The Setting

Early November, and the election results have stunned the nation. After eight years of bleeding the country through deregulation, cronyism, and corruption, the current administration initiates a flurry of activity in the waning days before the inauguration. Under the weight of a collapsing global economy, political and business leaders race to secure assets in off-shore locations and legislation, put forth by the president, seeks to strike down environmental and economic regulations and safeguards, creating open season on fiscal responsibility.

Across the core of the country, small groups of independent food and energy producers band together in a plan to stem the hemorrhage of capital through corrupt politicians in Washington D.C. and the collapse of ethics and controls in the northeastern financial markets.

(3) 5 NOV, 10: 03 PM (MST) Boulder-Springs, Colorado

brown_john_tucker_av     “Are you sure you heard the entire conversation?” John Tucker Brown, who called himself Tuck, pulled the wire-framed glasses from his face and exhaled on the lenses. Tuck wiped the lenses with a microfiber cloth and looked up at the burly man standing in front of his desk.

“I might have missed the first few seconds when he was telling her who he was, but you’ve got what matters in your hand, all the way to the ‘oh shit’ when he saw me and dropped the phone.”

Tuck looked at the computer printout for the third time in as many minutes. Something related to the election. People will die, perhaps thousands – no, not on this telephone – on any telephone – oh, shit.

“You are sure he was talking to this reporter? Tobi Monahan?” Tuck asked.

“The number he called is her private cell phone. It could have been a secretary or assistant, but I don’t think so. It’s definitely a cell, not part of the YBN exchange, and Monahan’s company issued cell has a different prefix.”
Tuck studied the man in front of him as he pondered his next question. The goon had bloated facial features, scarred with pock-marks and old lacerations above his eyes and on his cheekbones. Probably a boxer at one time, Tuck thought. A muscle-to-mentality ratio of maybe six to one. With red veins streaking across skin stretched over a nose that resembled a rotten tangerine, the guy had found a lot of 80-proof solace in his lifetime.

“Tell me about the email again.” Tuck waved the printout. “If Monahan didn’t hear any more than this, why didn’t you leave it the hell alone?”

The goon shrugged.

“It was your idea, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, but –”

Tuck slammed the paper on his desk. “But what?”

“I guess I didn’t think of that until later. I just saw her number on the phone and decided to scare her off.”

“Scare her off? I think you sent her a formal invitation.” Tuck stood, his palms on the desk, and leaned toward the hulking man in front of him. The goon was large, but even leaning down, Tuck’s eyes were an inch higher. “Get the hell out of here. Disappear for at least a month.”

The goon spun and strode to the door. Tuck picked up his phone, and when a man responded on the end of the connection, Tuck spoke. “Clean it up.”

(2) 5 NOV, 9:37 PM (MST) Boulder-Springs, Colorado

monahan_tobi_av “I’m just a crummy waiter, for crap’s sake,” the man on the other end of the line had said less than an hour ago. “People like them don’t even notice me in the room.”

If he was for real, somebody had noticed. The gruesome photograph in my e-mail came with a terse message. Twenty-stories is a long way down, stay out of this, bitch. The picture was a high resolution digital photograph, a bloody close-up of a man I’d never met, who insisted that his story could not be told over the telephone, any telephone. Way too weird, probably some kind of hoax.

“My God, Tobi. What is that?” The squeaky nasal voice came from a junior production assistant. One of the wide-eyed waifs who usually lasted long enough to find out that working in television actually meant working.

“Just spam.” I clicked a button on the mouse and the picture disappeared, replaced buy the York Broadcast Network KYBN5 logo. I swiveled my chair and looked across the desk at the young woman, who looked unnaturally pale. “Really,” I said. “There’s nothing to it.”

“It looked horrible.” She grimaced and put her slender black-nailed fingers on my desk for support. After a few deep breaths, the peachy color returned to her face and she smiled in a way that reminded me of myself twenty-five years earlier.

“What do you need?” I asked.

“You’re due in make-up.” She looked once more at my computer screen. “I guess there are some disadvantages to everyone in the world knowing who you are and where you work.”

I didn’t tell her that the message had come to my personal email address, one that was known to a dozen people at most. “Can you have one of our information technology guys come see me in the makeup room?”

