Alas, we've already screwed up--sorry, Alabama, we should have left well enough alone

>> Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Two members of the Alabama Public Service Commission, a member-elect and an Alabama representative to the Republican National Committee said proposed EPA regulations that aim to reduce power plant carbon emissions by 30 percent represent "an assault on our way of life" and are a purposeful attempt by the Obama administration to kill coal-related jobs.


At their news conference today Cavanaugh and PSC commissioner-elect Chip Beeker invoked the name of God in stating their opposition to the EPA proposal. Beeker, a Republican who is running unopposed for a PSC seat, said coal was created in Alabama by God, and the federal government should not enact policy that runs counter to God's plan.

"Who has the right to take what God's given a state?" he said., July 28th, 2014.

The federal government drove out malaria from the American South in the early part of the 20th century. And the lessons learned from that successful campaign could help control the disease in developing countries, says Daniel Sledge, a political scientist at the University of Texas, Arlington.

"It's almost impossible for us to imagine," Sledge says. "But in the rural South, as late as the 1930s, the extent of malaria was in many ways comparable to what it is today in sub-Saharan Africa."

Sledge and his colleague recently analyzed archived public records to try to determine what factors helped to eliminate malaria in Alabama.

The findings were surprising. It wasn't getting people to sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets, or getting better medications to people who do get infected — two major tactics used to control malaria today in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Instead, the parasite left the U.S., in large part, because the government destroyed mosquito breeding grounds.

"The primary factor leading to the demise of malaria was large-scale drainage projects, which were backed up by the creation of local public health infrastructure," he says. Sledge and his colleague described their findings this September in the American Journal of Public Health.
NPR, January 3rd, 2014.

As an American citizen, I would like to apologize on behalf of my country to the citizens of the great state of Alabama.  I am so, so, so very sorry right now we took away all your God-given mosquito breeding grounds and your God-given amoebic parasites.

Sometimes, when you're dealing with a problem that affects the public well-being all across the nation (and even the world), you lose sight of God's plans.  And I just want all y'all to know, Alabama: if it were in my power to give God's malaria back to you, why, right now, I would, I would, I would in a heartbeat, even if I regretted it a few weeks or months or years later.

Because, seriously, I had no idea it meant that much to you.

(H/t Salon.)


Two executions

>> Friday, July 25, 2014

I read about an execution this week. 

The New Yorker has a lot of their content exposed and free-to-read this summer, part of a transition to what sounds like it will be a New York Times-style buffet paywall: read up to however-many articles a month for free and then if you want to go back through the line for another serving you have to have a subscription.  It's a good chance to glut while it's a free-for-all.

So I was reading an article about William Alexander Morgan, who I'd never heard of before, which is a bit embarrassing because some student of history I must be, to have not heard of one of the three non-Cubans who rose to the rank of Comandante in the Cuban Revolution, another being that guy from the t-shirts hipsters used to wear in college when I was a kid.  The New Yorker article is a pretty thorough bio by David Grann, "The Yankee Comandante", from back in 2012, and it's worth a read, because Grann's a solid writer, and he seems to have done his footwork, talking to Morgan's widow and others who knew him, and because William Alexander Morgan was a character.  That last bit, especially--Grann's piece is the kind of story where you start trying to cast the movie version while you're reading it, wondering who would direct, how you'd structure the story in the language of film, that kind of thing.

Morgan started his life by making a bit of a hash of it, getting into a bit of legal trouble as a teen, going into the Army after WWII (he apparently tried going during the War, but was too young) and getting himself dishonorably discharged for running off to visit his girlfriend, and ending up with Mob ties in the 1950s.  Seems he ended up as a gunrunner, and he was in Cuba in 1957 when, for reasons that may not have even been true, he decided to go up into the mountains where he joined the anti-Batista forces and reinvented himself as an action hero.  Convinced the guerrillas he wasn't a pro-Batista CIA agent provocateur, which is exactly what he looked like, taught them whatever fighting skills he learned in the Army, put his ass on the front line for them and suffered in the woods with them.

