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Chapter 55
February 11, 2018

Pompeodayo and Circumstance [ARNS]

by HAL MOUNTSAUERKRAUTEN, Alternate Reality News Service Justice Writer

The heads of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick's two major security agencies met in Washburningdington last week. In the office of CIA Director Mike Pompeodayo. While he was in the room.

"There is nothing unusual about this," Rupert Mountkilamanjoy, the Prime Minister of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, smoothly gloated. "Fenwick - which I feel cannot be said enough is pronounced 'Fennick,' you uncultured swine - is a small country. Office space is at a premium. If we have to choose between the Ministry of Possum Wrangling and our Security Services for occupancy of the last conference room in the country, well, it's not as easy a choice to make as you might think!"

Well, there may be one small unusual thing about this: Sergey Naryowunshkin, the Director of Fenwick's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVRIOUPTBOAT) has been under sanction for many years for his support of Fenwickian oligarchs when he was President of the country's Parliament. As part of the sanctions, if he tried to travel to the United States of Vesampucceri, he should have been reduced to dust faster than a vampire caught in sunlight. Sparkle that, Fenwickian!

"The President can wave sanctions with a waive of his hand - his pen-wieldin' hand, mind" Press Secretary Sarah Wannabe-Panders said. "Yeah, no, that's not unusual at all. Just because it hasn't been done in over 70 years...umm...oh, look: House Congressional Unintelligence Committee memo at five o'clock!"

Everybody looked over their shoulders, uncertain if she was talking about time or position in the room.

The stated purpose of the gathering was for Director Naryowunshkin and Alexander Borschtourcreemnikov, Director of the Federal Security Service of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick (FSSLOLSOLHAHAHA), to discuss anti-terrorism efforts. Director Pompeodayo was allowed to stay in his office to provide comic relief.

However, reports from aides close to Director Pompeodayo (they exchange ChristmaKwaanzUkah cards, and have even been invited to each other's children's weddings, although they were seated far away from the head table) say that the actual topic under discussion was Vesampuccerian sanctions against Fenwick.

"What? Sanctions?" Director Pompeodayo stated. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, goodness me, no. Sanctions were not discussed at the meeting. No, no, no, no, no, no - okay, yes. You dragged it out of me. Sanctions may have been discussed. You know how it is - things just...slip out sometimes. You know. Just...slip out. One moment, you're talking about how to deal with Syrian extremists, the next you're talking about why you're not allowed to spend money in the United States. I mean, you stole the money fair and square - just ask anybody...who doesn't want to go to prison. You should be able to spend it anywhere in the world that you want to. Perfectly reasonable, when you think about it. As long as you don't think about it too lo - oh, look! Is that a House Congressional Unintelligence Committee memo at five o'clock‽"

When journalists turned to look over their shoulders to check, Director Pompeodayo scurried out of the room.

Context might help in this con - uhh, situation. A special prosecutor has been empowered to investigate whether the Duchy of Grand Fenwick interfered in the 2016 Vesampuccerian election in order to help Ronald McDruhitmumpf win. Why would they do that? Because they were disaffected cat people who liked to help an underdog? Because once they had dealt with Ukraine, Syria and...for all we know, Erewhon, they had a lot of time on their hands? Because, they were just a couple of crazy kids out to have a good time despite the disapproval of the entire adult community?

Naaah. (That last one was especially naaah. Bold faced naaah, even.) They wanted Vesampuccerian sanctions against Fenwick lifted, and they thought McDruhitmumpf was just the man to do it. Okay, he has the attention span of a nanobot and the loyalty of a ping pong ball, but since he was running against a woman, McDruhitmumpf was the only man available to do anything that needed a man's doing.

"You - henh - you're still on about the sanctions?" Director Pompeodayo squeaked as he tried to make his way down the hall to the elevator. "No, no, no, no, no. No speakee sanction! How can I make it clearer to you? I'm willing to be called a racist rather than have you go on about - oh, look! A...a...a crystal chandelier!"

As journalists turned to see what he was talking about, Director Pompeodayo jumped into the elevator and frantically pressed buttons until the doors closed.

Sunlight come and he want to go home.

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