Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wordzzle 41

This is all Katherine's fault. She started this thing over at the Raven's Nest. Go by and check it out.

We're moving this weekend so if I don't get by to read your stories right away, please forgive me. I did my best to bring a bit of closure to this ongoing story and have at least one last chapter to add.

This week's Ten Word Challenge will be: posthumous, flagrant, seven days a week, cheese and crackers, pyramid, civil war, clarinet, microwave, absent without leave, blue jeans
Mini Challenge: sugar-coated, thermometer, tractor pull, evangelical, masquerade

Consequences and Actions

The ambulance siren screamed a continuing message as it made its way from the White House to Walter Reed Medical Center. Sgt Johnson rode in the back with Zan. She had been struck twice by flying pieces of the exploding limo. One fragment had hit her in the head and the other had lodged in her lung. She was on the verge of dying when the medics took over in the driveway near the guard gate. Fortunately they were able to stabilize her, though the digital thermometer currently showed her losing body temperature and going into shock. The paramedics had placed what looked like some sort of funky medical blue jeans on her legs in an attempt to keep her body temperature and blood pressure up.

McCool and Jean followed the ambulance in the FBI's standard black Tahoe, its siren screaming in a terrible harmony with that of the ambulance. Jean was visibly shaken by the attack and Zan's injuries. "What just happened Thomas?" Jean asked. "How did an award ceremony at the white house turn into civil war?" "Weren't those men that were fighting at the gate Blackwater civilian troops" she finished, "I thought I saw the logo on their SUVs." "We don't know who they were at this point honey" he answered. "The investigators will find out who they were and who was behind the attack."

Jean slumped into his arms and cried gently. "What about Zan, she looked like she was hurt badly?" "We'll be at Walter Reed soon baby and they'll fix her up." "It's going to be OK Jean, I promise" he replied.

Many miles east of DC, Claude and Justine were turning onto highway 16 towards Philly. There would be a chartered jet at the airport to take them to Fiji, then on to Indonesia. Claude was done with America and its corrupt politicians and corporations. He would follow the repercussions from a private island in a remote Indonesian region. And Justine would have a life of ease and luxury. He planned to teach her to play chess, speak French and cook; three things he considered necessary to become truly civilized. Later they would travel the world.

Claude looked forward to showing her the pyramid at Giza, the Great Wall of China and Ayers rock in Australia. There was so much they would be able to do together in the future. All they had to do was make it out of the country.

She would say goodbye forever to her former world of flagrant redneckdom, tractor pulls, microwave hamburger helper, tricking, evangelical tent revivals and the sugar-coated intolerance of Fox News. "Maybe she'd even take up the clarinet again" he thought to himself. That little bit of trivia had finally came out in a conversation. He was glad she'd starting opening up. She would be free to end her masquerade as a bimbo and be the smart, talented and intelligent young woman he knew her to be. It dawned on him that he was really starting to have serious feelings for this woman.

Mike Dorgan was the head of the special investigations unit for Homeland Security. The only good thing about the situation he found himself in charge of was the lack of need for posthumous citations for Secret Service men. It looked like all the wounded good guys would survive. And they were very fortunate there was only one wounded civilian, though he’d heard she was the girl friend of an FBI profiler there at the White House to receive an award.
Mike knew he would be at this investigation seven days a week till he had suspects in custody or more likely till he initiated extradition orders for the people who had planned and funded this historic attack on the home of the American president. What he also knew was that the dead attackers were all Blackwater mercs attached to the state department. Why and how they could have been recruited to attack the president was inconceivable. He was experienced enough to know the money trail would give him the answers.

In several cities around the world, hedge fund managers, CEOs and assorted captains of industry were waking up to a very different world. In one massive and unbelievable stroke their fortunes had disappeared or been altered drastically. Among these men and women would come several suicides, a few auto accidents, some mysterious disappearances and the suspicion by all that more bad things were to come.

Jim Wilson with the incoming transition team had been alerted concerning the White House incident and was in route via a charter that would meet him at Philadelphia National Airport. He was the transition team’s security chief and responsible to the president elect to report on the situation.

