Dec 072017
 

Today, as I returned from a private holiday lunch at Métier, Gretchen called out to me from her seat at the reception desk. “Mr. Collins,” she beseeched, “I told my new boyfriend, Mark, what you do and he asked me if he could call you for some advice.” “Is there an opening any time soon?” I asked. “There’s half an hour between 3:30 and 4:00,” she told me. “But you should know, he can’t afford to pay you – he’s only a congressional staffer, and not too high on the totem poll.” “No problem,” I assured her with a smile. “Any friend of yours rates a free telephone consultation whenever they want it.” “Oh, thank you,” she sighed. “He’ll be […]

Oct 292017
 

Quite early yesterday morning, so early, in fact, that I had to arrive at the office before Gretchen, a consultation began with a gentleman who insisted I call him “Randy Harry Merkin,” although that obviously could not be his real name. He paid cash, and told me that he is a policy advisor to a member of the current presidential Cabinet. When I inquired as to which department or agency in the Cabinet, Mr. Merkin was similarly cagey, refusing to reveal its name. All par for the course in my line of work, where about one in ten clients don’t want the specifics of their identities revealed. Those hundred dollar bills he handed me were genuine – I always check […]

Sep 252017
 

Between consultations this afternoon, Gretchen left her desk in the reception area and popped into my office for a moment. “Tom,” she quietly informed me as she closed a heavy oak door behind her, “there’s this… Ebonic gentleman who’s been calling since about nine this morning asking for a consultation. He says he’s a professional basketball player.” “Did he give you his name?” I inquired. “Tyrone…” she replied with an uncertain grimace, “Tyrone Shoelace.” “Hold on a minute,” I requested as I consulted an online database. “Nope,” I told her, “there’s nobody named that playing in the NBA. Must be an alias.” “Should I tell him you’re not available?” she asked. “Did he say what he wants to talk about?” […]

Aug 272017
 

I was relaxing at my home in Great Falls, Virginia this morning, reading Kierkegaard around three in the afternoon when my land line rang, and Caller ID revealed it was a satellite phone call from none other than Kim Jong-un, Glorious and Infallible Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. As faithful readers of this Web log know, I have not heard from him in quite a while – not since October, 2014 as a matter of fact. Such readers are also aware that Kim Jong-un – the real one, that is – has been locked up at a secret location for the last five years courtesy of Korean Peoples Army Marshal Kim Yong-chun, Vice Marshals Ri […]

Jul 232017
 

As the venerable aphorism so pithily puts it, the difference between Hell and Washington DC in the summer is that Hell has dry heat. With the thermometer flirting with one hundred degrees Fahrenheit and the air so sodden with water vapor that stepping outside of an air conditioned building feels like crawling into a Siksika sweat lodge erected in the middle of a Turkish steam bath, it’s sufficiently discouraging to keep even the most workaholic political hacks, ramrod-backed Pentagon chicken colonels and policy-obsessed think tank wonks from booking consultations with me on a weekend. So, thanks to that, I had the day off on the twenty-second of July and dare say I had enough common sense to stay inside my […]