As promised, my part of the latest incarnation of Feisty Fiction is now complete.
For the first chapter, go here. You need to read that first or the below won't make sense.
Go ahead, we'll wait....
Back already? Then here goes:
Collar & Cross
Jake Cole stared at himself in the mirror of the men’s room trying to figure out if circumstances were conspiring against him. He needed a long drag. And a scotch.
He knew he was alone in the cold room. The urinals were pristine white against the institutional teal of the tiled walls. The cold was pervasive, climbing his legs after seeping into his shoes and coming at him from the wall and ceiling too.
He turned his back on the mirror, again attacking the bizarre circumstances of the day, tempted to violate the prohibition and light a smoke. He decided against it. Suddenly, a warmth flooded through him, beginning in his belly and rising and spreading throughout. “Great”, he thought to himself. “I’ve survived all the bullshit so that I could have a heart attack in a fucking bathroom a mere six steps from the morgue. That’s efficient, if a sad commentary on my miserable existence.”
“Hey, Numb Nuts, turn around.”
Jake knew that voice. He knew it as that belonging to a dead man. Now he could add auditory hallucinations to his heart attack symptoms.
“Turn around, Partner.”
Against his better judgment, Jake turned around. He was still alone, except the face that looked back at him from the mirror was not his own. It was Dave.
“Hey, buddy.” Jake had no response. He wasn’t going to start talking back to his hallucinations. “I’m not a hallucination.”
No, but you can read my mind, clearly.
“And, clearly, you are still an asshole.” Dave said from the mirror.
“Okay, I’ll play along: How ya been, Dave.”
“Got fast-tracked, so, not bad. Thanks for what you said at the service, by the way.” Dave was smiling at him in that way that had always irked him.
“So, what, you were there? Listening?”
“Not exactly…I sort of got the cliff’s notes version.”
“Right. Well, what can I do for ya, Dave?” If he was going crazy, he was going all-in.
“Listen, they’re making a huge exception here and I don’t have a lot of time. You need to stake her out. You hear me? Stake out.”
“Right. Stake out. Just ‘cause I’m a little slow, stake out who, exactly?”
“You know who. The chick with the eyes. The Chateline.” Jake blinked, then tilted his head, grimaced, and came back to center. Stake out the weird chick, he thought.
“That’s right.” Dave nodded from the mirror.
“You bringing the coffee?” Jake asked the image.
Dave gave him that look, the one that called him a dumbshit without using any words. Partners sucked.
“Okay. I’ll stake out the weirdo, just for you. She’s hot, maybe she’s not careful with her drapes. Anything else I can do for you from this side of the mirror?”
Dave’s final words were spoken into Jake’s head without the image’s lips moving. “Yeah. Be careful and…Patrick’s okay.”
Jake felt like he’d been gut-punched. Patrick, his son. He’d never told anyone his name for his son. Patrick. He choked back an unexpected sob as the warmth left him. When he looked up, Dave was gone.
A stake out for one on a tip from a ghost? He was going to need more than a single drag and a double. He needed a whole pack and a bottle.
Jake walked into the holding room where Lyric Chateline had been waiting while he communed with spirits in the men’s room. She sat on the far side of the table, very composed and very still. He felt the perverse need to make enough noise to break her out of her calm.
He slid the legal envelope across the table to her and she looked up at him with her big, needy eyes, one blue, one green. “Miss Chateline, your sister’s effects have been released. If you’ll complete the form inside, the ME will release her body to whichever funeral home you designate.”
She took it all in without responding.
He walked back to the door, but stopped mid-way, having rethought it. He turned and made eye contact again. She’d been watching him walk away. “I’m very sorry for your loss.”
She looked at him quizzically, as though not sure she appreciated the sentiment. He turned and speedily exited, as though the hounds of hell were after him.
It had been a very bizarre day.
Billy O’Toole rubbed his still-hot cheek. The unshed tear was still bright in his eye. He couldn’t believe that Father Jimmy had slapped him. He hadn’t been any slower than normal, so why did the priest hit him? It wasn’t fair. The Father had dropped the bible, not Billy. He pulled his robe back over his head, hung it on the peg, and ran out of the church, hoping to find the others.
Father James Francis DiCarlo was also removing his uniform. He couldn’t get it off fast enough. The collar seemed to be burning him. He pulled it from his neck and removed his black shirt, unbuttoning it quickly. He also pulled off his undershirt, looking down as he did at the place on his chest that ached.
