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 ....

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Giant Sea Shell of Death


Ivanka Trump was, for the first time, hosting a meeting of Sense of Entitlement Anonymous (D.C. Chapter) in her own home.  The attendees were in awe of her white pumpkin-filled, gigantic sea shell.

"Was there a pearl the size of a grapefruit in that oyster?!" exclaimed Bridezilla.

"That is not an oyster," said Federal Reserve Board economist Luciano Talaverdi Yellen.  "It is the shell of an endangered giant sea clam."

"The Endangered Species Act is so ridiculous!" piped in Justice Neil Gorsuch.  "The Founding Fathers roll over in their graves every time it's upheld in court!"

"You think they would have wanted the Bald Eagle to go instinct?" asked Judge Sowell Ame.  "Anyway, I have to follow precedent!  Some of us aren't at liberty to throw out decades of jurisprudence just because there was a hundred-million-dollar slush fund pushing us into a lifetime appointment!"

"How dare you imply that a Supreme Court opening was purchased by dark money!" cried Chief Justice John Roberts.

"They paid McConnell not to allow a hearing on Merrick Garland, didn't they?" said Dick Cheney.  "What a brilliant move!  Boy, I thought I had balls when I ran this town, but this is at a whole new level now!  Whoa, Nelly!"

"Now, now!" fussed Ivanka, walking into the room accompanied by two Mexican maids--one carrying a silver tray laden with oysters Rockefeller, and the other a silver tray laden with hot mini-quiches in the shape of oak leaves.  "We don't need to talk about politics all of the time!"

"I agree!" said Talaverdi Yellen.  "Let's talk about economics!"

"Oh, my Gawd!" moaned a member of N.U.T.T.Y. (Nannies United to Take Y-chromosomes).  "Nobody cares about that!"

"You should care!" chided Talaverdi Yellen, turning to wag his finger at her.  "Your taxes will certainly go up if this Republican tax plan goes through!  I, myself, will probably pay fewer taxes, but what good will that do when the federal budget explodes and the American economy tanks?  All the fiscal attacks on teachers, nurses, graduate students, uninsured children, destitute elderly--hell, do they really think there won't be an armed revolution in this country!?  There are more guns than people here!  And if that doesn't kill me, the complete evisceration of all federal functions except military, coupled with a misplaced Libertarian backlash against the Federal Reserve Board, will leave me unemployed!  As an Italian citizen, I will be at a disadvantage competing for jobs in the academic sector, and will have to return to Italy with all my United States retirement savings more endangered than this hideous clam!"

"Hey!" sputtered Ivanka, unaccustomed to rudeness in her inner circle.

"Oh, lighten up!" laughed John Boehner.  "It's the holidays!  Eat, drink, and smoke--for tomorrow we die!"

"It's 'be merry', not 'smoke', John," said realtor Calico Johnson.

"You be merry your way, and I'll be merry my way!"

"Do you think taxes matter to us?" exclaimed another member of N.U.T.T.Y.  "Most of us are #MeToo victims, but nobody will believe us!"

"That's because you're trying to steal your charges' fathers away from their wives!" scoffed Gorsuch.  "You are the sexual predators!"

"Hey!" protested Ivanka, uncertain what a perfect hostess would do in this situation, and frustrated she had not seen a truly photogenic moment to post online.

"Nobody understands us!" protested a third member of N.U.T.T.Y. (who had thought her life would change during a brief fling with Ame, but then he told her he needed to "focus on his career").  "If I seduce a father, and then he refuses to leave his wife to marry me, I am the victim!  I am still the nanny!"

"You have no idea what #MeToo means!" screamed a former member of the FISA Court, trying to control the tears welling up in her eyes.  "When Steve Bannon came and asked for permission to spy on Barack Obama because he is a Kenyan, and he pulled out his dick and said he's going to get what he wants one way or another, and I complained to my supervisor, and he called me a liar!?"

"That is a shocking accusation!" cried Gorsuch.  "You can't just smear a man's hard-earned reputation like that!"

