Ray Sinneck

Ray Sinneck

Tuesday, 04 June 2019 13:31

Senatorial Pandemonium

Senatorial Pandemonium

Ray Sinneck

Another excerpt from the satirical fiction of Ray Sinneck: Thrush Lockjaw, a Republican candidate for the presidency, attends the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for his friend Judge Yurik Skulleater, where the two men make a strident statement about abortion.

After circling once over the Lincoln Memorial, the Airbus began its descent into Reagan International. It was a choppy approach today due to the interplay of particularly chaotic atmospheric crosscurrents. Thrush Lockjaw knew exactly what was going on and he felt glad he had taken that correspondence course on meteorology way back when. It’s made all the difference. The plane was being buffeted by wind shear factors that could prove very dangerous. One wrong pocket and the airborne rig might nosedive into the Potomac below. The aircraft skidded onto the tarmac and the passengers gave a collective sigh of relief. Thrush gathered his various personal effects from the business class seat pocket in front of him. He always traveled business class. It was the feeling of prestige, the larger seats, and the bag of extra fancy peanuts that kept him coming back.

He quickly calculated the route and time required to get to the Senate conference room. Gotta move fast. Cutting it a bit close here. He needed to deliver the eminence of his presence on time for the confirmation hearing of his good friend District Judge Yurik Skulleater, who had flown in from San Francisco several days earlier. Finally a bona fide conservative about to be confirmed to the High Court, the Good Lord willing. Hopefully, the thin, conservative minority in the Senate would prevail after the Justice Committee approves him. Thrush and Yurik were buddies from way back, when they met on a hunting expedition near the Himalayas many years ago. Yurik was an odd combination: a staunch conservative, yet someone who grew up in the Soviet Union and migrated to the U.S. They were in almost constant contact over the past several weeks and Thrush was atwitter at the prospect of carrying out their plan today. It was sure to generate a media storm and capture the attention of the country — not to mention put a lock on his victory in the primaries.

The cab snaked its way through the tangle of the nation’s capital. Thrush took his guitar out and gave it another tuning. “You fixin’ to play some music pal?” the Arab driver queried.

“Yeah, I thought I might play a few chords later today.”

“Say, aren’t you that weatherman who is running for president?”

“Yes, yes, and I hope you’ll give me your vote when the time comes. This great country of ours needs the right leadership in these troubled times and I am ready to step in and take charge.”

“OK then.” The driver fell silent and his eyes darted left and right as he struggled with the traffic.

Thrush had cradled this old Gibson acoustic many times when he used to play folk gospel tunes for his church: The Magisterium of Almighty God and God’s Only Truth. Thrush remembered, I need to see Father Mon Sr. when I get back. The G String had drifted out of tune again and needed to be tightened up a bit. He strummed a couple chords and hummed, “. . . pleased to meet you . . .”

He was dropped off at the Senate Offices across the street from the Capitol. After being greeted by a senator’s assistant and checked in through security, he made his way over to the Senate chamber via the underground rail system. “What’s in the guitar case?” another humorless security guard questioned him.

“An acoustic guitar,” he replied.

The guitar resulted in some security concerns at the Capitol building, but after careful inspection and consideration of Thrush’s story about his intent to entertain the Judiciary Committee, the guards let him through. But first they had to poke around inside the wooden body with a long probe that had a small mirror at the end. Thrush thought, my last visit to the dentist . . . had those porcelain veneers put on. Love that short-circuit feeling when they drill too close to the nerve. He felt a charge just thinking about it.


Yurik had arranged all the necessary passes for him and he managed to get settled into the august hearing room. A row of camera-flash-popping minions groveled beneath the oppressive mahogany structure up front. The whole set-up was an ostentatious display of shameless power designed to make the subject of the hearings feel as if Zeus himself was gazing down at him from on high, as if to say “you are nothing, and don’t you forget it.” Thrush fantasized for a moment about addressing a joint session of Congress someday. That was power. Every member of Congress obliged to sit and listen while an agenda for the nation is delivered.