There, burned indelibly in his pale white skin was a scorching red mark in the shape of a cross. The skin was tender to his touch and burned red pain when probed. His fingers gently touched his neck and found the same pain there, fiery, hot, unrelenting. The priest’s knees buckled and he went down.
He sat on the couch in their apartment, surrounded by silence. The only sound to break the quiet was the steady rasping of the knife on the stone. The blade slowly quickened, sharpening to a whisper.
The steady repetitive drawing of the knife, first this way, then that, helped him to focus his mind. She was late. He already knew that she hadn’t done as she’d promised. It still wasn’t done. He would have to make her understand. He would have to hurt her this time.
He paused in his work for another pull on his bottle. The fiery liquid burned all the way down to his belly. He used to feel it more sharply, but that was fading too. Like everything else.
Jake crouched awkwardly on the camp stool that was usually buried in the trunk of his car. A cardboard box sat beside him serving as his coffee table, his thermos full of the piping hot solution to any stakeout.
The rest of his environs left a lot to be desired. The building had been condemned, but Jake was nothing if not resourceful. His perch on the fourth floor, in the corner apartment, gave him a perfect vantage point. Lyric Chateline’s apartment was just across the street. He could see into both her bedroom and living room.
As his subject wasn’t yet home, Jake busied himself with an expert-level Sudoku puzzle. He could usually complete these handily, but found himself too distracted on this night. As he was pouring a warm-up, the lights came on in the apartment across the way.
Jake observed as the young woman put groceries away. He watched as she folded laundry. So far, just an ordinary stakeout: a complete waste of time. At 7:46 p.m., she pulled a salad out of the refrigerator and ate it standing up in the kitchen while watching some celebrity news program. “Dear God, spare me,” he thought to himself. Jake was keeping his notes scrupulously out of habit.
8:05 p.m. – undresses (no peek) and showers
8:21 p.m. – subject out of shower, in bedroom.
Giddy up! The towel hit the floor and Jake got a good view, thanks to his binocs, of a firm young body. Exhilarating as it was, it made him feel old and, if he was being honest with himself, a little dirty. Not so much that he looked away though. The perks of stakeout work were few.
Soon, the young woman was clothed again. She had turned out the lights in the bedroom and returned to the living room. After dispensing with the television by remote, she pulled her coffee table toward her and lit a candle. She got up to turn off the lights in that room, prompting Jake to switch to his other binoculars with the special night vision feature.
She sat on the couch with only the slight glow of a single candle to keep her company. Jake watched as Lyric pulled a manila envelope out of a bag on the floor. He knew that envelope, knew the contents well. Now we’re getting somewhere, he thought.
Lyric pulled a bulky object out of the envelope. The sweater. Had to be the sweater. She opened it reverently, laid it on the coffee table, then knelt on the floor. It looked to Jake, the way she dropped her head, as though she might be…praying? To a sweater? Right.
She brought her head back up and leaned over the table, blowing out the candle. Despite the darkness, there was still a glow in the room. It was faint, but clearly detectable with his binocs, and seemed to be emanating from the buttons on the sweater. Lyric stood and Jake watched as she began to remove her pants. Maybe he was in for another striptease? Not her pants, but…a belt? Jake’s phone rang and he reached for it on his makeshift table, flipping it open as he held the binoculars with one hand.
“Yeah?” he said by way of greeting.
“Detective Cole?” a female voice, a bit gravelly asked.
“Yes. Who is this?”
“Jane Emmert with the ME’s office. Sorry to disturb you, Detective. Uh, look, we have a problem and the ME told me to call you since you are the only member of PD to show an interest in this case.”
“What’s the problem?” Jake wasn’t getting a clear look at the happenings across the street. Was the belt glowing too?
“A body is missing. You were here earlier today with the next of kin. The deceased is…,” Jake heard the rustling of paper, “Pandora Chateline.”
“Does this appear to be a breach of security?” Jake was intrigued now, but it was likely some bureaucratic snafu.
“Not…exactly. Could you come down to the morgue?”
That belt was definitely glowing. Weird, but a missing body was actually worthy of an investigation while his current activities would fall under the headings of stalking, illegal, and the whim of a ghost.
“I’ll be there in about an hour.” Jake flipped the phone closed. He was reluctant to leave, but duty called.
He was hearing voices, his skin burned where the collar and cross had rested, and he itched. Everywhere, it was driving him mad. He rocked in his austere bed, the headboard banging rhythmically against the wall. He rocked harder, then harder still. His head beat on the wall, bangbangbang until he fell out of consciousness.
