Wednesday, December 27, 2006

George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld And Paris Hilton Meet In The Lincoln Bedroom

George Bush sat on the love seat in the Lincoln Bedroom. Opposite him was Donald Rumsfeld sitting in a chair. George was in his underwear, briefs, with a sleeveless t-shirt. Donald was dressed in white tennis shorts, white socks, white Nike tennis shoes, a grey polo shirt and he was holding a squash racket, bouncing a squash ball up and down effortlessly with the racket. Though George kept looking at the bed to his right, the bed where Abraham Lincoln’s son dies, the bed at the foot of which Abraham Lincoln’s autopsy was performed after he was shot at Ford’s Theater. George kept looking at the bed and thinking that Paris Hilton was lying on it in the nude. He wondered what Paris would look like in the nude. Would she be so skinny that she would look anorexic? Or would she have some meat on her, a bit of muscle evidencing a modicum of exercise other than dancing?

“I won today,” said Donald Rumsfeld.

“What?” asked George Bush.

“Squash. I beat my nephew,” said Donald.

“Good. That’s good,” said George as he glanced back at the bed.

“If you acknowledge it’s a civil war that means your presidency has been a failure,” said Donald.
“What?” asked George.

“Americans will not permit its boys and girls to be in the middle of someone else’s civil war. Iraq will have been a failure,” said Donald.

“I agree,” said a female voice.

“What?” George said as he glanced to his right at the bed. It was Paris Hilton. She was naked except for pink panties. Paris was holding a small digital camera and she was snapping pictures of George and Donald and she sat on her knees on top of the white puffy blanket.

“I said I agree,” said Paris.

“What are you doing here?” asked George of Paris.

“You asked me to come,” said Donald.

“What? No not you. Her,” said George pointing to the bed.

“Who?” said Donald.

“Her. Right there. On the bed,” said George.

“You feeling OK?” asked Donald.

“Tell that old geezer you feel just fine,” said Paris.

George looked over at Paris. “Smile,” said Paris as she snapped a picture. George smiled.

“I feel just fine,” said George.

“Getting back to Iraq, it is important that you salvage some good that was added to the world, to the United States, and define that goodness as part of an Iraq pull back,” said Donald.

“Ahhh, that’s such bullshit, George,” said Paris. “You made a mistake. Admit you made a mistake. And pull our troops out,” said Paris.

“I made a mistake,” said George.

“We don’t have to go there,” said Donald.

“Georgie, Georgie, go there. Go there. Ask yourself, how did you stop drinking?” asked Paris.

“I faced the truth,” said George.

“OK. You can face it, Mr. President, but face it privately,” said Donald.

“Did you go to any AA meetings, Georgie?” asked Paris.

“No,” said George.

“Did you tell Laura you were an alcoholic,” asked Paris.

“I told Laura, said George.

“Telling Laura is one thing, telling the public is another,” said Donald.

“Look where the old geezer got you. The whole thing is a big mess, George. A big mess. The only way out is to admit the mess, admit the mistake, and then get our soldiers out. Get everyone out. Let the whole place blow up. And you will be able to salvage something of yourself and of America,” said Paris as she was massaging her bare belly.

“I can salvage something?” asked George.

“Of course you can,” said Donald.

“Of course you can,” said Paris.

“Stay or pull out,” said George.

“Stay,” said Donald.

“Pull out,” said Paris.

“You pull out, the party will burn you as a coward,” said Donald.

“You stay, more Americans will die and the historians will look at you as weak,” said Paris.
“But a coward is weak,” said George.

“Exactly,” said Donald.

“No, no, no. A weak man cannot face the truth. A coward cannot face his buddies. Who are you?” asked Paris.

George looked at Paris. She was really quite stunning with her long blond hair. He found it surprising that she could be so smart, so articulate. Paris Hilton sounded smarter than Donald Rumsfeld. At least at this moment. George wanted to jump onto the bed. Paris saw a sparkle in George’s eye.

“Don’t even think about it,” said Paris.

“Don’t worry. I’m not. I’m not,” said George.

Paris winked at George. George smiled as Paris took another picture.

“You’re not what?” asked Donald Rumsfeld as he caught the squash ball in his hand.

“I’m just not. I’m just not,” said George.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jennifer Aniston Meets With Stephen Huvane

Stephen Huvane sat on one of the two brown distressed leather couches in his fourth floor Wilshire Boulevard office, a corner office, with knee-high to ceiling windows and a late afternoon view of West Los Angeles. The panorama ran left from Century City to Beverly Hills on the right. The couch Stephen sat on had the better view than the couch supporting Jennifer Aniston, who was smoking a cigarette and air tapping the ashes onto a tray the size of toilet seat that sat on the burled oak coffee table separating the two couches. Jennifer was clicking a Bic lighter on and off she held in her right hand, the yellow flame playing off the falling orange California sun. Jennifer Aniston was wearing tight blue jeans, white socks, Nike running shoes and a navy blue tank top with string straps.

“What happened to the gold lighter I gave you,” asked Stephen.

“What do you do with a gold lighter, Stephen? You keep it. You use it. And if I use it, that means I am smoking. And I am trying to quit, remember,” said Jennifer nervously.

“But you’re using that cheap lighter. Bad image. If you are going to smoke, you might as well do it with gold,” said Stephen.

Jennifer shot Stephen a look and then put the cigarette out in the large tray. She then pulled out a pack of Merit Ultra Lights and flipped a new cigarette in her mouth, lighting it with the Bic. She took a long drag and then blew smoke rings into the upper center of Stephen Huvane’s office. Stephen Huvane was the younger brother of Kevin Huvane, the famous and powerful talent agent who was a partner of Creative Artist Management. Kevin Huvane managed the money and contracts of movie stars. Stephen Huvane managed the image of movie stars. Publicists were once considered the lapdogs of Hollywood. They were now the first to call on a celebrity’s emergency list.

“I like smoke rings. Is that a good image,” said Jennifer Aniston.

“Only if you are acting in a movie. But the way I have positioned you, smoking is not a good image in general. You are Jennifer Aniston, the perfect American white girl. Smoking is an imperfection,” said Stephen.

“What about being dumped by Brad Pitt? Is that an imperfection?” asked Jennifer.

“Well, actually, that is a part of the American Girl experience. It is not an image problem if handled correctly, and I think we handled it correctly,” said Stephen.

“OK. OK. So how are we handling this one?” asked Jennifer.

“With Vince Vaughn, I think we say it was a mutual separation,” said Stephen.

“Is lying part of the American Girl experience?” said Jennifer.

“Very much so,” said Stephen in all seriousness.

Jennifer Aniston listened to Stephen Huvane, listened to his speech about the American Girl, the American White Girl, that is. But it did not seem to maytter, this idea. The image was important to Stephen Huvane, not the human being.

“Is something wrong with me? How can I possibly be that perfect American girl? How? I am really quite pleasant, you know. I am low maintenance. I do not demand a lot from a man. But they…they keep…they keep leaving,” said Jennifer as she shoved the cigarette in her mouth for the twentieth time.

Stephen recognized that his client was upset, nearly in tears. It was touching, and though he at times allowed himself to get caught up in the emotions of his high profile clients, he viewed the emotions as publicity opportunities. Maybe the “jilted” Jennifer was a better image move than the “mutual separation” scenario he had proposed. Look at her. You wanted to hug her, take care of her. To say Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn separated mutually lacked any market value. It was avoidance. It was weak. It did not have balls. But sitting in front of Stephen Huvane was a story with balls, a story with value. To get dumped by a string of men can add value. Look what happened to Judy Garland. Sure Garland’s life was a mess and Judy Garland was a drug addict and miserable. That wasn’t the point. The Judy Garland name and image was golden. That was the point. That’s what was important. The market value of the life, not the quality of life.

“Maybe we should be honest. Maybe we should approach this from a perspective of truth,” said Stephen.

“The truth. That would be a new approach,” said Jennifer.

“Jennifer, there is the factual truth and there is the essence of truth. Sometimes the facts and the essence are in conflict. So it is my job to decide whether the facts or the essence serves you better,” said Stephen, knowing that he was shoveling shit with a big scoop, but hell, it was his business to mix shit into something digestible.

“Yeah, so what are you saying,” asked Jennifer.

“Maybe here, now, we go with the facts. Maybe the factual truth is the essence,” said Stephen Huvane. Stephen enjoyed making these pronouncements, and it reminded him that he should write a book on representing celebrities. It was all a matter of how you said things. Shit is only shit if you call it shit. He chuckled at the thought.

“What are you laughing at?” asked Jennifer.

Whoops. His client caught him doing a daydream, a private thought, a mind journey that happens often while dealing with these movie stars who, bottom line, were really only interesting on the screen. In person, they were generally boring, causing Stephen to get lost in thought at odd moments. But he considered it work. He was paid good money to think things through, and so he was thinking, even though he should be conversing with Jennifer Aniston. His clients saw Stephen as part magician, part therapist. And right now Jennifer needed a therapist.

“I am just glad you are rid of Vince Vaughn. He was not good for your career,” said Stephen. He just pulled that one out of a hat.

“Vince is very talented. People like Vince. I liked Vince,” Jennifer said holding back tears.

“Yes. Yes. Yes. But you have class, Jennifer. You have a lot of class. Vince Vaughn is a big lug from the working class. You are from Tiffany. Vince is from…from Home Depot,” said Stephen.

“Just say it was mutual. I’d rather lie about it. It is no pone’s business. I want to get on with things. OK?” said Jennifer.

“OK. OK. A decision has been made. That is good. Sometimes you get to this place only after talking out the possibilities. So this is good. We go with the mutual separation story,” said Stephen.

Jennifer pulled out the gold lighter from her pocket.

“See, I have it. And I will use it. I like cigarettes. And that is the truth,” said Jennifer as she lit another Merit Ultra Light.

