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Monday, April 08, 2013

Installment 10 of F. Scott Sinclair's Novel "The Walls Have Ears: A Novel of America"



QUOTE:

Warning: If you are easily shocked with regard to contrary
points of view, conspiracy theories, offensive language,
political correctness, sex, or anything else that may offend
your sensibilities or lack of open-mindedness, or if you're a
minor (but by no means limited to the aforementioned),
please do not read this novel. It's not for you...

Note: This is a work of fiction. The events described here
are imaginary: the settings, events and characters are
fictitious, and/or are the product of the author's imagination
or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events
or locales or persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2006 by F. Scott Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.


Scene Ten


The Walls Have Ears: A Novel of America


By F. Scott Sinclair


Presidential Candidate: Former Senator Lester A. Hampton




It was a cold afternoon at my home located on
the shores of Hoods Canal in the good old Pacific Northwest.
As I stoked the logs in the fireplace, the red ambers
of the coals beneath the logs glowed a brilliant pale
yellow after gathering a wisp of fresh air. Almost
immediately, the coals seemed to have sensed that
I’d placed a new log upon them. The burning coals
seemed to quietly accept the intrusion, relaxing the
collective intensity of their amber glow to a mellow
burnt orange. The pulsating shimmer of the coals—like
someone blushing at something said and embarrassed
by it—has always seemed to conjure up fond memories.
Kind of like seeing surface images of the sun with
its perpetual explosions dancing rhythmically to a
primal beat. Amber coals, or just a blazing fire, are a
constant reminder of nature’s place in the affairs of
man, not unlike politics. What do these two diametrically
opposed extremes, which appear to be unrelated, have
in common?

Today, my fellow Americans will see for themselves
what fire and politics have in common. I will stoke
the ambers of the hearts of my fellow Americans.
Their hearts are on fire, but they are powerless
to stoke their hearts. Kind of like a boat without a
rudder. My fellow countrymen are helpless; drifting
on a rudderless boat down a river—being manipulated
by the forces that be: the currents. They’re helpless
and powerless at the same time.

I’ve thought about this a long time, but my mind’s
made up. There is too much greed, corruption
and malfeasance in our government. Seeing the
picture of George Washington displayed on the
flagpole outside of my dining room window, the
galvanized steel pole swaying along with its burden:
the flag of the State of Washington flapping against
the wind. And riding above the picture of George
Washington was Old Glory herself: my beloved
American flag..

I took a gulp of my gin and tonic, sitting the
remainder on the maple dinner table, and turned
towards my campaign manager, Steve Ralston,
and said, “This day will become a historic event
in textbooks in years to come, my friend.”

Steve’s eyes met mine, and we both pursed
our lips and shook our heads affirmatively. Placing
his drink on the smoked glass coffee table, he said,
“I don’t for a minute believe that you’ll ever eat
those words... America is at its most critical turning
point in its three-hundred year history. Never has
our country been so imperiled financially, constitutionally
and morally as it is today. Bankrupt on all three counts,
I’m afraid.”

“Amen, to that brother...! Now let’s see... When
are the reporters due?”

Steve glanced at his watch, and said, “They should
have been here by now.”

Never wanting to keep people waiting, I motioned
for Steve to follow me outside onto the patio. “Do
you have my speech prepared?”

“No.”

Amused, I said, “So you still think I’ve got the
knack for gab, huh?”

With a sheepish grin, he says out of the corner
of his mouth, “You might say that... You’re a slow
starter, but a helluva finisher. I wouldn’t want to
ruffle your feathers, that’s for sure.”

“You always were a straight shooter, my friend.
I guess I’ll keep you around a while for sentimental
reasons, if nothing else,” I said, trying to take a
reading of his reaction. That awkward smile told
me everything.

Pointing in the direction of the gravel trail that
escorts visitors from the parking lot at the base of
the hill to the residence, Steve says, “Looks like
the ducks have arrived.”

“Well, you’d better hope I come up with some
dried bread crumbs for them to munch on...”

Seeing the apprehension in my demeanor,
he says, “C’mon now, be your old self... Getting
back in the boxing ring of politics isn’t going to
kill you!”

“Your words, not mine,” I said, gazing at the
swaying human limbs coming our way. I then
turned towards the shores of Hoods Canal,
inhaling the elixir of life: the smell of salty air and 
kelp, and finally said, “Anyway, I hope you’re right. 
We’ll soon find out, I’m afraid.”

From a distance, a baseball clad gentleman
in his late forties said, “Hi there...! Sorry we’ve
kept you waiting, sir. Don’t worry; my crew is
the best in the business. We’ll have the video
cameras in place in no time. And insofar as
plugging into our main studio in Seattle, that’ll
be easy with our little satellite here. Care for a
little makeup?”

