Monday, December 17, 2012

Here's more of CHAOS:

President Charles Shoemaker gazed out the Oval Office window at the White House grounds. The early afternoon sunshine reflected from the fresh blanket of snow with almost painful intensity, causing him to squint against the glare.
"You know, Hal, even in the dead of winter, the homeless would rather sleep in the park than in the shelters we've provided for them."
Attorney General Hal Pitman rose from the antique cherry wood and brocade chair to join Shoemaker at the window. "I know, Chuck. It doesn't make any sense to me either. They'll cover themselves with old newspapers, and kill each other over scraps of food, but you offer them shelter and hot meals, and many just won't accept it. They cry about losing their freedom. What kind of freedom is that to mourn?"

Shoemaker turned away from the window, his hands clasped behind his back as he paced. "When I was first elected to the Senate, I had no concept of what it takes to run a nation of this size and diversity." He stopped momentarily to pick up a crystal paperweight in the shape of an eagle, turning it absently in his hands. "I thought the will of the people should be the primary law, and that it was their God-given right to decide their own destiny. The older I get, and the longer I have responsibility for this country, the more I can see that most people are incapable of making intelligent choices for themselves."
Pitman picked up a silver caraffe from a tray on the desk, and freshened his coffee. "That's why they elected you for a second term, Chuck. You've done a fine job."
"Damn it!" The crystal eagle flew across the room, glistening shards exploding as the delicate bird struck the wall.
"If only those idiots in Congress would give up their holier-than-thou crusade against our crime bill! You don't know how much I regret the loss of innocent lives their bull headed opposition is costing."
Pitman shrugged, his cup stopping halfway to his lips. "Settle down a bit, Chuck. If you're going to make an omelet, you've got to break a few eggs."
Shoemaker swung to face his Attorney General, his finger pointing accusingly. "We're not talking eggs here Hal, we're talking about lives. Living, breathing human beings!"
Pitman angrily set his cup down on the tray. "You knew what it was going to entail from the beginning. It was your plan, remember?"
"As long as I live, Hal. I know it's too late to turn back, but Lord, how I wish we hadn't been so convinced that this was for the best."

"Listen, Chuck." Pitman laid a comforting hand on the president's shoulder. "This crime bill is what America has needed for years. The people have no need for firearms anymore; this isn't the Old West. Think of all the lives that could be saved when all the guns are collected and destroyed. To implement this, Congress must be forced to enact our bill. The only way to accomplish that is by an outcry from the public too loud for them to ignore. Sure, there are some who will refuse to surrender their guns under any circumstances, and they will have to be dealt with harshly, but most will just cry about their freedom, and the Second Amendment, then line up to turn their damned guns in."
"Except the criminals."
Pitman raised his eyebrows in shock. "What's this, Chuck? Are you having second thoughts about this?"
Shoemaker lowered his eyes. "No, Hal. But there will be a transition period when those who obey the law will be left defenseless against those who don't. We'll have to deal with that eventually, and it's going to be a bitch with the courts as clogged up as they are."
"A hundred years from now, history will remember you as the man who cut the murder rate in half."
Shoemaker returned to the window, his eyes locking on a figure huddled on a park bench, his ragged coat collar turned up against the chill. "I just hope history won't remember me as the man who ripped the Constitution in half as well."

An icy drizzle fell on the line of cars and pickups that followed the black Cadillac hurse toward the cemetery. Murphy and Bendell watched from across the street as the column of twelve vehicles filed solemnly past. Murphy took a sip of coffee from a styrofoam cup. "Not a lot of people at the funeral, was there?"
Bendell wiped fog from the side window with the sleeve of his jacket. "Can't blame people for staying away, Murph. After all, Wallace was a mass murderer. In a situation like this, friendship only goes so far."
"Looks like the only ones that showed are his Nazi pals. I'm surprised they're not blowing their horns and waving flags."
That brought a chuckle from Bendell. "Just make sure your love for those guys doesn't show when we start asking questions. Some of those ol' boys are too damn big to tackle more than one at a time."

The graveside service was short. Reverend Alex Kincaide sent Burl Wallace to his final reward with a minimum of oration, which seemed agreeable to all present. Before the casket had been lowered into the grave, everyone had scattered in different directions, leaving just the reverend and the backhoe operator standing under the green plastic canopy. Three cars and four pickups left the cemetery together, heading back into town.
Bendell pointed with his chin as the group disappeared into the misty rain. "Think we should follow them?"
"Why not? Maybe they'll be in a mood to discuss the dearly departed."

The Ford's heater took several minutes to defog the windshield, and Murphy leaned forward, staring intently as he maneuvered through the wet streets a block behind Bubba's friends. "Just what I figured they'd do," he said, as the group turned into the parking lot of Tracey's Tavern, a dive next to the railroad tracks. The gravel in the parking lot crunched under the tires as Murphy parked the unmarked Ford next to an ancient International four wheel drive truck. At one time, it had been painted in a camouflage pattern with spray cans, but most of the colors were now replaced with surface rust. 
"I've seen that truck before," Bendell said. "It belongs to Buck Henry. We had it in impound a couple of years ago when we picked Buck up on a D.U.I.rap. His girlfriend at the time called in a spousal abuse, but refused to press charges. The D.U.I. was all we could make stick."
By the time they reached the front door of the little tavern, their hair and the shoulders of their jackets were soaked. Bendell stopped just inside the door, stepping to the side until his eyes adjusted to the gloom before he proceeded into the room behind Murphy.
Seven men were crowded around a table in the far corner near a pot bellied stove that glowed a dull red, heat radiating from it's surface in visible waves. Their hats and coats were spread out on bar stools to dry. Three pitchers of beer sat in the center of the table, and all seven lowered their mugs to the scarred table top as the detectives entered.

