The moment Congress passed the law decriminalizing marijuana in the District of Columbia, Vice-President Joe Biden made a phone call, slipped his Secret Service detail, put on a fedora and trench coat, and slunk out into the cold of Lafayette Square before the White House where he scored, gratis, two grams of sinsemilla.
Later that wintry night, the President, Biden and John “Forbes™” Kerry are kicking back in Oval Office with a one-hitter. The lightning is low, the recording systems deactivated, curtains drawn. Each takes a tight draw in the dusky room. Obama gags. Kerry draws deep, holds, sputters and hacks, copiously clears his throat. “I think the DAESH is going to hook up with the Crimean Front and—”
Obama waves. “Please, John—not now.”
They sit back. After ten minutes, they feel nothing. Biden suspects he may have been burned by that dealer, gratis or no. “More,” he says.
They do a second hit. And a third, and a fourth—to be sure.
Throats raw, they wait.
But these men haven’t been stoned on marijuana in decades, nor do they fathom what has occurred with chemistry in the intervening years. They have no idea what a terrible irrevocable thing they have just done: Joe Biden unknowingly obtained a Mutant batch of a hybrid Sour Diesel and Headdog; it happens to be, at the moment, the strongest cannabis indica in the world.
The world’s most THC-drenched burner would contemplate putting the bong away forever after feeling the effects of a single hit.
The high comes on like a wave of pressure, a thickening of the air. Kerry straightens his back and loosens his tie. Perspiration beads his face. He sighs and before his eyes Obama’s face snaps into a series of broken plains, shards of shadows and sinister asymmetries. Adrenaline spikes in his bloodstream. “Good God,” he mutters, jerking. “This stuff is powerful!”
“Oh, man, Baaaarrry,” Biden drawls, “this is good shit…”
But a moment later the high deepens and widens. A feeling of expectancy comes over them, then the first tingle of fear. Biden discovers that his viscera is suffering a vertigo not at all pleasant. “Whew.”
“Another?” Obama grins.
“I don’t think so…Jesus!” Biden starts, rubs at his eyes: John “Forbes™” Kerry’s chin becomes a putty-like Mount Rushmore—and it is singing the chorus to Can’t Get you Outta My Head in four-part barbershop! Biden growls, “S-stop fucking with me, K-Kerry.”
“W-what?” Kerry rasps.
But now Biden can’t even reply. He rises unsteadily, wavers over to the bar and grabs the bottle of Gran Marnier and gulps thirstily. Returning to his chair, he is now so slick with sweat his toupee falls off. The chin-chorus continues to echo next to him. Obama is also perspiring. Biden notices. “You, y-you okay, man?” he gasps, dabbing his face and neck with a handkerchief.
“No. No, I’m not. Hot in here.” Casually, methodically, the President strips down to his undershirt and boxers, unhooks the flag off the standard behind him and drapes it around his shoulders, fanning his face with the edge.
Kerry rises and paces, does a funny little dance. His arms raise and he finds he can’t keep them down. “B-Biden, are you sure that was j-just marijuana?”
But Biden’s suddenly unnerved by the President’s Resolute desk. There is a translucent boy misting in and out of sight in its planking…The flag-draped man behind the desk now has a mane of impeccably coifed reddish hair, twinkling blue eyes, a strong jawline.
He comes to recognize the child as JFK Jr. playing before the desk. Biden’s knuckles whiten on the armrests, pushing back. His head fills with savage smoky light.
This is just the Mutant’s opening salvo, a teasing foretaste.
“The Ukraine can kiss my black ass,” Kennedy sez.
Kerry sits down with his arms still raised high and twitching. Biden hyperventilates. Something is happening to time, to space. He feels a kindred, a deep love for the man behind the desk. It is his brother there—his big brother. Biden blinks. His heart hammers. Through an iridescent mist he sees the dreaded Red Phone undulating on the Resolute desktop. Uncontrollably he blurts out: “Jack, we gottah call in a nucleah strike on Khrushchev.”
“Da hell you talkin ’bout, Joe?” Kennedy replies. “I just scawed a touchdahn!”
“I’m not Joe,” Biden says mournfully. “You know thaht, Jack.”
John Kerry stares in mute terror at the two of them, the incongruence, his mouth dry as parchment, as his arms uncontrollably go through a semaphore exercise.
“Adlai!” Biden paws at his ears. He has had enough of Kerry’s waving arms and that Kylie Minogue barbershop bullshit and with a quick jab punches the Secretary of State, sending him tumbling backwards to the carpet.
Obama Jack leans forward in mild indignation, his eyes cherry red. “What the hell was that fahwr?”
Biden rises from his seat, sits back down. “Christ, I’m…I’m covered in skin!”
And the damned Rushmore quartet is still singing. Biden covers his ears and hums loudly to drown the sound. This does nothing. “Goddamn it, Jack, this was a mistake!”
Obama giggles, still fanning himself with the edge of Old Glory. “Why you keep calling me ‘Jack’?”
