‘Say it with me, baby,’ she almost cooed. Pon-chik, п-о-н-ч-и-к, ponchik. Ooey-gooey fried sugar, the donuts of my motherland. Made the right way—unlike yours. Well, the Crispies almost do it, the Dunkers not so much. Ponchik.’
‘Say? I say it’s time to throw this phone in the river,’ he said, looking ruefully at the aging Android. ‘Nothing but robocalls, threats, and idiots calling in.’
‘Say, ponchik,’ she again almost cooed, leaning up towards his face and sliding her hands inside his jacket and around his ribs. ‘Pon—’
‘Ponchik,’ he finally uttered.
‘Good boy. But, no, please do not pollute our beautiful river. Just dump it in one of those recycling bins maybe? I think there’s one at the university. I know there’s one at the mall. Malls. And we probably just passed one or more in the park.’ She paused for a moment and batted her eyes at him. ‘And did you get the other new phone this week?’
‘I did,’ he said.
‘The silly flip phone design?’
‘Silly, old, plain, and simple,’ he admitted. ‘Perfect for family and very close old friends back in the distant country. I call it the family phone, in fact. And if that number ever leaks to the wider old dark world, then I can just scrap it and get another cheapy. The crap calls and texts and old address emails all go to this ancient phone anyway. No real reason to keep it.’
‘Then don’t,’ she said. ‘Flip for the family, and for us, the sleek, sexy new Huawei.’
‘The sexy Huawei? And you just called me, baby, you know, right? We’ve got eye batting, long close stares, and you keep breaking the touch barrier. Trying to tell me anything?’ He locked his eyes with hers and imparted another little kiss to her cute nose.
‘I like you,’ she said, holding his gaze and then subtly biting her lower lip.
‘Like me how much?’
‘Like a lot, and I’ll tell you all about it,’ she said, happily snapping back and upright again. ‘Maybe with a ponchik! But first, you will tell me about that last call, which I know had something to do with the news, your presentation, and your vacillating mood. So tell me.’
‘Ponchik,’ he said.
‘Tell me about the call. Why you ended it like you did. And why you want to send the phone to the fishies. Walk and talk.’
Because he thought he could at this point, and that he should, and because he wanted to, he wrapped his arm around her slender waist before turning towards the southwest. She responded as he had hoped she would, wrapping herself around him, and resting her head on his shoulder as they began to inch forward. And so, as the afternoon sun slowly began to fade and the shadows grew longer around them, they exited one park for another in a beautiful city of parks. The bitter cold of the previous day had receded to a normal autumn cool, a thrill and a respite. His nose caught a similar olfactory note—something sweet in the changing air. Part of it was her, her hair and perfume, though something reminded him of cotton candy. Another couple enjoying the glad end of a brilliant day, semi-entwined, they walked on. And he began to tell her.
‘You are perceptive, baby,’ he said. ‘I like you for many reasons, that being just one. A curious, intelligent, and well-read woman. Beautiful to top it all off! Svelte body to carry a sharp mind and a gorgeous face to wrap a keen wit. Back home, away, I used to know a smart Persian woman. She was high above the local average, but she —even with her lineage— had never even heard of the Shahnameh. I meet you and, of course, you’ve read Ferdowsi. Full of surprises and all of them pleasant. You’re prettier than her too … and she was pretty.’
‘She wasn’t part of the problems, then?’
‘Well, she was, in an indirect way, connected to them. But, no, hers was a different outlook. Different from the norm. Maybe it wasn’t such an indirect way, but I could never fault her. If she had an inclination for the usual blindness, she always kept it to herself. Unlike most others. When they could be bothered inclining any which way. It’s strange, but since I’ve moved here, they seem more disposed than ever to inform me of their notions and positions. That last old acquaintance who just called informed me, concerning the late developments, something along the lines of, Why should we care about Jews and Muslims killing each other? I just hope they exterminate themselves.’
‘That’s beyond callous,’ she said with a sigh. ‘It’s just wrong. So supposedly Christian Americans care nothing for Christian Middle Easterners? Or anyone else? It speaks to something wicked beyond mere ignorance. Your deflection of reluctance, as kind as it is, may gloss over regrettable malice. That’s becoming almost the universal assessment of them. Are they really like that?’
‘Many of them, sadly,’ he said. ‘In ways. It’s certainly the propensity of the ruling clown elite, a frame of mind without a gloss. But as for the common people, my people especially, while there is a bitterness to it, it’s usually more the case of a lack of interest mixed with hasty, unthoughtful words. A malingering frame of mind, perhaps. Others are blind, willfully blind homers, as we call them, terminally provincial. In their defense, they have a lot of problems, most of which they don’t know or want to understand how to handle.’
‘Even when something on the outside affects them in more ways than they know?’ she added.