Looks of sullen disapproval met the badges Murphy and Bendell displayed as they approached the table.
A big man with shoulder length hair and a dark bushy beard picked up the nearest pitcher and refilled his mug. "What the hell do you want with us?" he growled. His dark eyes seemed to penetrate as they locked with Bendell's.
"Just need to ask you a few questions, Buck," Bendell said, slipping his badge case back into his pocket. "Won't take too long."
"It damn well better not," Buck said, taking a big swallow of his beer. "We just come from a friend's funeral, an' we damn sure don't feel like talkin' to no pigs. 'Specially black ones."
Bendell ignored the taunt, but Murphy stepped forward and leaned over the table, his knuckles against the rough surface. "We can do this the easy way, boys, or we can go downtown and talk it over there for a few hours. It's up to you."
Buck grinned, revealing teeth stained by years of chewing tobacco. "Take more'n you two to take us in."
Murphy looked Buck straight in the eyes, then let his glare drift to the others. "We'll get however many we need to do the job, Buck."
Seeing that they were headed for a confrontation, Cal raised halfway out of his chair, and waved both hands in a calming motion. "Now ain't the time, Buck. Let's just answer their questions, an' send 'em on their way."
Buck glared at Cal for several seconds, then nodded his shaggy head. "Okay, pig. Ask away."

                           *    *    *
Hal Pitman relaxed in the plush softness of the leather executive chair, his feet resting on the edge of his desk. Ray Allen sat on the other side of the desk, a tumbler of brandy in his hand. "How did the meeting with President Shoemaker go, Hal?"
The Attorney General chuckled softly. "He's starting to get cold feet. He was okay with the plan until the media put names and faces on the body count."
Allen turned the glass in his fingers, peering through the amber liquid. "We've almost succeeded, Hal. You're not going to let him blow it now, are you?"
"Shit no. If he blows the whistle, he goes down with the rest of us. Besides, the N.A.A.C.P., the Jewish Anti-defamation League, and several other groups are screaming their heads off. It's only a matter of time before those fools on The Hill will be forced to listen. The N.R.A. is a powerful lobby, but when the death toll rises enough, we can beat them."
"Did Tony get any of that Orange County bunch fired up?"
"He sure as hell did, Ray. Didn't you hear about the Jewish center that got shot up a few days ago?"
"That was Tony's boy?"
"Sure was. The Congresswoman from Los Angeles is here in Washington screaming her head off to anyone who'll listen. They're talking about a ban on ammunition sales, and they've already closed down all the gun shows. It won't take too much more to push Congress into a corner."

"Well, here's to Tony and the boys," Allen said, reaching out to clink the rim of his glass with Pitman's. "And the passage of Shoemaker's crime bill!"

This is an excerpt from a novel I started about 5 years ago, tentatively titled CHAOS. It seems more relevant today than it did then. Watch this site for more!


Burl "Bubba" Wallace shifted uneasily on the seat of his battered Ford pickup. The bulk of his stomach pressed against the steering wheel even with the seat all the way back. He drummed his fingers nervously on his leg as he watched the faithful file into the little clapboard church.
His canvas vest rattled as he picked it up from the seat beside him. He opened one of the capacious Velcro sealed pockets and brought forth a thirty round magazine for the AK-47 rifle that lay on the floor behind his boots. The dull blue magazine was heavy with shining 7.62 X 39 mm. shells, their sharp copper jacketed bullets lined up in a double stack. Bubba whistled an off key tune while he pulled three more identical magazines from the pocket and taped them together facing in opposite directions. This facilitated a quicker reload time by simply flipping the magazines over.
I'll show them sum-bitches! He slid the rifle up onto the seat, the muzzle pointing toward the floor. Them an' their high an' mighty million man marches, an' their laws makin' it almost illegal ta be white anymore. Can't get a damn decent job on account'a them, an them damn Mezkins.

He slammed the first magazine into the weapon's receiver and pulled back the bolt. When he released it, the bolt slammed home, chambering the first deadly shell.
A choir was singing as Bubba slipped the heavy wooden door open and stepped inside the little church. The air was warm and tight, heavy with the smell of perfume and old wood. His vest hung from his hand, concealing the deadly folding stocked rifle from those parishioners who turned at the blast of icy air from the open door.
"Welcome, friend!" An elderly man approached from the end of the last row of pews, his face like wrinkled ebony where his broad smile pulled the skin into valleys and creases. His brown eyes sparkled with the joy of living, and his love of the Lord.
When Bubba swung the barrel of the rifle up, his vest fell to the floor. The old man's eyes widened, and a prayer formed on his lips as Bubba squeezed the trigger. Before the frail body collapsed to the floor, Bubba began to spray death into the congregation like water from a fire hose.
When the rifle's bolt locked back after the thirtieth round, he deftly flipped the magazines, and snapped a fresh round into the chamber. He continued firing without attempting to aim.
The screams of the wounded and dying replaced the sweet harmony of the choir, and adults fell across children in a last show of love, trying to stop the bullets with their own flesh. Some were trampled by others in their mad rush for the safety of the side exits, most being cut down within a few feet of the doors.

When his last bullet had found it's mark, Bubba turned toward the door, the empty rifle hanging from his hand. From the darkness near the door, a shadow emerged, the figure clad in a dark suit and red necktie, his eyes covered by sunglasses even though the darkness was several hours old.
"Bubba," the man whispered, motioning the big man closer.
Bubba grinned, saliva bubbling at the corners of his mouth. "Hey, Ray! What're you doin' here? Did ya' see? I did it just like I said I would. Just like you told me we ought'ta do!"
"Yeah, Bubba, you sure did." The silenced pistol in the man's hand coughed twice. Two 9mm Black Talon bullets tore through Bubba's heart. Their copper jackets flared like petals on a flower as they spun, and tore ever-widening channels through the still beating organ.
Shock showed on Bubba's face as he collapsed on the steps of the little church. His dead eyes stared up at the frigid sky, steam rising from his blood as it formed a spreading pool beneath him. The last sound he heard was the sobs of those inside who had escaped death grieving for friends and loved ones who had not.

Police Chief Harvey Sanders faced the cameras set up to capture the best angle of the rising sun. It was difficult to get the angle right. The dark blotches of blood disappeared when the sun struck them, and the public wanted to see every gory detail.

Yellow crime scene tape decorated the trees and kept the media from trampling evidence in their haste to show the slaughter to the outside world.
Sanders spoke toward the half dozen microphones that were thrust toward his face. "Thirty two dead, twenty five wounded, some critically. If Agent Raymond Allen of the F.B.I. hadn't heard the shots, and risked his own life to stop the gunman, the death toll could have been worse. He is the true hero of this incident."
Agent Allen stepped forward, his dark suit and red tie looking out of place at this hour of the morning. "I only did what I felt I had to do," he said, the rising sun reflecting from the opaque lenses of his sunglasses.

