Sunday, November 14, 2004


Ground Rules

Oh, shit, Hermes thinks, as he exits the White House and sees the scarab beetles all over the lawn.

Sure enough, just around the corner stand Sun Myung and Hak Ja Han Moon, covered head to foot in the disgusting insects and smiling beatifically.

"So good to see you again, Hermes," Sun Myung says. His freak-o wife never says anything.

"What's up, Sun," Hermes says.

"I'll take the stuff you stole," Sun Myung says.

"What stuff?" Hermes says, all innocence.

"This stuff," Sun Myung says, and starts relieving Hermes of his loot: silverware, champagne glasses, miniature soaps embossed with the Great Seal of the U.S., paperclips, a stapler, and a small Cezanne still life with apples, pears, and quince. Sun Myung slides it all into his shoulder bag. "I'll take the gun and the keys that you lifted off the Marine, too," he says.

Hermes gives an insouciant grin and hands the contraband over. Apparently Sun Myung doesn't know about the missing decoder ring!

"Listen," Sun Myung says. "If we're going to work together, we need to establish some ground rules."

"I gotta tell you," Hermes says, "I ain't real big on ground rules."

"I realize that," Sun Myung says. "That's why I'm telling you the way it's going to be."

Over my dead body, Hermes thinks.

"That too can be arranged," Sun Myung smiles. "Okay, rule number one. No more petty theft."


"You heard me," Sun Myung says. "Absolute minimum value of stolen goods is one million dollars U.S. Preference will be given to virtual heists."

"What's a virtual heist?" Hermes says.

"Stealing abstractions," Sun Myung says. "Stealing numbers out of Panamanian bank accounts. Laundering drug money. Overbilling on government contracts--see Dick Cheney for that."

"No picking pockets?" Hermes says.

"That's right," Sun Myung says.

"Where's the fun in that?" Hermes says.

"Never mind the fun. This is the big time now. We don't have fun; we get rich."

Hermes is very careful not to think the obvious, here: what the fuck am I doing with these people?

"Rule number two," Sun Myung says: "no sex with the wives or daughters of elected officials or their advisors."

"How about the officials and advisors themselves?"

"What about them?"

"Can I have sex with them?"

"No! Sex only with the non-governmentally-affiliated!"

"How about virtual sex?" Hermes asks.

"That's always encouraged," Sun Myung beams. "But only with the citizens and the environment," he adds, "and only from behind, so they don't know who fucked em when you're done."

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