A siren marked the passing of an emergency vehicle on the street, waking him. He fought the heaviness of his lids and looked at the ceiling, one eye blue, one green.
There you go. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll keep you posted about where and when to find Chapters 3-5.
Okay. So, if you've been paying attention, you are aware that AIG needed yet another infusion of cash at taxpayer expense. You are no doubt also aware that it recently came to light that a bunch of AIG execs were in for some huge bonuses.
Now the public and lawmakers are all up in arms about the waste of taxpayer money.
To quote my father: JESUS JUMPIN' CHRIST ON A POGO STICK!
Folks, your outrage is too little, too late.
You should have been outraged with the bailouts themselves. Or the spending bill that is masquerading as "stimulus." Or the fact that Obama's big savings plan was making wounded vets pay for their own recovery.
Bitching and Moaning at this late data about contractually mandated bonuses is like calling the fire department after the house has burned down. If you wanted to stop the bonuses, we should have let the firm fail. Or, stopped with just one or two handouts. Or, put requirements on that cash.
But passing this bill in the house which taxes those bonuses 90% is just wrong, flat wrong, in a multitude of ways.
For one thing, a 90% tax is overwhelmingly burdensome and un-American. For another, this bill is an ex post facto bill. This means that the law is coming after the arrangement. Simply put, this is Congress making something you did yesterday illegal and going after you for it. It wasn't illegal when you did it, but it is now. Anybody else see a problem with this?
I mean, besides the fact that Congress is explicitly prohibited from doing just this by The Constitution? Anybody else concerned that the bill is also pretty damn close to the definition of Bill of Attainder, another Constitutional no-no for targeting a single group too specifically?
Look, a 90% tax is wrong. Ex post facto laws are wrong. Bills of Attainder are wrong.
Perhaps next time, we actually read the bill before we pass it? Perhaps next time we don't rush through a 1,100 page "emergency" bill that nobody has read and then go on a four-day weekend.
The Democrats are responsible for this collosal failure. They hadta hadta hadta do something. As though doing something, anything nowwas to be preferred over doing the right thing later after due deliberation.
But no, good God no! Let's beat our heads against the wall. If we work up a sweat doing it, maybe the rubes will believe we're doing the right thing.
Look, I don't know everything. At least I can admit it. Those esteemed leaders in the Whitehouse, The House, and The Senate need to learn something that I learned a long time ago:
If someone asks you a question or asks you to do something and you don't have the answer or don't know how to accomplish the task, it is better to admit that you don't have an immediate solution/answer, but assure them that you are going to spend the time to get the right solution. Because rushing in with an anwer/solution that hasn't been fully considered or researched ends up making you look incompetent, and rightly so.
If you are in with your doctor, showing him a bump on your arm, which of the following would you prefer:
a. He quickly announces you have Anthrax and runs from the room screaming
b. says he isn't sure but that he'd like to run a few tests since he's never seen this before
More importantly, which is the more professional response that is likely to have a calming effect on the patient? Which approach is likely to gain you credibility?
Why are the Democrats in Congress (and some of the Republicans) and our esteemed Teleprompter-in-Chief taking approach A?
The question begs to be asked: Are you sorry yet, Obama voters?
On the one hand, you have bought yourself a President who, completely lacking in executive experience (he's never before run so much as a taco stand, let alone a country, government, etc.), is so overwhelmed that each day spotlights a new gaffe (or twelve).
For example, Gordon Brown's staff leaked the fact that Obama's super-fantastic Best Buy Bargain Bin gift...wouldn't play in the UK DVD player. Not formatted correctly. It's the insult that keeps on giving!
The country is reeling, reeling from economic difficulties. And yet, Obama is content to fill out his March Madness brackets instead of worrying about filling the posts at Treasury and giving Geithner (another clearly way out of his depth) some assistance. Dear Lord, Timmy needs somebody to bounce ideas off of!
So, Obama takes time off from his busy job of problem avoidance to visit Jay Leno. This just pisses me off. Is Obama promoting some movie that I'm not aware of? Is he starring in How to Fiddle While Rome Burns? In these dire times, is it really the best use of our President's time to yuk it up on late night television telling inappropriate "jokes"? I don't think so.
Obama is clearly not very good at his job, but I guess I feel like he owes it to the American people to at least give it a good try. For heaven's sake, if he didn't want to do the work, why the hell did he go through the election process?
