January 20, 2017
Inauguration Day – Early evening
On the drive from the barn up to my house in the hills, Maria follows me in her dinged-up silver Volvo, an urban warrior, with its telltale signs of knocking metal against metal for hard to find parking spots in D.C. Her reflection in my rearview mirror has my near constant attention. In it she appears miniaturized and horizontal and in realtime like on TV, the venue where she’d first captivated me.
While still in the parking lot at the stable, I’d scanned myself on the off chance an ‘on call’ doctor might need me for an emergency. Bruised a bit on the inside and sticky on the out, I wasn’t so far gone from whiskey and smelling like sex in a barn that a hot shower, followed by two coffees with sugar and an egg salad sandwich, couldn’t straighten me out.
But I’d need an hour.
And I’d rather not, says the thrumming coming from between my legs that wants nothing at all to do with doctoring tonight.
Maria had been right earlier during our horseback ride. No one in her Washington power circles would ever know me. I had arrived only six months ago from Stanford Medical Center, where I’d been happy until the afternoon I’d slapped Jeanne across her face.
The longtime someone I’d thought surely would be my wife.
Wearing the red streak blooming across her cheek, Jeanne had sent daggers through her eyes at me, which I’d taken to mean – she’d expected an apology for slapping her for cheating.
That bit of my personal history I am hyper-secretive about, but Jeanne had followed the myth of greener pastures – taking off for her lover’s vineyard in Napa – and I’d been headhunted from coast to coast.
Taking a research position, as far away from her as possible, I’d quietly slipped out of state with my horse and tack and no assault charges, and the needle had dropped on a different tune in Virginia when the clown candidate, Donald Trump, had won his primary and I’d become obsessed with proving him insane.
I turn into my driveway and soon, Maria and I are trotting up the steps together with her overnight bag.
“I get the feeling there’s money to be made in brain surgery,” she says, following me into my spacious new home.
“Don’t ever expect a doctor to say, ‘business is good’ though. We think of ourselves as healers and don’t talk about the money we make doing it. At least the ones I admire don’t.”
Leaving our riding boots by the front door we continue in our stocking feet past my kitchen, den and down a long hallway to my bedroom.
“Another fireplace,” she says, crossing the room to investigate, but stops instead at the roses I’d bought, cupping their blooms in her hands she seems momentarily lost in thought.
“Bette, I need a minute to freshen up,” she says, while taking her suitcase from me.
“Of course.” I kiss her lightly on the cheek. “Take your time. I’ll be back the way we came.”
I’m halfway down the hallway when my home security OS says, “Dr Porter, Cassie is at the front door. Would you like me to connect you?”
On a security panel in the kitchen is Cassie’s face, rounded into a fisheye by the camera lens. I beat my forehead one, two, three times against the wall.
“Connect,” I grimace, while saying it.
“Doctor Porter, I’m so sorry to bother you at home, but you’d better come out here.”
In my stocking feet, on the cold pavement of my driveway, I hear a rustling in the shadows and the woman intelligence operative, who’d questioned me with her team and then, secretly summoned me to Room 303, appears from the bushes.
In rapid fire, Cassie begins to explain, “When I tell you she would not leave me alone, demanding to know where you were, for me to get in touch with you…and you know, I’d never give anyone your private number!”
“It’s true,” the woman in black says. “I need to see you,” and gesturing to Maria’s beat up Volvo she adds, “Hm, so this is where she is. Good. I’ve got both of you.”
“I don’t like the feeling of being tracked down or got,” I sneer, while planting both hands on my hips in a show of resistance, that fades into the chilly night. “Alright, come inside.”
Cassie edges backwards toward her car and the surety of escape. “Do you really need me, Doctor? I’ve got six more pink hats to knit before tomorrow’s march.”
“You yes! Are coming inside to listen carefully and meet my plus one for the Women’s March.”
Cassie looks back and forth between me and the beat up car, and follows me inside.
Sitting on a bar stool at my kitchen island is Maria, showered, scrubbed and glowing. She shakes hands with Cassie, who quickly shows me her approval – that a real woman is in my kitchen on a Saturday night (exciting!) – while Maria introduces the woman in black, as Jane, even though I’d swear several days ago she’d called her a completely different name.