Several members of the RNC and the PNAC received information that the FBI was in route to question them. All stayed put and waited on the FBI because they knew they had nothing to do with the attack. All were mistaken.

The president and officers of Blackwater in North Carolina were brought in for questioning within 90 minutes of the attack. A few of the Blackwater contractors were absent without leave and these were immediately moved to the head of the list of planners. The secretary of state was questioned by the secret service about an alleged emergency call that would have brought the Blackwater teams to the White House prepared to battle the secret service. It was beginning to look like a terrible and tragic friendly fire incident as the best case scenario and an attempted coup or assassination at its worst.

Dorgan was not willing to bet on this all just being a big mistake and the evidence uncovered in the next few days would suggest a conspiracy of great magnitude that included foreign ministers, friends and business associates of the president and vice-president as well as members of the administration and the RNC. What Dorgan didn’t know or couldn’t begin to imagine was that all this could be orchestrated by one man with motivation, money, opportunity and years to plan the operation.

The sleek Lear charter jet carrying Claude and Justine taxied onto the runway. The pilot opened the cockpit door and explained they would have to wait for another plane to take-off ahead of them. “Sorry sir, they have priority status, seems the guy on board is with the new administration and has to get to Washington in a hurry.”

Claude looked up from the cheese and crackers that he and Justine were enjoying with a pretty good French wine and replied “Don’t worry about it; we’re going on vacation and we’re not going to sweat the small stuff.” The pilot closed the door and looked to the co-pilot. “How about that?” “The guy didn’t even bitch about waiting in line to take off.”


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the Hood

As I walked out the door this morning I was greeted by this site.

This rainbow signals the onset of the first rain that Phoenix has seen in three months. If you want something to be thankful about, then rain and a rainbow will do it.

I hope tomorrow finds you with friends and family. Enjoy your turkey and dressing. Count your blessings and be thankful.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wordzzle 40 (What I'd give to be that age again)

The author and creator of this contest is the fabulous Katherine at the Raven's Nest. Please go by and visit her.

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: moisturizing, pickles, seat belt, flip-flop, Chicago, allergies, doctor, ready or not here I come, computer programmer, dog biscuits

Mini Challenge: gluttony, mercurial, tennis bracelet, anchor, molten
This week Off

I am taking this week off from Wordzzle, at least as far as the continuing story goes. Perhaps I'll spend the weekend moisturizing or eating pickles. I'm not sure; I tend to flip-flop a bit when I'm undecided. Anyway, the trouble is that I currently spend my days on-line looking at stock market charts, talking to computer programmers and watching rich folks give their dogs gourmet dog biscuits at my local Starbucks. (Up over 50 cents today)

My allergies have been causing me a bit of distress the last few days. As I listen and read up on any and all news coming from Chicago and the transition team, I fell somewhat anchored to my computer or the TV. In my opinion neither of these things is good for me. I tend to be more of the mercurial sort and occasionally guilty of gluttony when it comes to eating up all the political and business news available.

Which is funny because I've yet to make enough trading stocks to buy a tennis bracelet, pay for a single doctor's visit, or fix the seat belt retractor on my father-in-law's car.

Instead, the amount of information I've been recently exposed to has turned by brain molten or more precisely jelly-like. This condition has caused this week's break in the progress of my story. Please forgive me. In no time at all I'll be shouting "ready or not here I come" and the tale shall continue.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wordzzle 39 (Jack Benny's permanent age)

Why not stop by the Raven's Nest and say Hi to Katherine.
And while you're there you might tell her to feel better and get well.

Check out all the great stories and then if you're really in need of a read, you might experiment with my ongoing tale.

