"Buddy! Hey buddy! Wake up!"
My first thought was to wonder who on earth was in my room trying to wake me. My second thought was to wonder why my bed felt so hard and uncomfortable. Then I realized I wasn't in my bed at all. I sat up abruptly.
"Easy, buddy, easy," said the voice.
I looked around myself in a state of extreme discomfiture. I was sprawled on the floor in the food court of the Pundit Mall, whence I had come in search of new socks. That morning, I had put my middle claw through the sock I was pulling on and realized it was time to purchase a new pair or two, and had therefore repaired to the Pundit Mall down the highway from the FDL safe house.
"What happened?" I mumbled.
"You got too close to a Decoulter. I hate 'em."
I had a vague recollection of an impossibly tall, deeply ominous figure in a black robe and hood stepping off the escalator and striding toward me, face obscured by shadow. The apparition had seemed to suck all the light and joy out of the air. I'd gone cold all over. I remembered its horrible, skeletal hands, hanging limply from its sleeves. I shuddered.
"I felt like I'd never be cheerful again," I said.
"You need a drink, that's watcha need," said my apparent rescuer, "Can you get up?"
"I think so," I replied, rising to my feet.
"Hey, you're a big fella. Actually, you look kinda familiar. Where you from?"
"The late Cretaceous," I said.
"Aren't you that dinosaur that blogs for Firedoglake?"
"Yes, I am," I answered, rubbing my eyes.
"I'm a blogger, too! My name's Pam! I blog at Atlas Shrugs!"
With a start, I realized that this was so. Standing at my elbow in a tight black sheath dress and a pair of shiny Giuseppe Zanotti heels was none other than Pam Gellar Oshry, beaming up at me like I was her new best friend.
"Hi," I said weakly, wondering if I could make a hasty escape without falling down again.
"Hi!" she chirped, "Here, follow me. We're gonna have a little drinky! It's the best thing after a Decoulter attack."
"I don't drink," I said.
"You do today!" she said, grabbing my forelimb in a surprisingly strong grip and all but dragging me to a table at the edge of the food court.
"Hope you like martinis," she said, pulling up a chair and plopping down her huge black purse. She pulled from it a large pink can of Aqua Net hairspray, shook her head and put it back. She pulled out a garden hose, shook her head again, and stuffed it back in. Then she produced a bottle of Tanqueray, a smaller bottle of vermouth, a pair of surprisingly capacious martini glasses, and a large art deco martini shaker, then briskly went to work.
"I always bring an extra glass," she said, "I hate to drink alone. You wanna Xanax?"
"No, thank you," I said.
"I'll take yours, then," she said, winking at me. She pushed a glass across the table, "Here you go, big guy. Bottom's up!"
I looked at it bleakly for a moment.
"Don't worry," she said, "I ain't gonna poison ya!" She popped a pair of white pills into her mouth and took a deep swallow of her own drink, "Go on!"
Right then, a phalanx of mall security guards trooped by dragging a red-faced and struggling Michelle Malkin by the arms, "Let me go!" she shrieked, "I wasn't STEALING them! I'm entitled to a discount!"
"Oh, my gawd," said Pam over the rim of her glass, following the disturbance with her eyes. I tipped my drink into the nearest planter while her attention was diverted.
"Ooh, you're all done!" she said, turning, back, "I'll fix us another." She drained her own glass and started the process over.
"I'm alright," I said.
"Naaah, you're just gettin' started!"
I wondered how she managed to keep ice cubes cold in her purse as she vigorously shook the second batch of drinks and strained them into our glasses.
"Liquid courage!" she said with another wink, "So, you wanna help me out with something?"
"What's that?" I asked, thinking she might need an extra pair of hands with her shopping bags.
She sighed and her eyes took on a certain unsettling sparkle. She reached up and opened a heart-shaped locket hanging at her throat. In it was a photo of Ambassador John Bolton.
"Good lord!" I replied.
"I know!" she crowed, "Isn't it fantastic? I'm gonna be on that show! It's my big chance. There's just one problem."
Which one? I thought, but said, "What's that?"
