An Independent Russian Investigation from WIF

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 Ways that Russians

are Misunderstood

Around the World

Today, Russia is arguably one of the most controversial countries on the planet. Much is said about them one way or the other (primarily due to Vladimir Putin), and very few countries have as many stereotypes (especially negative ones) floating around about them. While it’s understandable for many Westerners to be worried about Russian influence on their governments or people, it’s also important to be able to separate the Russian people and culture from their government, and to understand who the Russians really are — and not just what we know from crude and often demeaning stereotypes… or potential meddling in United States politics.

10. Russians Don’t Look At Governance The Same Way Many Westerners Do

Many Americans and other Western countries have trouble understanding Russians’ idea of government, because Westerners cannot imagine a life where they could have so little personal freedom. To Westerners, personal freedom — or at least the appearance of it — is practically a life or death matter. Now, Russians see things differently. It isn’t that they are naturally submissive or something, but the Russian people have never really had anything like the Democracy that many Western countries enjoy… and the Russian people go back a very long way.

When you haven’t ever had something in the first place, you’re hardly going to find yourself missing it greatly or fighting for it. For this reason, personal freedoms are a much lower priority for many Russians, and they don’t entirely understand why so many countries are worried about those issues. Particularly when they haven’t fixed other problems yet. This doesn’t mean there’s no one in Russia interested in Democracy, but by and large, you aren’t likely to find many willing to risk prison for something they’ve never even had to begin with.

9. Russians Look European, But Are Also Sort Of Asian

Perhaps one of the things that makes it so difficult for Westerners to deal with Russians is that they look so similar to many of us, despite thinking so drastically differently. This likely stems from their cultural origins. The larger portion of Russia is, geographically, essentially in Asia, but the more populated part is in what some call “European Russia” — a portion of Russia that’s still considered part of Eastern Europe. This is all quite confusing, and borders are all, of course, man-made to begin with, but the overall issue is that the Russian people hardly fit in any normal cultural box.

Even the ones from “European Russia” are still much farther East than most people who are considered to be from Europe, and this likely changes their thinking. They’re also part of a country that has much of its territory in the actual continent of Asia, which means many people from the European part will still have their culture influenced by the more Asian part. For this reason, some in Russia have said they felt they have a more unique identity, which is actually part Asian and part Eastern European.

8. Napoleon Made Them Incredibly Paranoid Long Ago; Now Others Think Them Aggressive

Americans Tchaikovsky’s Overture of 1812 well, and some even confuse as being in reference to the American War of 1812. However, at that same time in history, there was a war going on basically all over the world because of a little guy named Napoleon. This titchy fellow had been stirring up the nest all over the place, and had even pushed his way into Russia. Now, today many people look at this as a folly of Napoleon, and talk about how Hitler later repeated the same mistake: Attacking the hardy Russian people during the harsh winter.

However, the truth was that Napoleon came far closer, at least in the Russians’ minds, to completing a successful invasion than they were comfortable with. They were absolutely terrified, and never forgot it. Well over 100 years later, the term “Bonapartist” would still be a fairly common term in Russia. They feared the idea of a warrior general rising up and going on a rampage so much that they immortalized Napoleon’s name with a specific word for his little invasion attempt into their country. Many people today think the Russians are just aggressive, but this near-miss so long ago drove them to shore up their borders, and it’s primarily for this reason they’ve been so hostile to those closest to them since. The truth is that the Russians only won with scorched earth tactics and great losses. Napoleon scarred them forever.

7. Russian National Pride Goes Back A Long Way, But Has Clashed With French Culture

Some people don’t understand why Russians are willing to forego so much comfort for the good of their country, and many people like to claim it’s Soviet propaganda. But the Russian people have been behaving this way for some time now. Considering the country of Russia is really one of the oldest surviving countries and cultures in the world, it’s not surprising that they have a gigantic wellspring of national pride, whether the situation warrants it or not. They also have a history of dictatorships, which means they’re used to simply being proud of their country and letting others run it.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Russians have always remained truly proud and obsessed with Slavic culture. A situation that still exists (to a smaller extent) today — but blew up shortly after the time of Napoleon — is the fight between the Slavophiles and the Francophiles. The Slavophiles wanted to keep Russia Slavic and focus on Slavic cultures, traditions, dress, and customs. However, enthralled and enraptured by the French, many young people were now dressing in French fashions, taking up their customs, and studying their culture and language. This has changed the Russian people even further over the years and, if anything, has made them even more incomprehensible to the rest of the world.

