Condo Chronicles: Everything Catches on Fire

Fate and fortune are mischievous incarnations. Yes, hard work and intelligence are essential for any individual’s progress on the road of life…but timing and serendipity are the benevolent gifts of those demigods that can pave the way. Even though the ancient adage Audaces fortunate iuvat may hold true, what truth it does not hint is that they also have a wonderfully bizarre sense of humor. Consult any classical piece (especially those that employ deus ex machina), and you’ll find such a sentiment to be nearly old as time. As known by Sir Francis Bacon or any helmsman of a J24 boat on a windy day, such natural forces are not to be directly challenged; you must endure their torment at your own expense and begrudgingly collaborate with them. On more than one occasion, they have had their way with me, where their machinations have placed me within the context of one of their elaborate pranks. For example, if you even asked me to, I could never intentionally catch a fold of my jacket on the corner of a dumpster, lose my balance to the sudden clash of momentums between torso and legs, and then lacerate my palm upon a broken bottle protruding from the dumpster’s maw. However, such vicissitudes are the punchlines for their capricious whims. Though, do not mistake their amusement for condescension. These apparitions only briefly chuckle while you lie in your shame…but upon the very second that you rise to your feet, their laughter ceases and becomes a smile of avuncular approval. Nevertheless, you can’t escape the inevitability of their plans, and in that particular place and time, all present in my home during this epic battle were unbeknownst to play the victims of such a scheme.

Mayor Dwek, for the moment, became the prime mover for this act as she focused on Bertha with the intensity of a cutting laser. “Against you? I’m actually here in an impartial capacity,” began Her Honor, raising her finger as if to duel with the one wielded by the rambling radical. It was an impressive digit to say the least, one which would have impressed even Arsenio Hall. “But, I’m unclear about something, and maybe you can clarify…what if I were against you? What exactly would that mean for me?”

Having been silent for the last few minutes, Helga and her husband had stood quietly next to my dining room table and its towering cache of plastic-wrapped mediocre edibles. However, I had noticed that her demeanor and posture had become increasingly hostile, and a bellicose tone preempted the answer to the mayor’s question. “Ve vould defy you as one! Her…me…and everyone else! And ve’ll get enough support to oust you vrom office!” Yes, yes…and then you’ll take the White House next, Howard Dean. I’ve never heard more ridiculous political rhetoric with a German accent, except for Hitler and Schwarzenegger…Good luck, Dwek. Man, I’d hate to be the lone voice against this howling mob…

“Shut up, you Nazi bitch! Nobody wants to hear from you or your stupid dogs!” screamed Babbu with a raised middle finger, stepping between the mayor and the frail princess from northern Europe.

Along the wall and opposite Babbu, one of Mayor Dwek’s bodyguards suddenly tensed as he scrutinized the Sikh’s form. “Sir, I’m going to ask that you approach me with your arms raised,” the guard flatly stated while beckoning with his hands. “Is that a holstered knife under your coat? Open the jacket, sir!”

Officer Linares, closest and directly behind his matriarchal client, withdrew his gun and instinctively moved forward to Mayor Dwek, protectively hovering over her like a hawk over a nest full of young. As if that were a cue commonly understood by all, the fellow members of his flock slowly started to glide towards Babbu. “Sir, I’d ask you to comply with the officer’s orders,” commanded Officer Linares. “Please slowly open your jacket…”

Oh no…you might as well have asked him to eat his magic underwear. Now things are gonna get crazy…

“You assholes! This is my kirpan…how many times do I have to go through this shit with you racist bastards?!?” berated a flummoxed Babbu, opening his jacket with the gusto of a flasher in a moonlit park.

Under the door to our closed bedroom, I was temporarily distracted from the surrounding raucous escalation when I noticed a shadow cross its space. Is there someone inside our bedroom? Did one of Bertha’s people sneak into there when nobody was looking? Naked crying lady ghost, that better not be you. This isn’t a good time… My observation was interrupted when reality severed my trance with the sharp edge of Brian’s booming voice.

“…Goddamn it, Helga! You and Bertha have done enough damage! You’re a miserable, indecent person. If your dogs were children, they would be ashamed of having such a terrible mother!”