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: palace, hypocrite, canned air, telephone, biscuit, pinball, acorn, customary, fruit juice, waterfall

Mini Challenge: buyer's remorse, lava, haphazard, mildew, soup to nuts

This week's episode: "Fruition"

The White House is noted for its rose garden and dining rooms, but few know of its myriad meeting rooms, both public and private. This afforded the lame duck president the chance to go from event to event in an effort to get some good PR and appear busy. Hypocrite that he was, and knowing that over three quarters of the nation had buyer's remorse over his failed presidency; he still wanted to leave on a high note. Of course he continued to the end to sign orders and statements to undermine the incoming president.

This particular Monday featured 3 overlapping events that he would attend. His good physical health would allow him to bounce around his temporary palace like a pinball from meeting room to meeting room. The G-20 meeting would be his main focus, but in actuality he would spend more time with the corporate leaders that would be there during and after the G-20 Summit. His customary bumbling would not be in evidence this day. His seemingly haphazard demeanor was just for show and not his real modus operandi. For PR purposes he would drop in on an FBI ceremony to put his seal of approval on it and get the photo op. That shouldn't take him more than 5 or 10 minutes at the most.

The meeting of the G-20 would start off in a public meeting room and break up into working groups in more private areas. This would allow his corporate buddies to have access to the ministers of finance of the attending countries.

A surprising amount of minerals, raw materials and basic textiles come from emerging markets, many represented in the G-20. From soup to nuts, from fruit juice to lava lamps, the G-20 countries, especially the Asian giants, were critical to the failing economy. Without their products, money and energy, the economy would mildew, rot and die like the wheat in the fields of Washington State during the recent floods.

McCool and Jean rode in the FBI SUV with Sgt Johnson and Zan to the White House. Their ceremony wouldn't be till late in the afternoon, but a friend of Paul's in the Secret Service had invited them to come early and get a private tour.

The only condition was that they would have to come in behind the G-20 group and appear to be more security. The corporate moguls were to be brought in via the tunnel and would come from across the street at Blair House.

They trailed the last minister's limo into the compound after being thoroughly checked at the gate. They were in Mobile telephone contact with Paul's friend all throughout the process. There was tight security surrounding the G-20 event.

Claude watched the morning news from the breakfast table in the B & B. He took a last bite of a homemade breakfast biscuit and excused himself from the table. He walked out into the garden to make his calls. It only took two.

Financial Centers all over the world had been experiencing electrical and infrastructure problems during the weekend. Now the news came out from these entities that all was well, along with account updates for their major numbered account holders. The updates caused numerous phone calls between the wealthy individuals, companies and partnerships and the banks.

One such call went to the minister of finance for Brazil. When he saw the caller he answered his phone as he exited his limo. Sixty seconds later the EMP device (one very similar to the ones used at the banks) came on. The electromagnetic blast was limited to a three block radius of the white house.

Somewhere in the distance car alarms started going off. The Secret service agents became aware of the problem when they lost all radio communication. There was a protocol for this, but most did not know it. In the ensuing confusion, the fire under the finance minister of Brazil's car went unnoticed. By the time they did take notice, it was dangerously close to the vehicle’s gas tank.

The ministers were herded into a foyer at the rear of the white house. When enough of them were in the room together the proximity fuses in the heels of their shoes ignited the gas capsules hidden within the shoes and the room was filled with what seemed to be lethal gas. Because all power was off in the white house till the generators kicked on (about 2-3 minutes); they were effectively locked in the foyer with the gas.

At the same time the fire in the limo reached the gas tank and it exploded, wounding one of the civilian females still outside on the portico. This group was rushed around towards the side entrance and a runner was sent to fetch a doctor from the security shack.

Simultaneously a call went out to a group of Blackwater guards to rush to the White House to escort a state department entourage. When they rushed up to the gate they were met with gunfire. The guards mistakenly took them to be part of what was happening inside the compound.

At the security shack the runner from the portico found the guards engaged with a group of mercenaries. The snipers on the roof were partially blocked from the fire fight by trees and without radio communication did not know they were engaged in a tragically wrong friendly fire incident. The agent added to the firepower brought to bear on the assumed unfriendlies with his automatic.