Boehner burst out laughing.  "I think that's actually solidifying Bannon's hard-earned reputation!

"Hey, here's a thought!" interjected Ivanka, who had been frantically texting her favorite new lifestyle blogger Giuliana Sunstream, to get ideas to steer party conversation in a safe direction.  "Let's go around the room, and each person show us their favorite photo they took on Thanksgiving!"

"No dick photos!" two different women cried in unison, and Ivanka quickly looked down at her phone to see what else Giuliana would suggest.

"Could we just stop using the word 'dick', for God's sake?!" complained Cheney.  "Let's stick with 'willy' or--"

"By the way, Dick," interrupted Roberts, "you must be thrilled that Christian Bale is going to play you in a Hollywood film!  He's outstanding!"

"He's Welsh, for God's sake!"

"Who would you have picked?" asked Johnson.  "I think when my story is told, it should be Chris Pine, or maybe Chris Pratt, or possibly Chris Evans."

"A solid American actor, like Tom Cruise," said Cheney.  Bridezilla burst out laughing, causing Cheney to get red in the face and lash out at Johnson.  "And why the Hell would they do a movie about you?"

"Oh, Dick!" said Bridezilla.  "I love you, Dick, but that is all wrong for you!  Bruce Willis with glasses--that's the way to go!"

"Okay," said Cheney, "that would work."

"I've had an amazing life!" protested Johnson.  "I'm a successful real estate mogul, just like Trump."  (Several pairs of eyes rolled.)  "I'll probably run for Governor of Maryland someday, and I've dated some extraordinary women--one of them died in mysterious circumstances, and another, well, we didn't really date, but the FBI questioned me after she burned her own house down, and then--"

"What were you doing when that woman died?!" interrupted a member of N.U.T.T.Y.

"I had nothing to do with it!" cried Johnson.  "I wasn't even there!"

"Well, you brought it up," said Ame.

"Hey!" broke in Ivanka, ready to put out another suggestion from Giuliana Sunstream.  "On Thanksgiving, we all say what we're thankful for, but why don't we say today what others are thankful to us about!  I'll start: people are thankful to me for being a great boss!"

"In China?" asked Boehner under his breath, before accidentally bursting into laughter at his own joke.

"People are thankful to me for bringing Originalism and integrity to the Supreme Court of the United States!" declared Gorsuch.

"You just did a paid speaking gig at Trump International Hotel!" retorted Ame.  "I once got a formal reprimand for drinking chablis at a neighborhood wine tasting!  How was I supposed to know their neighbors were suing over rats in the alley?"

"People are thankful to me because I know what fascism is," said Talaverdi Yellen, "and I am warning people in this country that if a great country like Italy can be set a hundred years back economically, so can--"

"Oh, stuff it, you wop!" exclaimed Ivanka, jumping to her feet.  "My father is not a fascist!"

"What's a fascist?" asked Ivanka's young daughter, who had escaped the nanny and entered the room hoping to find cake.

It was at this point in time that a tipsy hunter who was illegally engaged in after-dark deer-hunting in Rock Creek Park, and who had climbed a tree to get a better vantage point with his infrared goggles, lost his balance while shooting his cross-bow and let fly an arrow that arced over and well past the trees, then came crashing down through the little girl's upstairs bedroom window.  (Yes, Ivanka's daughter had narrowly escaped accidental death at the hands of Glenn Michael Beckmann!)  Startled Secret Service officers scrambled into action, racing in to shove Ivanka and the two Supreme Court justices down to the floor--leaving everybody else to fend for themselves.  (But they were all pretty good at it.)

Outside the window, a satisfied member of The Shackled floated off to haunt another house.

****************************************************
COMING UP:     
The Diary of Jared Kushner!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Scandal!

Things were slowly getting back to normal in the White House now that Donald Trump had returned from his long trip abroad:  he was watching television, Tweeting that black athletes belonged in prison, sexually harassing the housekeeping staff, planning how he would spend all the money he would save in taxes if Congress passed the tax scam bill, doing self-congratulatory Cabinet meetings, eating a lot of ice cream, phoning Bannon, ignoring Barron, and arguing with the ghost of Nelson Rockefeller.

