Paul Conklin, Licensed Navigator

Paul’s son Karl has a school assignment that results in Paul bringing Karl into his job.

Paul Conklin - Licensed Navigator
By Angela Rasch

“Dad, can I ask you a few questions about your job?”

Karl and I were driving back from Miller’s Ale House - the one located on Gulf Center by Costco. I wasn’t wild about the service we received one time at the Miller’s on Kernel Circle. They didn’t seem to care – or were even aware – about what was happening before their very eyes.

I’d just inhaled a barbeque bacon cheeseburger. Karl went for the black bean veggie burger. He worries about the environment, which goes against the Florida grain. We like to believe that if you don’t think about it. . .maybe the next natural disaster won’t happen.

It’s funny how far apart our tastes in burgers have grown. I thought. Just like our dissimilar tastes in what to watch on TV. Miller’s had given him a choice of baseball with the Rays, soccer (can’t tell you the name of the teams), or basketball playoffs with the Magic. Karl ate quickly so we could get home and catch old reruns of Schitt’s Creek, a series that originally aired over a decade ago.

“Why the sudden interest in my work?” I quickly studied his face. Yesterday, he had been a tyke making sand cookies in our backyard – and now he’s doing college prep classes.

He smiled. “Two reasons: one – you’re the best dad in the world,” he teased. “And two – Mrs. Horne is making us write a four-hundred-word essay about what our parents do for a living.”

I winced. Katherine had died seven years ago when Karl had been ten. Karl hasn’t had “parents” for years. . .just “parent.” Some things never stop hurting. It’s been almost forty-eight hours since I ached for her, so I was due.

“I hope you’ve allowed yourself enough time to do a good job on this writing project?” It makes me feel like I’m parenting when I ask questions of him I know I don’t have to.

He nodded. “It isn’t due until Friday morning. We got the assignment today, which gives me tonight, and all day Wednesday and Thursday to work on it.”

“Next month, we’re going on college campuses visitations. All your hard work has paid off. Your 4.25 GPA is opening some college entrance doors for you.

He’s a much better student than I was. Karl wants to be a robotics engineer and build a better future for mankind. He does so many things better than me. He’s neater, which makes keeping our house clean much easier. Maria comes in twice a week, but if he was as sloppy as some boys, things could get rancid.

He dresses better than I ever did. At his age, I barely took the time to make sure I had a clean t-shirt to wear. Karl always looks good. Even though his hair is longer than I would ever wear mine, he keeps it clean.

I’ve been meaning to have a talk with Karl about what I do. It’s time. He’s old enough. There are some things I would prefer he hears from me, rather than from his friends.

He’s the center of my universe -- but I’m not sure he understands what I do or will be comfortable with the decisions I’ve made.

I pulled into our driveway. Our home sits about a mile from the Gulf and a short distance from the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins. Katherine and I always had managed to go to three or four spring training games a year -- if I was in town. “Let me grab a beer. Do you want a coke? We can sit in the library, and then I’ll answer whatever I can.”

“Could you get me a probiotic soda? I’m trying to lose a few pounds.”

“You’re already too thin,” I argued.

“Thin for a boy, maybe. But I’ll feel better if I drop five pounds before it’s serious beach season. I want to fit into my two-piece.” He grinned at his own joke.

Karl had a yellow pad balanced on his pressed-together knees and a pencil poised for action. “Paul Conklin – let’s start with the basics.”

I grinned. He’s taking this seriously, which is good. Some of what I might have to tell him could be hard to stomach for someone as sensitive as he seems to be. He volunteers at the hospital. They tell me he has an amazing ability to calm young trauma patients.

“Your business website defines you as a Licensed Navigator. Other than that -- it really doesn’t give much information,” he probed.

Where to start? How much can I safely tell him without risking losing him forever? “I’m required by state statute to have a website. The statute doesn’t specify what I’m required to disclose – other than that I have to state that I’m a Licensed Navigator and provide my license number so complaints to the state regulators can properly identify me.”

“You don’t even show our address. . .4684 West 7th. You list a P. O. Box. Why?”

“The vast majority of people are supportive of Licensed Navigators. But – the State of Florida asks that we maintain a low profile. . ..” . . .for personal security reasons.

“What does a “Licensed Navigator” do?”

Here we go. “What do you think I do?”

“Rod Chambers says you’re a bounty hunter.”

