The Reluctant Townie | There's a bug man in the White House

The Reluctant Townie | There's a bug man in the White House

Senior White House aide Stephen Miller scurried through the duct work of the West Wing, the six long insect-like abdominal legs he had sprouted sometime during the winter clicking against the cramped aluminum corridor like the frenzied typing of computer keys.

Miller no longer had to travel around the White House via the duct work to ensure his survival in the administration — he had taken to the vent system last summer to escape the firing squad of then-new and all-powerful Chief of Staff John Kelly — but he had grown to find skittering around the ducts a soothing exercise. It was dark. He was left alone. (He was left alone outside the ducts as well, but in here it was by his explicit choice.)

It also granted him the permanent element of surprise, whenever he slithered out of the vent opening into one of his colleague's offices unannounced, to argue the merits of the Muslim travel ban or separating children from parents who illegally cross the border.

Miller stopped at the vent that looked down into the chief of staff's office. John Kelly stood at the window, staring solemnly at the American flag on the front lawn of the White House.

"Sorry, Old Glory, I did my best to impose order," lamented Kelly. "But how can you contain a hurricane of incompetence and pure spite? You can't. You can only batten down the hatches."

"Loser!" coughed Miller.

Kelley spun at the strange sound, pulling his sidearm out of his jacket.

"Who's there," he called out.

When there was no response, Kelly fired his pistol into the overhead vent.

Miller scuttled past with a superhuman speed — he was faster on his belly, as six legs were better than two — the .45 caliber slugs punching holes of light in the shaft behind him.

Since the beginning of his mysterious physical transformation, Stephen noticed a growing loss of vocal command. At first, he had trouble pronouncing long, multisyllabic words. But as time progressed, the degree to which he was unable to control his own voice increased until one day, his voice was no longer recognizably human. Just an alien screeching of clicks and hisses.

But Miller was not alarmed. He didn't need a physical voice to operate. As speech writer for the president, he had command of another voice. He could put his words directly into the president's mouth. The president would, in turn, put those words directly into millions of homes. The media had to report whenever the president spoke; that was the beauty of the whole arrangement.

Even more importantly, Miller could speak for the president through Twitter, and his metamorphosis was a boon in this regard. The extra legs allowed him to operate multiple handheld devices at once and simultaneously inhabit multiple online personas with which to sow social discord.

With his specific mixture of misanthropy and persecution complex, Miller was better equipped to be a mass shooter than a political adviser — and he suspected that was precisely the reason the president kept his company.

It was summer in D.C., and Miller felt he had earned a vacation. In the past month, ICE separated more than 2,000 children from their parents and detained them in tent cities and abandoned Walmarts, and pictures and audio from the detention facilities were finally hitting the news media. It was driving liberals nuts. Those rubes, with their bleeding, empathetic hearts.

Miller could not be happier; anything that made a liberal squirm was a cause for celebration. Since accepting his advisory role, and the government paycheck that came with it, he had been buying bottled liberal tears from an alt-right vendor on the dark web. Bannon had turned him on to the trend.

Not long after switching his entire fluid intake to liberal tears, the metamorphosis had begun. But lately he had been plagued by a strange, unquenchable thirst that no amount of dark web tears would fulfill.

Until the antennal flagella sprouted from the large patch of forehead that made up 70 percent of his face, he had been able to blend in to the crowd on public excursions, where he would stalk sad faces until they cried into a napkin and discarded it.

The bottled stuff was OK, but fresh tears were better.

He stopped near the vent overlooking the press briefing room. Sarah Huckabee Sanders had cleared all of the leftovers out of the employee refrigerator and left them in a pile for him. As part of the physical change, so went his human appetite. He now preferred his food extra ripe.

She was waiting for him as his descended from ceiling vent.

"Going on vacation?"

"Click-screech-hisssss-click-click-hisss," Miller said. "I'm going to Texas to tour the children detention facilities. I want to see the — click-hisss — crying children for myself."

"Must be nice to get a break." Sanders was one of the few in the White House, besides the president, who could understand his new language of clicks and wheezes. Perhaps because it was her job as part of the White House communications team. "I have to stay here and field questions from the fake-news liberal mainstream media. Just once, when they ask me one of their asinine questions, I'd love to tell them off. Is that too much to ask?"

"We'll show these metropolitan cucks and social-justice soy boys who's in charge now. They don't deserve you."

"That's sweet, Stephen, thank you."

One of Miller's phones buzzed, alerting him that his ride was out front on Pennsylvania Avene. He hissed goodbye to his colleague and scampered out of the White House, down the front lawn and out the gates, where the driver was waiting for him. The driver opened the trunk and Stephen scuttled inside, curling up to the darkness as the driver closed the lid.

Ryan Jackson can be reached at

Sections (1):Living