The miniscule shadow returned to the space under the doorway, staying in place this time. Slowly, a small protrusion found its way through the space, and it curled around the bottom edge in order to find a firm grip. I was reminded suddenly of the movie “Signs”, both due to this frightening image and to the unexpectedly disappointing ending for my meeting. However, my fright swung away upon recognition of the extraterrestial’s alternate identity. Hey, I recognize you… And as if responding in affirmation, the door shook ever so slightly within its frame, gaining the attention of most people near it.

With trained reflexes, Officer Linares pointed his gun in the general direction of the oscillating door. “Who’s in there?!?”

Brian and Helga, though, were not privy to these moments, caught in the Thunderdome of their own enmity towards each other. While Babbu received the attention of the other officers, the boisterous pair were now combatants caught in the grip of their battle, like gladiators in the pit of Rome’s Colosseum. However, they lived for no crowds; they only wanted each other’s blood. Though judging by their respective hues, Brian had an ample amount to wastefully shed, and Helga didn’t seem to need any in order to stay alive (or whatever could be called the physiological state of her being).

“…und how dare you bring up my dogz?!? Zey love me, arschloch!” Helga screamed in the same pitch and bloodlust of her Visigoth ancestors, choosing a hefty Cuban sandwich as her javelin from the pile and pitching it towards Brian’s face. With deft skills unexpected of a such gargantuan centurion, he managed to escape its path, as smoothly as the garlic butter infused within its stack. Bypassing its intended mark, the missile sought something even more opportune, and fate directed it into the trigger guard of Officer Linares’ gun. The gun fired one single shot into our bedroom’s door, and a primal shriek could be heard from just beyond its frame, triggering yet more screams within the living room. Instantly, people began to run for the front door as the panic began to drown all reason in the room, and among the bustling cries, I rushed to our bedroom door with its brand new peephole near the bottom, free of any obstructing decorations for the moment. I carefully opened it, finding a crouched figure that seemed to be submerging itself in its own blood.

“What happened?” cried Rhonda, yelling as she came forward. “Who’s in there?”

Holding the feline member of our small family with tender care, I tried to keep my emotions in check as I shouted back to her. “It’s Flukeman…and he’s been shot!”

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

The Condo Chronicles: A Bitch in Heat

Until this point, my reservations against the spindly frame known as Bertha had merely been somewhat antagonistic…but that mild resentment had grown considerably in the last few seconds. I rose from my chair, blocking the first impulse in my life to defenestrate a woman…well, a woman who wasn’t my mother. Though she has all the corresponding traits in order to fit the same psychological profile: strong feelings of entitlement, a penchant for playing victim, unable to engage in civil dialogue…almost a carbon copy in that sense. A bad parent is an exercise in geometry: you learn to be a good person merely by counterexample. It’s a more difficult form of learning in order to be a better individual, but in doing so, you get to know the subject material infinitely better, with the complimentary gifts of pain and a lost childhood. I felt sympathy for any of Bertha’s children, if any existed; I knew exactly what they must have gone through.

“Bertha,” I growled through grating incisors, pointing my finger at the door, “Get out of my house right now. Just so you know, all of these men in suits are cops, and they will throw your ass in jail for trespassing. Now get out!”

Undeterred by my warning, she instead hurried and placed herself before me, with one slender finger poking me in the chest. “I’m not going anywhere, oppressor! I know something sneaky is happening in here. You didn’t think that you could get away with it, did you? With stealing all of the flyers and notices about this building’s meeting from the hallways? We see all, Mr. Bolton. You can’t hide your crimes from us! Your plan to hide this meeting and gain favor with the mayor is now over!”

Aw, shit…who the hell saw me take them? Well, that plan definitely backfired on me. And now I can’t really kick her out without implicating myself…still, I don’t regret it, though : this lunatical display just proves that it was the better decision, worthy of such a gamble. But what the hell do I do now?

I shrugged emphatically, feigning ignorance. “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, Bertha…your imagination must have been playing tricks on you.”

“Sure, Peter,” Bertha replied, with sarcasm that was too thick to spread even with a pavement roller. “I must have been imagining the injustice happening around us. Just like the people who imagined the Holocaust!”

It’s been less than a minute into this crazy conversation, and there’s already a Hitler reference? Man, they’re going to need to refine Godwin’s Law after this one…did we just beat a world record?

