The new Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki sat in a high-back bamboo chair holding the box that President George W. Bush handed him. Bush was sitting in a companion bamboo chair. There were heavily armed guards everywhere in the large room, with Iraqi and American political aides standing by.
"It's an iPod. Sixty gigabytes. I got you the black one. Open it," said Bush with the excitement of a kid at the base of a Christmas tree.
Maliki opened the box and undid the wrapping.
"Isn't it neat how Apple packages their stuff. They have the most awesome gadgets," said Bush.
Maliki looked up and smiled as he unwrapped the black iPod. He held it in his hands.
"I betcha that is the only iPod in Iraq," said Bush.
"Oh no. My nephew has one. It is white," said Maliki.
"Really. That's cool. You want me to help you turn it on?" asked Bush.
"I just did, and I am scrolling through the music," said Maliki.
"There's music on it already? Jeez, mine didn't come with music," said Bush.
"You have a sense of humor, Mr. President. The Dixie Chicks are on here," said Maliki.
"The what? You are joking," said Bush.
"Not Ready To Make Nice is a good song. My nephew downloaded it from iTunes," said Maliki.
"You Iraqis surprise me. I never figured country music would be big here," said Bush.
"No. No. We do not like country music. The Dixie Chicks are crossover, Mr. President. We like music that crosses over. The Middle East is filled with cultural crossover." said Maliki.
"Yes. Yes. Of course. Do you feel ready to face the media?" asked Bush.
"Have you heard Enya?" asked Maliki.
"Who?" asked Bush.
"An Irish singer. She composes all her own music. It is very new agey. Very beautiful," said Maliki.
"I will check her out. So let's get this show on the road," said Bush.
Bush stands. Maliki stands. They start to walk toward the double doors that lead down the hallway to where the video cameras, photographers, reporters and the rest of Earth’s media was waiting.
"Do you like Tom Petty? We like Free Falling. It is how we Iraquis feel. I like Tom Petty's voice," said Maliki.
"Yes. I haven't heard Free whatever," said Bush. "I haven't heard a lot of new stuff since becoming President," said Bush.
"He is not new, Mr. President. He is old like you and me," said Maliki. "I imagine though he has more women than us," said Maliki.
"I heard of Tom Petty. Jeez, am I silly, or what. Tom Petty and The Blackhearts, right?" asked Bush.
“No. You are thinking of Joan Jett. I read she is performing again and still looks good,” said Maliki.
“Americans know how to stay young, Mr. Prime Minister. Americans know how to stay young,” said President Bush as he and Prime Minister Maliki entered the large media room into the bright video lights and flashes popping off.