“Some what...?! Oh, sorry... Forgive me. It’s
been a while since I’ve done a TV interview.
Sure, a little makeup wouldn’t hurt considering
my age,” I said almost apologetically.

“Needn’t fret, Senator Hampton. By the way,
I’m Glenn Aston and this is Fred Custer. He’ll make
you look twenty years younger!” the director said.

“If he’s lucky,” I said.

After my face was touched up and powdered,
I thought I looked good enough to be cremated
on the spot. I’ve seen worse makeup jobs on
cadavers. I didn’t want to appear like Richard Nixon
did when he debated Kennedy and lost the election
due to a piss poor makeup job.

The television crew rushed everything into
place, and the director removed his baseball cap,
and says, “We are at your command...!”

“And the interviewer...?” Steve, my manager asked.

“Oh, our anchor woman...? She couldn’t
make it. Apparently, she had other plans. So,
I guess you’re stuck with me. How’s that?”

I took a deep breath, and said, “Suits me perfect.”

Glenn Aston sat down on the rigid oak and
ornate wrought iron chair next to mine, introducing
himself and me to the television audience, and
then asks, “Why are you returning to the political
arena, Senator Hampton?”

I gazed at the brick siding of my reclusive house,
and replied, “These are trying times for all of us.”

Glenn nodded.

“And I’m afraid that our country is not only heading
down the wrong road, but it’s headed towards a tunnel
with no light at the other end.”

As Glenn reviewed his notes, he offhandedly says,
“A collision course in the making?”

Seeing the seagulls landing on the surface of Hoods
Canal to peck at the garbage someone must have
dumped overboard, and the subsequent squawking
that led to fights over tidbits of food, reminded me
of our plight in the Middle East: our squabble for
tidbits of resources. I said, “See those seagulls?”

I pointed to the refuse the seagulls were fighting over.

“Yes. And that reminds me of the concept of
territoriality inherit in all of God’s creatures,”
he said intently, tapping the eraser end of his
pencil against the yellow legal pad on his lap.

“That’s precisely what I’m trying to say...
Man doesn’t—pardon my French—piss around
his territory like a dog, exactly. He does the
instinctive process one step better—“

“By building a fence, or other barrier, huh?”
Glenn said, almost taking the words right out
of my mouth.

“Maybe I should be interviewing you, Glenn.
You sure have a talent for knowing what I’m
about to say. Are you a mind reader?”

“Am I correct in assuming, you do mean
that in a positive sense?”

As I crossed my legs nervously, I said, “All
joking aside, you’re quite amazing in your
perceptions. That’s all I’m referring to...”

I could see he was beginning to become
irritated for some reason, as he responded by
saying, “Why do you want to be President of
the United States? In thirty words or less,
if possible?”

“Sounds like you want me to answer in
“sound bites” as though this was a political
commercial or something?” I said, becoming
annoyed with Glenn’s tone of voice and hidden
agenda.

He nodded his head attentively.

“Let’s put it this way—“

With a twinkle in his eye, he says, “You’ve
only got 25 words left...”

“We could cut this interview short, if that’s
what you’d like?”

With a hint of appeasement on his face, Glenn
shot back, “Just kiddin’ sir. Please continue...”

Not one to be a party pooper, I continued by
saying, “Look at the deficit, the trade imbalances,
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; not to mention,
the depreciating greenback, the anemic economy and the
jittery stock market that's wobbling around dazed
by the subprime housing scandal and credit crunch.
And that's just mentioning the more glaring problems
facing the country. It's simply outrageous!”

“Is that so...?” Glenn said with a straight face.
His jutting jaw was ‘steady as she goes’ in nautical terms.

But I countered with a ‘full speed ahead’ response,
and said, “If you don’t know the answer to those
questions, my telling you won’t make a bit of
difference. It would be like talking to myself, or
those seagulls out there!”

Seeing a slight tinge of red erupting from
the corners of his mouth, I knew things were
beginning to heat up.

“Let me ask the questions, if you don’t mind?”
His caustic tone nearly rattled the overhead
microphone’s booming extension.

“What’s your question?”

Taking a deep breath, he says, “Let’s move on...
You’ve stated that you’d like to sponsor a
Constitutional Initiative Ballot Amendment. Tell 
us about that.”

“Well, since we have a volunteer military, our
priorities have gone adrift. Previously, we had
the draft which I considered a litmus test to the
validity of our involvement in any military action.
A case on point, the Vietnam War... We nearly had
a revolution because those, whose lives were on
the line, didn’t think it was worth dying for.
And the draft resistance and protest marches
helped end that war. But not anymore...

