Friday, October 27, 8:01 pm, Washington, D.C.
“I saw a dead bird flying through a broken sky. I heard it, and it said, “The world will never understand.“― Nadège Richards
Without an avian feather in flight, the sunset sunk into the Potomac as a scorched afternoon transitioned into a sultry evening in the nation’s capital. Arriving at her condominium after a long day in the field at the Environmental Protection Agency, Detective Natiqa Wright slipped on her old Badgers jersey. She stretched out on the couch to watch the most popular news commentary on the internet, The Shadow Report. Far from her favorite show, Natiqa considered herself apolitical. She believed all politicians were cynical and corrupt. Peer-reviewed study and verifiable recordings of facts mattered to her. Still, it seemed elected officials were more like loose weathercocks blown by political winds.
Natiqa popped the cork on a chilled bottle of rosé when the show began with the voice of WOLF News’ android anchor, April Shadow. “...So this current administration believes you are sheep they can lead to slaughter. And now the President wants to executive order our country into a borderless nation with even more lax immigration laws for shitholers to tote their disease and filth to America. Never mind a foreign disease killed two Americans less than 12 months ago. Let all the pestilence in, right? It’s fine! I mean, who’s in charge here? Are the people in our administration smarter than a fifth-grader?”
Natiqa rolled her eyes at Shadow’s disembodied head on the screen. It was hard to look away from such a car wreck of a show. She couldn’t ignore it. The android reminded her of everything she didn’t like about politics; the melodrama, the pretense, the disconnect. Nonetheless, it was entertaining.
Shadow continued, “There will be a debate on this network next week with the next President of the United States, either Senator Peanut Brown or Governor Abigail Asante. Will either candidate be able to meet the task at hand when they’re in the Oval Office, or will there be more failures like our current administration? People, if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re bound to repeat them. Lest we forget what happened to Philadelphia in 1793 or what happened to New Orleans, AKA Necropolis in 1853? Thousands upon thousands dead from the incurable Yellow Fever virus, brought over by who? The same shitholers who infected Americans last year. But here’s the President with open arms to any Juan, Dick, and Harry. Terrorists, drug dealers, lowlifes, c’mon down!”
Natiqa sat up to pour another glass when she received a videoconference notification on her phone. It was her friend from college, Dunk Dillenberg. She accepted his call.
“Cocoa Sugar Bear!” said Dunk.
“I thought I told you never to call me that again, and what’s with those Naviators you got on? You look like a cop,” she said.
“And you are a cop,” he said, “I still miss you!”
Natiqa met Dunk on the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team when he was a freshman trainer during Natiqa’s senior year. They also happened to have the same biochemistry course in college. Their inexplicable connection made them almost inseparable on campus. They didn’t talk like they used to after school was over, but would continue where they left off like it was yesterday.
“Never around until you’ve got yourself into trouble,” she said.
“Always with the old stuff. Am I so transparent?” Dunk grinned.
“Victor’s Secret. Unless you got something for me about your creepy-ass employer, I don’t have time for your foolery, Dunk.”
He sucked at what Natiqa would call an ‘ideal’ informant for her. Dunk worked as a senior research engineer for Caribou Genetics, a New Orleans based-lab on her radar for noncompliance since she joined the agency. They’ve been able to operate with impunity while dragging the government through litigation.
“I didn’t want anything,” Dunk said, “Just wanted to see how you were doing. So how are they treating you over there at the EPACID-X-Y-Z?”
“Should’ve gone Secret Service.”