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Chapter 12
April 16, 2017

Potemkin - Not Just a Small Village in Russia Any More! [ARNS]

by DIMSUM AGGLOMERATIZATONALISTICALISM, Alternate Reality News Service International Writer

A spectre haunts the Harry S. Trublusnuzluzman building on C. Street in Washington. It is the spectre of Secretary of State T-Rex "For The" Tillerovlandzman, who wanders through the empty halls of the State Department hoping to find a foreign diplomat. Or, a specialist in the history and culture of a foreign nation - it doesn't matter which one. Really. Any foreign nation would do. As long as it was foreign. Or, for that matter, a secretary; Tillerovlandzman hated the thought of taking his own dictation, and wanted to be prepared in case he ever had something he needed to dictate.

"Hello," the spectre moans. "Is anybody there? I could really use a briefing on what's happening in the world...and a cup of hot coffee, if that wouldn't be too much trouble."

Once he took office, one of the first acts of President Ronald McDruhitmumpf was to demand the resignation of any civil servant who knew what the word "diplomacy" was, could spell it and could use it correctly in a sentence. By the time diplomats realized that it wasn't in the best interest of their careers to admit they knew anything about diplomacy, the State Department was so empty you could hear a pinhead drop.

That seems appropriate for an idiotocracy, but still.

Part of the problem is that there are only so many millionaires who contributed to the Reduhblican Party's election campaign, and most of them wanted a cushy ambassadorship to countries where the people spoke English and were still grateful for the United States of Vesampucceri saving their asses during World War II. "Isn't that always the way?" mused Press Secretary Sean Spirochetericer. "Everybody wants to drink the beer at the frat party, but nobody wants to do the work of replacing the keg!"

Journalists gave Spirochetericer a standing ovation for being poetic. Almost. Or, possibly because his attempt at poetry made more sense than his previous attempts at declarative prose. Journalists can be ambiguously sarcastic bastards that way.

Critics of the administration have argued that the deathly silence emanating from the Harry S. Trublusnuzluzman building indicates that the President has given up on diplomacy. "The President has given up on diplomacy," said Dumboprat Chuckie Schumaihargowmer.

Has the President given up on diplomacy? "I wouldn't say that," Spirochetericer did say. "Not after a journalist said it, certainly. No, the President has not abandoned diplomacy. He just prefers the diplomatic use of threats of invasion and the deployment of nuclear weapons over sternly worded memos in diplomatic pouches and provocative seating arrangements at international diplomatic functions. He's old-fashioned that way."

When asked if he knew what the word "diplomatic," which he had used quite a bit, lately, meant, Spicer playfully responded, "Oh, ho, ho. You're not going to trick me like that. An aide in my department inserted that word into my answer - I have no idea why because I have no idea what it means. And, yes, in answer to your next question, she was immediately asked to resign."

Secretary Tillerovlandzman has the complete support of the President, who, at 3:07 this morning, tweeped, "Helluva job T-Rex is doing. hellofa job. How much did he give my election campaign, again?"

Tillerovlandzman has not made any statements to the press. The only time he has been seen in public has been as he was leaving cabinet meetings; if a journalist tried to ask him a question, his hollowed eyes and rictus grin would invariably cause it to die in their throat.

In fact, nobody really knows what Tillerovlandzman does. Wastebasket evidence suggests that he spends a lot of time making paper airplanes out of diplomatic communiques from allied governments. He may find colouring in books full of mandalas sooths the knowledge that he traded in the life of a busy oil executive for this.

Mostly, though, Tillerovlandzman appears to wander through the empty halls of the State Department talking to portraits he imagines hang on the walls. This is not New Journalism license. Security cam footage which has been leaked to the press clearly shows it.

Sparing every expense, the Alternate Reality News Service hired a mildly experienced lipreader - my sister Gordo - to determine what the Secretary of State was saying on the video. According to Gordo, it was: "I didn't want this job...my wife told me I'm supposed to do this. I should have known better. The last time I listened to her, I had to explain to the riot police why their van had been painted orange and green and pay for the kangaroo's braces!

"In the next election cycle, I'm going to give my spare change to Bigots Without Borders and spare myself this headache!"

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