AC: Bush43 Week Five

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Thu Jul 6 06:42:42 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

I really feel like there should be something special done for issue #43
of Bush43.  But nothing comes to mind.  Perhaps it's just nice that it
comes out on the President's 60th birthday.  Yeah, that's it!

Happy Birthday, Mister President!


BUSH43 #43
By Jason S. Kenney


I felt like I was sleepwalking through the morning, just going through
the motions of working, of doing my job, of functioning.

Phone calls, paperwork, messages, busy work, and every now and then I'd
look to the clock.




I got up with a groan and left my office, telling Nancy Meyers I was
stepping out to get coffee.

As the elevator doors opened, I came face to face with Erlend Romanov.

"I never figured you to take the elevator," I said, as he stepped off.

"Is there anything we need to discuss from last night, Jeffery?" he
asked, standing in my way, as the elevator doors closed.

"As a matter of fact," I said, leaning over, reaching past him and
jabbing the down button. "There is."  I straightened up and gave a
small smirk.  "You need to form some sort of business advisory board.
Something to promote doing business in Pacific City, not only to lure
businesses here but to keep the ones already here from leaving."

"Businesses are going to do what they want, Jeffery.  Why should we
placate them?"

"Because they employ the people that live in this city," I said, as the
elevator doors opened again.  "And, those people are the ones we're
looking out for here."

I stepped past Erlend and onto the elevator, holding the door open and

"Your best bet is to dig up Cliff Jerrod's old committee, weed through
those people for the good and bad, then find a few others who are
worthwhile.  Worst case scenario is it's useless and nothing comes of
it, so whatever's happening with the businesses now keeps happening."

"And, what is that, exactly?"

I shrugged.

"Your guess is as good as mine.  Form the committee and ask them."

"Is there anything else that I should know about from last night,

I hesitated, knew he was fishing, but wasn't sure if he knew what he
was fishing for.

"The t-bone at Brown and Schmidt's is well worth the thirty bucks," I
said with a smirk, and I let the elevator doors close.


I ordered just a regular coffee at the coffee shop across the street
from City Hall, got a cup, pumping it full of the darkest, strongest
stuff they had.  I was taking a sip, as I turned to leave and froze
when I saw her come through the door, not a care in the world, the only
thing done to change her looks being a pair of dark sunglasses that she
pulled off, as she walked in, so even that didn't work.

She saw me, smiled, not a warm smile, a controlling smile, and she
walked towards me.  I moved to her, meeting her in the middle.

"Every cop in this city has your picture, and you're out and about
without a care in the world," I whispered to Tracy Pine.

She held out her arms and hugged me.

"I've got my little guardian angel though, don't I?" she whispered in
my ear, as I did my best to return the hug, keep up pretenses, knowing
full well that people were watching this, seeing this, this blonde
woman meet and warmly greet the public relations face of City Hall.

This blonde woman wanted in connection with the death of a hundred and
twenty people.

They didn't know that part.  Not yet.

She gave me a peck on the cheek, and then I pulled away.

"I've got something for you," she said.

"Shall we go back to my office?"

"Let me get something here," she said, nodding toward the counter.
"Then, maybe we can go for a walk."

She was playing this up, dragging it out, and she knew full well all I
could do was go along.

"So, tell me about this Cassandra Trellis," said Pine, while I stood
next to her in line.

I shot her a glare that made her smile wider.

"No," I said, taking a drink of my coffee.

"Oh, come on, just some small talk," Pine said, resting her hand on my
upper arm.  "I've heard Simon talk about her.  Now, I want to hear what
you have to say."

"What did Simon say?" I asked.

"Just where she worked, where she lived."  She let that dangle for a
bit, a thinly veiled threat of information I already knew he had,
assumed they all had, so I didn't react.  "He doesn't seem to think too
highly of her these days, but you can tell he did at one point.  He did
mention her nighttime activities."

That got a look from me but no response, as Pine stepped up and
ordered.  Not a word, as she got her drink, stepped over to the end of
the counter, and poured more cream into it than coffee, added too much
sugar, stirred, and then turned to me.

"Shall we go for a walk?"

We both stepped out onto the sidewalk, and she moved to loop her arm
through mine, but I pulled away, and she just shook her head.

"It is very reassuring to hear that you aren't above dating a former
opponent," Pine said, pausing to take a drink.  "That you can be so

"What do you have for me?" I asked.

"Simon's very upset with what you did to Roger.  But, you're still off

"What do you mean 'off limits'?"

"None of us are allowed to deal with you directly unless you confront
us.  And, even then, lethal force is not allowed."


