogurt Presents Handcuffs® on the guy.
“Because I was afraid.”
“Afraid of an economic future free from the pernicious meddling of central bankers,” he said. “I’m a central banker.”
I wanted to coldcock the guy. Years ago, a central banker killed my partner. Instead, I shook my head.
“Let this be a message to all your central-banker friends out on the street,” I said. “No matter how many bitcoins you steal, you’ll never take away the dream of an open society based on the principles of personal and economic freedom.”
He nodded, because he knew I was right. Then he swiped his credit card to pay me for arresting him."
Edmond Joseph Sullivan
What’s a princess to do when her subjects don’t trust her, her extended family ostracizes her, and her own father is forced to pass over her for inheritance of the crown, just because she is a girl and her mother was a mysterious foreign witch? Rather than try to fit in, Aerin decides to stand out. If she won’t be queen, or even a satisfactory princess, she’ll do something useful and become a dragonslayer! This is a fantastic book about a young woman working hard to forge her own path.
I read this book about twenty years ago, back before I realized that sci-fi was my particular poison. I still remember it pretty clearly, and I’d recommend it. Of course, I’ve only seen one copy before, and it might have been a library book.
don’t usually talk about politics here but let’s make this president brie thing happen