The terrible bouncing song-echo is now visible. Biden follows its silvery tendrils down to the prone Secretary of State, who has now sprouted an Amish beard. “Honest Abe Lincoln!” Biden cries. He leaps to Kerry’s side and tenderly shakes him awake, apologizing.
Obama chuckles, waves dismissively. “Damn, y’all rilly can’t handle this bud. Shee…”
John “Forbes™” Kerry jerks to his feet, spasming, blood threading down his chin. But Biden is now gazing suspiciously at this Lincoln—an imposter, obviously. Obviously. Maybe some automatronic Disney thing…But the caterwauling Mount Rushmore has gratefully fallen silent. Biden sinks back into his chair, rubbing his thighs and rocking in the seat. “Khrushchev got me down, man, he got me down! He givin’ me the Fear!”
Obama Jack chuckles, eyes half-open. “Joe, this shit’s really blown yawh lid…”
The savage light has returned. John Kennedy’s left eye is growing. The twinkling blue mandala quickly encompasses his entire head. Biden screams and falls backward out of his chair and stumbles across the room. He fumbles uncomprehending with the Oval Office doorknob, wailing in terror.
“Jesus!” Obama cries, hides the one-hitter. He is spritzing the air with Axe body spray when he, too, is struck with the Fear, that second-level the Mutant scrambles into the brain’s neurosoup…The room wavers in a glowing fog. A sudden pain erupts in his back. He winces and sits down. He does feel vaguely New Englandish, priapic, heroic. “J-Jackie?” he says. “Is thaht you?”
The elegant First Lady comes slinking through the wall but she has tentacles for arms, wielding subsonic voice manipulation. Terrified, Obama leaps up and tries to shimmy up the flagpole but comes crashing down on the Resolute desk.
“Southern fried chicken, muthafucka!” Jackie hisses and vanishes.
John “Forbes™” Kerry has passed out.
Three bewildered Secret Service agents spring into the room at Biden’s shrieks.
“The Men in Blahck!” Biden swings at the first, connecting; his elbow smashes another’s nose. The agents, uncomprehending such behavior, wrestle him to the floor. “I like Ike, goddamn it!” he shrieks. “It’s a malaise! Amy Carter! Amy Carter!” Biden screams as they restrain him. “Chelsea! Watch out for that Klingon sonofabitch! He’s got lips, Amy!”
A swarm of huge long-legged penguins has come rushing into the Oval Office and pinned Jack’s brother Bobby to the floor. “GAAAAH! Hahd to stahboard!” Obama Jack leaps up and grabs the flagpole, climbing on the desktop, swatting at the penguins. “Jackie, help! Gimme some Bouvier powah! I’m a Kennedy, muthafucka!”
“Slap some o’ dat UFO skin on me, Clyde,” Biden yells, struggling with plastic restraints. He is prone, with a Secret Service agent’s knee in his back. A sudden strength rises in him. He bursts the plasticuffs with ease. “Jack, I’m at warp eight! I’m comin’ to save you, bud! PT-109 the cocksuckers!” He throws the agent into the wall like a ragdoll and leaps up only to confront five fuzzy Nation of Islam thugs around his beloved brother Jack, their bow ties flapping like bats. He scans the table for an implement, finds a china cup and tomahawks one of them with it. He grabs another cup. “Pick up the Red Phone!” he shrieks at his brother, fastballing.
Obama Jack snaps out of his trance, picks up the Red Phone and whacks at the penguins.
Agents pile on the President. Joe leaps.
“Bring back Jimmy Hoffa!” Obama Jack yells, smacking at the writhing Arctic birds. Now they’ve morphed into slimy chrome scarabs. “Jeebus he’p me! Bobby, it’s the Nova Mob!”
Biden is having his own troubles with a seething mass of protoplasm that has engulfed him, its black tentacles flailing around his limbs. “Tell Amy I love her! I’m going down, Jack!”
Kerry has been slowly rising from the floor behind the melee. He vaguely senses comrades in trouble, a horrible commotion in the room. Instinctively he picks up a small serving cart and brings it crashing down on an agent’s head and throat-chops a second one. Then an errant elbow knocks him clean unconscious again.
“He’p me, Obi Wan!” Obama Jack yells. Biden has an ectoplasmic tentacle in a headlock, with preternatural strength slams the thing out cold on the Resolute surface. He picks up the tray of the shattered cart and wings it into another black-suited tentacle, which falls motionless.
Like lightning the two of them pile all the furniture in the room against the two doors. Biden then falls exhausted, voice trembling: “Pappy isn’t gonna like this. I think w-we fandangoed Sahgent Shriver’s army, Jack.”
Obama Jack stumbles over to the coffee machine, opens it and desperately slathers fresh java grounds on his bare chest and face. This will somehow help cleanse his body of the Nova germs.
“I think they’re afta the menstrual blood, Jack,” Biden gasps. “Amy Cahtah’s.” Tears well in his eyes, lip quivering. “Sick bahstards!”
