I’m probably going to do major revisions on this in rewrites, but I enjoyed the heck out of writing this scene. Susan, a blogger, is trolling Georgetown watering holes looking for something juicy as her deadline looms.
She was just coming out of the Ladies Room when she heard, “He just ran out of the police station? A terrorist?”
Terrorist. There had to be a story there. Susan pretended to read the notices posted on the bulletin board, looking fiercely interested in loser bands playing college frat houses.
“You know you can’t say a word about this, right?”
“Dude, who are you talking to.”
“I know, I’m just saying.”
“It’s in the vault.”
“Your vault sucks.”
“Get on with it.”
“Okay, so, and you didn’t hear this from me—“
“There was a crash today on M.”
“I know, the traffic totally bjorked my lunch date.”
“You want me to tell this story or not?”
“By all means, sir.”
“One of the bodies disappeared.”
“What, like it went poof?”
“No, it’s just missing. One of the drivers.”
“And he was the terrorist?”
“No, man, let me finish. So this guy, a Korean off-duty paramedic stops to help rescue people.”
“Bunch of savages in this town.”
“Dude, that doesn’t even make sense.”
“I was quoting ‘Clerks’.”
“Yeah, but it doesn’t make sense.”
“I was being ironic.”
“Yeah, good job there, Alanis. Anyway—“
“You fellas doing okay?” The waitress had just walked up. Susan pretended to scribble down some show dates for bands she’d never heard of.
“Another round, please.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she watched the two young men in the booth next to the bulletin board check out the waitress’s ass as she walked away to get their orders. Pigs. Then they started talking again.
“So anyway, this paramedic stops to help—“
“Bunch of savages in this town.”
“It wasn’t funny the first time, Randall.”
“Well, excuse me.”
“Anyway, the body of one of the drivers goes missing, and this paramedic goes nuts. He goes chasing it down a back alley.”
“He was chasing a dead body?”
“No one saw it but him, but he said he was.”
“Dude, you never chase a zombie. That’s like basic knowledge.”
“I am going to pour this beer on your head.”
“Keep going, I’m listening.”
Susan’s hand was cramping up from all the frantic scribbling, and she was starting to wonder if these two frat monkeys would ever get to the damn point.
“So this guy starts rambling about the dead body walking away, the cop takes him in for questioning.”
“For, like, a zombie line up.”
“I’m done taking to you.”
“Okay, I’ll be good. Keep going.”
“The cops get the guy downtown and start questioning him and the guy goes all ninja on them.”
“Korean paramedic ninja.”
“I’m just saying, they’re overachievers.”
“Dude, you can’t say Orientals anymore. That’s offensive.”
“To the paramedic ninjas? I’ll take my chances.”
“How have you not been fired?”
“I have pictures of my boss in assless pants. True story.”
“I’ve met your boss, man. He can’t look good in those.”
“Which is why he won’t fire me. Can’t let those wind up online.”
“Your life is a source of unending confusion to me.”
“So the paramedic ninja. What makes them think he’s a terrorist? Sounds pretty cool to me.”
“Well, that’s the part I’m not supposed to talk about. The guy is North Korean—“
“Do you think they’re all issued track suits and those cool sunglasses?”
“And supposedly he’s an M.D.”
“He’s a doctor? Well then he’s definitely guilty.”
“If he’s trained as a doctor, why would he be working as a paramedic?”
“To meet chicks?”
Susan snapped the lead off her pencil. Get to the point!
“And there’s more. He’s a loner—“
“So are you. Doesn’t count if it’s not on purpose.”
“And he just moved here from San Francisco.”
“So a gay loner paramedic Korean ninja.”
Susan couldn’t take any more. “What the hell happened to him?” she shouted, at just the moment that the jukebox was pausing between songs. The entire bar stopped to stare.
The frat monkey who had been telling the story, his spotless black suit a sharp contrast to his friend’s kitschy ironic t-shirt and jeans, turned to look at Susan. “I’m sorry, what?”
Susan rushed to pull a chair from a nearby table up to their booth. The rest of the bar went about their business. “My name is Susan.”
The frat monkey reached out to shake her hand. “Dante. He’s Randall.”
Like I care, Susan thought. “I couldn’t help but overhear part of your conversation, and I was curious. Who said this guy was a terrorist?”
Dante’s face went pallid, then blank. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Please,” Susan said. “It’s completely off the record. I just need to know.”
“Show us your tits,” Randall said. Susan glared at him.
“I’m sorry,” Dante said. “Both for my friend and for the fact that I really can’t talk about this. It’s a national security matter.”
“That I’m sure your boss wouldn’t want to know you were discussing in public bar,” Susan said.
“Miss, you don’t even know who I work for.”
“The FBI,” Randall said.
Dante spun on his friend. “Why would you tell her that?”
“Hey, man, you’re the one who just confirmed it. She might have thought I was deliberately lying to throw her off the path. And besides, she’s hot.”
“I swear,” Susan said. “It’s totally off the record. Just background.”
Dante threw a twenty on the table. “Miss, I’ve already said more than I should have.” He shot a stern look at Randall. “Too many bad influences in my life as it is.”
He got up and edged out of the booth. Susan stood and followed him out the door.
“Please, I know you’re not supposed to say anything. But if there’s a terrorist loose in Washington D.C., the people—“
Dante stopped short of the curb and Susan almost knocked him into traffic. “Are you nuts, lady? Keep it down!”
“The people have a right to know,” Susan said, much quieter but still loud enough to be heard over the happy hour traffic on M street.
“The people know what we let them know,” Dante said, waving furiously at a cab. “And right now we don’t know that there’s anything to be concerned about.”
“That’s not what you told your friend in there,” Susan said.
“That was just two buddies talking. Officially, there’s no threat. We don’t even know if Cho—“
“That’s his name? Cho?”
A cab pulled up and Dante flung the door open. “Lady, you never met me. I have nothing else to say.” Then to the driver, “Hoover Building, please.”