10. An update on Consulate Staff

FROM THE DESK OF: Consular Officer Gerard K. Dirkins, Consulate General of the United States, Osaka, Japan

RE: Update on Consulate Staff

Thanks to information received from a microchip implanted at the base of her skull during what she believed to be a routine teeth cleaning at a dental clinic under contract with the U.S. Consulate’s HMO, we have finally tracked down the elusive Mrs. Doyle. According to satellite transmissions originating from a good five inches beyond her rearmost molars, Mrs. Doyle’s last known location was at an address corresponding to a Chicago telephone directory listing for a place called Strippy McNudes: Full Monty Club for Women, some sort of ethnic social club I suppose. It should be noted, however, that there is margin of error of up to two meters. In the location of the microchip relative to the surface of the earth, that is, and not to its location within the circumference of Mrs. Doyle’s skull, where it is, as previously stated and as clearly evidenced by the x-ray we require all dentists working for the Consulate, CIA, and FBI to provide in these increasingly routine implantations, approximately five inches beyond her rearmost molars, which would put it either two inches below small gold crosses or less than an inch below topaz seahorses, depending on which earrings Mrs. Doyle has on at the time.

So it appears Mrs. Doyle is indeed still in Chicago, presumably continuing her search for records of Eddie Trombone’s birth, rumored to have been at that city’s St. Joseph Hospital. And presumably this search is an exhaustive one, requiring an inordinate amount of Mrs. Doyle’s time and attention, so much so that she has been unable to call the Consulate even once with the cellular phone we rented for her using the entire office petty cash fund and half of the money collected from staff members for this year’s Fourth of July barbecue, the latter mostly coins and worn, small-denomination bills, which, if not replaced by July 4, will leave us with just enough money for three bags of off-brand potato chips and half a dozen corn dogs.

Off-brand potato chips (photo by Kikuchi)

a Japanese corn dog (photo by Kikuchi)

The implantation of this microchip in Mrs. Doyle’s skull, by the way, for readers overly concerned with human rights, the U.S. Constitution and other such trivialities, while perhaps not falling within the narrowest parameters of what some may consider “legal,” is in actuality supralegal, which is like legal but with the prefix “supra,” meaning “super” or “extra.” So it’s something even better than legal, which is a good thing since the implantation of these microchips into all federal employees and every American born after June 4, 2002 was mandated by the little-known Secret Invisible Clause in the Patriot Act, so called because it cannot be seen without the use of a special flashlight and a pair of cardboard goggles provided only to Consular Officers like myself and select leaders of a handful of elite law-enforcement agencies. The decision to keep this clause secret was made as part of a wider plan, involving an increase in the number of cable TV channels and a decrease in the price of beer and wine, aimed at keeping the American public happy, at peace, and reassured. And also to stop angry mobs from seizing power and restructuring society to serve the needs of working people rather than generate profits for the non-producing class, as it was felt this would be disruptive.

But I digress, and furthermore I believe I am beginning to touch on matters that probably should not be revealed in a public forum. So let us return to the pressing matter at hand, that being an update on the staff here at the Consulate.

The discovery that Mrs. Doyle was no longer missing came as good news to all, none more so than Mr. Kikuchi. And we are all hopeful for her quick and safe return, again none more so than Mr. Kikuchi, who has been called upon recently to do the work of two, though looked at critically is probably closer to the work of only about one and a half. Maybe less. Still, extra work is extra work, even if is less than what should have been done all along, and it was the stress resulting from this increased workload that led Mr. Kikuchi to issue a U.S. passport, and therefore U.S. citizenship, to a Japanese postal worker who had simply asked Mr. Kikuchi to sign a registered mail slip. Incredibly, this innocent mistake led to a series of legal entanglements that required the postal worker to temporarily renounce his Japanese citizenship, then, once it was learned that this citizenship could not be reclaimed for a period of 4 years, to apply, for reasons too complex to go into here, for status as a displaced Palestinian, a move that required him to file some papers with the Palestinian Authority. Then because of a similarity that I frankly do not see between his name and an 11th century Islamic prophet, this postal worker was nominated and subsequently elected to a minor position overseeing a children’s library in the West Bank, where he now resides with his wife Nisreen.

