RON SCHALOW: Port And The Pips

It’s bash the refugees season again. We have one every month, so you never have to take down the decorations — or buy new torches. This time, it’s in the form of North Dakota House Bill 1427, introduced by Republicans Chris Olson, Rich Becker, a pair of Koppelmans and four others.

As always, they say they just want to know the costs. And, of course, about the crime, oh, woe, the crime, refugees will bring to Fargo and the peaceful plains of North Dakota. Naturally, refugees from the Middle East, Africa and Denmark are equally suspect. And the Bhutanese better watch their step.

Are they interested in knowing about the positive side of the refugee program, which just happens to be a U.S. policy that started in the 1940s. Nope. Of course, refugees have been coming to this country — even before we became a country — it’s like our thing.

The last time, it was Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn who demanded the numbers, the costs, you know, like the expense of extra wear on the sidewalks, but refused to believe the available evidence.

KVLY-TV scapegoat refugees regularly as part of their business model. The “others” “might” be carriers of tuberculosis, KVLY falsely warned the hypochondriacs and other fearful sorts a few months back as a public service, you know.

And it wouldn’t be a pitchfork party, if Fargo Forum blogger and staff oil shill Rob Port didn’t get involved every time there is a Syrian sighting, with a provocative headline, to rile up his regulars, and he also refuses to accept the facts, as they exist. He has his own alternative facts.

Evidently, Olson, Piepkorn, Port and the others in the mob are under the impression that all refugees who move to the area, as directed by the State Department, are tranquilized by Lutheran Social Services, then tagged like an elk to track their movements. They aren’t.

But if dishonest clowns like Port want to see the crime “data” — as he calls it — that he wants, we’ll have to make some recordkeeping changes to make sure we know what every demographic sliver has been up to when the blogger asks.

Somewhere in Fargo

“Do you know why I stopped you, sir?” asks the officer.

“Do you know why you stopped me, sir?” asks the driver.


“Well, there you go. Is there anything else you need, or are you just being strangely cordial?”

“Hmm. Let me see your license and registration, please.”

“No can do,” answers the driver. “I don’t hand out that type of information to strangers. Plus, I don’t presently have those documental items. My laminator is on the fritz. Who are you, anyway, and why are you running beside my car?”

“I’m Officer Dillon” he says sternly. “You were driving pretty erratically, so I stopped you.”

“Oh, my fancy driving. You noticed that, huh? You should see my lawn driving, Mr. Dill, especially on the big grassy knolls with the flags.”

“Step out of the car, please,” orders Dillon.

The driver fiddles around, looking for the door handle. “This is getting pretty complicated in here, Sarge. Do you have one of those jaws-of-strife with you? Or, conversely, you could just shoot your way in, but be careful about the fine china. What caliber are you …

Officer Dillon opens the car and pulls the driver out. The driver tries to straighten up and focus his eyeballs. “What’s your name?” demands Dillon.

“Oh, we’re in the huffiness stage of this shindig, I somewhat see. Giving me the high hat. They call me Smith, but I don’t know why because my name is Poldark. No, wait, it’s Larsen, but don’t tell Poldark, that fargin limey bastage.”

“First name?” barks Dillon, as he turns on his flashlight to see into the car.

“Roscoe,” coughs Larsen. “I sure hope we get to the ‘urinate into this’ part of this sordid affair pretty damn soon.”

“We’ll do that at the station, so just hold it in. What’s this in your backseat?”

“It better be drugs, or I’m screwed,” chirps Larsen. “Oh, and a bowling ball. Semi-fingertip, with a rubber core. The lanes were way too dry this afternoon. I couldn’t find the crease to save my life. It was …”

“Ahem,” interrupts Dillon. “What will I find if I look in your trunk, Mr. Larsen?”

“Hard to say. I had a case of fruit cocktail and 3 pounds of hamburger under the guns, but that’s been awhile. Not that heavy syrup stuff, either. Who knows, now? I’ve seen trunk-burger evolve into something you could saddle and ride.”

