House of Dreams
Over at Prince and Prowling, another junior partner also had Trump's new hotel on his mind: Felix Cigemeier. Tasked with developing the law firm's drone practice, he had built up a respectable reputation as Washington's legal expert on federal and common law relevant to drone enthusiasts. But this had all been about sales contracts, rental contracts, and simple advice up until the day the American Civil Liberties Union had walked into his office and asked him to defend Glenn Michael Beckmann's free speech right to use a drone to dump protest pig shit on the hotel bell tower. (The ACLU had first asked Goode Peepz law firm to do it, but they simply knew too little about drone law.) Felix had tried to get out of it by pointing out to Prince and Prowling's managing attorney that he had never done a criminal defense case before, but Felix had been told in no uncertain terms that P&P's reputation as the nation's preeminent drone expert was at stake. (What Felix did not know was that Prince and Prowling had already taken drastic action to avoid a New Jersey gangster's request that P&P set up a SuperPAC dedicated to defeating any Republican who had dissed Donald Trump.)
"I think you should consider the plea deal offered to you," said Felix to Beckmann, who was sitting in a guest chair sporting a Hunter and Gatherer Society hunting cap, a "Dump Trump" t-shirt featuring a stylized depiction of the pig manure vandalism, camouflage pants, and star-spangled suspenders.
"Mr. Cigemeier," began the ACLU attorney, sitting in the other guest chair [she had decided early on to treat this case with absolute seriousness, so it was always "Mr. Cigemeier" and "Mr. Beckmann"], "that seems premature."
"The federal authorities have been monitoring him continuously since he blogged about overthrowing the Federal Reserve Board--"
"His 'Serial Predator' piece was protected first speech," she retorted.
"Yes, but people have heard him bragging about [he paused to look fearfully at Beckmann] killing various people."
"There is a pattern of behavior which does not incline the federal authorities to go easy, and it was a clearly illegal act."
"Protected free speech!"
"He used a drone, first of all, and he vandalized private property, second of all."
"I'm familiar with the facts."
"The drone was illegally operated," said Felix.
"We have put up a lot of money for this defense," said the ACLU attorney. "Your managing partner assured me you would take it to trial if necessary."
"If necessary, yes, but I am advising you against it."
Beckmann finally spoke. "That pig shit was the only made-in-America product you'll find in that den of thieves and harlots financed by Saudi petrodollars and Russian Bitcoin! I did him a favor, big dumbass with the bimbos and expensive suits and conspiracy to murder more Supreme Court Justices!" ("What?!") "My daddy served in Vietnam while he was getting blow jobs in Times Square! I served in Iraq while he was cheating hard-working Americans in his casinos! He's a disgrace to real patriots, sir, and his hotel is an abomination!"
"Well, all that may be true," began Felix [not all of that was true, but some was], "but those are not the kinds of things that can be raised as defenses. Can I get you some more coffee while you two discuss it?"
"Nothing to discuss!" Beckmann said.
"Mr. Beckmann will not take the deal," said the ACLU attorney.
Is this really happening? thought Felix as he walked the two out.
Is this really happening? thought Dubious McGinty, as he walked into the Southwest Plaza apartment a city social worker had talked him into taking. The Vietnam Veteran had been living in the Bridgeman's Quarters of the 14th Street Bridge as long as he could remember, keeping watch over the demon Ardua, but she had been vanquished for a long time now. The ducks and river rats were no longer infected with evil, ravens were nesting and raising babies, and the pink dolphins were frolicking freely. He hadn't looked at a mirror in years, but his rheumatism was reminding him daily how old he had now become. He had made a pretty cozy nest for himself over the years out over the water, but now that things had calmed down in the Potomac, he was no longer so averse to the idea of spending a winter in a heated indoor place.
"Most of this is from A Wider Circle," the social worker said, pointing around to the secondhand bed, recliner, TV stand, and kitchen table. "We got some linens and kitchen things from GoodWill." (She had insisted most of his things were too hygienically compromised to bring with him.)
"But what will I eat?" he asked in sincere perplexity after years spent making daily forays to raid public garbage cans and dumpsters.
"We've stocked some food to get you started, and we put in a standing Peapod order to deliver food a couple times a week until you decide on doing something different. We talked about this--remember? Your military pension and Social Security payments were piling up for awhile when you weren't claiming them, so you're in good financial shape." (He looked at her dubiously.) "Do you remember when we set up the bank account last week? There are deposits in it now, and automatic debits for rent, electricity, and Peapod."
She was going over some other details about who had Power of Attorney over his money and social programs he could attend, but he was overwhelmed and no longer hearing anything she said.
"I'll phone you tomorrow, alright? I've gotta go."
And then she was gone. He had a vague recollection of somebody who was supposed to come visit him this evening, but now he wasn't sure. He went into the kitchen to get a glass of water, saw a cockroach, and got an uneasy feeling about this place.
Out in Potomac Manors, real estate mogul Calico Johnson was finally letting go of the small but expensive menagerie he had acquired since he first developed a crush on former neighbor "Basia Karbusky". He watched the show horse Ninja get loaded onto a horse trailer. Originally purchased for $14,000, she and her accoutrements were departing for $10,000; he had probably lost the other $4,000 in supplies and veterinarian treatment, though he hoped to start recouping this after converting the heated barn into a rental apartment. Of course, it had not been heated for Ninja but for the persnickety geriatric cow MegaMoo. He had inherited the cow for free after Basia burnt down her estate and fled, but he had been paying for MegaMoo ever since in treatments for bovine narcolepsy, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and dissociative identity disorder--not to mention endless hay when MegaMoo did not feel like grazing on the acres of grass, which was 90% of the time. He had almost sold her to a butcher but, ultimately, through an odd mixture of guilt and malice, had offered her to an animal sanctuary--where her legendarily thunderous mooing could wreak havoc on other people's bucolic lifestyles. MegaMoo was still staring at him in disbelief as she worked her way into the trailer, and he turned away. Donald Trump didn't put his stamp on the world through animal husbandry! he reminded himself. I'm a real estate developer!
Back at Bridezilla's apartment, she was lost in concentration on the enormous Tudor style dollhouse she had purchased to house Thelma and Louise. (It was an idea borne from her recent visit to the dollhouse exhibit at the National Building Museum.) She knew the conjoined twins would never be on the upper floors, so she was applying her finest and most delicate touches up there for the dollhouse's human occupants: a beautiful, professional, accomplished and graceful mother of young twins. (Her back story was that the children's father had been murdered by a coalition of his jilted lovers, but she had not yet settled on the manner of death.) But Bridezilla also wanted her guinea pigs to sleep and frolic in style below, so the parlor had primrose wallpaper and plum velvet curtains above the cushioned cedar chip bed, and the kitchen had Italian marble bases under the stainless steel water and food bowls. The side yard held an exercise wheel for the pig twins and a miniature swing set for the human twins.
"I finally have a dream house," Bridezilla sighed, going back to the Internet to look up miniature books to stock the mahogany bookcases with.
COMING UP: The Trump National Golf Club baby!