Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Story of Jerome Littleflower, part 2

The tale of Patrick's brother's kidnapped gnome ... These emails were sent from in July 2006.

For those just joining us, please scroll below for part 1.

Installment 2:

Dear Timothy,

We notice that you have FAILED to provide the requested ransom at the requested time. This failure is inexcusable. Perhaps you do not realize we are serious. Perhaps you are one of THOSE men who do not take us seriously. Perhaps you would like us to show you our seriousness. Perhaps we will demonstrate our utmost serious nature!

Yes. We will. In order to prove to you how SERIOUS this business is, we will submit Jerome to the utmost, unspeakable, horrorific tortures. And then, if you do not respond, we will torture him again.

Not being familiar with the torture of gnomes (usually, the families of our victims RESPOND to save their loved ones, and if they don't we execute), we queried the Internet. "How to Torture a Gnome." Unfortunately, this only turned up "Torture Victim Wanted" and a silly website. If you are silly enough to be interested in the unadventures of a silly garden gnome, you may read it. Gunther. Humph.

We are talking too much. You have until 5:13 AM on Thursday, July 6 to deliver $15,000 worth of antique thimbles divided into 7 Chinese urns at the same address as before. (You notice we are giving you more time, you lazy, selfish man.) If you do not comply, Jerome will SUFFER!

Remember Jerome.

Respectfully yours,

Alexis, Allisha, Amanda, Amber, Angel, Angela, Anna, Becca, Beth, Bo, Caprice, Carmen, Chelsie, Dawn, Desiree, Devon, Diva, Grace, Kayla, Holiday, Idalys, Jasimine/Brandy, J.J., Katya, Lynette, Marianne, Michelle, Mickey, Rachelle 2, Rita, Robin, Sam, Sherrie, Sidney, Tamara and Zena

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Story of Jerome Littleflower, part 1

The tale of Patrick's brother's kidnapped gnome ...

Installment 1:

Dear Timothy,

We regret to inform you that we have kidnapped your gnome. We have taken him to a super-secret, undisclosed, impenetrable, remote, unobtrusive and clandestine hide-away. Do NOT attempt to find or rescue him! Any such attempts will result in your gnome's EXECUTION. We've done it before. We're not afraid to do it again.

Given your close, persistent and continuing ties to Jerome, we expect you will easily furnish a ransom. Please place $10,000 in denominations of 5s and 10s into a circa 1956 sewing kit and deliver it to 1823 M Street, NW, Washington DC 20036 by 4:24 PM on Wednesday, July 5. OR ELSE.

Jerome is counting on you.

Respectfully yours,

Alexis, Allisha, Amanda, Amber, Angel, Angela, Anna, Becca, Beth, Bo, Caprice, Carmen, Chelsie, Dawn, Desiree, Devon, Diva, Grace, Kayla, Holiday, Idalys, Jasimine/Brandy, J.J., Katya, Lynette, Marianne, Michelle, Mickey, Rachelle 2, Rita, Robin, Sam, Sherrie, Sidney, Tamara and Zena

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The news from Chile: Have your body swimsuit-ready by Christmas!

I arrived in Chile Sunday, December 9, after a painful red-eye flight that reminded me not to take for granted the joy of sleeping horizontally. Undeterred by my lack of quality sleep, I hit the street as soon as I got to my hotel in Santiago. I passed the afternoon quite pleasantly, wandering around an open-air antique market, taking the metro downtown to amble through the crowded pedestrian streets, visiting the dark, crowded cathedral, climbing the hill beside which the city was initially founded, avoiding the lovers groping in the park, and finding my way back to the hotel through a throng of people chanting "Duelo Nacional" (National Mourning) outside of a hospital. I deduced that General Pinochet was inside, following his heart attack a few weeks ago. (This was a terrific feat of analytical prowess, given all the people holding photographs of Pinochet.) It was only that evening back in my hotel when I saw on the news that Pinochet had died that day, a couple of hours before I passed the hospital.

The rest of the week passed pretty well. It's summer down in Chile, so I did get sunburned a few times (curses upon the travel restrictions restricting liquids in carry-ons). I toured Pablo Neruda's house, visited a museum of pre-Colombian artifacts, had dinner Chilean style at 9pm, visited a Naval museum out by the coast, had lunch in a vineyard, and oh, yeah, went to a few meetings for work. It was a great trip and I really learned a lot, including that Chileans go to the beach around Christmas and the following two months, that half the population of Chile lives in Santiago, and that "Smokers Welcome!" signs abound in restaurant windows, just meters away from government-sponsored posters announcing, "They are killing you," with a photograph of a man with a hole in his throat from a tracheotomy. One of the folks down there described Chile as, "Latin America for beginners," and I could see that. I felt more comfortable than I have in most other places that I've visited in the region (which is limited, admittedly), but it was definitely still Latin America, with both its perils and its charms. Pisco sour, anyone?

How to Survive Three Thanksgivings

For the first time ever, this year I spent Thanksgiving with a boyfriend. Actually, not one Thanksgiving, but three. On the Sunday before T-day, we had dinner with my dad, his wife Flo, her two kids, her mother, and my sister. It was an entertaining crowd and I was thrilled that Patrick not only ate but liked my cranberry sauce (he's not a fan of the Berry). On Thursday, we left at 4:30 am to drive down to NC to visit my mom, my sister (again), my mom's boyfriend and his daughter. Again, lots of eating, plus shopping and three movies in a day. Patrick nearly melted into a puddle of boredom at suggestion of watching a third movie, but hey, there's not much else to do in New Bern! Finally, we drove up to Patrick's parents' house in Chesapeake, VA where we visited the two of them and his brother. We also stopped in to see Patrick's grandmother, who is ill and living in a rehabilitation center nearby. I was really honored to go with them and to get to meet her. She's a pretty funny lady, and apparently has decided that Patrick has serious employment issues. Her very first question upon seeing us was, to Patrick, "Are you working in a kitchen?" She asked him again later if he was working in a kitchen (she has dementia). After a bit, she inquired how old he was, to which he responded "26," and then she advised him, "It's time to get married." She paused, and then added, "But get a job first." (Editor's note: Patrick is gainfully employed and never mind that marriage comment.)

In spite of all the driving (and one unfortunate speeding ticket incident) it was really a fun and relaxing break. I guess when there's nothing to do other than eat, shop, and watch movies, you can't help but relax. Oh, and how to survive three Thanksgivings? Having great company helps. But ultimately, I attribute it to being a vegetarian. Just the sides for me, thanks! (Ok, so maybe that just means I have extra room for dessert ...)

Princess Nijma

Princess Nijma