"Simon isn't saying, but I think he wants to toy with you.  He says
it's not about you anymore, but it's quite obvious you're still a sore
spot for him."

"Is there a point to this?" I asked.

"My, you're grumpy this morning," Pine said.

"I've got work to do, Tracy, so if you're just here to chitchat..."

"Dean's going out tonight," interrupted Pine.


She pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and handed it to me.

"How do you know this?" I asked, as I unfolded it with my free hand and
started to read.

"Simon won't let anyone out without knowing where they are going and
how long they're going to be."

"Does the same apply to you?" I asked, glancing to her.  She shook her

"Simon doesn't ask, and I don't tell him.  He lets me do what I want."

"Does he like you?"

"He trusts me," she said, taking a sip of her coffee.

I looked back to the paper.

"Assisted living?"

"He's visiting his mother," Pine said.


"Okay," I said, folding the paper and putting it in my pocket.

"So, after you get Dean..."

"We'll discuss it then," I said, not looking at her but knowing she was
looking at me, knowing she was smiling.

"Then, I'll let you go," she said, stepping in front of me to make me

She leaned in and kissed my cheek, pulled away slightly, hovered,
hesitated, waited.

"Thank you, Tracy," I said, and she leaned a little more, her lips by
my ear.

"Thank you," she said, and she pulled away smiling, turned, and walked


I leaned back in my seat as the phone rang, waiting, waiting, waiting.


"Isiah," I said, leaning forward real quick. "What are you doing

"You need me?"

"Yeah," I said.

"What time?"

"Let's meet around six; we'll get some dinner and go from there."


I left my office again at quarter to noon, told Nancy I'd be back
around one, and she reminded me of the one-thirty press briefing but
said nothing more.

By noon, I was on the rooftops, mask snug over my head, as I vaulted
alleys and streets and rushed toward where I needed to be five minutes

I saw Officer Michael Self standing alone on the rooftop of where I
said I'd meet him.  I leapt across and landed, pulling his attention
from a small pile of broken plastic and wires he had been toeing with
his shoe.

"You're late," he said.

"I have stuff to do."

"Any idea what that was?" he asked, nodding to the mess on the roof.

"It was a Bush Signal."  He shook his head out of the sheer absurdity
of it and shrugged.

"I will never get you people," he said, holding an envelope out to me.

I took it and merely trusted the contents, slipping it in the inside
pocket of my suit coat.

"I'll let you know how quickly we can get this stuff," I said. "And the
other details, as I know them."

"Sure," he said with a nod.

"Also," I said. "When you had Dean Williams in custody, how did you all
keep him from blowing up?"

"He was kept heavily sedated," said Self.  "And, there was some other
cocktail they gave him, something some guy in Alhazred had mixed up a
while back."

"Do you guys still have any of it?"

"Some," said Self. "But, a request for more is on the list."

"Who makes it?"

"Government contracted it out to a lab in Japan," Self said. "You
should be able to get it there."

Government contracted it out.  Some guy in Alhazred.

I wondered if there was a cocktail with my name on it out there or if
that secret died in the ruins of Alhazred Asylum.

"But, do you have enough to where, if Dean Williams was taken into
custody today, you'd be able to keep him down for two to four weeks?"

"Two weeks maybe.  Four would be a hell of a stretch."

I nodded.

"Okay," I said.  "Have that stuff ready for tonight then."

"Tonight?"  I nodded again.  "Do you know something I don't?"

"I'm hoping to take him into custody tonight."

"Do you know where he is?"

"I may know where he's going to be."


"I can't say."

"Bullshit," said Self.  "You want the police to step up; tell me."

"You can't handle him until I take care of him.  Otherwise, he's liable
to blow a lot of you boys in blue up."

"Damn it, Bush..."

"Officer Self," I said. "I can't guarantee my information is accurate.
It could be a trap for all I know.  And, the last thing I want is for
the already hurting police department to run into even more problems.
I'll check into it.  If it pans out, I need you all to be ready to take
him into custody."

"Do me a favor then," said Self. "And, leave him a little more useful
than you left Roger Thompson."

"I'll do my best," I said, smirking under my mask.


I held the envelope out as soon as Alfonse answered the door.

"Should be everything," I said.  "Let me know cost and timelines as
soon as you know them."

"Of course," said Alfonse, taking the envelope from me.  "I should have
that for you by early this evening."

"I might not be available," I said.

"Due to business or pleasure?"

"Can I take pleasure in my business?"

"Do you?"

"I have to go," I said.  "I've got a press conference to give."

There was no doubt in my mind that he knew I was avoiding the question.

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