Where did the Republican party find so many creepy guys? It seems all they want to do is torture and continue the "war." When faced with (an admittedly really stupid hypothetical) question about interrogation most of them just couldn't seem to emphasize just how tough they could be. Giuliani said they chould use anything they could think of. McCain stood by his claim that we don't torture (I guess he favors the term "enhanced interrogation techniques,") because we certainly have been doing something to our captives. Romney, who now has demostrated on several occasions that he is willing to blurt out anything to get elected, no matter how mindless or ridiculous, announced that we should double Guantanamo. If it weren't for the presence of Ron Paul one might think this is a cast of characters out of the Addams Family.
When Morialekafa first began in July of 2004 it was not so political. It used to offer some amusing essays, some short stories, and even an occasional poem. If you search in the archives of Morialekafa you will see what I mean. But as the Bush/Cheney administration turned into a political horror story Mori's focus became almost exclusively political. So for "old time's sake," if nothing else, here is a brief story:
Delivering a Mattress
You wouldn’t think delivering a mattress would be such a big deal. But you have to consider the circumstances. We lived in a small mining town built at the bottom of a narrow valley surrounded by pine covered mountains. On the valley floor there was only room for three main streets. On the west end of these streets were the finest homes in the city. On the east end was the downtown business district. Other not so fine homes were built up the steep mountainsides or off in small canyons. The town had burned to the ground in the Great Fire of 1910. When it rebuilt itself the downtown district became all brick, mostly two story buildings that stood side by side. The east end of the only street to run the entire length of the city was the major commercial center. The last two blocks contained virtually all the important stores: a large department store, soda fountain, butcher shop, bakery, bank, grocery, and a stationery and book store. An imposing once fine hotel occupied the last corner. Across the street were the fire and police stations. The street ended there where they backed up to what was known as the “lead creek,” a filthy oyster-colored stream running with mining waste, old appliances, tires, and detritus of all kinds. It was a convenient spot to rid yourself of unwanted kittens or puppies, offal, beer bottles, old shoes, and whatever else people couldn’t be bothered with. Curiously, all of the stores, for no apparent reason, were located on the south side of the street.
Facing them on the north side were mostly bars with a barber shop or two and a couple of cigar stores which also featured bars, and gambling. Gambling was illegal but no one paid much attention to that inconvenient detail. You might wonder what a small town did with 32 bars and 5 whorehouses. On weekends and holidays when the miners and loggers came to town drinking, whoring, gambling, and fighting, you knew. The place was a boom town, producing millions of ounces of silver, lead, gold, and other minerals. Everyone knew it was a hotbed of vice, but no vice, no miners.
What has this to do with delivering a mattress? Four of the whorehouses were located right on the main drag above bars. There was no way one could enter them or leave without the possibility of being seen. As the only movie theatre was located between these four establishments and the fire station the situation was, shall I say, awkward. Because the town mothers had no choice but to engage in their shopping and movie-going along this street there were strict rules about what the whores were permitted to do. They could not, for example, stand in the windows and advertise their wares. They were permitted to walk only to the Post Office, two blocks away, or to the Grocery, a mere block away. No pimps or gaffers were allowed to live in town. For recreation, whores had to meet their men elsewhere.
My problem was delivering a mattress to the U & I Rooms. I was a skinny 15 year-old with glasses. Somehow my father had arranged for me to work for the summer at the Post Office. An old man with a pickup truck had a contract to pick up the mail from the train and deliver it to the Post Office. He delivered other things as well. As he had arthritic knees and could not climb stairs he told me I would have to deliver this mattress. I balked. I had no idea what one might encounter in a whorehouse. I was mortified to think someone would see me perform this demeaning task. I was, in short, scared. But I had no choice other than quitting and I knew what my father would think of that. I laid awake worrying most of the night before I was to deliver this tainted object.
But deliver it I did, at 2 p.m., the middle of the busiest part of the day. As we couldn’t park right in front of the U & I Rooms, I was forced to carry the unwieldy mattress for a full block along the busy street. I averted my eyes and looked only at the sidewalk. The mattress was heavy and there was no convenient place to grasp it. Trying to maneuver it up the stairs was difficult as it twisted and turned as if it were alive. I was reminded of a Laurel and Hardy episode I had recently seen where they were trying to deliver a piano up some steep stairs. I was not amused. After considerable effort I finally attained the landing and with great trepidation knocked timidly on the door. No one answered for what seemed like an eternity. I thought of simply abandoning the mattress and running. But just then the door opened and an attractive middle-aged woman greeted me with, “Oh, the mattress, just bring it along here.” She led me, struggling with the damn thing, down a long hallway. I passed a large room with a piano and a juke box and two large couches. Then there was a kitchen. Two young women were seated there in colorful kimonos drinking something with little concern for their modesty. I looked away and fought the mattress. The lady opened the door to a small cell-like room. There was no window, a single bed, sans mattress, a night stand with a wash basin, soap and towel, and a straight backed chair. I happily rid myself of the terrible burden and followed her back down the hallway. One of the whores said, “Hi, honey, what’s your name?”
“John,” I blurted out. It was the only name I could think of. For some reason I did not want her to know my real name. “Just delivered the mattress,” I stammered, having nothing else to say.
“It’s about time I got a new mattress,” she said, “I’ve been bitching about that old one for weeks.”
The older woman, who I now realized must be the madam, handed me a five dollar bill. “Here’s for your trouble,” she said. “Thank you.” She was a nice lady.
Five dollars was a lot of money. “Thank you,” I muttered, and went hurriedly down the stairs. As I departed this house of ill-repute, still holding my five dollar bill, who should I encounter but three girls from my High School. Embarrassed, I mumbled something to the effect of, “Hi, I was just delivering something up there.”
They looked at me with disbelief and began to giggle. As I bolted in embarrassment up the street I heard them talking in excited voices but I couldn’t hear what they said. Safely in the pickup with the waiting old man, I relaxed and ran the encounter over in my mind. I knew every kid in town would hear about it within hours. Then I smiled. Suddenly I felt six feet tall.