"I'm NOT Nelson Rockefeller!" protested Ghost Dennis (who had been murdered during the final year of the Nixon Presidency).  "You can't just keep ignoring Puerto Rico!  Why don't you do a Thanksgiving humanitarian gesture for them?"

"Nobody cares about Puerto Rico!" retorted Trump.  "If those lazy Spics don't know how to turn the lights back on, it's not my fault!"

"Just forget for a minute whose fault it is:  those people are moving to Florida and will vote Democrat there next year!"

"I like Vice-Presidents who don't die!  You're a loser!"

"Mr. President, do you understand that twelve nations signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership WITHOUT the United States?  Not only did you come home WITHOUT a better deal than Obama had negotiated, you came home with NO deal, and strengthened the ascendancy of China in the entire Pacific region."

"China loves me!"

"Of COURSE China loves you!  You ignore their humans rights abuses, and they're stronger than they've ever been!"

"Go away!  It's time for my cheeseburger!"

A mile away, triple agent Charles Wu was having a very different conversation after returning from his parallel trip through Asia.

"Thank you for getting those boys out of prison in China," said the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Carnage.  "That was huge!"

"Are you okay?" asked Wu, watching the bleary-eyed ADAfC shoving his Froggy Bottom cheeseburger into his face like a starving man.  "Are you having trouble sleeping?  I have a business partner in Chinatown who could help you with some herbs--"

"No, no, gotta stay sharp," replied the ADAfC (who had recently started using Ambien and a not-great, but very convenient, sex robot to fall asleep at night).  "Tell me about North Korea," he asked, before taking a huge gulp of his seventh Coke of the day.

"We've bought some time, but Un is extremely unhappy with the barrage of insults."  (The ADAfC nodded, shoving french fries into his mouth.)  "Designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism is also not helping.  (The ADAfC shrugged.)  "He also keeps saying that Iran was tricked into giving up nuclear weapons so that the U.S. could bomb it with impunity."

"That's not gonna happen," said the ADAfC, gulping more Coke.

"Why don't you have some of my salad," said Wu, pushing his plate over, but the ADAfC shook his head.  "Why are you so sure that Iran will not get bombed?  The Saudis are blockading Qatar and bombing the hell out of Yemen, and the U.S. is ignoring it."

The ADAfC exhaled deeply.  "Because Mad Dog Mattis doesn't want to see a million Iranian troops pouring over the border into Iraq and Syria."

"Are you sure about that?"

The ADAfC said nothing, instead reaching into his pocket to pull out a new business card for Wu.  "I have a new title, and I wrote some new cellphone numbers on the back."

Wu examined the card, indicating that the ADAfC was now the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Purging the Deep State at State.

"You are the Deep State at State!" laughed Wu.

"Don't you ever say that!" exclaimed the ADAfPtDSaS.  "I'm a patriot!"

"It was just a joke, man!" said Wu, reaching across the table to pat the hand of the ADAfPtDSaS.  "You're the most patriotic man I've ever met!" he added, snapping back to a cool, collected demeanor.

Meanwhile, over at the brand new Museum of the Bible (in a private room decorated with Adam and Eve wallpaper, snakeskin-covered chairs, and apple-shaped light fixtures), it was the annual Thanksgiving luncheon for the very patriotic Holier Than Thou Caucus--and Congressman Herrmark was terrified of what he was hearing.

"It was FrankenFranken was the one grabbing women by the pussy!"

"He grabbed an ass!  That's not a pussy!"

"Same difference!"

"Why do you believe Franken's accusers and none of Trump's?"

"You may as well ask why ducks fly south in November!"

"A lot of them don't fly anymore, because of global warming.)

"Look, I have a 14-year-old daughter, and I'm more worried about this Roy Moore fellow.  I do not want him coming to D.C.!"

"Oh, just keep your daughter at home and out of the malls!  With Moore's help, I bet we can get a Ten Commandments statue put into the Capitol Rotunda."

