Tuesday, December 4, 2007

George W. Bush Proposes The Secret To General David Patraeus

George W. Bush sat on the end of the double bed in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House. He was in his boxer shorts that were emblazoned with hundreds of small wavy American flags, and white socks that were pulled up to the top of his calves. Goerge’s left hand cupped his belly which had grown in the last six months. He was squeezing the fatty flesh of his mid-section. The midnight deliveries of Cherry Garcia ice cream together with the recent gorging of bread with butter had taken minor toll on the shape of George’s body. Instead of three scoops, George thought, he would instruct the kitchen staff to bring him just one scoop, one large scoop, of ice cream. And he really had to stop with the bread. But he had an urge recently to drink beer, and that urge was satisfied by carbs. George knew this, and that is why his entire left hand was filled with George W. Bush’s belly fat.
George had the White House staff install a Sony Blu-Ray deck together with a fifty-inch high definition LG liquid crystal display which sat on an oak wood stand, the deck immediately below on a shelf. As George played with his belly fat, he held in his right hand a remote control. To the left of him on the bed, sat the DVD case for the documentary, if that is what it can be called, of The Secret. George watched the DVD a few nights ago, at midnight, of course, while he was eating ice cream and hallah swabbed with butter. The Secret had captivated the President, and he was watching it again. But this time he insisted that General David Patraeus watch it with him.
General Patraeus was standing, fully dressed in his uniform, as he always did the few times he had visited the President at the White House. The General had never been in the Lincoln Bedroom before, and he felt it would be disrespectful to sit in the very room where President Abraham Lincoln had his office. In fact, the General thought it quite inappropriate that Presidential guets were having sexual congress in the room where a President did his work. But maybe he was not in touch with the times. Afterall, here was the current President in his skivvies sitting on the edge of the bed with legs dangling off the mattress which was elevated like old beds often were, so much so that George W. Bush’s socked feet were a good six inches off the floor. The President had his ankles crossed and he was beating them backward and forward as he spoke.
“I think I have found the answer to our problems in Iraq,” said President Bush.
“Yes, sir,” answered the General in a manner that was filled with cautious anticipation.
“I listened very carefully to your testimony before Congress. It was negative,” said the President.
“Negative, sir? I thought it was honest, but as optimistic as I felt I could be,” said the General.
“That’s the problem. This DVD here. On my new Blu-Ray player. It’s pretty cool. See the picture. So it is all about the Law of Attraction. OK, it is a Law of the Universe. And it is something we need to incorporate into our war plans,” said President George W. Bush.
“I’m not familiar with this Law. Is it a Christian doctrine?” asked the General.
“No. No. I am not giving you any of that evangelical whatever. It is a physical law. A law of science. Listen. It is simple. You think positive thoughts, you think that good things will come to you, then good things come to you. Those thoughts make you attract good things, get it?” said the President.
“OK. Yes. My father had Norman Vincent Peales’s book The Power of Positive Thinking. Is that what you mean, sir?” asked the General.
“No. No. That was about how you can pick up girls, I think. This is about becoming a billionaire or winning wars. We need to have everyone of our troops watch this DVD and starting thinking of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. Of winning the war. If they think it, they will be come magnets for the very thing they are thinking about,” said Bush.
“We have over 130,000 troops, sir. How do you expect me to set it up so that they all can watch this video?” asked General David Patraeus.
“General, please. We send over thousands of DVD players. No Blu-Rays, like this. Just plain ones. Plus thousands of this DVD. Do it on, I don;t know, on rotation, when they get a day break, or something. But they need to watch this right away. It might be our only hope,” said the President.
“Sir, if I may ask, we are still waiting for Hummvees with under-carriage shields as well as full Kevlar body armor,” said the General.
“If your guys think about love, they will get love and not bullets. They will not need the Kevlar body thing,” said the President.
The General did not respond. General Patraeus had recently watched the movie Hitler: The Last Ten Days starring Alec Guinness. Oddly, he watched the movie on an old VHS deck at his home with his wife Holly. Holly insisted that her husband watch the movie. Sir Alec Guinness, thought the General, portrayed a man who had lost touch with reality, and no one was willing to tell him. Holly would not say why she wanted her husband to watch the movie. She just said it was important. And so David watched it. They went to bed early. But David could not sleep that night. Neither could Holly. They did not speak of what they were thinking. And now General David Patraeus was stanidng before the Presient in his boxer shorts and he was reluctant to tell Mr. Bush what he was racing through his mind.
“You listening to me, General?” asked President Bush in a strident voice.
“Yes. Yes, sir. I will consult with our commanders on how to coordinate the distribution of these DVDs so that our troops can have the guidance you seek for them,” said the General. he did not believe he just said what he said. But he said it. He was hoping the President would come to his senses, and someone else would talk him out of the idea. If the DVDs never arrived, then he would not have to deal with the issue.
“Good. This is the answer. This is the answer to all those cowards in Congress who fear that we do not have a plan to win. Who do not have the fortitude to win this war. America never gives up. At least this President won’t,” said the President as he turned up the volume on the LCD display.
“I like this part, General. See how she gets the jewelry she was imagining she would get. She thought of having jewelry, and so she attracted it,” said the President as he stared at the monitor.
“Yes, sir,” said the General. “Yes, sir.”

Friday, November 9, 2007

Britney Spears Tips The Scale At 169 Pounds

Britney Spears took a shower in the pink and white checkerboard tiled bathroom that was on the second floor of her Los Angeles beige stucco house. The bathroom was actually two rooms, one containing a toilet, a bidet, two sinks and a closet. The other, just as large, was entirely tiled as a shower with four shower heads. It was about two hundred square feet in size, and Britney had all four shower heads going at once. She moved around the shower room from shower head to shower head, letting the water hit her nearly bald head, something the public had not seen lately. She also massaged her belly and buttocks as she moved with a bit of a bounce, humming to herself Mary had A Little Lamb. Britney had been biting her nails to the quick to the point where they had started to bleed, which, in addition to the wig, required her to wear fake nails when she went out in public. Britney thought of how it was easy to put a wig on and put fake nails on, but it was not so easy to put on a thin body. Afterall, she had gained weight. Lots of it.
About an hour before stepping in the shower room, Britney had stepped on the digital scale. It read 169, as in pounds. Britney had not been on the scale for two months. So it came as a shock to see that she was  now two pounds more than her weight immediately prior to giving birth to each of her children. She stepped off the scale and started to cry. In fact, she became hysterical. She fell to the floor of the bathroom, naked and sobbing. She tried to curl up into a fetal position, but her girth prevented her from achieving that goal. She rose and looked into the mirror above the double sinks. Britney had forgotten to remove her makeup, and because of the tears, her face was lined with streaks of eye liner. She grabbed her breasts and felt that they had dropped like balloons half filled with water. She opened the medicine cabinet and surveyed the dozen or so prescription pill bottles. Britney grabbed one after the other. Vicodin. Hydrocodone. Percoset. Demerol. Oxycontin.
“No. I can’t. I am not going to,” Britney muttered to herself.
She slammed the medicine cabinet door shut and grabbed her purse that was sitting on a pink wood chair. She removed a pack of Marlboro Lights, pulled out a cigarette and lit it with a 18 karat gold lighter from Tiffany. She took a deep drag on the cigarette and returned to the mirror. There you go. The cigarette gave her some comfort. The smoke shielded the face, and she looked, well, she looked cool. Sort of. But this moment of contentment lasted for maybe a minute. Britney felt the panic return, and so she opened the medicine cabinet and grabbed the Oxycontin bottle, removed the cap and swallowed four pills, without the assistance of water. She actually took a drag on the Marlboro as if that would help get the pills into her stomach. Britney had never taken four Oxycontin at the same time before. So this was new. This was going to be exciting. But she needed it. And that is when Britney turned on the four shower heads and stepped into the shower room, totally naked, her arteries filled with the drug and the Marlboro in her mouth.
“Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow,” whispered Britney as she slowly danced around the shower room.
“Britney had a little life, little life, little life. Britney had a little life, its time was sure to go,” lip synced Britney as she slipped and fell to the floor of the shower room. Because of the Oxycontin, she did not feel the force of the fall. Britney’s elbows were bleeding, and if she could see her buttocks, she would see a large blooming bruise that was quickly turning from red to blue.
Britney lied on the shower tiles, the shower heads going full blast, and she laughed. To herself, just above a whisper. Almost a cackle. She grabbed her fatty stomach. She grabbed and grabbed as if she was looking for something.
“I can’t find my stomach muscle. I can’t find my stomach muscle. I know you are there. I know you are there. Come out., come out wherever you are,” laughed Britney Spears.
Britney’s head slowly came to rest on the shower floor, her eyes closed and her mouth opened. She went into a very deep sleep. An unconscious sleep. The kind of sleep where there are no dreams. And that was good for Britney. Because any dreams right now would be bad ones.
The sound of the shower mixed with Britney’s snoring and the steam from the shower room billowed out into the bathroom fogging the medicine cabinet mirror which revealed Britney’s fingerprints.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The 103rd Floor

My desk was a mess on the morning of September 11th.  That is the reason I came in early.  To be precise, my desk was a mess on the evening of September 10th when I left my cubby at around 6:30 P.M.  I worked in an investment firm.  There were three companies on the 103rd floor of Two World Trade Center, but the firm I worked for had the entire northern face of the floor.  The President of my employer believed in open spaces.  This resulted in all his employees having cubbies separated by shoulder high partitions with little desks and computers.  My desk faced west and to my right was a narrow tall window, one of dozens that were portholes to a view of the entire island of Manhattan.  The largest object in that view was One World Trade Center.  I could lean out with outstretched arm,. And with a little strain, touch the glass of the window.  It was always a source of concern that the window was cold, a constant reminder that the air outside affected the inside of my protected space.

With a slight turn of my head to the left I would see little push pins sticking from the cork that formed the face of my side of the partition, colored in red and yellow and green, holding telephone messages and various lists.   I had several lists reminding me of things to do.  I even had lists of lists.  The lists of lists had the red push pins.  I was very organized, not only here in my office space, but also at home in Hoboken, New Jersey.  And when things are not organized, either here or in my studio apartment, I feel uneasy, like I am floating without direction, like things are out of control.  So I got up early this morning, around 5:00 A.M., emptied the dishwasher of clean dishes and glasses and coffees mugs, placing them in the kitchen cabinets, and then filled the dishwasher with the pile of dishes and assorted other utensils that had built up in the sink.  I wrapped the bulging garbage bag that had overflowed from the small plastic wastebasket, and replaced it with a fresh new one.  I then I was off for the PATH train to lower Manhattan.