Senator Chappy Dick, the ultra-liberal Californian, was already settled in and licking his chops. He could barely wait to get on with the inquest and begin the process of carving Yurik up. Yurik eyeballed him unflinchingly though and thought, he’s nothing but a bloated anachronism.

A short while later, the meeting was underway and Senator Dick was leading the inquiry:

“. . . And tell us, Judge Skulleater, how would you rule on the question of whether or not the process of dripping water on someone’s forehead for days at a time constitutes torture? Does it not produce a deafening roar in their heads that is almost unbearable? Don’t they call it ‘Chinese Water Torture’ for a reason? Does our constitution make provisions for this sort of inhumane treatment?”

Dick felt he had Skulleater on the ropes with this one.

Yurik reflected thoughtfully and replied in a calm, steady voice:

“Senator, these techniques are used to extract valuable information from captured BESOT members. Information gained from these criminals has prevented further use of BWOMI.”

“What did you say?!” Dick gasped

“I said BWOMI, that is, biological weapons of mass infection.”

“Oh, yes, of course,” Dick responded.

Yurik continued:

“These people are hardened thugs who are prepared to risk exposure to Ebola themselves and generally revel in the spreading of the virus in such a way that they too become infected. They want to exit this world screaming and squirting blood from their asses. And you’re suggesting what? That a few drops of water on the noggins of these vermin is somehow violating their civil rights? Come on! What would you have us do? Invite them to a Tupperware party and hope they’ll spill some useful information over a croissant and some tea? And as for deafening roars, I’ve heard worse coming from the souped-up bass speakers found in some of those Harlem rapper convertibles. I drove by one the other day and thought, what in God’s name is that low rumble and where is it coming from? Hell, people actually pay extra for that breastbone bass.”

Thrush was elated with Yurik’s answer. He was stickin’ the hot poker right into the cyclopean eye of the Left Wing. Senator Dick’s body language showed he felt the sting. He was leaning way back in his red leather swivel rocker. But he’d been around the block a few times and wasn’t going to be easily thwarted.

Dick deftly shifted gears and launched into the widely anticipated abortion question. “What about your opinion on Roe v. Wade? Do you recognize and pledge to uphold the principle of stare decisis?”

Yurik was ready for him though. He turned to Thrush and winked, then said:

“Senator, it’s no surprise that you bring up this issue with me. You know I can’t give any ruling on this without first knowing the details of a case that might be brought before me. To do otherwise would represent a compromise of my judicial impartiality.”

But Dick pressed harder:

“It’s important for the committee to understand your underlying principles as relates to this question. How would you approach a case involving this issue and would you show the appropriate respect for precedent?”

Yurik again glanced back at Thrush and nodded, then he responded in a serious tone:

“Senator, if you’ll permit me, I’ll address your question in a little song I wrote with my good friend Thrush Lockjaw.”

“What . . . !?” Chappy Dick was agape.

With that Thrush started strumming the chords of a tune he wrote for the occasion, and Yurik, who had received voice lessons when he was younger, chimed in with his husky baritone voice:

Stare, stare decisis…

Tear the fetus out by the head

Wrench it from its uterine bed

With nary a care at all . . .

Headless flotsam flushed away

I guess it’s just another day

In the old unplanned parenthood suite . . .

Stare, stare decisis

But before he could get another word sung, pandemonium broke out. Cameras were flashing left and right. C-Span was focused in on Thrush’s finger-picking. Thrush and Yurik were both grinning from ear to ear. The Democrat Chairman pounded his gavel and chortled above the din:

“Order, ladies and gentlemen, order! I think the time for a vote has come.”

It pained Thrush to know that in all likelihood, right now in various sterile offices across the country, feet were up in stirrups and certain unfortunate fetuses were being vacuumed up or pulled at with a pair of forceps. All headed for the waste bin. The “right-to-choose” in action — based on the Liberals’ definition. Nothing more than a little oven cleaning for some, it seems.     *

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 11:26

Racy Times at the University

Racy Times at the University

Ray Sinneck

This is another excerpt from the satirical novel being written by Ray Sinneck. In this chapter, a fictional student named Dime attends a required class at the University of Liberal Arts.

