Ever wonder why billions of dollars have been spent to help Haitians and they still live in three-sided hovels? It’s because the Haitians never got the billions of dollars. And no, their president didn’t siphon it all off. It was mostly kept by the companies, foundations, charities, NGOs and international agencies that provide disaster relief. The people they help are helped at a high cost. That’s some scam, that disaster relief.
Bob Vs the Aliens
To read Writing DaysZ 1-7, go to ROFLtimes.com/BvA.pdf
The Haiti Scam
“There,” said Old Spice. For two days, the Alien had been sitting at a hole in the floor of the rail car working on something attached to the undercarriage. Now, the hole was covered and he was standing.
Piper, working the hand pump with Bob, faced forward. She looked past him to the Alien in polite inquiry. Bob glanced over his shoulder. “What?” Neither knew what Spice had been doing.
“You can stop pumping now.”
“Oh,” Piper smiled at him, “We’re there?”
“Where?” Bob looked around at the Alabama countryside, seeing only oak trees, littered fields and an occasional home.
“No,” said Spice, looking around with Bob. “We’re going to Colorado. I mean you can stop pumping now. I fixed the batteries.”
“Batteries?” Piper and Bob backed away from the hand pump. The rail car picked up speed.
“Wow,” Bob sat down and leaned his back on the pump housing. “Great!” He rubbed his arms. “My arms and shoulders are killing me.”
“Wimp,” Piper said, although she was smiling and rubbing her own arms. “Thanks, Spice.” He had picked up Lisbeth, the ventriloquist dummy. Piper told him, “See if you can learn how to throw your voice, Spice,” and whispered to Bob, “He needs things to do. He’s been depressed since the other aliens left him here.”
“Really,” Bob replied to both.
Spice turned one eye on them while turning the other inward. “I found ventriloquism on the Internet. The ‘Net’s slow though, now that power is going out everywhere.”
“That thing is designed to survive a nuclear war.”
“Look, a park,” Piper pointed ahead.
“Could be a golf course,” Bob thought aloud.
“It’s a cemetery.” The Alien had the advantage of built-in GPS. “We can spend the night in the Caretaker’s Shack.”
Bob looked at Piper. He wasn’t going to admit an unwillingness to sleep among the dead and from her expression, he surmised neither would she. “Fine.” Together, the two slowed the rail car and braked to a stop where a gravel path crossed the tracks. Poppies lined the path leading them to a small cottage. Inside, they found a front reception area lined with chairs and a side room, apparently, a gift shop.
“I’ve figured this thing out,” Spice indicated Lisbeth, now sitting on his arm, just as the back door opened and a man came in.
“Figured out what?” the man asked. He wore a suit and tie and carried a briefcase.
“Me,” Lisbeth smiled at the man. Spice explained, “I’m often misunderstood when I am trying to express myself in human language.” He glanced pointedly at Bob and Piper.
Lisbeth nodded. “Poor baby.”
“Therefore, meet Lisbeth, my official translator.”
Lisbeth offered her hand to the man. He stared at it, then shook his head and turned to Bob and Piper. Several other well dressed men and women were entering and taking seats. “Alien humor,” the man half-laughed. “I’m glad you could make it. This is a very important meeting. I’m Tyrone Kuuhn. You can call me Ty.” He shook their hands and turned to greet Spice but was met instead by Lisbeth’s outstretched hand. “Uh,” he waved at the other people, “We are here to facilitate the Aliens’ outreach to Earth.”
“Outreach?” Piper smiled.
“How could you possibly know we’d be here?” Bob wanted to know. “Is there a bug on that railcar?”
“Not exactly,” Ty said. “But there is a GPS locator on all railroad cars. They are needed for inventory control. So, when the Sheriff of Gay Camellia, Alabama reported a hand car missing right after you three had attended their diversity celebration, those of us who own railroads put this meeting together.”
“This is an outreach planning meeting?” Piper sounded interested. “Oooh. What does your group do?”
“Disaster relief. Always lots of money to be made there, but this! Well, civilization is collapsing. The potential boggles the mind.”