I arrived at my cubby around 7:10 A.M after taking the very fast and rather cavernous elevator cars that whisk you up at speeds that approach thirty miles per hour.  I was the only one on the elevator.  This is unusual.  Afterall, when you rise 106 floors, there is likely to be someone who has to go to one of the floors below.  But for some reason, the elevator was empty for my ride that morning, and it seemed to pick up speed like no other elevator I had ever been on.  The bell rang, and the green digital display showing the floors flashed “103.”  The doors opened with a whish should, and I alighted and walked into an office with few others at their posts.  I had my paper bag with jumbo-sized black coffee and a plastic bottle of Vitamin Water.  I try to not eat in breakfast in the morning despite the admonishments of my mother.  And I always pour my morning deli coffee into my ceramic mug I got several years ago at Killington.

I called my mother at about 8:05 A.M.  I had not called in a few days, but since my desk was retuning to its superlative state of organization faster than I had anticipated, I thought of Mom and gave her a call.  She lives on Long Island and was of course happy to hear from me.  She asked me how I was doing, the standard but heartfelt question that always comes.  I said fine, the standard but heartfelt answer I always give.  I asked the same of her.  My mother, though, was more forthcoming with her complaints.  Mostly that of loneliness and the troubles she experiences due to the onset of Parkinson’s.  My mother’s complaints a few years back were a source of mild annoyance.  But now, or should I say back then on the morning of September 11th, I found her honesty refreshing.  We talked briefly, and I promised to call her again by the end of the day.

My cubby-mate arrived at 8:20 A.M.  This surprised me.  She usually arrived late, and I asked what brought her in so early.  She seemed to react negatively to the question, as if I was accusing her being typically tardy.  She said that she had to leave early today because her father was ill and she was going to Newark Airport to catch a plane back to Michigan.  She said her father did not have long, and she wanted to be there with her mother.  I apologized for any subtext she might have heard in my question (none was intended), and she said “nah, it doesn’t matter.”  Her cubby faced east, opposite mine, and she enjoyed the same view of Manhattan as me, just over her left shoulder rather than her right.

My computer was on.  We leave the computers on 24 hours a day, permitting them to be accessed from home.  This convenience is something I never did.  We had a T-1 connection on our floor, so I double clicked on Microsoft Explorer and was immediately brought to my start page which is Yahoo.  I poked around, checking out my email, and responded to a few messages, one form an old high school friend who was encouraging me to come to the tenth-year reunion which was being planned for the week before Thanksgiving.  Just as I pressed the send button responding to the reunion message, I heard a muffled but distinctly low boom which shook me.  I have only one ear that works well and so have difficulty discerning the direction of sounds, but then there was a very loud clacking sound, like hail hitting the windshield of a car.  I looked up and saw One World Trade Center on fire.  The hail-like clacking lasted for about ten seconds, and then ceased.

My cubby-mate stood, I could see her shoulders, her short black hair cut to chin, and her perfectly petite up-turned nose.  I wondered whether she had a nose job, but she does not seem the type to concern herself with such things.  She uttered to herself “holy shit.”

“What do you think happened?” I asked, remaining seated, too stunned to rise, yet not really taking in the enormity of the situation.

“Looks like a bomb went off,” said my cubby-mate.

“I don’t hear a thing,” I said.

It was true.  Except for the initial hail-like clatter, most of the fire and the smoke was playing itself out in silence.  The sounds we were listening to were our fellow employees.

“The windows are more sound proof than we think,” she said.  She turned to look at me.  “You spilled your coffee.”

She was right.  I had not even noticed.  I had coffee all over my white shirt and paisley tie.  I was holding my Killington Ski Resort ceramic coffee mug and did not notice that the jolt of the initial blast must have caused me to jostle the hot brew on me.  I now realized I was in pain from the heat of the coffee.  I placed the coffee mug down and grabbed the few napkins I had left over from yesterday’s lunch.  I felt embarrassed by this mess, and I felt like going home and changing.  I wiped the wet stains, but this did no good at removing the mess.  As I said earlier, I dislike “mess,” and this was just further humiliation in front of my cubby mate.

I am sorry that I keep referring to her as my cubby mate rather than by her name.  I am not permitted to use names in this report from where I am writing, and I shall explain this predicament all later.  Needless to say, I was beginning to find my cubby mate a woman I might be interested in.

“Here.”  She handed me a towel.  “I keep these around for such things,” she said.


“What should we do?” she asked.

This is the longest conversation I had ever had with her.  She was looking right at me, her arms crossed under her breasts.  She was wearing a pale blue blouse with white pearl earrings.  She had a Timex runner’s watch on her right wrist.  Was she left-handed?  Her hair was Magic Marker black and stick straight, with one side pulled behind her right ear.

“I guess we should ask….”  I mentioned the name of the office manager.  But he hadn’t arrived yet.  In fact, my cubby mate and I and three other employees were the only ones there.  Everyone was standing and looking out the windows, I being the only one remaining seated.  At that moment, some man walked in and announced that an airplane had rammed into One World Trade.  The firm down the hall had a satellite feed from a dish they shared on the roof with several other firms in the building.  Our office, though, had no television connection.  The others were watching CNN.  “Can we come in and watch what’s going on through your windows?” he asked.

“Sure” one of my fellow employees answered.  With that remark, a rush of about a dozen or so people came in to look out the windows, a view that was apparently superior to CNN’s video coverage.

“An airplane?”  said my cubby mate to herself.

In retrospect, I find it odd that we were all so calm.  The drama outside the windows was so astonishing, that we on some level felt special to be so close to the action.

“What are they saying on CNN?” I asked.

“It was a jet, a 757 or 767, I think.”

A jet!  I thought it might have been a small airplane like a Cessna gone astray caused by a heart attack or something.  I had no idea that a commercial jumbo jet slammed into One World Trade.  In fact, I was surprised the building was still standing.  I was in wonder at the marvel of how solid the Trade Towers were, that they could remain standing after being hit by a jumbo jet.

“Do you think we should leave?” asked my cubby mate.

“Why, this is the best seat in the world,” he said.

I had to agree.

“I think we should leave,” she said.

I immediately returned to Yahoo and noticed that there was a small report on my Yahoo’s personal page about One World Trade.  This was cool, I thought.  But then, it dawned on me that many people must have died over in the other building.  The fire seemed to be getting worse, and the smoke darker.  Our view of the other building was not obscured because a swift wind was carrying the billowing smoke east, over Brooklyn.  Only our view of northern Manhattan was affected.

My cubby mate left her post without announcing where she was going.  But she returned quickly.

“A building maintenance guy said there is nothing to worry about,” my cubby mate said.  She placed her left hand on my right shoulder as she said this, staring out the window.  “That does not look good.”

Yeah, well her hand felt good.  She wore a pinky ring, a small gold ring without embellishment.  Her fingernails were short, no polish, just clean and manicured.  I don’t think she meant anything by the hand on my shoulder.  As I glanced up at her sharp chin line we felt the floor shake.  My Bic pen rolled off the desk, and my cubby mate’s hand tightened on my shoulder.

“What the hell,” she said.  One person screamed.  A few from the other offices ran out.  The floor continued to rumble, like a jack hammer was working on it somewhere nearby.  And then the sound came.  It was an awful sound.  Not a blast-like sound or a boom, but the sound of twisting metal combined with a screetch.  This lasted for almost a minute.  It seemed like a minute.  Then there was silence.  My cubby mate and I froze.  We waited.  We listened.  Many moments passed, and then from the hallway, someone screamed “A plane has hit our building.”

I immediately looked around to see if there was fire or destrucytion, but there was none.

“Where did it hit our building?” a fellow employee yelled out.

Half up the building, a good thirty or forty floors below us.

Safe, I thought.

I looked back at my computer screen.  My internet connection was down.  Yahoo was dead…I couldn’t refresh, I couldn’t browse.  The lights were still working.  We had electricity.  I picked up the phone on my desk.  I got a dial tone.  I dialed my mother, but I could not get through.  I have no cell phone, just a pager.  This is something I was proud of, but now I wished I had one.

“Let’s get out of here,” my cubby mate said.  She walked briskly away, and then turned to face me.  “Let’s go.”

I grabbed my olive green canvas Lands’ End bag from the floor, quickly inserted my Coach black leather portfolio, a few papers, and my datebook.  My initials were on the Lands’ End bag, something I had recently regretted.  Those large initials stitched to the side of the bag became too much of a billboard announcing nothing to anyone except my silly lack of self esteem.  I wear the bag with the initials toward my body.

I was ready to turn, but then noticed my Bic pen, the one that fell to the floor.  I have a mild obsession with Bic pens, the clear plastic kind, with the clear narrow ink cartridge running up the length.  They do not make these Bic pens anymore, where you can see the ink dropping ever so slowly, as one uses the pen’s ink.  All the new Bic cartridges are opaque white.  But I have fourteen boxes of the old Bics back in my apartment, and I go through each one meticulously until it is completely emptied of ink.  I tossed the Bic pen in my bag.

I was standing now.  I was surprised to see that my cubby mate waited patiently for me, but that she did not take anything of hers.  Her black leather Tumi briefcase remained on the floor next to her desk.  I tossed the shoulder strap over my head and joined the rush of people moving quickly toward the elevators.

When we arrived, there was a small grouping of people standing at the end of one of the corridors containing the elevator doors.  Everyone was staring.  I peaked around the corner and saw black, very black smoke coming out between the cracks of all but one of the elevator doors.   The corridor was starting to fill with smoke, which floated to the ceiling.  It had a distinct odor, something I cannot place.

I noticed someone on a cell phone.  At that moment, my pager beeped.  This was exciting.  Someone was contacting me.  I saw the number.  It was my mother.  I asked the gentlemen with the cell phone if I could borrow it.  He advised me that he can’t get through.  I knew he worked in the office that had the television sets.  “Can we go to your office and see what CNN is reporting?”  I asked.

“We lost the feed as soon as the plane hit.  It knocked the dish out of alignment.”