Detective Clint Murphy rubbed his temples, thick fingers scratching the curly dark hair above his ears. His elbows rested on stacks of reports that threatened to topple to the floor at any second. "What the hell's going on around here?" he mumbled.
At forty-seven years old, Murphy was a veteran of what he liked to call "The battle against chaos."  Two ex-wives could testify to his devotion to duty, and his complete lack of empathy for the criminal element. At five feet ten inches, and just a shade above two hundred pounds, he didn't look tough in any respect, but the determination in his pale blue eyes had been enough to change the mind of many thugs who thought about resisting arrest.
Art Bendell, Murphy's partner for the last eight months shrugged. "I guess it depends on what you're referring to."

Murphy's sport coat was rumpled from three days of climbing in and out of cars, and two nights of napping at his desk. His face was haggard from lack of sleep, and the stubble on his chin and cheeks stood out against his sallow complexion.
The aging detective shook his head. "Had another shooting at a black church last night. I'll bet we haven't had two or three incidents like this in the last fifty years, and now we've got three in the last two weeks."
The lunchroom at police headquarters was deserted at this time of the morning, and Bendell poured a cup of thick, black coffee from the pot on the sideboard. He grimaced when the foul dregs of last night’s pot assaulted his tongue. "Full moon again last night, Murph?"
Murphy reached for a donut from a pink box that seeped melting maple frosting onto the desk. "No. Maybe it would be easier to explain if it was."
Bendell stirred several spoons of sugar into his cup, sipped tentatively, then stirred in several more. "So, what happened this time? I didn't have time to watch the news this morning."
"Some asshole took an AK-47 into a Baptist church. Mostly black folks," Murphy mumbled around a bite of donut. "Moron opened up on the congregation...Took out a shitload of 'em."
"They catch him?"
"Better than that. An F.B.I. agent named Ray Allen stopped his clock for him on the front steps of the church.

Bendell rubbed his chin, then his fingers moved to the back of his neck, working at a kink. "Allen... Why does that name sound familiar?"
Murphy grinned. "Maybe because of the guy from that sitcom on T.V.?"
"Naw. I've heard that name somewhere... Oh, yeah! Remember a couple of years back, the Feds came in here like they owned the place, and demanded our cooperation? That was Allen and his buddies."
Murphy gestured with the half eaten donut. "I was a sergeant then, remember?"
Bendell laughed. "How many times is it now, Murph?"
"Third time's a charm, ol' buddy."

Clint Murphy regarded the gold detective's shield clipped to his belt as being on loan. Twice in the last eight years he had been promoted to detective, and twice had the shield taken back. Murphy was the last thing the new breed of Police Chief wanted on the roster. Descended from a long line of tough Irish cops, Murphy was a thorn in the side of the "politically correct” upper echelon of the department. If subtlety didn't work, Murphy sometimes resorted to brute force. His last trip back to sergeant's stripes had come when the nephew of a city councilman resisted arrest on a felony spousal abuse warrant. When he was released from the hospital, he had filed brutality charges against the department, but was persuaded to drop them after Murphy's demotion. It had taken three years, and a change of chiefs for Murphy to once again gain his status as a detective.
"I almost forgot about that, Murph." Bendell made a show of bending to admire Murphy's badge. "Anyway, this guy, Allen, and several other suits came in one morning and told us they were going under cover in our jurisdiction. Told us in no uncertain terms to keep our noses out of their operation, but be ready to assist if necessary."
Murphy tipped a can of diet cola up to his lips, draining the last drops from the can. "What the hell were the feds involved with out here, drugs?"
"Nope. They were checking out one of the white supremacist groups. Seems this bunch had been selling illegal weapons... That sort of thing." 
Murphy chuckled as Bendell rolled his eyes in derision. "You'd think the damn fools would learn after that mess at Ruby Ridge a few years ago. Killed that fella's wife and son, and couldn't even make the charges stick. He sued their arrogant asses off!"
Bendell helped himself to a donut, licking frosting from his fingers. "And Waco. They went in to save the children from those nasty ol' religious fanatics, and wound up slaughtering almost everybody in the compound. If I'm ever a hostage, Murph, promise me you won't let those guys help, okay?"
"You got it, Pal." Murphy brushed crumbs from the front of his jacket. "Well, it's our case, so I guess we'd better get movin'.
"Whaa... I thought you said the guy was dead?"

"Deader'n hell, but the mayor wants to know why there's been so much of this stuff going on in the last few months."
Bendell shrugged. "It's not just here, Murph. It's been happening all over the country."
"Yeah, but the mayor isn't up for re-election all over the country... Just here."
"Okay, I can see where a mass murder or two could cause Mayor Beech some concern alright," Bendell agreed. He slipped into his jacket and followed Murphy out the door.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Howdy, Madtown Mob! Just got a post from a friend saying that he pumped his own gas in Oregon! Guess we may luck out and they don't pay much attention to their laws, but here it is anyway.


      480.310 Definitions for ORS 480.315 to 480.385. As used in ORS 480.315 to 480.385:
      (1) “Class 1 flammable liquids” means liquids with a flash point below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, closed cup tester.
      (2) “Nonretail facility” means an unattended facility where Class 1 flammable liquids are dispensed through a card or key activated fuel dispensing device to nonretail customers. [Amended by 1991 c.863 §48]

