He murmured to himself. "Ffffffffffascinating."
From behind, a staff member spoke up. "They are everywhere. We're surrounded. On every side."
"Yes that is what surrounded means, thank you for explaining that," said the president.
The aide's sarcasm detector failed miserably. "You're welcome, sir," he said in a cheerful tone.
Obtuso sighed. Idiots, I'm surrounded--by idiots! The president suppressed the urge to bounce a basketball off the aide's skull. Only one more year of this and then I can get fulfill my dream of backpacking through Europe.
"So no one would wake me up to let me know?"
"We, sir, Uncle Joe was here, he said he'd handle it."
"Uncle Joe? Since when does Uncle Joe tell you what to do? To whom do you report? Who is in charge of this place?"
"You, sir," said the aide, meekly.
"There won't be a next time. Or there wouldn't, but given the sit-rep-com, you have a chance to redeem yourself."
"So where is he now?"
"Who--oh, him. He, well, he, is..."
"For chrissakes spit it out man."
"Gone. Uncle Joe is gone, sir. "
"Where? How? When?"
"When, we're not sure. Where, we don't know. How, he commandeered a bulletproof limo and went out the east gate."
"Who let him out?"
"Of the cage."
"What cage?" The aide saw the president's impatience rampping up. "Sorry sir, I was not aware of that. Perhaps he escaped?"
"Escaped? Escaped? From our super-secret underground fortress below us? Impossible."
"Whatever has a way in, will have a way out, mr. president," came an impressive-sounding deep voice from an unlit corner. The voice conveyed notes of mystery, of forbidden knowledge, It spoke in a strange yet familiar and yet also unidentifiable accent, which might have been Russian or Farsi or Arabic or Turkish or Australian maybe. Both president and lackey turned to look. But their eyes saw nothing other than a faint outline of a coat concealed by shadow. The only sure sign was the cloud of cigarette smoke wafting upwards . That and the loud, hacking, disgusting morning cough of a tobacco addict's accumulated night mucous.
"Ahem," said the disembodied voice. "Sorry Mr. President, I ran out of nicotine patches."