“Then how do you know it’s a plane that hit us?”

“I got a cell phone call.  It’s terrorism.  They hijacked two planes and crashed into our buildings,” he said with a slight quiver in his voice.

The buttons to the elevators were not lighting up.  Someone pulled a Leatherman multi-tool from his pocket, swung open a knife and attempted to use it in prying open the elevator door that was emitting no smoke.  Several men grabbed the sides of the doors, or at least attempted to grab them, and they struggled in vane to open the door.  Then they all simultaneously pulled their hands away from the door.

“It’s getting hot,” one of them yelped as he examined his hand.  “The stairwell,” he said.

There was an initial start toward staircases that none of us knew the location of.  Someone pointed to the those signs near elevators that direct you to staircases, signs I never reviewed before.  When we reached each of the four stairwell entrances, white smoke was gently rising.  It seemd to precede the beginning of darker smoke.  There was also a breeze, an odd hot breeze of foul air.  We all backed off.

“The roof.”  This was the same guy that said “The stairwell.”  We started up one flight of stairs, but they were buckling, angled in an outward direction, and they appeared to be trampoline like.  This was unsettling.  Many of us wanted to get out of the stairwell due to the growing heat, the smell and the smoke.  Some went straight on up.  The rest of us, including my cubby mate, went back to our desks.

“Maybe this will be like “The Towering Inferno,” I said to my cubby mate, who was standing watching the other building.  “The towering what?” she said.  At that moment we heard a large bang.  I thought that maybe this was another airplane.  But when we looked to our left, one of our colleagues what slamming a metal chair against a window on the western side of the building facing the Hudson River.

“What are you doing?” my cubby mate yelled out, trying to reach him over the noise of the metal chair.

“This damn window is like steel.  We need fresh air.  Those fumes might be toxic.”

I hadn’t thought of that.  I guessed that terrorists would think of such a thing.  Or maybe burning parts of the building’s structure gave off toxic fumes.  The glass started to crack under the relentless pounding, and then it broke.  He kept working the small crack for a good fifteen minutes before he had a two foot wide jagged porthole.  The rush of cold air came in.  It was refreshing, at first, but it also brought in a backdraft of smoke that was coming from the other building.

“Shit, more smoke,” our tenacious colleague said to himself.

I know this may sound odd, but it was not until this point that the first pangs of fear started to hit me.  I mentioned “The Towering Inferno” to my cubby mate because in that movie they were able to put skycraper fire out, a circumstance which I somehow felt was going to happen here.  But the notion that terrorists did this put a different spin on the matter for me.  This was exasperated by my cubby mate’s growing anxiety.

I looked over at the western window with the broken hole and wondered if we could take a running leap into the Hudson River.  I knew this was impossible because of the intervention of Battery Park City, a huge complex of office towers between us and river.  Although we towered over Battery Park City, the thought was preposterous.  I wondered if parachutes should have been standard safety additions to the higher floors of the Trade Towers.

“We have the best view in the world.  We can see everybody.  Everybody can see us.  Yet we can’t talk to anybody.  We can’t contact anyone.”  My cubby mate said this partially to me and partially to herself in a dreamlike stream of words that appeared empty of emotion.  Just bare facts.  I wanted to go to her and hug her.  Death occurred to me.  Is this not time when people are supposed to connect with each other despite differences or lack of interest?  I walked over to her and, with hesitation, placed my left arm around her.  Her black hair touched my left lower chin.  She accepted this overture, and we stood there for the longest while in silence, staring at One World Trade.  She then cocked her head and leaned it on my shoulder.  This caused me to hug her tighter to me.

“Do you have anyone?” she asked.

“You mean like a girlfriend?”


“No.  You?”

“Yes.  Some guy.  He’s a lawyer.  We’ve been together for three years.”

This remark made me think I should loosen my grip on her shoulders, but with her remark, she turned her body to face me and place her arms around my midsection, hugging me.

“He works on Park Avenue, way way uptown.  He’s probably trying to reach me.  He’s been trying to get me to buy one of those Blackberry pagers.  I wish I had it now.”

I had no cell phone, no Palm pilot, no pager.  I was very behind the digital times except for my computer access to the internet, which was useless at the moment.  I liked paper and simple things that felt good in the hand.  Things like my cubby mate.

“The floor is getting warm.  I feel it through my shoes.”

She was right.  The floor, which was covered in a pale blue tightly weaved industrial carpet, was getting very warm.  I looked to my right and saw people standing on chairs.  Obviously this had been noticed by others.

I mustered a little courage.  “How come we never really talked much before?”  There. I said it.

“Because there was no reason for us to talk.  Now we have a reason.”

“Yeah.  What’s that?”

“Because we are going to die.”

What?  What are you talking about?”  I was a bit shaken by the matter of fact manner in which she uttered these words.

“First, this is not necessarily so.  They will put out the fire.  I’m certain they are working on it.  Look at all the fire and police vehicles down below.”

“What’s second?” she asked

“Excuse me.”

“You said ‘first,’ like you had a second thought coming.  What’s second?”

“Well, I guess I was going to ask why the possibility of dying is a reason for us to talk.”

“Because I do not want to die alone.”

“You are not going to die.”

Of course, the moment I say anything of great import in my life, the opposite occurs.  The floor started to wave up and down, the heat was flowing up from the floor.  It appeared the carpet was starting to singe.  I looked to the right again and saw people starting to drop.  My cubbymate grabbed me tight and buried her face into my chest.  I thought I heard her say “I love you.”  But I think I dreamed this.  I looked out the window and noticed queerly that we were dropping.  We were coming down, as if something was lowering us to the ground.  I also noticed that the ceiling was getting closer and closer to us.  Our ceiling is a drop ceiling, above which are had always guessed were utility pipes and electrical cables.  Now I was given the opportunity to see because the ceiling dropped onto my head, which plunged through one of the panels, pushing it up, thrusting me head up into the utility area.  I placed my hands and arms on my cubby mate’s head to protect her.  It was dark now.  I could barely make out what was above the drop ceiling.  My legs and arms felt very hot, like they might have been on fire.  All of this happened very quickly, maybe a count of one one thousand two one thousand…up to seven one thousand.  At that point, something very heavy and metal hit my head and everything went black.  There was a flash of bright light, and it was over.

All I can say now is that I write this from a very special place, a place I am not permitted to describe.  And my cubby mate is with me.  So are others.  There is a lot to get used to here, but it is more than anyone expected and certainly different than anyone expected.  I can say it is good, very good.  Except I have to used to the Macintosh Operating System.  There are no Windows up here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

George W. Bush On A New Breakfast Diet

Since the congressional elections when the Democrats took back control of Capitol Hill, George W. Bush has had a bowl of organic bananas delivered to the Oval Office every morning. It was 7:15 AM, and George was sitting alone at the Presidential desk, the bowl of fresh bananas sitting to the left of the hunter green desk mat that had one Mont Blanc fountain pen sitting alone in the center. George reached into the pocket of his dark grey pants and pulled out a key. He reached down to the bottom left drawer of the Presidential desk and opened it with the key, revealing a wide mouth crystal decanter. He removed the globed top of the decanter and placed it inside the drawer. The aroma of rum rose to his nostrils. George peeled one of the organic bananas exposing about two-thirds of the banana. George held the bottom of the banana and held it up, taking a small bite. He thought of the Rhesus monkeys he had seen at the Houston Zoo. George looked at his digital wrist watch. The time was not 7:22 AM. Condi was not expected till 7:30, and everyone knew that the President liked his appointments prompt but never early. So he had eight minutes to eat his breakfast. George leaned down with the banana in his left hand and dipped the exposed fruit into the wide mouth crystal decanter, submerging the banana tip about an inch into the Pusser’s Rum. He let the banana absorb just enough of the rum before it got too soggy and broke off. George raised the banana and placed the tip into his mouth, biting off two thumbs worth of rum-soaked banana. He chewed slowly, savoring the rum. And as it went down his throat, it felt warm. George did one more rum dip and eat, and then re-capped the decanter, locking the drawer. He finished the banana and tossed the peel into the wastebasket to his right. There was a knock on the door. George looked at his watch. 7:29. Condi was always one minute early. This morning they were to discuss…George went blank on the agenda. It didn’t really matter. What he did today or tomorrow was no longer relevant. His legacy was secure, George thought. He had set the gears of the earth in motion and no one can stop it now. So today was merely moving deck chairs around. And he was comfortable with that. A good way to start the day.

Hillary Clinton In A Bathrobe Enjoying The Moment

Hillary sat in the large upholseterd chair nestled between the wide barrel shaped arm rests that seemed to squeeze her wide frame. She had just emerged from the shower, and wrapped herself in a white terry cloth bathrobe that Bill had lifted from the Atlantis Hotel and Casino in the Bahamas. Hillary’s hair was still wet, producing a few trails of water droplets down her forehead, one dangling from her left eyebrow which she flicked off with her right index finger. She let her head fall back and took a deep breath of the cool air in the master bedroom of her Chappaqua home. The sound of the central air conditioning made white noise in the otherwise quiet of the evening. It was October and the air conditioning was on. Hillary liked it cold, it made her feel fresh, clean, and she always slept better when bundled in blankets rather than lying naked on top of sheets like her husband preferred. How had she gotten to this place, this place where her husband was a President of the United States of America and now she the Democratic front runner for the very same job? The long and lonely trail, she thought, to arrive at this moment in life. She was alone in the house. Well, as alone as Hillary can be. The Secret Service was on the property, and the young female intern, what was her name, Jeena, was sleeping in an extra bedroom on the first floor. Hillary smiled knowing that this momentary lead in the fundraising race, beating our Barack Obama for the first time, might be as fleeting as a “NASCAR lap,” a phrase Bill had used when down south. Bill, the master of knowing his audience. It aggravated her that Bill called earlier in the day expressing a worry that the lead she experienced in raising campaign funds might actually be a Republican conspiracy. Bill’s thinking was that the Republicans would much prefer to run against Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. In fact, Bill told her, the Republicans believed that Obama was unbeatable by any Republican, but with Hillary they had a good shot of retaining the White House. And so, Republicans were giving money to the Hillary Clinton campaign to give her the air of invincibility and make it more likely the Democrats will nominate her rather than Obama. Hillary dismissed Bill’s concern as not relevant. Because if true, then they will be helping her win the nomination, and as far as she was concerned, that is all she wanted. At least, that is what she needed to do first before worrying about winning the Presidential election. She also thought Bill was back handedly suggesting that she could not win the nomination without the help of the Republicans. Silly Bill. The Democrats were going to win the White House back because they were getting lots of help from the Republicans who seem to be, finally, thank God, out of touch with America. In deed, out of touch with the world and reality. Hillary’s eyes closed and she fell into a very deep sleep. Her mouth slowly opened and her eyes twittered into a dream state. Hillary was in the Oval Office and her Vice President just walked in. Who was it to be?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Fight Over Barack Obama & Babies

