Category Archives: Writing

Let’s Implement “Willful Ignorance and Stupidity Hours” at the Grocery Store


Social distancing markers at Safeway in Arlington, VA — WAMU / Tyrone Turner

We have in this country a sizable population who choose willful ignorance over science and medical expertise. You know the ones. They’re your Uncle Jack, who gets his “news” from the likes of Sean Hannity, Fox “News”, OANN, Breitbart, and the like. Uncle Jack thinks he knows more than people with medical degrees and experts in epidemiology. Uncle Jack is that guy who posted to your Facebook timeline a link to Plandemic, a thoroughly discredited anti-vaxxer conspiracy “documentary” starring an equally thoroughly discredited Judy Mikovits. Because of all these “news” sources, Uncle Jack believes his rights are being violated by social distancing and mask requirements.

Alas, Uncle Jack is so historically illiterate that he doesn’t know that he’s on the losing end of this argument. Uncle Jack has never heard of Mary Mallon, who in an earlier time refused to quit infecting people with deadly typhoid fever because her “right” to work in kitchens was being violated. “Typhoid Mary” wound up dying in quarantine as a result. That quarantine was her second, and she spent the last 23 years of her life locked away on a small island in New York City’s East River.

So, no, Uncle Jack, you do not have a Constitutional right to endanger people with your willful ignorance and stupidity. That was established back around the turn of the last century.

But what are we to do with the Uncle Jacks among us today? Those who feel their right to cough directly onto you in the bread aisle far outweighs your right to live, or not be permanently disabled with complications such as decreased lung capacity, kidney failure, liver damage, and heart disease as a result of barely surviving COVID-19?

Well, there is a simple solution to that. We already have “Senior Hours” at the local grocery store, and national chains such as Costco now require masks, even though some employees are being executed for enforcing that restriction. Still others are being gunned down because the Uncle Jacks of the world must use carry-out via the drive-through window rather than have a sit-down Big Mac and fries in the dining area at the local McDonald’s. But I digress. We’re here for solutions, not headlines. And here it is:

Welcome to “Willful Ignorance and Stupidity Hours” at the local Walmart. Just as seniors can have the grocery store to themselves in the early morning hours, let us consider turning over these same stores to these future Darwin Awards nominees in late evenings. Let these self-absorbed “Constitutional rights experts” who never heard of Mary Mallon use the same stores, say between 11:00 p.m. and midnight on Wednesdays. Let them run willy-nilly around the store coughing and sneezing upon one another without a multilayer cotton nose-and-mouth barrier, while standing eighteen inches apart and yucking it up among themselves about how they’re, “Owning the libtards,” or whatever.

Right about now you’re thinking, “But what about the employees though?”

We can fix that as well. Since employees would now be risking life and limb (or functioning internal organs, as it were), they would be volunteers. They would also receive hazardous duty incentive pay, which would be paid for by those who now have the “freedom” to run around the store contaminating one another during “Willful Ignorance and Stupidity Hours”. I’m thinking a 50%-to-100% upcharge added onto their individual bills. This upcharge would be distributed at the end of the shift among cashiers, stockers, and the cleaning crew now tasked with decontaminating the store before Senior Hours begin in the morning. Increase that upcharge to 200% and the store might even be able to cover the medical costs of any employees going into ICU.

I like to think of this as a win-win. The smart ones among us get to survive, and without long-term disabilities. The willfully ignorant Plandemic fans among us get to drain the shallow end of the gene pool, thus making the world a much better place for the rest of us.

© R. Doug Wicker — Author
May, 2020
All rights reserved
Redistribution permitted with proper and complete attribution

4 Comments

Filed under Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, Social Networking, Writing

The World, inspiration for The Globe, is removed from service


As many of you may know, the world’s largest private ownership residential cruise ship MS The World was the inspiration for my murder mystery The Globe. Yesterday MS The World was removed from service, her residents disembarked, and her crew reduced to bare minimum.

MS The World

It saddens me that it has come to this, but where can she dock on a voyage? Nowhere, currently.

MS The World

In case you’re wondering where I got these photos, I stumbled across MS The World in Barbados, well after I’d written and published The Globe.

MS The World

Let us hope that MS The World sets sail again in the near future, but that may be optimistic. At any rate, she’ll probably be back at some point.

