Dr StrangeJob, just escorted into the office of CBRM’s Secretary of Disinformation, plans to take full responsibility for the unscheduled sewage dump in Sydney Harbour and finally put that whole crappy episode behind him. Unfortunately, Ms Lied-Toomey has other plans.
“Thank you for coming to this meeting,” says Ms Lied-Toomey.
“Meeting! I wouldn’t call being arrested and dragged here by Dick Less a meeting,” retorts Dr StrangeJob.
“The Mayor is unaware of this session—oh wait, sorry—you’re talking about Officer Richard Less,” says Lied-Toomey.
“Aren’t you supposed to inform people of meeting dates and give some notice?” asks StrangeJob.
“This is not a public meeting. Consider it in-camera,” states Lied-Toomey.
“You just can’t hold in-camera meetings willy-nilly without letting anyone know,” says StrangeJob.
“Well, actually, it is the prerogative of the head of the Department of Disinformation to decide when and where to hold such meetings,” claims Lied-Toomey.
“Doesn’t the Municipality Act prevent you from misinforming the public like that?” asks StrangeJob.
“You might be confusing my department with my sister’s department, the Department of Misinformation,” states Lied-Toomey.
“What?” says StrangeJob.
“To clarify: my sister, M.T. Promise, is head of the Department of Misinformation. The Department of Misinformation tracks down valuable misinformation that we at the Department of Disinformation vet and forward through appropriate channels,” says Lied-Toomey.
“So, the Department of Misinformation finds or creates lies, and the Department of Disinformation spreads them,” says StrangeJob, “so what did you drag me down here for?”
“I brought you in because there is something we want you to do for us,” explains Lied-Toomey. “We want you to stop taking responsibility for the unscheduled sewage release in Sydney Harbour.”
“But it was me, it was all my fault, and I want to be accountable for my actions,” pleads StrangeJob.
“Look, we know you did it. Not only do we have security footage, but we also have the thumb-drive you left behind,” says Lied-Toomey. “We just don’t want you raising any unnecessary stink around the Port file.”
“So, this is about me trying to take responsibility for the sewage dump at yesterday’s press conference?” suggests StrangeJob. “Well, perhaps the Mayor shouldn’t have had me thrown out of the conference!”
“Yesterday’s incident was bad timing. That snoop from the Spectator upset the Mayor by asking too many sensitive Port questions, and then you started in with your it was my fault bit,” says Lied-Toomey. “The Mayor gets a tad sensitive when challenged.”
“Well, that didn’t give him the right to tell her to go FOIP herself, or to have me forcibly removed,” says StrangeJob.
“Look, I just brought you in for a friendly chat with the hope that you would come on board, but that does not appear to be working. So, simply put, I insist that you keep the sewage episode to yourself,” says Lied-Toomey, “Else we will release what’s on your thumb drive and blame you for the leak.”
“Are you calling me a leaker? I am no leaker!” retorts StrangeJob. “Perhaps at my age I am a bit of a dribbler, but I am certainly no leaker!”
“Believe me, you don’t want the data on your thumb drive leaked,” says Lied-Toomey, “So let’s simplify matters. We issued a press release to the Caper Post-Truth and local radio outlets explaining that the pungent smell was from the landfill site and was caused by the unseasonably warm temperatures and an excess of compost at the dump.”
“Alternate facts are fabricated lies, and the only thing I smell here is bullshit,” snorts StrangeJob. “I’m out of here!”
“We’re not done yet,” warns Lied-Toomey. “We know about your Let Them Eat Flowers plan, and that’s just not going to happen on my watch!”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” states StrangeJob.
“We have a PowerPoint presentation that begs to differ,” replies Lied-Toomey, “and, in fact, we have already forwarded copies of those plans to all appropriate CBRM management as a high priority item.”
“Excuse me for a second. I just remembered something I forgot to do,” states Lied-Toomey, pressing the intercom button on her desk phone.
“Helen Waite, Special Communication Assistant to the Director of Disinformation, how may I help you?” answers the intercom.
“Helen, this is Betty, did you remember to disable the Mayor’s Twitter account?” asks Ms Lied-Toomey. “He has been emulating his hero Trump again, and we need to reign him in a bit.”
“I guess you would call that a downside of the Trump bump,” interjects StrangeJob sarcastically.
“Yes ma’am, and I have also been monitoring Council member feeds per your request.” says Helen.
“You’ve been monitoring the Councillors’ accounts?” queries StrangeJob.
“You were not supposed to hear that,” stammers Lied-Toomey. “Helen, please strike that last statement from the official minutes and have a non-disclosure agreement made up for Dr StrangeJob to sign on his way out.”
“I am not signing any confidentiality agreement with City Hall, and the next time you want to talk to me, send me a text,” says StrangeJob, getting up to leave.
“If that’s the way you want to play it, then to talk to me you will need to follow proper channels by going through Helen Waite,” states Lied-Toomey. “That’s our official procedure for communicating with CBRM taxpayers, so it should be good enough for you.”
Once outside, Dr StrangeJob puts on his headphones and whispers, “Hey Zippy, did you get all of that on tape?”
“Sure did, and it sounds like she took the bait,” says Zippy. “By the way, what’s on the thumb drive?”
“That’s a story for another day,” replies StrangeJob.
…. to be continued
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