“I am fucking sick of this shit. Do you hear me?” said Brad Pitt as he stood in Nike running shorts, barefoot and bare chested. Brad was yelling at a closed bathroom door. In the bathroom sat Angelina Jolie, naked, sitting on a white toilet in Suite 1407 of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Angelina’s head was slung forward supported by both palms that were pressed against her forehead as if she were fighting a headache. Angelina sometimes could not figure Brad. She was loving and loyal. She submitted to Brad’s sexual tastes, which were rather pedestrian, thought Angelina. Nothing like Billy Bob Thornton. Billy Bob was unpredictable in everything from sex to food to politics. Yeah, this caused stress at times, but it also kept each day interesting and unique. Like the time Billy Bob sprinkled cocaine all over Angelina’s naked torso and licked it up as he was pumping away. Angelina has white powder all over her face, and the whole thing exploded in one large orgasm, simultaneously, as it should be thought Angelina. Immediately after, Billy Bob wanted to watch Seinfeld with his head on Angelina’s hair. It had to be on Angelina’s hair. And so Angelina let Billy Bob do whatever, and they both belly laughed at the Seinfeld episode.

The unpredictability did not limit it self to sex. You could not pin Billy Bob down on his politics, either. Some days he sounded like the true blue Hollywood Democrat, and on other days Billy Bob was a shotgun toting redneck Republican right out of a trailer park in Texas.

Angelina massaged her forehead thinking that she never had Billy Bob moments with Brad. Brad Pitt, the scion of predictability. Always the missionary position, always with the same exercise routine, always trying to be the politically correct father, always trying to be the politically correct Hollywood Democrat. And always getting angry at predictable moments. Angelina would always know when it was coming. With Billy Bob, his anger was totally unpredictable. Billy Bob could break a table because the waffles were over-cooked or under-cooked, or because the pillows were not fluffy or too fluffy, or because Angelina had not washed her hair or had washed it too much. Angelina never knew what was going to set Billy Bob off. God, she missed those times.

And so what was Brad yelling about? She had predicted it. Brad had been saying that they should get involved with the upcoming presidential race between the Democratic candidates (of course, only the Democratic candidates), and so he asked her which Democrat would she support. Angelina had not thought about it, actually thought it was too early to get involved. But she told Brad that she thought Barack Obama was cuter than Hillary Clinton but that Edwards was too cute. Brad took that as Angelina’s political support for Obama. And so the next day, Bard Pitt came out publicly for Obama and offered to campaign for him. The Obama campaign politely declined, thinking Pitt too Hollywood, and Brad was all in a twit about it.

“Why didn’t you support me with the Obama thing? I look like a fool. Fuck, you have me do things and then I look like the asshole. Carrying the fucking babies around. Hauling your shit from one airport to the next. I am sick of it,” yelled Brad.

“I love you, baby,” said Angelina. She said it like she said it in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the feature film Brad and she made together. Brad was fun back when they made that movie. But it was all play, shooting guns and fighting with each other was like one long fuck fest for Angelina. Though at times she had Billy Bob on her mind when they were throwing punches and pressing their lips together on the set. But Angelina knew that when she reverted to her character in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Brad quieted down, predictably.

“I love you too. So what are we doing today?” asked Brad.

“I’m going to take a shower baby and then we’ll go back to LA. How’s that?” asked Angelina.

“You’re the best,” said Brad.

Angelina rose from the toilet, turned on the shower, and got in, washing herself with the large bar of soap that she had purchased earlier that week. It was the kind of soap that Billy Bob liked. Angelina’s massive head of hair got wet and she let her head fall back and felt the hot water run down her large breasts and pretended they were Billy Bob’s hands.

Bush Breaks Into White House Wine Cellar

Harold James Hoey has worked in the White House since the second inauguration of President Ronald Reagan back in January of 1984. President Reagan had greeted Harold just once as part of the new staff that Reagan had hired for his second term. Harold was an African American, and he was one of thirteen new African American employees on the White House staff. Since that time, Harold is the only remaining African American holdover from the original Reagan thirteen.

Harold had a simple but important job. He was on the night staff and worked the several floors that formed the basement and sub-basement to the executive complex. There were three sub-basements under the White House, one of which was connected to a corridor that led under the White House lawn to the Old Executive Office Building. The corridor was under constant surveillance and had four Marine guards at each of the two entrances, one at the White House and the other at the Executive Office Building. Harold James Hoey was not permitted to enter the White House in any manner except for the underground corridor. This was not always true. Reagan had permitted Harold Hoey and the new staff at the time to enter the White House like kings through the same entrance as international dignitaries and Congressional guests. This practice continued until the Summer of 2000 when Vice President Dick Cheney changed the White House access protocol. Instead of entering the White House like royalty, Harold now entered it like a rat in a sewer. But he did not complain. Harold James Hoey, who was 42 years old at the time he was hired by Reagan, was now 65 years old, and he feared that any complaints uttered would certainly get him layed off into forced retirement.

Indeed, Harold’s job description had slowly changed over the years. Originally, Harold was responsible for organizing and cleaning the three sub-basement floors and monitoring the various rooms and hallways for the specific purpose of making certain things looked neat. If there was something out of place, it was Harold’s job to either make it right or report it, certainly if there was anything odd about it he had to report it, like when a red Lands End backpack was left ominously in the middle of Corridor D. It would not have been so ominous, but the initials embroidered on the backpack were “DTH.” Harold knew that if you remove the vowels from the word “death” you get “dth.” So he called up to one of the Marine stations and the bomb squad arrived in four minutes. It was filled with a pocket dictionary, a paperback James Patterson Alex Cross mystery novel, a cell phone and a Filofax. The “DTH” were the initials of David Theodore Howard, the son of Thomas Howard, a White House staff member. Thomas Howard was reading the Patterson paperback. No bomb. A false alarm. Those were the exciting days. But no longer. Because Harold James Hoey was no assigned to one task and one task only: to clean up and wash the dirty dishes of all White House meals. Most of these dishes accumulated thoughout the day, and they made their way down to the kitchen that was on first, that is the highest, sub-basement floor. The sub-basement kitchen was one of three in the White House, but it was the kitchen that contained the wine cellar and the walk-in refrigerator/freezer. This is where Harold James Hoey at 2:30 in the morning on Thursday, October 11, 2007 met George W. Bush.

Bush arrived in a pale blue terry cloth bathrobe and walking in fire-engine red plastic Crocs with a small American flag pegged into one of the holes in the head of his left Croc. Harold was washing dishes in the large aluminum sink that was on an island in the middle of the kitchen. The sink was hung from a butcher block counter. Harold did not recognize the President at first. he thought it was a homeless person that had wandered into the kitchen, as impossible as that would be.
“Hi. What’s your name?” asked George W. Bush.

“Oh. Oh, jeez. Sorry. Hello, sir. I didn’t recognize you…in your…” said Harold, not being able to finish the sentence.

“So do you have one?” asked the President.

“Have what, sir?” asked Harold.

“A name.”

“Oh. Jeez. I’m sorry. It’s Harold. Harold James Hoey,” said Harold.

“Well, Harold, you got any Pinot Grigio?” asked the President.

“Ahhh…well, yeah, I guess so. I am not usually in charge of the liquor, sir,” said Harold.
“It’s in there, right,” the President said as he pointed to the stainless steel door of the walk-in refrigerator.

“No, sir. The beer would be in there. The wine is in the wine cellar, which is there,” said Harold, referencing a wood door at the end of the kitchen.

“There’s a security camera in the wine cellar. Twenty four hour fee. I don;t want to be caught on that camera. So could you grab me a bottle of Pinot Grigio? For me, Harold,” said the President.

“Well, sure, but you know there’s a key to it, and Mr. Anderson has the key,” said Harold.

“Damn. Damn all this security. They have to lock up the wine, don;t they. Bastards,” said the President.

“You want a beer, sir? The refrigerator is not locked,” said Harold.

“No. I am on the wagon when it comes to beer. Don’t touch it anymore,” said the President.

“OK,” said Harold.

“When does Anderson start?” asked the President.

“That would be at six, sir. Six AM,” said Harold.

“You here most nights, there, Harold?” asked the President.

“Yes, sir. I have the night shift ‘cept for Friday and Saturday,” said Harold.

“Good. We are going to become friends, Harold. “I’ll see to it you get a key. A key to the wine cellar. Got it,” said the President.

“OK. OK, sir,” said Harold.

President George Bush turned and walked out of the kitchen. Harold shook his head to make certain he was not dreaming. And then he returned to washing the pile of dishes.

Harold James Hoey sat in a stainless steel chair with stainless steel armrests. His head slumped forward, a dish towel in his right hand, and he was snoring. It was 3:34 AM on the morning of Wednesday, October 24. As always, Harold was alone in the sub-basement kitchen of the White House. He had cleaned all the Presidential dinnerware and Presidential plates. He had noticed that the White House chef the evening before had made duck with orange sauce. Harold knew that President Bush liked duck, and this was a frequent menu item notwithstanding Laura’s instructions to remove as much of the fat from the duck as possible.


Harold woke and felt the crick in his neck and the sting in his throat, a result of the slumped head and the dry snoring. He cleared his eyes. It was President George Bush. He was holding in his right hand two keys on a chrome key ring.

“I got them,” said President Bush.

Harold stood; slowly, since that is really the only way Harold could move these days.

“Got what, sir,” said Harold with dish towel still in hand.

“The keys to the wine cellar. Got them from Peterson. Had him make me a set,” said Bush.

The President tossed Harold the keys, who dropped the dish towel to catch the keys which were thrown a bit too fast for Harold’s taste.