She looked around to make sure we weren't overheard, and then her eyes took on a truly frightening, angry, diamond-hard look.
"It's that bitch, Judy Miller. She wants the job, too."
"They're very close, I hear," I said.
"DON'T SAY THAT!" said Pam, clapping her hands over her ears, "She's just trying to ride his coat-tails! She doesn't know and understand him like I do. He's a great man. A statesman. He's the only person in the government who understands the real Islamist threat to our country! Judy Miller's just a reporter! For the New York Times!"
I nodded. "How is it that I can assist you?" I asked.
"I called her this morning and said I was from the Pentagon and had some evidence of Saddam's WMD's being in Syria. I told her to meet me at the Ruby Tuesday here at 1:30. I gotta little surprise for her." She zipped open her purse and laid a pearl-handled Colt pistol on the table.
I swallowed hard.
"What you can do for me is take this," she said, pulling a short, heavy club out of her bag and laying it on the table between us, "And smack her on the knees if she tries to run for it."
I was speechless.
"Drink up, hon!" she said, "This is gonna be a blast! Get it? A blast!"
As she threw back her head and laughed a long, high, crazy-sounding laugh, I tipped my second martini into the planter.
"All set?" Pam asked, "Come on!"
I followed along in her wake, breathing the mingled scents of Eau de Joi and gin. I knew there must be some way to stop this thing before anybody got hurt.
Then, as we were passing by the Levi's store, inspiration struck.
"Hey, Pam," I said, "Isn't that a Palestinian kaffiyeh on that mannequin?"
She stopped, looking where I was pointing and wobbling slightly on her high heels. It looked like the Xanax was starting to work on her. When she saw the mannequin through the store windows, her eyes narrowed into hard little glassy slits.
"Can you believe that?" I goaded her, "They're advocating genocide! It's the international uniform of the Global jihad!"
Clearly torn, Pam checked her Cartier watch and cast a baleful glance in the direction of Ruby Tuesday.
"Issss not important," she slurred, "We'll come back after I put a cap in Miss Fancy Pants Journalist's bitch ass."
"They're promoting murder of the Jews!" I pressed, knowing a woman's life could hang in the balance, "Shouldn't you at least go in and say something?"
Slowly, she began to nod.
"We won't be long," I urged her, "We can't let this stand!"
"You're right," she said, "You're totally right, but we gotta make it fast."
"We will, I promise," I said.
My plan was a success. I felt bad for the sales clerk on duty, as well as her manager, the district manager, and the CEO of Levi's, who Pam consulted via cell phone. There was a great deal of hissing and squawking, but finally, the store agreed to remove the scarf. Pam was satisfied, but by the time we re-emerged into the flow of shoppers, it was five minutes after two.
"Oh, my god!" Pam cried, consulting her watch, "We're late!"
She took off at a wobbly, but surprisingly swift trot with me chasing after. We arrived at Ruby Tuesday just in time to see Judy Miller disappearing around a corner.
"Judy, wait!!" cried Pam, "Judy Miller!!"
Miller stopped and turned, and apparently the sight of Pam advancing on her with a wild red light in her eyes and a 60-foot theropod standing behind her, waving its forelimbs and silently mouthing, "RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!" was all the convincing Judy needed. She spun on her heel and bolted for the exit.
"Dammit!" said Pam, stomping her foot, "Dammit, dammit, dammit!" Then she burst into boozy tears.
"Don't worry, Pam," I soothed, "You're much prettier than she is. I'm sure John will give you the job. It's TV, you know? Looks count."
She sniffled and looked up at me, "You think so?"
"I know so," I lied.
She seemed to cheer up a bit at that.
I accompanied her as far as the Pleasure Chest, where she resolved to shop for some ladies' unmentionables.
"Dammit!" she muttered, pawing through a bin of marked down bra-and-panty sets, "They've all got crotches!"
A few seconds later, she was completely still, snoring slightly, passed out atop the mound of soft, fluffy underthings.
And that is where I left the lady, trusting that the staff of the Pleasure Chest were familiar enough with Ms Oshry and her affliction that they would know what to do with her when she came to.
I never did get any new socks.