WASHINGTON — Although most employees of federal agencies here have been sent home because of Republican peevishness, a solitary reporter has learned that the National Zoo has been given permission to develop a special addition to its collection.


Speaking on deep background to a solitary reporter, G. Wayne Clough, CEO of the Smithsonian Institution, a federal agency which operates all federal museums and parks here, explained, “As Secretary and CEO of the Smithsonian, I have floor privileges on the floor of the United States Senate, which allowed me to observe, close-up and personal, the junior senator from Texas during his twenty-one hour filibuster last week. So I consulted our zoological pathologists and taxidermists, who unanimously recommended that the National Zoo should have a special enclosure to commemorate that spectacular event, in perpetuity.”


Clough gave strict orders to the solitary reporter not to publicize the Zoo's plan to have a special conservation area dedicated to housing the senator in question. His zoological name will be cruz verbosum extremum (CVE for short), and his enclosure will be immediately adjacent to the Madagascan hissing cockroaches, the black widow spiders, and the Norwegian lemmings. The special exhibit will contain an interactive feature explaining how CVE succeeded in persuading his fellow tea party Republicans in the House of Representatives to follow him, like lemmings, forcing the government shutdown. 


Somehow, however, Texas Gov. Rick Perry got wind of the Zoo's plan and ordered the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as the Texas National Guard, to ride roughshod into Washington, where they promptly seized Clough and the solitary reporter, preparing to haul them back to Texas, after they released CVE so he could continue to wreck our national polity. 


After extensive negotiations, brokered by Colorado Senator Mark Udall, Clough and his fellow captive were released on condition that the solitary reporter be placed in administrative segregation in an undisclosed location deep in the heart of Texas. But as he bade farewell to his new friend, Clough made the solitary reporter promise to continue furnishing him with bright ideas on how to deal with bizarre animal behavior in Washington. “We can make this happen,” Clough said.


But that's just the beginning of today's news. 


House Speaker John Boehner isn't at the Capitol; he is in Rome helping former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi take down the Italian government, since he's such an expert in taking down the American government.


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is in Jerusalem receiving instructions from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in confrontational tactics.


President Obama, weary of being beat up on by Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell, is on vacation in Kenya.


It's time to visit the National Zoo, folks.

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