‘Particularly then,’ he said.
As they walked, they alternated their gazes between the river on one side and the changing grounds on the other. They slowed to watch men working with a small crane as they erected a tubed metal snow slide for the coming winter. There was considerable clanging and clattering. A hint of diesel mixed with the cotton candy and spurred them to walk on.
‘You were, you know, speaking to them today,’ she said. ‘As if to channel something, maybe something subconscious their way. Pardon me, or not, but I think many of them are, if only a little and not all their own fault, stupid and evil. What else could possibly explain the mass missing of so many points? Such an important lesson? Such a critical set of facts?’
‘Your guess is as good as mine, and maybe better, pretty girl. Still, I will defend them because I think I really know their hearts and minds. And their situation. Being down and out, having lost control of their land, and knowing they are locked into a reality they don’t like acts to desensitize many of them. The smarter ones know, at some level, what has truly happened. Where they are and where they’re headed. The retreats into the past and the closing of minds and charities are in many ways defensive. Their predicament is almost identical, if not entirely, to that of the Palestinians. Both peoples are hemmed in, hated, and dehumanized. They have both lost their sacred lands. All of it caused by the same sort of demonic people-haters, many of them being one and the same, afflicting both peoples and so many others beyond. It is remarkable that at least the one group fights back. Maybe theirs is the worst plight, that they understand their backs are against the wall and rifles are being loaded in front of them. As I keep saying, I am afraid things will have to worsen back home before they can come to a similar determination. That is, if time allows.’
‘All the more reason to pay damned attention!’ she said somewhat indignantly. ‘What is the problem? Where do they get their news and information?’
‘From the CIA mostly. As distributed throughout the mainstream media and the political and cultural quote-unquote leadership. As with most important issues, with this latest episode, every fake, gay politician and all the fake news sources repeat the same lies. It’s nearly uniform across the combined West. One would think that after so many other deceptions they would be on guard, but one must never underestimate the gullible naivete of Americans. I’m not even a little relieved to watch them fall for the Nine-Eleven BS again, almost from the same script, without thought or question. I wonder if many of them have noticed that, at the drop of the hat, they’re commanded to switch their allegiance from Ukraine to Israel. In their fog and delusion, they are rather truth-resistant. And, in this case, it fits with the Christian-Zionist doctrine many of them have held for a century or more.’
‘Which may be pro-Zionist, but certainly isn’t Christian. Blindness,’ she huffed. ‘But the truth is out there if they could be bothered to look for it. To read and see as someone put it. The majority of the world knows what’s going on. Recap. Walk me through just the more recent examples they can’t see.’
‘Okay. I’m assuming that what happened in Palestine the other day was either facilitated by a Western-style breakdown of competence or a green flag—not a false flag—in order to goad the attack and further goad the wicked Yankee empire into action. Whether that’s against Iran or just helping to genocide the poor people of Gaza I do not know. It looks or feels like someone may, for once, be playing the master conmen with some grand reverse trap. There’s too much going on, too fast for anyone to see clearly. Only time will tell how it all works out in the end. But my point is that when Hamas was given the chance or when they sensed weakness, they were ready. And they pulled off something amazing, even if only for a day or two. Something almost completely unheard of, almost unimaginable.’
‘Do you think they’ve been set up?’ she asked. ‘And do you suppose they knew or suspected that was the case and decided to press their luck?’
‘The former, perhaps. The latter, most likely.’ He thought for a moment and continued: ‘As for their luck, they really have nothing to lose. They’ve been cornered and cornered again, closer and closer. Kind of like my people, but much worse, on much harsher terms. By conventional wisdom, they should be in the active process of being exterminated, but somehow they stubbornly hang on. For all their hardships they still have children and families. Facing much less dire circumstances, my Americans appear to have given up and are going along with their destruction. They’ve suffered a net casualty loss equal to the whole population of Gaza in just the past five years or so. It’s almost impossible to discuss it intelligently with the survivors. With all their credit cards, all their guns, and all their talk, all they do is sit, suffer, and die off.
‘With the real prospect of faster elimination hanging over their heads, in, again, far worse shape, and with far fewer resources, the Palestinians resist. I think they know their days are or could be numbered—a short number either way— and so they are determined to either free themselves, catch the sympathy of someone who can help free them, or else go down swinging. It’s inspiring in a terrible and sad way. They passed the Sun Tzu 101 test; they know themselves and their enemy. And they accept and incorporate advances in modern, or postmodern warfare. They just did many or most of the things I’ve been observing and discussing for years.’
‘That is the exciting part, the really inspiring part,’ she added.
