Does Forgetting about Sexual Assault Make It Go Away?
Nestled on an island far across the Pacific, the Hotel G20 requires the most exclusive credentials in the world. It's an invitation-only getaway. Crimes have been committed to earn a place here. Or so it's been said. As with most exclusive hideaways, what you see on the surface (should you fly a drone over), is nothing compared to what Hokusai art lovers might call the "thunderstorm beneath the summit." It is here that the Short-Fingered Vulgarian meets with his boss, The Bare-Chested Horseman, to go over the books.
Although he nods agreeably at the spreadsheet, the Bare-Chested Horseman is not pleased. His undilated pupils tighten to the size of pinpricks. Two black dots in a pair of unblinking eyes. Something is bothering him.
“Idiot! Did you really rape some woman in a department store?”
“How do I know, boss?” Though he tries to look bemused, the short-fingered Vulgarian seems bewildered. “You think I keep track of ‘em all? But I did read that excerpt from her book, and—”
“You read it?”
“Well I had Huck read it to me over the phone. Anyway, it sounds kind of familiar. Especially the part about pushing her into a fitting room. But she wanted it, boss. She was laughing the whole time. Besides, you can do stuff like that when you’re famous.”
“So you keep telling me. But once again your sordid past threatens to jeopardize everything we’ve worked for. What are you trying to do to me?”
“Don’t worry about it, boss. The public has a short attention span. And it’s getting shorter all the time. I’m pretty good at tossing out distractions to keep them off track. Also the Democrats are tearing each other to shreds. Did you watch their debates in Miami?”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Everything, boss, everything. Remember how they handed me the birther argument a few years ago? Well now they’re doing it again. My biggest worry going into next year was Sleepy Joe. All the polls say he’s the one most likely to threaten my support among blue-collar workers and the swing states you helped me steal…uh…win…a couple of years ago. But they did a real Khashoggi on him in Miami last week. Are you paying any of those guys?”
“Of course. How do you think the field got so crowded? But I’ve been looking at the polls too, you moron. You’re polling at 39 to 41 percent in races with five other Democrats, not just Sleepy Joe. Do you think that’s enough to win? I can only do so much to help, you know. It’s not like we’re back in 2016. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are on to us. They’re kicking my bots in the butt, beheading them left and right. I’m not even sure I can get into the voting machines anymore. That little program we developed—the one that erases electronic intrusions after we’ve adjusted the tally—really worked for us in states that have no paper trail. But if your friends in Congress ever pass an elections protection bill, we’re screwed.”
“No problem, boss. By the time the Dems get through with each other, they'll be so far to the left, I'll look like George Washington by Election Day. And now that I've got unrestricted use of $4.5 billion smarackeroos, I'm gonna build the most beautiful wall you've ever seen. Besides, I got Mitch the Bitch right where I want him. And thanks to the ambiguous kerfuffle over Justice Kennedy's son and Deutsche Bank, I now have SCOTUS on my side too. I'm telling you, boss. I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
"Never mind, idiot. I’ve heard it all before. But you are too reckless. You create unnecessary risks. I don’t like it.”
“I got it all under control, boss. That’s a promise.”
“Yes, and I’ve got a promise for you too, minion. It’s a little poem I wrote. ‘April showers bring May flowers. But Golden Showers can put an end to your powers.’”
“Ah boss, why’d you have to bring that up?”
“Let’s just say I’m a student of Shakespeare. How did he put it? ‘To pee or not to pee—that is the question.’"
"Okay, boss, okay. I get it. Anyway, take another look at that spreadsheet. The syndicate’s doing fine. The global kleptocracy is in place, and most of the dough is clean now. It’s not me you have to worry about. I’m not the one who hires hit men to chop a guy into little pieces.”
“You let me worry about that situation, understand? Your job is to make sure he gets the weapons he needs.”
“Okay, boss, okay. Can we go for a horsey ride now? Can we, huh, please?”
“Wait, we can't just leave. We’d better meet the press first.”
“What should I say if they ask embarrassing questions? Like did I tell you to stop meddling in our affairs?”
The Bare-Chested Horseman shrugs. His mouth becomes a crooked grin, the first time he's smiled all day. He pinches the short-fingered vulgarian on the cheek. “Just do what I do," he says. "Laugh in their faces. It's only the press. What can they do, write about it?"
I like big books, and I cannot lie. My background includes talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy. I've won awards for my journalism and my fiction. One of my essays even made it into an anthology for college English courses. For real? Yes, for real.
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