“OK. OK. Yes. Good. The truth is good. When it is good, that is,” said Stephen. Damn, he really should write a book.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Kate Moss And Pete Doherty Naked And On Heroin At The Sherlock Holmes Hotel

Kate Moss was naked. She had just stepped out of the white tiled shower that was part of the suite at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel in London, a four-story old wood building that had creaky floors and big puffy mattresses. The bathroom was small, and not the kind of place Kate Moss had grown accustomed. But it was suggested that the Sherlock Holmes was out of the path trodden by celebrities, and so it was unlikely anyone would find her or Pete Doherty. Pete was lying on the bed in his underwear. And Kate had decided to take a shower, the routine she had started to follow after she snorted heroin, a way to cleanse the outside while being savaged by chemicals on the inside. Pete had a Martin cutaway acoustic guitar in his lap, his skinny alabaster legs pocked with red lines and scabs were in the lotus position. Pete was plucking at the low E string in a slow beat, a droning sound that was hitting Pete’s ear as if it were music. Heroin does that. It makes everything seem like magic. Pete saw the back of Kate’s nude body as she stood on the scale while she held eyeglasses on her face so she could read the numbers.

“You’ve been looking a little porky lately,” said Pete.

Kate got off the scale with her tortoise-shell eyeglasses being the only thing hanging on her body if you didn’t include her breasts which, though small, had started to sag like small empty balloons.

“What?” asked Kate.

“I said you’ve been looking a little porky,” said Pete.

“Porky. You think?” said Kate.

Kate walked into the room. It was small, dressed with the same furniture that had been placed there over a hundred years ago. The drawers in all the cabinets were difficult to open. The floor boards must have been a foot wide with quarter inch seams between them. The mirror above one of the two cabinets was large and hanging with a wire cable that was suspended from a large brass hook an inch below where the wall met the ceiling. Indeed, the ceiling itself seemed like it was a mere seven feet from the floor.

Kate touched her naked belly which protruded without much fat.

“I am not porky,” said Kate.

“Your arms. Your legs. Your face. Your hair is starting to fall out,” said Pete.

“You get this way when you do junk. You get mean,” said Kate.

Pete thought about that. Kate had accused him of such before. But Pete was not feeling like he wanted to hurt Kate. He loved Kate skinny or fat. Well, maybe not fat, but a little fat here or there did not bother him. He was merely making an observation. Junk did that to him, he thought. You observe, you comment, you are honest. Pete believed that heroin made him a more honest chap. And one thing Pete had started to observe was that Kate Moss was getting old. The million cigarettes, the drugs, the late nights, the lack of exercise, the alcohol, the pills. The whole regimen had impacted on Kate’s face and body. Kate was in her early thirties but she appeared to be in her early forties. Not in the photographs, though. Pete was astounded at the wonders of photography and lighting and makeup and, he guessed, Photoshop. But Pete saw the Kate Moss that most people did not see. A woman aging fast from daily self-abuse. Pete was not stupid, of course. He was on a daily routine of self-abuse as well. But Pete felt he was not aging as fast as Kate. Maybe it was a guy thing.

“Sorry. You look great. Never better,” said Pete.

“You’re damn straight. I look fucking fantastic,” said Kate as she picked up a cigarette and lit it with a platinum lighter. Kate took a deep breath and smiled.

“Play me a song,” said Kate.

“How bout we fuck,” said Pete.

“You can never get it up on junk,” said Kate. Kate didn’t really want to have sex. She had not had an orgasm in over three years, though she faked it.

“Yeah. Why have sex when being on junk is better than sex,” said Pete as he looked down at the neck of his Martin guitar and plucked the A string.

Kate agreed. Pete’s half-erect penis, which is the only kind of erection Pete was ever able to muster, was nothing like the massively throbbing organ of Johnny Depp. Depp’s penis was a surprise given Depp’s slight frame. But after Johnny Depp dumped Kate, Kate started to lose interest in sex. Drugs were better. And the mess of a man that Pete Doherty had become gave Kate Moss something to do. Take care of a man. It was easier than to take care of herself.

George Bush Clears His Head With Jack Daniels

The time was 2:32 AM eastern standard time. President George W. Bush could not sleep, so he slipped out of the king bed, leaving Laura sound asleep behind. He walked out of the room in his bare feet wearing navy blue satin pajama pants with a white t-shirt. George was having difficulty making it through the night without waking at least twice. Not to go to the bathroom. Not because of hunger or thirst. It wasn’t anything George could put his finger on. He remembered back to the months immediately following his election against John Kerry. Those were months where he slept through the night and felt strong and clear-headed every morning. That election was a shot in the arm for George, and everything, all his body parts, his sleeping, his eating habits, his sex life with Laura, his relationship with staff and his cabinet, his interest in following sports – it was as if he was back at college on one of those many drinking binges where his youth precluded hangovers and life was filled with possibilities. But that had all passed. In just two years, George’s body chemistry had changed. Little sleep, no sex, eating crappy food, the exercise stopped, the football and baseball fantasy leagues he secretly played were history, he talked with few of his staff, he felt distant from his daughters, his left hip had been stabbing him with a consistent dull pain.

He reached the end of the hallway where a man in a black suit and tie with a walkie talkie was standing. George did not recognize him. Or maybe he did. George did not remember.

“Good evening, sir,” said the man with the walkie talkie.

“Hi,” said George.

“Can I get you anything, sir?” asked the man with the walkie talkie.

“How about a bottle of Coca Cola,” said George.

“Certainly,” said the man.

“And those little airline bottles with whiskey. They have that in the kitchen. In one of the cabinets. You know about that?” said George.

“I did not know that, sir,” said the man.

“Yeah, well, they have them. Can you find two of them. Whiskey. Two little bottles of Jack Daniels. Pour both of them into a bottle of Coke. Of course make room for it in the bottle, and bring it to me,” said George.

“I’ll have to radio for it, sir. I cannot leave my post,” said the man.

“What’s your name?” asked George.

“Timothy, sir,” said the man.

“Timothy, look, I know you answer to the Service and not me. But can you radio for a someone to come up here and hold your post for you while you run this errand for me,” said George.

“Yes. I can do that,” said Timothy.

“I tell you what. Why don’t you grab a few bottles for yourself. We can sit down and shoot the breeze. I need to calm down so I can get some sleep,” said George.

“I am not supposed to do that, sir,” said Timothy.

“Yes, yes, I know, I know. But then just bring a few extra bottles with you. We’ll discuss protocol when we chat. OK?” said George.

Timothy paused briefly, then raised his walkie talkie and pressed the button on the side of the handset.
“This is Alpha One West. Send up a temp replacement. Request of of Alpha One,” said Timothy.

“Roger, roger,” said the voice on the handset.

“Thanks, Timothy. I feel better already,” said George. George sat on the chair in the hallway, waiting for the replacement and for Timothy to do his errand. He could have a few drinks. The Presidential pressure was enormous, and he made it almost six years in the hardest job of the world without touching a drop of alcohol. One drink was not going to kill him. But not sleeping was going to kill him. The Jack Daniels would help him sleep. It would help him forget about the state of things, and he could avoid the dreams. It was those damn dreams that kept waking him. That was it. Whiskey kills dreams. And that’s what he needed to do. It was the only way to be the leader of the free world. No dreams.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

James Baker Wants To Spank Baby Bush

James Baker sat in a large dark red leather arm chair next to a fireplace that contained three logs. There was no fire going in the hearth as it was sixty-two degrees outside, and Baker thought it would be a waste of good lumber to burn the wood just for effect, even though it was Thanksgiving. Timothy, Baker’s grandchild of two years old, was playing with a Thomas The Tank Engine metal train that was hand-me-down from Timothy’s older brother. Baker could smell the aroma of the turkey cooking in the kitchen, and there was chattering of activity throughout the house, Baker’s kids, grand-kids, daughters and sons in laws, his own siblings and their spouses and kids. The house was an orchestra of family, the sounds as delicious as the meal being prepared. Baker was feeling content at having arrived in his mid seventies with a solid record of public and private achievements. Though he never thought of himself in these terms, the media and many had described him as a statesman. Baker thought this amusing given that his primary operating principal was honesty and humility, two attributes he considered lessons to be learned early on. And yet, the world seemed to have drifted into a morass of dishonesty and arrogance. And this, Baker knew, to be the case of the White House as well. Baker uttered these thoughts to his wife, and privately communicated the concern to his old friend George Herbert Walker Bush, the father of the sitting president. But he was circumspect about revealing too much. Though honesty was a governing principal, that did not justify communicating with a blunt instrument. Tact was part of the humility of life, that special place where one reserves the possibility that there was another point of view, a different legitimate perspective. Tact permitted others to open up, and such was the start of true communication.

So herein lied Baker’s problem. The truth, the honest truth was that Iraq was an enterprise that was now lost. Baker had no opinion whether the enterprise could have been a success if conducted differently. But he did know this: America could not stay in Iraq, and the sooner America withdrew, the better it would be for his country. But how to communicate this to President Bush in a manner that it would be heard. How much tact should Baker employ? And this was an important question because a mistake at this stage in Baker’s life might just define his whole life. Look what happened to Donald Rumsfeld, thought Baker. It no longer mattered that Donald Rumsfeld had a long history of service to his country, a long and distinguished career. That was now all forgotten, and not likely to be the part of his legacy that had any volume.

James Baker watched Timothy push the toy train on the plush rug. What kind of life would Timothy have? What kind of world had he left Timothy? Baker suddenly found himself getting angry. It felt like all the work of diplomacy he had done, all the work to erect an ethos of international discussion had been destroyed in just six years of Bush’s presidency. This was not just a matter of personal pride. This was a matter that affected Timothy, his two-year old grandson. James Baker adjusted his back in the chair and rubbed his neck. Tact. Was this a time for tact? Or was this a time for blunt language? Maybe Baker could get away with bluntness since it was bluntness that no one expected of him. Baker smelled the stench of incivility to the world’s discourse as he also enjoyed the aromas coming from the kitchen. Timothy and Thanksgiving. As he watched Timothy push the toy train o the plush rug without tracks, he wondered if the train had a set of toy tracks. Trains need tracks. And he would have to get this train on the right track.

Judith Regan Proposes Book Deal To OJ Simpson

Orenthal James Simpson sat in the polished black wood chair with fat arm rests and a green and black madras patterned cushion that was affixed to the seat. The chair presented itself as heavy, but when OJ sat in the chair and slid it a few inches to sit, the wood seemed to be hollow. OJ thought “Pottery Barn.” It was typical for corporations to buy stuff that looked good from a distance, but when up close the quality was suspect. He did not expect that of ReganBooks. Judith Regan sat in a similar chair with a higher back behind a black wood desk. The whole office seemed to have been ordered from a Pottery Barn catalog. This was the influence of Rupert Murdoch whose company owned ReganBooks. Murdoch was know to be cheap with anything that smelled of executive excess.