At these words another tsunami of paranoia sweeps through the President. He straightens, mute, in rapt attention to a transmission. The room dissolves and returns. He is receiving information from Elsewhere. “No, Bobby…Someone named ‘Dubya’ got Khruschev to cahll the Nova Mob on us…” He trembles, coffee grounds dripping from his face. “We gotta get outta heeyah, to the Denver ayuhport. That’s the only place we’ll be safe.”
Biden Bobby instinctively understands. “Should we c-call Marine One?”
Obama Jack shakes his head, coffee grounds flying. “Nah, fuck that, we’ll get booglarized! Those Dulce base freaks’ll be all ovah us.”
A banging rattles the barricaded doors and curtained, shatterproof windows. The room swirls into a murky dank aquarium mist as they listen. “It’s the Stasi…”
Biden picks up the Gran Marnier bottle and chugs thirstily. “Ain’t Stasi, Jack—it’s more of those owl-face Muslim bahstahds.”
The room goes neon purple. The pounding intensifies. “Fuck you, Edgah, I got James Bond in heeyah!” Obama Jack yells.
A damaged Secret Service agent stirs on the floor. “Damn black magic cocksucka!” Biden picks up a tax code draft bill from the desk and slams it down, sending the agent back to sleepyland. He grabs his brother’s shoulders and shakes him. “J-Jack, you’ll protect me, right? Right? Tell me you’ll protect me against Nikita? Please?” Obama Jack breathes, eyes penduluming. “Where’s Lurch?” Biden calls out, wildly scanning the room. “He can get Uncle Festuh to burn these sons of bitches outside!”
Kerry groans on the floor. Biden grabs a nearby decanter of water and dumps it on his face. “Lurch! Wake up, we need you!”
Kerry rises muttering from the carpet. “Swift-boat this, you son of a bitch…”
Biden Bobby pleads, “Lurch, we need Uncle Festuh to zap those bastahds out they-ah. You know—the electricity trick Festuh does?”
“I don’t feel so good…” John Kerry wavers and swats at a cloud of iridescent gnats around his head. A horrible smell enters the room. He grimaces. “Do you smell that? Must be a dead body in here somewhere…Where are these damn flies coming from? Barack, was that pot we smoked?”
He pauses to mop his face and inadvertently leans against the bust of Lincoln while pressing down on the beveled southeast corner edge of the Resolute desk. Across the room a bookcase ominously slides open. It reveals a dark space. The three men tense for the worst, then look on in amazement. An electronic fog again descends over the room.
“Goddamn it all!” curses a rasping voice from the darkness, and a whirring sound. A robotic, elaborate exoskeleton wobbles in. The man within it seems a thousand years old, a menacing, reincarnated force down the centuries, now physically immortal. A miniature Hellfire missile unit on his shoulder locks in on them.
It is indeed Dick Cheney.
“Hashtag: fucked,” Kerry sez.
“What is this space crahp?” Obama Jack growls at the robotic nightmare. “Who—what—ahr you?”
“I am your master,” Cheney drones. “The master of you all!”
Biden Bobby squints in horror at the corpse in the machine.
“Good evening, gentlemen,” Cheney snarls. “You have done well against the so-called Islamists…But as the Black Zodiac once enlightened you, the real threat is the American people.” He hisses twice, clapping his flipper-hands. “Junior!”
Dubya comes stumbling from the passage, dressed in rags, filthy. “Yes, Lord?”
“Was 9-11 an inside job?”
Dubya snickers. “Depends on the meanin’ of ‘inside,’ don’t it!” He produces a small Chinese gong from his ragged cloak and whacks it in punctuation.
Jack and Bobby eye each other in confusion. What is this 9-11?
“Very good, Junior. Indeed it does. Inside? Outside? Who can clarify what these mean? Who is who, and what is what in the shadows the Black Zodiac has created? Who can—ach! Motherfucker!” he grimaces. “Christ, my ass…Ach! Junior, the lube!”
The trio looks away in embarrassed horror as this Dubya produces a tube of Perianal and goes to work inside the robot-man’s tortured buttocks. The hammering on the doors and windows is increasing in intensity.
“Call off your hounds out there, Palpatine, and we’ll talk,” Kerry shouts, nodding at the door. “I’m a diplomat, you know. That means I’m good with words.”
The cyborg presses a button and in seconds the Agents’ pounding stops.
Kerry says, “If it wasn’t for you and Dubya’s fuck-ups we’d be—”
Cheney stabs another button on his metal wrist and Kerry jerks stiff. His arm swings up into a frozen Nazi salute.
The duo is flummoxed. The robotic man points at Obama Jack. “You have done well. You have kept the system running just as we ordained. Our neuro-melding worked. But the energy grid has gone down just in the past hour. The Solomon beam has unaccountably weakened. Something happened.”
“Neuro-what?” Biden Bobby squeaks. “Energy grid? The wha?”
Cheney sneers. “Pierre L’Enfant’s Virgo grid, fool!” He whirs forward. “The construction boom in DC has compromised the Mer-Ka-Ba channels Grandmaster L’Enfant designed our streets to amplify…This stuff was in the Scottish Rite guidebook, Biden, didn’t you read it when you became a Senator?”
