SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Fish or Cut Bait

The Wrath of Alice
By Bob Ciminel


November 15, 2006

My first clue was when she fired our lawn crew. It made no sense; for the past year she's been saying how nice the yard looks. Why did she fire them? She said she wasn't sure the Hispanic workers were in this country legally. They didn't speak English; the lawn service company would not confirm or deny their status. So Alice fired them. I told her she could start mowing, edging, and trimming because I didn't care if they snorkeled across the Rio Grande with a broken Tequila bottle in their mouths as long the yard looked good and I didn't have to do it!

jpg Alice

Alice & Ella
Photo by Bob Ciminel

My next clue was when she said she was going to start using a different carwash. That also made no sense because she had looked long and hard for a carwash that would hand-wash her convertible. I would have just run it through the nearest carwash and sued them if they damaged the top. I don't think there is any pollutant in a carwash that is worse than the crap her convertible top is exposed to just driving around Metro Atlanta. But she changed carwashes. When I asked her why, she said the carwash had four Hispanic workers; two had green cards and the other two had social security numbers. She said the social security numbers could be faked, and the owner, who is a naturalized citizen, said he didn't care; he wasn't a policeman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. So she bid him a pleasant farewell and found another carwash.

The final clue came today as we listened to a talk radio host ranting and raving about Congress wanting to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. I jokingly said, "Hey, let's replace our pineapple-motif garden flag with one that says "No Amnesty!" Alice thought it was a great idea. She had to know I was kidding; we have too many Hispanic workers in our neighborhood to be flying a flag like that. But she wasn't joking. Thankfully, she forgot about the flag and now that the season has turned I have put up a flag with an autumn motif. However, I expect to come home from work any day and find a piñata hanging there with crudely painted letters saying "Break this; take the money; and go back to Mexico; Delta is ready when you are!"

You have to understand that my wife's behavior is totally out of character. I've known this woman for 40 years and there is not a mean bone in her body. She has lived in Europe; taught school; sold real estate. She has worked with people from all walks of life, all economic backgrounds, all races, creeds, and colors, and they love her. She is the first realtor her agency asks for if they have clients who are African-American, Haitian, Hispanic, Indian, Polish, German, French, Chinese, or any country of origin. The woman is color-blind, ethnically-blind, and income-blind.

There were some subtle and not so subtle changes in her personality after the attacks on 9/11. Two weeks later, we were on our way over to France for a business trip. As we began walking down the International Concourse at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport she began commenting about not feeling comfortable seeing "Middle Eastern-looking" men in the terminal. I assumed she meant dark-eyed, swarthy young men with beards. I brushed it off with a remark that the safest airline to fly is one that just had a bad accident, and the same probably applies to hijackings and terrorist attacks. She said, "Yes, but we're flying Delta, not United or American." I said, "Alice, Delta is a Southern airline; the pilots probably have a gun rack in the back of the cockpit and all the flight attendants probably carry large-caliber handguns with frangible bullets."

My wife's attitude about foreigners entering the United States has changed drastically since 9/11. She has absolutely no confidence in the government's ability to keep track of them or their activities. She believes the INS is a bureaucratic black hole that aliens fall into, never to be seen again. She says our borders are a joke, particularly that long one up north, eh. She fully supports building the wall on our southern border and says we need to form grass root groups like they did for Hurricane Katrina, but to take donations for the barriers at the border. I wonder if we could get famous-name entertainers to do a benefit concert similar to the one they organized for Katrina's victims. We could call it the "Slam the Door" concert. I wonder if "Los Lobos" would play.

We need to have the house painted again. The last crew did a bang-up job on both the interior and exterior. The crew was hard-working; started early; played with the dog on their breaks, and cleaned up when they finished. They spent two days caulking the house before they applied a drop of paint. We both agreed it was the best paint job we'd ever contracted out. She probably won't bring them back again; the entire crew was Hispanic.


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Fish or Cut Bait by Bob Ciminel

Bob Ciminel's articles may include satire and parody, and mix fact with fiction.
He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference. Bob lives in Roswell, Georgia, and works for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.  He is also a conductor on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
Contact Bob at

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Ketchikan, Alaska