By Mike Palecek
So, yeah, I’m sittin’ here at the kitchen table worryin’ about if there’s still enough time to get my boat out on the lake for ice fishing.
And other stuff, getting the dishes done, at least started, get them soaking. Being a perfectionist, I usually like to let them soak for two or three days.
See, I am in my first week of retirement and well …
And of course, I’m writing a new best-selling book what else would I do. And I’m supposed to complete or at least look at this list of daily and weekly duties on the refrigerator, and I sit down in the living room with a warm blanket over my legs and all the lights out because I like to be cozy when I pray. I used to pray when I was in the seminary and I asked God to send me out on wonderful, dangerous [only kinda] missions, slay Republican dragons, fulfill my density, and other cool stuff.
And so, I’m praying, remembering all of this that happened back in 1979 that was the day before yesterday. After those innocent, hopeful, stupid days, shit happened, of course, like it does. In there somewhere I went through a no-God phase, but now since I’m at retirement age I am willing to renegotiate my position on the afterlife. So, I sit down in the comfy chair, close my eyes, put my hands prayerfully in prayer position and give God the good news. I’m back!
Open my eyes, look at the clock, and there are still one hundred hours left in the day. To do whatever I want. Hmmm.
I return to the kitchen table, write a little bit, look around.
Pull everything from the cupboards because I was supposed to “come up with something” for supper. And so I think of those cooking shows where they give you half a pineapple, three tomatoes, two bottles of Bud Light, a bag of Doritos, a sledgehammer and say, “fix dinner.”
So I throw all these bags and half bags and cans on the counter and let them get to know each other, and then I look around.
These days you have to go on the computer to make an appointment at Anytime Fitness. I have to go to Anytime Fitness or Somewhere Fitness or I will die. At least that’s what I have convinced myself of. And take certain pills that I have taken for about twenty-five years and if you are like me you know what I’m talking about and if you are not, God bless you.
So. I am driving in my black car.
Oh, yeah. I retired from my job at a facility for disabled adults. Since March I’d been reading and watching and thinking about the covid thing, right? Of course. You really have no choice. And so, finally, I decided that I would tell the management that if the mask requirement was not lifted by Christmas then I was quitting. And since I had also recently turned 65 I would be able to retire and be able to honorably go sit in the garage with the wood stove and the mouse and eat Doritos for the rest of the winter.
And a couple months prior to that I had been told by said management that I could no longer drive my bus routes to pick up clients because my memory was not so good. I don’t agree, you can’t fight them, or course I’m going to think that, blah-blah-blah, anyway.
I’m driving my black car. If I look in the glove box I would see that it’s a 1998 Honda Civic, but if I do that I will cause an accident so I don’t, I just listen to classical music and KFAN radio in Minneapolis.
KFAN is telling me, as they always do, as little about sports as possible and as much as possible about how crazy I am as being one of those. I would guess they receive scripts from somewhere, but that would be crazy, I realize, because they have told me so.
Okay, I park and reach for my blue mask. You have to wear them in Anytime Fitness and if you do not you will die. I am a sneaky old man so mine has a slit cut in the mouth area in a Che image, so I can breathe, freely.
As soon as I climb on the bike I pull the mask down from my nose a little, not all the way or someone might tell someone and I will get kicked out and will die. I switch on the TV on the bike and search for something on the Trump rally in Washington, D.C., knowing they won’t have it, because it looks like the ATF budget has been cut because all the sports channels are gone and have been replaced by quilting shows and Bob Ross.
But there it is. It’s on NBC.
At home, before leaving, on the computer, I had watched some of the rally, heard Trump talk, and that can only last for a while, until I start remembering all that he is not, Iran, not even a mention of the truth about 9/11, allowing the killing of wolves in Minnesota, the border fence. There is a lot not to like.
There are these people, protesters, on the steps of the Capitol and, as an old civil disobedience peacenik type guy it looks like that’s what they are doing, sitting on the steps and refusing to leave. And I’m getting into the peddling, looking around, pulling the mask down just a little off my nose, open up the mouth space a little more, getting bolder and bolder, rebellious.
These people kind of surge up the steps, and the cops retreat, run up the steps, and the people keep coming, and more join them, and I get chills. The people get to the top and they are waving flags and calling for the others to join them.
And it’s freaking wonderful.
I watch them and feel good, for them, for what they have very likely gone through, well, since March at least, with the covid operation, and the election operation. And I think they are thinking about how this is the revolution and finally, finally, finally.
I think about all those who have gone through so much and done so much and tried so hard to make sense of this all and find some way to fight, to do good. I realize the whole world is watching and recall how that was used before by others also trying to do good, to fight the all-powerful who most of the time seem to be too big, too powerful, and then all of a sudden, not so much.