      480.315 Policy. The Legislative Assembly declares that, except as provided in ORS 480.345 to 480.385, it is in the public interest to maintain a prohibition on the self-service dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids at retail. The Legislative Assembly finds and declares that:
      (1) The dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids by dispensers properly trained in appropriate safety procedures reduces fire hazards directly associated with the dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids;
      (2) Appropriate safety standards often are unenforceable at retail self-service stations in other states because cashiers are often unable to maintain a clear view of and give undivided attention to the dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids by customers;
      (3) Higher liability insurance rates charged to retail self-service stations reflect the dangers posed to customers when they leave their vehicles to dispense Class 1 flammable liquids, such as the increased risk of crime and the increased risk of personal injury resulting from slipping on slick surfaces;
      (4) The dangers of crime and slick surfaces described in subsection (3) of this section are enhanced because Oregon’s weather is uniquely adverse, causing wet pavement and reduced visibility;
      (5) The dangers described in subsection (3) of this section are heightened when the customer is a senior citizen or has a disability, especially if the customer uses a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair, walker, cane or crutches;
      (6) Attempts by other states to require the providing of aid to senior citizens and persons with disabilities in the self-service dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids at retail have failed, and therefore, senior citizens and persons with disabilities must pay the higher costs of full service;
      (7) Exposure to toxic fumes represents a health hazard to customers dispensing Class 1 flammable liquids;
      (8) The hazard described in subsection (7) of this section is heightened when the customer is pregnant;
      (9) The exposure to Class 1 flammable liquids through dispensing should, in general, be limited to as few individuals as possible, such as gasoline station owners and their employees or other trained and certified dispensers;
      (10) The typical practice of charging significantly higher prices for full-service fuel dispensing in states where self-service is permitted at retail:
      (a) Discriminates against customers with lower incomes, who are under greater economic pressure to subject themselves to the inconvenience and hazards of self-service;
      (b) Discriminates against customers who are elderly or have disabilities who are unable to serve themselves and so must pay the significantly higher prices; and
      (c) Increases self-service dispensing and thereby decreases maintenance checks by attendants, which results in neglect of maintenance, endangering both the customer and other motorists and resulting in unnecessary and costly repairs;
      (11) The increased use of self-service at retail in other states has contributed to diminishing the availability of automotive repair facilities at gasoline stations;
      (12) Self-service dispensing at retail in other states does not provide a sustained reduction in fuel prices charged to customers;
      (13) A general prohibition of self-service dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids by the general public promotes public welfare by providing increased safety and convenience without causing economic harm to the public in general;
      (14) Self-service dispensing at retail contributes to unemployment, particularly among young people;
      (15) Self-service dispensing at retail presents a health hazard and unreasonable discomfort to persons with disabilities, elderly persons, small children and those susceptible to respiratory diseases;
      (16) The federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Public Law 101-336, requires that equal access be provided to persons with disabilities at retail gasoline stations; and
      (17) Small children left unattended when customers leave to make payment at retail self-service stations creates a dangerous situation. [1991 c.863 §49a; 1999 c.59 §160; 2007 c.70 §276]

      480.320 Use of coin-operated pumps and dispensing of gasoline by self-service declared hazardous. The installation and use of coin-operated dispensing devices for Class 1 flammable liquids and the dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids by self-service, are declared hazardous. [Amended by 1959 c.73 §1]

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Howdy, Madtown Mob! Here's more on the Sturgis trip, and Reggie's battle with a nefarious noise!

I told ya I’d let ya know what happened to Reggie’s bike on the way to Sturgis. We’d gone for a 100 mile lunch ride out of Ketchum, Idaho, and when we got back to the hotel, she said it had spots of oil on the fender. I checked it, and it was out of the breather. I fired it u and it sounded like shaking loose change in a bean can, and it’d lost a lot of power. I would’ve bet my last 20 bucks that it’d lost a lifter wheel. Not having anyplace to work, or the tools to do the job, I put it back in the trailer and we headed for Missoula, Montana with the group. When we got into Wyoming a couple of days later, I stopped at a dealer and had them tear it down, still sure it was a lifter. They pulled the lifters, cams, oil pump, and emptied the cam chest, finding… NOTHING! There was wear, but nothing that would cause the kind of noise it had. They suggested the balance shaft, but to check that, the cases would have to be split, so back in the trailer it went.
          Later that day, we pulled into the hotel in Spearfish, and Reggie was so depressed she was almost in tears. Our friend, Harlan Schillinger, told us to take it to Dakota V-Twin, who are just 2 exits from the hotel. We asked them about just slapping it back together so she could ride it ‘til it blew, and they said they’d do it for about a third of the dealer’s quote. We dropped it off, and Nick told us they would have it ready the next day, which was Sunday. Not only did they fix the noise, but their tech, John Hudson, stayed until 9:30 on Sunday night to finish her trike so she could ride into Sturgis, and they didn’t even charge us overtime! (I think the rear cam jumped a tooth retarded, but once it was apart, it was impossible to tell.) That kind of customer service and honesty shouldn’t go unrecognized, so if you’re in the Black Hills and need repairs, service, or parts, Dakota V-Twin is the place to go! And get this!... They don’t raise their labor rates or prices for Rally Week, and they’re GREAT folks!  You can call ‘em at 605-717-0009.
          As soon as she heard her bike purrin’ like a kitten, Reggie was all smiles, and ready to ride. I’m tellin’ ya, the guys at Dakota V-Twin saved my ass!!
          We rode out to Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, The Full Throttle Saloon, the Buffalo Chip, and all over Hell and didn’t have any more trouble. I’m going to replace the cams with high performance bump-sticks, and throw in a new oil pump and hydraulic chain tensioners as soon as my wallet recovers from the trip, but until then, she’s still ridin’!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Good Sunday morning, Madtown Mob! WOW!! I've always thought of California as the most fascist, controling state in the union, but maybe not!

I just found out that in Oregon, it's illegal to pump your own gas! If you have an expensive custom paint job on your scoot, you have to depend on some snot-nosed kid to keep from spilling clear coat eating gasohol all over your tank and engine!

When I was a 6 year old kid, back in 1955, my dad had a garage and gas station in Kenwood, Cal., and I started pumping gas with one of the old pumps where you had to hand pump the gas into the glass top, then let it gravity feed into the car. I was kind of a local celebrity with dad's regular customers, and I would always check the oil and tires, and wash the windows. As the years passed, self-serve took over, and very few full service stations exist in California today. I think the full service option would be great, but required by law...? What is happening to this country, and why do we have to travel east from Nevada to the Mississippi river and beyond to find America?

I always take care when I fuel our bikes to not overflow the tank while still assuring that they are full. Reggie's pink trike is her baby, and slopped gas will not only damage the clear coat, but drip onto the hot engine as well. Trusting someone else to use as much care as I do is not something I'm comfortable with, so my trips to Oregon will be limited, if not curtailed.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Howdy, Madtown Mob! Here's the first of several stories on our Sturgis trip!