Dillon calls for backup. “Do I have your permission to open the trunk, Mr. Larsen?”

“It’s a free country, and please call me Wilhelm. It’s short for Will.”

“But you said — oh, never mind.” Dillon pops open the trunk. “There’s a nice set of golf clubs back here, too — on top of the guns. Ping irons. Sweet.”

“What!” shouts Larsen. “I threw the whole works in the river the last time I played at the one course with all the water, trees and sand, Fargin permanent slice! I may have accidentally driven one of their carts into the river, too. It’ll wash up soon enough, so there’s no need to mention the sinking to the Colonel.” He winks at a street sign.

Four police vehicles are now at the scene.

“Mr. Larsen?” Dillon snaps his fingers near Larsen’s left ear. “Your car belongs to us now, and you’re under arrest. We’ll fill out the paperwork at the station. Let’s go!”

“It’s not my car, but suit yourself. I want a receipt for all of the contents, though. Do you have any idea how much that quantity of uncut cocaine is worth? Don’t spill any.”

At the police station

“Come out of there, Larsen. Are you sober, yet?”

“Not since 1985, Sarge. I sure don’t like that cell. Let’s not do that again, OK?”

Dillon handcuffs Larsen to a desk. “Sit down!”

“No thanks. I’ve been sitting all day, but don’t let me …”

“Sit down!” hollers Dillon. “Question time.”

Larsen rolls his eyes and sits. “Humph. Was my alcoholic contentment a record?”

“The record holder died, but you’ll get an honorary mention. By the way, your fingerprints match a man known as Carl Griffin, and your record has only one infraction on it. One misdemeanor.  Unbelievable!”

“I’m a swell guy.”

“Uh huh.”

“That’s unusual for two people to have the same fingerprints, isn’t it? Interesting. Maybe I’ll look him up someday.”

“You’re Carl Griffin,” grouses Dillon. “Get used to it. Now where were you born?”

“I was born on a military base in Panama, but I can’t vouch for this Carl guy.”

“One of your parents was in the military?”

“Not that I know of,” answers Carl. “It’s possible. I was an infant at the time.”

“Are you a refugee?”

“From where? A military base? One of ours, by the way. I’m pretty sure. I was an infant at the time.”

“Yes, yes,”sighs Dillon. “I have to ask.”

“You do?”

“Can you confirm that you are a white male?” continues Dillon. “We’ve a lot of boxes to tick off.”

“Pink of some variety. Do you have one of those flippy color thingies for paint?”

“Caucasian,” murmurs Dillon to himself. “What race is, or was, your father?”

“I don’t know, but my grandfather was a Viking. One of the rowers, which sucked, but he could swing a sword. Arms like telephone poles. I guess that makes my dad a Viking, too, except grandma was Mormon, so that put a damper on the pillaging for both he and grandpa. She grew up in Illinois, by the big lake, but Gran was terrible at fishing. Probably because she wouldn’t go near the water. She once told me that her mom was an original Scot, even though she was born centuries after THE original Scot. I think the label had more to do with her surly attitude, than actual originality, but she did make bagpipe-like noises, when she slept, or so I was told. Grandpa wept a lot for a Viking.”

“So, white,” groans Dillon. “And your mother? Race?”

Carl ponders. “She’s either from Luxembourg, Liechtenstein or Lithuania. Or maybe, she was on the Lusitania. What does all of this matter, anyway?”

“Data. We need data. Important bloggers need it to misinform their giant audiences.”

“Oh. That makes sense,” says a puzzled Carl. “Louisiana! That’s where my mother is from. She got out before Bush forgot it was a state, though, so she didn’t need to learn how to swim at an advanced age.”

“Is she white!” yells Dillon. He wipes the perspiration off his forehead.

“Most of the time!” Carl yells back. “Calm down dude, before you have a myocardial infarction.”

