Two stories
by Martin Green


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2021 Earth-Meet


Author’s Note:  Given how bizarre events in the world & the US have become it’s impossible to satirize them, but I thought I’d post this anyway before things got even more bizarre.


The Council on Earth Matters Meeting, December 31, 2020


On the planet Spielberg, in a distant galaxy light years away and light years more advanced than Earth, the Council for Earth Matters was having its annual year-end meeting.    As readers may know the Council had been formed when it was discovered that intelligent life had somehow developed on the minor planet Earth, although in view of Earth’s history of wars, famines, plagues. natural disasters and more recently the CORONA-19 pandemic, tweeting, Facebook, reality TV, rap music, iPhones, Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi, a majority of Council members doubted this.


In any case, it was feared that Earth might advance to achieving intergalactic travel and therefore contaminate the universe.    From the start, the majority had advocated simply doing away with Earth, a simple matter for one of their battle space ships.  However, an equally solid minority had always managed to stave off this solution for various reasons, citing humankind’s aspirations to peace on earth and good will toward men, some artistic achievements, an occasional Einstein or DeVinci, Star Wars and the Fantasy Football League.


Now the Council Chairman asked the Secretary to briefly summaries Earth’s activity during the past year.    “The major event has been the pandemic, which has infected and killed millions. The reaction of Earth’s leaders has been mixed at best, especially in the United States where, like everything else, the pandemic has been politicized at every turn and so has been made even worse than it would otherwise be. The pandemic has caused an economic collapse and left millions of people unemployed. The minor conflicts continue, North Korea is still developing nuclear weapons, Iran is on its way to doing the same, China is determined to displace the United States as the world’s major economic power, and natural disasters have increased.  Oh, yes, an election was held in the United States and a mediocre politician who promised normalcy was selected to replace Donald Trump, who, as might be expected, has refused to accept his defeat.  However, some vaccines have been developed and have begun to be distributed in an uneven way, sports have resumed and the National football League has completed its regular season.”  


“I see,” said the Chairman.   “Any comments.”


“The Earth is just as bad as ever, if not worse,” immediately said the head of the anti-Earth faction, whose name was Worff and might have some Klingon blood in him.  “Let’s end its misery now once and for all and extinguish it.”


“Just a minute,” said Smurff, the leader of the pro-Earth faction, who might have some planet Xanadu blood. “The pandemic has affected the Earth like no pandemic before. The Secretary said that some vaccines have been developed.  Shouldn’t we give them a chance to use them and see how things are then?”


“The removal of Trump is at least a small improvement, too, isn’t it?” interjected another pro-Earth member.


“That remains to be seen,” said Worff  “I see no reason to believe that human beings will any better than before after the pandemic is over, if it is. There’ll be the usual wars, famines and bad TV shows.    And the United States is so divided it might erupt into Civil War. Also, I’m getting tired of these meetings.  Let’s end it.”


“Shall we take a vote?” asked the Chairman.


“You forget one thing,” said Smurff.  “The National Football League has completed its regular season.  That means the playoffs and the Super Bowl are to come. The Fantasy Football League is still in full swing.”


“Hmmm, that’s true,” said the Chairman, “and I’d like to recoup the money I lost last season. Who was it that told me the Jets were the team to watch?”


“I propose we hold a meeting after the Super Bowl, said Smurff. That will allow time to see what happens after the vaccines start to start taking effect and after a new administration takes over in the United States.”


“Nothing will change. Things may even get worse,” grumbled Worff.”


“We shall see,” said the Chairman, rapping his gavel.  “Meeting adjourned.  Refreshments will be served in the anteroom.”



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Pandemic E-Mail
by Martin Green



Although my brother Jake and I grew up together in New York we were never really close.  For one thing he was five years older.  For another after I returned from the Army after Korea I left New York and came out to California.  Jake was the successful brother.  He got a job in an ad agency when that business was taking off and wound up being a vice president of something or other.  I was a lowly civil servant with the State for many years before retiring at the age of sixty.  At the time when the pandemic started Jake, who was closing in on 80, was in a senior home in Manhattan, an expensive one.  He’d never married.  I was in a retirement community with my wife Sally.  We had two sons.


Sometime in April I was surprised to get an e-mail from Jake.  It said:  “You probably know the virus is pretty bad here in New York. I’m staying put in my apartment.  No more going down to our restaurant. They deliver our meals.  If anyone leaves they’re in quarantine for a couple of weeks.  They don’t want what happened to nursing homes to happen here.  How are things in California?  Let me know.  Jake”


I e-mailed back:  “Glad to hear from you.  California isn’t as bad as NY.  That virus is zeroing in on us old guys so we’re sheltering in place, even ordering in our groceries.  Hope things get better in NY.”



A few weeks later I got another e-mail from Jake.  “Glad to hear from you, too.  How is Sally doing, and your sons?  I’ve forgotten just what it is they do.  Things are a little better here.  We can eat in the cafeteria.  Didn’t you have a hip replacement?  How’s that going?  My knees are OK but I can’t walk too far.  That’s what comes from playing too much handball.”


I e-mailed back and told Jake that Sally was doing OK, occupied with her watercolor paintings.  I described the jobs our sons had and said that my hip was mostly OK.  A few weeks later Jake e-mailed:    “Glad Sally is doing well, my nephews, too.    Bad news here, a lady I know tested positive. They say it was from someone who works here.  He’s in quarantine and so is she.  So far nobody else I know of has been infected.  Stay safe.”


I e-mailed back and in a few days Jake replied that the lady had been in the hospital but had recovered and was now back.  We started exchanging e-mails about once a week.  He was very interested in what our sons were doing.  He also asked me for the first time about what I was writing as he knew I’d become some kind of writer after I retired.  I told him to look at Storystar.


In November Jake e-mailed me:  “Well, at least Trump will be gone.  What do you think we’d call him if he showed up at the handball courts.  I’d say a meatball or maybe a stiff.  Things are bad once again here and no one’s going anywhere.  I hope you and Sally are staying put.  The good news is that there’s a vaccine.  I hope the pols don’t screw it up and we get it pretty soon.  We’ll see.  I read one of your things, not bad.”    


A week before Christmas Jake e-mailed:  “Things still pretty bad here and I guess just as bad in California.  Can you let me have the addresses of my nephews?  I want to send them a little something for Christmas.”


In January Jake e-mailed again:  “I’m glad that 2020 is over.  Things still bad here but we may get the vaccine soon.  I don’t know if I’ll be up to it but maybe I can get out to California if things get back to nearly normal later in the year.  Would like to see you and Sally and my nephews.  Stay safe until the vaccine comes.”  



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