Jane looks at her phone and says matter-of-factly that Cassie’s security clearance has gone through, when it suddenly occurs to me to boil water for tea.
Maria says to Jane, “They’re freaking out now, aren’t they?”
“It’s why I’m here.”
“As if this day hasn’t been coming, as fast as a freight train,” Maria adds.
A water’s boil later I’m steeping tea in my kitchen, that until tonight had been visited by almost no one.
“Doctor Porter in three hours, at one of President Trump’s inaugural balls, we’ll have a team in place that will require your assistance.”
“Tonight!” Maria and I both shout at Jane, who doesn’t blink.
“What on earth for?” I demand.
Jane lays her phone on top of my kitchen island and an image of a circuit board for a sensory gizmo I’ve never seen before appears. We all lean in to study its mysterious workings.
“This is magnified ten thousand times.” Jane turns the phone sideways giving me and Cassie a better look. “The sensor itself is very tiny.”
“I know what a micron is,” I snap.
Cassie, absorbing that my evening plans have been ruined and I’m likely to turn testier, says, “We have micro tech even smaller back at Doctor Porter’s lab.”
Maria loops her arm around my shoulder and asks, “Do you want in?”
“First,” I answer by leaving the counter and going for a bottle of rum I keep in the liquor cabinet, “what is this gizmo for and what am I to do with it?”
Getting nods from my guests, I top off their tea with Myer’s Rum and stop at the rim of Maria’s cup, fixing her with a suspicious glare. “Did you, by any chance, know about this?”
Jane interrupts my interrogation, “When focused in a six pointed signal these hidden sensors will release a synchronized pulse recorded by our main imaging controller. It should send back a picture of Donald Trump’s brain.”
“Should?” I blow back at Jane, before turning my attention to Cassie, a die-hard tech nerd. “Can a brain scan even be done with this…thing?”
“Well, as I said before…” Cassie’s voice trails, as she flips through more images on the screen, enlarging a few before moving on to the next one.
I state one fact I know for certain, in this rising sea of unknowns, “My nano robots, if we used about twenty thousand of them, could send out a magnetic pulse, but they’d have to be very close to make a decent image. Right now, using this gizmo, without me running lots of tests and diagnostics, I’d say it’s impossible.”
Jane, still with balls in the air, says, “Our lab’s had success as far away as one meter.”
Cassie frowns, unconvinced. “Using this thing?” She points to the red gizmo on Jane’s iPhone and pushes it away. “I wouldn’t suggest using that. Doctor Porter’s right. It would be difficult, but syncing our nano robots could create a powerful enough micro-pulse for a scan.”
“Of Trump’s brain!” Maria emphasizes, as she crosses her arms over her chest and says to me, “This is what you’ve been after, right?”
Bookended with the real possibility of acquiring the proof I’ve harangued about for months, the likelihood of losing my job and going to prison now looms large.
“Just so we’re clear,” my attention fixed on Jane when I say this, “this zap…Trump will feel it. What’s your plan from there?”
Jane drums her fingers on the countertop and remains silent, as Cassie shouts, “A top hat! That’s how we get so close. We put the nano sensors in a top hat.”
Two hours later –
Jostled by the black cargo van’s lack of a decent suspension I bump back and forth between Cassie and Maria sitting across from three of Jane’s team members, men dressed in tuxedos. Also bouncing around with us is Cassie’s nano robot configured top hat. It sits in a hat box at our feet.
Jane is behind the wheel and next to her in the passenger seat is a man, who has remained silent since our detour to pick him up. I frame him as the overlord of this operation, and wonder who he is.
Finally, I tap him on his elbow. “You aren’t with the government, are you?”
With a smile showing perfect teeth, he says, “They’re private contractors and you might call me, their investor.”
“Investor,” I repeat, grasping nothing in his answer.
“An investor in democracy,” he expands his previously cryptic reply. “Donald Trump does not bleed red, white and blue. I think you know that to be true.”
This causes me to shift forward in my seat, drawing closer to him. “When you say ‘bleed’ you mean, him not bleeding tonight, of course.”
From behind the wheel, Jane turns slightly. “Unless your top hat zap fries his brains and blood leaks from his ears then, no. Blood would be a bad thing.”
