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BLACK HELICOPTERS

EPISODE 13

THURSDAY the SIXTH - 8:21 AM

          Hector Nescoso... dark, slim, imperious as a genial High Inquisitor in a Western bolo tie, snakeskin boots and a twelve hundred dollar suit... joined Glenn and Anne and a square peg in the Ivona Coffee Shoppe, removed his jacket with one hand while motioning effortlessly to the waitress to bring him coffee... black... and half a whole wheat muffin.  The bottom half.

          "Excuse my tardiness," he apologized. "A Youth Caucus problem... it's been resolved. Austin continues to see our young people as problems to be contained or weapons to be stockpiled; I prefer to think of their potential… challenges, to be steered in the right direction by programs that offer real job skills, not frivolities, once Catfish Jack brings back the draft. Like those that the State administration here has started..."

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          And the Conk operative smiled, thinly…

"Glenn was saying that he and Anne used to live here," volunteered the suddenly deferential Ralph Laird.

          "So I've gathered." Hector nodded at the interloper, unfolded his napkin and, with a polite gesture of dismissal, tucked it into his shirt. "That gives me an idea. The two of you ought to take a sit-down with Henri. As our friend has pointed out, you understand the native wildlife here, that… that Pinhead creature!… and a situation may develop where you might be of assistance to him. At the least, you ought to keep your eyes and ears open. Jack’s campaign may require help... and nothing in this life, you know, comes free."

          "Does Henri seem to have as good a lock onto what goes round, round here, as some people say he does?" Laird persisted.

          "He's very well thought of, locally, and ought to know that taking sectarian positions on matters outside of his realm of competence is an act of foolishness. And, because he is an ambitious, but not a foolish man, there is every chance that he will reconsider," Nescoso smiled, even more thinly. His breakfast arrived, and he sipped at the coffee, hot and black, disappointing Glenn with his lack of a negative reaction. "Even so, the means that have brought him into the favor of Mayor Potter and certain powers-that-be in the business community have not endeared him to others... or at least the more vocal of these..."

          "In other words," Anne finished, "you want us to be useful, to keep tabs on things and be prepared if he decides to cut his own deal at the same time others might be stirring up trouble outside..."

          "Impossible!" Glenn swore, with a rude gesture towards the waitress for more coffee. "Those demonstrators are out of the picture. We've been assured they’ll never get assembly permits and, besides, most of the leaders are in jail."

          "But not this friend of yours, what's…s…s his name..." Hector inquired sibilantly, "he whom, I trust, continues to maintain a negative opinion of our movement?"

          "Andy Morrison?" Glenn blinked. "Oh yeah... sure... but he doesn't matter. He's just a burnout."

          "Interesting. Still, I think you and he ought to get together anyway, sound this fellow... Andy?... out on the likelihood of outside trouble. The Mayor's agreed to defer to certain operatives within the Coalition as well as… umm… outside contractors.  Blackwater sorts… but blacker.  We have channels into Homeland Security that see merit in having someone from each of the tendencies working with the locals. This, of course, lessens the prospect that something unfortunate might happen, to the advantage of one side or the other, but to the general detriment of the movement, should unity in the interests of forming a viable third party… or, given the bum’s rush the DNC kept doling out to Senator Sanders, his craven response and the stubborn reaction of the left in deserting to the Greens and Libertarians or, even, taking Election Day off to do, I don’t know… whatever?  Not to mention the numerous dissident Republican and Independent factions… wombs, perhaps, of fourth, or fifth or even sixth – what does that make us, then, a seventh?... political party.”  He sipped more hot coffee and frowned.  “And if Bloomberg sweeps Super Tuesday with his thirty five billion, drinking coffee will become a felony.  So perhaps this is so. There is a very small margin... and it is sometimes better to have visible, howsoever repulsive, opposition than none at all.  If voters choose to interpret events as reinforcing the CNC’s commitment to a progressive technological and economic agenda while maintaining an opposition to terror and the sort of borders as would have us overrun with hordes of Guatemalan peasants trying to escape the murderous cartels, well…” he added, smiling, “who are we to stand in the way of their assumptions? People with no stake in the game hardly ever protest the Democrats anymore... let alone Republicans... all those white fellows from Michigan and Pennsylvania who put on their little red hats and got jacked on the tax cuts but won’t move because they didn’t see any positive alternative, and don’t want to admit they were stupid.  Even when they had no alternative to making America great.  And the shot-callers in both parties, who stand for nothing greater themselves… Bonita!" he hailed, tucking the last of the muffin beneath his tongue as if it were a poxy Host.

          “Delicious!”  Hector removed his plastic with a circular gesture to indicate that the tab for the whole table was his, holding the hand of the waitress with a silky smile. "May I?" he pleaded. She shook her head, giggling, and Nescoso reverently kissed her freckled wrist. "Add twenty five percent for a tip, Bonita!" he said and let her go.

          Ralph Laird licked his lips enviously, Anne rolled her eyes towards Glenn, who shrugged.  Just more of Rayna’s money.