Bobby Kennedy is flummoxed at this statement.
“If the Solomon beam in the Capitol ceases, all our plans three hundred years in the making will be for nought. We will not be able to control anyone. Least of all the beams into Soetoro here.”
“I knew it!” Biden Bobby yells. “Jack, I knew you wouldn’t sign all those executive orduhs without good reason!” He barks at the menacing cyborg. “You’ve been in thaht closet all this time beaming shit into my brother’s mind—”
“No, Biden, you dense Delaware ass, you don’t understand. There was the matter of the birth certificate, and the deal that was made.”
Biden trembles. “The birth certificate…what’s the matter with it, Jack?”
“Erm,” Obama Jack stammers, his mind dissonant with vague memories.
Cheney’s smirk makes a shambles of his skeletal face. “He cut a deal with us to let us, the Black Zodiac, backstop his biography to create doubts about his birthplace in exchange for the big seat.”
“For God’s sake, why, Jack? We’re as Boston Irish as they come! And I thought dad hahd Illinois all sewed up for you!”
Dick Cheney sneers. “It was to create a smokescreen, Biden. Doubts about his birthplace could conveniently whip all those cretinous hick sonsofbitches into a froth. They’ll believe absolutely anything.”
Cheney holds a button on his exoskeleton and Obama’s spine stiffens, arms falling rigid. The President monotones, “…To waste their political activism on lies while the truth went unnoticed.”
Biden shakes his head. “Which was…?”
Obama’s head pivots mechanically. “I am a genetically engineered being, specially made for the Presidency.”
Half of Cheney’s face smiles. He releases the button and Obama sags, the control field gone. He chuckles. “Yes…Bubba Clinton was the first success out of dozens in the Beta test. He did swimmingly. He did very well. But his penis had second thoughts. It was unstoppable. Dubya here was also part of the earliest Black Zodiac program but it was a botch. I mean, look at him…”
The clownish Dubya is giggling to himself.
“41 insisted his spawn only needed a little special help, and could be salvaged. Frankly, we were surprised at the progress the eggheads made with him at Andover and Yale,” he says contemptuously. “They tweaked the code to make him just able enough to tie his shoes and do some basic math. 41’s connections did they rest.”
Biden Bobby is distraught. “Why?”
“There is to be world war. DAESH. Israel. Russia. Saudi Arabia. China. The timetable has been accelerated, but there’ll be a world war. And martial law here.”
The cyborg stares at Obama. “If there is any problem, the Clone will be brought in to replace you, Soetoro. We have two more of you waiting in the wings.”
“Soetoro?” Biden Bobby tears up. “Jack…tell me it ain’t so, Jack.”
Obama Jack is silent. Cheney whirs and buzzes. “But the war will not happen if the Capitol’s Solomon beam fails. You have changed the course of everything with this night of revelation,” he growls. “You know the truth. And for this you must pay the price.” The tiny Hellfire launchpad wheezes, its light blinking.
“The serving plattuh, Jack,” Biden whispers sideways at his trembling brother, nodding at the service table. He picks up a coffee mug behind him. “I’ll aim for thaht missile-looking thing.”
Obama Jack murmurs low: “Whatevah happens, Bobby, meet out on the north side of Lafayette, on K. Got me?”
The cyborg adjusts a knob on his exoskeleton. His voice rises to a Mickey Mouse squeak. “For-me-to-spare-your-lives-you-must-go-to-the-Capitol,” then with adjustment drops to a basso profundo: “Enngaage thee Merr-Kaaa-Baaa booossterr oonn thee Issis sstatuue.” He regains the correct growling frequency. “This will restore the Solomon beam’s power, and reenergize the Virgo grid.” Dubya is picking his nose. The cyborg slaps him to attention. “I’d ask Junior here to do it, but he can’t even wipe his ass without help anymore.” Cheney’s lip curls in disdain.
Behind the chrome monstrosity suddenly appears Donald Rumsfeld in pink wrestler’s tights, man-tits sagging terribly.
“Gollum!” Biden cries.
“So you minor-leaguers busted us at last, eh?” The shriveled wrestler sneers. “Dick, listen: Dubya here swallowed the only flash drive that had all the Virgo codes recorded—every one of them. The only copy.”
Cheney: “Jesus Christ!”
“He thought it was a piece of chocolate,” Rumsfeld whispers. “So I gave him a box of Ex-Lax and told him it was more candy. He made faces but he ate the whole box. The results should be imminent.” He nods at that Dubya, who has in fact been shifting his weight from leg to leg, doubling over, his face a rictus of discomfort. “Tummy hurt! Gotta go!”
Rumsfeld jerks a thumb towards the dark recess in the White House walls from where they emerged. “Junior, go back there and go boom-booms in the toilet like I showed you.”
Dubya adamantly shakes his head.
Rumsfeld tries to drag Dubya into the tunnel, encountering fierce resistance, then gets him in a headlock, twists him down into a classic Boston crab then—POP. “Christ, my hip!” Rumsfeld shouts. “Dick, help me!”