Is President "Special Olympics" Obama really the more sensitive, diplomatic President you were hoping for? Really?
I am a reasonable woman, a wife and mother. A conservative.
My parent's instilled in me a work ethic, a sense of honor, a sense of personal responsibility. My father made sure that I understood the Constitution and our democratic republic form of government. He made sure that I understood it was my responsibility to be informed, have an opinion, and vote my conscience. I hope to someday instill these same values in my own daughter.
Yet now, I greatly fear for the continuation of the basic tenetsf of our civilization.
President Obama is working tirelessly to pulverize our freedoms. One by one, he's ticking off the liberties you and I have like some sort of grocery checklist.
Second Amendment: in the basket. First Amendment: in the basket Secret Ballot: in the basket
I am going to try to contain my emotion here, but I make no promises whatsoever.
President Obama, despite his protestations that he wasn't going to go after individual gun owner's weapons, clearly intends to do just that. He's de-funded the Bush Administration's measure to allow airline pilots to carry weapons in the sky, effectively disarming the last line of defense in the event of future hijackings. He seems to be saying that these people can be trusted with the lives of hundreds of people, drive what terrorists clearly consider to be a well-fueled ballistic missile, but not to pack a small handgun and ammo. Talk about a disconnect. I'm not sure I want to be on an airplane anymore!
More than just the armed pilots, we are now seeing the results of a measure that will severely curtail the amount of ammunition available on the domestic civilian market. You know that if law enforcement can't get ammo, Daddy's going to have a tough time and I guess Mommy is going to have to throw kitchen knives and rolling pins at her attacker.
It is disgusting, but no less than I expected from the megalomanical liar that is our President.
So, in a few years, we'll effectively be disarmed. Start hoarding ammo now, boys.
Next up, the First Amendment. Obama will not suffer criticism, will not tolerate alternate opinions. Joe the Plumber's treatment at the hands of Obama's loyal followers should have been heeded more closely. Joe the Plumber was the guy in Ohio who was out in his own front yard playing ball with his kid when Obama the candidate showed up on his street with a camera crew. It was Obama who approached Joe and Joe who asked the now famous question on economics. Obama's answer, about redistributing wealth, was a harbinger of doom. It was a deeply telling and deeply embarassing moment for Obama and he took a lot of heat for it. But, before the sun had set on that day, Obama's goons were already investigating Joe the Plumber's tax situation, his custody arrangements, etc. The were dead-set on getting the guy somehow. Why? Because he had the temerity to ask an honest question that Obama couldn't answer?
If only that was the only example! Rush Limbaugh has suffered mightily from the Obama Administration and is the primary reason that Democrats want the Fairness Doctrine back. Liberal media is a loser, has been proven to be a loser, but somehow, Limbaugh keeps succeeding. So, instead of bringing a product to market that has an audience, they are going to mandate what is available. This makes no damn sense, but Democrats never let a little thing like logic impede them. Did they stop at Limbaugh? Of course not! Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer got the same treatment, for doing nothing more than speaking their opinion.
You have to agree that this is wrong. You have to agree that short of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater and putting lives in jeopardy, these men have a right to voice their opinions in a public forum, be heard, and not see this sort of victimization? If you allow these things to happen, it is a slippery slope to there only being one opinion and anyone with the temerity to speak otherwise finds themselves in a woodchipper.
That is not freedom. That way lies dictatorship.
Let's move on to another sacred fundamental, shall we? Let's talk Card Check. Let's talk about how the Democrats want to elimate the need for a secret ballot. Let's talk about how utterly wrong this is!
Democrats and their Union campaign piggy banks want to eliminate the need for a secret ballot in the unionization process. That way, the tactics of intimidation are so much more effective, you know. Then, they can collect more membership dues, plump the pockets of more democrats, and take away more freedoms.
I've written about it before, I despise unions. I've never worked for one myself, but my husband has. The "good" of unions has long been outweighed by the "bad." Unions originally were about protecting workers through the power of numbers. No more. Now unions are about enriching those who are too incompetent to do real work at the expense of those who do and putting those same workers' lives in jeopardy all the while lobbying Congress for more power.