Dime shuffled over to his next class called Racial Health and Awareness for the Undiversified. It was yet another course selectively mandated at ULA. All students who were directed to take it have the objective of getting at least a grade of “B” before they are allowed to graduate. Arriving at the classroom, Dime was immediately taken with the poverty of the scene. The woodwork varnishes were discolored and chipped. The cushioned seats showed wear from cycles of use and were badly in need of upgrading. Dime wondered where all the money from decades of tuition hikes was going. Why weren’t classrooms in better condition? Dime liked to sit in the back row during classes. He found that a student’s classroom freedom was always proportional to the distance from the professor. There was the occasional charismatic who might pace the classroom while teaching. In these circumstances a student’s best hope is to remain nameless in the middle of a centrally located row. Dime surmised that it would be unlikely that Professor Bumphuku, a man of advanced age, would be one of those.

Dime had recently received his Diversity Worth Index report from the school administration, indicating a DWI value of zero. As such, he was considered a member of the group known as Undiversified (generally called Undies in the campus vernacular). As a white male, he had little chance of budging the DWI meter. White females, who were only marginally more diversified than their male counterparts, were required to take the alternative course, Race and Women’s Health. Any student with a DWI greater than 3 was exempted from the course requirement, but many of these minority students enrolled anyway in order to help the Professor fill Undies with racist guilt.

It was ten minutes before class time and Dime had failed to complete the initial self-evaluation form for the course. He was told by his friend Larry that it was a waste of time. Dime hadn’t even bothered to look at it, but he reasoned that he should at least familiarize himself with the content. He pulled up a copy of the text on his laptop and read the three evaluation queries:

  1. If you were an African American living in 21st century American society, how do you think you would feel?
  2. Have you ever been the target of racial discrimination?
  3. Describe each of the instances in the past month when you displayed racist behavior towards a fellow student, work colleague, or person of color.  

Dime read through them again with heightened curiosity. He noticed that the answer space for the first two questions was minimal compared with the third question. A dapper looking fellow plopped into the seat next to him. Glancing at Dime, he said, “Heya, you need any help with that?” Dime looked up to see a neatly polished guy, who looked a bit older than the other class members. His hair was parted and set with an almost comical precision. He continued to smile at Dime as if he was programmed to do so by some unseen puppeteer.

Dime answered, “Yeah, I guess, I didn’t really do it.”

“Haha, that’s ok.” The pristine classmate had already pulled out his own copy. “It’s real hard to get it the first time.”

“The first time?” Dime asked.

“Oh, sorry, my name is Quigley. I’m a senior and I’m repeating the class. I hope to get even more out of it this time.” He handed Dime his copy of the questionnaire.

Dime thought Quigley’s behavior was strangely invasive, but welcomed the opportunity to see an example of correct responses. He scanned Quigley’s answers to the three questions:

  1. I am not black and so I am biologically and culturally unable to comprehend how it would feel to live in a state of perpetual repression.

  1. As a white male I have never been a target of discrimination because I live in a society that favors my race and gender.

  1. I pointed my feet on the campus bus in the direction of a white female to my right instead of towards the black woman who was sitting right across from me . . .

I responded with only a half-smile when my African American boss informed me I was doing well at my on-campus job . . .

I was not adequately impressed when I saw a black youth dunk a basketball at the local park . . .

Dime didn’t finish reading the long list of additional items under question 3. He was beginning to understand what Larry meant when he explained that there was an expectation that questions should be answered with a particular and singular perspective.


Dime said, “So, you’ve taken this class before?”

Quigley replied, “Oh yes, this will be my third time.”

“Are you getting any credits?”

“I get the same number of credits each time. The University looks very favorably on students who take their racial health seriously.”

“What exactly is racial health?” Dime was eager to know.

“Haha, I was just as confused as you were when I first took this class. It’s so obvious, looking back . . . let me explain.” His grin felt condescending. “You see . . . hey, what’s your name, by the way?”