He wasn't a socialist, but neither were the anti-Batistas he hooked up with, nor were all the anti-Batistas communists or socialists; you may or may not realize it, but there's even some debate to this day as to whether Fidel Castro, who was commanding another revolutionary force on the island, was a communist or socialist at that point: his brother, Raul, was, and his main man Che was, but Fidel himself remained coy about ideology until after the Bay of Pigs invasion (my own hypothesis is that Castro was, at least up until that point, a pragmatist and opportunist, who probably would have been happy to be whatever brought in foreign aid, kept Fulgencio Batista in the Dominican Republic and the U.S. at arm's length, and shored up his primacy amongst the revolutionaries).

Morgan was a national hero in Cuba, a pariah in his homeland (his citizenship got revoked after the Batista regime, which the U.S. was in bed with, collapsed), but he ended up on Fidel's shitlist.  Possibly because he was an American, and some Cubans suspected Morgan was a double or triple agent even after he foiled an American/Dominican Republican/Batista counterrevolutionary plot in 1959; some people, here, there and everywhere, evidently still think Morgan might have been in cahoots with American intelligence, even though documents released through the Freedom of Information Act suggest the CIA and FBI independently decided Morgan was radioactive.  Possibly because Morgan was explicitly not a leftist, and whether or not Castro was, Castro's closest advisors and supporters were, and the Soviet Union was increasingly Cuba's meal ticket as the United States went a bit nuts over Batista's exile (even knowing that Batista was a total bastard and that Batista's Cuba was practically a fiefdom of American organized crime).  Possibly because Castro recognized Morgan as a viable rival; indeed, as Morgan slowly gave up on the hope that Castro was a non-ideologue or moderate, he started caching supplies in the mountains with an eye towards another possible revolt (I'm not sure you'd call it a counterrevolution, though Castro did, since Morgan sure as hell wasn't going to be inviting Batista back in).

Anyway, Castro had Morgan arrested.  And Morgan went to prison.  And then he had the obligatory show trial.  And then he went back to prison.  And then they hauled him out and stood him against a wall, and they shot him.  Grann writes:
According to a prisoner’s account, a voice in the distance shouted, "Kneel and beg for your life."

It was the last thing that Morgan could control. "I kneel for no man," he said.

One of the executioners shot him in the right knee. The Yankee comandante tried to stay on his feet, blood spilling around him. Then he was shot in the left knee. Finally, he collapsed, and was repeatedly shot in the torso and head. His face, a witness said, was "blown off."

"Many of the men in the patio were crying," the prisoner who had provided medicine recalled. "The rumbling, that almost rose to the pitch of a riot, was a tribute to William Morgan's popularity." [Morgan's wife, Olga] Rodríguez, sequestered in the safe house, did not yet know of her husband's death, but she felt a presence in her room. "I saw William," she says. “I felt him give me a kiss. No sound. Just the warmth of a kiss."

I have no idea how much of that account is true.  I don't mean that Grann invented it; I mean, for all I know this is what the prisoners told Olga Rodríguez when Castro's police finally caught up with her, the story she held onto for the years she was imprisoned in Cuba until she was (barely) allowed to flee to the United States in the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.  It may not even be a story that was made for her, it might well be the story the political prisoners told each other, embellished, cherished, clung to for their own sakes and not just for the sake of the martyred widow.

Hell, it may be exactly what happened.

I'm pretty sure, though, that whether or not it's what happened, it's how Morgan would have wanted to die.  It's epic, so epic I'm not sure how much credence to give it.  I don't know how much credence to give any stories about Morgan in Cuba, really, because he seems to have been revered by the non-Castro revolutionaries, and maybe the myth outgrew the man; but it also seems like Morgan aspired to be that myth.  And if he didn't say, "I kneel for no man," if he didn't try to keep on his feet even after he was shot in the leg, well: I'm pretty sure that's what he meant to do (and, again, for all I know, he did do exactly what he meant to, maybe the whole thing is surprisingly true; obviously, I wasn't there).