"Are you out of your mind?!  He will destroy the Holier Than Thou Caucus!  All we need is one scandal, and we're toast!"

"There will be no scandal!  He's a Baptist!"

"What the Hell is that supposed to mean!?  You think Pentecostals have more scandals?!"

"I didn't say that!"

"What do you think?"

Congressman Herrmark did not notice all eyes had turned to him.  He was lost in thought about Mia, the girl he had brought back from Asia and kept in his house for awhile until she was taken away from him.  Those were the happiest days of his life!  His sweet Mia!  Why didn't the world understand how nice it was to have a budding flower in the midst of the ugly, sordid world of politics?  Somebody snapped their fingers in front of his face.

"Huh?  What?"

"What do you think?"

"The real problem is zombies," replied Congressman Herrmark, and the room erupted in laughter.

"The real problem is Uranium One!" cried Attorney General Jeff Sessions, not far away--entering the office of Justice Department attorney Atticus Hawk and slamming the door behind him.  "It's Clinton-Russia!  Not Trump-Russia!  And certainly not ME!"

"Absolutely, General Sessions," replied Hawk.  (This was his default reply to the AG's rants.)

"Where's the snitch?!" demanded Sessions--who clearly had no idea that it was Hawk himself who had leaked to ABC News that Robert Mueller had requested DOJ documents related to the AG's Trump-Russia "recusal" and the firing of James Comey.

"I really can't say," replied Hawk.  "It's hard to even recall who is at what meeting, let alone who has even read certain emails before deleting them."

Sessions screwed up his eyes suspiciously, then rejected the idea that this loyal employee from a good [WASP] family could possibly be mocking him.  "I declare, I am tired of my name being dragged through the mud with these Twits!"

"The Tweets?"

"What are you gonna do about this?!"

"I'll set up some more Twitter accounts and--"

"The snitch!  I want you to find that lily-livered snitch!"

"Yes, sir, General Sessions!  It's just that I was working on your plan to take money away from Sanctuary Cities.  You said you wanted to stick it to them between Pearl Harbor Day and Christmas."

"Oh," said the A.G.  "Alright, then, I'll assign Sanctuary Cities to somebody else."

As he saw Jeff Sessions exit his office, the snitch smiled broadly for the first time in months.  Now I can take the rest of the week off!

****************************************************
COMING UP:    
Billionaire-funded SuperPACs buy 
death and taxes...for somebody else.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fugit! Fugit! Fugit!

"How can you eject me from the Russia Caucus on Veteran's Day?!" cried California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, stomping his feet from the cold and frustration.  "It's an insult to patriots!"

"You're no veteran!" retorted Texas Congressman Zeke "Slick" Hicks, blocking Rohrabacher from entering his front door.

"Nobody's done more for veterans than I have!" declared Rohrabacher.  "I don't even take my flag pin off in the shower!"

"Now you're telling me you have nipple piercings?!" exclaimed Hicks.  "I should've known better than to get mixed up with a bunch of California wackos!"

"What?!  Did you toss Devin Nunes out of the Russia Caucus, too?"

"Of course I did!  I don't know what Robert Mueller has on you, and I don't want to know!"

"He's got nothing!  And I'm not going down alone!"

"Listen, you little turd blossom!" muttered Hicks, grabbing Rohrabacher by the scarf around his neck and dragging him inside as a woman ran by with a jogging stroller.  "Don't you make threats at me!  I've still got the Exxon boys on my side!  If I were you, I'd cash out my chips now and move to Moscow!  Devin's thinkin' 'bout the Azores, but he's a friggin' moron if he thinks he'll escape extradition there."

"I can't believe I'm hearing this!" cried Rohrabacher.  "After all we've been through together!  Speaker Ryan's gonna hear about this, you turncoat!"

"He's the one that told me to toss you both out of the Russia Caucus, you nitwit!  Things are gettin' too hot!  We need to pass billionaire tax cuts for our billionaire donors!  Now I suggest you use the rest of your Veteran's Day doing photo-ops at the World War II Memorial, and if somebody asks you about Trump's comments that he believes Vladimir Putin is telling the truth and our military intelligence officers are a bunch of political hacks, tell 'em you stand by our American patriots!"  And with that, Hicks opened his front door again and pushed Rep. Dana Rohrabacher back out onto the front porch.

