Trulbert! Part XXXVIII – The Matador’s Waltz

- 4:25 PM, November 7, 2015 – The Sub-Basement Under That One Really Undistinguished Office Building, on Nicollet, or maybe Marquette Avenue, Downtown Minneapolis, MN

Hendrickson raced up a stairway from the tunnel, hearing Ilktost’s footsteps echoing behind him.

He found himself in a dark room full of shelves.  He quietly padded off behind a set of shelves, willed himself to stop panting and listened.

He heard Ilktosts footsteps shuffle along…

…and past.

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Trulbert! Part XXXVII – Armagitdown

 - 3:55 PM, November 7, 2015 – Inside the Federal Reserve, Downtown Minneapolis, MN

“Looks like they’re maneuvering to surround us”, Os muttered as he stared through the window from the second story of the Federal Reserve building.

“That’s what I’m counting on”, said Fleen.

The two men, along with Hendrickson, crouched behind a rough barricade of government-issue desks and file cabinets that they’d piled near the window as rough shelter from…

probably nothing they’ve got, thought Hendrickson, remembering how he’d seen the bullets from the socials tear through just about everything in their paths.

Fleen pulled a small gray case from his messenger bag, opened it, and withdrew an absurdly large pistol.  Looks like something from a comic book, thought Hendrickson.

“So you’re going to shoot at them with a pistol?” Os asked Fleen, his voice quavering and on the edge of despair.

“In a manner of speaking”, Fleen replied absently, loading a cartridge.

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Trulbert! Part XXXVI – The Fat Lady Dons Her Helmet

- 2:45 PM, November 7, 2015 – Outside Forever 21 Stadium, Downtown Minneapolis, MN

The column of 40 socials came off the freeway exit from South Minneapolis, and rendesvouzed with Ilktost’s force in the parking lot of the new Viking stadium.

Close to 80 socials were now lined up and ready to press the offensive into downtown, along with a few hundred infantry that would support the trucks up close.

Ilktost stood as tall as he could in the back of the lead truck.

“Methodists!  There is no turning back!  If we lose, we lose everything!  So advance to victory – or death!”

The Methodists cheered, as Ilktost’s truck started moving up Chicago Avenue the other trucks falling into line behind, the whole column turning left on to Washington to begin the final push downtown.

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Turn This Motherland Out

SCENE:  Happy Hour at the Nomad, in the Five Corners area of Minneapolis’ West Bank.  A group of Twin Cities Ron Paul supporters is having a happy hour before Rep. Paul’s speech at the U of M.  Mitch BERG is enjoying a Jack and Coke.  

Bill GUNKEL, chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of Former Republicans for Ron Paul, notices Berg.

GUNKEL:  I wish Doctor Paul were running for president.

BERG: Well, at least you have Rand.

GUNKEL:  Pffft.  Rand has become a RINO squish.

BERG: Well, there is the little matter of actually having to get something done in a Senate with 40+ members who actively do like big government.

GUNKEL:  I’m surprised Doctor Paul hasn’t disowned him.

BERG: So why the animosity?

GUNKEL:  He’s gone all Warvangelical on foreign policy.

BERG:  Warvangelical?  More like realistic.  I mean, you have seen what Putin’s been doing, right?  Returning Europe to the Cold War?

GUNKEL:  Well, doy.  We make client states of all their former Republics, and we surround them with bases.  I daresay we’d be paranoid, too.

BERG:  Wait – did you just call breakaway parts of the former Soviet Union “their former Republics?”

GUNKEL:  Well, duh.  That’s what they are.

BERG: Well, in a sense.  But outside of Russia itself, the “former republics” were all either absorbed over history by the Czars, or forcibly annexed by the Soviets.  Anyone that spoke for independence, or even autonomy, would wind up in the Gulag.  And if the Soviets felt “their” republics were getting uppity, they’d turn the screws.  The Soviets starved millions of Ukrainians to death in the thirties to enforce their land policy.  They also deported entire ethnic groups from their ancestral homes, and replaced them with Russians – which is why Crimea “broke” from Ukraine last year.

GUNKEL:  Doctor Paul never talked about this…

BERG: …I don’t imagine he did…

GUNKEL:  …so I don’t believe it.