Just suppose you could go back in time, and visit William Alexander Morgan in his cell at La Cabaña (it's a crappy form of time travel, I know, that doesn't allow you to travel to a point in time where you could be actually useful, but that's just the kind of time travel you get in thought experiments like this one).  And you could say to him, "Comandante, I'm afraid your ultimate execution for crimes against the state is a done deal, but you get a choice.  Option number one is, we take you to a nicer cell for quite a long stretch of months or even years until just about everyone except a few government officials forgets you're here, and then what we'll do is, what we'll do is we'll take you to a room where we'll tie you down to something like a dentist's chair.  And we'll have a doctor swab your arm and put a needle in.  There may be a couple of guys there to watch.  And at a predetermined hour--we'll have told you in advance what time--some anonymous guy will press a button, and you'll be sedated.  You'll just go to sleep, and maybe you'll have a nice dream about your wife.  And then after you're asleep, you'll get two more injections, one that will paralyze your muscles, and a third that will stop your heart.  You'll go to sleep, you'll maybe have a nice dream (if that), and then you won't wake up, and we'll bury you somewhere.


"Or, option number two.  We take you out in the yard.  Not immediately, but soon.  We'll line you up in front of a wall riddled with bullet holes, and we'll tell you to kneel.  Which you may, or may not: if you don't, you may get to say something cool, something that states the code you lived your life by, and we'll shoot you in the leg.  And that's going to hurt, it's going to hurt terribly, but you're a pretty tough guy and you suffered some serious pain fighting beside your brothers-in-arms in the mountains, and maybe you've even been hurt that bad before.  So maybe you'll keep your feet, sort of, until we shoot you in the other leg.  And if you haven't passed out from shock, if you're still upright, or as upright as a man can be after his legs have been gunned out from under him, you can glare at us defiantly as we shoot the hell out of you, which is going to hurt, it's going to be the worst agony you've ever felt.  But maybe the last thing you're going to hear is the wailing of your brothers for the Yankee Comandante, as he's martyred to the vain hope of a free Cuba.

"Your call, Morgan."

C'mon, what do you think he's going to say?  Did you go and read the New Yorker story before you came back here?  Did you at least look at the Wikipedia entry I linked to?  Did you pay attention to my summary of his life, which was longer than I wanted but still far too short?

You think Morgan would have wanted to go out taking a final nap?

I read about an execution this week.

Not much, because I just couldn't handle it anymore.  And because, contrary to what some people will tell you and what you may think, it doesn't matter any more than any of the other executions that go on in this country, even the ones that don't take two hours.  That is, I don't want to disparage a man's death, which is an awful and terrible thing--but a man's death is always an awful and terrible thing.  Even when his last words are that he kneels for no man.

Arizona killed a guy named Joseph R. Wood III, and he wasn't a Cuban war hero who boldly fought to bring down a corrupt and repressive torturer and executioner named Fulgencio Batista and began laying plans to fight Fidel Castro when it started becoming clear that Castro was merely going to be a different kind of totalitarian nightmare; Wood was a guy convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend and her dad, all the way back in 1991, and for all I know he really did it, and for all I know it was horrible, and for all I know he didn't deserve to live (which isn't exactly the same thing as deserving to die, you know).  But apparently Arizona decided to try out some relatively novel procedure for killing guys--I don't know if they were able to get a real doctor to perform it, but I'm guessing they weren't, seeing as how medical boards have lately decided that killing patients might be a violation of the Hippocratic Oath.  And so it took two hours for Wood to die, and apparently it was noisy, and it may have been painful.  If any of that matters.

Because I kind of don't think it does, is the thing.

I mean, I can say this about the Wood execution: it's probably clarified to me that I've been mostly citing the wrong Constitutional amendment for all the years I've opposed the death penalty.  I'm sure that executing prisoners is barbaric, don't get me wrong.  But state violence is inherently barbaric, isn't it, even if you feel some kind of pragmatic obligation to engage in it.