As most of ya know, after being invited for several years, Reggie and I headed for Sturgis with Arlen Ness and the West Coast Hamsters. Every year the route is different, and this year the ride took us through Yosemite to Mammoth Mountain for our first night on the road. Keith "Bandit" Ball, of Easyriders and Bikernet fame met us there, but had to leave in the morning to meet his deadlines at his infamous and the other magazines he writes for. I haven't seen him in several years, but keep in contact almost daily through e-mail. We had a great visit, a few drinks, and caught up on chit-chat about the industry, our projects, and good whisky. He's looking for records at Bonneville this year, and time is tight for getting the effort together.

From Mammoth, we headed into Sun Valley, Idaho for a two day stop. There was a party at the home of a local Hamster, and a 100 mile lunch ride to a beautiful lake in the Sawtooth Mountains. I noticed an interesting bike called The Stewart Special, and after talking to Paul, the owner, I found out that it was painted to match his father's race car. His father is F-1 and Indy legend Jackie Stewart. Due to other obligations, he left the ride not long after, but it was a pleasure to meet him.

Some of you may wonder what the icons of the industry are like away from the "Biker Build-off" cameras and the autograph table. Like everyone else, I had some preconceived notions, but none were accurate, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I'd seen Jesse James talk trash and act like a thug, and though I've never met him, I don't believe he would be someone I could hang out with, or voluntarily be around for any length of time. Not knocking Jesse, just stating a fact. If I don't like someone's company, I won't be around them no matter who they are. Over the nearly three weeks we rode with, hung out with, and talked to Arlen, Donnie Smith, Dave Perewitz, Rick Fairless, Paul Yaffe, and other legendary builders, we were treated like part of the Hamster family, and felt right at home on their company. Not many organizations can claim to be an extended family, but that's what the Hamsters are, and every ride is a family reunion.

The fourth day found us on the road to Missoula, Montana, traveling through some of the most beautiful country anywhere. At every stop, the bikes were cleaned, and then it was time for drinks, dinner, and comradery. We ran into some rain, but not enough to cause a problem. We discovered a problem with the valve train in Reggie's engine, and for a while it looked like she wouldn't get to ride into Sturgis, but again, friends came to the rescue, and that's a story for another day.

Howdy, Madtown Mobbers! I thought I'd tell you a little about our trip to Sturgis.

As most of ya know, after being invited for several years, Reggie and I headed for Sturgis with Arlen Ness and the West Coast Hamsters. Every year the route is different, and this year the ride took us through Yosemite to Mammoth Mountain for our first night on the road. Keith "Bandit" Ball, of Easyriders and Bikernet fame met us there, but had to leave in the morning to meet his deadlines at his infamous and the other magazines he writes for. I haven't seen him in several years, but keep in contact almost daily through e-mail. We had a great visit, a few drinks, and caught up on chit-chat about the industry, our projects, and good whisky. He's looking for records at Bonneville this year, and time is tight for getting the effort together.

From Mammoth, we headed into Sun Valley, Idaho for a two day stop. There was a party at the home of a local Hamster, and a 100 mile lunch ride to a beautiful lake in the Sawtooth Mountains. I noticed an interesting bike called The Stewart Special, and after talking to Paul, the owner, I found out that it was painted to match his father's race car. His father is F-1 and Indy legend Jackie Stewart. Due to other obligations, he left the ride not long after, but it was a pleasure to meet him.

Some of you may wonder what the icons of the industry are like away from the "Biker Build-off" cameras and the autograph table. Like everyone else, I had some preconceived notions, but none were accurate, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I'd seen Jesse James talk trash and act like a thug, and though I've never met him, I don't believe he would be someone I could hang out with, or voluntarily be around for any length of time. Not knocking Jesse, just stating a fact. If I don't like someone's company, I won't be around them no matter who they are. Over the nearly three weeks we rode with, hung out with, and talked to Arlen, Donnie Smith, Dave Perewitz, Rick Fairless, Paul Yafee, and other legendary builders, we were treated like part of the Hamster family, and felt right at home on their company. Not many organizations can claim to be an extended family, but that's what the Hamsters are, and every ride is a family reunion.

The fourth day found us on the road to Missoula, Montana, traveling through some of the most beautiful country anywhere. At every stop, the bikes were cleaned, and then it was time for drinks, dinner, and comradery. We ran into some rain, but not enough to cause a problem. We discovered a problem with the valve train in Reggie's engine, and for a while it looked like she wouldn't get to ride into Sturgis, but again, friends came to the rescue, and that's a story for another day.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Dems can't wait to capitalize on tragedy!

Good morning, Madtown Mob! Well, as I figured, the Colorado shootings have re-invigorated our esteemed "Left Wing" to try disarming us again. Their efforts are like being nibbled to death by a duck; they have to be patient, but eventually they'll succeed if we allow them to. If anyone hasn't already, I suggest that the gun owners out there buy themselves an early Christmas (not winter holiday) present of a Seal-A-Meal vacuum food sealing machine. They work great for sealing ammunition, reloading components, and firearms to protect them from moisture. Vacuum sealed ammo will last virtually forever without the ravages of moisture to deteriorate them, and sometime in the future, you may desperately need what you've set aside. With the constitution and Congress being bypassed by "executive order", how long before elections will be bypassed, and a socialist dictatorship is installed in place of our representative republic? Not only that, but with our entire economy being outsourced to China, India and Mexico, it won't be long before people without income or hope will get desperate enough to take what they need to survive by force, which leaves the rest of us in imminent danger when the anarchy starts. Just thinking here, but it's always better to prepare for the worst while praying for the best.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Howdy, Madtown Mobbers!
Well, we're back from our trip to Sturgis, after wandering through Nevada, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, and Nevada again before we had to leave America and re-enter the People's Republic of California. Remember when we didn't have to wear helmets? Yeah, I rode without one for many years before we lost that freedom to the nanny government in the P.R.of C. When you leave California, the gas is cheaper, the roads are better, the speed limits are higher, ( 75mph on most interstates with no lower limit for trucks or cars with trailers.) and NO damn helmets! They still trust you to pump gas first and then pay, and a couple of states had NO sales tax! What a refreshing change! We saw virtually NO graffiti, except some school team names sprayed on water towers, and the roadsides were clean, not because prisoners cleaned them, but because people have pride in their state. Then back to the good ol' P.R. of C., where our laughable excuse for a wanna-be interstate (Hwy 99) is like driving on a paint shaker. Even the secondary roads we traveled in other states were better maintained than Hwy. 99. Just goes to show ya what happens to a state that can't get it's priorities straight!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Well, Madtown Mobbers, we'd better start being extra nice to India; they get to decide if we LIVE or DIE!