Confusion reigned in the White house. The president was hustled to the escape tunnels. The corporate officers were held in an anti-room in the basement. The G-20 ministers were finally freed from the foyer and put in secure rooms on the ground floor. The canned air of the secure rooms was a welcome relief from the noxious but non-lethal gas
Finally the special weapons fast reaction unit entered the fight and the mercs were subdued, though none were taken alive.

The entire episode was over in less than 10 minutes.

The repercussions from this incident would last more than ten years.

Billionaires had become millionaires this day, and millionaires just regular folks with a few bucks in the bank. Charities and good causes from Zanzibar to New Zealand experienced an outpouring of generosity unknown in their history’s. Even the much talked about and maligned ACORN group was funded in a big way from anonymous sources.

The reason for the attempt on the G-20 ministers and the lame duck president would not be traced for a few days. When it was, the culprits behind the treasonous act would be surprising and surprised. Names like Blackwater, Haliburton, AIG, Exxon-Mobil, and many other well know corporations would be implicated. In the end, the restitutions and civil and criminal penalties would ravage their coffers and their ranks.

The outrage of the public would cascade down on these companies like a waterfall of vengeance and indignation.

The new administration would have its hands full finding out what had happened and why. Their race to justice would be swift and sure. The new president could not appear weak. The trap had sprung and now the very government these businesses and businessman had looted for the last 8 years would turn on them like a trained Tiger gone wild.

Claude came back into the quaint kitchen of the B & B. He thanked their host and hostess and lead Justine out to the bike. They left Silver Springs and headed west. Theirs would be a road trip of some distance. He plugged in the lead for the intercom and radio. He put Justine’s helmet on soft jazz and he listened to NPR.
The report of the attack at the white house should be coming on soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Humor that Hurts

Little Georgie Bush is the lamest of lame ducks in the last 50 years or better.

He and his party have been a disaster for our country. While Limberger and the right live in denial and attempt to put the blame on a man who isn't even president yet, let's not forget what the bumbler told us he would do while in office.

There are a myriad of things left on his to-do list, but here's a video about the top five.

Truly, this has been the most incompetent and negligent administration in my lifetime.

For your viewing pleasure...


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wordzzle 38, which adds up to 11, which is supposed to be lucky, which is how I feel after Barack Obama got elected. Just had to get that in.

Please take a trip by the Raven's Nest and say Hi to Katherine. As in, "Hi Katherine, I hear your candidate for president, Barack Obama got elected on Tuesday, Congratulations" or something like that. Then read her stories, they are always delightful or thought provoking or just plain good reading.

If after that, you still have the need for more reading, feel free to follow the links to the many other great stories contributed by the talented pool of writers doing their Wordzzle thing.

Then, should you still find yourself able to read more, then you might take a gander at my continuing story below. Good luck.

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: France, cold weather, backhoe, light and shadow, Humane society, ambivalent, “Happy Birthday, Sarah Jane,” Martians, Thanksgiving Day Parade, green eyes

Mini Challenge: she’ll be comin' round the mountain when she comes, pumpkin pie, yellow jacket, short-changed, life after 50

Most people know some of the names of the financial capitols of world. Just like most people think they know the words to "She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes"; only they really don't. If you can recall the "six white horses line" then you're doing better than most. The financial centers are much more complex and numerous in today's modern, electronically connected economy.

While Zurich, Berlin, Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and a few other old school financial centers still take on the lions share of the work, it's the out of the way cities, mostly on Island nations that handle private secured accounts. These are the places where the mega profits, legal and misbegotten, public and private, from every kind of organization and operation on our planet find their final resting place before being spent on mansions, yachts, clothes, jewelry, cars and the other various accoutrements of the filthy rich.

In just one such location on the Island of Grand Cayman, there was rumored to be over 50 trillion dollars in elicit booty. These were the accounts of the entitled and fabulously wealthy, who were not about to be short-changed by current economic fluctuations. In fact the actual number was a factor of ten greater than rumored. It was because of this that Claude had decided to start the deadly chain reaction of account transfers, manipulations and hacking that was the setup for his grand scheme, on this island.

