Yes, it is true what you heard. I did spend the last few days as a guest in Washington, D.C.
More accurately, I was a guest of the Washington D.C. police, who were kind enough to take me into protective custody after a slightly embarrassing incident.
Even more accurately, I was being taken into protective custody to stop myself from doing anything really rash, like, say, blowing up a building in Dupont Circle.
But as I told them then, and I'm telling you now, there were extenuating circumstances.
The circumstances were this: ever since the late 50's, when I've been in town, there's been a place that I have desperately needed to go to for a good, healthy drink. After dealing with so-called intelligence people all the damn !@#$ !@#$ day, it's the only sane response.
That place, my friends, was a little hole in the wall named the Brickskeller. Maybe you've heard about it? It kept getting in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most commercially available beers on tap, anywhere, and had fine brews from all over the world.
Yes, you could drink your way around the world, there, without leaving your booth. Some places promise that. The Brickskeller was the only place that ever delivered.
So for decades, whenever I was in D.C., dealing with super-crazy spy stuff, or cold war stuff, or post-cold war nutty stuff, I make sure to pencil in some time with the 'skeller. The food was complete !@#$, but it's a poor drunk indeed who makes boozing decisions based on how good the cheese board is.
Not that I couldn't mix business and pleasure in those fine, low-ceilinged halls. I had numerous high security meetings there, disguised as frat hangouts. I even had the privilege of putting Aldrich Ames in a headlock, there, once, just to let him know that we know that he knew that we knew that he knew.
And boy, did he ever. I left him face down and crying in a gaggle of yuppie students, tourists, and slumming intelligence personnel.
Well, it's been a weird couple of years for SPYGOD. For one reason or another, the folks in D.C. have not been too keen to have yours truly hanging around their conference rooms, trying to see how many staffers I can bean into unconsciousness with flash-frozen urine pellets from my magnificent, alien love god penis while discussing the fate of the free world, and how to deal with the enemies we have left.
I can't for the life of me imagine why, but they seem to prefer to videoconference with me from the relative safety of Neo York, or the Flier, not realizing I can use my mind to do things to their synapses they don't even have names for yet. And I know that they don't know that I know that they don't know.
So I don't know how long it's been since I actually got into D.C., but it's obviously been a while. And since I was over at Arlington, eulogizing someone I hardly knew at all, but wish I had, by giving a long-overdue eulogy to someone I did know, I decided I needed a real drink. Several of them. And a cheese board just so I could laugh at it.
But as soon as I rounded the corner, I realized I was in trouble. The building was the same, but the name on the awning was different. What was this BREWTOPIA malarkey?
Undaunted, I walked inside. Gone were the dark lights and beer cans. Instead there were potted ferns and framed black and white photos and !@#$ smiley faces everywhere. Alien smiley faces, at that. Dayglo alien smiley faces.
Some woman with muppet hair came up and asked me how many. I said "As many as you can give me at once."
She looked at me like I'd asked for illicit favors and said how many people. "Same answer, honey. Just gimmie my usual booth and tell the tender that SPYGOD is here."
She looked at me and asked for a driver's license. I asked her if she was joking.
This is a bar, sir, we need a drivers license. I asked her if she knew who I was.
No sir, I don't know who you are. But I work here, and this is a bar, and I need to see your driver's license.
That's when things started to get a little strange. I realized that the day glo smiley faces were winking at me. I realized the place was full of hippies and dropouts instead of yuppie college kids, tourists, and slumming intelligence professionals. I realized they were playing bad technopop on the loudspeakers and the jukebox was gone.
I realized they were drinking foofy drinks instead of beer.
"This really isn't the Brickskeller, is it?" I asked.
And she laughed and said that it'd gone out of business, changed hands three times in two years, and was now a hippie-run, worker-owned, progressive policied everyperson's bar that specialized in "happenings" and drinks even a revolutionary could afford.
Oh, and if I didn't get out my driver's license, she'd have her girlfriend the transpecied ape woman throw me out.
That's when I don't really remember what happened next. I may or may not have done something naughty to her synapses with my SPYGOD vision. I know I started ripping the alien faces off the walls to find how deep they went, but at some point that just turned to pointless and violent vandalism in the search for a bottle of Tusker.
The news says that a tornado touched down and cracked the building in half. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt, except for the girl with muppet hair. I've made arrangements for her rehabilitation, and they say she's making good progress. Someday she may be able to drink her lunch.
But my heart and soul is broken. No longer can I sit in a darkened booth, chat up frat boys over a bottle of beer they can't pronounce, wonder if that tiny slice of gouda is really worth $15, and flush commie spies down the commode for America.
Dear God, what are fighting for?
On the plus side, I have made a number of valuable contacts on the other side of the iron wall. Little Jo says he knows a guy who can get me tranny Vietnamese hookers by the literal boatload, and I may just have to take him up on that when I get back from Antarctica.
(Hopefully nothing went wrong while I was away...)
(SPYGOD is listening to Drunken Lullabies (Flogging Molly) and drinking lots of black coffee)