“Don’t worry about …”

“Hergo Margowitz is my alias, but I forgot to use it, and went with whatever I said before. Damn. I thought you should know. My grandma on my ma’s side, twice removed, was an original Scot, even though …”

“Wait, wait, wait.”

“What?” grouses Carl. “Is my grandmother boring you? Well, I never!”

“That was your other grandmother!”

“What other grandmother?

“The Scottish one, on your father’s side,” groans Dillon.

“I think that particular Scot was my great-grandmother, on who the hell’s side I don’t even know any more. My mom’s mom lived in Fort Yates at one point. Is that who we’re talking about now? She may be a Native American, but I’m not sure, since she hasn’t been maced or hosed down yet, to my knowledge. Should I call her and ask? She’s always staring at her smartphone, or porno device, as it’s also known. Somebody lived in Upham, or homesteaded south of Minot, but that could be anyone, right? Maybe the internet has something you can work with, Dill.”

“Let’s come back to that,” mutters Dillon.

“What are you so grouchy about? I’m the one in handcuffs. Whiney whine whiner.”

“Shut up!” barks Dillon. “Let’s see here. We’ve got age, weight, hair color, eye col …”

“Wait, wait, wait. I demand a recount on my weight. I had some hanging chads in my pocket, and I was wobbling like a weeble at the weigh-in, and there is no way that I weigh 224. My pants that you took fit exactly like pants that fit, so I can’t be an ounce over 222. I had a bowling average that high once. Unfortunately, that was also my best golf score one year. Fargin slice! I spent over $1,200 on balls that year. Miserable son …”

Dillon pleads to continue. “I’ll change your weight, OK, Carl? And you can’t use the wait, wait, wait thing. Only me, OK. Next up. Religion. Are you Muslim?”

“No, but I’m willing to learn if that helps. Are there any bennies?”

“Seriously. I’m begging you, Carl.”

“Seriously, I’m a nonpracticing atheist. I give it no thought whatsoever. If other people want to give it thought, that’s peachy with me.”

“How about your dad,” asks Dillon.

“I think he started out as a Cathoholic then moved straight to alcoholic. He worshipped Jim Beam. Beam me up, he would say to every bartender. They all heard it a thousand times, but he thought it was funny. Mom is still a Lutheran, unless she got poached by the Libertarians. A very aggressive bunch they are. She keeps texting the Pope, so there could be a backdoor deal going on there. The Unitarians were after her once, too. How many religions are there, now? Have the Klingons ever caught on?”

“Sigh. We’ll sort the religion stuff out later. Are you left- or right-handed,” groans Dillon.

“With or without the handcuffs?”

“Without! Sheesh.”

“I’m amphibious,” explains Carl. “I throw baseballs with my right hand and hit them with my left. I golf with my right but can throw a club with either hand. Once, I hit a brown bear with a five iron. I didn’t know he was in the woods. He brought it back to me — slobbered all over it — bears don’t understand golf. It took him a while to catch the cart, but eventually the battery conked out. Most bears aren’t in such good shape. It’s a shame that the red faced plump dude in the foursome chose to ride with me.”

“We’re going to continue this fascinating discussion tomorrow,” yawns Dillon. “Your blood sample will help us straighten out your ethnic background.”

“Australopithecus afarensis should be on your list if you scroll down a mile. We don’t talk about him at family events, since he went instinct and all. A big disappointment to all the primates.”

“Get up!” orders Dillon. “Back to your cell.”

“Oh, I get it,” smiles Carl. “Your bloggers want to know if men, or femen, with bald, left-handed, Episcopalian, Albanian great-great-0uncles, who married tall Mongolian women from the same bloodline as the great Kublai Khan, no less, with blonde hair, Type A blood, bipolar depression and bullet wounds, plus the attributes of a subsequent mixture of generations, and their weird offspring are most likely to be a bother to the police and cost everyone an extra dime on their property taxes, so you can forbid them from entering the city.”

“Something like that.”

“What a bunch of pips.”

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