From a local Western Union office in Largo, Maryland, Claude sent the telegram that would start the chain of events. “Happy Birthday, Sarah Jane” was all it said. The message went to a fictitious individual on the island who immediately upon receipt of the missive went to work. He made the call to his crew and scheduled the backhoe for 3:00 pm local time. His crew would start the dig and shut down at 4:30 sharp. The electrical outage would start at 10 minutes past 6, the time the last employee left for the weekend. It would take till Saturday to discover the problem and get the local electric company out to fix it.

“Finally” Claude thought to himself, “it begins.” Somewhere in between the light and shadow of the financial world his machinations began to take shape. By Monday morning the stage would be set. He took a minute to think of his home in France, how his mother had loved the cold weather in the winter.The sparkle of her green eyes as they walked through the snow was a cherished memory. After all these years it still made him want to cry. How could someone that beautiful have been snuffed out of existence because a corporation was too cheap to buy enough fire extinguishers or properly man a dangerous installation?

The telegram to Grand Cayman started a series of communications to all the known financial centers and to many less known ones as well. Favors were being repaid this weekend, retirement accounts were being filled and accounts were being settled, both literally and figuratively. In New York City, the Thanksgiving Day Parade would be the beneficiary of an anonymous donation of 5 million dollars. All across the globe charities would find the spirit of giving had taken on new meaning this season. Interestingly enough, the Humane Society in every major city in the US received large donations from unknown sources within 24 hours of each other. The blogosphere would be rife with rumors as to the identity of the benefactor for months.

Major metro areas homeless shelters found themselves with commitments for Turkeys and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving meals far in excess of any previous year.

Claude donned his yellow jacket with the logo “Life after 50” emblazoned across the back. Anyone who saw him would take him to be a rich baby boomer reliving his youth. The western union employees would remark on the late model Beamer he drove as he departed the store. This was a part of his field craft and allowed him to carry out his plan without fear of being discovered. No one was looking for wealthy 55 year old boomers or paying them that much attention, just their cars and Harleys.

Monday would bring much consternation to this country and many of its people. Claude was ambivalent about their feelings. It was results that counted. He would know within 48 hours if it would come together and produce the outcome he had anticipated.

Unless Martians invaded the earth over the weekend, the results of his plan were likely to be the biggest headline in this country and the world for some time. At least he hoped so. There were a lot of people that deserved some justice; that needed him to be their swift sword of vengeance. Not the least of these were his family and the others lost in the explosion.

Hopefully the collateral damage would be minimal.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congrats Barack!

I am a happy man today. In spite of our country's backward leaning populace, enough of us got out and voted for president elect Obama. Amazing.....

If you watched closely last night, you might have noticed a man who knew he was the next president of the United States and felt the full weight of that position. I believe I could see it in his eyes and the set of his jaw. Good for him. He seems a serious sort of person and these are indeed serious times.

That said, I hope he will retain or gain a sense of humor. He will need it in the white house. His own party is likely to be his worst enemy. Many of them, like me, will want revenge and will spend too much time on recrimination. I don't see our new president getting caught up in that.

The man is focused on the future, both near term and longer term. He will need that focus if he is to accomplish even a small portion of his agenda. Funds will be short and fought over viciously.

While all that is going on, our troops will still be engaged in two wars, our economy will remain in shambles, jobs will continue to flee our shores and the division in our population will remain intense. Those wondrous blowhards of the right will already be scheming and plotting to foil any and all proposals and initiatives.

Perhaps this time they'll see that more people want progress and action than they want political infighting. Maybe... Perhaps.... I hope.....

For this minute in time I will be happy, relieved, inspired and allow myself to congratulate my fellow citizens on getting out enough voters to unseat the republicans. Good Job Yall!!!!

Now for a little election post mortem.

Just over 119 million people cast their votes in this election. (according to CBS ) This is less than in 2004. If a get out the vote campaign was in fact effective, it was only so for Obama, and not for the country as a whole. From what I could tell from the sites I researched, we were at slightly less than 50% of eligible voters nation wide for the turnout. Historically that's not all that great.

