Saturday, December 24, 2005

Doing the Right Thing to An Iraqi Insurgent

The United Nations Human Rights Advocate General, the UNHRAG for short, stood next to CIA Operative #1 in a dimly-lit room. They were looking through a one-way mirror at a man sitting on a metal chair. The man was an Iraqi caught with a beige Lands End canvas satchel containing six C4 plastic explosive rectangular bars as he was driving alone in a beat-up blue Toyota pickup truck on the outskirts of Baghdad. CIA Operative #2 was circling the Iraqi, round and round, walking methodically, staring down at the Iraqi, who was looking down at the concrete floor, his hands jittery on his knees.

“The lights are too bright,” said the UNHRAG.

“The ceiling fluorescents are too bright?” asked CIA Operative #1.

“Fluorescents cause headaches. Can you dim them?” asked the UNHRAG.

“There’s just an on-off switch,” said CIA Operative #1.

“Do you have a pair of sunglasses? Or maybe a hat with a brim. Also, he may be thirsty. When was the last time he had something to drink?”

“Fifteen minutes ago. We gave him a Coke.”

The UNHRAG glanced down at a case of Coca-Cola bottles lying on the floor behind him. “You mean one of those?” asked the UNHRAG.


“Un-chilled, room-temperature Coke? Yuck,” said the UNHRAG. “No wonder he looks miserable. I think you should ask your associate to stop circling our subject. He may be causing him stress.”

“He knows where they store the explosives. And the insurgents do not know we have this guy in custody. This is an opportunity. We must move quickly.”

“The subject is docile and poses no threat. All he has is information, if that. You will have to get it without techniques that we consider unethical. Now where are those sunglasses?”

Maureen Dowd Has A Latin Dream

Maureen Dowd sat in a plush leather booth in the back of the dimly lit bar at the Trump International Hotel on Columbus Circle. She was wearing a tight low-cut black blouse and a pearl necklace with small pearl studs in her ear lobes.

“Can I get you anything?” said the young and very buff white waiter dressed in a black suit and tie, a requirement of the hotel.

“Irish coffee, but put it in a regular mug, nothing fancy, and no whipped cream,” said Maureen.

The waiter nodded and left. At this moment, Hugo appeared at the table, wearing an open white shirt, and dark blue blazer with matching pants. He sported clean work boots and a gold Rolex.

“Maureen, you are here. May I sit?”

Maureen motions to the booth opposite her. Hugo sits down. The waiter arrives with Maureen’s drink. “Anything for you, sir?” asks the waiter.

“I see my beautiful friend is having coffee. I shall remain sober as well. Please, a single espresso.”

Hugo says all of this without taking his eyes off of Maureen. Maureen takes a sip of her spiked hot black coffee.

Hugo appeared younger than all those photos Maureen had seen of him pounding his fists on podiums speaking to enormous government-organized crowds standing in the Plaza Bolivar. Hugo Chavez had survived on a continent where few survive long, and somehow he remained youthful. Maureen noticed his clean hands, manicured fingers, and his very white teeth. Amazing, thought Maureen, as she slurped another gulp of Irish coffee, and then drew her finger across her lips to keep them clean.

“May I suggest that we meet in the rest room. I shall go first. I shall slip into the Ladies Room and enter the back stall,” Hugo says without arrogance or presumption. Hugo touches Maureen’s hand, rises and leaves. Maureen sits there for a moment. She finishes her coffee. The waiter arrives with the espresso.

“We’ll be right back,” Maureen says to the waiter. Maureen rises.

The next thing Maureen felt was Hugo’s soft lips on hers. He stroked her face as they stood quietly in the back stall of the Ladies Room in the bar of the Trump International Hotel on Columbus Circle. As Hugo’s tongue entered Maureen’s mouth.

Maureen sat up with a deep quick breath. She was in her bed, alone, in her apartment. She took the back of her hand and wiped her mouth, as if clear the decks of this weirdo dream. Where the hell did her subconscious dredge up this ridiculous fantasy? Could it be that both Chavez and her hate Bush? Could it be that Chavez probably read Bush World, Maureen’s book? There was common ground. Yikes. Better off to forget this one. It means nothing. That is what Maureen kept repeating to herself. It means nothing, it means nothing, as Maureen struggled to go back to sleep and uncover a more normal dream, like possibly being in the back stall with Warren Beatty, perhaps.