          "There is going to be some delicate work required with Environment," Hector continued. "Ralph, I want you present when I see these New Englanders... they claim to have information that friends of friends of the competition have been more than casually involved in those Michigan and Washington state church bombings. This might neutralize, somewhat, the impact of Miami’s Cubans and the growing Trump/Tillerman axis on the Immigration and Minority Caucuses... which would be most helpful if Pence or Cruz – even that pathetic Kasich or Romney were to gain a headwind or at least a spine in the latter Grand Old Primaries  If only those neo-Nazis from Virginia would show up here,” he sighed, “everybody hates Nazis, which makes anybody whom they protest golden.  But… Ralph..."

          The waitress returned his plastic with a grateful smile of her own, Nescoso patted her on the shoulder and ushered Ralph Laird out before him like a faithful, IED-sniffing dog - Laird's only gesture of autonomy being to turn and inquire... "seriously, you know, which of the big parties tomorrow would you go to?” And, as Glenn started, Nescoso held up an admonitory hand… “Bruno's or Cohen?"

          "Oh… that sort of party!  Cohen's," Glenn assured him, "definitely!" though he had not an inkling of who the partythrowers were, nor what they stood for. Laird nodded, as if taking valuable rocket secrets unto himself, and then the two Conks were gone. Anne slurped up another mouthful of cereal; it had softened with time and, instead of decisive crunching, a slushing sound escaped through her lips.

          "I miss those Gary Larson cartoons. Remember?... there was one with these sharks, see, swimming round and there's a shipwreck, so the water’s full of bodies? Only it's a cargo boat, full of department store dummies, and the sharks are breaking their teeth..."

          "Hector should’ve been in one of those cartoons," Glenn considered, "I think one of those with rattlesnakes - plenty of rattlesnakes. Competition, opposition, all just Bolshevision... lighten up, Anne; look at it this way, we're charged with more hanging out with Andy, and the rest of his fossils..."

          "I can have Capulina airfreight up my bellbottoms and the tie-die t-shirt from the cedar closet," she suggested.

          Glenn shook his head. "Only the Ko-rect people remain.  Sober survivors; the last, dull remnant always on the lookout for anything that enhances their posture as victims of someone or other.  The American Taliban! Lifestyle and fashion as a form of protest doesn't turn on kids, these days, it doesn't matter, really! They don't expand their minds anymore, the privileged take animal medications or what are those things… bath salts?... and dance all night, badly, and then, in the morning, go out in packs, looking for microaggressions. The middle class kids take out loans to go to University where they learn to hate America and distrust its leaders, while the left-behinders sniff paint and carpet cleaning fluids, brains shot by fifteen and their children will be born with prehensile thumbs for twittering… or whatever they’ll be calling it in 2040.  Dirty dungarees and workshirts, baklavas, boots for stomping the capitalist insect that preys on the delusions of the people and crawls through their facial hair... and the men,” he winked, >are even grungier!"

          Anne let out an audible hiss.  “That’s sexist!  And… what’s the word… aging-ist?”

          "At least Tillerman youth wash their dungarees and polish their boots. Like their guns," he added. "No... I shouldn't be disrespecting our young people; they're the ones, after all, out ringing doorbells and collecting forty dollar membership checks from the dolts in suburbs who think their money's going to reform a rotten political system, clean up rivers and fund homes for unwanted children while lowering their taxes at the same time. When it's really going to credit card breakfasts and hotel suites for insider-frackers following this green Nazi nut, or else a former Congressman who doesn't seem to know which way he's blowing until his rich, fat girlfriend tells him what the day's agenda is?"

          "Fat girlfriend signs my paycheck. Politics is a filthy game," Anne sighed, "but if we don't play it, someone else will!  And, by the way, the protestors… the left protestors… wore balaclavas.  Baklava is a Greek pastry…"

          "S’why they’re going bankrupt.  Hey!" Glenn stood up, "...shit happens! Gives me an excuse to spend less time hanging around the Mideast caucus."

          "Lucky dog! A hopeless mess, if I ever saw one... they're like those people on that Star Trek... with the half and half blackfaces that the network won’t show anymore? The original one, with William Shatner... the ones who had nothing left but their hate..."

          "Don't show your age!" Glenn nodded and the waitress, pouncing, began clearing their space with a clattering of plates.

          "Weren't you going on strike?" Anne approached her.

          "That depends on the Local," Hector's Bonita replied, glancing sharply over her shoulder to see if any corporate angels might be listening in.

          Glenn guided Anne away, back into the lobby. "That's why the common people live the longest, they leave decisions up to the Lord, the Donald or else the Local.  Shatner sang, or rather talked, a song about them.  Don't bust me - I'm part of the union. All right, Jack! You know... for all the money and illusions of prestige, I could almost really see changing places with Andy. For the freedom..."

          "Almost?" She inclined her nose in the direction of the Hawaiian-looking guard... back on duty this morning, skulking near the top of the escalator. Anne smiled at him and he glowered and slapped his baton into his gloved palm.

          "Almost," Glenn admitted.

 

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