Barack had 63 million and McCain had 56 million votes. So at least close to 120 million people cared enough to get out and vote. Good for them. The other 120 million were just plain too fucking lazy, too cynical, ignorant or otherwise incapable of doing their civic duty. Fuck them very much. People who don't or won't vote should have to go spend some time with Bush on his ranch in Crawford and help him clear brush for the next few years. OK, maybe that's a little a little harsh, but I am seriously unsympathetic about non-voters.

The House and Senate increased their democratic majorities, but not enough to be veto-proof in the senate. So what? I doubt the necessity of that anyway and believe the compromises will be made to get republicans on board when needed. A great many things will be done for which both parties will require some political cover and all politicians regardless of party know the CYA rule.

One senatorial race I found interesting and perhaps insightful into the new majority psyche was the contest in Minnesota. Al Franken is currently asking for a recall after losing by 800 votes. Had his campaign been less nasty, he might have been a full beneficiary of Obama's coattails and won handily. Instead, the third party candidate syphoned off 15 percent of the vote. This should be a lesson to all in 2010. Keep it clean, make your point, have facts to back it up and be positive about what you can do. Who knows who the eventual winner will be, but even if Franken wins, he'd better get on board the Obama consensus train and off the post-Clinton attack express.

I know this cause I've been riding the damn thing for 8 years. I am turning in my ticket and moving on with my life as well.

If Obama is as smart as I think he is, he will not allow his party to spend too much time investigating BushCo. We all know they were both corrupt and inept. Enough said. We need to move on.

If someone as stuck in the 60's, as Viet Nam centric, as vindictive and vengeful as I am, can let go, then the rest of you ought to be able to as well. I hope.....

The especially goes for Pelosi and Reid. nice and accomplish something, OK?

I was impressed to see that Obama's choice for chief of staff was a hardass. That's a good first step. Let's hope he keeps choosing the right people with the right stuff.

My congrats to all my blog friends who worked on the Obama campaign and all that got out and voted. GREAT JOB.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Fear for Sale

With just 1 day left before the election, the republicans have spent their last nickels on Tee Vee ads about Barack and pastor Wright. Clearly they have run to the best, dirtiest little rathole they had and picked out the slimiest thing to air.

It's all about FEAR. Fear the negro candidate, fear his rebellious black pastor and fear everyone who doesn't agree with America's current polices. If that's what they're selling, then you might as well fear me too. While neither black nor a pastor, I am a baby boomer cracker who is fed up with the shit BushCo has been calling government. I mean totally, completely, fucking Done!!!!!!!!

So here's some fear for those out there so blinded by their ideology that they would intentionally subject this country to 4 more years of republican incompetence. These moral cowards, bigots, and ignorameouses have had 8 years of a government they wanted and look what they got.

Our country is involved in two wars costing billions of dollars a week. We are over a trillion dollars in debt. The congress just agreed to give over 700 Billion Dollars to the asshats that got us into our current financial crisis. BushCo has presided over the export of over a million jobs from our nation during it's reign of terror and more are coming.

If you want or need something to fear - Fear anymore dumbass republican privatization or deregulation schemes. Fear the downfall of a great country whose people forgot that government works for them and not for corporations and big business.

John Cusack has an awesome article today here at the Huffington Post. Give it a read.

I am ready for this election to be over. I am ready for a chance to once again have someone in office who I feel is smarter than me. I am ready for a small, slim, minuscule chance at a tiny bit of justice for those of us who fought for, worked for and lived in this country for the last 50 or more years. I am ready for a government that will ask more of us, but give more value back to us.

My greatest fear is that there are not enough citizens who feel the same.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


Granddaughters are great. I am blessed with several. I had the opportunity to visit with Taylor, my youngest son's 15 year old, yesterday. She is bright, vibrant, somewhat shy and a joy to be around. I learned something of her life in school and her world yesterday and was impressed by the obvious delight she took in life and her very positive outlook and demeanor.
Here's a picture of a very cute and adorable granddaughter.

