Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I have wandered trails
of dappled sunlight
others furrowed with mud
stepped on soft layers of pine needles
climbed boulder after boulder
squat behind glacial erratics
when nature called
and never tired of the trees
whether in summer clothes
autumn’s colors
or disheveled and bare
in winter and early spring

watching for toads, chipmunks and
small snakes along the way
or a glorious view from up high
the lakes and ponds
with water lilies or
covered in ice
curving shore line
kayaks, canoes or bob houses
any season is joyful
except perhaps for the black fly one

this is my kind of wandering
not the moving I did in my younger
years, 12 times in 11 years
then I felt like the stereotypical
wandering Jew

now my wandering is with friends
and family, sadly without a dog
but my legs still carry me to the end
of whatever trail we pick
and I’m grateful for each hike
as I get older
and the memories I keep
of the beauty in each place

© 2009 Linda H. Feinberg

I am glad spring is here. Soon the snow will melt off the trails and we will be out wandering again. I'm looking forward to it.

Chapter Forty-Five End of October

Ayatollah Sayed Abbas speaks. “Supreme Leader, we are undertaking a worldwide military campaign. What are the chances of having secrets leaked to the Europeans or to the West?”

“With the IAEA no longer allowed to monitor our nuclear enrichment sites, we have eliminated the biggest source of a leak to the outside world. Within our own borders, our secret police have been monitoring anyone and everyone connected with these affairs. If anyone – or a number of anyones – might be tempted to betray us, they will be handled with the fiercest repercussions.”

Ayatollah Hossein Farook replies, “That’s all well and good, Fadil. However, the more people involved in this, the more the project lends itself to becoming of some interest to the outside world. I would hope that each segment of this plan is being carried out without another segment being aware of its partnership to the project.”

“Hossein, Jibril and I are the only ones who currently know the total scope of our plan. Others are performing their tasks without knowing their true nature or when, or if anything, will come of their efforts. It is easy to train people when they think that their contributions are for self-survival against the West.”

“All well and good, Fadil. However, now you have exposed us to purchasing enriched uranium from outside of our borders. I hope that purchase doesn’t come back to bite us.” Farook’s eyes betray his lack of confidence in what he’s hearing.

Sternly Ahmajid replies, “Farook, Jibril is very good at what he does. I have complete confidence in how he’s handling his end of this.”

“I hope you’re right. Only Allah knows, and time will tell us, if you are.”

“Let us go then with Allah’s blessing. Each of you know what your assignments are, am I correct?”

Each of the five nods his head in agreement.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chapter Forty-Four Successful

Atwan sits at his desk nervously tapping his fingers. Two weeks have passed since he gave the lab the sample of uranium for testing. His anxiety level increases with every day, mainly because of the Euros equaling three hundred thousand American dollars that now sit in a mafiya account – and so far, nothing to show for it. Looking at the picture of the prophet Mohammad on his wall, he knows he must have faith. At least that’s what he tells himself.

Finally, he cannot stand it any longer. He calls the lab. “This is Jibril Atwan. Where are the results from the sample I left with you? It’s two weeks now.”

The lab assistant, realizing the importance of the man who is calling, says, “I will get my director, sir.”

The head of the lab comes to the phone. “Jibril, we are just putting our notes together as we speak. You will have a hard copy within the hour. We took our time so we could be absolutely positive of our findings.”

“All right,” Atwan says with a sigh. “I hope that you have good news for me.”

“You will be satisfied, Jibril.” The director hangs up his phone and shakes his head. Bureaucrats, he groans inwardly.

When the report arrives, it reads as follows:

Material is considered to be a good grade of enriched uranium. Quantity appears consistent with the amount normally found in a warhead. There appears to have been no decay within the container in which it arrived that would indicate deterioration of this material, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Atwan’s eyes light up as he reads the report. Quickly he picks up his phone and calls down to the Supreme Leader’s office. He advises his superior of the report, and recommends they should complete negotiations to purchase the remainder of the materials.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joe's filly

I'm not sure if this piece is finished. I may add some more shadows, but it was fun working on it. I posted it today because I realize that I have been so busy (no surprise for me at this time of year with my bookkeeping business) that I have not been doing any posting. Anyway, I hope to get back to posting more as my business quiets down. The filly is now grown up (almost 2) and lives in Mojave, California with Joe's daughter & family. I did the pen and ink sketch from a photo I took when I was out there. All sand & scrub brush, but the desert has its own beauty.