BERG:  Of course you don’t.  There’s a reason places like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia and many others revere Ronald Reagan; he gave them their chance at self-determination and getting out of the Russian orbit – in some cases for the first time since 1920, in others for the first time in hundreds of years.   To ignore that is either ignorant or intellectually dishonest.

GUNKEL:  Sort of like surrounding the Russians with military bases.

BERG: Yeah – you do know that from 1945 to the late eighties, the Soviets maintained an expressly offensive military posture toward Northern, Western and Southern Europe.  Right?  And those bases were put there to defend against that ?  And honest people can debate whether and how much those bases are still needed against Putin – but they can’t deny the history.

Presuming they knew it in the first place.

GUNKEL:  Hey – was that a shot at me?

BERG:  Not as far as you know.

And SCENE. 

Trulbert! Part XXXV – Minneapolis Calling

- 2:15PM, November 7, 2015 – Outside Forever 21 Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

Ilktost stood in the back of the lead social, in front of a column of 20 of the heavily armed pickup trucks.   It was the most imposing collection of firepower in the upper Midwest. But as they pulled to a brief halt in the parking lot of the new, still-under-construction Vikings stadium, he paused, a twinge of anxiety gnawing at his stomach.

Yes, I have to win this thing for good.  Yes, I have to do it for all the people who depend on us to survive the winter.  And for the rest of the rabble who’ll kill them if I don’t.  

But reports were filtering through to him; people, some of them armed, were starting to converge in ones and twos and small groups, on downtown Minneapolis.  It looked like there was going to be at least a demonstration against Methodist rule.

And he knew such a demonstration, like the Sharks and Jets insurgence in October, needed to be put down with absolute force.

He turned to Dave Oswaldson, standing behind him in the social.  ”How long until the troops from Jehovah and the Airport join us?”

“Twenty minutes”.

Ilktost nodded, deep in thought.  ”OK.  We’ll wait here for them to join us here.  Then we’ll drive downtown and crush them completely”.

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Questions For Ron Paul And His Disciples

I didn’t get a chance to see Ron Paul at the U last night.  And even if I had, I’m not sure I’d have gone.

Partly it’s because I just don’t so much care to listen to politicians in my off time.  Even politicians I generally like.  Unless a politician offered some major insights to Western Civilization – a list I pare down to Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and not a whole lot more – they don’t generally interest me (beyond those that are personal friends, which is a whole ‘nother thing).

I went to a happy hour before the Paul event, at the Nomad over in Five Corners.  A few people asked me if I were planning on going; I replied “No, sorry – I already had unicorn farts for lunch”.

Which is a little harsh and dismissive, I know.  I’m a former Libertarian, and agree with Libertarians about a lot of things…

…in theory.  And, in a lot of ways, in practice.  The idea of limiting government – getting it out of as many interactions we can between people, and limiting peoples’ interactions with the state, and the burdens the state places on the individual, to the barest minimum necessary – is good.  Also conservative.  And, in a perfect world, Republican – although the GOP falls woefully short of this ideal in so, so, so many ways that it gets depressing sometimes.

Ron Paul certainly has a way of stirring up activism.  He does it by talking about a brand of politics that relies on absolute adherence to what he calls – and his disciples chant – “principles”.  Principles are, of course, the bedrock of a cohesive philosophy, and the basis for any sense of integrity.  And when combined with an unwillingness to sully them with any contact with the ambiguities of the real world, they’re also a straitjacket that limits ones’ political impact, and even horizons, to the absolute distillation of ones’ beliefs and nothing more.

Which is satisfying to think about – spending one’s political days vigorously agreeing with people like you – and never, ever occurs in nature.

Anyway – I’d have loved to have gone to see Ron Paul last night – if he’d have been answering questions.  Because I have a few for him.

The Hothouse Flower: The easiest way for a “libertarian” conservative to get thrown under the bus by your disciples, Representative Paul, is to compromise on any political issue with any “liberty” aspect to it. At all. Ever. No matter how abstruse.

It appears as if it the “libertarian” base doesn’t realize that a good 40+ percent of the population is perfectly happy with big government, and that some sort of compromise – that being the origin of the term “politics” – is inevitable.

As a result, it would seem to be impossible to implement “a libertarian society” at a policy level, by legislative action (since legislatures inevitably involve compromise); the only way, in fact, to implement a “libertarian society” would be through a libertarian absolute, if wise and benevolent, dictator who imposed libertarianism on society from above.

