Looking up into Gotcha’s eyes, Kitty pondered. He truly had made a pathetic first impression. Could he really be the ring leader of a global network of powerful people with benevolence in their hearts?

If so, how competent were they? The world was a mess, and had been a mess long before COVID arrived. So, was Gotcha, the cabal, not the ring leader, nothing more than a troop of nincompoops, and bumbling stumblebums?

Or, conversely, had they managed to keep the vile miscreants who prance atop the world’s power pyramids from turning the planet into a reptiloid dystopia, devoid of hope, never mind joy?

Should she shun Gotcha rigt then, and rigt there? Or should she see what he and his had to offer her cause?

She made her decision fairly quickly, but remained silent for another ten seconds. When she finally spoke, she said, “Hitler had horse herpes.” She had no idea what the fuck it meant, or why she said it, or why she added, “Himmler gave them to him.” She just blurted it out, and let it linger like a pull my finger joke.

Gotcha’s expression turned from bemused to amused, when he said, “Hitler had horse herpes. Himmler gave then t him.”

Pinky was tickled pink by the Seussian nonsense. He pondered and proposed, “That has to be the Gotcha code and counter code, for when we meet other members of the conspiracy that we have never met, or even seen.”

Kitty laughed, looked at Gotcha, and said, “Hitler had horse herpes.”

Gotcha laughed and replied, “Himmler gave them to him.”

Turning serious, Kitty said, “Let’s walk.” They doubled back to the horseshoe shaped driveway that would take them to the steps of Canada’s House of Parliament.

“How long have you been working with dissidents in China,” Kitty asked the international dealer of shade.”

“Since 89. On June 4th, when the CCP rolled the tanks into Tiananmen Square, me and some friends were high as fuck on acid. We got the news the next morning, as we were coming down.”

“It was a Sunday,” Pinky remembered. “I’d been up all night, writing. I knocked off a couple hours after dawn, turned on the radio, and got the news. I laughed to myself that the world is a far more heinous place than I could ever imagine, and the Chinese communists were bigger monsters than I could dream up.”

“Pinky looked at Gotcha, “But you, my friend, getting the news while suffering total serotonin depletion…. Fuck me, that must have been one King Hell, bummer trip. That’s worse than Kris Kristofferson’s worst Sunday Morning Coming Down.”

Gotcha was staring into the void, remembering. “I was here, in Ottawa. I walked to the gates of the Chinese Embassy. There were a few people there, starting a vigil. I silent vigil. I didn’t feel like being silent. I put my head into the bars, and screamed; ‘You fucking bastards! You’ll all burn in fucking Hell for this.’”

“I ranted and raved for a few minutes, cursing them, and their mothers, and the fucking horses they rode in on. A girl put her hands on my shoulders, from behind. I stopped screaming, and turned. She had tears streaming down her face. I’ll never forget her face. Never. She hugged me. I hugged her back. I think I may have swallowed her, just absorbed inside of me, as I sank to the ground. I sat there, with my back up against the gate, and cried.  For hours. I cried all fucking day. And I vowed to myself that I would get the fuckers for what they had done.”

Kitty could feel the agony wafting out of Gotcha. Thirty one years later, he still felt the pain, and she felt his pain, too.

“Six months later, the Berlin Wall came down. I was there. I had to be there. We all knew it was gonna happen, sooner or later. The whole world knew. So, I flew to Berlin, and maxed out my credit card, waiting for it to happen.

“The night the Wall came down, I danced on top of it, while ecstatic Germans pounded away at it with their hammers, and their hearts. I met a girl on top of the Wall. An East German girl. We fell in love, on the spot, and for the next week.

“She had been part of the resistance. A punk princess, if ever there was one. Pussy Riot, before any of those Russian punks were born. In the week we spent together, she told me how it happened. How they brought the Wall down.

“It was years of struggle. Running and hiding to stay out of the gulags. Not all of them were so fortunate as to avoid jail, or being thrown into exile. She told me how they, the punks and the intellectuals, in every country behind the Iron Curtain, had been helped by the independent peace movement in the West. And I got all the gratitude she wanted to bestow upon all those in the West who had supported them, in any and every way they could.

“She told me that the Soviet Politburo understood, in the early 80s, that it was coming apart at the seams. They didn’t know how to handle it, short of killing everyone who even whispered a word of dissent. That’s why they picked Gorbachev to lead the bloc, when Chernenko died. They wanted a reformer. They got more than they bargained for. But without a resistance movement, there’d have been no Gorbachev. They have picked another hardliner, and who knows what the world would be like today? We might have blown it all up with 50,000 nukes.

“That’s when I started looking for Chinese dissidents to help. The wall was down. China was the biggest dragon left in the skies of the East. If that red dragon is gonna be brought down, shot down in flames, if necessary, the people of China are the ones who will slay it.”

Gotcha stopped speaking. He stared at the ground in silence, until Kitty asked, “What happened to the girl?”

Without lifting his head, Gotcha covered his face with clinched fists. “Nena. Nena was her name. She disappeared one night. We were at a party, having a great time. And then she wasn’t there, anymore. I looked for her all over Berlin. Then all over Germany. Truth told, I’ve never stopped looking for her, nor will I.”

Kitty felt for the man. But she wondered, at the same time, if his failure to find Nena was another indication that Gotcha and his cabal were nothing more than a troop of nincompoops, and bumbling stumblebums.




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