6. The Russian Concept of “Poshlost” Explains Why They Often Think Of Wealth Differently

These days you have people who like to make fun of people like the Kardashians, or joke about how they became famous for doing literally nothing at all. However, at the same time, many of those same people view being in a position like the Kardashians as something to aspire to. Now, despite misconceptions, the Kardashians still have a lot of work to do to maintain their empire of nothing. But many see their lifestyle as an aspiration because it’s perceived as a life where they can just chill and enjoy the finer things while not having to work or do… well, anything. In many ways this almost makes them the ultimate American dream, but Russians would find the whole thing ridiculous.

While there are some Russian billionaires today, and Russia has a lot of corruption, those who are at least in business or working are given a great deal of respect by the common person regardless of their ridiculous wealth. It’s only the playboys, who don’t really work or do anything, that get the true disrespect. In Russian literature, there’s a concept that many of the greats like Pushkin, or Lermontov, wrote about called “Poshlost.” Poshlost has been called untranslatable, but we will try our best to explain the concept: it’s used to refer to outer beauty, or empty wealth that is flaunted, while the individuals behind that wealth spend most of their time lounging, trying to look important, and contributing nothing of value to society at all. In a way, it was a backlash to the fashionable trappings of high society brought forth by the Francophile fad.

5. The Idea Of Struggle Is Entirely Embedded In The Russian Cultural Ethos

One of the things many people in America, in particular, understand least about the Russians is their willingness to accept a life without a lot of particular luxuries, and without a lot of options in general. This isn’t because the Russians are just masochistic and enjoy taking punishment, or are trying to prove some kind of specific point. Nor are the Russian people necessarily taking one for the team in order to advance the cause of the current government. The biggest reason most Russians are okay with things being that way is because, within in their ethos, the idea of struggle is deeply embedded.

In many ways, it may by their most important cultural value: Working hard and muddling through to get by is seen as extremely important. For a culture that’s often had to deal with poverty and want, even under their most benevolent leaders, this was something they had to learn as a people very early on. In many ways it has defined them, and explains why they are willing to accept what many in Western culture would consider unacceptable. They are simply far more accustomed to hardship, so they don’t act like everything is out of sorts when things get difficult.

4. The Origins Of Their Language, And Its Structure, Give Them A Unique Perspective

The Russian language, and most Slavic languages, use the Cyrillic Alphabet; however, the origin of their written language is rather strange. The people of the region had mostly used spoken-word and wrote little down when two Catholic missionaries named Cyril and Methodius traveled to the region. These two decided to help create an alphabet and written-word system for the language spoken by the people of the region, and something similar is in use today in most Slavic Countries. Now, this gives them a rather unique language structure and perspective.

The language itself was formed entirely by natives of the region, but the written form was made up mostly by outsiders who didn’t entirely understand their thinking. This has created a language system where the written word (and, as they’ve evolved together, sometimes even the spoken word) are hard to articulate the way the writer would want. Many writers like Pushkin took the written form of Russian to its limit to extract as much wordplay as possible, but they could only go so far, despite their genius.

3. Russians Are Generally Thought Of As A Drunk Country – But There Is A Lot More To It

One of the most famous stereotypes about the Russians is that they are huge drunks, and may even be bigger drunks than the Irish. People talk about teens using mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and other awful things, but in any country with poverty and bored children, things like that aren’t uncommon. And while people like to act like the average Russian just pounds alcohol like there’s no tomorrow, even among the heavy drinkers there are customs to drinking, and it’s only when you ignore them and actually do start pounding for no reason (which is relatively rare) that you have a real problem.

In Russia, drinking is a big social thing, but it is accompanied by lots of little bits of food, toasting to friends, and good conversation and camaraderie in general. Russians like to toast to things while drinking so they have a reason to imbibe, and it’s custom to eat a bit of food after each shot or drink — both for your health, and to avoid a hangover later. Many Russians will simply not drink if they don’t at least have a little bit of bread so they can have a little bite with each drink.