"Excellent," said the Russian ambassador, emerging from the dining room around the corner.  "Now let's get back down to business, Congressman."

Several miles away, CIA Director Mike Pompeo was taking his fiftieth phone call of the day to defend the Intelligence Community's assessment that Russia interfered with the 2016 Election.  He had the statement down cold:  a brief factual assertion with no mention of Donald Trump's treasonous remarks in Southeast Asia.  The problem was, as each call ticked by, he was scratching away another layer of skin underneath his diabolically Cursed Rolex.  Finally, the skin broke, and his blood flowed out into contact with the Cursed Rolex.  He slammed down the phone and jumped up from his desk, shouting out something in Latin.

"Sir?!" cried his assistant, running into Pompeo's office.

"Fugit!  Fugit!  Fugit!" exclaimed the CIA Director, jumping up onto his desk and ripping open his shirt and jacket to bare his chest like a gorilla.  "Mortifer!  Mortifer!  Mortifer!"  He was now jumping up and down wildly.

The assistant, a retired Army Ranger, dove at his boss head-first while simultaneously pushing Pompeo's legs out from under him.  The CIA Director went tumbling head-first toward the carpeting, somersaulted across the floor, and was about to get back up when his assistant quickly pinned him in a headlock to force Pompeo to pass out.

"Malum...malum...malum," the CIA Director gasped weakly before blacking out.

The assistant exhaled deeply, rolled Pompeo over onto his back, then looked up as two CIA officers rushed in after hearing the commotion.

"Did he slash his wrist?!" cried one of them.

The assistant looked down at the little dribble of blood smeared under the Rolex, then back up at them.  "Something like that," he said, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket to press on the cut.

"Typical," said the other, shaking his head and turning to leave.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, militiaman and conspiracy blogger Glenn Michael Beckmann was driving down Pennsylvania Avenue towards Trump International Hotel in an elaborately modified backhoe.  About a year had passed since he had narrowly escaped going to trial for criminal trespass charges relating to his drone's dumping pig manure on the hotel.  Since then, a lot of people on the Internet had eclipsed his own vehement conspiracy theories about how the hotel was a den of harlots and thieves financed by Saudi petro dollars and Russian bitcoin, but nobody had eclipsed his willingness to fight the Orange Menace head-on.  "Now, I know you've practiced quite a lot at trapeze school, but you've only got one shot at this," he said, turning to glance at Brittani, who was wearing double-layered Lycra body suits and a black ski mask.

"I can do it!" declared Brittani, who was still not quite sixteen.  She fist-bumped Beckmann and started climbing up the backhoe as he slowed down at the approach to the Old Post Office Pavilion bell tower.  "I'm ready!" she cried, and he stopped the truck altogether and climbed out of the truck to watch as Brittani started swinging back and forth to build up momentum and height.  A security guard was now coming out of the hotel but was rendered speechless at the sight.  Brittani swung higher and higher until she was ready to make the arc all the way into the bell tower.

"Hey!" shouted the security guard, more entranced by the operation than outraged.

Brittani had unfurled a banner with giant letters spelling out #MeToo during her final arc, then landed a bit roughly but safely inside the tower--where a small group of tourists momentarily forgot how cold and windy it was up there and started clapping and taking pictures.  She smiled shyly at the crowd.  "Here, help me unroll this!"

"What on Earth?!" asked the tour guide, trying to suppress a smile as several people helped Brittani without even knowing what the next banner was going to say.  With some effort, they unfurled it and hung it outside the tower:  it was a list of names pertaining to women who had complained about sexual harassment from Donald Trump.

Down on the street, Glenn Michael Beckmann was trying really hard not to want to have sex with Brittani (who already had an annulment from her disastrous under-age marriage in Virginia).  "Damn, this is hard!" he muttered under his breath.