The union of which my husband was a member sucked in a huge way. Each month he paid dues, automatically deducted from his paycheck, and each year, never fail, it did no good. The union never actually helped him. The union worked very hard to make sure his work ethic and ambition never did him any good. The union worked very hard to make sure that his ability to solve problems never did him any good either. The union preserved the jobs of people who were high or drunk at work who by their very presence made the workplace dangerous. To the union, my husband was #12,606. And, there were 12,605 people more important than him, maybe a couple hundred less important. My husband has a work ethic. He never showed up late, frequently did any extra thing he was asked. Did he benefit? Of course not. He got the same raise everybody else got because that's the way the union wanted it.
The idiot who had to be retrained every few hours got the same raise. The asshole who made the workplace a hostile environment got the same raise. The lazy no-account bastard who showed up but managed not to accomplish a damn thing got the same raise.
Management might have identified the value in my husband's hard work, but the union saw fit that they never rewarded him for it. His only opportunity for advancement was in choosing a position of leadership in the union. Become a cock-sucking asshole? No chance of that happening.
So, imagine your workplace. Whether there are five employees or 500, imagine how you'd feel if someone was trying to unionize and you weren't allowed a secret ballot. Is that fair? Is that the American Way?
I would argue that is strongly the opposite, that it is diametrically opposed to the American Tradition.
It may not be the American Way, but it is clearly the Obama Way.
I urge you to contact your representation in Washington, DC and let them know your concerns.
For we are surely headed down a slippery slope to the end of the freedoms we regularly take for granted.
Don Surber has compiled a list of some of Obama's most notable mistakes. You should go click and read it.
Don't worry, I'll wait.
And, this by "Anna" from the comments on that post in response to a troll:
...your sainted leader is a wagyu-eating, thermostat-raising, teleprompter-reading, dvd-giving, non-stop-campaigning, terrorist-befriending, dictator-kissing, stuttering, leadership-impaired, history illiterate president on training wheels.
I’d buy you a clue, but Obama already has all my money.
I think my ire on this one is largely due to the fact that I was still red-hot under the collar yesterday about Obama's plan to make wounded vets pay for their own health care when I saw the Magical One on television talking about the economy.
I've looked and looked for a print article on his comments from yesterday's Business Roundtable, but I didn't find what I was looking for. Unfortunately, because some of us are actually working to make a living, I didn't then have time to search YouTube.
So, we're going to work from my memory. So sue me.
At yesterday's Business Roundtable, the conversation turned to the economy and our "Confidence Leader" made comments akin to the following:
He said that the economy would recover, but that we had to be "patient." He said that it was going to take "hard work" (a concept I doubt Obama is very familiar with, being a lawyer and politician and all) and that people were going to need to "save" more.
I call bullshit.
Obama is just talking a good game here. The fact of the matter is, those of us who have been following this sage plan for some time are getting screwed for it by Obama and his cronies in Congress.
I've been working since before I was 12 years old, but my serious wage earning started at that age. And, I've been paying taxes on those earnings when it met the minimum, too. Moreover, since becoming an adult, with a career, I have been saving a chunk of my salary in my 401K. I didn't benefit from a Harvard education, I went to a Big 10 school, so my starting salary wasn't on the same level as Mr. Obama's, but I did what I had been taught to do. I saved. I scrimped. I didn't spend beyond my means and then keep spending.
I could have done the big wedding hoo-hah, but instead, took the money that we would have spent and used it for a down payment on our house. When we built our house, we examined the options and decided only a fool would bet on the ARM. At the time, interest rates were at all-time lows, so we locked in a 30-year fixed on a house we could afford.
So, as far as I can tell, I've done everything right. At least, I thought I was. I was being patient and letting my investments grow quietly while I added to them on a regular basis. Yet, since this crisis began, I've lost a third. One full third of my retirement savings. Now, to be sure, Obama isn't responsible for all of this, but the Democrats of the Clinton era sure as heck are. The Bush Administration tried to put a stop to this, but Democrats the likes of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd put the kibosh on all of those efforts.
But the thing is, it is Obama's problem to solve. Bush inherited Terror, Obama inherits the housing and credit crisis.
When Obama tells me that what I need to do is the same thing I've been doing for years, but he rewards those who don't do the smart thing by bailing them out and making special deals for them on their mortgages, then he himself spends trillions of dollars on things that have a fart's chance in the wind of making things better, I call it hypocrisy.
Obama buys a fleet of golf carts and I pay the price.
I'm sick of it. Sick.Of.It. This President: Worst.President.Ever.
I'm mad as hell, AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance. ...