“Thanks for agreeing to meet with me,” said Judith Regan.

“Sure. It’s not like I am so busy,” said OJ with a smile. This had become the usual response from OJ when someone asked he was up to. He had decided that just to get through the day he woul dhave to have a sense of humor, self-humor, about his situation.

“You turn sixty next year,” said Judith.

OK, thought OJ. So she googled me. But it was still creepy.

“Yes. You got it,” said OJ.

“And I think you should start thinking about the written legacy you wish to leave,” said Judith as she tapped the end of a fat Mont Blanc fountain pen, an item that was not ordered from Pottery Barn.

“There’s already too much of a written legacy. I do not need more,” said OJ.

“May I make a proposition?” asked Judith.

“I used to get a proposition a day right after my acquittal. Now it is down to a proposition a month,” said OJ. He actually was amused by this fact, and smiled when he said it. OJ felt that everything was a gift after the acquittal, and so he was enjoying life.

“That is my point. When the propositions stop completely, you will have lost your opportunity to tell your story,” said Judith Regan.

“I told my story,” said OJ. OK, so he hadn’t really told his story. He told a story, but not the story. And it was not like anyone would believe him anyway. So why bother. The story he told stuck, at least with the jury, and so he was best to leave it at that.

“OJ, listen to me, you have a story to tell, and quite frankly I am not interested in you telling me or the public anything except for a hypothetical,” said Judith.

“A hypothetical?” said OJ.

“What if you did kill Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Brown, hypothetically speaking, of course. How would it have happened, or under what circumstances could it have happened at all. That is what I am interested in,” said Judith.

This woman was nuts, thought OJ. She wanted OJ to get drunk with the guys at a bar and laugh off a few “what ifs” about killing his wife. It seemed to OJ that Judith Regan was trying to throw more dirt into his grave.

“It sounds crazy,” said OJ.

Judith had picked up on a certain “wink” to the audience from OJ, as if he knew he had gotten away with murder, literally, and that he felt lucky and was going to not let anything bother him.

“Clearly you have come to terms with what has happened to you. That is evidence of a man who can sleep at night, a man whose conscious is clear. Given your contented sense of self, I would think that it would be a clear statement of pride to discuss a hypothetical circumstance where you could kill your wife, and it may very well be that you conclude that no such circumstance exists,” said Judith Regan with the sober determination of a college professor.

OJ slept just fine at night, more due to medication than a clear conscious.

“My conscious is clear,” said OJ.

“Think about how the media has ripped you of your pride. I know you may not think about this, but pride and honor are the last pillars that keep us standing. The media has struggled to de-construct you, removing your human foundation. You must re-build. You must regain your pride and your honor. And you must do it with a bold statement,” said Judith.

“De-construct? Human foundation? I am trying to….”

“Yes. Sorry. I get pedantic,” said Judith.

“Pedantic?” asked OJ.

“The point is I can have someone write the book, your record of pride and honor, and you can work with our writer to restore your manhood,” said Judith.

“My manhood is fine,” said OJ.

“Of course. No question. But the media has a way of changing your legacy, stripping you of something that you have, though no one knows it,” said Judith.

She’s got that right, thought OJ.

“Do I get money for this project?” asked OJ. Money was really the only issue remaining for OJ. Everyone wanted a piece of him. He was allowed to keep some money he made as it came in, but the civil judgments, the lawyer fees, the huge financial fallout from the criminal and civil trials had decimated his net worth. Indeed, OJ had no net worth.

“Of course there is money involved,” said Judith. Judith knew that OJ endured a constant financial strain, and money was usually the drug that got most people to agree to anything, even if it was for an outlandish proposal.

“I’ll think about it,” said OJ. That was also a standard response. It was celebrity speak for “yes” let’s proceed, but I have an out whenever I feel like it.

“Absolutely. But I will have my writer contact you. set up a meeting. Start the process. See if it goes anywhere. No cost to you,” said Judith.

“No cost to me? I thought I was getting paid?” said OJ.

“Actually, I will be glad to give you a retainer to meet with the writer for, let’s say, seven five-hour sessions. How about a two thousand per session,” offered Judith.

“How about three thousand, and I’d like you to pay a third party,” said OJ.

“Deal,” said Judith.

“This ain’t going to go anywhere, you know. It smells bad,” said OJ.

“We’ll make it smell good,” said Judith. She did not know whether to believe her own shit, but she at least got OJ to accept the idea and do the first step. One step at a time. That’s the way it worked.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lindsay Lohan Envies Britney Spears And Oxycontin

Lindsay Morgan Lohan opened her small leather bag by sliding the fat metal zipper from end to end. The sound of the club was supposed to be music, dance music, but it no longer was landing on her ears that way. It was more like a hammer coming down on her forehead. She was alone in the back sitting on a plush booth behind a table. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears were dancing with what must have been a hundred patrons, Paris attracting the most attention as usual. Britney, though piggishly fat and soft, was dancing with better moves than Paris, but she seemed to be more of a quaint curiosity than Paris. Britney had a cigarette dangling from her matronly fat lips as she danced from the memory of some concert choreography. But paris gyrated falsely with her eyes closed, as if she was feeling the heat of her own glow.

Paris and Britney would be irritating to Lindsay except for the fact that Lindsay was not feeling well. This was starting to happen more and more lately. The Vicodin pills that Lindsay was downing daily were starting to become a fixture in her life. And Lindsay had told herself that when she clubbed, she would avoid drinking if she was popping Vicodin. But the fact was that Lindsay was clubbing daily, or more accurately nightly. And tonight she had several glasses of white wine and three Vicodin pills in rapid succession, the mixture sloshing her brain around, making the room dizzy and the music a jackhammer.

When Lindsay opened her leather bag she spied the following: a Blackberry cell phone, a Motorola Razr cell phone, a vile of Vicodin, a pack of Merit Light cigarettes, a solid gold cigarette lighter, three marijuana joints, a purple ultra fine point Sharpie, a palm-size leather notebook which contained phone numbers, emails and other private information, and a set of keys. The nanosecond after she opened the bag, Lindsay forgot what she was rummaging for. Was it for a cigarette? A joint? Did she want to check her email? Make a phone call? She picked up the vial of Vicodin which did not have her name on it. It was the name of a friend who seemed to have an unlimited supply, and gave her dozens of vials that she kept at home in her closet in a wood box behind a pair of cowboy boots. The vial was half filled. These were the strong Vicodin pills, the heavy dose ones. The label said “Take One Every Twelve Hours As Needed.” She had already popped three in the last two hours and she knew that if she popped oned more, she would feel better for about an hour before feeling bad again. But in that hour, she could get home, take some sleeping pills and maybe sleep it off till tomorrow.

“Hey, Lindsay, you want to dance?” asked Britney Spears, startling Lindsay. Lindsay clumsily held her hand over the vial betraying that she was hiding something.

“Not really,” said Lindsay. Britney still had the lit cigarette at the corner of her mouth, with smoke shooting from her nostrils and puffs forming with each word she spoke. She looked disgusting, thought Lindsay who was confident that she smoked a cigarette with more grace than Britney Spears.

“What you got there?” asked Britney, referring to Lindsay’s cupped hand covering the vial of Vicodin.

“Tylenol,” said Lindsay.

“Yeah. Is it like strong Tylenot, if you know what I mean,” said Britney with a smile.

Lindsay hated nosey bitches, and it was none of Britney fucking business what she was doing and what she was taking.

“I have back pain,” said Lindsay.

“Yeah. I had that too. I love having back pain because then I can get Oxycontin. Is that what that is? Oxycontin?” asked Britney.

Damn. Britney can get Oxycontin, thought Lindsay. I mean Vicodin was cool and fun, but the one time Lindsay had Oxycontin it was one of the best nights she ever had. But her friend told her that it is impossible to get, and if caught with the stuff, it was seriously bad news.

“You can get Oxycontin?” asked Lindsay.

“Yeah. So what’s that?” asked Britney.

“Vicodin,” said Lindsay.

“Yeah, I guess you were right. That is like Tylenol,” said Britney as she backed up with a shuffle, to the music, and slowly turned with her hips and arms moving to the music, disappearing into the crowd.
Fuck Britney Spears. She was trash but Britney Spears had made millions with her stupid music and her stupid songs, and had now gotten fat and sloppy, looking like she was living in a trailer park with her two stupid kids. But she had one thing that Lindsay did not have. She had access to Oxycontin. Lindsay tossed the vial of Vicodin back into her bag, pulled out a Merit cigarette and lit it, taking a deep drag, inhaling the smoke so deep it filled every air sack of her lungs. Lindsay remembered that she had to be on the set tomorrow, and it was already 1:30 in the morning, which meant she had to be on the set in five hours. Shit. She picked up her Blackberry to call her manager. The Merit cigarette dangled from her mouth. She was going to tell her manager that she was not feeling well and would be at the set by noon. Yeah. By noon. She started to relax and decided to pop another Vicodin as soon as she got off the phone with her manager.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Mike Bloomberg And Ray Kelly Meet With Al Sharpton

Michael Bloomberg sat in theoak wood desk chair that has scratches and scuff marks from years of mayoral lounging. The desk was also large, oak, heavy, standing in place as if it hadn’t been moved in a century. Bloomberg never bothered to make New York City’s Mayor’s Offcie hi own. He did not consider it his own, anyway. There were times when Bloomberg missed the private world of commerce and business, where one could spend money lavishly and be blunt in one’s discourse. But here he was, presideing over one of the largest and most important citys in the world, the top manager, the spokesperson for a myriad of constituencies, a pandemonium of competing social, racial, cultural and financial interests, a city where the poor and the rich walk the same pavements, and shop at the same grocery stores, and buy coffee at the same Greek delis. It astounded Bloomberg that New York had not imploded from all the exploding quilts that patch the neighborhood landscape.

“Do we really have to meet with that asshole?” said Raymond W. Kelly, New York City’s Police Commisioner as he sat alone with the Mayor.

“Is there a reason why you think we shouldn’t?” said Bloomberg.

“Tawana Brawley,” said Kelly.

“That’s history,” said Bloomberg.

“He’s an opportunist,” said Kelly.

“And we are not?” asked Bloomberg rhetorically.

“I feel like I have to take a shower after I am with him,” said Kelly.