Rod wet the bed the first time he slept over – that had been about three years before Katherine died. “You tell Rod to stick to soccer. He’s good at soccer. Say – are you sure you want to quit soccer? You weren’t that bad of a mid-fielder.”

“I don’t like how rough the game has gotten.”

Katherine used to tell me all the time that Karl wasn’t like the other boys. I always bought model cars, construction sets, balls, and toy guns as presents for Karl. For some reason, Katherine thought he wanted kitchen play sets, Barbies, and art supplies. Thank goodness he grew out of that phase before things changed. “Rod doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A bounty hunter is a person who hunts down a criminal or fugitive for a reward. What I do is much more specialized.”

“I want and need specifics – for my report. But let’s start with a question that is in Mrs. Horne’s outline of key points. Why did you decide to go into your line of work?”

“Money?” I laughed. “Ten years ago, your mother was first diagnosed with cancer. We thought it would be a simple matter of her having a few treatments and maybe surgery. We quickly found out cancer would become our focal point. But - I was already sick of being away from you so much. You were acting like. . .. It was apparent you needed more male influence in your life.”

“What was your job at that time?”

I eased into the comfort of the past. “I traveled all over the United States, to trade shows and state fairs, selling patio umbrellas.”

“Like that big umbrella we have over the table in the backyard?”

“Exactly. I would sell six to ten umbrellas a day.” My record was the sixteen I sold in one day at the Oshkosh Air Show.

“Did you get paid a lot to do that?”

“My taxable income after expenses was about $250,000. We had established a commensurate lifestyle. My goal in switching jobs was to find something where I could make at least that much but be home every night by six o’clock with you and your mother.”

“Was there anything about selling umbrellas you didn’t like, other than being on the road?”

I nodded. “The people that sold things like me . . .who were on the circuit. . .were a bit rough around the edges. They would do anything for a buck. I wanted to get away from them before I started thinking that way. And -- I was developing carpal tunnel cranking that damned umbrella up and down for years – showing people how easily it worked.”

“Mom once told me you were the best salesman there ever was.”

I chuckled. “I talked your mom into marrying me. That took a good bit of salesmanship.” Karl won’t have any problem getting a perfect girlfriend when he decides it’s time. He’s so handsome he’s almost pretty. He has a lot of friends who are girls but hasn’t paired off.

“So -- you looked around and found the highest paying job you could qualify for?”

“Something like that. It was 2027. Things had happened that changed the world and . . .. You were only seven -- but you might remember that the State Capitol Building burned to the ground when you were five. The political reaction to that fire was immediate and drastic. The governor was forced to declare a state of emergency.”

“I don’t remember any of that -- but we’ve studied the Law of 2026 in school. The governor requested a suspension of the state constitution, which quickly was passed by an almost unanimous vote. He was given the power to create law without the consent of the legislature.”

“It was a turbulent time. I remember some calling what was happening ‘culture wars.’ People were scared.”

Karl bit his lip. “Our teacher said that the pendulum had swung too far to the left.”

My head bobbed. “The left was pushing an agenda that favored people who should be social outcasts, including transgenders. Historically – about one or two children out of a hundred had gender issues. Mass hysteria in our schools and the left-wing Woke agenda had caused that number to grow so that five out of every one hundred kids were declaring gender dysphoria. Some sociologists were suggesting that unless things were brought under control -- that it was predictable that one out of every ten kids would think they have a gender disorder.”

“Did they ever prove conclusively that the people who burned down the capitol were part of the Blue and Pink Mafia?”

Strange question. “Who else would have done such a thing?”

Karl shrugged. “Some have suggested it was an inside job.”

“Those who say things like that are nutjob conspiracy theorists. Anyway,” I pushed on, “the Law of 2026 provided for the creation of Navigators. There are forty Navigator positions in Florida. Even though we aren’t employees of the state. . .we do work closely with the Agency for Health Care Administration. We do all the work necessary to provide documented evidence and sworn statements so the court can declare a person legally transgender – or as we term it – ‘court ordered.’”

“Do you make as much money being a Navigator as you did when you sold umbrellas?”

“Uh-huh. At first, I barely scraped by. The state paid us $75,000 every time we closed a case. It soon became apparent that I could close a case every six weeks.”

Karl did some math on his notepad. “So -- you were making $650,000 a year.”

“I was grossing about $650,000 but my expenses were about $550,000. I was only making forty percent of what I did selling umbrellas. That’s when the State of Florida revised the compensation schedule for Navigators. They crunched some numbers and found that court costs were enormous. The State of Florida doesn’t collect state income tax. Consequently, they’re careful with their expenses. Once I had closed a case the legal process was running a four to five hundred thousand dollar tab for the state to reach extermination.”

