"Maybe we can come back later this week," said the realtor's client.
"No!" Samuelson exclaimed. "That house will be sold!" Mortgage rates were extremely low, and she was frustrated she was not closing more client deals. "Let me try this street." The Heurich Society was taking up too much of her time, what with all the backlash after Glenn Michael Beckmann had snuck into their meeting. She knew most of them wanted her to resign, didn't think she could handle it, and did not respect her. The more they opposed her, the more she wanted to crush the opposition--the truth was, she was becoming more like her late father every day.
"It's getting late," said her client. "I'd like to go home now--I have things I need to do."
"More important than buying your dream house at the right time in the market?!" Samuelson practically sneered. "Fine!" She clicked the button to unlock the passenger-side door. "Get out!"
"GET OUT!" exclaimed Samuelson, and her startled client told her to f-off, then got out of the car.
"Wow, that felt good!" said Samuelson out loud, and she started to laugh because a parking spot was now opening up. "I'm quitting this job!"
Meanwhile, over in Chinatown, Beckmann was investigating Lynnette Wong's herbal shop--partially because he had heard some conspiracy theories about it, but mostly because he was having trouble coping with the pain of recovery after shattering both his knee caps during that time he had snuck into the Heurich Society meeting. "You do acupuncture?" he asked.
Wong stayed behind the counter, not at all liking the feeling of his chi. "Sorry, sir--only herbs. What is bothering you?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?!" he asked, momentarily suspicious again.
"Here is a pamphlet about--"
Beckmann snatched it out of her hands to read it. "Okay," he said after a few moments. "Why not? I used to do this stuff in 'Nam anyway." (Beckmann had never been to Vietnam--was not even old enough to have fought in that war--but he had some false memories about it.)
"Um, okay," Wong said.
"Now it's all about the drones," Beckmann said. "Whoops! I wasn't supposed to tell you that!" He got a strange glint in his eye, then remembered that drones were not a secret--only shooting down Charles Wu's drone. "What have you got for shattered knee caps?"
Wong leaned over the counter to look at his knees, both enveloped in serious structural hardware. "I'll give you something to speed up the healing."
"I meant for the pain!" groaned Beckmann.
"Also for the pain," Wong lied. She turned to start reaching for bottles and jars behind the counter.
"Where you from, anyway?"
"My parents were from Taiwan, but I was born here," said Wong.
"You're lucky," said Beckmann. "They've even got the damned Islamist terrorists in China now!"
Wong reached for another jar--the herb for mental clarity--though she was fairly certain it was a hopeless case.
Over in Dupont Circle, several Heurich Society members had arrived early at the Brewmaster's Castle to discuss recent disappointments. Han Li was still polishing the windows in the upper floor meeting room (Condoleezza Rice said a whiff of ammonia in the air was excellent for mental clarity) when they trudged in and asked where the coffee and snacks were. Han Li abandoned his window in mid-streak, and headed out silently back to the kitchen, leaving them to scowl at the filthy view out onto the street.
"I think it's time to make a motion-of-no-confidence," said the former CIA agent. "This experiment with girl power is not working."
"She still has all that information on us!" exclaimed the investment banker.
"How can she blackmail us now?" asked the international arms dealer. "Her protection is long-gone."
"The last thing I heard before the former chair skipped town was to never, ever, ever go up against Button!" said the investment banker. "He was scared out of his mind!"
"Fine, I'll go up against her myself," said the arms dealer. "She's no fun! She's trimmed two-thirds of my Middle Eastern client list already!"
"What about the Bloodsucker?" asked the former CIA agent. "If we boot the only other female, Rice might not like it."
"Rice might not like what?" asked Samuelson, gliding into the room even before Han Li had returned with refreshments.
"Um, we were just talking about Turkey and the--"
"Yeah, sure," said Samuelson, tossing down her bag and sitting down to write some notes on a scratch pad. Han Li returned with refreshments as more members trickled in--mostly chatting about sports.
Finally, Samuelson declared the meeting open. "I need a salary," she began.
"What?!" asked the Treasurer. "Nobody has ever gotten a salary! We share dividends from our profits--that's how it's always been!"
"I'm going to work full-time for the Heurich Society now," said Samuelson.
"What?!" the voice of Condoleezza Rice exclaimed over the speaker phone.
"I quit my realtor job. There's too much work to be done to whip this Society into shape. The first thing we need to do is neutralize Glenn Michael Beckmann. I've ordered a Russian mail-order bride for him, and we will pay her to pretend she's a Russian/Ukrainian double agent."
"What?!" asked a chorus of voices.
"Then when he's thoroughly brainwashed, we'll strike."
"Strike what?" asked the arms dealer.
"Do I have to spell out everything?" asked Samuelson.
"No, no, I get it," lied the former CIA agent, who had no idea what she was talking about, but found her new attitude a real turn-on.
"What about the Middle East?" asked the arms dealer.
"Definitely time for the neutron bomb," said Samuelson. (Over the speaker phone, they could hear Rice choking on her bourbon.) "Kidding! Just kidding." A few members started laughing, while the others looked at each other uncertainly. "But seriously, don't you think it's time?" (Dead silence.) "Our goal is to maximize wealth, power, and freedom, people! Stand up and recite that with me!" The Heurich Society members got up to recite their motto, and Samuelson looked around the room, very pleased. Oh, yeah.
A mile away, "Didymus" (the ghost of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara) burst into Dr. Ermann Esse's office in the middle of his session with Italian economist Luciano Talaverdi. "No, no, no!" exclaimed Didymus. "Military advisers--that's how it began in Vietnam! Obama is just falling into it all over again!"
"Alright, but we'll have to talk about it when I finish with my current patient," said the psychiatrist, getting up to escort the frantic Didymus out to the waiting room. "Now where were we?" he asked Talaverdi, as he sat down again.
"Um," began Talaverdi, uncertain whether his shrink had hallucinated another patient, or Talaverdi had hallucinated the shrink talking to an invisible person.
"I think we were talking about the sock drawer issues."
Good heavens, thought Dr. Esse. This man is a little too nutty to ask his girlfriend to move in.
Over at the White House, Ghost Dennis was frantically whispering into Obama's ear as the President stared uncertainly at the contents of his sock drawer. "This is the best option," Obama kept whispering to himself, even as Ghost Dennis kept telling him, "no, it's not...."
COMING UP: Nation to Nation.