You'd like to think that civilization is pacitropic, if you'll let me coin (I think) a word: that we grow away from violence and into becoming, increasingly, a creature that is clever enough to solve problems through application of reason.  And if state violence is required, if it just can't be avoided, you hope it'll be humane.  Maybe I'm presuming a bit here, thinking we're not barbarians or we don't want to be: I'm assuming that if we could unerringly kill terrorist cell leaders by pressing a button that causes them to magically die in their sleep, we'd do that instead of sending in heavily-armed drones that occasionally blow up weddings and funerals, because we want to take the terrorist cell leader out of circulation, the goal isn't to make the guy suffer and occasionally maim and kill civilians while we're at it; that the weddings and funerals are collateral damage, accidents, and not the goal.  And that if we could get a terrorist cell leader (let's assume he hasn't hurt anyone yet, he's just starting out and there aren't other justice issues at stake yet) to just quit by, say, talking to him, we'd do that, right, instead of just blowing him to bits and possibly taking out his neighborhood while we're doing it; because the objective is we don't want him to be a terrorist, not that we like the blood in the streets.

I hope I'm right about that.  (And if I'm not, what's it to you that Joseph Wood took two hours to die and may have hurt some while he was doing it?)

But, like I said, I've probably been quoting the wrong amendment.  What I probably meant to say, and maybe have said by accident now and then, was that I'm pretty sure that whether or not the state executes you has more to do with what color your skin is, and what color your alleged victim's skin is, and where you live, and how good your lawyer was, than it has to do with the nature and quality of the acts you supposedly committed that the state might be killing you over.  Which is basically a Due Process and Equal Protection issue.  If we could magically guarantee that every person sentenced to die really and truly deserved it... well, how do you finish that sentence?

I mean, if someone deserves to die, does it matter how they die?  And if there's inevitably doubt about whether or not they deserve it--I don't just mean doubt about whether they did it, which is already a huge problem, but also doubt about what's just and fair and merciful--does it matter whether the death is humane?  "Well, we don't know with utter certainty if this guy really killed anyone, but a jury thought he did, and then the jury decided he should die for it even though this other guy over here did something that sounds a whole helluva lot worse, and he only got life in prison for whatever reason--but at least he died in his sleep and didn't feel anything."

That probably makes sense to somebody.  I guess.  I'll be honest, I sure don't see it.

But, anyway, if you were already against the death penalty, I don't see how the execution of Joseph R. Wood makes you more against it.  It was already bad enough that Arizona was going to kill him.  They were going to kill him worse than?  I wasn't going to feel better about the execution if he went fast.

Meanwhile, if you're in favor of the death penalty, maybe you're glad Wood might have suffered.  He deserved it, right?  Was convicted of a brutal double homicide, had it coming to him?  You probably would have watched.  Probably should have been forced to watch all of it, then, without piss breaks.  But I'm sure it would have gladdened your heart.  Birds sing, sun breaks through the clouds, another miserable bastard bites the dust, I guess.  An eye for an eye, maybe it was too good for him.

It didn't matter, anyway, how he died.  It mattered that he did, whether you're for or against, and how he did is really just a detail.

But maybe there's a grey area in between those poles.  You're for the death penalty, if it's fair and merciful.  You're only against it because you're not sure it can be, otherwise you have few scruples about state violence.

William Alexander Morgan.

What I mean is, what would have been any better about the Yankee Comandante dying with a needle in a vein?  He got the death, I think, he would have wanted.  It was barbaric and bloody and cruel, if the account is going to be believed, with taunting executioners, a vicious maiming and unsuccessful attempt at a final humiliation, and then a fusillade of bullets that, more than likely, caused anything but an instantaneous death.  Maybe a bullet pierced the brain or the heart--we're told his face was shot off--but it's pretty likely he lay there on the ground--unconscious, I'd expect, but maybe not--bleeding out.  Killing a man is pretty hard.  Sometimes it takes as long as two hours, I hear.