2. Internet Pirates Are Often Russian, But Due To Poverty – Not Inherent Cultural Dishonesty

The Pirate Bay, and other popular torrent sites, have always had a huge amount of torrents coming from Russian hackers. Many who pirate a lot are all too familiar with their written “Russian Accent” and have noticed that many torrent-ed movies have Russian subtitles. Now, some people have noticed this and come to the conclusion that Russians are inherently dishonest or thieves, but this is not really the case.

For starters, an incredible amount of Westerners use torrent sites — even middle class Westerners — so it’s a little bit hypocritical to brand Russians as thieves. However, more to the point, many common Russian folk feel compelled to do these things because they are desperately poor, and simply cannot afford the content otherwise. In many cases it may not even be available for legitimate purchase within their country, so they have to resort to piracy in order to get past government censorship. Russians aren’t generally a bunch of horrible cyber thieves; well, at least not any more-so than most other modern countries and people. Also, while Russians aren’t more dishonest, necessarily, they are better educated than many countries when it comes to IT.

1. The Russian People Usually Know Full Well When They Are Being Fed Propaganda

A lot of folks think that the Russian people are easily fooled, and that Ol’ Putin completely has the wool over their eyes. They believe that Putin’s propaganda machine has managed to get people under his spell, and that they are basically putty in his hands. However, the situation — and the Russian people by extension — are a lot more complex and complicated than that. The Russian people are well aware of the concept of propaganda, and have a word called “Pravda” (which some of you may be familiar with) due to the ironically named Soviet Propaganda paper of the same name.

Now for those who aren’t aware, Pravda means “truth,” but it can also mean a lot more (or less) than that. Some know that Pravda was used sarcastically as a phrase to subtly disagree with Soviet propaganda, but most Westerners don’t know how long this phrase has been in use, or how many things it can mean (and it can mean dozens of things). After all, Russians may not have as many words as some languages, so they often use the same word to mean many things.

Pravda can mean actual truth, but it can also mean that you know you aren’t being told the truth, and are very slightly sarcastically saying “Oh yes, of course I believe that,” when you both know it’s a lie. And this is the funny thing about the Russian propaganda machine: It often knows it isn’t really fooling anyone, and the people often know they aren’t being fooled, but everyone pretends the propaganda is working anyway in order to avoid any kind of confrontation with the government.


An Independent Russian Investigation

from WIF

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 132

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 132

  …The devil with a sense of irony, not today…

Pentateuch has been sitting on his hot little hands for far too long. The more time he spends away from either, his eternal domain the Lake of Fire or his only respite the earthly cooling stations, the less comfortable it is for him. Such is the life of a demon’s demon.

In the case of his tryst with L. Dick Cannon, the former Science Fiction writer, he dare not show his hand. Otherwise, this human with demagoguery on his brain, might be nudged deep into another fantasy world, should he suspect Pent’s pedigree. So far so good, although Cannon has asked about the smell of burnt hair, whenever he and the wily Mr. Winters meet.

“What can you tell me about this Orson Wells? Is he willing to be a celebrity spokesperson for our new church?”

“He says that he enjoys a good story, but religion of any flavor leaves a bad taste in his mouth.”

“That is not a positive reaction.”

 Music from Dario Russo

“He also tells me that he cannot afford to have anything distract him from his career. Things are going “Wells” for him.”

The devil with a sense of irony? Not today.

“Career, I have a mind to put him in his place,” Pentateuch/Winters is annoyed by his continued ineffectiveness. It is hard to believe that a megalomaniac like him can suffer a crisis of confidence. “Keep your eyes peeled for another potential movie star type, could even be a female temptress with a seductive personality. We need people; I mean millions of them to believe in what you’re selling them. We need to get this off the ground, with a more credible client base.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 115

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 124

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 124

…Fanny has just scored the kind of dirt a good investigator was looking for…

img004

Fanny on the Job

Fanny is trying to get Dr. Sapp to incriminate himself… unwittingly.

“Can you give me a written referral letter, saying why you are sending Millicent to his care? It was hard enough asking you about……….well you know.”

On his official practice stationary, he spells out the situation about a poor rich girl from Jacksonville and the conditions of his referral:

Everett T. Sapp M.D.

112 Sheldon Avenue 3rd Floor

Havana, Florida  USA

 

Dear Doctor Campbell;

 I am referring a Miss Millicent Stanwick to your care. You can be assured that her case is legitimate and urgent. She is likely with child and is need of a possible septic abortion.