How am I wrong here?

People Are Strange: One of conservatism’s core tenets is that humans, left to their own devices without any sort of overarching moral code, are fundamentally corrupt and untrustworthy.

Pure libertarianism seems to believe that people, in their hearts of hearts, are yearning primarily to be reasonable, and are spontaneously moral. I’m not sure that anything in libertarianism says this in as many words, but you, yourself, Mr. Paul, have imlied throughout your career that without some arbitrary authority figure and their monopoly on power, people – even nations – would behave in pure, enlightened self interest.

Which sounds cool, but it is utterly unsupported by history. In any large enough group of people, there’ll be somebody, or some group, they would rather take what other people have than produce it themselves. We call them criminals – unless they managed to find themselves wearing one mantle of authority or another, and which point they become “gangs”, or with enough authority, “government”.

And yet libertarian dogma – especially that of the anarcho-libertarians that eat up much of your movement’s bandwidth – constantly presumes that if we just didn’t have any authority, society would become a mass of gentleman farmers, coexisting, negotiating, and getting along.

What basis for this is, in any heterogenous society, in any of human history, is there?

That should be a good start.

Trulbert! Part XXXIV – Audit The Fled

 - 2:00PM, November 7, 2015 – Cedar and Riverside, Minneapolis

Marcus Broadman, Hana and Dan-Marius Codriciu, Dave Os, Todd Fleen and Paul Hendrickson ran through the streets of Five Corners – the eclectic neighborhood near Cedar and Riverside, just west of the University of Minnesota campus.

They had crossed the Washington Avenue bridge on foot, near the front of the mob of specators debouching from TCF Stadium.

The pistol in Hendrickson’s pocket weighed heavily as he jogged up Riverside with the others, past the market stalls, where vendors, cheeks stufffed with qat, sold Somali canjeera bread, exotic spices from the Horn of Africa, and framed wall hangings and posters of African and European pop groups.

“Hey, guys – you need a ride?”  It was a young Somali man, in an immaculate suit, driving a Ford Explorer that’d been refitted into a “Suvney”, local slang for a SUV jitney, or freelance taxicab.

Hendrickson skidded to a stop; the others gathered around him.  ”That’s not a bad idea”.  He dug a five-cud piece out of his pocket.  ”Get us to First and Hennepin?”

“No problem, madame and gentlemen!”

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There But For The Grace Of Christie Go Ye

I’ve written in the past about the case of Shaneen Allen, the Philadelphia mother and Pennsylvania carry permit holder who accidentally strayed across the Delaware River into New Jersey, got pulled over on a routine traffic stop, told the cop that she was carrying her firearm (which was legal mere miles up that very road), and was arrested for what was in Jersey a felony.

Her prosecutor, John McLain, opted to make an example of the black single mother, rejecting her for a diversion program (on his way to legal notoriety for letting NFL star Ray Rice skate on charges of especially brutal domestic abuse).

Yesterday, after nearly two years of back-and-forth, Governor Christie – never known as a friend of the Second Amendment – pardoned Allen:

I, Chris Christie, governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution of the State of New Jersey and the statutes of the state, do hereby grant Shaneen Denise Allen, a full and free pardon for all criminal charges and indictments arising from the arrest occurring October 1, 2013 to include the aforesaid crimes, and this order is applicable solely to said criminal charges and indictments, and to no other.

On the one hand, this is good news.  Christie did the right thing.

On the other, it shows the perilous state that the various states’ paternalistic approach to carry laws leaves the citizen in.  If you’re a Minnesotan with a carry permit, and you forget to stop at a gas station on the Minnesota side of the Wisconsin, Iowa, or either Dakota border, you could have precisely the same problem.

It’s why the Commissioner of Public Safety need to do the job he was charged to do in 2004, and make Minnesota’s carry permits reciprocal with every state that (according to the law) has a permitting process substantially similar to ours (e.g. – a background check, the basic assurance that the applicant knows the laws).

Trulbert! – Part XXXIII: Snap

- 1:45PM, November 7, 2015 – Back of the Press Box, TCF Stadium, the University of Minnesota

“And it looks like it’s gonna be a real donnybrook brewing here”, intoned Buck Jackson.

Under a furious tongue-lashing from Evan Tartabull, who had re-assumed control of the control trailer, a group of production assistants had moved Buck Jackson and Kareen Khalil’s microphones, cameras, computers and associate producers to the back of the press booth, looking out over the plaza.

