Every journalist has their Holy Grail. And ever since this whole Mirkarimi saga started, I have wanted to bust it wide open, and uncover what everyone was quietly talking about. This would be my greatest moment, my coup de grace, after which I could retire peacefully to my imaginary country villa and live out the rest of my days in comfort and fame.
Of course, I knew it would not be easy, and would involve cashing in every chit I ever gathered in town. But I forged on anyway, calling in every favor and burning every bridge in sight. I would not be dissuaded, and finally, my effort was rewarded. A cryptic note was left on my front door this week, telling me to show up in front of Le Central at midnight. I knew I was finally going to a place shrouded in mystery: the hidden clubhouse of the vast moderate conspiracy that secretly runs this town.
You have read the articles, heard the interviews, and seen the postings online. This whole Mirkarimi debacle is due to the machinations of this secret cabal. And yet no one wanted to actually drag it out into the open. However, given that I have no political ambitions (due in great part to the fact that I am utterly unelectable), I knew I was the only person who could chase them down. It was my responsibility therefore to take them to task for their actions.
At the appointed hour, I stood in the freezing fog and peered up Bush Street. A moment later a limo came careening around the corner, bounced off two cars, and lurched onto the sidewalk, barely missing me. I was going to yell at the driver until I realized it was Willie Brown, and once again he was not wearing his glasses. He motioned me into the back seat, and before I could even get settled, a black bag was thrown over my head. However, not so fast that I could not quickly catch a glimpse of Rose Pak, smiling at me before the lights went out.
I cannot tell you how long we drove, or where we wound up. I do know that the audio tape of the completed works of Phil Burton was just starting to grate on me when suddenly we slammed to a stop. The bag flew off my head and I squinted at light in a small anteroom. A moment later my eyes adjusted and I saw a goblin standing in front of me politely.
"Wait a minute," I said. "Aren't you one of those goblins from Gringotts Bank?"
He smirked back at me. "I was, but the pensions are much better in this town. Follow me please."
We went down a dark hallway, where I slipped on some papers on the floor. "Careful," said the goblin. "We have to do something with all those ballots from the last election. They really are becoming quite the nuisance."
We entered a room and the goblin dramatically waved his arm. "The trophy room. All the great successes of the society are celebrated here." I started circling the room. The first object was a beer glass on a pedestal. "The infamous glass allegedly thrown by Joanne Hayes White. While no one was looking we disappeared it, and here it sits today, After all, getting a little wet never hurt anyone. However..."
The goblin tilted his head towards a showerhead mounted on the wall. It took me a second to make the connection, and then it hit me. "Frank Jordan, right?"
The goblin grinned wickedly. "Yes, you can wash away your sins, but not during morning drivetime." I kept walking around the room. Mounted on a tiny stand was a package of breath spray. This one had me stumped. The goblin wandered over finally. "Need a hint? Sometimes one of ours becomes a problem, and needs to be reminded where the power lies. One shot of that and a certain golden boy mayor suddenly thought he could kiss anything. But of course there is only one hand you can kiss here."
A shiny object over the in the corner caught my eye. It was a key, brand new and sparkling. In fact, it was the cleanest key I had ever seen. "It looks like it has never been touched," I said to the goblin.
"Of course not," replied a voice behind me. I turned around to see a cloaked figure approaching. At last, I was going to reveal who was in charge of this vast conspiracy. "That's Ed Jew's house key. Never been used. I am so glad you could join us. I apologize for my tardiness, but I was in the laundry room."
"Clothes?" I blurted out.
"Go Lorrie's," the figure replied. "All those wretched five dollar bills. Now, what would you like to know?"
"Ross Mirkarimi," I said. "Everyone knows you engineered his downfall because he is a progressive. How did you do it?"
The figure crossed his arms in a huff. "I should remind you that he follows one of the most progressive sheriffs in the country, with whom we never had a problem."
That was a good point. "Ok, so why did you do it then?"
"What makes you think we did it?"
This was not going the way I thought it would, and in fact he sounded just a bit defensive. "I don't understand, the progressives have steadfastly stood by Mirkarimi because he is being set up by you, right? It's the whole Willie and Rose and Gascon and the POA and whomever else you have on the payroll."
The figure stood there for a moment, and then his shoulders slumped. "It's worse than that. We have spent decades building the most ruthless political wrecking ball ever created. And then these politicians go and blow themselves up instead. It's just no fun like this. In fact, we have to outsource our services now just to keep up on the rent to this place. Thank God there is a presidential race this year; wait till you see what we do to Romney!"
"You mean more than he has already done to himself?"
There was a moment of silence, and then a deep, pained sigh emanated from the figure. "There is just no need for a good conspiracy these days. What kind of world is that? That's not politics, that's..." His voice tailed off, and then he turned around and shuffled off.
I looked at the goblin, who just shrugged. "Sorry, sometimes a conspiracy is a conspiracy, and things are not what they seem. And sometimes kid, things are exactly what they seem. It's just that some people don't know the difference."
And the black bag was thrown over my head.
Follow Christopher Caen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/citizencaen