At 9:25 AM on Thursday morning, I welcomed Tyrone Mohammed Nguyen Garcia-Vasilescu, principal lobbyist for the Association of Independent American Taxi and Limousine Operators, which is headquartered here in Washington DC, to my office for a consultation. His appointment was for nine o’clock, and to say he was in a state of extremely ironic high dungeon would be an understatement. “Would you believe,” he inquired as he plunked his ample frame on the couch in front of the picture window overlooking the White House and slammed his Louis Vuitton briefcase on the coffee table, “that I couldn’t get a cab?” “During rush hour, in this city,” I assured him, “absolutely.  That’s hardly unusual – even if it isn’t raining cats [...]


Around seven on Friday evening, just as I was about to congratulate myself on a very long and profitable day which had begun shortly before six in the morning, I received a telephone call from Austin Houston Crockett Bowie Bonham III, Texan extraordinaire. Tom: Hello, this is Tom Collins. Austin: Tom? That you? Tom: Yes. Austin: Tom, this is Austin Bonham. Tom: I know – I’d recognize that voice anywhere. Austin: You would, huh? Tom: Absolutely. It’s unmistakable. Austin: Meaning what? Tom: Meaning you sound like a cross between Strom Thurmond, Lyndon Johnson, Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam. Austin: Well, I suppose I’ll take that as a compliment. Tom: You should – since nobody knows what Jubilation T. Cornpone sounded [...]


Thursday night, my dear sister Rose called me to chat – and drop hints. She observed, for example, that there was a significant cold front moving in on Washington that should arrive by the weekend, meaning that the weather on Sunday promised to be remarkably comfortable for August. Then she went on about the kids – her brood and Arthur’s, their cousins – and how they are all growing like weeds and so forth, and dropped a few strategic complaints about her husband Hank running off to West Virginia with Arthur’s wife Shannon to become survivalists awaiting the Apocalypse that they have convinced themselves Obama the Antichrist will surely bring any day now; and, of course, how difficult it is [...]


Yesterday, Gretchen had occasion to squeeze Dr. Bashafala Kumanina Kinuka Mkundu, Primary Under Assistant Secretary for Economic, Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Ugandan Embassy to the United States of America, into my consultation schedule. “Mr. Collins,” she complained to me via IM Chat from her computer in the reception area, “this Dr. Mknundu is totally obnoxious. He’s hitting on me, and his pickup lines are bordering on the psychotic.” “Such as what?” I IM’d back. “He says, in his country,” she replied, “he would pay twenty cows, forty sheep, sixty goats and a hundred chickens for me. Not only that, but he’s leaning forward right into my face, his breath smells like rotting garbage, and he’s got a bulge [...]


Things had been comparatively quiet here in Washington until a couple of weeks ago, allowing Gretchen and me to take Saturdays off. But as the planet’s various political herpes sores erupted everywhere upon it once more, like those which appear on nervous, lonely thirty-something women the night before the big two week Caribbean cruise with their prospective Mr. Right, my appointment calendar spilled over into the weekend yet again. My first consultation yesterday was with Dr. Nikolai Mikhailovich Otvali Mudakovich Kisov, a regular client from the Russian Embassy. For years, at intervals of four to six weeks, we have cordially discussed and clinically analyzed trade, environmental, scientific joint venture, natural resource and cultural exchange issues involving Russia, the European Union, [...]

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