“Go get me a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio. Dry. Very dry,” said the President. “I’ll just grab a glass and sit here at the counter.”

Bush sat on a wooden stool at the center island butcher block counter that contained the large stainless steel sink.

Harold walked to the end of the room where the wooden door to the walk-in refrigerator stood like a prison door. The keys were Medeco, and the wood door indeed had two dead bolt locks. Why two Harold had no idea. He had seen Mr. Anderson open the door and remove wine and bottles of vodka, but he had never been inside himself. The keys went in like butter, and the bolts turned smoothly. He then pulled the large horizontal wood handle toward him which was at waist hight and the door opened. A rush of cold air hit Harold in the face. A series of three light bulbs automatically went on as Harold entered the refrigerator. There were two wine racks on either side of the room, running the length to the end about twelve feet. On the far wall was a portrait of what appeared to Harold to be Ulysses S. Grant. There were hundreds of bottles of wine. Harold fingered a few of them, but there were just too many to try to find a dry Pinot Grigio. In fact, he wouldn’t necessarily know a Pinot Grigio from a Chardonney.

“Having trouble?”

Bush stood at the refrigerator door.

“Well, sir, I just wouldn’t know…I am not sure where to start looking,” said Harold.

“Hey, look at that. Is that Grant? Watching over the White House booze. That’s funny,” said Bush as he grabbed two bottles off the rack. “Here we go. Two Chardonneys. And they are dry. Dry enough. Let’s close this up and have ourselves a drink,” said the President as he walked out of the refrigerator.

Harold followed President Bush out, closed the heavy wood door and locked the dead bolts. By the time Harold walked back to the kitchen center island, President Bush has already had one of the bottles open with a full glass of wine in a glass tumbler. Harold noticed that the President was not sipping but gulping. And in one quickk clip, Mr. Bush was already pouring himself a second glass.

“Want some, there, Harold?” asked Bush.

“No, sir,” said Harold.

“Hey, I’m the President. You got to drink when I ask you to,” said Bush.

Harold did not know what to say. He had had a rule all his life: one never drinks on the job…never. His father taught him that by drinking himself to death. And so Harold made sure to keep his work very far from drink.

“Just kidding, Harold,” said Bush as he downed another glass. “You got those keys?” asked Bush.

“Yes, sir,” said Harold as he placed the refrigerator keys on the butcher block next to the President.
Harold noticed that the bottle of Chardonney that the President had opened was almost empty.

“You know I don’t regret a thing. Not a thing. I’m President. You can’t get any higher than that. You can’t have more success than that. I am at the top, there, Harold. The tippy top. Yeah, OK, yeah I made a few mistakes. But everyone makes…yeah, everyone everyone. I’m not the only one, Harold. I mean I haven’t killed anyone. I haven’t raped a woman. I have never hit my wife. Never. Never would do that.

The President stood, more slowly and uncertainly than Harold did when he got up from his stainless steel chair.

“You finish the bottle. And put the other one back in the…hey, you here tomorrow night, Harold?” asked the President.

“Yes, sir,” said Harold.

“Good. Good. You’re a good man. You started with Reagan, right?”

“Yes, sir,” said Harold.

“He was a good man too. He was a good man. You’re a good man. And, hey, yeah, I ‘m a good man. I’m headin’ up. Upstairs. Got a day tomorrow, you know. Got a day,” said President Bush as he walked down the corridor that led to the stairwell to the upper levels of the White House.

Harold stood for a moment. He grabbed the nearly empty bottle of Chardonney, poured out the remaining wine into the sink and through the bottle in the recycle bin. He then washed the President’s tumbler. Afterall, that was his job. That was Harold James Hoey’s job, to wash the President’s ’s dirty dinnerware.

Laura Bush Visits George Clooney’s Trailer

George Clooney was sitting on a white plastic chair that reminded Clooney of the seats in the space station in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. He had just finished shooting a scene with Brad Pitt on a brownstone street in Brooklyn, and was now relaxing in his trailer. There was a knock on his door and before Clooney could say a word, the door opened and in walked Ethan Coen, the director of the film Clooney was shooting with Pitt entitled Burn After Reading. Coen closed the door from behind.

“You have a visitor,” said Coen.

“Yeah. Who?” asked Clooney as he sat back in the plastic chair, adjusting his torso to purposely indicate he was not happy with the furniture.

“It’s a little weird, but it is the First Lady,” said Coen.

“What? Who? What first lady?” said Clooney, glancing in the mirror and seeing city grime on his face. Clooney picked up a rag and wiped his face, not fully comprehending what Coen was telling him.
“Laura Bush is waiting outside the trailer and she would like to meet you,” said Coen.

“Laura…you’re joking? She wants to meet me?” asked Clooney.

“Yeah. And the Secret Service wants to scan the trailer first before she comes in here,” said Coen.

“Tell her to visit Pitt’s trailer.” said Clooney.

The trailer door opened and a man in a black suit and tie wearing Ray Bans stepped inside. With the confidence of someone carrying a gun, the Ray Ban man stood erect and surveyed the inside of Clooney’s trailer. Coen moved out of the way.

“Hey buddy, you didn’t knock,” said Clooney.

The Ray Ban man ignored Clooney, unimpressed with the movie star or the fact that Ethan Coen was standing by. Ray Ban man opened the trailer door.

“It’s safe. Bring in the First Lady,” said Ray Ban man. Ray Ban turned to Ethan Coen. “You come outside.”

Coen turns to Clooney and smiled and then followed Ray Ban man out of the trailer.

“What if I want him to stay, asshole,” yelled Clooney.

In walked Laura Bush wearing a dark blue skirt with a navy blazer and white blouse.

“Hello, Mr. Clooney. It is a privilege to meet you,” said Laura.

“I am not certain what to say. Your visit has taken me by surprise,” said Clooney.

Clooney realized that he had remained seated at the arrival of the First Lady. Since Clooney considered himself a gentlemen, he stood.

“I do apologize for my sudden appearance, but I was in Brooklyn visiting with elementary school children, and I thought I would take the opportunity to meet my favorite actor,” said Laura.

“Well, OK. Thank you,” said Clooney. Clooney literally did not know what to say to Laura but for to express his anger at her husband, but he thought that might not be appropriate.

“You are working on a movie with the Coen Brothers. I like their work,” said Laura.

Clooney was a tad taken aback by Laura’s awareness of anything Hollywood. And the fact that she had an opinion about the movies of the Coen Brothers, not to mention liking their work, was also a surprise.

“You are a movie fan?” asked Clooney.

“Who isn’t,” said Laura.

“How do you do it, Mrs. Bush?” asked Clooney, who couldn’t help himself.

“Do what?” asked Laura.

“Live with him, your husband,” said Clooney. The moment the words came out of his mouth, he regretted it. It sounded so classless, and Clooney was a man with class. But then, Laura was married to a man Clooney believed had done tremendous damage to the United States as well as the world, and so maybe the First Lady should not expect to avoid such queries.

“It is difficult at times,” said Laura.

Clooney’s eyes went wide. He could not believe that the First Lady had responded with what had to be an honest remark.

“I’m sorry. I should not have asked such a question,” said Clooney.

“No. It’s OK. My husband does not permit me to speak to him about politics. And so I am left with talking privately to my friends. And daughters,” said Laura.

“Well, your husband would probably benefit by hearing your opinion,” said Clooney.

“You do not know what my opinion is, Mr. Clooney,” said Laura.

“I am going to guess you are not happy with things the way they are. I bet you think Iraq was a monumental mistake that will stain the Bush name forever in the history books,” said Clooney with some trepidation that he was wandering a bit too far down this road.

It is odd. My husband takes solace that there will be some future historian who will find the good in his administration. It somehow keeps him on the path that he is on,” said Laura.

“If you broke your husband’s rule, Laura, and talked to him about what is happening today rather than seeking cover in some future history book that has yet to be written, do you think he would listen? For god’s sake, we are just making everything a be fucking mess,” said Clooney. Whoops. He didn’t mean to swear. “Sorry about that,” said Clooney.

“I will not break my husband’s rule while he is still in office. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate all your movies, and I encourage you to keep making them. They are powerful. Now I must leave. It was nice meeting you,” said Laura as she turned, opened the trailer door and walked out.

“Yes, it was nice…meeting you to,” said Clooney as the door shut.

Ann Coulter Makes Love To The President Of Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walked out of the bathroom of his hotel suite at the UN Plaza Hotel across from the United Nations. He wore a white terry cloth bathrobe. Mahmoud read the digits on the cable box clock: 9:08. The evening lights of Manhattan speckled through the floor to ceiling windows. The air conditioning was on, creating a consistent white noise that pleased Mahmoud. He had had an eventful few days in New York. Speaking at Columbia, where he made the University’s President seem like an ingrate. He was a tad irritated that his Farsi was misinterpreted. he had said that Iran did not have as many gay people as America, not that there were no gays in Iran. But this was not a problem. Americans were just primed to catch him in a verbal slip, even if they have to make it up. His speech at the UN was well received as far as he was concerned. So the trip, he thought of it as a vacation, was successful. Mahmoud thought that he would like to explore more of America at some point, but knew that if this was going to happen, it would probably happen only during his tenure as President of Iran.
Ahmad walked into the bedroom.

“She is here,” said Ahmad.

“She is early,” said Mahmoud.

“Should I send her in?” asked Ahmad.

“Yes,” said Mahmoud.

Ahmad walked out of the bedroom. Mahmoud felt his beard and opened his bathrobe a touch to give it a more relaxed appearance. And then she walked in.

“Hello your excellency,” said Ann Hart Coulter, wearing a simple black dress cut to above her knees, with a white pearl necklace and white pearl bracelet. Her very long pale legs were supported by black high heels just short of being stilettos.

“Please, call me Mahmoud.”

“Yes, of course. And you can call me Ann.”

“I understand you have expressed the opinion that Christians are perfected Jews. I agree with this,” said Mahmoud.

“Yes. The New Testament is a more highly evolved document than the Old Testament, a perfecting of the Hebrew Bible,” said Ann.

“Yes. And I might add that the Koran is a more highly evolved document than the New Testament,” said Mahmoud.

“Ahhh, Muslims are perfected Christians?” asked Ann with a smile on her face.

