Q. Hello. Ray, here, at Paranoia Check where we say to the unzipped, the unglued, the madly awry, your crackers, your nuts, your bananas deep-fried: “If you see something, say something.” And remember: the If is always optional.
A. Hello. Is this the see something, say something line?
Q. Ah, the madly awry. What have you seen that would frighten God-fearing people? Or even people-fearing God?
A. Actually, I want to say something first.
Q. About something you’ve seen?
A. Not exactly.
Q. Hold the phone, Jerome. Have you seen something or haven’t you?
A. How did you know my name is Jerome?
Q. Just a wild bark, young dog.
A. Because my name isn’t Jerome.
Q. To which I wildly bark “So?”
A. Look, I saw something yesterday. But I don’t see it today.
Q. And was it worth saying something about yesterday?
A. No, which is why I said nothing.
Q. Call the “If you see nothing, say nothing,” line and don’t tell them.
A. I did. I said nothing about seeing something yesterday which turned into nothing today. They got a little shirty and gave me your number.
Q. What losers. They get calls about nothing with nobody saying nothing, and they whine about saying “Hello? Is anyone there? Hello?” And they hear nothing, which is what they’re paid for. Here, in the paranoid real world, something is always being seen by people who always want to foobing say so. By the way, nobody says shirty anymore.
A. Yesterday I drove by an old house on a corner.
Q. Imagine that.
A. Today I drove by the same corner and the house was gone.
A. Vanished. Vaporized. Visibly not.
Q. Was it torn down? Did you see a bulldozer or excavator nearby?
A. Yesterday, sure. But here’s the thing. Not today.
Q. You know, we get lots of calls from nut whisperers.
A. You mean people who whisper to nuts, or nuts who whisper to…?
Q. But you, Captain Pistachio, are so something I should call myself and say something. But the number would be busy and I’d have to put myself on hold and listen to crappy music and hear myself say “All of our staff listeners, i.e., me, are assisting other lost Waldos. Thanks in advance for holding your water.”
A. Uh, what happens when someone says they saw something?
Q. We have them repeat it. Then we repeat it to them. They either say “Exactly!” or “Are you even listening? I said ‘blah blah blah.’” Then we say “You mean ‘blah blah blah?’” And they either say “Exactamundo!” or something with the word foobing in it.
A. And if it’s exactamundo?
Q. We grab some guys with guns. They’re everywhere. Happy to help. We launch a raid at the exactamundo location. Almost always — at the very least, almost sometimes — the truth comes out and justice is done for.
A. What about the rule of law?
Q. Out of an abundance of caution, we err on the side of fear. Sometimes you’re paranoid because you’re paranoid. But other times you’re paranoid because something paranoidy seems to be going down-ish.
A. How did you know my name is Ish?
Q. Look, the rule of law is like the rule of the strike zone. Sometimes umpires call a ball a strike and sometimes they call a strike a ball and sometimes a guy will hit a ball that is a ball and not a strike and sometimes he takes a strike that looks like a ball and is, in fact, a ball. But sometimes, like that statue of Lady Justice with her blindfold, the umpire adjusts his sleep mask and shouts “Steeeerike-ish.”
A. Are you even listening? I said blah, blah, foobing blah.
Q. Hold your water, Captain. Just recruited four guys with Uzis. We’ll be right over.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.