 Please confirm the receipt of this letter with a telephone conversation. It is comforting knowing that you are sparing families the embarrassment from a baby out of wedlock.

 You can forward my $50 dollar referral fee and which is regular and customary.

 Your colleague,

 

Everett T. Sapp

“Thank you so much Dr. Sapp. You don’t know how much you are helping me,” Fanny has just scored the kind of dirt she was looking for.

“Not a big deal Mrs. Stanwick. Your daughter will be just fine… oh by-the-by, are you related to the Stanwick’s from over on River Street? Very nice family – wouldn’t want to see them be the talk of the town.”

“No sir, we’re not, my boyfriend is a sailor and we move a lot.” She had meant to pick a last name that was Jacksonville neutral, but no such luck. ‘It is Miss Stanwick, I do not have a daughter and you just signed a personal document that will stem the flow of white girls to Alpha’s back door. Oh and land you in a whole peck of trouble,’ she mumbles.

“What was that? You were saying?”

“I was thanking God for getting my girl out of a whole mess of trouble.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 109

WIF Mind Games – Psychological Phenomena

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Psychological Phenomena

The human brain is a fascinating and complex organ. Beyond its ability to help us reason, function and think, it plays some crazy tricks on us. All throughout history, humans have experienced things called psychological phenomena – mind tricks that sometimes defy explanation but are experienced by most people. Here are 10 of them, with a description of the phenomenon itself (when it has one!) and an example of it in action with a real, live human being.

10. Cryptomnesia

Why did Brian Williams, noted NBC news anchor, say he was in a helicopter that was attacked in Iraq? Was he lying? Or, was there something deeper at work. For that matter, why did George Harrison write “My Sweet Lord” to sound just like the Chiffon’s hit 1962 song, “He’s So Fine?” Did he plagiarize, or did he not notice the similarity between his song and the other? An argument can be made for the latter in both instances, all because of something called cryptomnesia. The term was invented by doctors Alan Brown and Dana Murphy, after conducting three experiments at Southern Methodist University in 1989. They discovered that people will unknowingly “borrow” the ideas of others, rather than thinking of new ideas. Rather than consciously stealing a song, or making up a story out of thin air, the human brain is capable of taking a story, song or idea and transforming it. In the person’s mind, it becomes new. Original. When really, it’s just a memory.

Studies have shown this phenomenon is pretty common, but it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between it and a lie. So, it’s possible that Brian Williams simply thought he was on that helicopter, or he might have been lying. In the case of George Harrison, however, a judge decided that cryptomnesia really was the culprit, and Harrison was charged with “subconscious plagiarism.” It’s scary when you think about it. How many of our ideas are actually our own, and how many are really memories?

9. Deja Vu

Have you ever visited a new place, only to get the feeling that you’d been there before? That’s called a deja vu, and it happens to almost everybody. Art Markman, Ph.D., explains deja vu as a device our brains use to create a sense of familiarity in a particular situation using source memories as context clues. He says that humans are good at remembering objects, so if we see a person wearing the same t-shirt that we saw our friend wear last week, we don’t get confused that the stranger in the same shirt is our friend. However, we are not great at recalling memories based solely on how objects are arranged. So, if you see a stack of those t-shirts in one store, and then years later go to a completely different store in a completely different city, you might not remember that you saw an identical stack of shirts, but instead feel a sense of familiarity, of knowing, and not know why.

In one extreme case, French psychiatrist Francois-Leon Arnaud wrote about a guy named Louis who lived in the 19th century. Louis was a soldier who suffered from amnesia, then headaches, irritability and insomnia. And, he suffered from almost constant deja vu. Everything he experienced felt like something he’d experienced before. At the time, his doctors diagnosed him with “illusion deja vu,” but today it’s suggested that Louis may have had a memory disorder like recollective confabulation, where people routinely think that all new information is familiar. For us, the occasional deja vu is a creepy and otherworldly feeling, so much that some people think it’s really a memory from a past life.