I think of Bill Blackolive, down in southeast Texas, in a trailer, who has really no other way to fight other than to study and learn and suffer through all of this, because he knows what’s up, cares enough to learn what is going on, and then what do you do when you know and you also know there is nothing you can do. This is for him. He is there, waving a flag from the top steps of the Capitol.
Of course I have long turned off the sound because Lester Holt is on TV. I don’t need the sound to know what Lester Holt will tell me. And I wonder about who is also in that crowd, and what plans are now being formulated to twist this reality into something else, but for now it’s real, right in front of me, and so I think of all the people in there, maybe somebody has a sign, or is shouting about 9/11, Boston, Waco, Oklahoma City, the Berrigans, the hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq, Randy Weaver, the people still in prison from the ’60s, because it’s all about that, and more, much more. And maybe there is an old guy up on the stage of the chamber, a mask over his face, pounding a gavel, shouting at the entering protesters, “And I suppose we never went to the moon, either?”
This is about free elections, a time when the media won’t lie to us, when the people will at least have a freeking chance.
Maybe we will be able to talk to each other, without risking Household Volcanic Eruption. I recently sent to a relative a link to videos showing empty hospitals, an interview with Catherine Austin Fitts and a South Park bit, was told not to ever do that again. I won’t.
Just as I was advised by a college friend this summer:
“Well, pretty warm here, but fall is coming next week, if you can believe the weather people. Sorry Mike no time to watch your opinion and a few others, I’m sure I can find all kinds of opinions to the contrary, but I’ll use the mind the good Lord gave me to process quality print information and make my own decision and once again Dr.[ ] and his wife [ ] are both Medical doctors on the front line with the VA system in [ ] and their experience and opinion outweighs any internet you tube that any bone head can put out there. What happened to good quality journalism with fact checks and validation before putting misinformation out, we’re living in age of “everybody has an opinion, but they also have an asshole and I don’t need another one. “Sorry, but glad to hear the weather is good, when’s that grandchild due?”
So, yeah, I’m back home now, back at the kitchen table, back on the computer looking for reports from Washington, when Susan [not her real name, her real name is Ruth] comes up the steps, home from work at the same place I used to work, asking about Washington … “when did it happen! … you do NOT mix rice with spaghetti! … were they Proud Boys? … someone said they were waving Confederate flags … they said on TV “shots were fired.”
And so now I’m sitting in the garage. I have a good fire going, extra wood all around me, empty beer cans, whiskey bottle broken glass and old Prozac containers lying around, for ambiance. I’m writing, trying to write.
As of yet I have not seen any more reports from Washington, am not up to the minute on all that happened there, just trying to close my eyes and feel, just for a moment, some good thoughts, some good things.
I probably don’t know anything about the real stuff, the educated reports that have probably already come out, that will come out, about what is really going on, I just know how I feel at this moment.
And by the way, if you believe any of what I’ve told you here, then I’ve got a duck blind in the woods behind our house to sell you and these here books, these stories about slaying dragons.
— Mike Palecek
This was written before I knew of anyone having died at the Washington D.C. event.
Nobody can take that lightly.
There are now, a week after the event, many opinions on what happened.
I didn’t know any of that, what Ruth was saying, did not want to hear it. All I could think was, well, you really don’t know, they are just telling you that, and so I walked out, into the snow, to my beach, the garage, with the fire burning, where I planned to spend my retirement, away from the world. But the problem is you bring the world with you into the garage, and you bring yourself wherever you go. I know, right? … and there is no retirement, not ever, not really. Not now.
Some say the Trump supporters were rioters. Some say the gathering was infiltrated by Antifa provocateurs and that the resulting outcome, the vilification of the protest by the mainstream media, was part of a planned operation. Some say that the protest, the destruction, is part of what happens in a revolution, a Boston Tea Party, an American Revolution, French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Cuban, Nicaraguan, El Salvadoran.
If you read about the Wobblies, the Socialists, the anarchists of a hundred years ago, what they went through, and perhaps also what they initiated, to get us the eight-hour day, voting for all, and other things that we take for granted, that circus balloon would be distorted behind recognition by today’s clowns, Lester Holt, Rachel Maddow, and others, just as it was in those days. I think the distortion is on purpose.
Those on television “news” who scream about violence will never say peep about the millions killed in Iraq by our bombs, or the death squads in El Salvador, or Chile and Allende, or the truth about 9/11. They just won’t. And so, when they do scream about something you have to wonder why, be it NO TOILET PAPER … ANYWHERE! COVID! or DOMESTIC TERRORISTS! You just have to wonder.
Because you just know they are not doing it because of journalistic craft, getting the commas right, rushing out the door, grabbing their coat and going to do what’s right. That sort of thing went out with newsmen smoking cigarettes on camera, with the death of Penn Jones, with Walter Cronkite talking about “three shots fired,” and then carefully removing his glasses, looking down, acting his part.