We can see some bare ground in spots, but I know we'll have more snow before spring arrives. The birds have been chirping away and I enjoy watching them and listening to them, but I can do without the skunk smell in the early mornings and evenings. It is their mating season now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chapter Forty-Three Early October

Jibril Atwan, advisor to the Supreme Leader, must now do some contacting of his own. Sitting in his office in the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, Atwan puts a call through to a phone number he has just looked up in his file. A phone rings in Russia.

“Hello. Who is this?”

“Your friend Jibril. Kolzak, how are things going for you?”

“Could always be better, Jibril. Are you calling on a secure line?”

“I wouldn’t call you any other way.”

“What did I do to deserve this pleasure, my friend?”

“The last time we spoke, you promised me two Kilos in ten to twelve months time. I’m merely calling to see if they are still on schedule.”

“Jibril, you’re fortunate that I like you,” says Kolzak, his voice deep and gruff. “You know that I’m only the minister of defense, not somebody with power. But, yes, we are still on schedule for the ten to twelve months delivery date I gave you. However, Jibril, now that you have called, I think it is good that you consider paying us the moneys you’re scheduled to pay since we have upgraded your delivery. I’m sure you know that it costs to get the needed parts as quickly as you want them. I also expect that you will have deposited the remainder when your crews arrive to receive delivery of the subs from our yards.”

“I assume that when you require the balance,” Atwan counters, “the subs will have under-gone sea trials. I do not want any of my men finding what could be fatal leaks.”

“Jibril, you can have your men here in four months, if you like. They can monitor and sign off on the sea trials and have any questions answered for them first-hand. That way we do not have to worry about any suspicious sub sinkings on the way home. I don’t want you calling me back saying something is my fault.”

Atwan just laughs. Would I do something like that? “I wouldn’t put it past you, Jibril.”

“Your money will be wired tomorrow, my friend. I will take you up on sending my two crews up in four months.” Atwan decides to push his luck. “Can they participate in the sea trials?”

“I can arrange that.” Of course. We have all been told to keep Iran happy, whatever the cost.

“Kolzak, when my people leave for home, I would hope you can aid us in making sure they don’t arouse suspicion when passing Norway, Sweden and Denmark on their way into the North Sea.”

“So long as they don’t go flying the Iranian flag, Jibril, they should have no problem. People are used to seeing our subs in the Baltic. Once they clear Denmark, they can run submerged for long periods.”

“Good,” Atwan replies. “I’m trying not to get too many people interested in our latest acqui-sition.”

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chapter Forty-Two War Powers Supplemental Act

Sitting in the Situation Room is President Egan, Vice-President Devonshire, Chief-of-Staff Sterling, Secretary-of-Defense Anderson, CIA Director McDonald, NSA Director Walker, Admiral Smith, Generals Bradley and Sanford.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this meeting is going to have just one item on its agenda. There will be time for discussion. After the discussion, I will make my statement,” said the President.

“Having received substantiated intelligence on a regular basis, it appears that the nation of Iran is threatening to attack both the United States and the State of Israel. When it might happen, I cannot say at this point. However, the information received to date indicates that sometime in the near future we are going to have a confrontation with them.

“As President, it is my responsibility under the constitution to protect our people and our country to the best of my ability. Because of the serious nature of this intelligence, I have met privately with our admiral and generals sitting here this morning. We have discussed both preemptive confrontation and retaliatory confrontation.

“As the four of us see it, this country has a major problem if its shores are attacked on a larger scale than September 11th. If we are restricted to the constitution’s regulation of who is the acting president, in the case of the death or inability of the president to function as commander-in-chief, we could become crippled by our inability to make tactical military decisions to save our nation.