Washington Horror Blog

SEMI-FICTIONAL CHRONICLE of the EVIL THAT INFECTS WASHINGTON, D.C. To read Prologue and Character Guide, please see www.washingtonhorrorblog.com, updated 6/6//2017. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Friday, February 27, 2015

State (Department) of Confusion

"We just don't have the sex appeal to stay popular," lamented "C. Coe Phant" to triple agent Charles Wu.  "Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism--frankly, the U.S. public is bored with it."

"I'm not sure I would agree with that," said Wu to his State Department source over lunch at Froggy Bottom.  "Didn't Scott Walker just compare bullying union activists with fighting the Islamic State?"

"Ha, ha!  Yeah, that was a good one!  Let's elect Scott Walker so he can fight terrorists by killing their government pensions!"

"Charlie Hebdo got people fired up.  And now there's a martyr hacked to death in Bangladesh."

"But people don't really care.  We have a new Secretary of Defense, and people don't really care.  We're negotiating with Iran, and people don't really care.  The Obama Administration has been authorized to go to war in Iraq again, and people don't really care.  Putin is still invading Ukraine, and people don't really care.  The Clinton Foundation took donations from foreign governments while Hillary was the Secretary of State, and people don't really care.  The frigging net neutrality rules are getting more chatter on Twitter!"

"I think it's a good thing for the State Department's foreign policy not to be shaped by Twitter," said a puzzled Wu.  "The more you can do out of the spotlight, the better."

"I don't think it works that way anymore," said Phant.  "Social media whips the Republicans into a frenzy, so they try to abolish Obamacare and force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Social media whips Democrats into a frenzy, so they double down on Obamacare and Obama vetoes the Keystone XL bill.  We might be living in the most democratic age of all, where the loud voice of the people determines everything."

Wu was really starting to question whether Phant had recently lost some marbles.  "You realize that politicians mostly act in accordance with what their political donors want, don't you?  And half the stuff on Twitter is paid to be there?"

"Have you even heard of the United States Institute of Peace?" asked Phant.  "The U.S. media completely ignores it--its only chance is to host a Lady Gaga concert."

"Its only chance at what?"  Wu was starting to despair of getting any lucrative information out of Phant at all.  "Look, the most important international work is done behind closed doors--it's always been that way, and it always will.  China is very interested in these Iran negotiations--very interested."  Wu had already handed Phant a pile of cash stuffed into a ski cap placed on the table, but Phant hadn't even touched it.  "Politico had a cartoon about the Department of Foreign Entanglements--that was pretty funny, wasn't it?"  (Phant shrugged.)  You had Edward Snowden's hot girlfriend in a ballerina skirt and stilettos at the Oscars--nobody's looking that good in this Republican showdown over Homeland Security's budget!  Come on!  Nothing will ever be as sexy as a good spy story!  Am I right?"  And Wu flashed that charming Hong Kong smile that convinced everybody he was a debonair Englishman at heart, and Phant finally started spilling--much to the relief of Charles Wu, who would rather not have to go back to John Kerry's Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope if he didn't have to.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the Zombie Caucus was lunching on a couple of young interns when Congressman John Boehner's chief of staff got a phone call pressuring him to help the Republican whip round up more votes on the House bill to fund Homeland Security for three more weeks.  "Damn!" he exclaimed, wiping blood and brains off his lips with a napkin.  "I wish I could get a job at the State Department!"  The zombies didn't care whether Homeland Security was funded or not, but their votes were already in the bag, so he went off to make deals with Congressman Herrmark and Congressman Jacques Javert.

"This is truly disgusting," nodded the ghost of Russian diplomat Anatoly Malenkov, trapped under the white fur of a Samoyed.  He was hiding behind a stack of briefcases with the Gopper Ghost (an actual dog ghost), who had brought Ghost Anatoly here to see the zombies who had killed the Gopper.  "You are right:  this is a bigger problem than anything happening in the State Department."  And so was launched the first-ever ghost-dog pack united against repulsive influences in Congress.

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COMING UP:  Fat John's Lake.

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