So all’s well that ends well, except for the fact that any American, or foreign national working for a U.S. embassy or consulate, seen to have dealings with any Palestinian group, even one officially recognized and publicly supported by the U.S. government, automatically becomes the target of covert CIA surveillance, and it was felt that Mr. Kikuchi’s issuance of a U.S. passport to a Japanese postal worker now considered a Palestinian national constituted such dealing. So just as the government was preparing to dismiss the case against Mr. Kikuchi regarding his dangerously careless remarks concerning a red bean and rice dish popular in Japan, a country also known for its radical leftist Red Army organization, this connection between Mr. Kikuchi and the issue of Palestinian resettlement came to light.

Nevertheless, the decision was made to inform Mr. Kikuchi that the red bean case was no longer active, but the fellow from the CIA said it just like that, that it was “no longer active.” When Mr. Kikuchi asked if this meant the case had been dismissed, the officer smiled and said, “What do you think?” When Mr. Kikuchi answered, “I don’t know,” the officer echoed in a sing-song voice, “I don’t know.” Mr. Kikuchi said, “stop it,” to which the officer replied in the same mocking tone, “Stop it.” This went on for a while until a red-faced Mr. Kikuchi just went back to his desk, and I must say that based on this exchange between the two men it seems quite likely Mr. Kikuchi will continue to be the target of CIA surveillance for the remainder of his lifetime, maybe longer.

In the meantime, Mr. Kikuchi is eagerly looking forward to Mrs. Doyle’s return, and I do not believe this is for reasons solely related to the increase in his workload. It may seem odd, but despite the petty bickering and sometimes outright hostility between these two staff members, there does seem to be genuine affection. It may be a mother-son relationship, particularly for Mr. Kikuchi, who never knew his mother and was reared by Catholic nuns at an orphanage in Kobe. It may be something else for Mrs. Doyle, who has had a series of younger beaux she apparently believes cannot be seen on the security camera in front of the Consulate where she can often be seen bidding them inappropriately affectionate farewells before skipping up the steps and passing through the first of three metal detectors to begin her workday here at the Consulate.

Whatever the reason, it cannot be denied there is a special connection between these two disparate personalities, and I could not help but notice Mr. Kikuchi looking dolefully at Mrs. Doyle’s empty cubicle the other day, which put me in mind of the first time they met at that very cubicle, when in the course of the usual pleasantries, Mr. Kikuchi asked Mrs. Doyle about her marital status, to which she replied that her husband had been “taken from her” several years earlier. I was horrified to hear Mr. Kikuchi, whose English is excellent but does occasionally miss the odd nuance, say, “taken by whom?” and I was further horrified, and a bit surprised, to hear Mrs. Doyle answer, “Two men with curly hair.” As the conversation progressed, it was revealed that Mrs. Doyle’s husband was indeed literally “taken from her” by Japanese gangsters, or yakuza, apparently over some previous mishap or misunderstanding, and he has not been seen since. I must say Mrs. Doyle seems to have taken this all quite in stride, appearing to harbor no particular ill will toward Japanese gangsters or, as is all too often the case in situations like this, the local population. I would, however, certainly stop short of suggesting she seems plainly grateful for the way things turned out, sometimes so much so that one cannot help but wonder if she might have had a hand in orchestrating the abduction of her husband, as such a suggestion would be unseemly and would furthermore open me to civil litigation.

I believe the information provided in this memorandum regarding the staff here at the U.S. Consulate in Osaka should satisfy those readers who have expressed their concern for Mrs. Doyle’s whereabouts and Mr. Kikuchi’s legal troubles. It is hoped that things will soon return to normal here at the Consulate, and we will be able to return to our task of reassembling and posting Eddie Trombone’s “manuscript” Teach Yourself Japanese. And of course to go about the everyday business of issuing visas, renewing passports, spreading Freedom and Democracy, and monitoring wiretaps.

Officially yours,

Gerard K. Dirkins

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