Mona Lisa Smile

monalisa

Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and taken from Reddit.com – No other photo credit listed

Today was the day that Stefan Günther determined he would finally speak to his own personal Mona Lisa. Everyday for weeks, she sat across from him on the S-train as he made his evening commute home to his one-bedroom apartment outside of Wiesbaden and she went to who knew where.

“Hi. My name’s Stefan.” The twenty-seven-year-old accountant leaned into the aisle hoping she could hear him over the train noise and all the other conversations around them. “Since you smile at me every time I see you, I thought I should introduce myself.”

“Ludovica. Pleased to meet you, Stefan.” Her accent was unmistakably Italian and the same, subtle smile she had been wearing throughout all of their silent encounters never left her lips.

“Pleased to meet you.” He took her hand and remembered not to apply too much pressure. Her skin was warm and smooth, and her scent was slightly earthy speaking, he hoped, of seduction.

“I don’t mean to be too forward, Ludovica, but why do you always smile at me?”

“I like to smile. Besides, you remind me of someone.”

He chuckled nervously. “Anyone in particular.”

“If I like you, I might tell you someday.”

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Seeking Kindness in the Aftermath of Kavanaugh – It’s Not Easy

violence

Screenshot of a video on twitter showing a young woman grabbing and destroying signs made by a conservative students group.

It occurs to me that there is a certain inconsistency in promoting kindness and then, at least to some, coming off as politically snarky. Okay, it wasn’t my intent, but I can see how some folks might take it that way.

Today’s the day when the full Senate votes on whether or not to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Frankly, I don’t think either the Republicans or Democrats come away from this clean, and the result, as I said yesterday, is that American politics has officially become a denizen of the foulest sewer, like a mythical alligator.

As I also previously stated, no matter which way the vote goes, we all lose. Oh sure, some people will feel like they’ve won, but look what had to happen to achieve “victory.” Each side accused the other of some pretty vile political tricks, not to mention what ordinary people said and did. Both sides tried to destroy a human being. Both Kavanaugh’s and Ford’s reputations were dragged through the fecal matter, along with their families and anyone who might corroborate their stories, and even children were plagued with death threats.

Anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted or had a family member assaulted in such a manner absolutely projects all of their emotions onto Kavanaugh, as if confirming him to SCOTUS is tacit approval of all sexual crimes, and a total discounting of all victims everywhere.

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In the Next Twenty-Four Hours…

pink hat

Photo of a Woman’s March protestor found at The Daily Wire site – no photo credit given

Just to round out this rainy Thursday afternoon (for me), let’s have the latest look at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings relative to the conclusion of the FBI investigation. First off, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has gone on record, even before reading the FBI investigative report, stating that the report’s conclusion, or Kavanaugh’s innocence or guilt doesn’t matter. He’s also using his official twitter account to send out the phone number of Congress with hashtags such as #StopKavanaugh and #BelieveSurvivors.

Generally, I’ve read that Republican Senators feel the FBI report was comprehensive and Democrats feel it is full of holes (hardly a surprise), and have gone so far as to accuse the GOP of giving the FBI a list of witnesses which excluded Dr. Ford and, according to Ford’s attorneys, a number of other witnesses who could have corroborated her allegations.

Conservative news websites such as The Daily Wire, believe Kavanaugh is being tried in the court of innuendo, public opinion, and temperament, which they feel is insufficient to stop the confirmation. Unlike Senator Booker, they, and specifically their editor-in-chief, Ben Shapiro, who is also an attorney, believe that Kavanaugh should be judged by the evidence and to a legal standard.

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The Liars

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1361226489r9nsl MorgueFile

Loren Jackson stopped her Jeep Wrangler in front of Erwin’s rundown one-room shack located a ten miles south of Barstow. He said the isolation helped him keep his head clear. Time was running out, and the investigative reporter needed answers, whether corroborated or not. The Senate vote to confirm was only two days away.

Over the past ten years, she had used the aged recluse to point her in the right direction in half a dozen exclusive stories. She’d even won a Pulitzer for breaking the Clinton scandal, though it didn’t garner her much favor in the eyes of her progressive colleagues. The psychic had never failed her, so she was confident he would come through this time as well.

It was still early morning and cold in the desert as her booted left foot stepped across the open threshold. He was sitting cross-legged, eyes fluttering, holding what looked like a cow’s skull on his lap.

“What the heck is that thing?”

He opened his eyes and looked up. “A symbol. They sometimes manifest when I come out of a trance.”

“What’s it mean? What did you find out? Which one of them is telling the truth.”

“They’re both lying.”

I wrote this for Week 40 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I know, I’m taking liberties with the prompt, but the whole Brett Kavanaugh confirmation three-ring circus hearings have been weighing heavily on my mind for a while now. I keep considering the allegations and what’s come up so far from the FBI’s investigation, tossing them back and forth in my thoughts. There are a few things.