And maybe you're thinking this is a cheap shot: a public trial in American courtroom is a lot different from a show trial in Castro's Cuba, right?  Well, I hope so.  Emphasis on hope.  Because I'm not sure some American capital trials are that much different; longer, maybe.  With more plausible pretenses.  But.  You know.  There's racial bias, and some prosecutors like hiding evidence, and some defense attorneys are morons, and some judges don't know the law, and sometimes juries get a little crazy, and even under the best of circumstances there are mistakes; memory is fallible, "scientific" tests aren't always reliable and accurate (especially under field conditions, where crime scenes are often exposed to weather and public traffic)--sometimes they turn out in retrospect to not even be all that scientific, hence the quotation marks.  But you're probably right.  Most of the time.  Well.  A lot of the time, anyway.

Hopefully more often than not.

But gosh, what if Morgan had had a fair trial, instead of a show trial?  Well, maybe crimes against the state shouldn't be capital offenses.  He was kinda sorta plotting what might be called treason, sure, and treason is historically a capital offense in many countries, even modern ones.  Maybe merciful and civilized states ought to be lenient, though, and not use lethal force unless they absolutely have to.

Or did I say that already?

But Morgan probably wanted to go out like that.  Not that he wanted to die, which I imagine he didn't.  But if he had to, he probably wanted the violent, hideous, gory death.  Did anyone ask Wood what he wanted?  Probably not.  I guess it doesn't matter.  I guess we don't let convicted criminals, however they're convicted, make those kinds of choices.  But it does make any kind of debate over whether Wood should have had a "cleaner" death seem a little, I don't know, silly, maybe?  Maybe he would have preferred the two hour death.  Or to be shot in the legs and then into little pieces.

I don't know, to die as he lived?

I guess the point is that the fact an execution may have been botched or otherwise cruel seems to me a little beside the point.  I have no idea whether it's more cruel to make someone sit in a cell for twenty-three years until they're eventually tied down in a lonely room and put to sleep like an elderly housecat, or more cruel to allow someone to strut out in front of a firing squad, give them a chance to tell you to go fuck yourself in so many words, and have them die on their feet.

There's worse things that could happen.  You could be sentenced to death in the first place.


The Speaker started a joke which started the whole world crying, but didn't see that the joke was on him

>> Monday, July 21, 2014

We're not going to sit idly by while this president chips away at the very foundation of our democracy, which is why the House is now initiating legal action to compel the president to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.

While the president would like you to believe that this is some kind of Republican stunt, let me be clear – this isn't about Republicans versus Democrats; it's about protecting the Constitution.

And when I heard the president respond to our plan with a lighthearted, "So sue me," – I was extremely disappointed.

This is no joke, Mr. President.
Cincinnati Enquirer, July 15th, 2014.

Yes, it is.  It's totally a joke.  Which is why I've been wondering if I should even publicly react to it.  And, yeah, it is some kind of Republican stunt; it's just that it's a little hard to grapple with what kind of Republican stunt, because it's such a stunning bit of dumbness.

Because, see, first of all: if you're in the House of Representatives and you sincerely believe the President is failing to "follow the oath of his office and faithfully execute the laws of our country," then it's probably time to have a long, hard and serious look at whether that doesn't constitute the commission of "high crimes and misdemeanors" under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.  I mean, it's admittedly not cut and dried, because one of the many, many deficiencies of the Constitution is that the Founders were intentionally vague about the impeachment clause, and "high crimes and misdemeanors" is an expression they calculatedly chose for its vagueness.  Does it mean actual high crimes, and actual misdemeanors under the law, like assault or larceny, or is it a term of art referring to things like accepting bribes, or does it mean nothing and everything like Gerald Ford once said?  You can argue about it all day, if you really want to.