“Excuse me. But you’re saying that the volunteer
military is nothing more than hired thugs?”

“There you go again, putting words in my mouth. 
Crudely put... But straight to the point.
Mercenaries, if you like, but patriotic souls
who have been abused. Don’t look at me like
that...! Their recruiters have painted a rosy
picture that’s filled with potholes, lies, deception
and a whole lot more. And if we had decent
challenging jobs, and opportunities for our
young folks, the military would be the last
place they’d seek employment. Volunteers
become the slaves of their master—the
U.S. government—and they can do what
they damn-well please with them. And I’d
say by their track record visible to all: they're 
doing it with absolute impunity. Pre-emptive
wars like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and God knows
where else, can only be stopped in two ways.”

Glenn sat his notepad on the mahogany coffee
table that stood between us; his cameramen rushing
about trying to get better angles for their
shots, and then says, “By reinstating the draft?”

“There you go again... Care to answer the 
question yourself?”

His eyes glared at mine for an instant,
but then his commercial veneer intervened
with a phony smile, and says, “You’re doing
just fine, Senator Hampton.”

I thought to myself, “First impressions
are deceptive. If I’ve ever learned anything
in life, a smiling and cheerful person who greets
you may very well turn into a snake and bite
you. That little piece of advice is something
worth remembering. Many times people who
give you a neutral or less than cordial welcome,
or first impression, are gun-shy, humble,
reserved, or otherwise being cautious—feeling
you out, so to speak. In many cases, you’ll
find that out when you get to know them better. 
That's how people fool you, the shy ones: they’re
the best folks you’ll ever meet in this life. The 
gregarious extroverts are the personalities that 
will more often than not, disappoint you. Not always,
of course--but much of the time.”

Having mulled my mistaken first impression
of Glenn over in my mind, I said, “Perhaps,
you’ve struck a nerve. I’ll accept that reinstating
the draft is not feasible, nor desirable. But what
is desirable is giving the American people the
opportunity to give their thumbs up or down to
war, or any other military involvement. And the
only way to do that is by having an initiative
ballot process in place at the federal level in 
order to let the People have a say on their country’s 
future and its direction. And by having a federal 
initiative ballot process, other issues could be 
addressed without demonstrations, violence, etc.”

Glenn’s eyes lit up, “Like balancing the budget,
civil liberty issues, the fiscal cliff issues and—“

“And extraordinary rendition, torture,
eavesdropping...among other issues,” I said,
mocking his clairvoyant behavior earlier on.

“Oh, my god...! It’s beginning to rain. I guess
we’ve got to cut this interview short, Senator
Hampton. But thank you for the interesting
interview. And I look forward to sitting down
with you at some future time and tackling the
problems of the country on your road to the
White House.”

His fake smile and words made me want to
throw-up, but I said, “Thanks for coming all the
way out here to Hoods Canal to enable me to
declare my candidacy for the Presidency of the
United States. Thank you so much...!”

He closed the interview with platitudes, etc.
to his adoring audience. Once the cameras had
been turned off, I asked everyone to come inside
and have a catered buffet luncheon. I avoided
Glenn throughout lunch, but put my best foot
forward when he and his crew was about to leave.
After shaking his hand, and being cordial, I
closed the door behind them, and said to my
campaign manager, “Steve, I won’t ever give
that man an interview ever again! Is that
understood?”

“Blindsided...?”

“You might say that... Goodnight. I’m tired.”

Steve let himself out of the house.

It’s a good thing the wife wasn’t here today, or
there’d really have been some fireworks. And I
don’t mean the Fourth of July variety...


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A Book Review by Harrison K. of -- Karmic Rendition: A Novel of Pancho Villa Avenged - 
F. Scott's latest published novel. He hopes you enjoy it as much
as he enjoyed writing it. The following two books are available
at: bangkokbooks.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (Nook),
Sony (& Political Instincts)KoboSmashwords and other fine 
stores & affiliates.

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Here are a couple of excellent previews of the following novels for your 
reading pleasure. If you like "The Walls Have Ears: A Novel 
of America"--perhaps you might enjoy these books penned 
by F. Scott. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.



Karmic Rendition: A Novel of Pancho Villa Avenged - Scott Sinclair - Google Books. 


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Al-Ahram Weekly | People | Limelight: Bourne to be a classic

A tribute to the world's best thriller writer: Robert Ludlum with a
quote or two from novelist F. Scott Sinclair in the process.