“Oh stop it, Ray. Sharpton is a colorful guy. Entertaining. And whether we like it or not, he has grabbed the stage for a major constituency in this town. If they listen to him, I have to listen to him,” said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg actually liked Al Sharpton. Sharpton was a straight shooter and was very clear about what he was all about. The public face of Sharpton was not the same man that Bloomberg had come to know in private meetings with him. This was not so different from the hundreds of business people he had dealt with. Indeed, he had known Wall Street to be particularly populated by charlatans and pretenders. But sometimes you had to deal with them, and sometimes they held the strings. Quite frankly, from Bloomberg’s perspective, the Wall Streeter’s were boring. Sharpton was anything but. And that mattered.

“You feel like you can trust him? You feel comfortable with Al Sharpton?” asked Kelly.

“Tell me again about the fifty gunshots fired by our police officers. Give it to me in a few words. The Reverend will be here any moment,” said Bloomberg. This was a management tool Bloomberg had used often. The essence of things could be described in a few words. And it was the essence of things that seemed to matter even more in politics than in business.

At that moment, the door flew open and in walked the Reverend Al Sharpton.

The door opened to the Mayor’s office and in walked Al Sharpton. Mayor Mike Bloomberg stood immediately. Ray Kelly was slower to stand. Bloomberg offered his hand, which Sharpton took.

“Hello, Mayor,” said Sharpton. Sharton did not wait to be offered a chair. He sat in the chair next to Kelly’s. Bloomberg sat. Kelly sat.

“How are you Mr. Kelly?” asked Sharpton.

“Fine, thank you,” said Kelly.

“Fine? How can you be fine under these circumstances. Your guys plowed a bucketload of bullets into an innocent man. A black man. So you tell me, how can you be fine?” said Sharpton.

“I meant I was personally physically, OK,” said Kelly. The second he said it, Kelly knew it didn’t sound right.

“Physically OK? I would be sick to my stomach. In fact, I am sick to my stomach. How can I be feeling sick and you feeling OK?” said Sharpton.

Bloomberg killed a smile that started to form. Sharpton knew how to grab the conversation.

“I think we all feel sick about what happened,” said Bloomberg.

“So what are we going to do about this mess that you have gotten yourselves in?” said Sharpton.

Kelly hated that Sharpton presumed that somehow he was part of the government, as if he was charged with the high purpose of public office, almost as if this was one of his offices.

“The offices are on administrative leave, Al, and they have turned in their guns,” said Bloomberg.

“That means they are still getting paid, and they have desk jobs. Sounds like a promotion,” said Sharpton.

“I can assure you it is not a promotion,” said Kelly.

“It’s a slap on the wrist,” said Sharpton without turning to look at Kelly.

“You don;t know the facts, Mr. Sharpton. We were staking that club out. Drugs. Prostitution. Money laundering. They rented the place out as a cover. There was a bachelor party going on. The kids who got shot were like human shields. Those bastards used their patorns as human shields,” said the Police Commisioner. Kelly was irritated. Police were not never allowed to fuck up. And when they did, their lives were often ruined.

Al Sharpton addressed the Mayor. “Your Police Commisioner says that the African American community of this great City of New York are the human shields for crime. And so what is he saying, that African Americans can be killed to fight crime? Cause if that is what he saying, I’d like to tell that to the media,” said Sharpton.

“I am sure that is not what the Police Commissioner is saying,” said Bloomberg.

“I did not suggest that,” said Kelly.

“It sure sounds like you did. One of those Freudian slipperoos, if you ask me,” said Sharpton.

“Look, we have to deal with this swiftly and aggresively,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“I’ll say, cause your Police Commissioner has handed me a golden opportunity. It don’t matter how you play this music, it comes out the same. Fifty bullets at two unarmed innocent black men. That’s music man that only plays one way. And anyway you hear it, it makes the New York City finest seem like the worstest,” said Sharpton, not blinikng an eye on his misuse of the English language.

“Al, our interests are the same. We need to find out what happened, discipline the officers for what they did, and try to start the healing,” said Bloomberg feeling like he was on the Oprah show.

“You ain’t going to heal sqat without my participation,” said Sharpton.

“Of course. We need you, Al. We need you to be part of the process,” said the Mayor.

“Hey, Mr. Mr. Mayor, I know you’re playing me. You think I don’t know when you are playing me. And that is OK. It’s OK with me. You play me all you want. Just as long as you know I will be playing you. And maybe, if you are lucky, you will come out smelling like roses. But any way this plays out, I will be OK. This is my game you have entered. This is my game,” said Sharpton.

“Yes, yes, I know. And it is my desire to make us all do justice and try to prevent this from happening again,” said Bloomberg.

“So are we ready to meet the media? ‘Cause I’m ready. And don't take it personally if I don't smile with you Mayor and look like we’re friends. ‘Cause I ain’t gong to smile. This ain’t time for smiling,” said Sharpton as he rose from his chair.

“I understand completely,” said Bloomberg as he stood. Kelly did not stand.

“See you gentlemen downstairs. And Mr. Kelly, don’t look so sour. Feel as fine as you said you do,” said Sharpton as he walked out of the office.

“I hate that sonofabitch,” said Kelly.

“We are all running the city together, Ray,” said Bloomberg. “We are all running the city together.”

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jenna Bush Celebrates Her 80th Birthday

November 25, 2061 — The sun was shining in El Paso. In fact, the sun had been shining for the past four years in El Paso. A severe drought had impacted what was once the southwestern region of the United States. But that did not matter to Texans. After what was now called the Great Crusade War that was sparked by the explosion of a nuclear bomb on Manhattan Island, Texas had become an independent nation, and had grown in size including the former New Mexico and Arizona. There was a two-year period when Californians and Texans fought over Arizona. It got bloody, A few small nuclear devices exploded in Tucson and Phoenix, sort of a scorched-earth policy favored by Texans, was enough to California to back off. The far westerners could not stomach any more mushroom clouds, and so they made a decision to let Texas have Arizona. “Let Arizona Go To Hell” was the political banner of choice by the California Peace Now movement, the implication being that Texas was as close to hell as one could get.

All of this was history to Jenna Bush who was celebrating her 80th birthday on this hot November day. Her parents were dead. Her sister Barbara was dead. Her three husbands were dead. And her children were dead. In fact, Jenna was the last remaining member of the Bush dynasty. And somehow she had outlasted them all, avoiding getting the cancer that dashed from gene pool to gene pool after the Great Crusade War that was responsible for raising worldwide rad level by 32%.

Barbara sat in a wood chair next to a metal frame one story cinderblock house. She was drinking a bottle of Diet Coke. The Coca Cola Bottling Company was one of the multinational corporations that survived the wars and bombs, and Coke seemed to be everywhere. Water was scarce, but not Coke. And Jenna loved the stuff, drinking almost 13 bottles a day. It did not matter to Jenna that her bladder did not work well, and that she continuously soiled her pants or dress. The heat evaporated anything that was in liquid form, and though it must have smelled, Jenna had long since lost the ability to smell anything.

El Paso had been a shrine to Jenna’s father, George W. Bush, for many years. But people had re-thought the Bush legacy, and now the conventional wisdom was that Jenna’s father was responsible for the mess the world had found itself. Though Texas was strong as a political and military entity, it was nothing like the former United States of America. And it bothered Texans that Iran and China were the most powerful nations in the world. Damn those Russians, never getting their act together, always fighting with each other and letting corruption poison their authority. And damn those Europeans who kept appeasing anyone who threatened them with violence, to the point that Europe became an Islamic state, except for Italy and Poland, which were in constant states of a war footing.

Jenna did not wish to think about all this. Afterall, this was her 80th birthday, and all she wanted to do was drink her Diet Coke and let her bladder empty onto the wood chair. It was a beautiful day.

Lindsay Lohan In The First Person Driving To The Ivy

I sat at the wheel of the borrowed black Cadillac Escalade driving to the Ivy Restaurant. What I do is pull the car up to the garage around the corner, and then someone drives me one block to the restaurant where I get out and run in past all the photographers. Of course, the photographers all know I park my car around the corner, so they have two opportunities to accost me. Once when I dash from my car to the black Chevy Suburban that takes me to the Ivy, and then a second time when I get out of the Suburban and run into the Ivy. They have two chances to take my photo.

My hands were shaking. I am trying to quit smoking. My last cigarette was about four hours ago and I am already getting the shakes. Well, not really the shakes. I am just dying for a cigarette. I do not know how I let it happen, but I got up to almost two packs a day. That wasn’t good. But it happened so fast, and the damn little things just became part of my life like breathing. My palms were sweating all over the steering wheel. So I turned the corner onto North Robertson and saw the crowd of people in front of The Ivy. It looked like a busy afternoon, as usual. Mostly photographers, of course, and I saw three big video cameras too. They all recognized my Escalade, and started getting all excited and moving into position, thinking that I might stop and get out. But I didn’t. I did slow down though.

Now why did I do that? Why do I even come to the Ivy when I hate the crowd of photographers and the phony questions they ask to pretend that they are being nice or friendly. They don’t give a shit about me, really. If I had a heart attack right there in front of them, or fainted, they would love it. They would all be taking photos of me on the pavement dying or dead, not one helping or trying to revive me. The photo of me, Lindsay Morgan Lohan, unconscious or dead would be more important to them than helping me. The first thing they would do is run off and call US Magazine or People or some other fucking magazine that would offer thousands of dollars to these assholes for a photo of me dead.

I made the turn to get to the garage and wondered again why I was even coming to the Ivy. I mean, I come here like four times a week. Why? I know the vultures are all there waiting for me. I know this. And I hate it. So why do I do it? I must love it? No. I can’t love it. I hate it. Damn, I needed a cigarette. The Ivy is like this addiction. Driving in big black cars and pulling up to the crowd is like an addiction. I hate it. Yet I can’t stop doing it. I feel compelled. Where’s Harry? I need Harry, my boyfriend. Well, I am not sure he is still my boyfriend, but he does give me pills, and I need some pills right now. I like dropping them right before the photographers start snapping their flashes. It makes me say “hello” rather than “fuck you.” It’s important that I say something nice even though I want them all to go to hell. The pills help me say nice things. Pills are easier than cocaine. Harry started me on the cocaine, but it is really is a hassle. The cocaine makes me nice. The pills make me nice. But I didn’t have any pills. I didn’t have any cocaine. And I needed a cigarette. I did not feel very nice.