“Everyone calls me Dime.”

“Well, you see, Dime, every one of us in this classroom is imperfect; impure . . . we fall short of the self-awareness we must achieve. What I’m trying to say is that every one of us is a racist, whether we realize it or not.”

“What? I don’t think I’m a racist,” Dime replied.

“Oh, you will by the time this class is over. I know it’s difficult to accept at first, but it’s very important that you do. You will learn from Professor Bumphuku how he came to a divine insight. As the story goes, one day, quite a number of years ago, while he was strolling along listening to Boney Maronie on his shoulder radio, the truth came to Bumphuku. In an instant he understood that millions of years ago, in a time when humans of all colors lived in harmony and bliss in some other intergalactic dimension, there arose a warlord, the Mother of all Racists if you will . . . whose name is utterable only to those who have taken this course several times . . . the Dark Lord Zeeboo. Zeeboo skewed the minds of white humanity and forged within them the seeds of hatred. He created enmity among the races. Zeeboo, in his infinite craftiness, implanted within the brains of every white person notions of supremacy over his fellow races. Dime, whether we like it or not, we are the progeny of Zeeboo . . . and we are now faced with the task of expurgating our inner Zeeboo, the intrinsic racism from which we are genetically constructed . . . oh yeah . . . hear me now. Do you understand?”

Dime wasn’t sure how to respond and stared blankly at his interrogator.

Quigley continued, “Oh, believe me I was the same as you, Dime. I was lost, I did not understand . . . but don’t even try to deceive yourself . . . you are a racist just as surely as I sit here. You are in the grip of the Dark Lord who maintains a stranglehold on all white men . . . yes, Zeeboo, the most devious of liars . . . do not be comforted by false thoughts that you are pure . . . you need help Dime, and that’s what this class is for.”

“This sounds a bit far-fetched.” Dime responded.

“It’s very natural, Dime. I was just the same. I had no idea. That’s the trick of it. Professor Bumphuku will explain it all. Think of an iceberg, Dime. That’s how your racism exists. It has been proven that only about 9.1 percent of the white man’s racism is readily visible. The other 90.9 percent is entirely submerged in the subconscious. Most people, like me, only become aware of the other 90.9 percent after extensive therapy.”

“Therapy?” Dime was confused.

“Oh yes . . . cutting edge techniques developed by Bumphuku himself. It’s based on electroshock therapy. You need to repeat the phrase over and over . . . I am a racist . . . while electrical discharges are shot through your cerebral cortex. Only then can you become fully awakened to your inner racist heart. And only then can you begin to deal with your problem. You see, once you become aware of your subconscious bias, then a higher voltage can be applied to eradicate that portion of your brain. It’s all done with surgical precision.”


Just then a large black man dressed in some sort of colorful robe walked up to the podium. He had a broad, shiny, clean-shaved head. Quigley whispered, “That’s the Holy Reverend Professor Bumphuku. The class is about to begin.” Dime stared dumbstruck at Quigley’s edgy grin.

Bumphuku began to speak. Dime couldn’t understand a word that came out of his mouth. His dialect sounded like some mixture of Danish, Swahili and English. Oh no, Dime thought, not another professor that I can’t understand. But then he was relieved to see that Bumphuku had a translator next to the podium who frantically typed out key phrases. He saw one flash up on the screen:


Dime recalled Larry lamenting that three of his classes had translators this semester. He didn’t like it that his math translator seemed to have little knowledge of the subject matter, and was an Asian Indian with a heavy accent.

Dime kept his attention pegged to the screen and tried to ignore Bumphuku’s unintelligible diatribe. The Professor pounded the podium and became animated while the ambisinister translator flashed the next few lines up on the screen:


Dime worried silently as he thought about those shock treatments. Will I have to get therapy? I sure hope not. The next slide was up:


Like a hound who hears his name mentioned, Dime’s ears perked up. That’s what Quigley said . . . that bit about the iceberg. He scribbled energetically in his notebook.     *                       

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