What about John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Paul Wellstone? Have we ever, ever heard the truth come from the mouth of a “real” reporter?
Or more recently, what are we to think about the recent Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, justified? or not? and the members of Congress, fully masked, take a knee. What? … And, just imagine for one moment. If there were Antifa in the Capitol event, if they started it, if they were let in on purpose and this whole thing is a lie, what might that lead us to think about the antecedents to those nationwide riots this past summer? I am for equality. I am for money for the poor rather than for the military, but I am not for these closets-full of lies in our American homeland.
In your human heart you know that violence and killing does not sit well, allow you to sleep, so your knee-jerk reaction when you hear about “riots,” is to shudder, (and so that’s built-in to the algorithm) but you also know that it exists, occurs every day, that we pay billions and billions of dollars to have it done, to threaten to do it.
What if Lester Holt were to say something like, “… the budget for America’s military is 721.5 freeking billion dollars for one year. Their mission is to kill better than anyone else kills. … In other news, rioters at the United States Capitol broke a window because they felt they had no other recourse because they can’t even trust voting anymore as a means to express themselves.”
And, of course, if Horn Man had not already existed, he would have to be invented.
I think what we need is to keep dreaming big.
That’s what America is supposed to be about. Now is not the time to drop that and run for the hills or the garage. Now is the time to wave that flag even higher, and be thankful for having been given the privilege of being alive during these days, for having been given this opportunity.
… The New American Dream means never having to say some question or idea is not valid.
We are allowed to ask any questions that we have … there are no wrong questions.
There is no hidden black military budget, there are no UFO files Americans cannot see, no JFK documents that will not be opened during our lifetimes, no destroyed RFK murder photos by the L.A. police, no evidence from Ground Zero taken away before we can even look at it — we are not the U.S.S.R. of the 1960s — this is supposed to be America. That is our dream, to become America, The New America, the real hope of the world. …
We have a dream … of bringing the United States politicians, journalists and generals who have brought about these long wars and debacle to trial — and put on TV just like O.J. — every afternoon — so every American can watch … just like the McCarthy Hearings and the JFK funeral procession.
What we need is a New American Dream.
Not of new homes and toasters and microwaves, but of becoming the type of country we always thought we were.
Right now we live on lies. We subsist on lies, but it’s not really living.
9/11 was an inside job.
They all know that.
What we need in America is a Truth Commission like they had in South Africa to heal their broken country. We need to put certain people on the stand and we need to be allowed to ask questions.
Our country is surely broken as well.
The troops are not protecting us. That is someone’s spin on the day’s news – somebody’s advertising slogan — someone else’s sermon.
The troops serve the empire. They are not heroes. They kill and plunder for the empire. American bases overseas serve nobody but the empire. The heroes in our country are the protesters, the ones who go face to face with the empire, those in the Plowshares Movement, for one example.
You have to know that Donald Trump knows the whole truth about the 9/11 attacks. He is complicit. He has lied. He has continued the wars everywhere based on a lie. And he knows he is lying. (Just as Joe Biden has lied and will continue to lie. A sure bet.)
Trump lies right to our faces on national television just as Barack Obama did when he said that Osama bin Laden had been killed … and buried at sea. … Osama bin Laden was buried at sea … and Jessica Lynch was rescued heroically, the U.S.A. does not torture, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, George Bush won the 2000 election, see, there is a plane there in that hole in Shanksville, it went all the way into that hole and no, there is no blood and no bodies and no luggage scattered … or plane parts … and Osama bin Laden … was buried at sea. …
Remember the anthrax letters, which said “Are You Afraid?” Those were not written with a rock and chisel like Fred Flintstone from the recesses of some cave in Afghanistan. Those letters came from persons within our own government.
Like a horror movie and the killer is in the same house with us.
These killers are right here, with us and “they” want us to be afraid.
We cannot be afraid.
Mike Palecek, co-founder of Moon Rock Books, is a former small-town newspaper reporter, editor, publisher. The tiny paper he and his wife operated won the Minnesota Newspaper of the Year Award for weeklies in 1993. He is a former seminarian for the Omaha archdiocese, leaving in order to work with the poor on the lower east side. He served time in federal prison for anti-war activities. He was the Iowa Democratic Party nominee in the 2000 election for the U.S. House of Representatives, 5th District, receiving 65,500 votes on an anti-military, anti-prison, pro-immigration platform. Palecek is a novelist, books for the most part self-published. He has worked with the disabled for nineteen years, currently lives in northern Minnesota. He believes in Bigfoot, UFOs, the Green Bay Packers and a lot of stuff nobody around him seems to believe in.
Mike Palecek’s Amazon author’s page.