The Apple Fell off the Tree and Rolled into the Sewer

A highly unseasonable cold snap hit the Washington DC area (and, indeed, most of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains) this weekend, so Saturday morning found me relaxing indoors sipping a cup of Kopi Luwak with a shot of Remy Martin XO in it and my cat Twinkle curled up on the couch beside me, purring softly as I perused the latest edition of the Atlantic. Later, I would have to bundle up and brave the cold in order to attend a chamber music recital at Dumbarton Oaks with Cerise, but at the moment, I was quite comfortable watching the stiff, freezing breezes play in the bright autumn sunlight through the trees in my front yard. Then my land line rang – Caller ID said it was coming from one of Joe Biden’s haunts, so I thought it was him. As it turns out, I was wrong.

Tom: Hello?
Caller: Tom Collins?
Tom: Yes.
Caller: This is, uh… Hunter Biden, Joe’s son?
Tom: Oh.
Hunter: I was wondering if maybe…
Tom: How about you call my office and make an appointment?
Hunter: I’d love to, but I’m concerned that if I did, the fact that I paid your astronomical hourly fees might get out and make me, and by implication, my dad, look like wealthy elitists.
Tom: Let me get this straight – you got a BA in history from Georgetown University and a JD from Yale and you’re worried that you might be perceived as an elitist?
Hunter: Um… well, if you put it like that, I know it sounds kind of… I don’t know…
Tom: Ridiculous?
Hunter: Okay, yeah, maybe, but you can’t be too careful, what with my father running for president and all, you know.
Tom: So you expect me to take time out of my Saturday afternoon to give you free advice?
Hunter: No, no, of course not. Could I just, you know… have a courier bring you a cash payment on Monday?
Tom: You’re saying… something like a plain brown manila envelope full of greenbacks?
Hunter: Sure, I guess… maybe I am.
Tom: Tell you what – we talk now, gratis, for as long as it takes, and later, you stop by my office incognito for an anonymous appointment with a cashier’s check for a standard ninety-minute consultation.
Hunter: Um… you are rather expensive, you know.
Tom: I’m expensive? This from a man who collected fifty thousand dollars a month to sit on the board of a Ukrainian gas and oil company while his father was Vice President of the United States. Tell me, Hunter, what exactly did you do for that fifty grand a month?
Hunter: I… well, I did what corporate board members always do. I attended meetings.
Tom: Right – just like all the elitist corporate board members on all the corporations everywhere – you sat on your can in meetings and collected big bucks for rubber-stamping executive management’s decisions. You know how that looks to the average Democrat, whose vote your father desperately needs to get the party’s nomination, not to mention the average American, whose vote he will desperately need to defeat Donald Trump a year from now?
Hunter: Uh… not good, I guess.
Tom: Not good? Is that all you can say? Come on, Hunter, out with it – are you high on coke again?
Hunter: No, no way!
Tom: All right, let’s say I believe you, although why should I, considering that cock-and-bull story you came up with when you were kicked out of the US Naval Reserve for a positive drug test. “Somebody must have put cocaine in one of my cigarettes,” you said. Honestly, Hunter, how dumb do you think other people are? Do you suppose they’re as witless as you get when you’re doped up and drunk?
Hunter: I’m clean and sober. I take life one day at a time.
Tom: Oh, yeah, easy does it, friend of Bill. Let’s say I swallow your story that you aren’t calling me direct from Cloud Nine. Let’s also say you’re really Hunter Biden and not some bored Biden staffer who’s disgruntled about having to work Saturday and decided to have some fun at my expense. Well, then, color me gullible. What can I do for you?
Hunter: Well, uh… it’s like this – ever since the Republicans started using my position on the Burisma Holdings board as a talking point in their defense of Trump during the House impeachment investigation, it seems like other Democrats are, you know, kind of mad me.
Tom: What makes you think that?
Hunter: Um… ah… well, people have stopped returning my calls, even when my message includes my name and telephone number. And I send emails to prominent Democrats and they don’t reply.
Tom: I see. Anything else?
Hunter: When I walk into a room where Democrats are having a conversation, everyone stops talking and stares at me. Democrats start walking away from me when they see me coming. Nobody important in the Democratic Party invited me to a Halloween party this year, and my house got the worst toilet papering on the night of October thirty-first that I’ve ever seen on anyone’s, even though we had all the best fun-size top name brand candies. I mean, that’s never happened before. And now, it looks like somebody recorded a ring tone of a man with a Slavic accent yelling “[expletive]-hole” on a cell phone and hid it somewhere in my house. They keep calling it at all hours and then hanging up before it stops. The damn thing just goes on and on; I think they have it set for ten rings or something. I’ve looked all over and I can’t find it. And then, Friday night, someone rang the doorbell and when I answered it, there was a flaming paper bag on the doorstep; and when I stomped on it to put out the fire, I found out the bag was filled with dog poop – really runny, sticky dog poop, too, not the dry firm kind, you know?
Tom: You’re saying, they curated the dog poop?