Cheney scowls. “What the hell can I do? I’m like fucking Robocop now. Dubya, help uncle Donald get up! And get the fuck back there and go boom-booms!”
“Don’t wanna! Gotta go bad!” Dubya leaps whining to his feet.
He’s now pulling at his buttocks, sweating.
Rumsfeld gasps, “Do it, Junior, or no more nose candy. Go boom-booms back there in the bowl.”
The former Defense Secretary rolls in agony, clutching his hip. Dubya bends down to help Rumsfeld when there’s an awful wet ripping sound. “Oopsie!” Dubya wiggles, throwing off his ragged cloak and reaching back and plunging his hand down into his pants. “Oopsie-daisy!”
The cyborg slams a fist into the wall, plaster exploding. “Junior, take off those pants! Now!”
Dubya reaches down to grab Rumsfeld’s waistband.
“Not me, you idiot!”
The moron is hopping, his dropped pants at his ankles, exploding brown constellations across the carpet. Obama retches. Joe tsks in disgust.
“Ouch!” The flash drive pops out covered in thick brown gumbo.
“The codes!” Rumsfeld grimaces, reaching for the mass.
“Don, grab it!”
“Now!” Biden Bobby cries.
Obama Jack grabs the silver platter and Frisbees it beautifully, ducking. It catches the man in the metal suit in the throat. Biden rises, fastballs the mug and knocks the mini-Hellfire sideways and dives behind a couch. The small rocket launches straight into the far door and explodes. The shock wave slingshoots Cheney backwards into the closet, a twisted wreck of suet and titanium. Biden leaps and clotheslines that “Rumsfeld” in the face and the wrestler falls, spitting out dentures.
Biden Bob does a Curly, slap-wiping his own face in celebration, “Wuhwuhwuh!”
Half the Oval Office is in flames. Smoke billows into the room. The duo pulls the prone, unconscious, and still entranced Kerry across the space, his arm still stiff in a Sieg Heil!, and cower behind the Resolute desk. Biden Joe slaps his face and he shudders awake. The explosion has sent adrenaline peaking through Obama’s body. THC molecules transmute his synapses; that cyborg’s mind-warp has ceased but the Mutant’s high roars back in, changing his brain chemistry once again. He now feels put-upon, misunderstood. The world is against him…In seconds, he thinks, the Nova Stasi will enter through the wreckage and arrest them all. Kerry snaps from his Nazi catatonia and looks on in amazement at the President: A sudden five o-clock shadow has erupted on Obama’s face, his nose lengthening, jowls hanging, shoulders stooping. The changed man emanates a foul miasma of bad psychic vibrations that overcomes Kerry in an instant: Kerry’s face puffs full, hangs heavy with jowls, his hair waving tight to his scalp: “Zat Palpatine vas right—de grid is veakenink, Mr. Pvesident,” Kerry says, heavy-Teutonic now. “Dat enerchee booster he vass talkingk about, it’s in de Isis statue on top of de Capitol!”
Obama wrings his hands. “But it could reverse the grid’s flow, too, Henry, can’t it? Can’t it?”
“Yes, I zuppose vee kut turn de whole thingk off,” Kerry replies.
“Could it generate good energy?”
“Ja, I belief so.”
“Goddamn Establishment wizards!”
Kerry squints, adjusts invisible glasses. “Vare is Haldeman? Vee vill neet him!”
The black suits again come pouring into the room with fire extinguishers and try to drag them out, to fierce resistance. An errant fist knocks Kerry unconscious a third time. Obama does a violent full-body fish-flop. On the way down he grabs a Taser from a goon’s shoulder holster and fires, planting 10,000 volts into the thing. Two others accidentally touching the suited creep also go down convulsing. The room is a hurricane of wild arcing colors. Obama grabs a Sig Sauer and waves it at the remaining goon. “You’re a part of the Amway Comintern!”
The agent’s voice is five octaves too low for a human. The goon’s head swells into a blue pumpkin. “Presidente, no!”
Obama Dick now backs towards the fireplace and orders the creature out. “You won’t escape alive, cocksucker…I have special agents here to protect me.”
“Mi Excellence, Senor, yo soy uno de ellos!” eyes blazing, ears flapping.
“That’s what they all say!” he screams, firing a warning shot. “Get out!”
The agent bolts. Richard Milhouse Nixon now hears H.R. Haldeman, his loyal Chief of Staff, screaming from the colonnade outside the Office.
JOE STRUGGLES beneath the pile of Agents on the cold marble. “Amy and Chelsea’s menstrual blood! That’s what you’re after, isn’t it! You sick bahstards! Eleanor Roosevelt wasn’t a lesbian for nothing!” His left forearm is bent at a right angle but he doesn’t feel a thing.
Bullets rip into the marble column above them. The agents spin around to confront Obama Tricky Dick packing two MP5s slung over his shoulders. “How do ya like me now!!”
Kerry, having awakened, concussed, comes shuffling down the colonnade, his arms extended out, hands dangling limp. “Braaaiiins!” and takes a full tackle from an agent, smashed through the French doors and is gone.