It seems that none of the people at the party where Dr. Ford alleges she was sexually assaulted even remember being there:

Each has said previously that they do not recall the gathering Ford described. Eric B. Bruce, Smyth’s attorney, issued a statement Monday saying Smyth “truthfully answered every question the FBI asked him and, consistent with the information he previously provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he indicated that he has no knowledge of the small party or gathering described by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, nor does he have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”

At least one of Kavanaugh’s friends have stated Kavanaugh is an aggressive and belligerent drunk, which could support Ford’s allegations that he assaulted her while intoxicated.

On the other hand, the various phobias Dr. Ford states she continues to suffer from (including a fear of flying even though she regularly flies) have been refuted in a letter from an anonymous party claiming to be Ford’s ex boyfriend.

I know. A witness claiming Kavanaugh has a history of being aggressive when drunk and an anonymous ex-boyfriend saying that Ford isn’t claustrophobic because she once lived in a 500 sq ft apartment and lived for a time in Hawaii (and unless she took a ship, she most likely got there by flying). It’s not much to go on, but consider this.

Let’s say that those allegations are factual. It means both Kavanaugh and Ford lied under oath and are both guilty of perjury:

A person convicted of perjury under federal law may face up to five years in prison and fines. The punishment for perjury under state law varies from state to state, but perjury is a felony and carries a possible prison sentence of at least one year, plus fines and probation.

If proven, then technically, they both could go to prison. It probably won’t go that way, but even if Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh are established to be factual, in all likelihood (again, assuming a friend and an ex-boyfriend are correct) they both did lie.

Anyway, back to the photo challenge. To read other stories based on the prompt, and so far, mine’s the only one, visit InLinkz.com.

On the Brink of the Second Civil War

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Screenshot of my twitter feed

Disclaimer/Trigger Warning: Sorry for another political rant, but I’m so astonished at the total farce of the Kavanaugh hearings and what all this means for America going forward.

Judiciary Committee To Vote On Kavanaugh Friday, With Eyes On Undecided Jeff Flake.

Wait! What?

I totally didn’t see this one coming. As far as I could tell, Brett Kavanaugh went down in flames yesterday. True, it was easy to see how the Democrats manipulated the situation and their delay tactics, so I guess the Republicans felt they had no other way to go then to call for an immediate vote.

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The Truthsayer

coast road

© Anurag Bakhshi

Jeremiah Pierce negotiated the curves on Highway One just past Stinson Beach toward San Francisco, and the first leg of his journey to end the ridiculous mess he’d been hired to clear up. He’d been called many things over the years including the human lie detector and the truthsayer, but his gift, based both on psionics and his ability to see neural activity in the brain, certified him as the only person to always know if someone was lying.

A middle-aged woman said she had been sexually assaulted as a teen by a boy who now was being considered as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He denied it, and the Me Too supporters automatically believed her, regardless of the presence or absence of actual evidence.

In a few hours, he would be at the Federal Building where she was scheduled to be interviewed by FBI agents, but only because of the death threats against her. After he had spoken to her, Jeremiah would fly to Washington D.C. and hear what the Judge in question had to say. Then, he would know. Then the world would know for sure. No more nonsense based on rampant emotions and political interests.

I wrote this in response to two online writing prompts. The first is Sunday Photo Fiction where writers are challenged to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

The second is Sunday Writing Prompt hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The suggestion here is to craft a poem, short story, or some other creative piece based on the following:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools…

-from “If” by Rudyard Kipling

The poem fragment reminded me both of News and Social Media and the Kavanaugh hearings, which I’m sure everyone knows about in great detail. I decided to give in to a bit of fantasy and create a character who can always clear up these “he said, she said” debates to an absolute certainty rather than responding with rampant emotionalism or political jockeying for position.

To read more stories based on the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt, visit InLinkz.com. To read other stories based on the Kipling piece, go Here.

Of Kavanaugh, Ford, and Matters of Credibility

kavanaugh meme

Internet meme found on Facebook – attribution on image

Disclaimer, Trigger Warning, or whatever you want to call it: Depending on your politics and probably several other factors, this essay might tend to raise your blood pressure, so if you have strong feelings about the Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation hearings before Congress, you might want to pass it up for something else (Yes, I’m going to get in trouble for posting this).

I’m sure just about everyone in the U.S. and probably a lot of people in other countries are aware of the controversy surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh Congressional hearings to determine if he should be confirmed as the next Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in our nation. Opinions about whether or not to confirm Kavanaugh in the News and Social Media were pretty much split down party lines before the sexual assault allegations made against him by Christine Blasey Ford, but then things just exploded.

I’m not going to go into the details of the allegations. You’re probably already well-versed in the details, and probably most of you reading this (like most everyone else) have already reached a conclusion about the validity of Ford’s claims.

What I am going to do is process the credibility of Kavanaugh and Ford.

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