8. Bystander Effect

The Bystander Effect is a psychological phenomenon that is social in nature. It’s characterized by the unlikeliness of a group of people (the bigger the group, the more likely the phenomenon) to help during an emergency. The most famous example of this is the 1964 murder of young Kitty Genovese, when allegedly she was murdered on the streets of New York and the 38 bystanders who witnessed the murder did nothing to help. A great example of the phenomenon, if true. However, Kitty’s brother, Bill, decided to get to the bottom of what really happened to his sister and it turns out that only a few people actually saw the attack, and one actually shouted for the murderer to stop. Two people claimed to have called the police, though there are no phone records. Bill says that regardless of whether or not people tried to help, his sister’s story is an important lesson to those who might do nothing when they see someone in trouble.

Another disturbing example of Bystander Effect is that of Topsy the Elephant. Topsy killed one man, but was accused of being a “serial man killer,” and was therefore sentenced to death. Originally believed to be one in a long streak of electrocutions in that “War of the Currents,” it’s likely that electrocution was chosen for Topsy because it was more humane than the original form execution, which was hanging. The electrocution of Topsy occurred on Coney Island, in front of Luna Park employees, Edison’s employees, and many other witnesses. Nobody lifted a finger. A gruesome account of the atrocity can be found in in Michael Daly’s book, Topsy.  An Edmund Burke quote comes to mind: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

7. Placebo Effect

If you’ve ever participated in a clinical study (or studied science, for that matter), you know what a placebo is. It’s a pill or other treatment that has no physical effect, but can produce a psychological benefit called the Placebo Effect. In essence, if someone takes a placebo and experiences some sort of benefit, there you have this particular psychological phenomenon. One example of this is the case of MK-869, an experimental antidepressant developed by Merck in 2002. The drug tested exceedingly well at first, and Merck had high hopes for domination in the marketplace. Imagine how disappointed shareholders and analysts were, however, when data showed that while those who took MK-869 did feel better, so did the same amount of people who took the placebo.

This is a pretty common occurrence in the world of pharmaceuticals. In fact, about 50% of developing drugs fail in the trial stage because it’s found that the placebo is just as effective. Some medical professionals even claim that some people react well even when they know they are receiving a placebo. That the ritual of taking medicine or doing something healthy can make the brain think that the body is healing. Maybe there is something to the old adage, “Heal thyself.”

6. McGurk Effect

The McGurk Effect, a crazy psychological phenomenon that has to do with your eyes and your ears (and how they get confused) when perceiving speech. It happens when your brain associates the hearing part of one sound and pairs it with the visual appearance of another sound being spoken, which leads to the brain perceiving a nonexistent third sound. Whoa, right?

It happens especially when you can’t hear the sound that well (like in a crowded room, or when a person is speaking very softly) but you can see the lips move, making you think you “hear” something else. Think about that kid in class who mouthed “elephant shoe” at you. The phenomenon was first explained in 1976 by, not surprisingly, a guy named McGurk who studied how infants perceive language as they develop. It’s best described in video format, and there are a lot of examples out there. Like this one or, obviously, the one embedded above.

 5. Baader-Meinhof

You just heard about a new director from your film nerd friend. Later that day, you look up a movie with your favorite actor in it on IMDd and BAM, it’s that director. Then, you pick up the newspaper and there’s a profile on the same director – the one you had never heard of before. All of a sudden, this guy is everywhere. Is he the next Scorsese, or did your film buff friend plant all these references for you? Neither! You’re experiencing the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

Arnold Swicky, a linguistics professor at Stanford, named this phenomenon Frequency Illusion in 2006, because it was easier than calling it the “When you hear something one time and all of the sudden it’s everywhere syndrome.” He explained that it is caused by two psychological processes. In one, you learn a thing and then, without knowing it, you look for it other places. In the other, confirmation bias tells you that the thing is everywhere overnight, simply because you never noticed it before. The term Baader-Meinhof came about earlier than 2006, on a St. Paul Pioneer Press online forum, where a participant heard the name of the notorious terrorist group two times in the same day. The phrase got meme-ified and later Swicky gave it a medical name.

4. Cognitive Dissonance

You know that getting sunburned can cause skin cancer, but you skip the sunscreen anyway. Or you smoke, even when you know that smoking causes cancer. You’ve got yourself a great example of cognitive dissonance, a phenomenon that occurs when you experience a conflict of attitude, behavior, or belief. Your behavior (skipping the sunscreen) belies your cognition (the fact that you know that you could get skin cancer), creating a state of cognitive dissonance.