Although, as a practical matter, the fact it's vague and you can argue all day is exactly why the Boehner can do it if he really wants to.  The argument's there, right there in the open for anyone to see it, that dereliction of duty and abuse of authority count as "high crimes and misdemeanors," and it's really left to the person who says they don't count--assuming, you know, there really is dereliction and abuse--to make the Constitutional or historical case that they aren't.

Of course, Boehner doesn't actually want to impeach the President, see?  This is the thing.  He knows damn well that the trial would happen in the Senate, where the Democratic majority would toss the Bill of Impeachment.  Assuming he could get the Bill of Impeachment, which isn't even a certain thing with the Republican majority in the House.  He knows he'd be setting an ugly precedent for the next time Congress and the President weren't getting along.  He knows that even with the President's plunging ratings, the President is popular enough for an impeachment sideshow to generate really bad optics for the GOP, that it would look exactly like a partisan hackjob (which is exactly what it would be, of course).  He knows it would be a sideshow, and that even some Republicans would consider it nothing more than a distraction, quixotic at best and irresponsible at worse.

Indeed, this is why I, myself, am getting to where I'd welcome impeachment proceedings.  Because we ought to just get all this ugly shit out in the open where we can see what we've been smelling the past several years.  Because if the House Republicans are going to steam and screech and pop rivets on the edge of supercriticality, let's just get the blinking meltdown over with, already, or whatever it is that needs to happen so we can shut the reactor down and send in a hazmat crew to spray out D.C..  I'm tired of the sound and fury of these idiots, signifying nothing, and I'm ready to just have all these crazy uncles in Congress committed where we can ignore them between obligatory Christmas season visits and the occasional sending of cards.  That's three metaphors in as many sentences, do you get the picture?  I'm all for impeaching Obama, not because I think he's actually committed any impeachable offenses I'm aware of, but because it would pretty much blow up the most useless Congress of my lifetime so we could start over, it would get these sad fucks to shoot their wads and shut up, it would clear the air and maybe (just maybe) we could all get on with our lives.

(Probably not, but I'm trying to be sunny.)

The second thing would be that the House certainly has plenty of things they can do short of impeachment, while they're at it.  This gets a little baroque, I imagine, because you can have a situation in which the House is passing legislation to force the President to implement certain policies, only to have it stopped in the Senate or vetoed by the President himself, which makes the whole business a bit quixotic on the part of the House, but it's the way our government was designed.  Also, the silliness here is actually even more baroque and absurd than that, since some of the laws the President supposedly isn't implementing are schedules connected to the Affordable Care Act, which the House has been trying unsuccessfully to roll back or revoke: so, where the situation I described a sentence ago is kind of the abstract political scenario, the real and pragmatic scenario is that if John Boehner were serious about forcing the White House to implement the ACA on schedule, they could (for instance) author legislation giving the President more resources to do it, which I'm sure the Democrats in the Senate would pass and the President would sign off on.

Which gets to the third and fourth reasons this whole lawsuit thing is a lousy joke, which is that the House doesn't have standing to file a suit like this to start with, seeing as how they can't really claim any recognizable injury the courts have the power to address, and even if they could get their suit past a motion to dismiss for lack of standing, they'd lose on the motion to dismiss because the case involves a political question that American courts traditionally leave to the other branches of government.  It's a separation-of-powers issue: courts do what courts do, and expect legislatures and executives to do what legislatures and executives do.

This isn't a law blog, and I'm quite sure you can find other commentators who will explain this better and at greater length.  The quick-and-dirty, if you don't want to follow the Wikipedia links in the previous paragraph, is that you can't just file a lawsuit in an American courthouse for any old thing; and among other things that you may need before you can file your lawsuit, one is that you have to be an injured party (or at least be extremely likely to come to some foreseeable harm as a consequence of what someone else did), and another is that your issue needs to be a legal one, that is to say it has to be something a court is qualified to hear.  A legislative body passing a law and then getting upset (or pretending to get upset) because it wasn't implemented as it was supposed to be can't cut it as grounds for a suit, because (1) the injured parties are the people actually affected by the law, and (2) a legislative body has remedies through the political process--they can repeal the law, or amend it, or repeal it and pass a "better" one, etc..