‘It is. They watched and learned all the lessons. Those from their own land, and from Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Syria, and Ukraine. And they applied them. That triple insertion attack was brilliant and beyond anything they should have been able to pull off or that anyone would have assumed they were capable of. Of the combined air, land, and sea assaults, the land and air campaigns were the most important and the most effective. As was reaching out in many directions simultaneously. For a while, they effectively doubled the operational size of Gaza and almost looked like they were trying to create a bridge from there to the West Bank.
‘Their rocketry is beginning to resemble something the regular military of a nation-state might possess. Learning all the right lessons, over just the past few years, they’ve made incredible advancements in range, accuracy, and power. And the quantity of the things is a quality of its own. Since 2021, their missile attacks have had a real effect—more than just one. And now they’ve incorporated drone warfare into their tactics. At first, I thought I was watching footage from Ukraine. But they’ve managed to assemble a host of capable devices which now allow them to perform aerial monitoring as well as bomb troop formations and destroy tanks and facilities. All or most of these weapons are homemade, built under draconian sanctions and surveillance. I heard rumors, and I’ve now seen videos proving they also have shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles—mostly older, maybe Soviet-era models, as modified. And they probably have obtained more, possibly much more indirectly from the evil empire by way of Afghanistan or Ukraine.
‘The lightning strikes on the ground were equally impressive. The operational planning, well executed. Taking territory, inflicting damage, and destroying or capturing equipment and personnel. The Merkava, the Iron Dome, Net-a-yahoo’s wicked mind, the greatest surveillance state, and the vaunted legend of the IDF itself have all been exposed as lacking. Virtually no one back in the States gets or accepts the motivation, but taking hostages, military and civilian, makes a degree of sense. I read about a suggested prisoner exchange, though the idea of human shields is manifestly obvious—though I’m not sure the tactic will work as advertised or threatened. I don’t think Israel puts too much value on those people and, unfortunately, we’ve already heard the IDF is willing to shoot through the human shields, par for their rapacious course. I know it would have been extremely difficult, but they should have grabbed one or two higher-value pledges. At any rate and most interestingly, for a day, they managed to turn the casualty tide. Like my people, the Palestinians are always on the lop-sided receiving end of the conflict. I really and truly wish more folks back home would bother to learn a little about the history of the conflict, especially before they fall for lies and start ranting on my phone.’
‘Do you think any of your Southerners will learn anything from this episode?’ she asked.
‘A very few,’ he said with some difficulty. ‘The majority either don’t know what to think or can’t be bothered to care. As such they cannot appreciate what has happened and what it might look like if they ever tried to fight back. The equivalent would be if men of, say, South Carolina turned off the TVs, got off their couches, and stormed Fort Jackson. Or Fort Rainbow or whatever it's called now. While scattering the carpet-baggers on foot towards Charlotte. While taking some homo-pedo politician prisoner. And all while peppering Atlanta with ballistic missiles. For now, however, I assume they’re content to talk about the past, vote for failed idiots who hate them, overdose, and die.’
‘And I assume you will, for a little while longer, still keep trying to reach them? To light a fire or two?’
‘I’m trying. I’ve an idea to write some science fiction stories about Robert E. Lee time traveling into the present and trying to wake the remnant based on what is actually going on these days.’ He paused for a moment and scanned the streets. ‘Here, come on! We’ve got a bus waiting right now, so let’s make the return trip a little faster. A tram with an open door looks like a sign.’
They quickly boarded the neat, clean bus, and soon found themselves rolling and swaying down the wide street. Having walked for over an hour since lunch, their feet relished the short break. But over the rising and falling hum of the engine, the chattering of fellow passengers, and the sporadic announcements of the driver, their conversation continued:
‘With your sci-fi, couldn’t you pick someone with a positive Win Above Replacement rating? What about the, the, um, General Bear-robard? Er, Beauregard?’ she asked.
‘W-A-R means about as much to them as any other set of statistics,’ he said with a slight sigh. ‘You, again, continue to impress, young miss. But for them, math equals bad or something, and, at any rate, Lee is sacrosanct. Yes, PGT, Forrest, and Jackson were the highest-rated generals, not so far off the exaggerated but winning legend of Grant. Of the bunch, I guess that Forrest would have best realized the importance of what we’re discussing and been able to rapidly implement something similar. Here again, I think Lee would get the message too. That’s where my stories will kind of go. If they go.’
‘And as things in reality go, do you now suspect Palestine will have hell to pay?’ she asked. ‘Continuing to impress, I hope, I suppose they will. If part of their objective was to lure in outside support, from Hezbollah or Iran, for instance, then the results have been a little lacking so far. And now the blockade begins.’
