Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been upgraded to fair condition at Lakeview Hospital where he is currently recovering from a brutal assault that took place Friday evening at the intersection of Wall Street and Main.

In his deposition to the NYPD, Paulson stated that he had come to Ah Pook, a popular Wall Street sushi bar, to try and relax after a tough day on Capitol Hill where he had spent the afternoon weathering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

"Holy Canoli," said Brent Ward, reluctant spokesman for the Treasury Department. "I could not believe what that man told the authorities. I'm sure he was delirious from the frightful thrashing he received, but there was something truly disturbing about this episode. I don't mind speaking to you, sir, for you have a kind face and I believe you wish me no harm." "

"It's kind of an open secret around here, Mister Drudge, but it is a truism that a lot of the old-timers in our somewhat rarified world of economics are quite superstitious. More than a few of them believe in an entity that they have named 'the Invisible Hand of the Market'. And that's precisely the entity that Mister Paulson believes attacked him on this fateful night."

"You see, Mister Paulson had done everything he could over the past couple of years for the Market. No, it wasn't a Free Market, but it was a relatively unbridled one. That was both it's beauty and it's danger. The Market is like that."

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and something something something something, what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

"That's T.F. Eliot, I believe. It doesn't matter. Poetry just sounds impressive if you say it with conviction. I used to recite it to get chicks, not that Mister Paulson ever approached the female species in such an impulsive manner. But I digress."

"What Mister Paulson did was to observe something quite spectacular. He had been upset earlier, of course, because the Market had snubbed his heart-felt offering. Believe me, if he could have gathered greater riches, he surely would have, but we live during increasingly harsh times."

"You could say the Market broke his heart, but I think it would be more accurate to claim the Market busted his balls. It fell, I tell you, concurrent with poor Henry's success in finally obtaining his funds. It had not been an easy battle. He was out touting the Market's glory, and the Market in effect farted in his face, rejecting his most generous gift with a 157 point slide. Oh, and curse me for saying so, but that was just The Dow."

"So to return to the case at hand, Mister Paulson - and I hasten to say that he still is suffering from a state of considerable confusion - believed that he was assaulted by the Invisible Hand of the Market. Assaulted he was, for before the sun had set, he was found on Baltic Avenue, beaten like a red-headed stepchild."

"From what one could understand from his fevered ramblings, the Invisible Hand of the Market punched him in the back of the neck, before proceeding to slap him silly, poke him repeatedly, prod him like some sort of animal, and thump him in a truly no-nonsense manner. It was terrible, he said, and I have no reason to harbor any doubt. What haunts me most is what he said happened next, when the Invisible Hand of the Market smacked Mister Paulson squarely across the chops, before turning to shove him about like a sack of potatoes, pound him like a cheap steak, whack him where it hurts worst, and pummel him like there was no tomorrow."

NYPD Spokesman Sgt O'Malley calls Paulson's statement the result of delirium caused by the thrashing.

"We have surveillance video taken by Ah Pook's security cameras, and I can tell you here and now that there was no Invisible Hand of the Market involved. This hand was clearly visible... in fact you could hardly miss it. And it wasn't just a hand, it had a wrist, and attached to the wrist was a forearm. But there, where the elbow should have been, was total darkness."

"The rest of his report checked out, however. This... this Visible Arm of the Market just went ballistic on Mister Paulson, pushing him and prodding him, jabbing him and jolting him, spanking him like a mongrel puppy before giving him one last wallop and coldcocking him good. It just totally clobbered him."

In spite of the evidence, there has been no move to make an arrest. "You've got to remember," explains Sgt O'Malley, "in this country you've still got the right to bare arms."


2008, Mark Hoback