"Man, that is cool!" somebody exclaimed, patting Beckmann on the back.

"He's a puppet king installed by alien overloads to weaken human civilization before they invade Earth," Beckmann said, handing the woman his business card.

"Um, okay," she said, moving along.

Meanwhile, inside Trump International Hotel, Washington Post "Metro" reporter Perry Winkle was drinking at the bar, discreetly taking notes on all the bankers, hedge fund managers, tax shelter lobbyists, and billionaires walking in and out of the lobby, before and after their forays upstairs to the Tax Bill suite--where they were getting hammered on Trump Wine and grudgingly hammering out tweaks to appease recalcitrant Republicans who kept saying they could not possibly vote for a bill that would explode the federal deficit so that the super rich could get tax cuts while 98% of their constituents received no benefit or actually ended up worse off!

"Hey, handsome," said his girlfriend, attorney Coretta Rosa McIntyre, sitting down beside him.  "Did you get it?"

"Yep, already uploaded to WaPo website."  He turned to give her a kiss.  "You have more spies up there than you told me!"

"Some of them were last-minute recruits on the cleaning staff.  Is this who I think it is?" she asked, pulling up a cellphone photo.

"Hm," replied Perry.  "It looks like Stephen Miller with a wig and mustache."

"That's what I thought!  He was trying to get into a suite at the other end of that hall, and this guy speaking Russian barked something at him through the chain, then slammed the door in his face."

"You're telling me there's a Russian gatekeeper up there!?  Damn!  Nobody even told me!"

Coretta shook her head, sympathetically.  "They have enough reporters chasing the Russia thing:  you've gotta help me stop this horrific tax plan!"

"John McCain just slammed Trump for favoring a KGB colonel over the U.S. Intelligence Community," he said.

"And will probably vote for tax cuts, anyway--in a tax plan that will hurt veterans.  Focus!"

"I understand, really!" protested Perry.  "The 'pro-life' politicians will end adoption tax credits, and the 'fiscal hawks' will pretend trickle-down is a real thing, and it's all a bunch of total bullshit and craven corruption, but man I wish I could be the one reporting on Michael Flynn's going to prison!"

"Would you also want to be the one explaining seven hours of Carter Page testimony one Tweet at a time?  'Cause that's the downside of working that beat!"

Back at Langley, CIA Director Mike Pompeo was buttoned up again, with some fresh gauze wrapped around the wrist under the Cursed Rolex--which he had immediately put back on after regaining consciousness, despite his assistant's warning that it might feel heavy on the cut skin.  The Director refused to take any more phone calls about Trump's comments on Russia and was hoping for something fun to work on, like North Korea, when one of the CIA's top Middle East spies entered his office.  "Finally!" Pompeo exclaimed.  "Tell me what the Hell is going on in Saudi Arabia!"

"It all started with Donald Trump and the glowing orb...."

"This sounds good!" whispered the Cursed Rolex.

Ghosts don't shiver from the cold, but the ghost of Henry Samuelson shuddered as he floated over Ardua of the Potomac and returned to his old McLean stomping grounds just in time to hear the part in the story where Jared Kushner smiles nervously while the Saudis ply him with cash and make jokes about the Jews.

****************************************************
COMING UP:    Coming home!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Pretend I didn't say that!

British agents Nigel ("Prickly") Blackthorne and Richard ("The Third") Mollington were on their way to pick up Chloe Cleavage and drop her off again at Trump International Hotel.

"How much longer do you think she'll keep doing this?" asked The Third, smoothing the fake Uber and Lyft decals stuck to the passenger window.

"Well, Charles Wu is paying her handsomely, I believe, and she did say she was in love with Sergei."

"You know that's not a good thing, right?" replied The Third.

"I still can't believe George Papadopoulos was wearing a wire for the FBI!" snickered Prickly.  "Wu's got camera footage of him in the damned Russia Suite!"

"We're gonna nab these bloody bastards, eh?!"

"Speaking of that," said Prickly, "we can't keep putting off Chloe about the sex trafficking thing."

"We got a couple of those girls out!" retorted The Third, defensively.  "It's a delicate balance!"