“That’s right, Buck – the emotions are running high here on the Plaza at The Bank”, Kareen Khalil.

“Right you are, Kareem.  It looks like it’s gonna be a rumble out there”, Jackson added, as an associate producer frantically googled statistics and facts about the Methodist government and the rest of the City of Minneapolis.

“Most definitely, Buck.  When these two sides get together, you can throw away…”

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Trulbert! Part XXXII – Twerking With The Devil

 - 1:26 PM, November 7, 2015 – Washington Avenue, near the Media Entrance, TCF Stadium, University of Minnesota

Dave Os was surprised to hear no noise coming from inside the stadium.

He’d never much cared for professional sports – he regarded pro sports fans as cretins, truth be told – but he’d always imagined the actual games would be loud.

But he heard no noise coming out of TCF Stadium.  Like they’re watching a chess tournament, Os thought – sneering to himself at the commercialization of international chess, longing for its older, purer days.

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Restraint

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I must be getting old.  I hear lies and remember hearing them before.

Bill Clinton wanted to ban “cop-killer” bullets in the 90’s.   Barack Obama wants to ban cop-killer bullets now.

Still not one cop killed by those bullets, yet the lie is recycled as if nobody ever heard it told, or heard it refuted.  Does the entire country have Alzheimer’s?  Can’t anybody remember we went through this once before, and why it was dumb then so it’s just as dumb now?

Interestingly, public reaction to the lie has changed.  In Bill Clinton’s day, everybody was on board with supporting local law enforcement.  Nowadays, a lot more people seem to think “Politicians and the media promise me cops are racists who delight in shooting Gentle Giants holding their hands up, so why should cops get special protection?”  Lot more push-back and ATF was much quicker to pull the ban proposal “for further study.”

It boils down to a difference in philosophy:

Liberals believe that if you tear down enough of the institutions that brought order out of chaos, the result will be utopia.

I suspect that’s too optimistic – I suspect Heinlein and Burke were right, the result will be a reversion to chaos.

Joe Doakes

Part of it – the liberal part – is as Joe describes.

There’s also a more libertarian streak to the GOP that didn’t exist 20 years ago.  While the GOP still has all sorts of law-enforcement fanboys who figure if the cops say, do, or arrest it, they must be right, there are a few more who believe restraint is in order.

Risky

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Found in an on-line bulletin board:

“Room available for the summer for a college aged girl to live with us for free in exchange for weekday child care. Text or call if this sounds like a good fit for you.  Contact Info: 651-xxx-xxxx”

Is this merely tax fraud, a Wage and Hour violation and a Sex Discrimination in Housing complaint; or it is an invitation to be sold into sexual slavery?  Or maybe just some well-intentioned Mac-Groveland DFLers, aghast at the already-obscene cost of non-union daycare?

Whatever, it absolutely cannot be legal to hire an Au Pair in Minnesota.  That would be, just, wrong, on so many levels.

Joe Doakes

Depends on the prosecutor and the (administrative law) “judge”, now, doesn’t it?

A Thought In Passing

Where “endless one-sided talk about principles” is checkers, “taking those principles to a legislature that’s at least partly full of people that disagree with you, and trying to turn those principles into policy” is chess.

And one of the big reasons I left the Libertarian Party, and criticize the “Liberty movement” so often these days, is not so much that so many of them play checkers (that’s true of most people in any party), but that so m any of their loudest voices have convinced themselves that playing chess instead of endless rounds of checkers is a moral offense and a distraction that diverts one from the purity of checkers.

Orwell Would Puke…

,,,at this proposal, from the usual assortment of Metrocrat hamsters.  It may be the worst anti-gun bill, and the most toxic attack on civil liberty, in recent years.

It would essentially allow any cop or domestic violence victim to claim you brandished a firearm and have the authorities remove all firearms from your house and person.

Without even a hint of due process.

I say again; without even a plaintive whiff of due process.

Now, this bill is DOA in the House; Tony Cornish, a legislator who makes Ted Nugent look like Oprah Winfrey on Second Amendment issues, is chair of the Public Safety Committee; the DFL may as well deliver the bill directly to the paper shredder.

So why do it at all?

