Monday, March 6, 2006

George W. Bush Inadvertently Contributes To The Death Of Judy Garland

June 21, 1969 - 10:32 PM (London Time): George W. Bush had graduated from Yale University the previous year in 1968, and was on a twelve-month drinking bender which took him and some of his buddies around the world. On the evening of Saturday, June 21, 1969, George W. Bush was in London, and had just departed from his fifth pub of the evening. At the last pub, he asked the bartender to fill his sterling silver flask with Pusser's Rum, and the bartender obliged. George was already very drunk, but rum always went down easy. Although George was not of a right mind on this evening, he believed that Pusser's Rum cleansed the liver. Afterall, the British Navy drank it during wartime. Livers had to work in battle, so Pusser’s Rum must be good stuff. George laughed to himself as he stumbled down a cobblestone London street, the name of which he did not know. Nor care, quite frankly. He was just having the time of his life. George loved the way the English girls talked. They sounded so intelligent, and the fact that they would talk to him and carry on a conversation made George feel smart. He felt the silver flask in his leather inner breast pocket, just to make certain it was there. He also rummaged through his blue jean pockets for his wallet and hotel room key. Good. Everything was still there. George thought to himself that he was in full control of himself notwithstanding the heavy drinking, the uncertain sway to his walk, and the difficulty he was having focusing on the urban sidewalk that extended in front of him.
That is when he saw a woman in what looked like a black night gown or bathrobe. She was sitting on a bench. She was wearing sandals, and her legs seemed like toothpicks sticking out from under the black robe. The legs were crossed, and she was swaying forward and backward ever so slightly, with her head down, showing short black hair. The woman had her hands in the pockets of her robe, and George could swear that he heard the sound of a very faint cry. George looked up and down the street and there was no one in sight but for this woman in a black robe. He checked his watch. It was almost 11 PM. This woman and George were all alone on this lonely London cobblestone street. George decided to approach.
"Hi," said George W. Bush to the woman in the black robe who was sitting on a bench in front of a very small park that was no more than a leafy lot between two townhouses. The woman did not look up.
"Hi," said the woman.
George thought he recognized the voice. No British accent. It was American. It was a fragile voice, as if made of the type of glass that if gently touched, it would shatter.
"You OK?" asked George.
"Yeah. No. Not really," said the woman. The woman glanced up at George and made brief eye contact.
"Can I help?" asked George. George was a bit astonished. Could it be? He squeezed his eyes shut and then opened them again, trying to focus. He felt a rush of adrenaline being pumped into his bloodstream, which helped him get a better grip of his body. He looked down at the woman who had just removed her hands from the robe pockets and was struggling with a small plastic bottle. She looked up at George.
"Can you help me with this?" asked the woman, who held in her hand what looked like a prescription bottle to George.
The woman handed the bottle to George, who took it from her. Their hands touched. George saw the thin fingers and very white skin.
"I can't get it open," said the woman.
George looked at the label, which had the following printed on it: Quinalbarbitone. George did not know what that was, but the woman, well, not just any woman, but the very very famous woman sitting in front of him, was quite interested in taking her pills. George was a helpful fellow, and so he decided to help. He opened the bottle cap. The bottle was filled with pills, obviously a new prescription.
"There. I got it open," said George.
The woman looked up at George'S outstretched hand holding the open prescription bottle. The woman then looked up at George.
"I need a drink. To swallow the pills," said the woman.
This is when George was absolutely certain who he was talking with. This famous woman sat there in her black robe connecting eyes with George. George took this as one more additional sign that his life was blessed. Born right and live right and good luck happens. And here he was on an empty London street talking with Judy Garland. But George did not wish to betray to her that he knew who she was.
"I have a flask of rum. You want to use that?" asked George.
"I don't know. I don't know if that is a good idea," said Judy Garland as she looked down at the cobble stones under her sandaled feet. She had uncrossed her legs and her sandals were flat on the stones, her knees apart and her elbows on her knees. Judy leaned forward without taking the prescription bottle from George's hand.
"Maybe I should not take the pills. Maybe I do not need to sleep. All I want to do is sleep. But maybe tonight it is better to stay awake,� said Judy in a cracked and fragile monotone, seemingly without any emotion.
"It's not that late. Hey, last night I was up till four in the morning," said George.
George wondered what Judy Garland was doing in London. Why isn't she in Hollywood? Or New York?
"You want me to walk you back to your hotel?" asked George.
"But I do want to sleep. What would I stay awake for," said Judy. It was not a question.
"I'm actually feeling like I need to sleep myself. I've been partying too much the past few days," said George.
"Oh, yeah. You're a big partier, huh" said Judy.
'Well, I'm celebrating graduating from Yale," said George, trying not to seem like he was boasting, but it was a line he used frequently. It seemed to get people's attention. And it seemed to change the body chemistry of Judy Garland.
"Yale. Yale. Yale. College. Education. Doing it right. Doing it right. Just having a family. Just a family. One family. One family. Not a thousand families. A thousand families mean nothing. A thousand little screaming families. All distant. Turning into nothing at night. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. One family. One family. One home. I want just one family. One family. Normal. Normal."
George did not know what Judy Garland was babbling about, but he did know one thing. She was babbling.
"I'll take those pills now. Please," said Judy as she looked up at George. George handed the bottle to her.
"And that rum. I just need it to wash it down my throat. Really. Just to wash it down my throat," said Judy as if she were apologizing. Judy Garland jostled several pills from the bottle into the palm of her left hand.
"Yeah. OK. No problem," said George as he removed the sterling silver flask from the left breast pocket of his leather jacket. He twisted of the flask cap and handed the flask to Judy.
Judy popped the pills into her mouth and she drank from the flask, swallowing the pills. She took a second swig.
"Yuck," said Judy.
"Hey, that's good stuff. Pusser's Rum. British Navy rum. The best stuff," said George, trying to make small talk.
"Here," said Judy handing the flask back to George. "Can I have the cap to my bottle, please, if you will," said Judy.
"Yes," said George W. Bush as he handed the cap to Judy. Judy struggled with putting the cap on the bottle. George placed his flask back in his breast pocket and kneeled down next to Judy Garland.
"Let me help you with that," said George.
George took the prescription bottle and the cap and twisted the cap back onto the bottle. He handed it to Judy as he was kneeling before her.
"Thanks. You don't need to kneel down in front of me. I am just a person, you know," said Judy. George stood.
"I'm going to go home now. But thank you. It is nice to meet a helpful stranger," said Judy, who then laughed to herself because the line sounded familiar, like from a movie she saw. What movie? Was it a play?
"You want me to walk with you? Help you?" asked George.
"No. I am going to try to do things myself. I just turned 47, you know. My birthday was a couple of weeks ago. My life is only half over. The first half was good and bad. But the second half, dammit, I am going to make it all good," said Judy Garland.
"Yes. Of course," said George.
Judy Garland stood slowly and started to walk off down the street. George heard her say "bye" faintly as she walked away. She walked very slowly, taking each step with care. But she had almost a dancer's gait; a light touch to her walk. Gentle steps, as if she floated above the stones rather than actually touch them. George was surprised to learn that Judy Garland was 47. She looked more like 77. But she seemed to have spirit. Some sparkle in her eyes. George W. Bush was glad to help her. Glad to give her a smile. She did smile. He saw it. She laughed. George W. Bush made Judy Garland laugh. Or so he thought.

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