"I know!  I know!"  Prickly gunned the car through the yellow light.  "You think Chloe's safe going in there today?  I mean, the Russkies must already be nervous after the Manafort indictment."

"Chloe's not wearing a wire!  She's just getting Sergei close to Wu's listening--"

"I know, I know, but if she asks too many questions and they do start frisking her for a wire, she could really freak out.  She's no pro!  We haven't given her enough training!"

"That's not our fault," responded The Third.  "She's a bloody staff attorney at Prince and Prowling and only gets one week's vacation a year?"

"How do we know they haven't already torn up the Russia Suite and found Wu's bugs, eh?" asked Prickly.

"He would tell us."

"Wu's in Asia for the Dotard trip!"

"He would know, and he would tell us, and his bugs just look like bugs, Prickly!  The Russkies would just step on 'em.  There's no way in Hell the Chinese are gonna let Russia get more powerful:  this is Beijing's century."

"Yeah, yeah, and Washington's looking more like Beijing every week."

Across the river, Secretary of Defense James ("Mad Dog") Mattis was in his office making final preparations for his trip to Europe.  "No, no, no," he muttered into the phone, nodding at the assistant bringing him in another file stamped "Top Secret".  He shook his head silently and motioned for the assistant to shut the door on his way out.  "I have discussed that with POTUS, and he understands."  Mad Dog rolled his eyes and reached for his rubber stress ball to squeeze.  "Kelly has assured me Trump understands he's got no bunker in Asia, and if he taunts Kim Jong Un into shooting Air Force One out of the sky, there's a five-percent chance we're swearing in President Pence."  Mad Dog lifted the cover of the new folder, grimaced at it, then closed the folder.  "Look, we need NATO, and it's not helping us that the Niger fiasco did not take into account French intel.  I got troops on every God-damned continent in the world, and I need to make sure somebody's got our backs out there."  He shook his head, leaned back in his chair, and looked up at the ceiling, then leaned forward again.  "Look, I don't wanna hear another damned word about the Russkies!  Who's monitoring their submarines?  ME!  Who's monitoring their communications?  ME!  Who's monitoring their troop movements?  ME!  You think I give a shit about who's buying Oriental rugs or Trump condominiums?  NOT ME!  You point me to the enemy, I'll kill 'em!  I need Congress to reauthorize that MAUF!  Come in!" he barked at the knock on the door.  "I gotta call you back."

Mad Dog hung up the phone and looked up as his assistant opened the door to announce Captain Tyler Glockmann from the Defense Intelligence Agency.  Mad Dog's heart sank, but he nodded and stood up as Glockmann rolled in on his wheelchair and saluted Mattis, who saluted back.  "Please tell me this is the last report, and I can get on the plane."

"It is the last report," said the mole placed at DIA by Condoleezza Rice and the Heurich Society, but I think you better read it before you get on the plane."

Not far away, Prince and Prowling junior partner Bridezilla was arranging new pieces of furniture in her miniature Tudor dream house because her conjoined miniature guinea pigs (Flower Girl and Maid of Honor) had scratched the old furniture up too much.  "I love the velvet fainting couch!" she exclaimed, looking up at her boyfriend, Edward.  "It's so romantic!"

"Actually, I thought you would use that piece upstairs, and put one of the human figurines on it?" asked the man known in spy circles as "Esperantu Edward".

"Oh, no!  It looks so good near the fireplace!"

"Sooo," began Edward, "just like that?  Breadman told you to close the Russia Practice?"

"Just like that!" she cooed, smiling at the twins' rubbing their noses against the soft velvet.  "After all that billing!  Thanks to you, of course!"  She stood up to kiss Edward.  "You found me so many of those clients!"

"Yes," he nodded, "yes, I did.  And, well, my buttercup, some of them are not happy about it."

"I understand--I do!"

"But I thought there were rules about attorneys' dropping clients?" asked Edward.

"Well, you're not supposed to in the middle of a trial--things like that."

