I realize you're probably reading this at a brightly-lit breakfast table, dear friends -- in full view of your family, your cat and your Maker.
But imagine yourself under a lamppost, on a foggy night, in a trench coat. Because that's the setting in which such news ought to be delivered.
The awful truth: someone at the CIA thinks there's a June 31.
This amazing revelation arrived in about as roundabout a fashion as you could wish. But it all began with a woman from Sterling.
Back in August, she wrote to say she had "waited in vain for some mention of the government calendar for 1984." I couldn't imagine why I'd ever write about something so bereft of excitement. But tucked under the woman's note was the evidence. According to this calendar, producer unknown, June had grown an extra day.
If anything ever looked like a job for Beth Kaiman, Ace Researcher, this sure did. "See if you can find out whodunnit, Ace, and why," I said.
But the more Beth got into it, the more it looked as if she'd have to leave it to her grandchildren to finish.
Officials at the Government Printing Office said they'd have to see the calendar before commenting. Beth sent them a photocopy. Not ours, said they.
Off went another photocopy, this one to Bob Fiser in the public affairs office of the General Services Administration. Bob said the calendar wasn't a GSA product, but may have been produced and circulated independently at another government agency. Which? Bob didn't know.
Next stop: Our very own dapper federal government columnist, Mike Causey. Mike said it couldn't be an official Uncle Sam calendar because those have "U.S. Government" printed at the bottom. He agreed that it might have been produced independently by -- or at -- some agency.
Dead-ended, Beth sat down to have a long think.
One agency . . . .Produced independently . . . .No one seems to know anything . . . .Hmmmmmm . . . .
Could it be?
CIA spokesperson Kathy Pherson contacted the agency's printing office. Operatives there confirmed that they had printed the "June 31 calendar." But it was never distributed, the printing folk said, because the error was discovered in time.
Whew! Now you can sleep soundly again, right?
This'll wake you up.
A mole is loose at the CIA.
A calendar mole.
Pherson said all copies of the "June 31 calendar" were supposed to have been destroyed.
She said that she and the printing services office "are surprised that a copy would have been obtained."
Maybe I've been reading too many thrillers, but I can see it now:
Comics page of Pravda.
Column called Bob Ivanovich's Moscow.
"The decadent capitalists have proven once again that they are an inferior society," Bob would write. "They cannot even read a calendar! An American-based correspondent has obtained a document that proves...