Cassie rubs her hands nervously and Maria and I stare down at the hat box at our feet.
“Five minutes out,” Jane says from the front.
The three men shift left and the one across from me pulls down a latch and a computer console slides out from its hiding place. He squeezes Cassie’s fidgeting hands and nods his head toward the screen loading software.
Lucky for Cassie, I guess, although I’ve never wanted to learn code, and yet, I don’t have a burning desire to go into Trump’s Ball with Maria and the patriotic investor, either.
I console myself with the many ‘ifs’ at play. All in the hands of Fate, or God, or Chance it remains to be seen if the investor’s wiles and money will get us in. If his inside man convinces Trump to wear the top hat. If the photographer, also undercover and on our team, switches to his specialized equipment to sync with mine at the precise second.
After that, it’s up to me to hit the trigger.
Any of this leading to any success I put at twenty percent, at best, however; if I do make it home tonight, instead of the more likely detour to prison, Maria has some explaining to do. Until then, I’m at the Trump Ball wearing my best, ‘thrilled-to-be-here-at-the-end-of-the-world’ smile and literally towering over hundreds of short fat Republicans.
Once again, Maria’s disappeared from my side, this time to chat up the likes of Sean Hannity. Finally, she reappears with two overflowing drinks of watery Bourbon. “I hate that man. He makes my skin crawl.”
“Thanks for drink, finally, but I could use ten more.” I hiss through my plastered on smile. “If another person asks me if I’m a ‘Melania relative’ I will fucking scream.”
Maria covers her mouth in surprise. “Oh my God! I can actually see it!”
“It’s gotta be the cleavage,” she says, sneaking a look. “In that department you and The First Lady do kind of match.”
I gag on a sip of Bourbon. “And for the record, I had no idea their plan was for me to come in here! Why am I not supervising off site, like in a lab, where I usually work!”
When out of the milling crowd the investor approaches, wearing his perfect smile. “The ballroom is this way, ladies.” He ushers us with his hand on Maria’s back.
A stage curtain parts and suddenly we’re in the belly of the beast, backstage with Bannon, Kellyanne and Priebus.
I feel a little vomit in my mouth.
The investor slides the rim of the black top hat between his fingers, scanning the room for his inside man.
Maria nudges me and says, “When you’re ready the switch is hidden in your lipstick.”
“I know, I know, I know,” I whisper back at her, “I twist it the moment the hat sits on his head.”
The three men in tuxedos from the van appear close at my elbow.
Across the room the investor shakes the hand of a man in a stars and stripes bowtie.
President Trump puts his arm around a medium toned brown-skinned man, who looks like the sultan of some oil rich sands, and the photographer snaps their picture.
The man with the patriotic bowtie performs a hat trick with my robots inside, spinning the hat on its brim in the palm of his hand to get Trump’s attention.
“Nooooo!” I gasp at Maria, who pinches the bridge of her nose and seems to be praying.
Absurdly bowing, as if to his King, the inside man offers the fine top hat to Donald Trump.
The investor says, “Put the hat on Mr President. It makes you look like Ronald Reagan.”
“A great, great man! Very memorable man. Not as good an actor as I am though,” Trump boasts, while pushing the hat down on his head, and I fire the trigger.
It was then, the President crumbled.
Caught first by the investor and then, by the Secret Service, Trump brushes everyone away, as if his dizziness were all fake and he was acting.
As Maria and I double-time it for the door, I wonder, not about the zap to Trump’s brain, but who’s got the hat with a hundred thousand dollars of my nanobots hidden inside?
Two hours later –
My heels and dress back in the closet, I button up a pair of jeans and pull a navy sweater over my head and walk into my den. Maria, still in her evening clothes, sits on a leather couch sipping wine.
Standing behind her I massage her shoulders. “Tell me what you think. I get the feeling I’m either getting a call from them tomorrow, or I’m going to have to fight them to examine the scan. What’s your take, since you know them so well?”
Relaxing more as I rub her shoulders, she lazily says, “I’m not what you’d call operational, Bette. Sometimes I get intel back as a favor for a favor, but on where this is heading, and into whose hands, I have no clue.”
“That’s it? The sum total of your knowledge of the I C world?”