MS The World

Since MS The World is laid up indefinitely, why not try an exciting excursion aboard her literary sister, The Globe?

The Globe, a murder in luxury by R. Doug Wicker

Comments Off on The World, inspiration for The Globe, is removed from service

Filed under Books, eReaders, R. Doug Wicker, Writing

A Spillane Christmas Carol (Humor)


Time for a repeat of a little more Christmas humor. Below is the investigation into the murder portrayed in yesterday’s poem. A little inside joke contained therein: this story was originally written for a contest that had a 1,500 word-count limit. That was up from a 1,000-word limit the preceding year. So, here is:

A Spillane Interpretation of A Dickens Christmas

It was the best of times, Christmas.  It was the worst of crimes, murder.  She was a store clerk at the Old Curiosity Shoppe.  Her name was Lenore and she lay dead upon the floor, strangled with a ribbon of rain checks by an irate Christmas shopper.  The suspect’s name was Ollie, and I knew then that this murder had a twist.

It was time for the “bad cop” routine so I slipped into the role, not that it required much acting on my part.  “Okay, Ollie, what’s your last name?”

“Co . . . Co . . . Copperfield.”

“This your first offense, Copperfield?  Murder goes down easier if it’s a first offense.  You’ll probably be looking at two to ten.”

“Years?”

“Weeks.  Probation.  This is California, you know.  Now spill it.”

“I’ve never been in trouble before today.  Well . . . except for those two incidents, one in London and the other in Paris.”

“Just what I don’t need right now, a tale of two cities.  Let’s keep it simple, Copperfield.  Why’d you do it?  Passion?  Robbery?  Lust?”

I secretly hoped it was lust.  I’m kind of partial to lust.  Passion comes in a close second.

“No,” Copperfield whined.  “It wasn’t any of that.”

Rats, I thought.  Another long story with, like, no gratuitous . . . well, you get the picture.  “Start from the beginning,” I prodded.

Copperfield yelled in anguish.  I turned off the prod.  “Come on, spill it.”

“It was my son, Quasimodo.”

“Wrong author.  Save Dumas for next year’s contest.”

“Actually, that was Victor Hugo,” Copperfield corrected.

I shook my head impatiently.  “Never mind.  Go on.  We only have 1,242 words remaining to wrap this whole thing up.”

“And last year, you would’ve only had 742.”

I’d had enough of this.  I started to prod Copperfield for more information.

“Wait,” he yelled in anguish.  “I’ll talk.”

I put the prod back under my coat.  I yelled in anguish, then reached inside and turned it off.  It was a shocking miscalculation on my part and now I was really burned.  “No more stalling, Copperfield.”

“Quasimodo wanted this year’s hot toy . . . .”

“You mean the Super Fly-A-Saur?”

“You know it?”

Know it.  Been trying to lay my hands on one of those damned, cursed, hellish things for three weeks.  I got a nephew in Newark who wants one.”

Copperfield’s face twisted in horror.  “Newark . . .  how awful.  Tough break.”

“Precisely.  Poor kid would’ve been better off as an orphan in London.  He should get whatever he wants.”

“Well,” Copperfield continued, “I didn’t even start looking for one until yesterday afternoon.”

I was incredulous.  “Let me get this straight . . . .  You didn’t start looking for the most popular toy of the year until Christmas Eve?”  I gave him a suspicion-filled glance.  “You settin’ up for an insanity plea?”

“No . . . .  It’s true.  I swear.”

“Quasimodo . . . he got any brothers or sisters?”

Copperfield nodded.  “He has a tiny brother named—“

“Let me guess.  Tim, right?”

“No.  Pickwick.  Pickwick Chuzzlewit Copperfield.  We call him ‘Boz’ for short.”

“Of course you do.”  I was duly impressed.  A four-fer.  Very good.  Tim would’ve been too easy.

It was then that my partner, Nick Nickleby, entered the crime scene.  Nick was the consummate “good cop.”  He never prodded the suspect.  He immediately grabbed Copperfield by the lapels and propelled him into the nearest wall.  “Sing weasel, or you’ll be looking at hard times.”

I grabbed Nick’s arm.  “He’s singing already.  Relax, would you?”

Copperfield massaged his head.  “The chimes.  I’m hearing chimes.”

Nick laughed.  “You idiot.  You hit the wall of the cuckoo clock section.  Of course you hear chimes.”