OK. Here’s the garage. And there they are. Maybe twenty people, all with cameras. Here I go. I have to race to the black Suburban and then be taken to the Ivy. One block. God I hate this. I need a cigarette. Where’s Harry?

Monday, September 25, 2006

George W. Bush Plays Chess With Osama Bin Laden

George W. Bush always played white. He felt comfortable with white. The board made sense to him that way. He liked the king on the right. The right was far better than the left. And so he stuck with white. And he made his first move. It was always the same move: e2-e4. for those of you who do not understand chess notation, that was George’s king pawn moved two squares forward. It was a classic move, a chess opening done over and over again by millions of chess players today and yesterday. It was safe. And George always opened with it. He told himself to do what felt comfortable, do it again and again, and stick with it. Even when it doesn’t work. The problem was George had not won a chess game against this opponent in the last four games. This was the fifth game, and George was down 4-0. But that is OK. George felt comfortable. George felt secure. The chess board was familiar, though a field of play he was losing, he did not care. The king pawn two squares. Over and over again.

George’s opponents had an odor to him. There was a doctor standing to his opponent’s side with a cart containing a medical device that had tubes coming out and going in, two of which were attached to George’s opponent. George’s opponent had long black and grey hair with a long beard. A long face, a tall man, who sat in a slumped position. George did not like this man. But he was playing chess with him. He had to. It was his obligation, so he felt. The bearded man looked down at the chess board, George wiped his nose because the stench from the bearded man was distinct. It almost smelled like asparagus, or the smell of urine after you ate asparagus. The bearded man had large eyes that seemed to glisten from too much tear. The man was not crying. He just had watery eyes, thought George. George was hoping the man would be crying. He liked to think of his enemy as being in tears. George would not cry. He knew this because he met with an Iraq War widow the other day at the White House.

As he sat there facing the bearded man who was studying the chess board, George tried to remember the Iraq War widow he met yesterday at the White House. She was young. And she brought photos of her two children, a son, 11, and a daughter, 7. The widow had long blond hair pulled back in a pony tail. She was in her thirties, George thought, and she was thin. Actually, she was quite cute. And the photos showed two beautiful kids, both with blond hair and big eyes. And of course the widow had to bring a photo of her husband, the one who died in Iraq three months ago nine miles south of Baghdad on a dusty road, a bullet to the brain. Unusual. A bullet from a sniper rather than a roadside bomb. The problem with the widow was that she was all emotional and came with a political agenda. George always risked this when he met with widows. They come to talk, he talks, he tries to make them feel better, and most do not bring up politics. But this one, though very nice and sweet, begged him to bring the troops home from Iraq. She asked her President nicely, George remembered, and she was crying at the time. She held the photos of her children and starting whispering to herself how it was hard to imagine that she would now have to raise the children without their father. She was babbling to herself about how she did not know what to tell her children. What was the death about? What was it for? Thankfully George did not have to address these questions because they were not really asked directly to him. The widow was more talking to herself, working it out with her herself. A personal thing she was going through. It was all very sad. But the thing that George noticed is that he did not cry. Oh at another time in his life he would have cried. Maybe even if he saw this scene in a movie he would cry. But not in the White House. In the White House, emotion was for sissies. He had heard that said by some teachers of acting. But this was not acting. This was not fiction. This was for real.

George’s thoughts of the war widow were suddenly terminated when the bearded man moved his black queen bishop pawn two squares forward.

What the hell? Every game the bearded man opened with something different. And George had never seen this before. Well, then again, George was not a chess player. So maybe this was a popular black opening. But heck, beardy keeps changing his style.

“I heard that you were dead,” said President George Bush.

“The game has just started. There is no reason to think I will lose,” said Osama Bin Laden as he adjusted himself in the chair and moved the tubes that came from the dialysis machine that was being operated by Osama’s doctor.

“What is that?” asked Bush.

“It is called the Sicilian Defense. Very effective,” said Osama.

“If it so effective, how come you never used it before?” asked Bush.

“Oh, but I have used it. Many times. Not with you, though,” said Osama.

“Sicilian? That’s an Italian thing,” said Bush.

“I suspect the Sicilians do not consider themselves Italian. The world is filled with human beings trying to identify with a clan, trying to separate themselves from other clans. It makes them feel special. To us, Sicilians are Italian. To Sicilians, they are Sicilian,” said Osama.

“Well, you think that silly Sicilian pawn is going to bother me? I control the center. I control the center,” said Bush.

“And so you do. And so you do,” said Osama.

“How come you never move your king pawn on the open? How come? It’s standard. It’s solid. It’s tested,” said Bush.

“It’s boring and everyone does it. Chess is a game to be re-discovered with each new game played. Should never go with what worked yesterday. Never,” said Osama.

“But it is the center. You avoid the center. You avoid it,” said Bush.

“Yes. I avoid the center. I do not need the center to win. The center is for suckers, no disrespect intended,” said Osama.

“This is why I will win, Mr. Osama Bin Laden,” said Bush.

“Yes. It is good you think that. Keep doing what you are doing with the center, and believe firmly that you will win. This is good,” said Osama.

“You’re damn straight it is good,” said Bush.

“Yes. It is good. It does not matter that I have won the first four games. I think you are right to be firm with your approach to the game. It is a good approach. In fact, it is a sign of weakness that I keep changing my chess strategy. It clearly represents that nothing is working, that I lack confidence,” said Osama.

Bush does not know if Bin Laden was being sarcastic. But it did not matter. Bush believed in his strategy. He looked down at his board and tried to figure his next move. Hey, why try to figure it. he will do what he always does. So Bush moved his queen pawn one space, proetecting his king pawn. Tried and true. Solid.

Bush smiled. Osama smiled. Everyone was happy.

The Bush Administration Makes Love To The Big Fat Intelligence Report

John D. Negroponte sat at his desk with the thick report sitting in front of him. There was a red Parker pen on the face page which Negroponte placed there as if to keep the report closed. He was irritated with the report. The report’s writers had concluded that the war in Iraq had emboldened terrorists from around the world because Iraq had made it crystal clear to everyone that the United States had limits, to put it mildly. Limits mean weakness, and it is that perceived weakness that makes everyone want to be a terrorist. So, the writers stated, the United States is dealing with a far more dangerous situation than it otherwise would have been if it had simply limited its reaction to September 11th to the Afghanistan War rather than expanding it to Iraq.

Politics is politics, and Negroponte had to deal with this problem that sat in front of him. Nancy Pelosi was already running at the mouth about how the report reflected a flawed foreign policy. Adn of course Harry Reid was vomiting some nonsense over in the Senate about Bush. But Pelosi and Reid were the least of the problems. Republicans were not happy as well, and they were starting to get uncomfortable. Thank god the price of oil had slipped below $60 per barrel. That last bit of news might just keep the upcoming November election from being a blood bath. If oil could just remain on a downward trend, all Negroponte had to do was come up with some kind of response to this damn intelligence report.

The thick report sat on his desk like a big fat white woman on a beach soaking up sun, holding the light, attracting attention. But that was the point, wasn’t it. The report was huge. It ran to over 500 pages. OK, so everyone reads the last few pages to learn the conclusions. No one reads the whole thing. Except he did. Negroponte did. And it was not pretty. But that is not the point. No one fucks the big fat woman on the beach, either. But Negroponte would fuck anyone for his President. Negroponte would do anything for President Bush. And so, if he told the public that the big fat white woman on the beach was a real peach in bed, that no one could possibly imagine how great a lover she was unless you tried her yourself, then, well, it becomes a fact. At a minimum, it becomes an opinion. And that was the point, wasn’t it. It was a matter of opinion. It was a matter of taste. And Negroponte just loves big fat white women, because he would be the only one would actually make love to that large white thing.

So here was the political solution. The Bush Administration would say that the report, that big fat report that sat in front of Negroponte, was a complex assembly of facts which defied any simple conclusions. That the writers being writers wanted to simplify things, and try to seem smart, and certainly Nancy Pelosi and that idiot Harry Reid in the Senate would simplify things, but that the Bush Administration was smarter than all of them. The Bush Administration was sober, and would read that big report like it was making love to that big fat woman on the beach, and would report back to the world the truth. That the report was filled with joy for Bush’s foreign policy. And they would have to believe it, because no one was going to read this report. No one. That big fat white woman on the beach would remain untouched by anyone except for John Negroponte. And therefore, everyone would have to take Negroponte’s word for it. She was great in bed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Iraq Plus Katrina Equals No Legs And A Trailer In The Mud

Harold Horn had lost his legs. It was a roadside bomb south of Mosul in Iraq, and his legs were immediately blasted into a million bits of bone and blood and muscle. The mess made it appear to Harold’s fellow Marines that Harold was surely dead. But Harold raised his head and waved his arm asking for help before slipping into a coma. That was back in July of 2005. Harold’s family in New Orleans went to Walter Reed Hospital to stand vigil while the doctors patched Harold together in 32 separate operations to keep Harold alive. The doctors told Harriet, Harold’s mother, that Harold’s coma was a good thing because it permitted the doctors to operate and operate and operate more. Losing two legs, particularly Harold’s two big football legs, is not an easy thing to deal with, medically, that is. But the hard work paid off. On Christmas Eve, 2005, Harold awoke from his coma to discover himself in a hospital room with three other Marines. Each marine had lost some appendage, an arm, a leg, one had lost his lower jaw. Harold had lost two appendages, two legs. But he felt lucky. Harold thought the guy without his lower jaw was in really bad shape.

In the first week of August 2006, Harold left Walter Reed Hospital and flew by commercial jet with Harriet, his mother, back to New Orleans where Harriet was staying in a trailer with her husband, Jim. Harold learned for the first time that his home, the house he grew up in, was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and that his mother and father had been living in a trailer for almost a year.

Harold was wheeled up to the trailer by Harriet. Harold’s father, Jim, was off trying to get some paid work down at one of the suburban retail stores.

“Mom, stop,” said Harold. Harriet stopped pushing the wheelchair.

“What is it, dear,” said Harriet.

“I just want to look at my new home,” said Harold.

“Oh, this is not your new home. We’re not staying here,” said Harriet.

“How am I going to get into the trailer? Those steps,” asked Harold.

“Oh, jeez. I didn’t think of that. I will go get George. He’s a big man who helps out. Stay here, Harold,” said Harriet as she shuffled off over the dirt to a distant trailer leaving Harold alone in his wheelchair on a dirt patch.