The dufus next to her is of course yours truly. How I got to look this old and goofy is a long, long story.

I am going to jump over to her myspace page and leave a message when I'm done here. Yes, I think I can find it and handle it, maybe, with some help from a 12 year old, Maybe......

Anyway.......I felt the need to brag about one of my teenage granddaughters today.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wordzzle 37?

Sure you say, 37 is a nice round number or is it a prime number? Anywho......

Stop by the Raven's Nest to check out the other stories. If you feel like it, you can catch up on the continuing story written here.

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: squeaky toy, perpendicular, olives, shanty, howling at the moon, soul, bow and arrow, uniform, statistics, praying mantis

Mini Challenge: glamour, rocking chair, cormorant, objective, symbolism

This week's episode: A stitch in Time

At 8:45 AM in Hong Kong, Ki Wan Li stepped away from his desk and went into a small storage room at the end of the hall. This room contained an old rocking chair, a plaque depicting a cormorant catching a fish, and other unused decorations from the company's glory days. The firm of Biddle, Banks and Bailey was an old established British trading house that had converted to banking and off short account parking in the 80s. The once proud sign emblazoned with the Chinese bow and arrow motif looked more like it should be in one of the myriad shanty towns surrounding Hong Kong than in the downtown business district.

Whatever the symbolism had been, it now went unnoticed in the hustle of the city. Ki placed the small EMP device in a niche next to the wall to the server room. The only requirement of the device was that it be placed perpendicular to the server for best performance. It had been designed to be directional and not as a 360 degree unit. It would do its work and then self destruct, causing a small fire that would be assumed to be the cause of the server outage.

When the system came back up there would be some new accounts with well known names.
Li went back to his desk and dialed the number he'd been given. Only one sentence was spoken. He acknowledged his receipt of a baseball uniform he ordered and thanked them for the quick service.

The call had been answered by a machine and then forwarded to an import company in New Jersey that carried everything from squeaky toys manufactured in Rumania to olives from Greece and Italy. The extension that answered the call was Dianne Henderson's. She handled sales statistics and various other duties for the outfit. Though she felt at times she'd sold her soul to the devil in going back to work for a large corporation, she kept her hand in the revolution by helping out with certain anti-corporate actions.

Dianne looked at the small bamboo cage with the praying mantis that the company had received from a Chinese firm as a sample. Somehow she didn't think it would go over that well in the US. She placed the mantis on the window sill and made her call.

The invitation to the white house had surprised and excited Jean and McCool as well. In spite of his dislike for the current administration, McCool knew that Jean would love the glamour of an event at the White House. Though the total story of the investigation had not been told to the administration, enough of it had gotten through to give the Homeland Security boys an idea. It seemed like the obvious objective was to gain some good PR for their department in a time when Homeland Security was increasingly unpopular. The vast budget overruns and sorry service at the airports had begun to weigh heavily on the public's patience.

McCool asked Johnson what he should do and the Sgt advised him to go along with it for now. The administration would be out of office before the truth came out about their involvement. To attempt to do much with the investigation while they were still in power would be no better than howling at the moon.

Instead they would focus on the perpetrators and forgo the background info incriminating the administration and the RNC till after the election. No matter who won, the next administration would be more than happy to crap on the Bushies.

Back in Silver Springs Justine was wondering why Claude had been so warm and tender tonight in their lovemaking. She had not experienced this side of him before. He rose from their bed and explained he would be going out for a while. She knew not to ask, but also knew he wouldn’t, couldn’t be going to another woman. She’d made sure of that. The fact that either of them could walk after this marathon of pleasure and aerobic exercise amazed her. And then he’d been so gentle and caring. Amazing. She was happy and scared at once. What was going to happen next?
For Claude's part, he would be glad to get the operation underway and leave this land of fast food, foolish presidents and hustling, crowded freeways. Where he and Justine were headed would be an extremely different and better destination.