Immediately following her theatrical entrance, more people began to enter my abode. Some of them were clearly Bertha’s supporters like Helga, while others were more familiar faces like Officer Linares and Raymond. Active arguments were now dispersed among the living room. In the doorway, Babbu and Brian were yelling out curses, indistinguishable amongst the cacophony that had built its nest around my assembly of chairs. Mayor Dwek was now obviously a little uncomfortable at the spontaneous arrival of insanity, and in turn, her protection detail had become a bit restless. However, you could tell that this wasn’t her first rodeo, as the mayor addressed the wrinkled renegade in a civil tone that was as alien to the hexagenarian as a rational thought.

“Madam, what exactly is the problem? I assume that you’re one of Peter’s neighbors…and correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that you’re one of the defendants. Am I correct? Are you here for the building meeting?” asked Mayor Dwek, in her most official and respectful voice.

Possessed by a vengeful spirit (or cozened by senility and by a nostalgia for the 60s), the living portrait of paranoia focused her gaze on the esteemed ruler of our municipal domain. “Here for the building meeting? Lady, I am the building meeting!” she exclaimed, raising her finger above her head. In her mind, I was sure that she envisioned light shooting from her fingertips, as she was obviously a beacon of justice for all the world. Bathed in her imaginary light, her supporters in my living room raucously cheered and clapped at her poignant retort to the mayor, brilliant as it was. The elevated noise caused the mayor’s bodyguards to become yet even more tense, moving their hands ever closer to their sidearms.

One of Bertha’s protection detail stood a few feet from me, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. “No mames guey…” he said, speaking under his breath.

Tell me about it, buddy…Well, I can see that you’ve channeled your inner ghetto bitch, Bertha. What a shame if you ended up getting shot like one. Please, please, please pull out a knife or something…Of course, I suppose that would suit you just fine, dying as a martyr. For the cause, of course. Better to burn out than to fade away…

“I see,” replied Mayor Dwek, masking her condescension with an extra layer of formality. “Well, I was just here to see if I could be of service in some way to my fellow residents of Little Peru. Is there anything that I can help you with? I would welcome you to sit down and join our discussion. Peter was just beginning to explain the situation here…”

“Whatever he has told you,” Bertha interrupted, “I promise you that it’s all lies. You should listen to nothing from his forked tongue. In fact, I think that you should have him arrested right now! Him and his conniving buddies on the board! In fact, I put them under citizen’s arrest!”

In the midst of their conversation, Babbu and Brian had made their way to me and Rhonda, finally standing behind me. “Hey, man,” Brian whispered to me, “Ray told us about this meeting at the last minute. Why didn’t you tell us?”

I shook my head, whispering back to the both of them. “Oh, sorry guys…I forgot to tell you.” Yep, I definitely forgot to tell you…just like I definitely didn’t steal the flyers and notices from the hallways. Just like I recognize Bertha as our queen and savior.

Even though her posture presented the very essence of calm, the true queen of this town shifted in her chair, with the body language of one who has need to either purge or consume some form of matter. However, in this case, though, I sensed that it was her impatience beginning to itemize demands of its own. I crossed my fingers behind my back, hoping that Bertha’s head might make the list.

“Madam, I would ask that you and your fellow defendants please sit down,” said Mayor Dwek, in a more assertive tone. “So that we can talk about this subject in a more civil manner. So that we can have a more productive dialogue than this…”

“We will do no such thing! We will not negotiate with these criminals…and I’ll give you one warning, Dwek.” Bertha lowered her finger of smite, pointing the dangerous end of its barrel directly at Her Honor. “Just know that if you’re not with us…you’re against us!”

Despite my best efforts, a fugacious smirk burst from my lips. Good girl, Bertha…thank you for threatening the mayor and saving me the trouble of proving you wrong. Now this is gonna be good.

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

Condo Chronicles: And So the Horribly Planned Trap Is Shoddily Sprung

As the bedlam ensued in the hallway outside, an ambivalence of great polarity froze me in place, as if I was stuck between magnetic fields of equal strength. Caught in this flux, I couldn’t decide whether it was best to ignore the pandemonium from the screaming Sikh or to embrace the powerful temptation of opening my front door and throwing a verbal grenade towards any miscreants within reach. In moments of vicious battle, soldiers have described an event of such profound fear that rational thought and motor skills become lost to an overloaded neural network, having blown a biological fuse. Even though I had never had such a visceral experience, I was enjoying a preview but without the popcorn. A slight panic began to coil its cold hands around my throat, much like when you have to make a decision between continuing to wait for a late bus and relieving your own bowels in the bathroom of the Starbucks behind you. I was still in the midst of making such a decision when Mayor Dwek intervened on my behalf, no doubt able to interpret the expressions on my face. If you had asked her to describe my countenance just then, she probably would have elaborated in comparable terms: It looked like he wanted to take a shit.