“Extermination? Do you mean to say it was costing the state half a million dollars to exterminate a transgender?”

“Uh-huh.”

“I thought the Law of 2026 had made it clear that transgenders aren’t deserving of legal protection?”

“You’re absolutely right. When the Law first went into effect there were protests, but the governor banned the ACLU and jailed the ringleaders – eventually, everyone came around.” He seems to already know what I do. “Say. . .I’m going to have another beer. Do you want a refill?” This is going okay. Karl can get a bit squeamish. He seems okay. . .so far. A few minutes later, I’d dropped back into my chair after having set a bowl of pretzels between us. “What else do you need to know?”

He stared down at his notes. “You were explaining how your compensation changed.”

“Yep! That was a good day for us. The State offered a bonus compensation of $200,000 per case, if we delivered evidence that we had exterminated the ‘court-ordered’ transgender. After expenses, we clear about $75,000 per case. I can only do about six cases a year because I have to be so careful -- even with my full immunity under the law. But I still bring home double what I made selling umbrellas -- and I can be home every night with you.”

Karl’s face dropped. “Rod says that you’re a baby killer.”

I choked a bit on my beer. “Rod is a real piece of shit. His father has been deporting blacks to Marha’s Vineyard for years. One minute they’re downing a bucket of KFC and watermelon – minding their own business doing black shit – and the next thing they know -- Rod’s dad has rounded them up and put’em on a bus to Massachusetts. The state confiscates their belongings, so they get a ticket up north and twenty bucks. Nice guy . . . Rod’s dad. . . doing bigoted stuff all day long. Just so you know – I’ve never killed a baby.”

“But you do exterminate transgenders.”

“Once a person is ‘court-ordered’ as transgender they’re all but exterminated. The court has never lost a case. The state has mandated seven criteria for transgender. According to the Law of 2026 -- if a person meets four of the seven criteria they can be ‘court ordered’ as transgender. I have a personal standard of at least five criteria -- and even though the state allows hearsay, I don’t.” I have my own system. Ten – Three – One. Identify ten prospects. Work that list to generate three suspects. One out of the three suspects will eventually be ‘court-ordered.’

He scribbled on his pad. “If you’ve averaged six a year for the last nine years, that means you’ve exterminated over fifty transgenders.”

“I believe the actual numbers are sixty-eight ‘court ordered’ with forty-seven of those terminated.” I just completed the insurance application to renew my professional liability policy, so I’m certain those numbers are accurate.

“I was watching a documentary the other night about transgender extermination. They said that in the beginning, the Navigators were using poison -- but that was found to be inefficient.” He drew out each of the four syllables in “inefficient” to display his distaste.

“They got that right. . .a first for the ‘lame stream media.’” I need to be brutally honest. “We use assault weapons. I prefer headshots. I’ve never had a situation where the kill wasn’t clean and immediate.”

“What about rule number five?”

“Number five?”

“Thou shalt not kill? The fifth commandment. What does Father Casey say about your job?”

“I had a long talk with him before I started. He told me that as long as I was reasonably satisfied that all other means for curbing the transgender explosion had been exhausted, it was okay to do my job. Of course, I have to use humane force.”

“I suppose Father Casey would know. You’re still thinking about becoming a deacon, aren’t you?”

“I’ve started the program and reviewed possible seminaries -- but I won’t do anything definite, until you’ve started college.”

“Have you considered not working for bonuses? You could find a way to reduce expense and we could cut back our lifestyle so that you don’t have to kill anyone.”

I shrugged. “What would be the point? When a person is ‘court ordered’ as transgender, their name and identification points are provided to all forty Navigators. As a professional courtesy, the other Navigators won’t pooch my cases for five days, giving me first rights. However – after five days whoever does the extermination gets the bonus. If I don’t complete the extermination of the problem, one of the others will. It’s rare that a ‘court ordered’ survives a week in the wild before extermination. And – the state could terminate or non-renew my license -- if I’m not fully-active.”

“Are you the most successful Navigator?”

“I’m about average. The program has resulted in the extermination of about 2,200 transgenders. Florida is very happy with the results. The number of transgenders is a fraction of a percent. Extermination laws have saved the state a fortune. The crisis is under control. If it wasn’t for those damned sanctuary states, society would be trans-free. Had Roberts acted correctly sanctuary states would have been ruled unconstitutional.”

