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Chapter 42
November 12, 2017

Carp Per Diem [ARNS]

by MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD, Alternate Reality News Service Disasters Writer

Where do government contracts come from? Do they fall from the sky? Are they squirted out of a wormhole from another universe? Are they - and this might be the most far-fetched theory of them all - actually vetted and approved by human beings...in government?

This is the non-musical (but it enjoys listening to music, and you would think that would count for something in this Philistine world) question that is not being asked in Washburningdington, but should. The reason for this non-question question is the awarding of a $300 million dollar contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid after it was devastated by Hurricane Orville (not to be confused with the city next door to Andville) to Carp Corp, a company founded in 2015 that employs all of two people.

"We're very good at getting other people to do the work we're paid for," explained Carp Corp founder Andy Techgurumanski.

"It's called sub-contracting," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinkedinkedoo said sotto voce (which isn't a type of pasta dish from Italy, but it should be...it should be...).

"Right," Techgurumanski corrected himself. "That's what I said. Sub-contracting."

What does Interior Secretary Zinkedinkedoo have to do with this? Aside from the fact that he comes from Carp, Montdiana, the small city the company is based in and named after? Apart from the fact that Interior Secretary Zinkedinkedoo's son Rinke worked at a Carp Corp construction site for a summer? Overlooking the fact that Joe Colonoscopa, the founder of HIBACH Investments, which owns a majority share of Carp Corp, was a major donor to the McDruhitmumpf campaign? Other than all of that?

Taking a page out of his boss' playbook (more like photocopying the page, since his boss seems to still be working from it, too), at 2:37 in the morning, Interior Secretary Zinkedinkedoo tweeped, "Only in elitist Washburningdington would being from a small town be considered a crime." Mostly, this confused people. The photocopy was obviously smudged in key places.

Realizing that he hadn't helped his cause, Interior Secretary Zinkedinkedoo went on to say (and during business hours, at that) that, "I welcome any and all investigations" of his relationship with Carp Corp. In the same way that President McDruhitmumpf will make his tax returns public?

"Oh, that's low," Interior Secretary Zinkedinkedoo carped. "It's only been a year since the President made that promise. You just need to give him time. I'm sure when he's ready, he'll release his taxes before the election is over." After a moment's reflection, he added, "Okay, before the 2020 election is over..."

Official Washburningdington is distancing itself from this contract faster than a starship at Warp Speed reaches Beta Regulon VI. "The President has made it very clear that nobody in this administration had anythin' to do with awardin' thuh contract to Carp Corp," stated Press Secretary Wannabe-Panders, even though the President had been too busy tweeping about the NFL investigation of his campaign's ties to Fenwick (it was the middle of the afternoon, so you can forgive his confusion) to comment. "If you don't believe him, I'm sure the audit of the contract will prove it."

Hee hee - yeah, about that. There is a clause in the contract that says: "In no event shall [government bodies] have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements." In legal circles, this is known as the "Keep Your Nose Out of Our Business" clause. (Which vies in sheer bloody-minded egregiousness with the clause in the contract that "waives any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of work," aka the "Yeah, Yeah, We'll Get Around To It When We Get Around To It - What Are You, Our Mother?" clause.)

When asked if there would, in fact, be an audit of the contract, Press Secretary Wannabe-Panders responded, "Mara, I just answered that question - weren't you paying attention?" I - uhh - what?

Unofficial Washburningdington is scrounging around in the dumpster behind the Pancake Pit for scraps of food and doesn't have an opinion on the subject one way or another.

When San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruztyrybredstix said that the Carp Corp contract smelled fishy, Techgurumanski responded by tweeping at 2:37 in the morning: "Lady, we got 80 submarine-contractors doing...something in your country. We think. Maybe. You really wanna risk us pulling them and stopping...whatever?" Somebody had clearly scanned President McDruhitmumpf's playbook and sent the relevant pages to him; just as clearly, some of the data had been corrupted in the transmission.

Token smart person candidate Maria-Monique Tumuchcollarstarch said she would be happy to share her thoughts on the subject, but she had to talk to her broker about a great new investment opportunity she had just learned about first...

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