By Bobbi Olson
It’s not enough to say it was all in fun, for entertainment.
It’s not enough to laugh at someone and say they just didn’t get the joke.
It’s not enough to say you offend everyone, so no one should feel singled out.
It’s not enough to wound and say it’s your victim’s fault for being so weak to be wounded.
Just to show respect.
That would be enough.
By Phil Goldberg
“Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.”
Thank you, thank you so much. Now that Trump is president, a resounding victory led by me and the crazy, poorly educated minions of mine, it is time to heal our divisions and come together as a country. We can do this. No really, we can do this.
As I scan the audience, let me give a shout-out to Lyin’ Ted. I see you out there, sitting by yourself. It must be tough, Lyin’ Ted. No friends, no presidency. And Little Marco, back in the Senate I see. I thought you weren’t running. Maybe I should start calling you Little Lyin’ Marco. And where’s crooked Hillary? SHE’S IN JAIL. Just like Trump predicted. I’m right about everything. I really am.
But, again, this is a time of healing for our nation. Ted’s actually a terrific guy, now that he is not a threat to Trump. And Marco’s not so bad either, once you get him away from Chris Christie. Right, Mr. Vice President? Oh, right, I gave that job to, what’s his name? Ah, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s Pence.
But enough about everyone else. The real reason we are here today is, let’s face it, me. And I’m going to follow through on all my promises, that I can tell you.
On the domestic front, I have already started building a wall around the White House to keep everyone out except my fellow country club members from Mar-a-Lago. And just to show that I can actually knock down walls (or barriers, as inmate Hillary used to say when she was a free woman), I have a construction crew expanding the White House to accommodate a large spa to be run by the first lady, my lovely wife, Melania. We’ll make lots of money, I can tell you. But we’re not stupid enough to spend it on, let’s say, more jobs for the poor (saps) out there in Hillbillyville. No sir, the money goes into my legal fund in the ongoing, and weak, case against Trump University. By the way, Judge Curiel is no longer on the bench. I hear he is on his way back to Indiana, then to Mexico, where he actually wasn’t born, but should have been.
On the foreign affairs front, we are going to build that wall I promised on the Mexico border after we get the White House all fixed up. Remember, we’ve got Melania’s spa, the big Trump sign at the top of the White House, and the wall around the perimeter. I can’t stress enough how we can do this without going into bankruptcy. We probably will build a casino in the front, across from the Rose Garden. It’ll be the best casino in the history of casinos, you can bet on that. After we get finished with all that, we’ll get to that Mexican wall I promised, maybe in four years.
Who knows, maybe I’ll get impeached before then and I can go back to all my fabulous businesses that my children will probably run into the ground.
But in the meantime, I’ll be your president and a great one at that. Before it is all finished, I’ll get rid of those guys on Mount Rushmore. They can sandblast them off and put up a big bust of Trump. I’m a pretty handsome guy, right? You know, George Washington, let’s face it, folks, he wasn’t much in the looks department. I heard he had bad teeth. I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere. Who wants to gaze at the puss any longer? He’s old business. Let’s confine him to the history books.
Speaking of history books, we are going to abolish them and use my book “Trump: The Art of the Deal” in all schools, public, private and whatever. That will be required reading for all the little real estate moguls and shysters to be. Forget history. We’re forging a new America. You know, “Make America Great Again.” How is that sounding now, inmate Hillary?
Hey, I hear some Democrats booing out there. Is that you, Schumer? Get him out. Don’t rough him up. I don’t approve of violence. But get him out. Pelosi, you can stay, I guess. But not a peep out of you.
In closing, this is going to be a great run as president for me. It will be truly awesome and a beautiful thing. And to every American, and by that I mean every American who voted for me, let me say this: Don’t think I owe you any favors. Now, America, get back to work, if any of you have jobs. For the rest, you can watch the Trump show and boost my ratings. That’s the most beautiful thing of all.
Here's a story from this morning's New York Times that fits in well with the June selection for the Women's Book Group, "The Warmth of Other Suns." To buy the June book, go to the link in my "Books We Like" section and click on the Amazon link.
By Bobbi Olson
If she left now, it would save a lot of trouble. Fewer memories made. Less of an attachment. More time to recover. And she’d never be stronger. Weak as she was now, she’d just get weaker.
The suitcase lay on the bed. It wasn’t very big. It could fit in the overhead bin of an airliner, but now it could luxuriate in the huge trunk of her 1969 Catalina.