"Oh," said Edward, handing her the cherry wood sideboard with a miniature silver tea service tray glued to it.  (He was thinking about the Putin resistance clients who were, in fact, very much in the middle of something when they would meet at the monthly Prince and Prowling Russia Practice receptions.)

"I love it!" exclaimed Bridezilla.

"So much work was put into that practice," muttered Edward.

"It's fine," said Bridezilla, trying to center the sideboard directly under a silver-framed mirror.  "There's plenty of Political Practice work."  (The truth was that she had developed serious concerns her boyfriend was a Russian spy, or a spy on Russians, or a double-agent--and after annulling her first marriage to a secret spy, she really did not want that again.  After all, she had fallen in love with Edward because they shared a passion for miniatures!)  "You know Prince and Prowling management goes whichever way the wind is blowing, and now they've decided the wind is blowing against the Russians.  But they're going to have a lot more trouble backing out of that DOJ deal."

"What DOJ deal?" asked Esperantu Edward (who had been warned by Charles Wu that Bridezilla wouldn't tolerate more espionage in her life).

"Whoops!" laughed Bridezilla.  "Pretend I didn't say that!"

Meanwhile, former Senator Evermore Breadman, a Prince and Prowling Senior Partner, was meeting clandestinely with Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions in Breadman's limousine, driving down Route 1.

"Are you sure these windows are tinted enough?" asked Sessions.  "I can see the Potomac quite clearly.

"They're actually one-way mirrors, General Sessions," replied Breadman.  "My wife won't rid in this limo because sometimes birds smash right into them."

Sessions frowned.  "And you're sure nobody else has had access in here?"  His eyes were darting around nervously, examining the upholstery.

"I'm the only one with the keys, and I vacuum it out myself.  It's the only exercise I ever get, ha ha!"  He saw the AG was not laughing, and abruptly fell silent.  (Breadman, of course, tape-recorded every conversation he had in this limo, but he had, in fact, answered the question honestly.)

"Look, Evermore, I'm worried about the damned Russia thing!"

"Are you?" Breadman asked, feigning surprise.

"There's a lot of chatter about those Mueller indictments, and the kid turning state's evidence, and some people are even saying that I was set up for perjury!"

"That's outrageous!" exclaimed Breadman, trying to look sincere.

"Exactly!" cried Sessions.  "I need to know I can count on your firm to help me out if things get sticky for me!"

"Hm," said Breadman, pretending he was contemplating this for the first time.  "Well, General, the firm's of-counsel arrangement with Justice encompasses lawsuits you have to defend which were filed against Donald Trump and his Cabinet, and, as you know, we have been quite busy with those!"  Breadman attempted another smile and chuckle, but Sessions was having none of it.

"I thought I could count on you, Evermore!"

"Look, absolutely, anything we can do, General, but I wouldn't feel right taking on that sort of thing because, well, you need a top-notch criminal defense attorney."

"I am not a criminal!" screamed the Attorney General.

"Of course not, General Sessions, of course not!  But if that has to be proven in a court of law, well, we have no experience fighting perjury charges."

"Charges?!  Plural?!"  Sessions started hyper-ventilating.

"Now, now, General, I can recommend some terrific attorneys for you!"

"I need somebody I can trust!"

"Absolutely!" replied Breadman.

"Not some namby-pamby who's gonna be forced by Mueller into breaking attorney-client privilege!  God, I hate him so much!"

"Sure, not a namby-pamby," responded Breadman.  "Only the best!"

"And no Jews!" added Sessions.  "Kushner's the one they need to be kicking to the curb, not me!"  Sessions looked past Breadman out the other window as they passed a billboard proclaiming Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam bragged about restoring voting rights to child molesters.  "Damned straight!" he cried, pointing at the billboard for Breadman to turn around and look at.  "Now, that's a criminal!"

"You don't think convicts should get their vote back after they serve their time?" asked Breadman, trying not to picture Sessions pushing a mop in a federal penitentiary.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac slithered along at 60 miles/hour enjoying every minute of the conversation.

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COMING UP:    Blechs, lies, and videotape!
                               (The Senate's tax plan!)