The following is completely fictional.
“WHAT THE FUCK DO I CARE ABOUT ‘VALID LEGAL BASIS,’ YOU SMARMY PRICK? YOU THINK WE’RE RUNNING FOR HEAD EAGLE SCOUT? FIND A ‘LEGAL BASIS’ AND BURN HIM TO THE FUCKING GROUND!”
Cranston had passed from merely livid to pristine apoplexy about an hour earlier. The presidential campaign had been exhausting, and he hadn’t slept more than five hours in a night since February. He felt like his head was in paint-shaker most of the time, and if it weren’t for the magic of makeup the sheep in TV-land would probably think he was on the way to a methadone clinic. But goddamn the finish-line was close. So tantalizingly close he could fondle it. And when this was over, and his name was gold, he was going to fondle like a Roman emperor. Only two weeks to go. It was right-fucking-here. He had nearly dragged this dead-fish cunt of a client to the finish-line, and now the wheels were rolling downhill.
Until the phone rang an hour earlier. It was the campaign’s lead counsel. “Braden is reopening the investigation.” It was like he just tried to swallow a golf-ball.
“It’s coming over the wires now.”
“Goldstein. There was more on his computer. I’m hearing a lot more.
His head swam. Goldstein. That sniveling little worm with his online obsession was always a leak in the ship. One that should have been plugged long ago. People sometimes trip while walking on high ledges. It happens. But such an accident would have upset the swarthy sapphic applecart, and so it was left to unwarranted hope that he could stay out of view until after the election. And now everything had gone pear-shaped. Looking out the window, Cranston watched a lithe young woman crossing the street in front of his office. God, that ass…just two more weeks.
“So what do you want me to do?”
“I want you to make Braden wish for some quiet time idling his car in the garage! He’s the bad-guy here, not my candidate. And it’s our job to make sure America knows that. His actions are highly disturbing. A breach of public trust. This is an out-of-control political crony trying to rob Americans of their democracy. Are you getting this? What he just did was illegal. You know how I know it was illegal? Because you’ll be Meta’mucil Jefferson’s public defender the rest of your career if it isn’t!”
“But there’s no valid legal basis…”
An hour later and Cranston was still seething. So close. So fucking close. One more hurdle. Braden had to be publicly destroyed. He already had a call into his trash monkeys. Everyone had a closet, and Cranston was going to put Braden’s under the fucking stadium lights. A woman, a man, drugs, porn, fetishes…I’ll find what you’re hiding, you sanctimonious shit. In the meantime, every cable news outlet would be saturated with well-paid lawyers expressing grave misgivings about Braden’s probably illegal (and certainly unethical) announcement.
As Cranston alternated daydreams of vengeance and sex he heard the janitor wheezing outside in the hall. “Christ, is that fucker going to live?” he absently wondered. “I’ll make Braden wish he was writing parking tickets. Can’t wait to see his face when the indictment comes down. Maybe he’ll beg the hag for a pardon. That would…Jesus, what’s with that mouth breather?”
“Pay. Pay now.” The man–if you could call him that–labored heavily to expel three words.
Cranston spun at the familiar voice. “How the hell did you get in here, fat boy? I’m not paying shit. I said it was an interesting idea, and I appreciate the help of you boys–you’re true patriotic Americans–or something like that. But I’ve got more pressing matters at the moment. And you’ve got the front door to try and fit through. So GO.”
As Cranston turned away in disgust two 9 millimeter rounds impacted the back of his neck and skull. He was dead before he fell into his seat…forever just two weeks away.
And as receding pistol cracks fled into mahogany walls, the janitor that wasn’t slowly ambled into the room. Gasping as he regarded the now former campaign manager.
Not. Our. Values.
A cell-phone rang morosely in reply.
There had never been a Halloween start quite like this one. Cranston’s bloodied corpse had actually made it to nearly 9:00am unmolested as morning pedestrians chuckled at the realistically macabre holiday display. That is until one quizzical little daffodil studied the scene a little too closely and then perforated the morning commute with a remarkably high-pitched scream.
From there, it was a bullet train to bedlam.
Cranston’s brains weren’t out of the carpet before his life’s concluding work was being delivered to dutiful stewards in the media. An anonymous source–dependable for Cranston’s purposes-leaked accusations about an affair in Braden’s past to the press. All quite stolid as far as scandals go, though in this instance, the other party was a former governor. And male. And the opposing vice presidential candidate. The only proof was a grainy nighttime photo of the two men sharing a pina colada in tank tops. Though for purposes of redirecting public attention, that was quite enough.
Even more effective were allegations that Putin had orchestrated the assassination of Cranston to protect his catalogue of carefully nurtured American assets. Breathless MSNBC announcers offered speculation that Goldstein was actually a deep cover operative conducting surveillance on a shadowy fringe coalition of twitter trolls and venture capitalists operating directly under orders of the Kremlin and calling themselves the ‘alt-right.’
ABC news reported that Braden was said to have fallen under the extortive control of this Russian spy-ring by virtue of his homosexual affair with the vice presidential candidate they support. The campaign reportedly used this leverage to force Braden into a sham investigation of Goldstein, knowing full-well that all of the latter’s communications with “underage girls” were actually with alt-right spies trained by the Russians to veil their identities behind an anime avatar.
In addition to learning the names of the alt-right, Goldstein was said to have uncovered their plot to spirit Russian battalions into key urban choke points during the upcoming elections so as to inhibit minority turnout and tilt the election to Putin’s hand-picked and slavish minion.
According to reports, Goldstein had reportedly turned over this, and other long-accumulated evidence of the alt-right’s connection to both the Kremlin as well as multiple lynchings of black men in the 1930s. Forced by his handlers to discredit Goldstein before he went public, Braden manufactured allegations of Goldstein’s online sexual impropriety. All of which was well known by Cranston, who had been instructed by his boss (the presidential candidate) to keep this information sealed until after the election out of her deep respect for a fair democratic process. Though a frantic Putin, fearing his vast apparatus was finally coming to light, ordered his candidate to assasinate Cranston in order to silence the most likely songbird. It is believed that Goldstein is still safe in a hidden vault under CNN studios.
By mid-afternoon, the public had accepted it all. Cranston’s client had spiked to a 40 point lead in the polls as her opponent was forced to publicly disavow his allegiance to Vladimir Putin, the execution of her campaign manager, and multiple Russian atrocities committed during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Goldstein had been exonerated in the public eye and was even now being touted in several conservative journals as an honorable replacement for the disgraced Braden, who was now considered complicit in murder, espionage, sedition, and quite likely in violation of the Hatch Act.
As night fell on Halloween it was practically all over. Braden had fled the country in disguise under multiple indictments. While Cranston was a freedom martyr lying in state before being buried beside Rosa Parks. And as US bombers screamed toward Moscow in furious retribution, a man looking more jowl than face shambled down a pleasant sidewalk in greasepaint and clown clothes.
Frightened trick-or-treating children scattered as the dead-eyed fiend slowly stalked up to the brightly lit, affluent residence and stood strangely under the coach lights. His stance was unnatural, almost inhuman. Wheezing like rusted machinery. The foul fetid breath audible upon exhalation all the way to the sidewalk.
After an unknowable amount of time the door opened and a man in a bow-tie smiled widely. “Peter Peterson, come in. Did Cranston agree to pay fair compensation for activating our ‘Utah Plan?'”
Labored breathing was the only reply for several seconds, before a large bulbous head rotated back and forth negatively.
Not. Who. We. Are.
The man in the bow-tie considered for a moment before grinning knowingly. “No, it’s not my friend. It’s not who we are at all.”