A Sneak Peek of Chapter One of Book Two
Chapter 1, "The HOUSEKEEPERS"
Capitol Building, Washington, DC
The Chief Housekeeper of the House of Representatives was sitting at his desk and working on a cross-word puzzle in the only newspaper still published on paper in the city when his comset dinged. The newspaper had been published for over four hundred years, but the Network owned it now and they had changed its name. Its masthead was blazoned, "Truth".
"Yes, Sir," The Housekeeper replied after listening for a moment.
"We will do it, Sir."
Then he clicked off and stared at his comset in disbelief. He finally snarled, "Shat!" and punched in the number of the Chief Housekeeper of the Senate.
"Did you get a real funny call from your Senate Clerk just now? Like I did from my House Clerk?
"I don’t know what it means either, but it’s real scary if it’s true.
"What’s next you ask? I’m going to do what the man said, but I’m keeping my head way low while I do it. I’ve got a feeling life is gonna’ get major complicated from now on, and real quick too."
He listened to the other man for a moment then he finished, "Yeah, let’s keep in touch on this - and back up each other too."
The Housekeeper clicked off then and left his office in the basement of the Capitol. He made his way through the dusty lower passageways to a service elevator and selected a floor. The car creaked, and then lurched into motion.
"Hope this old cadge still remembers how to stop, and where," he muttered.
It did and the door slid open with a screech of dry metal. He stepped into a narrow corridor and walked to an ornate, but un-marked door and pulled a ring of old-fashioned mechanical keys from his pocket and a small oilcan. He selected the largest key on the ring and putting two drops of oil on it pushed it in the slot of bronze lock on the door.
He jiggled the key several times then turned it with some effort. When he heard a grating "click" he twisted the bronze door handle of the mahogany door and pulled on it.
The door opened with a creak of un-used hinges and he stepped into a shadowed space behind an elevated podium. He walked around it to stand on the floor of a very large balconied chamber. The Housekeeper looked around the vast dim space, and sighed. Then he shrugged and pulling out his comset, clicked on his group net.
"All House janitors on duty and off, hear me!" He ordered.
"You are to report to the House Chamber with your supplies and equipment.
"Start now, and get here quick!"Congress has finally decided to convene and the House of Representatives will be called to order here in eight days - and we’ve got over twenty years of dust and cobwebs to clean up before they do!"
The man clicked off then and pocketed his comset in his gray civilian jumpsuit then he turned and walked slowly to the base of the imposing two-tiered podium.
He looked up at the ornately carved device on its paneled front, the Great Seal of the United States with its heraldic spread eagle holding an olive branch in one clawed foot, and in the other, arrows.
The man looked at the carved seal for several more minutes, then sighed again as he pulled a white linen handkerchief from the sleeve of his suit and began gently wiping twenty years of dust from the carved beak of the eagle. As he wiped the dust away his expression changed from that of a bland bureaucrat and he began to smile
But now his smile was not bland ...