The hard beige case was tiny, compact. Which, really, was the way she wanted her life to be. Her life had grown bigger, more complicated. There were so many entanglements now that had grown onto her like invasive vines. Climbing, clinging, reaching ‘round her throat and already covering her mouth. Breaking free was the only chance she saw, even though those vines, once broken, could grow again, the roots would stay behind, ready to send out shoots on someone else. These encumbering vines that might still cling to her would soon die, cut off from their source.
She had packed the suitcase once already and then had taken everything out again. Not because she was changing her mind, but because she had been too ambitious about what would fit. She had to lose about half of what she thought she could stuff inside it. The plastic sides didn’t give, so there wasn’t any cheating. It would take what it would take, and not a bra or panty more.
This part she found comforting, though. She had always thrived when given the sparest of opportunities. She knew how to make things work. She could make dinner for two nights with three ingredients bought at a 99 Cents Only store. She could go a week on less than 10 bucks. She could write everything she wanted to say in a goodbye letter in a few words. If she had more – more money, more clothes, more to say – it would only make things harder to figure out. She hated the greater expectations of plenty.
Down to two changes of clothes, pajamas, sneakers, her notebook and a framed photo (the photo, really?), it was time to latch the dented clasps and put away the things she didn’t need.
Before she walked out to her old car carrying the even older suitcase, she wrote a note. Two lines.
I have to go.
I did love you.
David L. Ulin & Paul Kolsby discuss and sign "Ear to the Ground" with Steph Cha at Vroman's in Pasadena.
7 p.m. Monday, May 9
Seismologist Charlie Richter, grandson of the inventor of the Richter scale, knows earthquakes, and has a method for predicting them. Arriving in Los Angeles to begin work at the Center for Earthquake Studies, a mysterious agency that seems more Hollywood than science, Charlie settles into his new life. His only distraction from work is Grace, an assistant to a powerful producer, and her deadbeat scriptwriter boyfriend Ian. It's only a matter of time before Charlie sees the "Big One" looming on the horizon. When Charlie alerts his boss at the Center, he is the one that's in for a shock: this is exactly what the Center was hoping for. With the news leaked, everyone's suddenly looking to produce the next disaster blockbuster. One of the few scripts Ian actually wrote, "Ear to the Ground," happens to be about an earthquake disaster, and soon it's plucked from obscurity and given the fast track. But with a little bit of luck, Charlie may just foil everybody's plans. He just needs explosives, a helicopter, a little more time. (Unnamed Press)
The Wonder of Ray Bradbury
By Bobbi Olson
It started with “Dandelion Wine.” I was 12, and I had never read science fiction. The Illinois town, so much like my own, the way Ray Bradbury described nightfall, it was so perfectly right. You could feel the heat of a summer day shifting into a cool breeze, see the lights begin to wink on as night fell. The transformation of that flat landscape into a dreamland of mystery and adventure struck me deeply.
1969 became my Bradbury summer. After “Dandelion Wine,” I checked out “The Illustrated Man.” Each story unwrapped a truth, a reality made sharper, clearer, as if back then Bradbury knew how to Photoshop his words to make them acid-washed and hyper-real, whatever he needed to serve ideas that were as alien to a young girl as they were astonishingly familiar. I then read “Golden Apples of the Sun,” “R Is for Rocket,” every Bradbury book in my school’s small library.
Then came “The Martian Chronicles.” That summer I stayed with an aunt and uncle in Illinois. Their old house was large enough to have a room downstairs that had been a parlor. No one used it, so I staked a place on the sofa and disappeared for days. My cousins walked in and out of the house. From the corner of my eye I could watch my aunt’s progress as she polished a brass light fixtures in the dining room, but I was as much a part of that sofa, for three glorious months, as an antimacassar.
I learned things no adult would or could explain to me. About loneliness, racism, dreams, fears, cruelty, heartbreak.
Then came “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” It was then that I realized not just what a good story is, but what great writing is. It was my literary epiphany. It was with this novel that I realized how Bradbury could create an entire world in a sentence. Not even a particularly long sentence. But with each word, carefully balanced, meticulously chosen, life was born. It was like the way Picasso could create pathos, beauty and form with three pen strokes.
Of all the worlds, the planets, the galaxies, the carnivals, all the exotic places Bradbury would take me to that summer, this thrilling world of literary creativity was what held me most in awe.
Stories, essays and excerpts, along with information on events and workshops. If you'd like to post your work, let me know. I pay $20 for accepted submissions, and I'm glad to promote free the work of clients.