In sum, "sitting idly by" is exactly what Boehner is doing with this whole silly thing.  Or almost idly: it's that form of goldbricking where you try to look very busy while you're doing nothing and you know damn well you're doing nothing, and anybody who knows the least thing about what you're supposed to be doing knows damn well you're doing nothing.  And while Boehner doesn't strike one as the brightest bulb on the Xmas Tree, I'm reasonably certain he knows enough about his job to know what he's doing is stunt politicking, and even if he somehow doesn't, any lawyers he's talked to surely remember standing and political questions and justicability from their 1L years of law school well enough to scratch their heads and say, "Mr. Speaker, I'm pretty sure you can't do that."  (It's such a no-brainer, I find myself wondering if a lawyer who files this suit is exposing himself to sanctions, honestly.  It's been twenty years--twenty years!!--since I took a CivPro class, and I still remember Rule 11, Ken Broun beat it so deeply into my thick skull.  Thou shalt not fucketh around with Rule 11, lest Rule 11 fucketh around with thee.)

It's a joke, it's a stunt, if you expected anything more of them it'd be a pity.


The Moon Yaps "Lisbeth"

>> Monday, July 14, 2014

 (This one's for The Handsome Camel himself.  Sorry.  I am so, so sorry.)

"I want you to know, I'm not like other girls," Professor Van Niekerk said.

"I--I didn't think you were, sir," Lisbeth replied.  "I--I have to admit I, um, I never thought of you as a girl at all."

He admired her.  He couldn't help himself.  She was an admirable woman, a lush body that was curved in all the right places.  That is, she wasn't a hunchback, for example.  She had an ample bosom and wide hips, and an ass that just would not quit (not even if it had an offer that included pretty good benefits).

"Right," he replied.  "I'm glad you noticed that I'm not a woman.  You, of course, are a woman.  And I am a man.  A more elemental relationship than the one between a professor and his star pupil.  A primal relationship, the most basic and fundamental relationship there is.  The one between woman and man, I mean.  Universities weren't invented until, what, the Middle Ages, so obviously the relationship between a woman and man predates that.  You know what I'm saying, don't you?"

Lisbeth put a finger to her red, full lips, and chewed on the tip.  She inhaled, filling out her ample breast, and exhaled, flattening her stomach so that the curves of her hips, breast and buttocks were exaggerated.  Also, she had nice thighs, which seems worth mentioning just so we can be clear that she was extremely attractive and the good kind of curvy (if you're a woman).

But she wasn't just putting her finger to her lips in a seductive, sexy pose so that her curvaceous body could be described; she also had a line of dialogue.  "I don't understand," she said.  "What are you trying to say?"

Professor Van Niekerk stood.  He was a man of low-average height, rotund and bearded, with grey in his full, mussed hair and in his beard.  He looked a lot like a somewhat short, fat lawyer but was, in fact, the foremost English professor in his field in the world, and had never been to law school nor taken the Bar.  His really intense, emerald eyes blazed.  "You, my darling, my sweet, my love!" he exclaimed.  "Haven't you seen the signs?"

"The signs?"

"The way I look at you in class!"

"I'm sorry, I was taking notes."

"The way I hold doors for you!"

"Oh.  I guess I thought you were doing that for the other one hundred and seventeen students in ENG 102."

"The way my heart beats when you pass near!"

"My... hearing's not that good... most of the time."

"The notes I've sent you!"

"I did notice the comment you wrote on my midterm essay on John Dryden.  But I thought you meant 'Fuck me' in the sense of 'This is terrible,' not in the 'Fuck me' sense."

"But I gave that paper an A-triple-plus!  Even when you left out the 'y' in his name!"

"Yes sir, that confused me, so I thought it better not to ask."

"I wrote you a sonnet on the back of one of your exams!"