“Let us not dwell on our differences. Let us enjoy each other’s commonalities,” said Mahmoud.
Ann was surprised that Mahmoud’s English was so good. It had been an international secret that Mahmoud was fluent in spoken English, though he had difficulty reading it.

“The planet would be more perfect without Jews,” said Ann.

“I never said that. It is you who concentrate on the superiority of one religion over another,” said Mahmoud.

“So what are our commonalities, Mahmoud,” asked Ann.

“I understand you wish to make love with me,” said Mahmoud.

“What? I am offended. I am here to talk. To learn. Whatever made you think that I would want to make love with you?” said Ann.

“I am very sorry if I misunderstood your intentions,” said Mahmoud.

“You would not have sex with me anyway. You are a married man. And I am not a Muslim. So the point is moot,” said Ann.

“You do not know the Koran, a book that governs every aspect of my life. But there are varying interpretations as to the applicability of some laws when a Muslim man stands on non-Muslim ground,” said Mahmoud.

“Really. Like what?” asked Ann.

“I am permitted to have sexual intercourse with you in this bedroom right now,” said Mahmoud.

“Right now? You mean there is like a Koranic time loophole that has opened this evening,” asked Ann.

“Time and place,” said Mahmoud. “Please, remove your clothing. I would like to see your body,” said Mahmoud.

“I do not think so. This is totally ridiculous. I would never…”

“Please, please. You are very attractive. Iranian women do not have such blond long hair as you. I wish to see more of it. I wish to touch it. Consider it a place where our civilizations can come together. Do not be so prudish,” said Mahmoud.

“I am not a prude,” protested Ann.

“You are very thin. Your skin is very taught. Your eyes are big. And your voice quivers. May I touch your breasts?” asked Mahmoud.

“No. Absolutely…OK, look, you can touch my hair. You want to touch my hair?” asked Ann.

Mahmoud took a few steps toward Ann, who was six inches taller than the President. The President of Iran extended his right index finger and gently pushed Ann’s golden hair back behind her left ear. He then moved his face toward her and paused about an inch away. Ann’s eyes closed. Mahmoud closed the inch and kissed Ann on the lips. The kiss was long, and Ann responded by opening her mouth. Mahmoud’s arms slowly wrapped around Ann’s javelin frame and he pulled her tight as they merged their mouths as if eating each other. Ann placed her arms around Mahmoud. Mahmoud suddenly pushed her away and backed off. Ann’s eyes shot open.

“Never, never place your arms around me,” said Mahmoud.

“Sorry,” said Ann.

“Now we shall make love. Remove your clothes. Please, Ann. I ask you to share with me your passion,” said Mahmoud, recovering from his minor outburst in an attempt to salvage the possibilities.

Ann screamed and shot up in bed. It was a good scream, the kind that one would have if jogging themselves out of a wet dream, which is what Ann just did in the middle of the night in her bedroom. Wow, Ann thought. What a dream. She was breathing heavily and sweating. She turned to the digital clock on her night table which read 3:36 AM. Ann Hart Coulter let out a lungful of air and did not think she could get back to sleep. Not after that orgasm, which was one of the best ones she has had in a few years, she thought. Fuck it. She had to sleep. Ann was giving a speech tomorrow on the moral degradation of the Democrats and she had to look good and be on top of her game. Anyway, maybe if she was lucky she could return to that dream she was having. Damn that was a good dream. International sex, she thought, between two very intelligent and misunderstood people. Ann closed her eyes and lied back into her pillow and fell rapidly to sleep.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dick Cheney Profits From North Korean Nuclear Deal

Dick Cheney was surprised about how little leg room there was in the front passenger seat of a Hummer. Lots of arm room. But the right front wheel well cut off significant floor space that Cheney had to move his right knee to the left. Cheney glanced to the driver. A good three feet separated Cheney from the female Marine officer. He could not touch her if he wanted. She was wearing dark sunglasses, and she had blond hair cut to the shoulders. Marine officers were getting better looking. It made Cheney proud. She was driving on a dirt road along the southern rim of the hills that formed much of the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea. Cheney was on the South Korean side, of course, and this was a trip he had hoped to take before his tenure as Vice President came to an end in January of 2009.

In the back seat sat Park Jin Woo.Park was 77 years old and lived in the northern suburbs of Seoul. park owned several auto dealerships throughout South Korea and was also a partner with Cheney in various real estate investments in the United States. In the year 2000, just after George W. Bush was elected President of the United States, Cheney contacted park about the possibility of buying options on land in the Civilian Control Zone, an area extending about ten miles south of the Demilitarized Zone. The DMZ itself inside the South Korean border was about 2.5 miles wide and was off limits and heavily burdened with land mines. This was also true of the Civilian Control Zone, but less so.
As the Hummer drove from village to village, Cheney noticed that all the buildings were low and made of very cheap plywood. This was purposeful, structures made to collapse easily so they could become obstructions to an invading North Korean army. The green pristine hills behind the villages had been untouched by the military standoff between north and south. Well, this was all going to change, and very soon.

Cheney remembered coming up with the idea of buying options on land in the Civilian Control Zone as well as the Demilitarized zone, land that was essentially free. No one wanted it. Back in 2000, Cheney, though the assistance of Park Jin Woo, acquired options on 125,000 acres of land, land mostly in the Civilian Control Zone, but also about 30,000 acres in the Demilitarized Zone. The beautiful green hills, replete with land mines, were starting to attract speculation. Cheney had decided to exercise his options, which meant that he would acquire his 125,000 acres for less than $200,000.
“What about the land mines?” asked Park Jin Woo in the back seat of the Hummer. The female marine officer, wearing dark sunglasses on this bright clear sky day, showed no interest in the conversation.
“Not a problem,” said Cheney. Cheney did not wish to reveal to Park Jin Woo that a small company purchased by Halliburton back in 1994 was the subcontractor that layed ninety percent of the land mines and created detailed maps of their location. Cheney estimated that the expense of removing the mines with the assistance of these maps, maps unknown to the South Korean government, would be about a million and half dollars, about a hundredth of the cost without the maps. So to Cheney, he was purchasing 125,000 acres for nearly perfect real estate a days drive from Seoul for 1.7 million dollars. Pocket change. The cost of a two bedroom condo in Manhattan.

Cheney surveyed the hills as the Marine officer picked up her speed since the Hummer hit pavement. Cheney smiled. Make war with Iraq for the oil. Make peace with the North Koreans for the real estate. It all makes sense.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Henry Ford Is Raised From The Dead

The Ford family was against the idea. The medical profession did not think it could be done. But the Governor of Michigan signed into law the exhumation order which had the gravediggers remove Henry Ford’s body from his grave at the Ford Cemetery in Detroit. The casket was shipped to the Chemistry Department of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where something very secret was performed on the body of Henry Ford. The Board of Directors of the Ford Motor Company were in one of the lecture halls in the same building waiting nervously, including Henry Ford’s grandson, who was the current CEO of the Ford Motor Company.

When Henry Ford walked into the lecture hall, he appeared almost green and very frail. His hair was grey and he walked with the help of two assistants. They brought him to the podium which was off to the side. Mr. Ford grabbed the side lips of the podium to steady himself. One of the assistants positioned the microphone near Henry Ford’s mouth. The audience was in shock. How could this be? They were told that Henry Ford could be raised from the dead for only an hour, and that during that time he could probably muster some kind of speech. But the chemists and biologists who had worked on the body were as startled as the audience at how vital the old man was. Afterall, he had died back in 1947 at the age of 83, almost sixty years ago.

Old Henry Ford tapped the mike and it made a loud clack throughout the lecture hall. The Ford family, including all the cousins and great grandchildren, as well as the Board members, were all there. The old man smiled at the thundering clack he made with the tap on the mike. The audience jumped from the noise.

Henry Ford, with his dry cracked lips that had the color of eggplant, leaned into the microphone. His voice was raspy but bellowed with a deep pitch, stronger than one would expect from a man temporarily raised from the dead. “I am told I do not have much time. So let me keep this short and sweet. You people are idiots. Every goddamn one of you. You have no guts. You have no foresight. You have no vision. You have taken this great company that I built with every bead of sweat in my body and turned it into shit. You have let events control the company rather than the company control events. Why the fuck do my cars still run on gasoline? You are still using the internal combustion engine? That piece of shit is a hundred years old. Do you have a research and development department? Or do you assholes have stock in the oil companies? What? Oh, are you scared of the oil companies? Or are you just fucking lazy? And why the fuck did you turdheads bend over every three years and let the UAW ram anything they wanted up your asses? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame my workers. But you know what you jerks taught them? You taught them if they asked for it, you would give it to them. So as far as I am concerned, the UAW was smart. The UAW took care of their members. But you half-brains just sat on your fat asses and let the dividend checks come in without thinking of the future. So I am here to tell you to all go to hell. I am ashamed of what you did to this great company. I am ashamed that you people come from the same gene pool as me.”

At that moment Henry Ford started to cough. The assistants came over to help. Henry Ford pushed them away, holding his index finger up with a gesture that he had one more thing to say.
“Maybe you have one last shot at saving this great company. Maybe. But you are going to have to break some balls and piss a lot of people off and spend a lot of money to do it. Good luck. And try to make me smile when I am lying in my casket. Because recently all I’ve been doing is getting pissed off.”

With that, he turned and walked out slowly with the aide of the two assistants. Everyone in the lecture hall was silent. As silent as a Ford assembly line.