It's not bad enough that our jobs are being outsourced to OOGLY-BOOGLY LAND, but now they have the power of life and death over us, LITERALLY!! They get to decide what treatment we get, NOT our doctors! I think enough is enough, how about you???

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Aurora shootings: A field day for Gun Grabbers!

Watching news accounts, the shooter's mother said "I'm not surprised". My first reaction was "then why didn't she get him some psychiatric help?" Then, I looked back on past experience before my son committed suicide, and realized why: You can't GET help for someone until they actually commit a crime, and even then, if they're an adult, "the system" won't step in and put them under observation at a relative's request. I don't know if the guns were legally purchased, but if they were, the sale would not have been permitted had a dangerous psychiatric profile shown up on his record. If they were NOT purchased legally, no gun control laws would have prevented it. Why is it that in our society, those who need help can't get it until they commit mass murder?

Hey, Madtown Mob; it's FRIIIIIDAY!! Hope nobody out there has to drive in the Bay Area... This crap gives TAXi a whole new meaning!

They used to call San Francisco "Moscow  on the Left Coast", but for the last few years, Moscovites have more freedom than San Franciscans, and it's getting WORSE! Before long, they'll have an "air tax", and charge for air by the cubic foot. At least joggers would be charged more than couch potatos... Tell me, Mobbers: Where is the America we grew up in?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Howdy, Madtown Mob! Archaeologists just made what may be the most uplifting find of the 21st Century!

Contrary to modern thought, the bra was apparently invented sometime in the Dark Ages, but lost popularity when production was held up, and under-handed tactics were used to prevent a hands-on marketing campaign. Apparently, production ceased when Marie Antoinette wore a T-shirt emblazoned with "MY HEADLIGHTS ARE ON FOR SAFETY" and only resumed in the late 1800s. Henry the 8th was once heard announcing: "Harken, for I have unfasteneth this contrary contrivance with one hand, foresuth!"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hey, Mobbers! How about a little fiction story on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

By Buckshot

“Hey Rick”,  Jonesy  yelled toward the telephone receiver he held at arms length. “Sorry to wake ya up, but I need a favor.” Holding the phone away from his ear was a necessary precaution when calling Rick before noon on Saturdays. After the cursing had slowed, Jonesy returned the receiver to his ear.
          “Whatta ya need at this ungodly hour, anyway,” Rick mumbled.
          “I need some help gettin’ something home. You know anybody with a trailer?”
          Rick paused to collect his thoughts, and when he had them both collected, he said “I think so. When do ya need it?”
          “As soon as possible, Bro. I bought this trike at a yard sale, and I’ve got it stored next door at a guy’s shop. I’m afraid his dog’ll eat the damn thing if I don’t get it outa there.”
          Rick swung his feet out of bed and sat on the edge, wiping the sleep from his eyes with the corner of the sheet. “Okay. Give he a couple hours to get the trailer lined out an’ I’ll pick ya up.”

          Two hours later, Jonesy and Rick stood looking at the remains of a once proud Volkswagen powered trike from the seventies. The blue metal flake paint had oxidized to nearly tattletale grey, and every piece of chrome on it was covered with a red patina of rust. The seat cover hung in tatters, and a large ragged hole in the center tunnel allowed an unobstructed view of the ground below. Rick scratched his head and ran his fingers around the jagged edge of the hole in the fiberglass body, then looked nervously behind him. “This guy must have one helluva dog!”
          “Naw,” Jonesy shrugged. “That’s where the tree grew up through it”
          “Tree?” Rick looked at Jonesy like he’d lost his mind. “You bought a trike with a tree in it?”
          “Yeah,” Jonesy said defensively, wiping at the peeling jell coat with a greasy rag. “It’s been sittin’ a while, but I got it for less than the seven hundred bucks the wife okayed.”
          “Hmmm” Rick pretended to be deep in thought. “Maybe if we whip the guy’s ass, we can get your money back.”
          “Awww, come on, Rick. It isn’t as bad as it looks,” Jonesy protested.
          “Yeah,” Rick chuckled, “NOTHING could be THAT bad! Let’s get it loaded up.”