Politics:  Because Ron “Did You Know I Went To Harvard?” Latz is running the show in the Senate public safety committee, so it’s pretty much guaranteed a floor vote.  Which means a bunch of GOP senators will be on the record with “no” votes, which will be dutifully relayed during the 2016 campaign as “Senator X voted to give firearms to domestic abusers and people who threatened cops!” by the Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota.

That’s my two cents worth, of course; I have no doubt that Ron Latz would love to send SWAT teams to the home of every law-abiding gun owner on principle, but the political realities don’t support it right now.

We’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: GOCRA is taking this bill very seriously, and so should you:

Everyone has moments in life where things seem hopeless. A death in the family, a job loss, PTSD from military service, a divorce… Responsible gun owners know that a doctor or psychologist can help. But this bill would encourage doctors to trick you into signing away your rights!

Imagine: there you are. You’re hurting. You go see a professional. He listens, then says he can help. He gives you a pile of forms to sign. Buried among them is a form created by this bill — one that puts you on the NICS no-buy list. “Voluntarily.”

Call your legislator. Tell them this bill needs to be killed with fire.

All Talk

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is setting up a grill on his porch, getting ready for a little pre-spring grilling.  Victor VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE pulls up, parks his car, and walks up the sidewalk to BERG’s porch.

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE: Hah, Berg!  The  GOP doesn’t have the guts to say anything like this:

IMG_3306.JPG

BERG: So you’ve got what, here? A slick, cutesy meme about what the Libertarian Party would do, if it were in power?

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE: Yep! The GOP doesn’t have the balls to say anything of the sort!

BERG: Huh. I guess you’re right. But I’ve got a question for you.

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE: Shoot.

BERG: Does the Libertarian Party have “the balls” to say anything like this?

MITCH BERG will save 8 TRILLION DOLLARS

by INSTANTLY PRIVATIZING THE ENTIRE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!

 

WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DATING SCARLETT JOHANNSON AND JENNIFER LAWRENCE!

Has the Libertarian Party said anything like this yet?

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE:  Well, no…

BERG:  Statists!  RINOs!  Impure!  Unable to talk the big-enough-talk!

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE:  But…but…you can’t actually make any of that happen!

BERG:  Right!  And the Libertarian Party can’t make anything it says happen either.  So go away and don’t come back until the Libertarian Party can talk really big!

VON-SCHLIEFFENBERG-MOLTKE glumly shuffles back to his car. 

And SCENE.

Trulbert! Part XXXI – Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Apocalypse?

 - 1:26PM , November 7, 2015 – TCF Stadium, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

The sell-out crowd of 50,805 people at TCF Stadium, and hundreds of thousands more watching on TVs across Minnesota, watched dumbfounded as the camera switched to a view of NFL Commissioner Del Goodwin, and the owners of the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, and a variety of other NFL officials, dancing naked in a wading pool under a shower of top-shelf whiskey, champagne, beer and wine being poured on them by naked prostitutes.

Another prostitute sprinkled handfuls of finely powdered cocaine over the revelers, creating a dust-cloud of chemical stimulation swirling and eddying among the gouts, sprinkles and geysers of fine liquor, forming a mix that Goodwin flopped down into, wallowing and rolling and rubbing all over his and a couple of selected hookers’ bodies.

 - 1:26 PM, November 7, 2015 – TV Control Trailer, Outside TCF Stadium

“Holy crap”, Paul Hendrickson whispered.

“If NFL games are anything, they’re predictable”, Fleen quipped, grinning.+

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Trulbert! Part XXX – Armageddon’s Two Minute Warning

 - 1:23 PM, November 7, 2015 – TV Control Trailer, Outside TCF Stadium

The control room crew had hurried through the line, grabbing styrofoam plates of walleye and cheese and eating a quick meal at their stations.  Tartabull – first in line – had briefly looked at Fleen, sensing something a little off, but he had bigger fish to fry, as it were.

By 1:23, the crew had finished their lunches, and the network was about ready to throw back to Minneapolis for commentary from Jackson, Khalid and Bazongas.

Fleen, Hendrickson, the Codricius and Broadman dug under piles of uneaten walleye as Tartabull got his crew ready to start the second half.

“OK”, said Tartabull, donning his headset.  ”Stand by.  What’s the count?”

“Back in ten” said the satellite producer.

“Ready 51, ready swoosh, stand by in the booth”. Tartabull got ready to head into the second half.