George Bush Is Ecstatic

President George W. Bush sat in one of the two three-cushioned couches in the Oval Office on the morning of Wednesday, November 8th. There were several newspapers lying on the plush rug, unopened, unread, but with banner headlines in large black letters. Newspapers were routinely delivered to President Bush, and Bush routinely ignored them. Afterall, why read newspapers. They were written by journalists who went to college and through osmosis became soaked in a liberal view of the world. Bush did not need to read that. And the banner headlines, which Bush saw at the corner of his eye, had exclamation points, or if they didn’t, they sure as hell should have. The editors could not help but have erections at the election last night. The Democrats were back, and the media was peeing on themselves with glee. But you see, this is where they have it all wrong, thought George W. Bush. Because it was George who was happy. If the Democrats think President Bush was going to crawl under a rock and let them control things, they were as thin and liberal as he always suspected. Bush already had a plan. In Bush’s view, he would rather nuke an American city and make it look like an attack by Islamic terrorists than suddenly go soft. Sometimes you had to do crazy things to save the world. More importantly, sometimes you had to do crazy things to save America. Americans can be idiots, thought Bush. Just because a few Americans die in Iraq, a sandy shithole, they all start to get scared or so soft. Soft. That’s what Demorcats are: soft. Nope. Not George. Now was the true test of his character. God was testing him. Now George W. Bush was really going to show them who was boss. Bush smiled. This was a message from God. It was time to get tough. He had just two more years. He was going to make the most of it. George Bush stood and stepped on the newspapers and walked to the Oval Office bathroom to take a dump. He always liked taking a dump when he felt pumped for a fight. Yeah.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Secret Service Buys Sony PS3 For President Bush

The time was 11:45pm. A line of people stretched around the corner from the suburban Best Buy in Fairfax, Virginia. Max Fine was number two on the line. Max Fine wore a fleece jacket covered by a beige raincoat. His jeans were new with an iron crease down the front. His Nike running shoes were uncomfortable because they had yet to be broken in. Max Fine was a career Secret Service agent, one of the best, and in the inner circle of agents that protected President George W. Bush. He was 43 years old, his 44th birthday just a few weeks away. Max was not married, never had been, no children, and was thankful for the lack of headaches family seems to bring others. But today, tonight that is, he felt like part of a big family, like one of the kids told to go out and run an errand. Afterall, that is exactly what he was doing.
The number one guy on the line outside of Best Buy looked like he was a college kid, long hair, face stubble, frayed baggy jeans, and Asian. The number three guy on the line also looked like a college kid, long hair, face stubble, frayed baggy jeans, and African American. Number four was a girl. Number five was an older woman, maybe 35, overweight with a crew cut, covered in a fuzzy pink coat with round pink buttons the size of silver dollars. Her skinny bare legs were a mismatch for her rotund upper body. There were of course numbers six, seven, eight…by number fifteen or so, the line turned the corner down the long stretch of the side of the large store that sat in the parking lot separate from the Fairfax Shopping Mall.
Max Fine had gotten to the Best Buy to get online at 6:00pm, as instructed by the President. President Bush said “Max, I want you to be the first in there to get me that thing.” Well, Max would not be the first. Max was number two. The Asian college kid was number one. Max would flash his credentials, but the President also said “Don’t let anyone know you’re buying this for me.” Max had no idea there would be a line. Max also was surprised to learn that Best Buy was to stay open until 1:00 AM just so it could be the first to sell Sony’s Playstation 3 at midnight when it legally was to go on sale. The President said “Dick doesn’t know about these things. There is lots of stuff to learn on Playstation. But Dick doesn’t understand that.” Max Fine was not certain why the President launched into a rant about Vice President Dick Cheney, but he suspected that the President had altered his view of “Dickie Bear,” as he was known in the Secret Service. The resignation of Rumsfeld seemed to change everything. The President chatted more with non-essential personnel now, such as Max was referred to though his job was to protect the life of the President, a task that any thinking person would deem essential. But today, or tonight that is, Max was doing what the Service used to call a “coffee run,” but was now called “doing a Starbucks.” Max was doing a Starbucks at Best Buy to get the new Playstation 3 plus a game. The President whispered it: “Resistance - Fall of Man.” Bush said it was supposed to have the best graphics and blow away anything on the Xbox. “Cheney and Rummie wouldn’t understand the usefulness of Resistance - Fall of Man, but the play action and the 3D graphics would give my administration the confidence to do the right thing in Iraq,” said Bush to Max Fine in the same whisper Bush had uttered the name of the game.
Max looked over at the Asian kid. “You ever hear of Resistance - Fall of Man?” asked Max.
“Yeah,” said the Asian kid.
“You buying it?” asked Max.
“Nope. Can’t afford it. Barely enough for the PS3,” said the Asian kid.
“Don’t buy it,” said the African-American kid to Max’s right.
“Oh, yeah. I heard it was good,” said Max.
“You heard wrong. All the idiots think it’s good. The game has no style, no grace. There’s no room for nuance,” said the African-American kid.
“I see,” said Max.
Everyone on the line started to come to attention. It was almost midnight. The end of one day, the beginning of another, the two days separated by a consumer marketing moment. Max thought of his job description. The last sentence of the description says “And anything else the President requests.”

Sunday, May 27, 2007

President Bush Collects Coke Bottle Caps

Lynn Swann waited for President Bush to finish touring the Harley-Davidson motorcycle plant in Springettsbury, Pennsylvania, a small town in York County. Swann, a former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, was running for governor of the State of Pennsylvania as a Republican candidate, and wanted Bush to assist him with his campaign. Swann did not want Bush to get too involved, but just enough to satisfy the hard-line Republicans in the State. Swann, personally, thought Bush had screwed things up, and wanted to tell him a few things. Swann was waiting in the Harley-Davidson cafeteria, as pre-arranged, because Swann wished to have a few private moments with Bush. Swann sat at the Formica-topped table drinking a Diet Coke from a bottle, and had removed the red cap and placed it in his pocket because of the My Coke Rewards code that he wished to give his nephew who was accumulating these Coca Cola internet points that could be redeemed for God knows what. The door opened and President George W. Bush walked in wearing old-style motorcycle goggles.

"Hey Lynne. These are cool, don't you think?" asked Bush. Lynne Swann stood, not realizing that he was holding the Coke bottle in his hand. Swann was so started, he did not offer a hand for a greeting.

"Yes, Mr. President. They look very cool," said Swann. Bush removed the goggles.

"So you need some help with the campaign. Well, I'm here for you," said Bush.

"Sir, yes. Help would be good. I fear we Republicans are going to take a beating in November," said Swann.

"Oh, it's too early for that. Things change. Hey, do you think I can have the red cap of your Coke bottle. I collect those caps," said Bush.

"What? You do? Jeez, so does my nephew. But if you want it," said Swann.

"Yeah. I want it. I'm up to four thousand and some odd points," said Bush.

“Four thousand. You drink a lot of this stuff,” said Swann as he held up his bottle of Diet Coke.

“No. No. Mostly just collect the bottle caps. They are payback for all the stuff I do for people like you. I don’t ask much. Now, you got that red cap?” asked Bush.

"Yes," said Swann as he removed the red cap from his pocket and handed it to Bush.

"Thanks," said Bush.

"Sir, may I give you an impression I have about your foreign policy," said Swann.

"You know, Laura won't let me get a motorcycle. But after today, I am thinking about it. They are so cool," said Bush.

"Yes. Yes, they are. About your foreign policy," said Swann.

"You're running for governor, Lynne. What's it you want about foreign policy?" asked Bush.

"Well, my impression, sir, is that you were totally right to insist that the Israelis not leave southern Lebanon creating a power vacuum there," said Swann.

"Thank you," said Bush.

"But in my view, sir, America has created a power vacuum throughout the entire world because our tits are stuck in a ringer in Iraq," said Swann.

"Our tits?" asked Bush.

"Sorry. I mean to say that the world perceives that we are so mired in Iraq that we cannot cope with anything else. Iraq has shown our limits. Look at Iran. Look at Syria. Look at North Korea. Look at Russia. Look at China. Look at the insurgents in Iraq. They all think they can do whatever they want because —"

"Our tits are stuck in a ringer. I like the ring of that, no pun intended," said Bush, cutting off Swann.

"Yes. I do hope you agree with my assessment," said Swann.

"You're running for governor, Lynne. I get plenty of foreign policy stuff from my people," said Bush.

"Then may I suggest that you are not getting, well, that you are not seeing it from my perspective," said Swann.

Your perspective? Like I said Lynne, you are running for governor. Are we going to the Amish section of Pennsylvania today? I want to meet some Amish folk," said Bush.

"Yes, sir. You will meet some Amish folk," said Swann.

"Oh, good. I want to ride in one of those horse and buggy things that they have," said Bush.

"Then, Mr. President, let me see if I can put it to you this way. I suggest that you abandon making democracy the hallmark of your foreign policy and return to the tried and true power, military and economic alliance approach to foreign policy. Return to the good old fashion way of doing things. It will serve us best in the long run," said Swann.

"Never. I am establishing the Bush doctrine. It is hard work, Lynne. Like catching a hail Mary pass. It is hard work. And it is the right thing to do," said Bush.

"With all due respect, sir, America is weakened by the Bush doctrine, Mr. President," said Swann.
"Lynne. Lynne. There is no Swann Doctrine, now is there," said Bush.

"Excuse me, sir," said Swann.

"You are not even governor yet, and you are trying to come up with some doctrine to replace my doctrine. But you are not even in the position to have a doctrine. Only I can have a doctrine. Now, that horse and buggy ride. Let's go do it," said Bush as he turned and walked out of the cafeteria.

Lynne Swann stood there, holding his Diet Coke bottle, a bit stunned at the conversation. He finished the remaining Coke, put another $1.25 into the vending machine and got another Diet Coke. He twisted off the red cap, put it in his pocket and tossed the full bottle into the waste basket.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

George Bush And Donald Rumsfeld Prefer Iraqi Chaos to Iraqi Democracy

It was light brown and had scurried to the edge of the plush carpet, a carpet that followed the contours of the Oval Office leaving an exposed border of oak flooring about two feet wide. President George W. Bush had been keeping his eye on the cockroach for the past two minutes, watching it move from one of the Presidential desk legs, then stopping for a brief moment to sniff Bush's black leather shoe, and then moving on to the edge of the carpet where it stopped, it's antennae searching out before it gathering information. Go forward? Pull back? President George W. Bush thought that the cockroach was doing intelligence, getting the best information to make an intelligent decision. The cockroach had no idea that it was in such a special place, in a room where earth shattering decisions were made, in one of the most powerful places on earth. The cockroach did not care. Indeed, the cockroach probably would have preferred a damper venue.
Bush admired the sense of sobriety of the cockroach. The human world, the concerns of people and nations, were of no concern to the cockroach. The cockroach, Bush figured, had only two concerns: eat food and not be food. The basics of life. Once the basics of life were taken care of, then the cockroach, if he had the mind, could concern himself with higher aspirations. But that was the thing. The cockroach had no higher aspirations. It was just eat and not be eaten. Basics. Sustenance and security.
"Things are not doing well," said Donald Rumsfeld, who had been sitting in the wood and upholstered chair in front of the Presidential desk, wondering what was distracting the President on the floor. They were alone, and it was their weekly early morning meeting. Usually several staff members were present, but Rumsfeld wanted this meeting to be private.