"No you didn't."

"Alas!  That must be why David Hammond who sits to your left has been giving me such dreamy looks since I returned your class' papers to you on Wednesday!"

"David Hammond sits to my right."

"I meant your left facing you!  Oh, please, I cannot take more of this!  You're a young woman, and everything is new, and I am an old man, and have done so much!  I can teach you more outside of the classroom than any student learns of life within!  By which I mean I'd like to bed you and criticize your technique!  Let me criticize your technique, Lisbeth!  Let me critique you between the sheets!"

Lisbeth appeared startled.  "But I can't!  I can't sir!"

"Don't worry about the ethics board, I have tenure!"

"It's not that, sir.  It's just that I'm not like other women!"

"I know, Lisbeth!  I know!  It's why I want to take you!  Your curves!"

"No, you don't understand!  What time is it?  I have to go!"

She turned, then, but Professor Van Niekerk grabbed her by the wrist.

"Don't go!" he shouted.  "I can't bear it if you go!  I might have to bring down your average if you break my heart!  Let me teach you!  In bed!"

"No!  No!  No!" she cried.  "It isn't that!  It isn't just that!  It's mostly that, but it's something else, too!  I must be home before it happens!  Before--"

"Before what?" the Professor yelled.  "Before this passion overwhelms us, you voluptuous vixen, you!"

"I am cursed!  Let go of me!  I am cursed!"

"Cursed with beauty!  Cursed with youth!  And passion!  And tits!"

"Yes!  No!  Cursed with--no, it's happengrrrrrrrrrr!"

The room was suddenly flooded with light as the full moon rose over the tall buildings outside the window.  Professor Van Niekerk felt Lisbeth's wrist pop and twist in his hand.  Her fair, smooth skin suddenly bristled with soft fur and her long, sexy fingers shrank into tiny paws studded with short, sharp nails.  She was shrinking before his eyes, contorting and twisting as she shriveled.  Her beautiful, round face sprouted fur and jutted out, her nose becoming small, black and moist.  Lisbeth's arms and legs contracted into her body, which lost its feminine splendor and became barrel shaped.

Professor Van Niekerk let go of her foreleg and she dropped to the ground.  Although well-mannered and known for their desire to please, Lisbeth came from a vocal breed and she began to bark and jump at the Professor, but not very high because of her squat legs and low ground clearance.  He backed away, and Lisbeth's herding instincts came to the forefront: she began to nip at his heels, and he backed into a chair and fell over.

It was suddenly too much: the moon-madness was upon Lisbeth now, and she charged forward as fast as her stout little legs would take her, burying her brown-and-white muzzle in his throat.  Professor Van Niekerk wanted to laugh at the way her adorable, fuzzy little face tickled his chin, but then her tiny canines tore into his skin.  Shouting, he threw the small dog off of him and rolled over, but she was energetic and resilient, and hopped on him and pressed the attack, biting and barking until the old man's heart weakened and faltered.

"This is ironic," he thought with his last thoughts.  "Had I brought forth my clan's ancient enchanted Lucerne hammer, Clonngenhommer, from its resting place in the Hallowed Isle of Mirrorlake, I could have fought off this vile lycan-" and then he died before he could think "-thrope."

Lisbeth stood over his body, sort of half on and half off, her short rear legs scrabbling for purchase whenever she put her forepaws on the dead man's large belly.  She began to yap at the full moon, visible through the window beyond the vast urban nightscape of the great city.  She felt a primal urge that the old man could never have fulfilled, and she wondered where she could satisfy the need trembling through her body.  Possibly in a dumpster, if she could reach the doors, or in a trash can if she knocked one over and the lid wasn't tightly secured.  It would be nice to roll in something.  Yes.  Yes it would.


Another proud member of the UCF...

Another proud member of the UCF...
UCF logo ©2008 Michelle Klishis international gang of... international gang of...
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...Frank Gorshin-obsessed bikers.

...Frank Gorshin-obsessed bikers.
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