No official proposal to create such a program has been announced publicly, but veterans groups wrote a pre-emptive letter last week to President Obama voicing their opposition to the idea after hearing the plan was under consideration.
The groups also cited an increase in "third-party collections" estimated in the 2010 budget proposal -- something they said could be achieved only if the Veterans Administration started billing for service-related injuries.
Asked about the proposal, Shinseki said it was under "consideration."
This man has nothing but contempt for the American military. What's next? Huh? What won't this jerk do? He's giving money away by the dump truck to all sorts of dubious causes, expanding welfare, and spending us into becoming Chinese subjects, but what the h-e-double-hockeysticks does he care?
Joe the Plumber will turn out to have been a modern day prophet. If only you kool-aid drinkers had engaged your brains, if only you had pulled your heads from their dark, cozy, fecal caves, maybe we could have avoided these things.
But, no. You had to vote for him because you are too damn dumb to read between the lines or recognize a steaming pile of shit when you step in it.
I blame the Obama voters. YOU DID THIS TO US. And YOU are responsible for Obama's piss-poor treatment of our brave fighting men and women. Abraham Lincoln is rolling over in his grave. Actually, he may return to the Whitehouse and haunt Obama for his "audacity."
What's next? Is Obama going to scrap the plans for memorials at the old WTC site and in Shanksville? Charge the victims' families for upkeep on the burial site? Why stop there? Let's charge the families of the victims of Pearl Harbor too!
I hope you are proud of the President now, IDIOTS!
You are Reprehensible, Mr. President. Reprehensible.
One More Thought: You know, the MSM vilified Sarah Palin in the general election over the false claims that she had required rape victims to pay for their own rape kits. The claims have been proven false, and were proven false during the general election. Did the MSM correct their error?
And here we have the Obama Administration doing something far worse, far more reprehensible, to a much larger group of people who are literally getting injured in service to their country. This amounts to Obama raping the troops.
There aren't enough curse words. I'm going to have to invent a few to adequately discuss this prick.
So much for President Obama's much vaunted, much heralded goal of making the world love America again. Both he and his wife have managed to insult the Prime Minister, his wife, and the civilians of one of our oldest allies.
Quite naturally, I refer to the Obama's gaffes with respect to British Prime Minister Brown's recent visit to the United States, but the gaffes actually start before that.
When the Obama's first arrived at The White House, the British informed The President that he should feel welcome to retain the bust of Winston Churchill.
During President George Bush's term in The White House, the Churchill bust held a place of prominence and importance. Churchill, of course, was Prime Minister of England back in the day and an important ally during WWII. Churchill is revered by many in this country as well as in his own.
But, one small misstep by a new President is to be expected, right? Fine. Forget the bust. I'm sure that the Obama's will polish up the ol' Protocol for their first State Visit. Right?
Let's move on to the Obama's ill bred treatment of The Browns, shall we?
It is customary for leaders of countries to give gifts upon meeting for the first time. These gifts are usually treasures, other times just meaningful objects, symbols if you will. The first ladies get into this as well, often getting the children of the leaders gifts as well.
For example, Mrs. Brown, herself a mother just to boys, was reportedly thrilled to get to shop for the first daughters. Isn't that sweet?
Michelle Obama is cheap and apparently can't seem to get over herself. I mean, why didn't she just give Mrs. Brown a copy of Dreams from my Father? She probably could have gotten that pretty cheap at Barnes & Noble.
But, maybe The President will do better, eh?
The relationship between the US and Great Britain is often termed "the special relationship." Sure, our countries once fought on opposite sides, but a lot of history has filled the books since. The British are some of our staunchest allies. We share a lot of culture, language, and history. We know that when push comes to shove, The Brits are some of our truest friends. Obama doesn't seem to care all that much about preserving any special relationships, however.
As the first piece of evidence of this special relatioship between our two countries, The President's desk, The Resolute Desk, was a gift from Queen Victoria after we helped rescue the HMS Resolute from an ice pack. We had it refitted and presented to the Brits as a symbol of peace. When the ship was decommissioned, the Queen had two desks made from it and gave one to the U.S.
That's classy. That's the stuff of special relationships.
Prime Minister Brown, as his gift to Obama, gave an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the HMS Gannet (formerly the HMS President (!)). The Gannet was a sister ship of the Resolute. It's task was hunting down slave traders. So, this gift is chockablock with meaningful symbolism. You don't buy this at the gift shop at No. 10, for example.
Obama gave brown...a set of American classic movies on DVD.