“Officer Linares,” she said, with a firm tone familiar to delegation, “Could you please take some of your men and see what can be done about that noise in the hallway?” She turned to Raymond, and in the same breath, she commanded, “And you should go as well, Ray. After all, this is one of the buildings that you’re responsible for, right? I think that you’re in the best position to resolve anything since you know these people.”

“Absolutely, ma’am,” Raymond answered, without demure and with all the insincere pleasantness suited of a sycophant. “Jehovah willing, I’ll calm down whatever fakakte nonsense is happening out there.” I couldn’t help but smirk at Ray’s skills as a social chameleon. I’ll give it to him…he does a good job of changing his colors when he needs to blend in.

The recon team of three bodyguards (including Officer Linares) and Raymond assembled at my front door, exhibiting more tension than a counterterrorism team breaching a room with hostages. Attempting to investigate the situation outside, Linares tried to look through my peephole…only to consequently shake his head and swear. Gotcha! That door decoration in front of the peephole…it’ll get you every time. As they opened the door and began to loudly address the transgressors of peace and quiet, I did my best to count the number of individual voices that could be discerned amongst the yells. There must be around a dozen people out there…what the hell is going on? Oh, man, I hope that one of those young girls next door didn’t give Babbu another wedgie with his divine underpants…or touch his turban…Ik Onkar help us if anything like that happened…

Mayor Dwek cleared her throat assertively, and her remaining aides immediately refocused their attention to the circle’s domain, straightening their posture as they did so. Much like an uxorious husband, they obviously knew the telling cues of those to whom they have sworn fealty. I should try that sometime with Rhonda…thought I doubt that it’ll have the same desired effect. “We’ll let them take care of that problem,” she said, waving towards the hallway. “So that we can make the most of our valuable time here. Let’s continue where we left off, Mr. Bolton. Or can I call you Peter?”

“Absolutely, Your Honor,” I consented, appreciating her professional ability to multitask in the face of adversity. We might actually get something done today after all. Imagine that. “So…as I was saying before, this whole thing started when three people – including myself – were voted onto the board of our building. Unfortunately, the plaintiffs have asserted that we rigged the whole election…but that’s another story for another time. In any case, things were fine for the first few months that we all lived together, but then some structural issues started to pop up. When it started to rain heavily, some units started to experience leaks, including mine. When they started to look at the issue, they discovered plastic bins of rainwater in the ceilings…”

“Plastic bins in the ceilings?” Mayor Dwek interrupted with incredulity.

I nodded, omitting the fact that the rubber duckies found inside the bins were an added insult to injury. She probably wouldn’t believe it, anyway. “Yes…obviously, some of the workers had known about it, and instead of alerting the foreman or anyone else above them, they had simply tried to cover it up. At least, that’s Raymond’s story…anyway, it became painfully obvious that as the board, we needed to arrange for the necessary repairs to fix the problem, since these leaks seem to be getting worse. At the next building meeting, we announced our intent to budget the money and hire the people who could fix the problem, and that’s when – pardon the cursing, Your Honor – that’s when the shit hit the fan…”

The vociferous debate in the hallway reached yet a higher decibel, as numerous people could be heard attempting to speak over one another. Through the dinh, I was able to identify one voice that projected itself from the audible thunder and lightning, foudroyant upon recognition. Bertha? What is that goddamn rabble rouser doing out there? Goddamn it, I’m trying to get somewhere with this mayor…

“What in the hell is going on out there?” Mayor Dwek asked out loud, seeming to read and echo my own thoughts. She turned to her remaining aides. “Go help Ray. It sounds like he needs it.”

As the aides (now freshly turned conscripts) left my apartment in order to join the fray, Rhonda and I were now the exclusive company of Mayor Dwek, not including the two remaining bodyguards left in the corners of my living room. Hmmm…well, we finally got her alone, minus these bodyguards who are hopefully sworn to secrecy. If there was any time to ask that question on behalf of Joe and Octavio, I guess that it would be right now… Turning to look at Rhonda, I saw the same thought dancing like the devil in her wicked stare.