“How do you make money from disasters?” The well dressed people looked at Piper as if she were a child inquiring about sex.
“The money’s free,” explained Ty. “We use donations and taxpayer money to restore everything the victims need. Medical services, infrastructure, housing, even government. We do it all.” He smiled, “At a profit, of course.”
“Well, while you’re at it, why not improve things for the people?”
“Oh. No. That would bring a storm of criticism. Our donations would dry up. People might say we’re profiteering.”
“You are,” Bob said.
Ty winked but his eyes were cold, “No one thinks about profit as long as we leave things no better than they were.”
“So,” Lizbeth folded her arms. “Just what is this ‘outreach’ you have in mind?”
“Well,” Ty told her then caught himself and addressed Spice, “Everybody’s losing everything, so we cannot count on donations. We are going to have to raise taxes. That is why we need you.” Ty ignored Lizbeth’s raised eyebrow. “Governments find it is easier to raise taxes when the people feel threatened by an outside enemy. That’s you, my friend.” He smiled and placed a warm hand of friendship on Spice’s arm which Lizbeth promptly bit. “Ow!”
“I am not your enemy,” Spice told him.
“No, no! Of course not!” Ty glanced at the little bite marks on his hand. “We know that. Don’t we?” He waved at the other people in the room who all nodded assent. “And we don’t want anything to happen to you, do we?” The other people all shook their heads.
“If something did happen to us,” Bob’s tone was reasonable, “You’d lose your number one enemy and tax revenue would drop.”
“Exactly!” Ty beamed as if, finally, he was getting through. “Look at what happened to defense spending when the Soviet Union collapsed. We had to replace the Military-Industrial Complex with the Foreign Policy-Industrial Complex. Now, we rebuild nations!”
“But,” Piper asked Ty, “If people think we’re an enemy won’t we be in danger?”
“Not to worry, my good lady.” He handed her a slip of paper. “Log on to there. That website on the dark ‘Net will have threat information. It will alert you to incoming danger. And, it will let you know where to find food, water and shelter along your route to Colorado.”
By now, even Piper was suspicious. “How do you know we are headed to Colorado?”
“We do have contacts in the government. For some reason, DARPA has been investigating you.”
“Stene!” Piper’s hand flew to her mouth.
“Yes. That was the contact’s name.”
She turned to Bob. “Bob?”
“Stene tried to kill us already. Did you know that?”
It was impossible to tell from Ty’s face whether he knew or not. “Really! Well, don’t worry. Like I said, we can forewarn you of incoming danger. Once Old Spice downloads that URL I gave Piper, he will receive warnings, alerts, resource locations and other messages as needed.”
Piper held out the slip of paper. Lizbeth took it and showed it to Spice who read it with one eye, the other eye turning inward. “OKAY. Got it. Say, speaking of incoming, there’s a missile coming at us now. It’s about 80 seconds away.” Lizbeth did a doubletake at Spice’s face and screamed, “Incoming!” She kicked him furiously. “Get me out of here! Now! Now! Oh, damnit. Go! Go!”
Out the door they ran, down the path to jump onto the rail car. Spice jiggled the hand pump and the car lurched forward, picking up speed as the missile whooshed up the flower-lined path to disintegrate the Caretaker’s Cottage and some people in suits and ties and some briefcases.
“Faster Spice!” cried Piper. “I don’t want people raining down on me again!” She buried her face against Bob’s shoulder, “No, not again.”
“It’s OKAY,” he held her, whispering, “It’s OKAY, Piper.” He caressed her hair. “Ty Kuuhn bolted out the back. The rest, hell, it’s OKAY if some of those people died.”
It is amazing how many activities, rituals and products are credited with accomplishing something they have no effect on. The nostrums and quackery of the medical, diet and belief industries are well documented. But the social and political rain dances continue as if no one recognizes the sham.
… to be continued
(Follow Writing DaysZ to read Bob Vs The Aliens as it is being written. To read Writing DaysZ 1-7, go to ROFLtimes.com/BvA.pdf)