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Guacamole Road:
I Just Pulled a Nobel Prize
Right Out of My Ass

"Sir? Is there some reason you're taking a mentally ill
homeless man to a soup kitchen at one hundred forty miles per hour?"

"I like to drive."

-- CHP Officer W. Godfrey, Badge #19523

Jonathan Swift

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Solving the Software Problem. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter One:

Nitrogen Trioxide

Saturday, July 7
King City California

"Si, Señor?"

"Mi llamo Juan, usted. Juan Swifto. Ti llamo?"

"Zephania. Zephania Gutierrez."

De Verdad? ¿Y tu cumpleaños es diciembre tercero?


"Por favor, perdóname por despertarte. ¿Podrías preguntarle a tu padre si puedo tener una botella de agua?"

"Dad's at work. Mom! Could you get Mister Swift a bottle of water?"

I smiled warmly. "'Jon' please. To call me 'Mister Swift' makes me feel old."

"You have grey hair?"

"That's because I invented the Internet." His eyes widened. "Well, just a little bit of the Internet: I did the Software Quality Assurance for Apple's MacTCP One-Point-Oh-Point-One."

"You worked on the iPhone?"

Even more warmly: "Yes!"

I expected a Mujera Hermosa; what I got was a Chica Bonita:

"Lemonade, from lemons I grew myself on a tree in my backyard."

There was something about her voice that I found strangely familiar.

"I apologize Señora Gutierrez, I mean I really do: I'm allergic to Citrus Fruit. It's the Limonenes."

"I'm allergic to Milk myself - not the Lactose, but the Casein. Would Kool-Ade work for you?"

"Any flavor but Lemon: it's naturally flavored."

"Grape then. Please. Come in, sit down."

"But Señor Gutierrez?" I knew better than to linger my gaze too longingly upon the face of an Aztec Princess.

A special kind of hatred flashed in her eyes: "The base is on alert".

"It always shall be."

"Please. You have travelled far and cry for rest. I shall fry us some tacos."

My heart leapt. "Shouldn't you steam them?"

"Tacos Portugueses!"

"You bring a smile to my weary eyes: my father used to fry them too."

The Living Was Easy

Summer 1971
Formia, Italy

Two of his friends, both young Officers, came to visit our home from Dad's ship. Despite being by now forty-eight years ago, I remember like it was yesterday:

One such, a Japanese-American said to me very kindly and very gently, "Your father is very intelligent. You should ask him questions."

I had not known that about my father: he was just my Dad.

I miss my father.

I miss him so very much.

Requiescat In Pace.

Shoe Dance

Five Founding Fathers standing before the Signing Table.

Declaration Of Independence
John Trumbull

Saturday, July 7, 2012
King City, California

Our tacos simmering away, Señora Gutierrez sat with me at her kitchen table. As she glanced idly downward, she looked at first puzzled, then dismayed.

Horrified: "Your feet!"

"Ma'am, it would be a great kindness were you to sell me a pair of Señor Gutierrez' socks."

"Sell them? Of course not! I shall give you a pair..."

"Señora Gutierrez, I feel very strongly that those who can, should. I do not want for money."

"It would be wrong. I'll give you a pair of Mike's shoes, he's got so very many."

"I wear a ten-and-a-half D, an eleven wide or a twelve."

"Oh. Mike wears thirteen."

I was overcome not only with a profound sadness, but also with an aching loneliness of such a depth as I have never known.


"I'll give you two pairs of Mike's socks."

Brightly: "Your first name, Ma'am?"


"Like we Americans spell 'Denise"? Or the French?"

Denisse looked puzzled.

"Mexico was once a French possession."

I saw that special kind of hatred again: "Indeed".

"I shall name my firstborn 'Denisse'."

"And if he's a boy?"

"Being of modest means I want but one child."

"Your Son is named for a Tanakh Prophet. Are you of the Jewish Faith?"

"Jehovah's Witnesses."

"I am very sorry for your pain."

"Why so? We are a very happy people!"

"They killed my people too."

"We do not fear Death. Are you Jewish yourself?"

"No, but my people got it worse - and first. Are you familiar with Aktion T4?"


"Then Don't Find Out."

Her eyes wide, she was overcome with the very worst kind of horror and inconsolable grief.

"My family studies our history," I explained.

"While I remain skeptical of the assertion that 'Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it', I am certain of this:"

"Those of us who do study study history are condemned to forever dwell in sorrow because we understand all too well just why history had to be the way it actually was."

"There is something about your voice, Señor Swift, that I find strangely familiar."

But softly at first, rain began to fall.

The American Intervention in Mexico

Sunday, July 8, 2012
King City, California

We ate our Tacos, she daintily, I as if a hungry dog, each quietly contemplating the sound of the soft rain. After a little while, I was able to tell that the rain was not quite constant, but that sometimes it would intensify just a bit, then after a little while, ease back again, just a bit.

"Guacamole? I apologize, I forgot I'd made some up."

"Avocados are expensive! Salsa's fine."

"In reality, the Avocado Tree grows Just Like A Weed. That The Alligator Pear is so very expensive is due to the so very poor Economy Of Scale of its so very limited distribution."

"In any case, it's important that you eat Guac not Salsa. For us all to eat Guacamole instead would all by itself ease Global Warming."

"Protecting atmospheric environment is everyone's responsibility"

"Are you a Communist?" That woman wielded her eyes like dual Stilletos.