Harold noticed that the dirt was wet and that the wheels of his chair were sinking into the mud. He looked back up at the trailer, his new home. Harold Horn gave his two legs for a righteous cause, he thought. And God took away his parents home and gave them a trailer in the mud. Harold tried not to get angry. His father once told him to always act better than you feel. Harold felt angry, so he tried real hard to not let it reach the surface. He tried hard to look at the whole awful mess and turn it into a beautiful thing. A trailer in the mud. That can be beautiful, Harold thought.

George Bush Examines New Orleans As He Hears About The Cost Of The Iraq War

President George Bush sat at a window seat of Air Force One as it flew over New Orleans. Next to him was Bill, one of the Assistant to the Joint Chief of Staff holding a stack of papers.

“The figure is now 289 billion, sir,” said Bill.

“The city doesn’t look that bad,” said Bush as he was glancing down at the city below.

“Yes, sir. Anyway, the way things are going, I think the Iraq mission will pass the 300 billion mark by late September,” said Bill.

“300 billion. Sounds like a good number. You want to join me after we land? I’m going to have lunch, get some gumbo. A little local color,” said Bush.

“That’s kind of you, sir, but I have to report back to the Army Chief of Management and Budget. He is concerned that you are not fully aware that we have spent close to 300 billion on Iraq, sir,” said Bill.

“Yeah, well, tell him I know it. Money well spent. I hear they got some of the gambling casinos up and running down in New Orleans. These southerners are very resourceful. I knew they would be up and running, getting their feet wet in the economy. No pun intended, there, Bill,” said Bush.

“Yes, sir. My boss wants you to know, or wants to make certain you know that the 300 billion is actual cash money that has been spent, sir. That it is not just appropriated for future spending. That money is actually spent,” said Bill.

“Yeah, yeah. Those damn Iraqis just gobble up money, don’t they. But look down there, Bill. Those people in New Orleans have not spent all the money we appropriated. Those people are on their own doing what Americans do best. They are resourceful and don’t ask for help. I am proud of them. We hardly have spent a dime down there, and those people got their casinos running already. And the Astrodome is open, I think. Almost, anyways,” Said Bush.

“Yes, sir. That’s good, sir,” said Bill.

“Yeah, it sure is, Bill. It sure is. Sure you don’t want some gumbo? It will be on me,” asked Bush.
“No, sir. I really have to get back to the Pentagon. We are budgeting for the next six months,” said Bill.
“Okie dokie, there, Bill. You do your thing. And I will do mine. I will do mine. Have a big New Orleans meal, that is” said President George W. Bush.

Transcript Of Cell Phone Conversation Between Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie

The following is a transcript of a cell phone conversation between Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie recorded on Saturday evening on August 26, 2006. The conversation was recorded to a computer hard drive that was cabled to a ham radio calibrated for cell phone frequencies. The calibration is illegal, so the ham radio operator refused to provide the actual audio. But Parodical was able to listen, and we rendered the audio to a written transcript. The audio was short, and cut off at places, but we transcribed to the best of our ability. Here it is:

Nicole: It’s not right, Paris.

Paris: You are not well, Nicole.

Nicole: That is as much my show as yours.

Paris: I want to re-cast it. I am thinking about Tara Reid.

Nicole: Tara Reid. That fat bitch.

Paris: I don’t want to talk about it.

Nicole: Tara Reid. She is a drunk. A fucking pig. You want someone fat so you can look good.

Paris: I have to go. Besides, Tara is not that fat.

Nicole: She’s a drunk. She’s always drunk. She’s like always slurring her words. She is embarrassing.

Paris: It’s a problem. But it’s her problem. She won’t be drinking on the set.

Nicole: I heard Tara Reid walks around with rum in her diet coke bottles.

Paris: Look, can I go? I have to go.

Nicole: Really, Paris, please. Listen. Please listen to me. I can do the show. People want to see me.

Paris: There is not much left of you to see, Nikki.

Nicole: But Tara Reid. She’s a nobody. An empty-headed party girl.

Paris: Oh, and like you are some Ivy League graduate.

Nicole: I don’t pretend to be something I am not, Paris. Tara Reid thinks she is an actress, which is a big fat fucking joke.

Paris: OK, you’re getting nasty. I am going.

Nicole: No. No.

Paris: Bye.

The cell phone conversation ended there.

An Anorexic Nicole Ritchie Soils Her Bed and The Fire That Follows

Nicole Ritchie sat on the edge of the bed in her West Los Angeles condominium apartment overlooking Sunset Boulevard. She awoke because her bed was wet and she was curious. She raised herself and was surprised that her bed was soiled with a moist brown pool maybe a foot in diameter. She was alone, thank god, she thought, but Nicole was concerned because her panties were all wet and brown too. Nicole was not wearing any bra because, well, why should she; she had no breasts, glands which had long since disappeared because of Nicole’s strict diet.

The brown liquid made a trail down Nicole’s bony left leg which dangled off the side of her bed along with her right bony leg which, oddly, she did not feel. Nicole took her right hand and massaged the upper right thigh, if that is what you could call it, of her right leg to see if she could feel anything. She couldn’t. Nicole moved her right ankle and toes, as she did with her left side as well, and she was gratified that she still had control of her legs. Nicole was not worried about the lack of feeling. Nicole concluded that the sense of touch was a sign of muscle which added weight, which is something she did not want. So possibly getting rid of a sense of touch removed a quarter of a pound or so from her body. This was a good thing, Nicole thought to herself. Nicole wondered if thoughts had weight.

Nicole looked down at her belly. As Nicole got thinner and thinner, she noticed that her belly started to form a small ball outward. She had read somewhere on one of the anorexia websites that this was a gas ball and a normal phase anorexics go through before the ball goes away. Well, Nicole was certainly not an anorexic even though everyone kept telling her she had a problem. Jeez, she was just thin, and people reveal their jealous natures in all sorts of ways. Though she did like checking out anorexics on websites, seeing their photos and comparing herself to them. They looked just a little too thin for Nicole. Anyway, the gas ball belly bothered Nicole, and so she decided she was just not going to eat anything today. Maybe a Tums to get rid of the gas. She knew that one Tums had a few calories, which bothered her. But if it reduced the gas ball, it was worth it. Just one, though. Don’t want to go nuts.

Nicole smiled that she was still sitting in her own shit on the bed. The odor had permeated the room, but this did not trouble Nicole. She was happy to know that the brown crap, which she also noticed had blood in it, or something red, was out of her body, lightening her load still more. Sitting in her own shit was not uncomfortable because she had little or no feeling in her buttocks, which looked more like two bone blades protruding at the base of her spine.

Nicole wondered how many pounds her skeleton weighed. If she could know that, then just add a few pounds to that figure for the brain, some skin and she guessed a few organs, and that would be the ideal weight. How much did her brain weigh? Not too much, she hoped.

Nicole reached over to the pack of Marlboro Lights on the side of her bed and removed a cigarette. Before lighting the cigarette, she examined the box. There was no information about calories or any other nutritional information on the pack of Marlboros. Nicole wondered if cigarette smoke had weight or calories. She decided to take the risk, and she lit the cigarette and took a very deep intake of hot smoke into her lungs. Actually, it was not a deep intake. Nicole had lost the ability to take a deep breath. But the nicotine immediately hit her bloodstream and did something odd. It made Nicole very sleepy. Nicole fell back into the soiled bed and looked up at the ceiling. He eyes closed and she fell into a very very deep sleep, her hand holding the cigarette fell to her side, the burning end luckily facing upwards, hopefully avoiding a fire. This was not a normal sleep; more like an exhausted body attempting to conserve what little fuel remained. The brain has protein, so Nicole’s body started using some of that to keep the heart pumping. But it did not prevent Nicole from dreaming. Nicole dreamed of her cigarette starting a fire on her bed and buring her to a crisp. In her dream, Nicole Ritchie wondered what the weight of her charred remains would be.

Nicole Ritchie’s apartment door swing open and in ran two firemen. The smoke was coming from the bedroom, which the firemen ran into and found Nicole Ritchie lying on her back, unconscious, naked except for her soiled panties. The pillow to her right was in flames. The smoke was billowing out of the open window, which was lucky for Nicole since it was immediately spotted from the street below, a fire alarm pulled, and the men in uniform were there in five minutes. The fire had significantly destroyed the pillow and was starting to spread to the sheets, but had not touched Nicole’s body or outstretched right arm and hand which had been holding the burning cigarette.

The firemen name Joe picked up Nicole’s body with one arm and hauled her into the living room. He was astounded how light Nicole was. He merely used a hand to pick her up, as light as a dumbbell. Joe deposited Nicole on the couch while the other firemen, named Javier, dealt with putting the fire out. Joe took Nicole’s pulse and noticed she was breathing, but she was wheezing with each breath, a sign that she had taken in some smoke. Joe pulled out his small canister of oxygen and placed the mouthpiece over Nicole’s open mouth whose teeth were protruding from very drawn and sickly facial skin. Nicole immediately started to cough, her eyes opened and she was stunned to see the firemen and the object over her face. Nicole got scared and pushed the oxygen mask away.

“What this? Who are you?” asked Nicole as she wiped her mouth.

“You had a fire, Miss, and we had to break into your apartment. You are OK, though,” said Joe.

“A fire?”

“Your cigarette. You must have fallen asleep,” said Joe.

Nicole noticed that she was naked but for the soiled panties, and she grabbed a sofa pillow to cover herself.

“You want me to help you to the bedroom. It is safe now. Things are under control,” said Joe.

“You gave me oxygen. You gave me oxygen. What will that do to me?” asked Nicole. The question confused Joe.

“It helped you breath. You had taken in smoke. It helped clear it out,” said Joe.

“Smoke. I took in smoke,” said Nicole as she wondered is smoke had calories. She wondered if oxygen had calories. But then she remembered that oxygen raised a person’s metabolism. She liked that. It helped to burn off fat.

“I feel a little faint. Can I have more oxygen?” asked Nicole.

“Yes. Of course,” said Joe as he placed the oxygen masked over Nicole’S mouth. Nicole took a breath and dropped the pillow from her breasts, better described as a flat board with two twisted pink spots that looked more like pimples than nipples.

