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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Motor Vehicle Licensing Agency

                                            THE MOTOR VEHICLE  LICENSING AGENCY

Forget the Church, forget Capitol Hill: this is the seat of power and reverence in America. This is where you can, if you’re good, get a permit. I have one finally. I hold it up, as a priest holds up the Host. I have been to the Promised Land, and returned with a driving license. Not the first time, or even the second or third, for nothing good comes easy. But, I learned the Vehicular Truth, I walked the line, I stood in line, I did not cross the line, because a Gorgon was guarding it. A Gorgon turns you to stone with just one look. They only had threes Gorgons in the whole of Ancient Greece: they have five in every Motor Vehicle Licensing Agency throughout the state of New Jersey.

I bowed my head when I came to the front of the line. I did not look directly into her eyes, for she was fearsome. I have very shiny buttons on my shirt, and I looked at her legendary face in one of those.

I gave her my UK driving license, and softly asked to be allowed to drive the wide-open New Jersey freeways. She looked at my UK license with disdain.

-We got a Russian here, she yelled to her superior. What do we do with Russians?

-I’m not Russian, I whispered.

She glared at me, rising to her full height. I adjusted my button nervously to follow her, and it came off in my hand.

-We got a Russian with attitude, she said, and he’s holding everyone up.

I looked around at everyone I was holding up. They all had their heads bowed in reverence: the young, the old, the rich, the poor, priests, nuns, drug dealers, drunks, Mafia bosses, actors, pimps, homecoming queens of either sex, and the homeless. All waiting in line, hoping to be called, praying that the pain would not last too long, or prove unendurable. The Mafia boss lifted his eyes and shook his head silently at me: you don’t mess with the New Jersey Motor  Vehicle Licensing Agency.

She held my UK license up to the light, and pointed.

-UK, she growled. The Ukraine. That’s in Russia, aint it? You think I’m stupid?

You won’t believe what happened next.

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Charles Chickens 1

He was a boy once. His name was Charles and he talked to chickens, so they called him Charles Chickens. He didn’t just talk to chickens: he loved them; they were his whole world. Every day he used to feed them, give them water, play hide-and-seek with them, and if a hen got broody and wanted to go for a walk, he would even sit carefully on her egg for her and not move a muscle until she got back. He was ten years old and other children his age thought he was mad and wouldn’t play with him but he was never lonely because he had seventy-two chickens to keep him company.

Towards the end of summer, when the trouble began, Charles began to walk like a chicken. He kept his back perfectly straight, moved his head stiffly to and fro and waggled his elbows solemnly in time to a chicken music that only he could hear. As he moved, he would pick up his feet slowly and carefully put them down again, never shuffling or dragging them like other children. It was when Charles walked around the house like this and started to eat like a chicken that his parents began to get concerned.

-Charles, his father said one night at dinner , don’t flap at the table, it’s very rude.

“I am Charles, King of Chickens” , chanted Charles

“ No bird will be soup who follows me”