“Abe!” Biden screams.
Obama waves the agents off Biden. He holds the MP5s steady. “Haldeman, come here.” Backing up. “We’re getting the fuck out of Dodge.”
Biden rises and limps over, winded. “What about Abe?”
“Abe? Abe Fortas?”
Biden points down the colonnade. “Honest Abe Lincoln! Those sonsofbitches just dry-gulched him!”
“That’s Kissinger, HR, are you blind? Henry!” He and Biden back up. “Go help Henry.” Turning now to the at-bay agents: “You cocksuckers get outta my sight! Everything I did was within Constitutional bounds. Now scram!” He squeezes off some rounds into the floor, geysering a line of marble dust. The agents run off into the snow. All the cameras in the press tent in the distance are trained on him, flood lights blazing. Obama throws up his arms with the double victory signs and dashes inside.
He enters the wrecked Oval Office where Biden has two Secret Service agents in headlocks. Something superhuman has overcome him. He gives them a simultaneous piledriver to the carpet, knocking them out then punches his way through another group of agents.
Obama grabs a fire extinguisher and blasts three of the suited fascists. They paw at the foam on their faces as he swings the extinguisher wildly, three donks. Biden is continuously dropping atomic guillotines with his elbow on a poor agent, manic, over and over, enjoying himself.
“Haldeman!” Obama barks. “That’s enough.”
Kerry rises groggily. “Tank you, Haldeman, Mr. Pvesident.”
A twisted human-shaped metal wreckage lies spent in the corner beside an open panel in the wall—but the man they dimly remember having caused this chaos is gone from the exoskeleton….
THE MUTANT is still going strong as they exit the Oval Office into the hallway. With its supernatural neurotwisting, born of the exigencies of their plight, some kind of psychokinetic mind-meld occurs between the besieged trio. Their psychic powers amplify and join: Two agents running at them go limp, falling to the floor. Biden kicks a third the groin and the man thanks him in screeching falsetto. Obama Dick bitch-slaps a fourth agent who spins like a top and crashes into the wall.
They find a secretarial office deserted.
“You’re like goddamn Superman out there, H.R.!” Obama Dick says. “We need to get out. Now.”
They throw on dark sunglasses. Biden rips a part of his toupee off and Scotch-tapes it to his upper lip. Kerry puts on his bifocals and quickly teases out his hair to a fright-wig.
They run down the halls towards the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance. Biden’s fingers flutter in front of the Marine guard’s face like a Three Stooges routine. The guard’s eyes follow, his mouth going slack in wonderment. Biden traces a triangle in the air then pokes the guard’s eyes and he goes down howling. Kerry Henry knees the second guard in the groin. “Thank you, sir,” the fallen man groans, “may I have another?”
They sprint down the driveway through the open gate and split up, crossing the snows of Lafayette Square.
“That little display back in the Garden wudden no good for a gun control bill, Jack.”
“Stop calling me Jack, Haldeman! You know it’s Richard! I hate that shit! And screw gun control, HR!”
They meet up in front of Sweet Georgia Brown’s, breathing frost and shivering. Kerry Henry squints. “I remember zomethink…Veren’t ve just talkink to Richard Cheney in de Oval Office? Or, or somethingk resembling him?”
Obama Dick gasps. “My God, that’s right!”
“He tolt us about de Solomon beam, Mr. Pvesident. Vee have to shut it off! It’s at de Capitol, in de Columbia-Izis statue, on top.”
Obama Dick pinches his overcoat and pulls it over his head. He runs into the street, hailing a cab, hopping from stocking foot to foot on the icy street. A Diamond cab pulls to the curb. Biden H.R. says anxiously, “Are you a friendly?”
The driver is confused, shrugs. “Yes, sure.”
Haldeman piles in first, helping Nixon. “That’s excellent. Very important. Hope this guy’s a friendly,” he whispers.
The driver grins wide. “President? President Obama?”
“’Obama’? No!” They both shout.
The man gushes. “I must take picture! May I?”
“No!” the trio choruses.
“Just take us to the Capitol, cabbie!” Obama Dick bellows.
The DC streets are a sinister, blurry snow-swept noir. Joe starts a gentle rocking again. He feels an electronic buzzing between his eyes. Haldemanic vibrations from the duo are taking over. “Shit…I-I think the New York Times put something up my nose…with a needle. I remember now! A tracker or some shit.”
Nixon gives a sharp look, jowls flapping. “Then that’s it. Christ, I need a cigarette! Manolo, pull over!”
The driver doesn’t respond. Biden H.R. violently wiggles his nose, probing. “We gotta get to the Capitol!”
Police cars are going full bore around them, sirens everywhere. The streets are quickly gridlocking.
“No, this is no good, Henry,” Obama Dick scowls.
“Let me zink,” Kissinger replies.
Biden H.R. chews his bottom lip. “W-w-what should w-we do? I-I remember reading Abbie Hoffman and he said there’s a way you can-”
“Makes sense you’d listen to that dirty hippie, Haldeman,” Obama growls.