          By the time the trike rested on its nearly flat tires in Jonesy’s garage, Possum had joined the group. A battery charger hummed merrily beside the tragic remains, it’s cables like the life support tubes hooked to a dying derelict.
Possum knelt to inspect the engine that was covered with what looked like ten years worth of dust covered oil. “Will it crank over?” he asked, gratefully accepting the beer Jonesy tossed him.
          “Haven’t tried yet,” Jonesy said, popping his own beer after handing another frosty can to Rick. “Let’s give her a try.” He reached down and turned the key, and the sound that came from the engine was a cross between a squeal and a wheeze. The engine started to crank over, sending an entire colony of black widow spiders scattering toward all points of the compass. Several were blown out the exhaust like hairy eight legged cannon balls.
          “Jesus!” Jonesy yelled, madly racing back and forth, stomping the venomous creatures, some as big as silver dollars. “Come on, guys, help me before they get in the damn house!”
          Ten minutes later, most of the spiders had succumbed to either well placed boots or the can of Raid Jonesy found on the back of the bench. Those who hadn’t had hidden in the dark recesses of the garage until the place calmed down a bit.
          “Well, it does turn over,” Rick observed. “At least kinda.”
          Possum grabbed a can of gas from next to the lawn mower. “Let’s dump some gas in the carb and try it again.” He turned the spout down and dumped a generous dollop of gas down the throat of the carb, watching as it ran out of every shaft, hole, and gasket.
“Give her a try now, Jonesy!” he said, setting the can out of reach of any conflagration that may have ensued.
          Jonesy hit the key, the trike coughed, belched out a cloud of smoke and spider parts, and threw a ball of flame six feet out the exhaust pipe. Another shot of gas, and the engine sputtered to life for the first time since the Nixon presidency.
          Jonesy jumped onto the seat, ignoring the cloud of decomposing foam rubber that shot up from beneath him. He pushed the clutch down and tried to put the transmission in gear, only to be greeted with a grinding noise that sent shivers down his spine. “Damn clutch won’t release,” he grumbled.
“Clutch disk must be rusted to the flywheel and pressure plate from sitting,” Possum said, his T-shirt pulled up over his nose to keep most of the smoke out of his lungs. “I’ve seen it happen before. It’s like direct drive.”
“What do I do now?” Jonesy yelled over the sputtering engine.
“Shut it off, put it in gear, and hold the clutch down. We’ll rock it ‘till the clutch disc breaks loose.”
The wheezing V-Dub engine went silent, a wisp of smoke curling from the exhaust pipe like the barrel of Matt Dillon’s gun.
“Throttle feels kinda sticky too,” Jonesy said, reaching down to wiggle the offending cable where it disappeared under the fiberglass body.
Possum shrugged noncommittally. “One thing at a time, Bro,” he said, as he and Rick leaned their weight against the back of the trike, rocking it back and forth with Jonesy still holding the clutch in. The tired engine began turning over as they pushed it forward.
“Hit the brake, Jonesy,” Rick grunted as the trike chuffed ahead.
“No brakes, either,” Jonesy said over his shoulder.
Possum laughed, his shoulder against the rear nerf bar. “Well, just make sure the ignition’s….” 
The trike started, and lurched forward in a cloud of acrid smoke, the throttle still stuck wide open. It cleared the edge of the garage door by inches, and shot out into the street with the right rear tire off the ground as a screaming Jonesy barely made the turn.
“Off,” Possum finished, watching trike and rider grow smaller in the distance.
They could hear the trike as Jonesy circled the block, the sputtering engine running wide open. He soon came into sight, swinging wide to make the corner, a trail of smoke behind him like a shot up fighter plane coming in for a landing in an old war movie.
“He’s movin’ right along, isn’t he,” Rick said, taking a swig of his beer as Jonesy tore past the house, his hands locked on the bars in a death grip, his eyes as big as coffee cups.
“Yep,” Possom replied. “And the longer it runs, the better it sounds.”
“Why the hell doesn’t he shut the ignition off?” Rick pondered aloud.
“Hell,” Possum said with a shrug, “I don’t know. Why don’t ya run out there an’ ask him next time he comes by?”
“Seems like we ought ta stop him or something,” Rick muttered, craning his neck to see around the edge of the garage door as Jonesy began his third lap of the block.
“Got any suggestions?” Possum asked, as Jonesy shot past the house.
Rick scratched his beard in thought. “Yeah, maybe I do at that.” He trotted across the front yard and grabbed the garden hose out of the flowerbed, testing the spray nozzle to assure himself that it was on. “Those ol’ V-Dubs die if ya spit on the hood. Grab the neighbor’s hose and when he comes around the corner again, let him have it.”
Possum turned his ear toward the screaming trike as it came up the block behind them, the sputtering now having turned to a throaty roar. “You mean IF he comes around the corner again.”
Jonesy took the corner in a three wheel slide, leaning his considerable weight off to the right like a sidecar racer, the tires screaming on the blacktop road. Garbage cans flew, scattering trash in a wide arc as he clipped them with a sliding rear tire. The neighbor ran out, cursing and shaking his fist, throwing one of the bags of garbage he was carrying toward Jonesy, adding to the mess already scattered down the street.
“Man!” Rick said, pointing. “I didn’t know he could ride like that!”
“I don’t think he knew either!” Possum yelled over his shoulder as he ran toward the street, the neighbor’s garden hose clenched in his fist, gushing water.
The combined hoses soaked Jonesy and the trike, the engine once again beginning to sputter as the water shorted out the coil and plug wires. It finally chugged to a halt near the far corner.
Jonesy met them at the halfway point, water still streaming from his red walrus mustache. “Whew! Thanks guys. I thought I was a goner.” He held up a key, broken just below the first notch. “I hit the key with my knee and broke it when the damn thing started, and I couldn’t shut it off.”
“Maybe you should have a yard sale, Jonesy,” Rick suggested. “I hear trikes sell really quick at yard sales.”
“Awww, give me a break, guys,” Jonesy chuckled. “It was startin’ to run really good there at the last, and besides, I’ve still got nearly a hundred dollars left on my seven hundred dollar limit!”
“If you want our help on this project,” Possum said, looking back at the trike sitting in the middle of the road, water pooling under it, “It’ll cost ya more than that in beer!”


Well, Madtown Mobbers, looks like they turned 'em all loose today!

Took a ride up Hwy 168 to the top of the four lane below Shaver lake to test out the new toy hauler. The trailer towed great, and the truck performed flawlessly, pulling the steepest grade within miles, so we turned around and headed home. On the way back, we came upon two wrecks within a mile. The first was around a blind corner, and looked like an Algore shitbox either stopped or slowed, and a pickup smacked it, sending both into a 10' deep ditch. Not a mile down the road, another pickup hit a tree. Jeez... Just lucky we didn't get tangled up in that! Thanks to whoever waved us to slow down before we came around the blind corner and smacked 'em!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Saturday, Mobbers! Hope you have fun plans for the weekend! Just be careful so you don't end up in this guy's clinic!

I'll bet this guy went to the same college in India as the Butcher of Bombay. Either that, or he just thought "Great... Another bitch with a back ache."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Well, Madtown Mobbers, I've had a lot of questions about my first novel, Skinner's War, so I'm giving you a quick look inside! I copied it from a PDF file, so pardon the strange layout... And remember as you see things that are just happening now, that I wrote this in 1999!