“Just favors for favors for more secretive people. They’re my ‘sources’ when their names can’t be mentioned in print.”
“Sources.” I let that ferment in my barrel of questions before asking, “Did you play me for a bigger favor down the line?”
“Ouch!” she cries, when my grip on her shoulders digs in too much.
“Sorry, I thought you felt tense when you answered.”
She turns her head to look at me. “Do you not recall that it was you, who first shot her mouth off and started all this?” Her voice dropping back a notch. “Now, because I’d thought you’d want me to, I did say that bringing you along would be valuable.”
She covers her yawn with her hand. “You saw how they waited and waited until the last possible moment to pull this off.”
“Seriously, did you know, or not, that this was happening tonight?”
“Bette, honestly I’d thought they weren’t going operational with it.”
“You do realize you talk like one of them.”
“Baby, quit interrogating me and come sit down.” She pats the leather cushion next to her. “Come put your head in my lap and I’ll pour little sips of wine into your mouth and I promise I won’t spill a drop.”
“Interesting choice of words.” With my fingers on her forehead I tilt her head back on the cushions, making her look up at me. “Last question and then we’re done for the night.”
Her brow creases around my touch. “Done? What do you mean done?”
“Have you been seducing me all this time? For the sole reason I might be valuable to you down the line?”
Her patience with me gone, her temper takes over. She twists around and glares at me. “Do I feel that way to you? Traitorous? Whorish? Really? You know what, Bette? I should tell you to fuck off and leave right now.”
I leap around the couch to stop her. “Maria, wait! I’m being paranoid and I’m very sorry.”
She glares at me, not yet mollified.
I continue, “I’ll admit something you asked when we were riding. My life was very different up until recently and I do hide out in barns on Saturdays.”
She settles back on the cushion, eyeing me. “Which is why you smell the way you do.”
“Which you’ve said is good?” I ask hopefully.
She begins to smile. “Which I’ve described as having a hint of animal.”
“Am I forgiven, then?”
“You have a long night ahead of you.”
“I’ll survive, but don’t move.”
A few minutes later –
Behind her again, I massage her shoulders, moving the cords of her muscles to relax. She sighs and throws one arm over the back of the couch to touch me. My left thigh she rubs and then over to my right, where her hand stops on a hard bulge that’s running down my leg.
“Oh!” She turns around in surprise. “Now, you show me who really are.”
I stroke myself. “Yes, from now on.”
She sits on her knees, watching me. “My God! You’re so fucking sexy this way.”
I lift her up from the couch.
Throwing the covers back from the bed, I press the lighting control on my bedside table and with another button, the gas fireplace comes alive with a soft whoosh.
She unzips her dress and falls back on my bed. “Don’t ask me how I found the time to buy lingerie for you. Let’s just say, if you need a 24 hour sex shop there’s one in Adams Morgan.”
I kneel on the bed next to her and roll her stockings down her legs and kiss the inside of her thighs, sliding my fingers under the elastic of her new chocolate brown lace panties. “Meaning you want to keep these on?” I cock my eyebrow up at her.
She laughs. “What are you taking off? And don’t say your sweater.” She tugs and pulls it over my head, and our lips meet hungry for each other and she pulls me on top of her.
Breaking our kiss, she unbuttons my fly. “My lover, show me this surprise of yours.”
I slide my pants down, while she tosses her panties sailing past my ear.
“Beautiful,” she says, as I lie back in the pillows and she takes me in with her eyes, “I’ve never seen such a creature as you.”
Kneeling over me, she touches me as if for the first time. The palms of her hands caressing my shoulders and down my arms and over to my belly. She brushes my cock with her lips and rubs me down my thighs.
Rolling me over, she rubs my upper back and down my spine and I feel her between my buttocks as she slides my leather strap to the side and fucks me with strokes of her fingers.
My heart is pounding when I reach for her. ”I hope you know what you’ve done,” I say, covering my cock with gel, applying a slippery second skin.
She brushes her small patch of red hair against me, her eyes changing from temptation into want.
”Take me slowly, Baby,” she says, opening herself to me, guiding me inside.
”Very slowly,” I say, not wanting to at all.
Stayed tuned for Chapter 6!
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