This was first studied by Leon Festinger in 1957, when a doomsday cult that believed a flood was going to end the world… well, they didn’t get destroyed by a flood (and neither did the world). He found that people who were on the fence about the flood felt pretty dumb for giving up their houses and jobs and chalked it up to a learning experience, while the devout cult members decided that it was their great faith and sacrifice that saved the world. There are also fun ways to explore this phenomenon, like this Prezi about the cognitive dissonance in Mean Girls.

3. Online Disinhibition Effect

Unless you avoid the internet altogether (and judging by the fact you’re reading this, that’s pretty definitively not the case), you’ve seen the Online Disinhibition Effect in action. It’s your sweet former teacher that turns into a hate-filled rage ball on a Facebook thread. It’s Roseanne tweeting herself into unemployment. It’s the internet user’s tendency to say (or type) things they wouldn’t usually say in real life. This is caused by a number of personality variables that cause a person to deviate from their “normal” behavior. Just like people who feel less shy when online, some people lose a lot more than shyness when they feel a sense of anonymity.

Even on social media, where your name and photo are attached to your profile, it’s possible to minimize authority, loosen your self-boundaries and pretend it’s all a game when nobody is responding to you in person. If only people could just do what we do and pretend their mother can see everything they post online. Hey, if it works, it works!

2. Reverse Psychology

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely used reverse psychology to get your kids to do what you want. For instance, if they don’t want to eat their dinner, and then you tell them they’re not allowed to eat dinner, odds are they will. Reverse psychology relies on reactance, where a person responds negatively to persuasion, and instead responds to the thing that they’re persuaded not to do. Even if you’re not a parent, you’ve likely used it on family members, partners, or coworkers.

Reverse psychology dates back as far as human behavior, with a notable example in the 1700s. Apparently, Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, while imprisoned during the Seven Years’ War, ate a whole lot of potatoes. In France, potatoes were frowned on, and only fed to animals. French Parliament even outlawed potatoes in 1748, because they thought that they caused leprosy. When Antoine-Augustin got back to France in 1763 he started thinking about overcoming the bias against potatoes, because he knew they were very nutritious. One story says that he planted a potato patch and hired a guard to protect it, spreading the rumor that he was growing something special in there. Of course, people snuck in to steal the potatoes, and they decided they were a-ok.

1. Overview Effect

The last entry on our list is a psychological phenomenon most of us won’t experience. It’s the Overview Effect – the sensation that astronauts feel when they see the Earth as a whole. Six astronauts were interviewed by Inverse, and the experience of seeing Earth from space made them change how they saw their planet, and their relationship to it. The term Overview Effect was created by Frank White to describe the experience of seeing the Earth as part of something bigger. Makes sense, since when we live on the Earth the Earth is plenty big for us to consider. What would the world be like if everyone could look at the universe in a different way? Read those testimonials from the six astronauts interviewed and you’ll get an idea.

Our brains are strange and wonderful places, capable of greatness and atrocity. An understanding of how the brain works might help us avoid the latter, but it will surely help us strive to the former.


WIF Mind Games –

Psychological Phenomena

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 87

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 87

…Yeah, two-bit thugs who have a bad habit of picking on women…

two-bit thugs

Once the CCPI threesome gains Eddie’s Englewood address, they discover that a sticky situation has turned fluid. They are handed a note that Eddie had found on the kitchen table alongside a half-drunk cold cup her morning decaf:

If you ever want to see your wifey

agan youll keep your nose out

of where it dont belong. Tell those too dames

too back off, they’re in over their pertty little heads.

Listen up or you can kiss Edie goodby.

We’ll call you and dont bother looking cause yous wont find her.

“That is awful grammar Connie,” Fanny concludes, “it reads just like the way Elvis and Kelly talked to me.”

“Yeah, two-bit thugs who have a bad habit of picking on women… the smell of this caper rings a bell.” Caraway detects the lingering vapors of chloroform. Her distaste for the overall male condition is secure. She asks Fanny to dig deep, “Did they give you any clues about where they’re from or who they work for?”

Once the effects, of same knock-out gas used here, had cleared her system, Fanny did remember one small detail, “They mentioned something, it was an Irish name, O’Malley’s on something west…. Westward….. Westin…..”

Western Ave. Chicago

“Western,” Eddie offers dejectedly.