Blood ran off the edge of the stainless steel table. It splattered the
tops of the man’s boots, and pooled in large sticky puddles on the
floor at his feet. He wielded the large knife with surgical precision,
it’s blade glistening with crimson as he went about his work.
His mind drifted as he sliced the tough hide from the flesh,
finding solace in memories of better times. Sure, he had a job,
such as it is, and a roof over his head, which was more than some
could claim, but he was as far from content as a man could be.
His memories often slipped back a decade, returning him to
the little shop where he turned boxes of rusty parts into fire-breathing
steel steeds. To the shiny chrome, glistening paint, and supple
leather that his hands assembled into an extension of his soul. To
the wind blowing through his beard, and the long black hair that
flowed from under the small helmet he wore as he cruised the back
roads, his Avon tires caressing the curves.
Inadvertently, his right hand twisted the knife as his mind
twisted the throttle, causing him to slice through the hide. The
hole was small, but if the foreman caught it, they’d dock him the
price of the hide for damn sure. “Son of a bitch,” he mumbled, “In
a bastard society like this, you can’t get ahead no matter what you
He’d had to close his motorcycle shop ten years before, ending
a life-long dream because the damned bureaucrats in Washington
had decided that motor vehicles were ruining the air quality, so
they had rationed gasoline, and restricted travel to a bare minimum.
No more cruising the back roads and boulevards. No more
trips to the coast for the weekend. Now, you had to have papers to
travel, and those were only issued on an as-needed basis, for business.
He laughed under his breath when he thought about how it
all began.
In the mid-90’s, both major political parties, who had been
the only viable leadership for over 200 years, were embroiled in
scandals the likes of which were never seen before in American
One of the oldest families in the political arena, the Kennerlies,
were involved in drug use, sex with teenage girls, adultery, and
financial double-dealings. Used to the media turning their heads
at the appropriate time, they were shocked to discover that this
newfound notoriety cost them seats in the Senate and the House,
and even forced some of the family into taking private sector jobs.
The Speaker of the House, an abrasive fellow to begin with,
lost the public trust when he was censured by an ethics committee
for financial misdeeds, about the same time the freshman representatives
found their resolve for their “revolution” had melted under
the flood of bad publicity over cuts in social services and welfare
Infighting among the party members was at an all time high,
with senators, congressmen, and representatives criticizing each
other and their own party without regard of what “airing their
dirty laundry in public” was doing to their credibility, and that of
their respective parties.
The White House, long held in reverent awe by most citizens,
was turned into a world class hotel, with rooms for rent to the
highest bidder, teas and private audiences with the President for a
price, and policy made by suggestions from foreign interests who’s
contributions went into the party’s “war chest”.
A substantial number of White House personnel were working
without security clearance because of drug use or criminal
records, and the F.B.I. was used as an internal spy ring to “sniff
out” enemies of the “most ethical administration in history.” (Or
so it was called before the President’s first term in office.)
The majority of the appointees to major posts such as Surgeon
General and Attorney General, and a large number of White House
aides and councils resigned or were forced to resign, as scandal
after scandal was made public.
The lives and business dealings of the President and First Lady
before their election were under constant scrutiny by special prosecutors,
and rumors of their impending indictment were rampant
in the press.
Once more, an arrogant administration had managed to snatch
defeat from the slobbering jaws of victory.
The distrust and revulsion that this obvious misuse of power
and betrayal of public trust instilled in the people of America led
to the rise of a relatively unknown party that was listed on the ballot
in the last several national and state elections as the Ecology Party.
Led by a former Underwriters Laboratory product tester named
Raphael Major, they were never taken seriously by the two major
parties until their upset victory in the presidential election of 2004.
It was a victory that shocked none any more than the bewildered
leaders of the Ecology Party.
Thrust into a position of power and respect that he never seriously
expected to win, and was horribly ill prepared for, President
Major did what the last new President and most of those before
him had done. He tried to amass and hold all the power he possibly
could over the American people.
The new president did not trust the military in any way, shape,
or form. He also viewed the F.B.I., and the C.I.A. with no small
measure of distrust. Therefore, at a suggestion from his advisors,
he founded the National Police Force.
The N.P.F. was an entity unto itself, answering only to the
White House. The rank and file members of the N.P.F. were called
“soldiers,” rather than officers, because President Major knew that
the public held more fear of the military than it did for police
The officers of the N.P.F., who’s highest rank was Captain,
liked the fact that their acts of domestic terrorism were largely
blamed on the military by the citizens. They even received military
surplus weapons and vehicles, and resided at former military
bases that had been closed by cutbacks during previous administrations.
President Major never consulted the Chiefs of Staff, because
he felt that the military was the enemy of the Earth, and only
destroyed the environment. He did not inform them of any changes
in policy, or apprise them of the fact that a whole new pseudomilitary
force was now operating on American soil. His only comment
was “Let those stuffy-assed brass polishers take care of Bosnia
or somewhere, and leave us alone!”
The Ecology Party had originated out of a coalition of ecological
groups operating primarily in California and the Pacific Northwest.
They were opposed to logging, hunting, fishing, off-road vehicles,
and any other use of the outdoors that didn’t fit into the
tight parameters of what they felt were politically correct pastimes,
such as hiking, bird watching, and group sex.
A magnet for not only left wing radicals in the elite environmental
movement, but for the naive members of “generation X,”
who felt guilty about any wrong purportedly done to any cultural
or ethnic group at any time in history, and who saw it as their
duty to right those wrongs at any cost.
Also welcomed to the fold were the militant animal rights
activists, who, after repeated exposure to “Bambi” are convinced
that animals really talk when humans are not around, and also
experience the full range of emotions that humans do.
Since all these separate groups helped to cinch the victory of
the rapidly growing party, President Major felt it was only fair
that each faction had an advisor on his personal staff to assure that
his decisions were balanced in all ways. Unfortunately, he did not
take into consideration the fact that 75% of the American people
were not represented in his cabinet, and furthermore, could not
care less about most of the causes those in his cabinet did represent.
One of the first things on the agenda of the new President was
to call a cabinet meeting to discuss gun control. While previous
administrations pressed their own gun control bills, never in history
did a President have such newly elected support as President
Major now enjoyed.
Senator Barbara Shepherd, also of “Humans for Animal Ethics”
opened the discussion at President Majors’ call of “Ladies
“We, as a society,” she shouted, “Cannot continue to let innocent
lives be shattered by people with guns!” After a sizable round
of applause, she continued. “Last year alone, thousands of deer,
bear, and other species of our fur-bearing friends were willfully
and callously slaughtered, leaving behind grieving loved ones to
cry their little hearts out in the quiet of the forest!”
Waiting for the applause to once more die down, Barbara made
a great show of wiping a tear that trickled down her heavily powdered
cheek with a monogrammed silk hankie.
“The exploitation of animals must not be allowed to continue!”
she intoned, oblivious to the plight of the silkworm that had more
than a passing interest in the manufacture of her hankie.
“We really MUST ban the ownership and use of all guns. Rifles,
pistols, and especially the ones that shoot those nasty millimeter
The President, who was no stranger to firearms, having seen
one as a child, rolled his eyes and said, “Barb, Dear, they are called
“Whatever,” she replied with her usual arrogance. “We really
must be rid of them, whatever they are, once and for all!”