“Well, your building is quite lively,” remarked Mayor Dwek, letting out a sigh of annoyance before regaining her composure. “Though I’ll admit that there’s too much excitement for my tastes…anyway…Other than this litigation issue, how do you like living in the building? And how do like living in your new home of Little Peru? What do you think of our community?”

“You know, I was a bit concerned at first,” Rhonda confided, beating me to the punch with an egregious zest. “Especially since we worried about not fitting into the neighborhood. However, we eventually found the people to be a diverse bunch who were very friendly. We would probably spend more time trying to get to know the community…”

Ahhh…good angle, good timing. Here it comes down the runway, landing as soft as a feather.

“…but Peter’s cousin has been so sick lately. He’s been diagnosed with a terrible and debilitating kidney disease. We’ve been spending so much time to help him out, and it’s been hard to find any donors…” She grabbed my hand supportively. “It’s been tough on all of us.” Nice touch, babe. I’m so glad that you’re my wife and not my enemy.

“I’m so sad to hear that,” commented Mayor Dwek, with a heavy empathy present in her voice. “I know all about trouble with kidneys. My mother suffers from diabetes, and after her kidneys failed, we’ve had to commit her to a regular treatment with dialysis. So I know how tough that can be…And, truly, if there’s anything that I can do to help, please be sure to let me know.”

Arcane is the art of reading a person’s eyes, and a good deal claimed by its proponents should be discarded like the crust from a long night’s sleep. However, one thing is true: much like your loins, their lack of dishonesty and singular mindset can betray you. When a mentalist performs a trick to prove their clairvoyant abilities, it is your willing eyes that betray your innermost thoughts, sending out Morse code with contracting pupils. Les yeux are not simply passive portals to your soul; they are champions of truth who yearn to beam their piercing messages through people and across galaxies, invading everything like the pervasive neutrinos that constantly pass through us. And now, as I scrutinized the very retinas of our mayor, I found nothing but a gleaming pool of sincerity and compassion. They had unfortunately bore witness and recorded the tribulations of loved ones’ suffering, and as such, less vivant became both the victim and the witness, whose eyes would now forever be strained with the weight of such clinging melancholy. She’s a black market organ dealer? No fuckin’ way.

“Thanks, Your Honor,” I said, making the effort to stay in character. “I’ll definitely keep that offer in mind…but, more importantly, I appreciate the sentiment. It means a lot to us, especially to me…”

Preceded by a loud shriek, all three of us were startled when the door to my apartment suddenly burst open, slamming against the coatrack next to it. Flush with emotion, Bertha entered my apartment with all the gusto of a prizefighter on the way to ring, throwing her head back to scream. “…get your hands off of me! The public has to open their eyes and be aware of the atrocities being planned behind closed doors. I’m here to expose this conspiracy between the powers that be! The people united cannot be defeated!”

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.

Condo Chronicles: And So The Horribly Planned Trap Is Terribly Set

I stared at Raymond in disbelief, though the core of me chastised myself for being so surprised. Nothing should be so shocking when you’re a citizen of any county on the west side of the Hudson River. So my building was built by a police officer AND a top municipal official…no wonder this place has so many leaks. They probably got all their inspector friends to overlook every cut corner that took place during construction…Wasn’t this an episode on The Sopranos? Even though I had lived in this area for many years already, I had never actually been a witness to the notorious corruption indigenous to my newly adopted homeland. Truly, if every school or library dedicated to a convicted official had its eponym removed, nearly half of them would become nameless. Like a naive child who has only a faint inkling concerning the reality of imminent death, this pervasive nefariousness had only existed as a legend for me, and it was only now that it had taken a physical form, finally becoming real to me. To put it in more palpable terms, I felt like I had experienced my first true Jersey baptism…or briss…or hazing…I couldn’t decide on the right word at the moment.

“No, I don’t think that you ever mentioned it,” I replied calmly, doing my best to allay the tempest inside. “I think that me and the other owners would have liked to have known that. At the very least, we would have liked to have been aware…you know, me and Babbu and Brian.”