Hunter: Yeah, looks like it – you have to feed a dog lots of cheap, loose, wet canned dog food to get that kind of stuff to come out its rear end.
Tom: Shopper’s Food Warehouse Generic Alpo formula, for instance.
Hunter: Right, that kind of stuff. Whoever it was put some real effort into it, I can tell you; that and the toilet papering. They had to. I live in a gated community with a 24/7 security service. A person would have to be a cross between a Navy SEAL and a ninja to get to my house with fifty rolls of toilet paper or put a flaming bag of dog-doo on my front porch.
Tom: Not to mention break into your house and hide a cell phone there.
Hunter: Yeah, that too.
Tom: Well, let nobody say that the Democrats can’t pull off a decent dirty trick or two themselves.
Hunter: Well, I never did! Look, I know they’re upset with me for damaging my dad’s chances of winning the nomination, but…
Tom: Damaging? How about destroying his chances, Hunter? Thanks to your shenanigans with the Ukrainians and the Chinese, you dad’s presidential candidacy is toast.
Hunter: Hey, look, I never made any money off that thing with the Chinese, okay?
Tom: The fact that you were an inept failure in doing shady foreign business deals with characters like Ye Jianming, who ended up in a Chinese jail charged with bribery, doesn’t do much to excuse your behavior, Hunter, although I would admit that it could be argued you would, indeed, look even worse if you’d made a fortune at it. Could I ask why you had to get involved with that kind of venture in the first place? Couldn’t you have made plenty of money off your famous father’s name, doing nothing in particular in legitimate businesses like MBNA America or Amtrak? What were you thinking, hanging around with Asian grifters and Eastern European gangsters?
Hunter: Uh… I guess I wasn’t. Thinking, that is.
Tom: Evidently not. And now, you’d like some advice on how to fix things?
Hunter: Yeah, I guess that’s what I want.
Tom: Hunter, have you ever heard of Anthony David Weiner?
Hunter: Oh, sure, he’s uh… Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign vice-chairman’s husband. Or was – I don’t know if she’s divorced him yet.
Tom: They’re separated. And do you recall why?
Hunter: Um, because he sent pictures of his… ah… junk… to a bunch of women on Twitter?
Tom: Not just once – constantly. He couldn’t help himself, even after he’d been caught doing it and his actions had been exposed to the entire world; even after it had cost him his seat in the US House of Representatives; even after doing it lost him a hotly-contested race for mayor of New York City; even after his wife told him if he did it again, she would leave him. He just had to keep on sexting, sending females pictures of Weiner’s wiener, until one of the recipients turned out to be a fifteen-year-old girl, which landed him in prison with a sentence of twenty-one months. But not before it was discovered that, due to his affiliation with Hillary Clinton via his wife, his laptop computer contained materials pertaining to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s possible violations of 8 U.S. Code Section 1924, to wit, emails from the unauthorized private server Clinton had used during her tenure as Secretary of State. And do you recall what happened next?
Hunter: Uh… yeah… James Comey…
Tom: Who was FBI Director at the time, re-opened the investigation, eleven days before the 2016 presidential election. And guess what that did?
Hunter: I don’t know, um… it… uh…
Tom: It made damn sure that Donald John Trump, Bozo Extraordinaire, went straight to the White House, that’s what it did! Weiner’s timing was so impeccable, if it wasn’t blatantly obvious that he is an utterly pathetic reprobate with terrible judgement and absolutely no impulse control, a reasonable person could swear he was a Republican operative. Now – tell me, what does that make you?
Hunter: Golly… gee whiz, I’m not sure. Are you saying I’m a pathetic human being and have terrible judgement and absolutely no impulse control?
Tom: If the shoe fits, wear it, you over-privileged Ivy League twit! If your daddy wasn’t the extraordinary man he is, you’d have to get by on your own merit and accomplishments. Which means you’d be the third-rate lawyer with drinking and drug abuse problems that you are now, but lobbying for the vaping industry or something similar, and not in any position to tank the only viable bid for a candidate who can rescue our nation from the potential establishment of a right-wing dictatorship!
Hunter: And you’re saying I’m responsible for that, just like Weiner is responsible for tanking Hillary’s campaign in 2016?
Tom: Well, not totally, of course. Hillary was about the absolute worst choice for a presidential candidate the Democrats could possibly have made, but still, she was running against Donald Trump, for Christ’s sake. Losing that election took the efforts of many, many clueless Democrats besides Hillary Clinton, but the last thing they needed in 2016 was a loose cannon like Anthony Weiner to throw a monkey wrench into it half a furlong from the finish line. And that’s what you became – your father’s Anthony Weiner, screwing the pooch right at the point where he should have locked up the nomination. Bravo, turkey, bravo.
Hunter: So, um… okay, I made some mistakes. What’s your advice? What should I do?
Tom: My advice is, go find Anthony Weiner and ask him! Goodbye!

I must admit, I fumed for a minute after I hung up the phone. But as I killed my cup of coffee and brandy, now stone cold, naturally, with one fell swig, Twinkle curled up in my lap.
“Greedy man,” she opined. “Stupid.”
Sometimes I think Twinkle has more common sense than most people I know.