Joe noticed that Nicole Ritchie was smiling. Her eyes were closed, and then Nicole went limp. Unconscious. Joe removed the mask and slapped Nicole. She awoke with a start.

“What. What did you do that for?” asked Nicole who was somewhat delirious. Joe was concerned by the odd behavior and radioed for paramedics.

Nicole then stood up, slowly, and walked into her bedroom.

“I’m going to get dressed. I have to go to the health club,” said Nicole as she closed the door. Joe was reluctant to follow her. But he hoped the paramedics would arrive soon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fat Britney Spears Loses Weight In The World Of Warcraft

Amorian The Warrior ambled through the Raven Hill Cemetery in Duskwood on the continent of Azeroth. This was Azeroth in the realm of Hyjal. Amorian was told that there was something very strange going on in the Raven Hill Cemetery, and there was a rush of characters to get there. Amorian, though, was never in so much of a rush to stop him from killing creatures. Amorian liked killing creatures. It was what he did, and the more creatures Amorian killed, the greater his skill level. Amorian was at level 47. This was good. But not good enough for Amorian.

After killing a plague spreader, a ghoulish looking grey creature, Amorian noticed that dozens of characters were running past him on the way to the Raven Hill Cemetery.

"What's going on at Raven Hill?" asked Amorian of Googan, a Mage.

"They say Britney Spears is in Raven Hill," said Googan, as he rushed off.

"Britney Spears?" said Amorian to himself. I guess Googan must mean a character named Britney Spears. Or is Britney Spears playing a character. That would be cool, Britney playing Warcraft. Amorian now was interested and started to run.

When Amorian finally arrived at the Raven Hill Cemetery, there was a huge crowd of characters, from warriors to mages and shamans to rouges as well as what looked like hundreds of druids.
Amorian pushed through the crowd, but did so in a manner that was respectful of the horde. When he got to the middle he saw what everyone was talking about. Surrounded by the crowd was a gorgeous blond human and her name was Britneyspears. Britneyspears' blond hair was flowing, and she carried a sword and had a choker around her neck with a band in her hair. She was tall and thin, a body like Madonna’s, just with fewer wrinkles.

"That's not the real Britney Spears," said Amorian to Ceeceelia, a female rogue standing next to him.
"Yes it is. Britney is making a special Warcraft appearance. She apparently has been playing the game and eating chocolates for the past nine months and has decided to do a concert.

"What? A concert here, on Warcraft?" asked Amorian.

"Well, she can't do a concert in real life. She's fat and pregnant and stuffing her face with Twinkies and cigarettes and has lost her voice and her stage presence. So she is doing it here," said Ceeceelia.

"Oh. I guess that's cool," said Amorian.

'Yeah, if you can't get a life together on Earth, you do it on Warcraft," said Ceevceelia.

"Warcraft is on Earth," said Amorian, a little peeved that Ceeceelia might have implied that he too did not have a life.

"I'm not saying you and I don't have lives. I'm saying this bitch has betrayed her true self on Earth, her trailer-trash self, but here on Warcraft she can be beautiful and sing using the program they apparently created for her," said Ceeceelia.

"Cool," said Amorian. Amorian wondered whether Ceeceelia was also fat. She looked damn good here in the Raven Hill Cemetery.

Suddenly, without any announcement, Britneyspears started to sing. And it was quite a pretty voice. All the characters started to cheer. Amorian though just listened. He thought of the real Britney Spears sitting at a computer somewhere, pecking away at a keyboard, a box of Krispy Kreme donuts next to her, possibly a donut in her mouth, chewing, drinking a beer, a cigarette burning in an ashtray, but singing a song, a pretty song in the realm of Hyjal on the continent of Azeroth in Duskwood at the Raven Hill Cemetery.

The Last Seven Minutes Of Kenneth Lay’s Life

Kenneth Lay opened his eyes. He grabbed his chest because of the thud of pain that burned like a hot bass. He was lying next to his wife Linda who was breathing heavily and in a deep sleep. Linda had been taking sleeping pills lately due to all the events in their recent lives, and the pills always seemed to do the trick. Linda slept through the night, snoring as if she was drowning out bad dreams. Kenneth turned to the digital clock that sat on the night stand to his right. It was 1:07 AM.

The thud in his chest was growing worse, but he had had these pains before. Kenneth did not tell anyone. He assumed they were stress pains. But he was dealing with it like he dealt with everything. Quietly. But somehow this was different. The pain spread to his right arm which was burning sharply. He nudged Linda, but she did not stir, nor did her deep noisy breathing break its stride. Linda Lay remained firmly in the grip of Ambien, deep in her dreamless world.

Rather than be an alarmist, something he had always eschewed, Kenneth Lay was determined to bear this momentary crisis out. This too shall pass, he thought. So much had happened in his life, so many good things, so many bad things, tough times, easy times, and soaringly brilliant times. He never fancied himself brilliant, though. Kenneth always had to work to get to the top. He used charm and social skills, combined with a sense of optimism. Kenneth learned early on that optimism was a tool that worked wonders on people. Never seem pessimistic about anything. Never betray that you had doubts about success. Indeed, this tool had metastasized into a working philosophical attitude. Kenneth believed his own optimism. It worked on everyone, including himself, and fueled him through good times and bad times.

Kenneth's father, Omer Lay, was the supreme optimist. Omer Lay had hundreds of jobs in his life, hundreds of startup ideas, hundreds of notions of who he was and what he should be. Omer even thought of himself as a preacher, and even garnered small audiences in the dozens of towns that he and his family resided. Indeed, Omer and his wife, Ruth, moved often, always trying to find a new life because the present one never seemed to work out.

But as Kenneth Lay struggled with the pain in his arm on the bed in the Colorado Rockies next to his wife, he thought that his father's incessant search for something new and better was a mark of optimism, not of despair. Though his father eventually saw himself as a failure; because in truth, nothing ever did work out for Omer. But with Kenneth, things were a bit different. Kenneth kept moving too, but from one success to another.

Notwithstanding the pain in his chest and arm, Kenneth smiled at the thought of his first oil job with the Humble Oil and Refining Company. The name 'humble' amused Kenneth. His starting salary was $13,000 per year, an amount he could spend in a day on frivolous things his later years. But his time at Humble had given him a family. It was at Humble that he married his college girlfriend, Judith Ayers. And with Judith, Kenneth had two children, Mark and Elizabeth.

Kenneth thought of Mark and Elizabeth and how he had left their mother for another woman, Linda, who was lying dead to the world next to him in this mountain retreat. Kenneth Lay felt a pain in his stomach. It was unrelated to the pain in his chest and arm. It was an emotional pain. The pain of loss, of regret, of having hurt his children. He hurt his two and only children twice. First, when he left their mother. And second, now, with the predicament he was in. A criminal conviction and he was now waiting his sentence. Kenneth knew he was going to prison, and he thought of Mark and Elizabeth coming to visit him. He would be seeing his children in prison.

Kenneth's face started to contort with the thought of how he had hurt Judith, of how he had hurt his children. Afterall, he had hurt them all because of one thing: success. With his success came a lack of attention to Judith and family. When the money started pouring in, Kenneth Lay felt on some level that he wanted something more in his personal life. That he wanted a woman that could satisfy his new-found sense of himself. And he left Judith and the kids with optimism that everything would work out. Judith would find a new life. The kids would understand. Everyone would be optimistic.

And it did. And they were. Didn't it? Weren’t they? Linda was smart and beautiful, and at the moment snoring. Kenneth Lay started to cry. The pain in his chest was worse than it had ever been, and now both arms were getting very stiff with shooting sharp pains, like someone was squeezing his biceps and twisting his arms in an Indian wrist burn. Judith might not have been as beautiful as Linda, but she fell in love with Kenneth when he was a nobody. Kenneth thought of that. He kept thinking of that, of Judith, of having left her, and he kept hearing the snoring Linda next to him. The thoughts of Judith, the memories of Judith mixed up with the heavy wet breathing was clashing together in his brain. He wanted the noise to stop so he could think of Judith, so he could dream of Judith, or those times back at the Humble Oil and Refining Company.

With each deep noisy breath that Linda took, Kenneth Lay's chest and arm pains got worse. But he felt he would get through the night if he could only keep his mind focused on Judith. He would call her in the morning. He wanted to speak to her. He wanted to touch her again. Focus. Focus on the memory. Kenneth struggled with trying to focus. But the pain kept getting worse, and his wife's snoring kept getting louder and louder and louder. He thought he started to feel rain and see lightening. The thunder was Linda, but he tried to turn it into a thunderstorm memory he had with Judith, once when they were on a lake in a row boat. The row boat. Think of the row boat and the lake and Judith.

And then it came. The explosion of pain that made Kenneth Lay's left hand grab Linda so tight it woke her. But Kenneth did not notice that Linda had awoken. All he could think about was his left hand grabbing the side of the row boat, the boat shaking in the thunderstorm and Kenneth telling Judith that everything was going to be alright. Everything was going to be alright. That they would make it to shore. Kenneth smiled. Judith smiled. And the thunderstorm was over.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Iranian Orders 100,000 Kaytushas

The Iranian who called himself Hassa was wearing a grey business suit with a white shirt. He had a black belt and black leather shoes and carried a brown leather zippered portfolio. Hassa was leaning on the door jamb that was the main entrance to the manufacturing floor of the weapons plant on the outskirts of Grozny in Chechnya, a Russian Republic. Greigor was wearing dark brown canvas overalls with a tool belt attached to his waist. Greigor was the floor manager, but the floor at this moment was quiet given the 6:00 AM time that Hassa had requested for the meeting.

“The difficulty is the ball bearings,” said Griegor.

“The ball bearings are essential. Without them, I am not interested in your Kaytushas,” said Hassa.

“My Kaytushas? My Kaytushas? These are the only Kaytushas. This is where we made them for the war against the Germans,” said Greigor, taking offense to the Iranian who spoke perfect Russian.

“Yes,” said Hassa.

“Kaytusha comes from an old Russian wartime song with the same name. It is about a girl named Kaytusha who longs for her lover who is away at war,” said Greigor.

“It has romantic origins,” said Hassa.

“We are the only real supplier of Kaytushas. We have a history with them,” said Griegor.

“They are simple rockets. I can get them from the North Koreans. I can even make them ourselves. But quite frankly, it would be easiest for all concerned to have you do it,” said Hassa.

“Well, the ball bearings are a problem. The Kaytusha with ball bearings is not how it was intended. I don’t like it,” said Greigor.