“Bikes!” Kissinger cries.
“Oh, Jesus, no!” Nixon pounds the seat with a fist.
“Pull over, sir. It’s de only vay,” Kissinger replies, throwing a hundred dollar bill at the driver. “Mr. cab driver, keep kviett about dis, ach, please?”
“Bikes, Henry?” Nixon moans.
“Those aliens vuld never zuspect it. It’s only ten blocks, Mr. Pvesident!”
“Freezing out there, Henry,” Obama Dick shivers.
They slide out of the cab in the winter night. Police sirens wail in all directions. The entire city is on high alert. Biden H.R.’s superhuman strength quickly liberates three bikes from a nearby rental rack.
They pedal off towards the white dome in the distance. Thrice Biden fishtails on the slushy Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk and goes down. Kerry pedals with ease, hands knitted behind his head. Obama Dick keeps thinking he’s on a tricycle. “Damn Nazi hippie engineering! Henry! How do you operate this goddamn thing?”
It takes them forty minutes to go ten blocks—forty minutes of sirens and whooshing helicopters and stopping to dive hiding behind planters and cars.
THE ENGINEERED THC in the Mutant has third and even fourth acts, freakish high-intensity longevity. The Capitol looms over Biden H.R. like the old American International Pictures logo. Its surface goes flesh-colored before his eyes, an erect pink nipple at its peak. He stares in awe as it flops and heaves. Then the tip resolves itself into the object of their quest: the Columbia statue. He blows into cupped palms. “H-how are we gonna get in? Those owl bastards on the perimeter look like they’re packing thermonuclear, boss!”
“Henry,” Obama growls, “can you escort us in…like in the old days?”
A shard of reality returns to Biden. He squints. “I-I seem to remember…I’m…I’m President of the Senate or something, aren’t I?”
“I tink dat is corvect,” Kerry Henry says. “But dey must have some kind of All Points Bulletin out for us, after dat clambake ve caust at de Vhite House.”
Nixon wrings his hands behind his back, pacing. “How are we going to do this?”
Kerry Henry pushes up his bifocals. “I remember it now…it vas in de guidebook, vay back ven I first came to DC…”
“What, Henry, what?” Obama Dick paces furiously.
“How de Virgo enerchee system vorks. Ve haff to go all de vay up dere to operate it. Right up to de Isis statue at de top. Under de hem of de Native American shawl is a contrvol pan’l. Vunn has to touch a palm scanner in de thing, vhile touching a tassel at de same time above de olive wreath near her shield…de second tassel on her hem. Und somevun has to touch her index finger while de tassel is skveezed. Dis activates de Solomon beam.”
“This some Dan Brown boosheet,” Biden H.R. curses.
Obama Dick is hopeful. “And we can reverse the cocksucker, right?”
“Ja, vee can manually override de setting and svitch de beam off.”
Obama’s Nixonian jowls quiver as he chews his cheeks. He goes philosophical. “Do you think this could be our atonement, Henry? For all the bullshit we pulled?” He mops his brow with the overcoat. His five o’clock shadow has already become a mild beard.
Kerry shrugs. “I zink bombink Cambodia und Laos und the golt standard and all zat we did is beyond de reach of karmic balance…For dat, ve are scvewed, Dick. Forever.”
Obama-Nixon hangs his head, muttering. But Biden has half-morphed. He is in-between and is gathering confidence. “Why are you down, Jack? Things ah looking up! You’ve been under the Zodiac spell! Once we shut off this Virgo grid thing those bastahds won’t be able to interfere.”
“H.R., shut up with that Boston accent, will you? I’m not goddamn KENNEDY!”
The three of them duck behind a bush-filled planter as a line of helicopters dip over the Mall, their searchlights swinging down. Kerry Henry says, “Bob McNamara vunce mentioned an untergroundt passagevay down ze block here, ach, in ze Metro escalator!”
“Take us to it, by God,” Obama Dick winces.
They run the two icy blocks to the Capitol South entrance.
“If you press ze top here,” Kissinger intones, out of breath, “und vee slide down on ze metal between de escalators, ze passage opens und vee vill kind auf slalom down into ze tunnel.”
“Do it!” Nixon screams.
Here comes a Metro commuter on the ascending track dressed as Paul Revere, complete with tricorn hat, followed by a gaggle of Tea Party protestors bearing placards and posters, sliding up the moving stairs, bound for a Lafayette Square shindig. They gawk in amazement. “Look! It’s the Kenyan! Obummer!”
Kerry Henry pounds out a rhythm on the brushed steel surface and taps a code on the Metro logo. A faint green light appears.
The trio leaps one after the other onto the smooth metal slide between escalators as the protestors begin swinging placards. Butts bumping onto the steel, the three accelerate rapidly downward. Below, part of the metal slides downward revealing a tunnel and they shoot into the darkness, a smoothly-polished track that increases their velocity through the chute. It appears to be made of frictionless material and the tunnel curves obligingly towards the Capitol underground.
One, two, three they go flying into a dim space, slamming onto a concrete floor. Florescent lights on motion-sensors flicker awake.