Karl stopped writing and looked pensive.

He looks a lot like Katherine, at times.

“I’ve got something I want to talk through with you,” he stated. “But you have to promise not to overreact.”

I nodded.

He left the room, and then came back a few moments later with a small book that had a blue and pink cover.

“That book is banned,” I stated. “It contains some of the vilest propaganda imaginable. I suppose Rod gave it to you?”

He ignored my question. “We have a duty as a citizen to be informed.”

I bristled. “Part of that duty is to make sure our information is valid. That book contains nothing but disinformation.”

“There’s nothing in here I can’t find on the internet,” he argued.

“You and all the other eighteen-and-unders have been blocked from all social media sites!”

He laughed. “I don’t even need Rod to tell me how to get around those feeble attempts to hide the truth from us.”

“Everybody has to decide what ‘truth’ is,” I stated. “That book was published by Woke Press. That’s a George Soros Foundation-backed, northern state operation that simply doesn’t understand the world of today. Being transgender has become so dangerous to the rest of us that we have no choice other than a final solution which eliminates those who are unfit for reproduction.”

“Have you ever wished you could’ve asked one of the babies you killed how they felt about it?”

His query struck me with the force of a tsunami. Have I lost him? “When I exterminate . . . they never know what hit them. I’m certain they have no idea that they’ve been identified, or even that they’re under investigation. I’m very discrete. And, the punishment for letting a transgender know that a Navigator is investigating them is five to ten years of imprisonment. That punishment is doubled, once the transgender has been ‘court ordered.’”

Karl scowled. “According to this book, transgender shooters have been involved with only .11 percent of all mass murders even though most creditable statisticians agree about one and one-half percent of the general population is transgender. Cisgender males make up about fifty percent of the general population, but almost ninety-eight percent of mass murders are committed by cisgender males. You should be shooting cisgender males.”

I scoffed. “I hardly know where to start. First of all . . . just using the word “cisgender” can land you in jail. We don’t say ‘cisgender’ in Florida. But. . .more importantly. . .everyone knows that transgenders are violent people. It’s common knowledge and beyond dispute. You need to burn that book before someone sees it and gets the wrong idea.”

“Books don’t kill people,” he asserted.

“The false ideas in them sure as hell do. The Blue and Pink Mafia has for years been behind most of what’s bad in our country.”

“The Blue and Pink Mafia is a construct of the far right. Not one shred of real evidence has ever surfaced that proves its existence.” He shook his book at me. “On the other hand, it’s been proven beyond doubt that inclusiveness is beneficial for our economy.”

“Is this all about that damn book, or do you really have a school assignment to get done?” I asked. Although the topic isn’t so great, just having an extended conversation with my son is making this one of the best days I’ve had in years.

“If I don’t get this report written by Friday, I’ll run the risk of losing my perfect grade in Mrs. Horne’s class.”

I just couldn’t be any prouder of my boy despite our differences.

He picked up his yellow pad, having set the book down where I couldn’t grab it. “How do you find the evidence you need to get a court order?”

“The Law of 2026 provides a $10,000 reward to anyone providing evidence that leads to a court order,” I answered.

“Are people actually willing to provide evidence for that amount of money -- knowing that it could lead to a child being shot?”

That was a little ‘judgy.’ “I have never shot a child under the age of twelve . . . and never will. Most evidence comes from teachers and clergymen. The Law of 2026 provides that a teacher who willfully withholds evidence that their student is transgender will be stripped of her credentials and not allowed to work in Florida schools. Clergymen can lose the tax-exempt status for their parish. The teachers and priests would also be facing five years in prison if they won’t cooperate with me. As a Navigator, I’m provided a list of schools and churches to work with. I keep busy.”

“So – if I understand you right. You call around to schools and churches searching for probable cases and work the evidence.”

“Bingo! That’s right. Even though I have a personal rule against terminating someone else’s case, I check that list of ‘court-ordereds’ about once a day. I don’t want to spin my wheels. We don’t have geographic boundaries and other Navigators might run across transgenders in the Ft. Myers area and do the spade work. Here, I’ll fire up my computer and show you how I check for new ‘court-ordereds.’”

With Karl looking over my shoulder, I brought up the statewide list of those who had been ‘court ordered’ as transgender during the previous day.

Listed third was Karl Anthony Conklin -- at 4684 West Seventh, Ft. Myers.

This Is the End, Beautiful Friend

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