Spooky City

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NOTE: These photographs were taken by a real photographer! His name is Paul Arps.

This city. This youthful vibrance. This aged decrepitating filth.

In the summertime the mosquitoes come out in force and devour the flesh right off the bones of dead politicians and expensive call girls. In winter the wolves come out and hunt. Spies, assassins, terrorists, world leaders, CEOs, journalists, and gangsters all make this city their playground. With so much raw energy converging in one city, the world tends to hang on the threads of a delicate chess game played out behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms and penthouse apartments all across this city. One false move and the world could be facing the next nuclear war, or worse. The only time of year this city isn’t teeming on the brink of an apocalypse is during the Christmas season and in the event of a government shutdown. Welcome to Washington D.C. – where good men get screwed. All around fun for the whole family… all year long.

I hate this city. Not for what it stands for, but for what it has become. Every time I come out here I get obliterated by the force of human consumption and independence that hangs around its freshman halls like the Devil in disguise. Sore losers and sour winners make up the dominant demographic here; and not just on the Hill. Take a walk across the Mall and you’ll see them in the White House too. Dickless hound dogs and over encumbered desk jockeys duke it out for Top Gun.

The only decent place in this whole damned city is the Smithsonian.

For what it’s worth, though, this city can also be a really cool place. It’s fun to sit at the feet of Abraham Lincoln and wonder if there are any great men left in this world, or if chivalry and patriotism are truly dead.

I hate spies. They’re jumpy and paranoid little fucks who think that the whole world will implode if they don’t accomplish their mission. What they fail to realize, in the brains they hide behind aviator sunglasses and poker faces, is that the world spins ever more. There will always be bad guys, and there will always be good guys.

I’m in DC to meet up with an individual who claims to have information on an HVT that I might run across while I’m in AO HoA on vacation. If I do happen to run across this “dog-hating, bacon-fearing sonofabitch,” while I’m on vacation, my local PMC contacts say that I’ll wish I had been “born on another planet.”

Ball security is job security, so they say.

So, here’s the thing about spies: I mentioned before they’re all paranoid, right? Well, this motherfucker has me wait outside in the cold in the middle of the ghetto at 2am to avoid wandering eyes.

Wandering eyes?

I’m a white man rubbing my hands to keep warm, leaning with my foot against a wall plastered with MS13 tags. I’m pretty sure I stand out anywhere I walk in this friggin hood. This is DC we’re talking about here, not an easy place to walk around at 2am. This stench is unbearable. I hate this city.

Where is this guy? Taking his time looks like. Paranoid fuck is probably scoping the area for potential threats. If he has me wait out here any longer my fist is gonna be a potential threat with his face.

I hear something off to my left. Nothing. Just a bunch of drunken Latinos stumbling out of a bar onto the sidewalk. So cliché.

I look to the right. Nothing but a bunch of dumpsters. The monotone nature of the world is killing me inside.

I look back to the left. HOW THE FUCK DOES HE DO THAT?

He’s standing there, leaning against the wall looking like he’s been there the whole time. He looks at me and asks me what’s wrong have I seen a ghost.

I fucking hate spies.

We get in his car and go to my hotel. In the restaurant in the lobby we talk about things. Mostly, we play I spy.

“How’s life in the spooky world of yours?” I ask.

“The damn coffee machine is broken again. Sprays the coffee like an uncontrollable fire hose. I’ve had to change my shirt three times today. I fucking hate contractors. And that’s all you need to know,” he replies.

That’s about the extent of his conversational skill. That’s alright – he spends the majority of every day playing smoke and mirrors with foreign nationals. And none of it really concerns me at all.

I tell him about my new niece and other things. He looks at me and tells me I need to work out more.

Double Bubble Trouble by M.I.A. comes on the radio, and as if on cue he reaches into the folds of his suit jacket and pulls out a USB stick. He sets it on the glass bar and slides it over to me.

I reach out to grab it. He puts his hand on top of mine and in a slow whisper says to me:

“Somalia is a dangerous fucking place dude. I hope you know what you’re doing. I really hope you know what you’re doing.”

I look straight into his eyes: “Don’t worry, my spooky friend. I have no idea what I’m doing.” I stick out my tongue, grab the stick, and walk away as the beat starts to drop.

I fucking hate spies.

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