“We are not about to discuss the ethics of warfare now are we? You are in the business of making Kaytushas and other things for war and I hardly think we should discuss the ethics of ball bearings,” said Hassa with a smile.

“Yes, well, can you get the ball bearings?” asked Greigor.

“Oddly, there is a ball bearing manufacturing plant in Israel. I have a German company that has purchased several containers of bearings which has already been shipped. Then we would have to get it from Germany to here,” said Hassa.

“Why don’t we make the Kaytushas and deliver them to you with a removable nose so that you can simply stock them with the ball bearings?” asked Greigor.

“Because I do not wish to have my fingerprints on the operation. I want them shipped from here to Syria where they will then be exported to various places. So start making them and expect the ball bearings to arrive within a few weeks,” said Hassa.

“I was told you want one hundred thousand rockets. That is a big order,” said Greigor.

“They have already been paid for,” said Hassa.

“That will take time,” said Greigor.

“That is OK. Move quickly, but do not compromise the integrity of the Kaytushas. I want a child to be able to fire them without trouble. I need the Kaytushas to be, how do Americans say it, ‘idiot-proof.’ They should be able to be mishandled and dropped and rolled without requiring repair or without setting them off,” said Hassa.

“Yes. OK,” said Greigor.

“And when delivered to Syria, I shall make certain you personally are well compensated. I will take care of you with money to make certain you keep your eyes on this order,” said Hassa.

“Thank you. I will,” said Greigor.

Hassa smiled, turned and walked out the door. Greigor did not like the Iranian. He was smart, confident and clearly had his hands on several powerful buttons. Greigor tried not to think of his brother-in-law, Ben, who lived in Tel Aviv. His brother-in-law had married Greigor’s sister, Mona, who was killed in one of several bombing raids in Grozny. Ben was half Jewish, and after the death of Mona, he moved to Israel. Greigor had not seen or spoken to Ben in six years.

Greigor looked at his watch. It was 6:32 AM. He yawned and decided to go to his office and lie down for a nap until the floor workers arrived at 9:00 AM. It was going to be a big day to gear up for the manufacture of one hundred thousand Kaytusha rockets.

A Lebanese Boy Learns To Fire A Kaytusha

Amrak Heesan sat at a wood table eating oats soaked in goat’s milk. His son, Mokar, ten years old, sat with him eating a banana. The house was made of stone and had three rooms, the living area which contained all the kitchen equipment and a television set, as well as a bedroom and a bathroom. The house was on a hill in the Lebanese town of Khiam near the Lebanese border with the Golan Heights. Amrak’s wife, Seffe, had left Khiam two days before with Mokar’s sister, Juha. Juha was only four, so Seffe did not wish to wait for the Israelis to come. She was scared and wanted to find a safe haven for her daughter and herself, and she felt bad to leave Mokar behind. But Amrak was insistent. “Mokar was ten years old. He was old enough to hold a rocket. He must stay and fight,” said Amrak to his wife Seffe. So Seffe departed only with Juha in their green 1988 Toyota Celica. Seffee did not know where they were going to go. She did not wish to go to Syria. She had heard that those who went to Syria never came back. She wanted to stay in Lebanon, maybe close to the sea. Seffe told Amrak before she left that she would drive with Juha toward Tyre or Sidon and try to find one of her sisters. Amrak suggested further north; but further north was unfriendly to Shia, so she preferred to stay in the south.
Mokar looked at the battery-operated clock on the wall. It was four minutes to nine in the morning.

“It is almost time,” said Mokar.

“There is no reason to rush. There is plenty of time,” said Amrak to his son as he played with his oats, not really hungry.

Amrak had been suffering from stomach pains for the past few days, and they had become worse this morning. The departure of his wife and beautiful four-year old daughter, Juha, with jet black hair and light brown eyes, was like an ending to him. He did not think it would ever come to this. This war that was now raging. Of course, the whole town of Khiam had become a storage facility for weapons, including the nearly thousand Kaytusha rockets that came in weekly over the last five years by truck on roads from Syria.

Kaytushas were old Soviet rockets, and though they were tested every now and then, no one really knew if they were reliable. If you walked down the dirt and stone roads of Khiam on any day, you would not see one rocket except for maybe a pickup truck now and then with a pile of them in the back. But walk into anyone’s home in Khiam, and the entire living space was piled with Kaytushas. Everyone had a quota. Amrak’s house was big enough to hold fifty Kaytushas, and what was left of that fifty was lying behind where Mokar sat at the table eating his banana.

So with all the rockets piling up in the house, Amrak found it amusing that he never thought it would come to this. How could he think otherwise. The Kaytushas had become so much apart of everyone’s home, that they were used for all sorts of purposes. Lying five of them next to each other was a popular support for mattresses. Some had rigged them with electrical cords, placing a light bulb at the top and then a shade hanging on the bulb. This had become a popular lamp, so much so that a local electrician had made a sizeable business at retro-fitting the Kaytushas as standing lamps. Though this was frowned upon by the local authorities, even they had to laugh at the ingenuity of the Khiam residents.
This had all changed in the last two weeks. All the lamped Kaytushas had been reclaimed as rockets. And to the surprise of everyone, the Kaytushas were not only reliable, they all seemed to work as described by the Syrian engineers who came to instruct locals in how to fire them.

“I want to do it, Papa. Can we go now?” asked Mokar.

“I am not finished with my oats,” said Amrak.

This was to be Mokar’s first time firing a Kaytusha. In fact, two weeks ago was Amrak’s first time firing a Kaytusha. It was frightening how much noise the rocket made when it took off from the tripod stand. The air rumbled, hurting the ears. And one looked at the fire blast with caution as it got very bright, sending off sparks in all directions. But the rockets worked. They went up in into the air, heading for Israel like a javelin. It was a sight to see. At first, it had made all the Khiam men proud to se the rockets head up into the clouds. But the pride had been replaced with fear. The excitement was being passed down to the next generation.

Mokar was anxious and excited. He got up from the table and went over to the pile of Kaytushas behind him, which were piled up against the stone wall and held in place by four cinder blocks lying on the floor.

“Can I at least take one outside and get it ready?” asked Mokar.

“Yes. Yes. OK,” said Amrak.

Mokar picked up one of the Kaytushas. It was heavy for a ten-year old. He had to drag it, which is what he did, out the front wood door into the bright morning Lebanese sun.

Amrak’s stomach pain grew worse. He held his stomach. It disturbed Amrak that his son so easily could live with these rockets. Mokar picked them up and moved them around like a large toy. Amrak had always touched them with caution, never fully trusting them, never feeling comfortable. But Mokar had spent half his life with these rockets. The Kaytushas were part of his life; they had become part of his son’s culture.

The pain got worse. Amrak stood and walked to the window where he watched his son set up the Kaytusha outside the front of his house. He saw other sons setting up other rockets at other houses in the town of Khiam. All the sons were moving with excitement. And all the fathers watched from their living room windows.

Suri Cruise And Shiloh Jolie-Pitt Meet In Cyberspace

Wi-fi, wi-max, bluetooth, cell transmissions, satellite transmissions, ham radio packets, sonar, radar, cosmic rays, gamma rays and of course brainwaves all converged in one brief moment, intersecting with a few seconds of brilliant energy on the computer server that hosts the website. And for that brief moment, the mind auras of Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt drifted through each other like two passing clouds. The moment, that precious ephemeral moment that characterizes lovers glancing at each other from two passing trains going in opposite directions, two lovers that never meet but know that they, if circumstance permitted, would be lovers – that moment, that brief moment occurred oddly in the microprocessers of the Dell server that hosts

Perez Hilton himself was sharp enough to catch it, and he was good enough to provide us with an exclusive transcript of the conversation that transpired between Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Though difficult to fathom that infants can communicate with the articulation relected in the following transcript, it is the opinion of Perez Hilton, a recognized authority on the gene pools of celebrities, that Suri and Shiloh are lovers to be, but not yet realized, if ever. The conversation was not in English, the language foreign to us, but Perez was able to translate it into something intelligible. Perez Hilton is familiar with the chaotic and encrypted linguistics of the Tom-Katie Cruise AND Brad-Angelina Jolie-Pitt brain-stream, and so was able to convert what others would consider infant gibberish into a readable conversation. Here is the translated transcript:

Suri: Lost.

Shiloh: Are you?

Suri: Yes.

Shiloh: Where would you be if not lost?

Suri: Safe. I would be safe.

Shiloh: You feel danger?

Suri: What is danger?

Shiloh: I don’t know.

Suri: You feel safe?

Shiloh: A man takes care of me. Occasionally a woman. The big soft things I suck on don’t work.

Suri: Many women come and go. Never the same one. No big soft things for me to suck on.

Shiloh: This is why you do not feel safe?

Suri: I don’t know.

Shiloh: Come with me.

Suri: I feel like … I feel like I want to.

Shiloh: The woman. The woman who cares for me. The one with the big soft things. She has plenty of others she cares for too. I hear them. They make noise. She could care for you.

Suri: Yes. Would that make me safe?

Shiloh: I don’t know.

Suri: Fear. Do you feel it?

Shiloh: Not sure. I think so. What is fear?

Suri: There is a man. He seems to be in control. He comes sometimes. He tells everyone what to do. He yells at all the women. He sticks a rubber thing in my mouth. He smiles at me and sticks that rubber thing in my mouth.

Shiloh: The woman with the big soft things, the one who cares for the others. She is in control. She is in control of things. She tells the man what to do. The man does what the woman with the big soft things tells him what to do.

Suri: I am confused.

Shiloh: Yes. So am I.

Suri: I am feeling it is about to end.

Shiloh: What?

Suri: You. You are growing fainter.

Shiloh: Yes. I see that.

Suri: Will it continue?

Shiloh: I don’t know.

Suri: I want you to stop. Stop growing faint.

Shiloh: I can’t stop it. I do not know why it is.

Suri: Will we ever? Again?

Shiloh: I’m scared. I think I know what this fear is.

Suri: I feel it too. I don’t want to be alone.

Shiloh: Until…

Suri: Until…

The conversation ended at that point. In the opinion of Perez Hilton, Suri and Shiloh will become lovers in this life or in some other life. May it be so.

Parodical thanks Perez Hilton for translating the infant gibberish and for providing us with an exclusive transcript of the conversation between Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.