Whistleblower: a person who exposes secretive information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct… The information of alleged wrongdoing can be classified as a violation of company policy/rules, law, regulation, threat to public interest/national security, fraud, or corruption. (Wikipedia)
On Wednesday, September 25, The Balcony was empty except for me. I was enjoying a bit of reflection when the door next to my corner opened and out came a guy with a Moscow Mule and sat at the middle table, up against the brick wall.
A master of the sideways glance, I saw that the guy’s Levi’s, blue Oxford-cloth shirt, and navy blue vest were all quite baggy. His Ole Miss baseball cap was pulled low on his forehead, with wisps of hair protruding all around, and he wore Blues Brothers sunglasses. He was an odd looking fellow.
I raised my glass as a friendly hello, and he did the same. I went back to reading Rumi as he flipped through The Local Voice. A few minutes later he spoke up. “Excuse me, sir,” he said, sounding like a prepubescent boy. He cleared his throat and continued, this time sounding like a 50-year smoker with a sore throat. “Did you write this article?”
“Yep,” I replied.
“May I come over and talk to you?” he asked.
I motioned to the empty chair closest to me.
“Can I trust you with a secret?” He whispered even though we were the only two there.
“Just don’t tell me you’re a terrorist or a serial murderer,” I replied.
“You know about all that whistleblower stuff in the news?” he asked.
“Kinda sorta.” I said.
“Well, I’m the whistleblower,” he paused, “incognito.”
I took a draw on my pipe and a sip from my drink. “And?”
“You don’t believe me?” he asked.
I shrugged, “Maybe I do; maybe I don’t. Does it matter?”
With that he pulled out his wallet and handed me his Maryland driver’s license. The picture on it was that of a woman. I did my best Clint Eastwood squint at him and he opened his shirt just enough for me to see some pretty convincing evidence that he was a she.
“I’ll be damned,” I snickered. “The Lord still works in mysterious ways!”
He – uh – she told me the story of T-rump’s phone call with the President of Ukraine and how her security clearance made her privy to such a high-level conversation. She said she was one of a half-dozen others who have been trying to get solid proof of T-rump’s loose cannon behavior. They believed that this phone call gave him enough rope to hang himself – figuratively speaking, of course.
She said they all wanted to be the one to play THE trump card. Despite the ridicule from the right, they would be seen by many as a genuine patriot. She’d snagged the gold ring by winning a game of beer pong (credited to her six years as an Ole Miss sorority girl).
“I was to pull the trigger on the operation, then get out of town until the dust settled and T-rump was solidly vilified,” she said. “I could leave D.C. without suspicion because my mother is seriously ill and I’ve been going to see her a lot lately.”
“Why Oxford,” I asked, “other than having gone to Ole Miss?”
“It feels like home here,” she said.
“And the crappy disguise?” I asked.
“Cloak and dagger,” she chuckled.
I continued, “And you’re telling me because…”
“I HAD to tell somebody,” she said. “My best college friend still lives here. She’s on The Balcony a lot and said that people tell you all kinds of stuff and she’s never known you to betray a confidence.”
“And if I were to write about this?” I asked.
“Doesn’t matter. Just don’t reveal my identity. If you write about it you know you’re gonna get sucked into the vortex, don’t you?” she asked.
“I’m old and I don’t care anymore. Actually, it sounds kinda fun,” I said. “Gonna be here long?”
“Not sure,” she replied.
“Well, come on back and I’ll introduce you to some of my friends,” I said.
“Who would you say I am?” she asked.
“My nephew, Watt R. Gates,” I replied, “but we’ll just call you Deep Throat.”
She laughed so hard her Moscow Mule shot out of her nose. “You’re fond of irony, I see.”
“Guess so,” I said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I need to call Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. They need to start work on their sequel to All the President’s Men. How does All the President’s Women sound to you?”
“Peachy,” she said. “Totally impeachy.”
…and that’s the view from The Balcony.