“Excuse us.  There’s a change in the plan for today’s broadcast”, Todd Fleen  exclaimed.  The assembled control room crew turned as one to see Fleen holding a clump of cheese-drenched fish to Lisa Rothchild’s head.

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Trulbert! Part XXIX – The Scent Of Walleye

  – 1:12PM, November 7, 2015 – The Press Box, TCF Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

“And the Packers are going to punt the ball away at third and long, as we approach the two minute warning for the first half.  And it’s a donnybrook here at The Bank in Minneapolis, with the Vikings and Packers tied at 30 in a game that…”

Buck Jackson picked up an index card he’d been handed by a producer.

“…a game that will help Minnesotans under the benevolent leadership of their Methodist protectors shake off the chains of Wisconsinite tyranny”.  Jackson flipped the card over his shoulder in disgust.

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The American Gulag

So according to the UK Guardian, the City of Chicago runs its own private Lyubyanka:

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

If it’s confirmed that the Chicago Police have been pelting the Fourth Amendment with rocks and offal – then :

  • It’s time to send US troops to liberate Chicago, and
  • it makes perfect sense that it’s in a Democrat-controlled city.

Much as I love Chicago, I won’t spend another tourist dollar there until those responsible for Homan Square are frog-walked out of their offices and put into Federal custody.

And it’ll be interesting to see what other such places pop up around the country.

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Trulbert! Part XXVIII – Gladiators’ Waltz

 - 10:42 AM, November 7, 2015 – Outside TCF Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

 The rattly blue Ford Econoline van with the “Magnificent Catering” decals slowly peeling off the sides trundled up Washington Avenue, leaving a faint haze of blue in its wake.

Marcus Boardman drove the van up to the first checkpoint, at the edge of the U of M Campus.  There, under the cover of a Social with a huge machine gun in the back,   a group of Methodists, backed up by soldiers from the NFL, were checking papers for vehicles coming toward the service gates.   He got into the line of vehicles and waited his turn.

“Everyone get your papers ready”, Boardman said.  ”They’re checking everyone”.

Fleen, Hendrickson and the Codricius, sitting in the back of the van amid the trays of food, got their passes out.

Boardman hoped they were all in order.  That is one huge machine gun, he thought, controlling his breathing as he looked at the gun in the back of the Social.  It was the biggest machine gun Marcus Boardman had seen since the huge GAU-8s on the old A-10 Warthogs he’d worked on back in the Air Force.  Not quite that big, Boardman thought – at least from the side.  From the business end – where he was, now – they all looked like battleship cannon.

He eyed the heat on his van as it idled, gradually moving forward as the vehicles in front of him were admitted.

And finally they were at the front of the line.  A pudgy Methodist carrying a menacing black handgun and wearing an old Hennepin County Sheriff hat walked up to Boardman’s door, as Marcus rolled the window down.

“Back unlocked?” the man asked, visibly bored.

“Yep, officer.  Go right ahead and check”, Boardman nodded, smiling.

The Methodist, along with another who carried a black pump action assault rifle, walked to the back of the van, and pulled the door open.

Henrickson, the Codricius and Fleen handed over their papers.  The doughy man looked at the paperwork, and inspected each of their faces – lingering a little longer with Hana Codriciu, who batted her eyes and smiled.

He man nodded, handed back the papers, and shut the door.  ”Go ahead!”

Boardman pulled ahead, and drove to the service entrance, and down under the stadium – right past the Master Control trailer, Fleen noticed.

“OK, everyone”, Fleen said, pointing at the trailer.  ”That’ll be our target.  Remember where we go to get there”.

Boardman pulled into a parking spot, and the five started unloading trays of food onto two-wheeled carts.

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Trulbert, Part XXVII: Avengers Brunch

 - 4AM, November 7, 2015 – the Hendrickson Residence, Minneapolis, MN

The evening had started so well.

The rumor was right, Paul Hendrickson thought.  Imminent danger does get the libido cranked up. 

But that – the third “that”, anyway – was a few hours ago.  And now Hendrickson lay awake, staring out the window, not sleeping a bit.

It seemed like just this past summer, life had been so…normal.  Him a humdrum project manager at a mediocre services company; Lynn a bored teacher; both of them frazzled parents of teens and tweens.  Average.  Boring.

Hell, Hendrickson thought, it was last summer.  

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