“Christ, my back!” Nixon grunts. “Helluva ride, Henry.”
“That was fun!” Biden chimes. “Let’s do it again.”
“Down dis hallvay is the lower tunnel beneath ze Senate ving. Ve must hurry!”
They run through the musty Cold War passageway and come to a rusted metal door that Biden dropkicks and sends flying off its hinges with a thunderous clatter. A cobwebbed spiral staircase twists upward into darkness. In a minute they jimmy a concealed door behind the shelves of a janitor’s closet. They enter the hall and run up the stairs, coming to the small Senate rotunda next to the Great rotunda.
“Shhh!” Nixon cautions.
They race through the halls. Ghost trails leak from every light they pass, every sound amplified. A janitor mopping the Rotunda floor looks up stunned.
“Excuse me, do you know how to…how to…” Biden is having a brain fart. He points up at the cupola, does a pantomime with his fingers of walking up steps and gestures.
“Whatsa matter with you?” The janitor chuckles. “You high as a kite, aintchya?”
“We need stair power, man!”
Kerry and Obama stumble into the chamber. Obama still has the overcoat pulled over his head, trembling from the cold.
“Mah God! Presidaint Obama! Sir!”
“We gotta get up the titty-nipple!” Biden points.
Squinting: “You mean the cupola, on top?”
“Follow me.” His walkie-talkie crackles with desperate shouting official voices.
“Turn that thing off!” Obama Dick snarls.
The janitor complies. Kerry musses his wiry hair and adjusts the moustache and Obama adjusts his wig. “President Obama,” the janitor says, offering a hand, “gotta say, I’m a great admirer of you.”
“’Obama’?” Biden H.R. puzzles. “That’s the second time someone’s called you—”
“I’m zorry, President Nixon has a bat coldt,” Kerry interrupts. “How do cleaners get up to de Columbia statue on top, to clean it?”
“Aw, now, well that takes special climbing equipment.”
Biden shadow boxes with an imaginary Man in Black. “We have to get up there, Kissie. Gonna kick us some Reptilian ass!”
The janitor strokes his beard. “Well…there’s a special way up there a few of us know about, in the colonnade just below it…”
They take an elevator, then climb a reinforced ladder. The keys given by the janitor easily open the hatch. Cold air gushes down upon them. The climb into the night, backs pressed against the marble, and make their way around the perimeter.
The wind viciously whips at them. DC sparkles on the horizons. Four helicopters circle the Mall searching for the trio, their spotlights raking the lawns. Drones sing past. The crimson and blue glow of a hundred active police cars lends a spectral haze just at the rooftops.
“It’s beautivul,” Kissinger observes.
“Stay focused, Henry. We’ve only one shot at this.”
Biden hangs on for dear life. Kissinger guides them through the procedure. Biden grabs the statue’s laurel wreath and pulls himself up and squeezes the imprinted tassel. Kerry reaches up the statue’s hem and places his palm into the hand-scanner. Obama, sweating, panting, grips the sword handle and pulls Columbia’s index finger. The wind howls.
A panel slides open before Kerry. He sees the Red button. OFF. He pokes it, jabs wildly at it then holds it down. A humming, ever-present as to be unnoticed, descends in pitch. Kerry eyes the panel. There is a blue button marked CROATAN. He jabs it.
Above them, the Columbia statue’s eyes glow opalescent. The Croatan beam is instant: it hits the capstone of the Washington monument across the Mall which sends out a shimmering green light wave that spreads from horizon to horizon. The trio feels something depart from their bodies, a heaviness, like a dam bursting. In the Virginia distance, the Pentagon begins to glow intense orange, then red, then white.
The ancient Masonic spell is broken—but not the Mutant’s fecund fizzlings.
“What the hell are we doing up here?” Barack Obama at last says, teeth chattering. “I got no fucking clothes on!”
John Kerry is terrified, clinging the iron hem. “I have no idea, Barry…something just happened…”
Joe Biden looks at the glowing Pentagon, as it fades wavering into some semi-to-non-existence. “Oh, man…AIPAC’s not gonna like that.”
“Look!” Obama yells.
A massive black triangular craft is floating silently above the Mall, three diamond lights on each tip, a pulsing red light in its center.
“An Astra!” Joe waves frantically and they all shout.
“Is that thing even real?” Kerry sputters, squinting. “I…I’m high as a fucking kite, Barack. My balls are ice cubes.”
Obama shudders. “Me too…Jesus, what did we smoke?”
The craft silently glides over them and dips down.
“What in hell is that thing?” Kerry yells. “I’m scairt, guys!”
“It’s one of those Air Force black-budget dealios, John,” Biden yells. “I think…I got this friend who told me about a secret space program that’s above top secret…How the fuck did we—”
A rectangle of light slides open and a blue-white tractor beam hits them, sucking the three one by one off the surface of the statue.
The room is circular, with a gentle humming as the door closes. Uniform light with no visible source. But it is cold.
“Hello!” Biden yells. The Mutant waves back.