"Not so much of a Communist as a Marxist - Pre-Soviet. Why?"

"That's what the Communist Party of the People's Republic Of China says too."

"Funny That."

"As for your Guacamole Diet: because Avocados grow on trees? Just last week I read on Facebook that one tree in ten years sequesters one ton of Carbon."


"Is that why you fried our Tacos in Olive rather than Corn Oil?"

"Indeed: Trees!"

We continued to listen to the rain. Very slowly and very gradually, the rain intensified into a shower.

Centrally displayed on Señora Gutierrez' living room wall was a framed print - not a poster: a print - of John Trumbull's "Declaration Of Independence". Just beneath, lovingly preserved in a glass case was an elaborately decorated, black-painted pencil box.

In that Pencil Box: an Origami Piano.

Good Times.

That glass case was atop an oddly out-of-place, quite beat-up upright piano.

The rain was quite strong now. From time to time, I heard distant thunder.

"I played piano myself, once."

"Now I sing. For tips."

BANG! Lightning struck just across the street. The storm was now so torrential I grew concerned Señora's Gutierrez' neighborhood might flood.

"Who are you, 'Señor Swifto'?"

"I could knock Luciano Pavarotti flat with my Baritone, but my life's greatest regret is that he perished before I could challenge him to a singing contest."

"Sometimes, I get tipped Twenty-Dollar Bills!"

Special hatred again.

"It's odd that in a Mexican home, you would celebrate the founding of Anglo-America. Surely you must as well know that Alta California was itself once a Mexican possession?"


"Mission San Francisco was itself established in 1776."


"Surely there is a story behind your painting?"


"It's on the back of..." Fearing her wrath, I halted.

With every bit the cold, steely-eyed calm of the Fighter Pilot, Señora Gutierrez continued: "... the American Two-Dollar Bill. Of the first five and so most-honored founding fathers, two are tall men. Of the two tall men the one with the tall forehead, fourth from the right, is Uncle Roger."

Furious now. I feared for my safety. I mean I really did.

"Señora Gutierrez - you're uncommonly tall for an Indigenous Mexican woman?"

"And I have a tall forehead. My father was Scottish, French, Dutch and British."

Incredulously: "Not British and Irish?"


"I've got some bad news, and some good news."

"What could be possibly worse than for the likes of you to darken my doorstep."

"Watch Zephania but for a moment. Do you see what he's doing there, with his fingers?"

"Your Grandson is Autistic. You knew that!"

"It Gets Better. My Madness skipped your generation, but not his."


"Before I do, I must say but one word:"

"Your denial will kill my Grandson. You are Manic-Depressive; he is Schizophrenic."

"One More Word And I'll Dial 9-1-1."

"I have some good news as well. Surely you want that too?"


On the floor to my right was the large Johnny Cat Kitty-Litter Bucket I used as a chair during my travels and as a drum during my performances. I popped its lid; from within I drew a thick, padded nine by twelve Manila envelope.

"I do not want anything from you."

"Then I ask you to keep this until my return, give it back, then you shall never see me again."

"Where are you going?"

"To look for your Uncle Chuck. That he was a Circus Roustabout in 1979 leads me to believe he is in Latin America, where the Circus remains popular."

Puzzled: "Cousin Chuck? Chuck's an Architect. In Southern California."

"Denisse: the skeletons in our family's closets have skeletons in their own closets. My Cousin Chuck and my Brother Chuck are two completely different people."

"What is in that envelope?"

"This is most but not all of a complete Patent Application; it still needs Prior Art Research."


"It concerns the efficiency of Electric Grid Power Distribution. This All By Itself I am quite certain will cut the entire planet's residential energy consumption by one-half!"

"Why am I not surprised that you, despite all of Your Alleged 'Great Brilliance', came to my home to Beg For Water?"

"You know Damn well why we are so very poor."

"And if before your so very unwelcome return you're beaten to death by the Police, as you so very richly deserve?"

(I call such beatings "The Cost Of Doing Business".)

"Give this application to any Patent Attorney."

"I've got three Patents. You know Damn well I do. Prior Art Research is expensive."

Lifting the cuff of my left pantleg, I unclipped my money pouch. Dropping it on her table I said with a mischievious grin, "That'll do you up right".

"Why do you have a gun under your pants this time?"

"There are some bad men - some bad women too - who would like to know where I am."

"Indeed: Women Too." Then:

"Where did you get that money?"

"How much do you think I could make, by doing work that I regard as Morally Reprehensible?"

"Father! No! No self-respecting Computer Programmer would be caught dead wearing a suit."

"Software Engineer."

"Computer Programmer."

"'Coder' then: Just Like A Wall Street Banker!"

"And your pale blue huge loud wide Polka-Dot necktie?"

"Gay As Old Paree!"

"Who got your suit this time?"

"The North Korean Embassy"

"The North Korean Affairs Section?"

"Embassy. In Singapore."

She rolled her eyes. "How much do you think I could make, by driving a Tow Truck?"

"I ask your forgiveness, My Little Denisse, I mean I really do. I was not well. Your mother would not have been happy. You would not have been happy."

Staring coldly, My Little Denisse pulled her Sony Ericsson Xperia Play from her pocket.

"I worked on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play!"


9-1-1: "Emergency Dispatch: what are you reporting?"

"There's a Crazy Man in my home. He's got a gun."

"Perhaps," I pointed out, "it's time we bid each other 'Adieu'", then split the scene completely.


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