For those of you who don’t want to participate in political discussions, or are such special snowflakes that you might melt in the face of strong opinion, this may be the week for you to head over to the Huffington Post and Salon. This will not be a venue you wish to frequent. I’ll be sorry to see you go, hope you’ll be back on the tenth of November, but probably won’t lose a lot of sleep over it if you label me and delete the bookmark from your browser. (On Netscape, which I suspect you’re still using if you’re taking that path, the control you’re looking for is on the upper right.)
So, fair warning: it’s pretty political from here on in until the election is over. I’ll put the rest below the fold.
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Once again, flash fiction for you. Absolutely no relationship between this and real events. A fever dream from the swamp.
F.B.I. Headquarters, WASHINGTON D.C. OCTOBER 25th, 2016 1114
The cloud of cigar smoke hit him square in the face the instant he closed his office door. It hadn’t been there when he stepped across the threshold.
Nor had Richard Nixon been sitting at James Comey’s desk when the door was open.
Nixon swiped a handkerchief across his brow as though it had offended him. “You know, if I didn’t have that problem in 1960 I would have taken the election and avoided all the crap that came along in Vietnam. People forget that when they remember me. I won the debate on radio.”
The petulance and hurt dripped from his persona like a small child’s drool.
“Sit down. We need to talk. I don’t have much time, and when this cigar is done, I’ve got things to do.”
Comey threw in the towel and flopped in the chair. “I’m surprised to see you here. A lot of people would have liked to put you in a room and talk to you back in the day according to the old timers.”
Nixon laughed quietly as his jowls shook. “Hoover had only planned this palace when I left. He finished it after I was back in California. He built this place on the backs of a lot of homo.. well, let’s just say he knew which arm to twist in a clinch. Hell, they had the same social set. Good times, Jim, good times. But that’s not why I’m here.”
Nixon tugged at his pin-point polka-dot tie and loosened the knot just a fraction. Taking a sip of a Coke at his elbow, he pointed at the fireplace in the corner of the director’s office. “Do you mind turning that thing on? I like a roaring fire now and then. Contrary to popular belief, I managed to avoid that fate.”
James Comey hopped up and hit a hidden switch on his desk. The fireplace blazed up. “Turn on the air while you’re up, kid.”
He did. “Let me guess: you’re here to warn me about a civil war if I don’t expose Hillary.”
Nixon roared with laughter, tilting his head back in full-throated enjoyment. “I don’t give a hoot about that issue. I just came to discuss what it’s like to have the White House occupant being hounded night and day by the Congress. You know, Jim, she was fired by Sam Ervin for ethics issues. Sam Ervin! Good God, that’s a laugh. He was more crooked than anyone I knew. Except that skulking swine Lowell Weicker. Another pretty boy that Hoover… Where was I going with this?”
“I couldn’t guess Mister President. I’m not sure about the ethics thing…”
“Well, I am. I ought to know. Inside sources. At any rate, she’ll make me look like a saint. That’ll be a laugh. I don’t like Trump: never liked the rich boys. They treated me like some sort of .. well, in the Navy they were all better than the stupid Quaker … I would have given my left hand to have a guy like Podesta. Jim, he makes Gordon Liddy look like a total wimp. If I’d had a couple of guys like him instead of Haldeman and Erlichman, I might have made it. Both of them turned on me in the end. And Dean. That fool never had my ear. But television loved him with his hotsy-totsy wife sitting behind him on camera. He lied his behind off, but she made him loveable. I should have had Howard Hunt bust a cap on him when we had time.”
Comey got up and grabbed a Coke of his own. This looked like it was going nowhere fast.
Nixon came out of his reveries. “Sorry. Nobody listens to me anymore. Agnew has unfriended me on Facebook, and the others won’t even talk to me. Even Andy Johnson gives me the could shoulder. He was here recently, wasn’t he?”
“Yes, Mr. President. So was President Washington.”
“George and that damned horse of his. He sits on that thing all day and glowers at me. Or, so I’ve been told. Good to have sources, Jim.”
Comey nodded and examined his fingernails. “Yes, Sir.”
Nixon finished the Coke and stared at the cigar before taking a few puffs. “Pat hated these things. Tricia said they’d kill me. I love them now and again. No smoking there now. Where I am, that is. Obama still fires them up in the Oval. But I digress.”
“I said that I was not a crook. Well, that wasn’t quite the truth. I did accept a cloth coat and a dog. But not much more. This broad has stashed more cash away than the Columbians. Your boys think they’ve found it all. Wrong. You need to look into some banks in Venezuela. That’s all I’ll say on that topic. My point, and I do have one Mr. Smug, is that she’s a real pro. Cattle futures, real estate, speaking fees, access charges, and just plain bags of Krugerrands in her rotten kid’s condo in New York. I don’t know how the floor can handle it.”
Nixon drummed his fingers on the desk. “I got the bag for cursing in the Oval Office and having Rosemary Woods delete 18 stinking minutes of tape. She built a clandestine communications network, hid it from the public, accepted money from third world tyrants for her “charity” and then drew a salary and expenses for her family from those funds. You’re the cop, Comey, but it sounds like some pretty artful money laundering to me. Nobody ever accused me of that one. Hell, Bebe Rebozo got nailed for way less than that in the day. I guess the trigger has gone up into the millions before the public gets outraged. But the private server? Let’s call it what it was: a sneaky load of thieving hillbillies, even though she’s from Chicago, covering up before they committed any crimes. Al Capone would be proud. I know I could take a lesson, or twelve, from the Clintons.”
Comey fanned the smoke away from his face. You’d think a chief of state would smoke something better than that El Stinko Nixon was sucking on at his desk.
“Don’t like the smoke, eh? Well, pull your pants up, Nancy, I’m almost done. Just a couple of more things. You’re going to be the goat in this for years to come. You will die in disgrace, no matter what you do, as a result of this case. Bust it open and expose her and you will be vindicated in history books. Ignore it and pray that when they indict her you don’t get a set of papers yourself. Because we all get caught. The best get busted, Jimmy. I got caught for being crude and trying to protect those Cubans. I never meant to cover it up, but it just got away from me. That clandestine server of hers was set up to cover up from the first day. You’re a lawyer. You shouldn’t have to look up Mens Rea. But it’s there, kid.”
Nixon snubbed the cigar out on the empty soda can, and threw the stub in the fire. He got up and walked around the desk, dripping sweat on the Director. “Don’t screw the pooch on this, Comey. History is something you carry with you across the line. I wish I’d had a second chance.”
He walked through the fireplace and vanished, the stench of the cigar fading quickly.
For the next hour, Comey sat with the fire blazing and the air conditioning pumping into the room. He had a lot to consider.
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Come back Friday for the conclusion of the story. I promise you, it’s worth the wait.