‘True, so far as we can see. But we cannot see very far or very well. Things are heating up all over,’ he said. ‘The counterattack and siege is on, preplanned or otherwise. If the war can’t be broadened beyond Israel, then I suppose the powers will be content to either devastate or completely cleanse and obliterate Gaza. They’ve cut off everything from the outside, including food and power. They’re carpet bombing apartment blocks and hospitals and now they’re not even roof-knocking as a warning. They’ve literally told the civilians to get out or die. We have the real threat of another genocide in the making if things don’t change. Of course, the empire that couldn’t be bothered to defend its own ship from an IDF attack, or ever secure its own porous border, can instantly dispatch a carrier task force to help murder more innocent people trapped in a giant concentration camp. One assumes the queer Republicans, their Tantric bitches, and that braindead AI fake president are salivating over more blood for their master. At least they, their media pets, and their allies have again been shown to be exactly the worthless, foaming-at-the-mouth, murderous scum they are. Screaming and whooping for war crimes. All the kinder, saner, and wiser countries are, of course, calling for diplomacy. But things may get very ugly, even more than normal, very fast—regardless of whether or not anyone else intervenes or the battle spreads. One glimmer of hope is that Hezbollah’s boast of possessing semi-modern anti-ship missiles turns out to be more than a boast. They or the Revolutionary Guard. What terrible hope.’
‘Do you think they could do it?’ she asked.
‘Possibly, but it’s doubtful. The shot probably isn’t in the cards anyway. Who knows? The Confederacy certainly can’t do that or anything else of value,’ he said.
‘Sink the Ford!’ she almost sang. ‘A fantastic, if fantasy battle cry. Let me ask your opinion—what do you think of the overall odds? For the evil alliance?’
‘It’s hard to say, though we know they lose in the end,’ he said. ‘They can’t beat China. I think they’re beginning to accept that. They know they can’t even touch Mother Russia or do anything except make her stronger. I think even Iran is now beyond their reach in terms of victory. They can still cause much damage and instability.’
Looking eagerly out the window at something, he took her hand at the next stop. ‘Let’s get off here,’ he said, leading her to the doors.
‘And walk back to the office?’ she asked.
‘Not yet,’ he said. ‘Somewhere in the other direction first.’
‘Somewhere where and what?’ she asked as they began walking down another street.
‘Somewhere and something we’ve already talked about,’ he said. ‘Or, if we like, it can be a surprise!’
‘Very well then,’ she said happily. A block onwards, she asked, ‘No Samson option?’
‘I think that is more of a word spell, like the rest of the lies, than any kind of operational capacity. And I don’t see the GAE being able to contribute that way either. Whereas the one is built purely on a myth, the other is dissolved in a mire of incompetence and lost engineering ability. No, it stays conventional, and it looks like a long, painful, if losing battle for the alliance. I’m not even sure they can take Gaza, as we’re talking about the people defeated by the Taliban—no disrespect to them. And the other fronts, ignored or otherwise, still burn away.’
‘Except in America,’ she said.
‘Except there,’ he said, clarifying, ‘as concerns the Americans. North America is an active front, it's just that my people won’t join the fight. Not yet, so long as a little material comfort is left to them in their decline and despair. I really hope they don’t end up in the exact same situation, with mere desperation as the only alternative to extermination. Time will tell. And now I think it’s ponchik time.’
They came to a stop on the sidewalk, and she asked, ‘Ponchik time?’
He pointed up at a sign and said: ‘П-о-н-ч-и-к О-в-а-я, Ponchik Oviah. Your favorite donut shop. Three for two-forty. We’ll split the third one and have some coffee.’
‘Those things are five hundred calories each!’
‘Ooey-gooey fried calories! With coffee. Or tea. And you were going to tell me how much you like me.’
Even as he began to reach for the door, she pulled his hand back. Right there, squeezing him tight, she planted a long and fairly lecherous kiss on him. After a minute or more, and one hoot of approval from a passerby, she tenderly broke off her affections. ‘What does that say?’ she asked as he temporarily reeled as if from a soft, sweet-scented blow.
‘That says Mississippi gals have stern competition!’ he finally exclaimed, still feeling a rush running up and down his spine. ‘You have—’
‘I have no competitors, my sweet babydoll,’ she cooed—it was definitely a coo this time, though tinged with a command of almost haughty authority. ‘But I will have tea. With ponchik!’
‘And I,’ he said smugly, ‘will have more of your explanation of how much you like me.’
Outside the little shop, traffic buzzed and the sun slowly sank. Inside, murmurs of warfare gave way to nectarous talk about surprising, unlooked-for delight. As several kinds of sugar flowed into the early evening, a happy bear on a circular wall sign smiled down on a blissful unfolding. Another worthy exchange was made.
Perrin Lovett is a novelist, author, and small-time meddler. He is a loveable, unobtrusive somewhat-right-wing Christian nationalist residing somewhere in Dixie. The revised second edition of his groundbreaking novel, THE SUBSTITUTE, is available from Shotwell Publishing and Amazon. Find his ramblings at www.perrinlovett.me. Deo Vindice!