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     So many times, late at night, I must pay a stipend to negate, or is it a ransom to free myself from sleep’s elusiveness? And then I can’t find the transference of all that’s real to all that’s not.

     Yet, I’m real. And please, don’t question my realness. But you may wish to know my reality of origin. And undoubtedly, it’s not the same as yours. Yes, I’ll wager you’re a resident of Earth One; and I am too – now. And it’s been fifty four years since I was sent here from my reality of birth.

     And I don’t grow older here. I remain today as I was all those years ago when I first came to this city of north side sensationalism and south side blandness. And though I’ve remained young here, I’ve struggled here. And my lot in life, as explained to me by beings otherworldly, is to further a so-called “alternative artistic lifestyle” here along the north shore of this city’s dividing river.

     But across the river, on the south side of the city, live people unlike us. And they don’t like us. To them, all that’s of value in life is all that can afford them a “good time,” as well as all which might somehow never change. And yes, they resist change on the south side. And they’re members of the “status-quo” – most of them. And their outlook on life is very narrow – very regional. And they don’t like intellectuals and artists there. And they distrust anyone who earns a living in any other fashion than so-called basic “blue collar labor.”

     But here, although we’re a mere width of water from them, we’re light years from them in terms of how we live. Here we’re free to think, create, and function in an artistic setting; but there they toil on as they figuratively drag a ball and chain along with themselves wherever they go. Yet, what’s probably the saddest part of all this, is that while in the past numerous societies and populaces lived and labored within restricted lifestyles due usually to the whims of dictators, those people on the south side, as well as all others such as them all across planet Earth, have actually chained themselves to lives of virtually little consequence. Still, I suppose if that’s really how they wish to live, then perhaps they’re happy living thus. But somehow, I doubt it.

     And sometimes I even wonder if there’s really much difference between the way they’re living there on the south side today, and the way in which those unfortunate advocates of unalterable social mores lived long ago in Salem – except that our neighbors across the river don’t possess the outlandish fear of witches and devils which those seventeenth century regionally-minded mortals knew. And yet, while our south side non-friends are, in general, conservative religiously, they aren’t necessarily so politically. But then, it seems they simply don’t wish to know or care about anything that exists or happens beyond the boundaries of their repressive, and in reality, cloistered society.

     And I guess I’ve allowed myself to “ramble on” here to some extent. And I’m sure that many of you already knew about the drastic difference that exists in this city between its northern and southern sections. Yet, I just can’t understand why people would wish to live as they do there on the other side of the river. Why would anyone want to restrict all he or she might do in his or her life, as they do there?

     But anyway, before I close here, I think it’s important that I inform you of certain telephone “contacts” I’ve made recently with three people whom I wish I could persuade to relocate to our “artistic enclave.” And those three people are two women and one man. And I’ll be a little bit old-fashioned now (and yes, maybe I’m granting a “nod” to the lifestyle of the south side by doing this – but whatever) and speak of the two ladies today, before I discuss the gentleman in my next posting.

     First, I received a call a number of days ago from Lauren Havess. Yes, she’s the rich girl Joseph Same “hung out” with during his and her high school years, even though he was from the south side and she definitely from the north. But she was simply from the wealthy area of the north side and wasn’t part of my artistic group. And, of course, as is related in the book “The Same Tapes,” her father actually owned the main factory and main source of employment in this city.

     But Lauren left our city when Joe enlisted in the army. And she’s been gone from here for a number of years now. And as she told me, apparently those were difficult years, filled with all sorts of ill-advised activities. But she also told me she’s coming home, and actually wishes to join our artistic group of individuals here. And in response, I told her she must first prove her creative abilities before our “artistic clique” could accept her within it. And she replied that she’s begun to write stories, and wishes to pursue literary work here. So, I told her to show me some of her writings upon her arrival here. But she said she’d send me one immediately – which she did. And I received it a few days ago. And I’ll share it with you in one of my upcoming posts. But for now, its title, “I Dreamed I Married A Soviet,” should pique your curiosity.

     And the second “female of interest” who contacted me recently was Corzer’s, I guess, ex-girlfriend Valerie. She must have somehow acquired my phone number and called me from Paris. And she asked if I’d help her reconnect with her ex-Marine ex-boyfriend. She said she missed him terribly. So, I told her I think he misses her as well, but is apparently somehow afraid of her – or else simply needs more time to readjust to civilian life after having been in the Marine Corps for four years. And, I told Valerie that in retrospect I felt I may have made a mistake sending Corzer to Paris so shortly upon his return from military service. But she replied that action certainly wasn’t a mistake, else the two of them should never have met. And to condense what was a rather lengthy cross-Atlantic telephone call, let me just say that she wants me to help her get her American lover back into her life, however and wherever she can.

     But the gentleman, whom unlike the two ladies just referenced, was actually contacted via telephone by me, is named R.F. Husnik. I sought him out after reading some of his recent internet postings. And it was my desire to congratulate him for the content of those writings, and my wish to persuade him to relocate to our city and join us here on the north bank of the river. I’ll tell you the results of that phone call next time.

                                                          Ralph

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