“Sometimes, I’m so disappointed with myself,” Raymond admitted, shaking his head in disappointment with the same somberness of a self-flagellating Shi’ite. “Between dutifully serving your building – among others – and helping the people of Little Peru and assisting my old mother and serving as the president of my church council, sometimes truly important matters slip my feeble mind. May the Good Lord forgive me for such major oversights. I am, indeed, an aide to Her Honor. I was able to do one good deed this evening, though: I remembered to extend an invite to Babbu and Brian. In any case, they should arrive shortly…and hopefully, I can also be of some service here today.”

Great…that’s just what I need here: an assembly of volatile personalities. Well, I know one thing…with Raymond and those guys here, we might as well start put up some camping tents, since this thing ain’t gonna end anytime soon. Especially with Raymond…once that mouth of his gets going, it’s hard to stop it…It’s going to be that much harder to ask my questions on behalf of Joe and Octavio with this chatterbox in the mix… I filtered such thoughts from my response. “Oh, well, to hell with it. We all have things slip our mind, right? In any case, it’s a good thing that you’re on the mayor’s team. We now have a better chance of getting her help, right?”

Raymond smiled. “Absolutely! You can start the show, but when you’re ready, I can take over and do the talking.” I nodded to Raymond, and he walked past me to find his seat for the evening.

As Rhonda walked towards me and passed Raymond with her best impression of a pleasant surprise, she kept her ivory veneer in plain view as she sidled up to me. “What the hell is Raymond doing here?” she asked, barely moving her lips through her planted smile.

“I could explain,” I spat through gritted teeth, “but why bother. Just know that it’s only going to get much worse later on. Let’s just sit down and try to get through this whole thing without tearing our eyes out.”

Proving that she was not only my wife but also my nakama, she trusted my directive without protest and walked alongside me as we took our seats among the circle. After a quick round of introductions and the obligatory compliments that are made about one’s home, a silence fell on the room as everyone waited patiently for the main event. Five bodyguards along the walls, four political aides, and Mayor Dwek all sat patiently in anticipation; even though there was no obvious cue, it was dreadfully apparent that my time had come to take the stage. If only this were a cocktail party instead of a ‘snack’ party…we’d all have a buzz, and I could lead with a toast. What the hell do I lead with now? A toast with a stale Cuban? For reasons unknown, I had the sudden inclination to stand when starting my address; my gut instinct demanded that any remonstration toward an authority figure requires two feet on the ground. I couldn’t tell you why such formality clouded my mind, but if you had handed me a top hat and a pair of suspenders, I probably would have donned them without a second thought. Maybe a fake beard, too…maybe not.

Standing directly across from Mayor Dwek, I stood and projected my voice so that the whole room could bear witness. “Your Honor, your aides and your protection are all certainly welcome in my home, and I thank all of you for donating your time to come here with the intent of helping this building. As you may have heard, our condo association has fallen on hard times, as a pending lawsuit now divides the people of this building. In addition, it has also become an obstacle to various activities underway that are aimed at helping to repair and improve the building. My hope for tonight is that you’ll appreciate the condo board’s position and that you’ll act as our benefactor in some way. By perhaps talking to this judge who made the ruling or maybe by helping us to defuse the situation with the plaintiffs. Again, thank you all for coming. And with that, I’ll start from the beginning and explain the series of events that have led up to now…”

During the last minute of my soliloquy, I had detected an exchange between voices in the hallway outside my door, one which had become increasingly louder with every passing second. Since we lived in the same hallway as a pair of twenty-something girls, it wasn’t uncommon to hear ostentatious conversations saturate the hallways; it seems to be an unfortunate universal for young women to be unaware of how their voices can pierce through walls, eardrums, and sanity. This conversation, though, was not an immature attempt to sublimate a lack of consideration as carpe diem. Some of these escalating voices were masculine, becoming increasingly hostile. At the same moment that I stopped talking to look towards my door, the rising volume had also attracted the attention of everyone else present. I was still at a loss until I heard a key phrase from someone outside:

“…I’m crazy? I’m crazy?!? I’ll show you crazy! I’ll shove my kirpan up your ass so far that I’ll pick your teeth with it!”

I shrugged my shoulders at my concerned guests in order to visibly shun the events close by, with the same disdain of an early 20th-century mother leaving her handicapped child on a doorstep of Letchworth Village. No. No, no, no…awww fuck…who the hell is Babbu arguing with? And does it have to be right fucking now?

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.