Thomas Wictor

An excellent beginning

An excellent beginning

We all know that the National Security Agency listens to our phone calls. Today was especially hilarious as apparently the entire government domestic espionage apparatus was brought to bear on Tim and me. It was an excellent beginning to the writing of my next novel.

As anticipated, this afternoon I received some government documents that I requested a few weeks ago.

They confirmed everything that Tim and I had deduced. I called him to read from the documents, and all telephonic hell broke loose.

Now, before you think I’m a paranoid, anti-government loon, there are valid reasons why Tim and I would be under surveillance.

From 1993 until 2013, I had no visible means of support. I took care of my parents in exchange for a stipend, but it wasn’t enough to report to the IRS. Also, I research terrorism and weaponry all day; I’ve made freedom of information (FOIA) requests about weaponry; I wrote to and received personal responses from Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; I was born in Venezuela and have lived in four other foreign countries; in 1985 I tried to renew my Venezuelan citizenship; I’ve had my American passport stolen twice; and I fell out of touch with my family for over a year, which resulted in the U.S. State Department contacting me in Tokyo.

Tim and our parents had an agreement similar to mine; in exchange for taking care of them, he lived rent free and received a modest sum. He also researches airliners all day. And we have a relative who was once a member of a subversive organization. I can’t imagine how many government watch lists we’re on.

Today when I called Tim to read to him from the document that had come in the mail, we heard a series of clicks, and then we were disconnected. I called him back; the phone rang four times, and then his message played. On Tim’s end, he answered after the first ring but didn’t hear anything. That means someone has the ability to make me think I’m leaving a message with Tim, while in reality he’s on the phone, hearing nothing. He called me on his cell phone, and then I went next door to tell him face to face what I’d discovered.

About an hour later, I found something else. This time when I called Tim, we heard what sounded like a wave crashing onto rocks.

By then we were just laughing hysterically. A year ago I tried to get World War One flamethrower documents from the National Archives and was told I had to make a formal FOIA request. It was refused! They said the information could be used by terrorists. Whatever bureaucrat refused me is incapable of thought. Tell me how a terrorist could smuggle this on board an airliner.

After Tim and I managed to communicate—despite the apparent best efforts of somebody to prevent it—I went over to his house because he’d found another giant box of photos. While Tim went out to refill prescriptions, I sorted through thousands of images. Without warning I got a massive migraine, my body broke out in hot sweat, and I came close to vomiting.

“Too bad!” I shouted into the air. “I’m going to look at every one of these, and I’m also going to write my novel! You can’t stop me!”

When Tim came home, all the pain and discomfort disappeared. I didn’t mind the headache and nausea. By looking at these photos, I reclaim my past. And today I found images I’d either never seen or forgotten I’d sent to Mom.

Tim and Grandma Angelina on Sanibel Island, Florida, in 1970.

She wasn’t much of a toucher or smiler, so this image is doubly rare. Next is our boat trip to Santa Catalina Island on July 31, 1983.

Paul, me, Pat, Carrie, and Cousin Eddie. I had no idea anyone took photos of the day we all threw up for four hours straight. Why didn’t we tell Eddie and Cousin Howard to take us back to shore? We started puking only twenty minutes into the trip. The answer is that we were spineless toadies. That’s okay; it wasn’t our fault.

Here’s Tim in about 1967 as a Native American with a handlebar mustache.

Being an ethnic stew, we didn’t place that much importance on…ethnic accuracy, I guess you’d call it. Here’s me, Paul, and Carrie in 1969.

Remember that we have three redheaded brothers. And no, I don’t know what “Use your cold-clip” means.

Flash forward to 1986. Here I am with “Nakamura,” the Cat Faced Ghost in the Rising Sun. It’s amazing how tiny she is.

I sent the photo to Mom, because her handwriting on the back identifies us, but I thought for sure I hid this relationship from my family. Obviously not. I wasn’t ashamed; it was just that boyfriends and girlfriends were too much information. We were uptight. Really uptight.

This is priceless.

On the back Mom wrote, “OK Corral Disco, Ciudad Ojeda, Zulia, Venezuela. Mickey Shero, CeeCee, Ed, Arch Shero.”

I have NEVER seen my mother looking like that. Dad can’t seem to believe what he’s seeing. Go-go dancers? Big, fat, sweaty, middle-aged go-go dancers? This was the Swinging Sixties. It’s best I don’t know.

And finally, me in Stavanger, Norway, 1979.

Mom took that photo. See? We had our moments.

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