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the zaffre zone: title cards, joaos, and other oddities

Roberto El Rey

Unelected bureaucrat
Patreon supporter
I love, love, love that Carter. Although I am curious as to why Jackie Kennedy is an unknown if he later served as President for two terms. Also, what happened during Reagan's first term?


my "what else can mandelson do" shirt has a l
I love, love, love that Carter. Although I am curious as to why Jackie Kennedy is an unknown if he later served as President for two terms. Also, what happened during Reagan's first term?
On the note of JFK, keeping in mind that this is a list adapted *from* a TLIAD, JFK was going to feature in 1958 as the callow young Vice President serving for a couple of days after Lindy Johnson's heart attack - a historical footnote eclipsed by President Johnson's vast shadow - and then lose ignominously in 1960 as a sick posho next to absolute chad Gerald Ford (people listening over the radio actually thought JFK won because Ford was speaking nonsense, but)[1]. End of story.

AND THEN éminence grise John Kennedy comes roaring back in 1980 as the party's big beast with the nerve to stare down the tottering hegemon of Supreme Leader Bychkov. "Tear down the Berlin Wall", all that stuff. He presides over the peaceful final downfall of the Russian Empire[1] - by now his Addison's is so bad he's confined to a wheelchair - and hands off power to the safe pair of hands that is VP Trump.

Reagan himself is of course unfairly monstered as a dupe just 'reading lines' at the height of the White Scare, but by the late '60s because I needed to kill time has been rehabilitated as an innocent victim of (Gene) McCarthyism[1] and is well-placed to bring Peace With Honor to the Arabian Peninsula in the aftermath of HW's fiendishly controversial conflict[1].

[1] for the record, these specific pieces came together literally just now as i was writing this[2] because it takes a very high IQ to
[2] tonkin gulf war
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my "what else can mandelson do" shirt has a l
By the Sword


Beacon Hill shines none too bright, these days. I paid it, or more accurately the craggy shadow it slings across the west of Boston, a visit recently. Not by choice—who visits Boston by choice—but on a professional matter, for my profession is antiquities. Dealer of such, I generally say, although if you catch me in an unusually honest mood, I will admit that I am truthfully more of a go-between.

This indeterminate level of employment suits me, most of the time, but it does occasionally lead clients to seek to take advantage of my anonymity, as this client was doing. There is no kinder way to describe their demand—it was certainly not a request—to conduct business almost at midnight in the vicinity of the old Hancock House. This is what I find tiring about my job: not the antiquities, but the endless pretensions of men that deal in them. No matter how many hoary legends attach to the Hancock House, or whether it is a singular example of pre-Partition or post-Partition architecture, or what have you, I would rather conduct my work in a quiet, well-lit place where I can easily check for water damage. Not a ruin. But it makes for more eager sellers, and more eager sellers are more generous sellers, so I can abide it.

Or so I told myself, waiting in the lengthening shadows below the hill as the night crept along. Hancock House itself made for a poor companion. It does not loom so much as lean, and the nature of its lean, or where I stood, meant I could see through cracked windows to the dust and cobwebs and, frankly, piled-on strata of graffito on the interior walls. I did not need to get closer to see how much of it was obscene.

“Like pissing yourself during the eulogy, isn’t it?”

I turned—calmly—to greet a man who was, himself, leaning more than looming under the flickering streetlights. “Mr. Anson?”

“The same.” His lip considered curling. “Which makes you the so-highly-praised Monsieur Dufresne.”

“Arthur is alright.” If I had been at a loss for words every time I met this attitude, I would have been out of a job. “You wish it were more maintained?”

“Or less. A cairn, maybe, like Stonehenge. Not this testament to, heh, preserved perversion. The very oldest was put there by Burnet’s men, do you know? And yet the city can’t tell it apart from the scribblings of last week. What do you think of that?”

I thought his city was far too busy resenting their history to ever forget it but, as I have said, I am merely a go-between. “I think obscenity has simply been gracious enough to remain its same good-natured self these past two hundred years.”

“Hmph.” We stood in unquiet silence for a moment, next to the horrid old house. “Want it? Or not?” Anson slid a parcel out from under his arm.

“Want it?” He was unwrapping it. Far too carelessly, if it was what he had said it was. “My dear fellow, it is the sole reason I am here.” I took it out of his hands—this time of night, in this part of the colonies, I would have had to be astoundingly stupid to try to rob him—and with careful prying, held it up to the quaint half-light, to see. And felt suddenly grateful for the gathering darkness, here on Beacon Hill.

The Franklin Codex.