A Rested Mike Allen Returns From Mystery Vacation

Politico‘s Mike Allen took a shell shocking five consecutive days off last week. As we’ve reported ad nauseam, it was his first time off since the summer of 2009. He apparently spent the time fishing (and we imagine his time off looked something like this fisherman to your left). We’ve been hearing strong murmurings from inside Politico that he was forced to take the time off.

Then again, we were asked a number of questions throughout this awkward expanse of time — was he sick? Hasn’t he lost a lot of weight? Well, the weight loss has been coming. He’s been dieting for awhile.

Even CELEBRITY Playbooker Editor-in-Chief John Harris felt the need to acknowledge the rumors, writing on Saturday, “Judging by my e-mails, some of you are concerned about the whereabouts of Mike Allen (and, by implication, not entirely satisfied with this week’s substitutes). My question to you: Can’t the guy be allowed to take a freakin’ vacation? …I got numerous inquiries asking if he was sick, should we send flowers, bail money, etc. Rest assured: Mike does indeed take time off, and, based on my evidence, he goes pretty damn far off the grid when he does. He is presently at a secure, undisclosed location and the other day went fishing on the Penobscot River (if you have Google the location is no longer undisclosed.) A source reports: He caught a salmon. And, in a move that locavores will applaud, he promptly ate it. He’ll be back tomorrow, well-fed and well-rested.”

But whoops that wasn’t true! Harris had jumped the gun saying Allen would return Sunday. Were their special satellite phones not working?

Throughout the week, various “guest” and “celebrity” Playbookers filled in. First there was ABC’s Jonathan Karl (a guest) and TIME‘s Michael Crowley (guest). Even those inside Politico wondered why they didn’t find in-house replacement. Brass then swapped in Harris (obviously a celebrity) and Politico right-hand man extraordinaire James Hohmann (celebrity light).

On Sunday Hohmann had to walk back Allen’s supposed Sunday return and break the news that he wouldn’t return until Monday.

The Fisherman Returns…

Indeed Allen is back this morning. (Huge sigh of relief.) He acknowledged his absence with a brief note of gratitude: “Thank you for the kind messages and wishes while we were fishing last week. Super-thanks to celebrity Playbookers John Harris, Jonathan Karl and Michael Crowley – aided and abetted by James Hohmann and Kevin Robillard – for carrying the torch.”