Constance flails her arms, “Telephone book Eddie, get me one! Do you know anything about an O’Malley’s on Western?” The gauntlet was laid down when they scribbled ‘don’t bother looking ‘cause yous won’t find her’.

“Maybe it’s a Irish gin-joint, lots of those places Eddie's Cousins-001up in the city; my cousin Georgie has a place on south Western, down by all the car lots. All those cheap clunkers Detroit is spitting out don’t hold up on these mean streets.”

“Here…… how about a car repair shop at 800 South Western.”

“That’s Chicago Ave, west side of the street on the near north side.”

“These guys must have some sort of headquarters. It may be a hunch, but it’s all we have to work with.”

“You can send junior home Con, I’ll take it from here,” referring to their new driver William.

“I think he can still make that piano lesson,” Fanny hopes aloud.

Connie leans out the front door of the bungalow to wave William off, excusing him from any further sequestered livery. His effort will not go completely unnoticed.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 79

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 83

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 83

…In the den of the Devil…

“I want you to extricate the human Mary Joseph Franks from her lair. I believe that she is under the protection of the Divine One, which is a formidable obstacle. And as she has already made Canisso’s acquaintance, I need some other human for the intervention.”

Agent Daniels does his best rope-a-dope. “Tell me where she is and I will have her here in two days.”

“No need, get her out of that convent-monastery-whatever and I will do the rest. Canisso will be assisting you.”

“I prefer to work alone.”

“Canisso will take you there.”

He can tell that his loyalty is being tested. ‘This is hardcore stuff,’ he thinks to himself. “I will do so.”

“Yes you will and your ascension inside World Agnostica is on the line.”

As if Daniels doesn’t have enough jobs as it is, now he is being pressured into an unthinkable act against an undeserving victim.

… Meanwhile in the Heavenlies…

“One of my faithful servants is in dire need of an intercession, Gabriel.”

The Angel Gabriel is the Divine One’s go-to seraphim in matters of greatest consequence. He hears his Lord’s petition and responds, “I am here Lord.”

“My daughter Mary Joseph is a target of the Evil one. Provide her the protection she needs.”

“It will be done,” Gabriel responds now filled with the earthly details.

… Back in the Chicago-lies…

Twenty miles north of Sister Mary Joseph, Constance and Fanny are helping Martin with getting Willard Libby back into working order. There are more than a few frayed circuit wires and burned out vacuum tubes about his jumbled head. As work canAgeOfEarth be the best therapy, so does Libby guide Martin through the cherished details of his, still to be revealed to the world, discovery that the actual age of Planet Earth is in the geophysical neighborhood of twenty thousand years, not the 4.5 to 5 billion year range that is broadly accepted.


Constance Caraway P.I.

DIVINE INTERVENTION

Forever Mastadon


page 76

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 82

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 82

…‘Mamma told me not to come’, he thinks to himself during this no-turning-back moment…

Daniels/Cephus will set aside his apprehension for later, having been met in the hall by Canisso/Wolfgram, dedicated defender of “The Great Deception”.

“This way Cephus, you have been expected.”

Prior to this, Daniels’ (as an informant/plant) view of Vincent Wolfgram was completely different, more of a fellow worker than this administrative visage. In fact, he cannot remember seeing the man on this side of the Atlantic before; previous informational “leaks” about Pope- doings never involved individuals, in that stead, he would utilize the more popular “drop” method.

In his work at the Vatican Communications Department, he is known as Bernard Spencer, an American electronic specialist in this new age of the telephone and television; yet another alias name, leaving one to wonder how he keeps them straight. He can know what/when he wants to know it, without being questioned by papal higher ups. He has amazing security clearance on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cephus, not the Noah-of-old descendant, enters a vast chamber filled to the brim with solid gold items, so brilliant yet quite unnerving. ‘Mamma told me not to come’, he thinks to himself during this no-turning-back moment.

“Come forward Cephus,” an echoing voice rains down from a ceiling-less throne. Pentateuch has command of his world, asking no quarter, expecting unquestioned obedience. “I have an important matter for you to take care of, nothing to do with the pope,” he says without reverence.

“You must think I can do the job,” his voice quakes slightly.

“I want you to extricate the human Mary Joseph Franks from her lair. I believe that she is under the protection of the Divine One, which is a formidable obstacle. And as she has already made Canisso’s acquaintance, I need some other human for the intervention.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 75