“Oh, yeah.”  Copperfield straightened.  “Silly me.”  He brushed the cuckoo bird from his mouth, removed the chain from around his neck, the weight from his left nostril, and spit out a feather.  “I was in the middle of my confession.”

“Ah HA,” Nick crowed.  “Then you confess.”

“He just said that.  We’re way past that, Nick.  We’ve already established intent and opportunity.  We’re working on motive.  Now, go sit down before I prod you to do so.”

Nick’s eyes grew like saucers.  He quickly stepped back.  “Don’t mind me.  Just pretend I’m not even here.  I’ll just listen while you question our mutual friend.”

I nodded approval.  An obscure reference, but well placed by a relative novice.  I turned back to Copperfield.  “You were saying?”

“Well, this store clerk, Lenore Dorrit, led me to believe she had some Fly-A-Saurs in stock.  I mean, just look at the window.  They’ve got ads for it hanging all over the place.  I’d been to twenty-seven stores before this and I was desperate, even though their advertised price is 1,200% above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.”

“So, you entered the store with great expectations.”

“Precisely . . .  only to have those expectations dashed upon the rocks like some sixteenth-century galleon caught in a South Pacific cyclone.”

“You’re losing focus again.  We did Robert Louis Stevens last year.”

“Defoe.  That was a Daniel Defoe reference.”

I started to prod, but Copperfield hastily continued.  “Anyway, she led me on.  She enticed me upstairs in the worst way.”

“In the worst way?”

“Yeah.  I mistakenly got on the down escalator.  Took me half an hour to make the trip.”

“Wow.  You were desperate.  Then what happened?”

Copperfield pointed to the raven-haired beauty.  “See those coupons?”

I nodded.  “Rain checks.”

“That’s what she had.”  He broke down sobbing.  “I went through hell, and all she had to offer was a rain check.  Can you imagine little Boz playing with a rain check on Christmas morning?”

Suddenly there was a commotion at the doorway.  A little, gray-haired old man burst through the tape and brushed past Nick.  Actually, the little squirt picked Nick up by the lapels and smashed him into the nearest wall.

“Get out of my way,” the old man yelled.

Nick rubbed his eyes.  “I’m seeing stars.”

I shook my head in disgust.  “Of course you are, you idiot.  You’re in the autographed celebrity pictures section.”

“I thought I was having a religious experience.”

“Get out from under that Madonna poster.”  I turned to the intruder.  “And you are . . . ?”

“Barnaby Rudge.  I got over here from Bleak House as soon as I heard.”

I nodded my approval.  I was wondering how in the world I was going to get those obscure works into this.  “What’s your connection to all this?”

He pointed to the body.  “My automated sales clerk.  She’s been destroyed.  Who did this?”

My jaw clenched.  I shook.  My knees went weak.  I reached inside my coat and switched off the prod again.  Damned faulty switch.  Someone was going to pay for this.  “You mean to tell me that thing’s a robot?”

“Yep.  Made for me by Dombey and Son.”

This guy was good.  Really good.  I’d have been lost without him.  I walked over to the body.  “Yeah . . .  now it all makes sense.”

Nick rushed over.  “What?  What makes sense?”

I pointed to that irritating service smile locked on her lips, the one that just drives you nuts.  “She’s still smiling.  She looks like a damned Barbie doll.  I should have known.  And look at what she was ‘strangled’ with.  That roll of rain checks should’ve broken before she even started to turn pink.”  I turned back to Mr. Rudge.  “I’ve never seen one of these.”

“They’re brand new, different models for different occasions.  The ‘off/on’ switch is in the throat.  This one is the Carol model, specifically made for the holiday season.”

“Ah . . . .” I nodded knowingly.  “A Christmas Carol.  Tell me, why did you name her Lenore?”

“Why, that’s easy.  It’s the raven hair.”

I slapped my forehead.  “It’s so . . .  so . . .  obvious.”

I turned to Copperfield.  “You’re free to go, sir.  I won’t be prodding you for anymore answers tonight.”

“Thank God.”  He hurried off, lest I change my mind.

Nick clasped my shoulder.  “Come on, partner.  Let me buy you a drink.  Martini, right?”

“Yep.”

“Olive or twist?”

My eyes narrowed.  “Been there.  Done that.  Let’s go.”

1 Comment

Filed under Author, R. Doug Wicker, Writing