After she left I opened the email again and checked to see the originating address. I wrote it down and folded the paper then jammed it into the pocket of my cut-off jeans, worn thin in places, but what the hell — I’m single. Again. On the threshold of fifty, okay past it by a couple of years, I can still fill a pair of jean shorts in a way that can turn heads. With another click of the mouse, I put the computer to sleep and then headed down the stairs to the studio complex.

Fifteen minutes later, I sat behind the center of a glass-topped desk built for three looking at my own image in a high-definition television monitor. My name, Tobi Monahan, crawled across the bottom of the screen as the canned voice and music of the intro tape played through the angel in my ear. To the eye of the camera, I wore a gunmetal-colored cashmere blazer, five hundred bucks at Nordstrom, over a silk shirt custom tailored to bring out the sky-blue hue of my eyes. Nineteen more, just like it, hung in the closet of my downtown loft. Only the jacket changed. The bulky desk hid my tattered jean shorts and Crocs from every possible camera angle.
In Britain, they call us newsreaders, a subtle term steeped in accuracy. YBN calls me an anchor, a word not lost on me as I sit immobile, waiting for the wagging fingers of my floor director ten feet away.

“Ten seconds,” my angel squeaked. The device fit comfortably in the canal of my right ear, a thin wire sneaking under the collar of my blaze to a receiver pack on my belt. The director, technical director, and line producer could speak to me at any time during the broadcast.

“Five seconds,” the floor director spoke into her microphone and extended all five fingers of her right hand.

“Four,” she closed her thumb. “Three,” as she folded her little finger. Without another sound, she bent her ring finger and middle finger a second apart, then after one, she pointed at me with a nod.
I smiled and looked at the Teleprompter lens in front of the camera. With less than a second’s hesitation, I realized that the words on the screen were not those that I had prepared half an hour earlier. A bit daunting — finding out the story at the same time your audience does. I began to read as my image on the monitor dissolved into the close-up photograph of a young Hispanic man wearing a waiter’s uniform.

Vik Torino

vik-torino-150The Chairman and CEO of Banco de Puerco™, Torino has been kindly called “out of touch” in his bizarre approach to the current economic crisis. Born Viktor Illonovich Slamawhamadingdang, Torino is the son of a Malaysian businessman and a Russian stripper (excuse us–exotic dancer). His father’s wealth provided Torino and education at the best business schools in Europe and the U.S.

Photo (foreground) ©Phillip Wilkerson+, (, BdP Logo ©ChaliceMedia


Thaddeus Emory “Em” Gideon

gidiot_150Thaddeus Emory “Em” Gideon is a former Colorado congressman who speaks for the AWNP,  an Ultra-Right wing conservative party. [ed:  moderates are represented by PNCP]
Gideon, a failed 2008 presidential candidate has been appointed the official spokesman of the AWNP, representing many of the people in Flyover Country. Gideon’s primary web presence is his official website.

photo© ChaliceMedia

Myron T. “Mt.” Hooch

hooch_mt_150Mt. Hooch, a retired general and former member of the Joint Chiefs, balances his time between his small horse farm on the Shenandoah River, near Elkton, VA and his cattle ranch near Gonads, OK. Hooch is tightly connected to powerful leaders in both the regular military, loyal to the coastal states, and the National Guard, traditionally commanded by state governors. For the most part, the loyalty of the National Guard rests with the Flyover States. Hooch is also the author of Flyover Bugs: The Entomology of The Flyover War. The nickname Mt. Hooch comes from his size and durability.

Photo (foreground) ©Willee Cole+ (


John Tucker “Tuck” Brown

brown_john_tucker_avBrown is a wealthy oilman who migrated from Shreveport, Louisiana to Boulder-Springs, Colorado through the oilfields of Oklahoma and Texas. Frustrated by the current administration’s lack of economic control and the prospect of the new administration’s pledge to make changes, he bands together with close associates to engineer controlled chaos.

photo© Pete Bax+ (


Douglas “Dooley” Neall

neall_douglas_150Dooley Neall is a second term PNCP Senator from Colorado. He is a key sponsor of new legistation to crack down on the excesses allowed to occur during a recent period of radical deregulation by the URW (Ultra Right Wing) administration.

photo© Steve Cukrov+ (


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