"What?" asked Bush as he remained fixated on the cockroach.
"I said things are not doing well," said Rumsfeld.
"It all depends on how you look at it," said Bush.
"Though I would never admit this in public, I fear that we are on the brink of a civil war," said Rumsfeld.
"I am going to guess that cockroaches are optimistic. That cockroaches do not see gloom and doom," said Bush.
"Excuse me?" said Rumsfeld.
Bush looked up at Donald Rumsfeld, who appeared perplexed.
"Cockroaches have a simple view of things. They want to eat, and they do not want to be eaten. That is a lesson for us," said Bush.
"In what way, sir," said Rumsfeld. Donald Rumsfeld had had conversations like this before with the President, where Bush would come up with some metaphor or perspective that reminded him at times like the utterances of the character Chauncey Gardiner played by Peter Sellers in the feature film Being There. The only difference is that Chauncey Gardiner had mesmerized the nation though a dimwit, whereas Bush mesmerized no one. But he was President, voted in by idiot Americans who believed that they had a leader to lead them. In fact, what America had was a man who surrounded himself with child care and it was the caregivers that were leading the nation. But this was a child with rich and powerful parents, and so the caregivers had to make nice so the child would not have a temper tantrum.
Bush was looking down again at the floor.
"Sir, in what way do cockroaches provide a lesson for us?" asked Rumsfeld again.

"Iraqis are like cockroaches. They want to eat and not be eaten," said Bush. The light brown cockroach was still at the edge of the Oval Office plush carpet sniffing the oak flooring. Bush knew that light brown cockroaches were German cockroaches. German cockroaches in the White House. Damn, how did that happen.
"Not be eaten?" said Rumsfeld.
"They want to be safe," said Bush.
"You state the obvious," said Rumsfeld. Whoops. Rumsfeld knew he betrayed a certain distain for the nearly romper room observations made by the President.
"The obvious is often ignored as too simple to be considered significant," said Bush.
Yeah. OK. Like that was supposed to be deep. Rumsfeld knew all along that feeling safe was more important than the right to vote in a democratic election, except when a nation spontaneously erupts in one major upheaval that demands democracy, an upheaval so fast that it overwhelms the power structure. The problem with Iraq is that it was not fast and the upheaval came from America, not from within. Before America’s invasion, the Iraqis had settled into some kind of Saddam Hussein status quo where everyone knew their place, kept to themselves and got through the day without being blown up. But Rumsfeld had thought that it was possible to jump start the upheaval, feed it and make it happen. But it didn't. That was the failure, and he had concluded that it was now too late. Too many people had power and arms, and there were too many factions. The most articulate way to describe it was anarchy.
"To perfectly honest with you, sir, I miss Saddam Hussein," said Rumsfeld.

"I did not hear you say that. I did not hear you say that," repeated President Bush.
"What I mean is that we need an organized iron fist in Iraq, and we cannot seem to get the Iraqi security forces, cobbled together from all the factions, to be an organized iron fist," said Rumsfeld.
"The Sunnis are more secular than the Shiites," said Bush.
"Yes, but they tend to be more ruthless and do not forget that Al Qaeda is Sunni, not Shia," said Rumsfeld.
"The Sunnis think of power and the Shia think of their religion. I appreciate both perspectives," said Bush.
Where was this going, wondered Rumsfeld.
"The meeting I had with Saddam Hussein, what, thirty years ago to see if we could assist in his war with Iran was very civil. A civil conversation. I could talk to Saddam. He was secular in nature, not religious," said Rumsfeld.
"I don't want to talk about Saddam Hussein. I want to talk about the Sunni. We need the Sunni to be that iron fist you referred to," said Bush.
"Yes, possibly," said Rumsfeld.
"I say we pull our forces back to northern Iraq, to Kurdistan, and let the Sunni and Shia go at it with each other. Like a cockfight," said Bush.
"That would certainly cause chaos," said Rumsfeld.
Bush looked back down at the German cockroach. Still there, waiting patiently. The cockroach lived in a world of chaos, thought Bush. There were no rules. Bush could easily raise his black leather shoe and slam it down on the cockroach, ending its life. Chaos. It is everywhere.
"What is wrong with chaos?" asked President George W. Bush.

"If Iraqis want security, then chaos will certainly not provide it," said Rumsfeld.
"Would you say that there is already chaos in Iraq?" asked Bush.
"No. Iraq has significant problems, but chaos is not one of them," said Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld knew this was a philosophical discussion. Afterall, a house full of kids can be chaotic. It is how you use the word. The word "chaos" was too general. Overused. And Rumsfeld was not about to admit that his military planning had led a nation into the chaos referred to by the President.
"Wrong. There is chaos in Iraq. Besides, the Iranians are starting to piss me off," said Bush.
"Mr. President, I do not feel we should abandon our mission simply because the Iranians are making trouble," said Rumsfeld. It is not like Rumsfeld had not had these very same thoughts. The Iranians were always annoying. A schizophrenic nation with modern-thinking people and religious fanatics. Unfortunately, the religious fanatics remained firmly in control of things. And now this nutcase Iranian president who was more of a nightmare than Hugo Chavez of Venezuela had grabbed the world stage with almost daily pronouncements. It was a sopa opera. Hugo Chavez was dismissible because his public remarks were so brazenly self-serving that he was mocked by most of the intelligentsia of Latin America. But the Iranian President spoke with some sense of sobriety with arguments that sometimes made sense. The guy even had the temerity to send out personal letters to Bush and Blair. Iran gave Rumsfeld a headache. Negotiating with the Iranians was like a Gordian knot, twisted with half logic and stalling tactics and then mixed with a recipe of hope to be dashed again with new demands. There was an old saying in the Middle East that the Israelis and the Iranians were the most difficult negotiators, and the Lebanese were the only ones who could mediate them. That was a very old saying given the current events. Though Rumsfeld admired Lebanese businessmen. They were smart and sensible and always hungered for finding common ground.
"Yoo hoo. Earth to Donald. Earth to Donald. Are you there?" asked Bush.
"Sorry. I was — I was thinking about what you were saying. Maybe you are right. Maybe chaos is like the power of a screaming baby. Everyone runs around trying to deal with the screaming baby. It motivates everyone. We let the Sunnis and the Shia go at it with each other like a cockfight, as you say, then that screaming baby will be dealt with soon enough," said Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld was sorry he said it. On some level, this was true. Maybe a nation had to go through a re-birth, and birth was painful, lethal at times.
"You agree?" asked Bush.
"Yes," said Rumsfeld.
Bush looked down at the cockroach and it was gone. He pushed the chair back to see if he could spot the German cockroach. If there is one thing that was troubling, it was a cockroach roaming around underfoot. It could crawl up your pant legs, get into drawers. They were ugly sons of bitches.
"Anything wrong, sir?" asked Rumsfeld.
"No. No. Just making sure it's safe," said Bush.
"Safe, sir?" said Rumsfeld.
"Nothing. Listen, talk to your guys about pulling back to Kurdistan. The more chaos there is at the doorstep of Iran, the more that makes me feel safe. And I want to feel safe, you understand me, Donald, my good man," said President George W. Bush.
"Yes. I got it," said Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld knew that the Pentagon would resist pulling back to Kurdistan. What the Pentagon wanted to do was pull out completely. Pulling back to Kurdistan would box the military into a northern province. But he would have meetings, and they would all talk, and the Iraqi question would remain unanswered. At least for the time being.
“The White House needs to be exterminated. We need an exterminator. There are cockroaches in the Oval Office, dammit,” said President George W. Bush as he was looking under the Presidential desk.
Donald Rumsfeld sat in his chair quietly waiting to be dismissed. He wanted to be dismissed. There were things to do. Or, more accurately, not do. It would be another day of not doing anything.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Britney Spears In The Nude And In The First Person

Every time the big banks of lights flashed in my face, there was a little beep that followed. It seemed to signal to the bearded photographer that he could take another picture of me as I sat on the white floor in the nude with my large belly hanging in front. My knees were forward and my legs bent behind. My butt was sitting on my calves and I was made it a point to keep my hands between my legs. It is not easy to pose naked in front of like, what is there here, twenty people running around, lots of lights and cables and rolling desks with big computer screens sitting on top with men, it was always men, examining the computer screens, looking the images the bearded photographer, images that were sent over a red cable from the digital camera directly to the computer screens.

"Britney, sweetheart, can you give me more of a smile," said the bearded photographer.

I hated that people who did not know me called me "sweetheart." Like what right does he have. Like he thinks he can sweet talk me into smiling by being like my father or an older uncle. The guy took no time to talk to me, to tell me what he was going to do, to make me feel comfortable. He left that to his female assistants, who all betrayed how much they despised me, thinking I am an idiot, like some hick who got lucky. Little did they know that I have been performing since I was a little kid, every fucking weekend, before thousands of audiences. Maybe I am a hick. But damn, I know how to get in front of a big crowd and sing. And anyway, who cares what they think. They should be taking care of me. For god's sake, I am sitting here naked with my fat belly and big thighs and fat arms and, jeez, even fat fingers, and they are taking photos of me with my shitty looking skin. And they say they are going to put this on the front cover of Harper’s Bazaar and it is going to be great.

"Britney, sweetheart, maybe we can get off our legs, and change positions. What do you say?" asked the bearded photographer.

He said 'we' like he was sitting here with me in the nude. Fuck him. Like he really knows what it is like to be in the heat of the media lights every fucking day, where they can watch every donut I eat, where they can assess my daily weight, my fat rolls as they grow from week to week, or as they disappear, which they will once I get this kid out of me. I am popping a couple of kids to start a damn family, and big deal if I get fat during the process. Big deal. Damn I want a cigarette so bad.

"What would you like me to do?" I asked.

"Sit up on your knees. Rise up and place your hands behind you," said the bearded photographer.

No fucking way I was going to place my hands behind me and expose privates. Well, OK, so my breasts were hanging out, and he took tons of photos of those, but they promised that none of the boob shots would be used. But I was not going to put my hands behind me.

"That's it. Now your hands behind you. Yes. Yes," said the bearded photographer.

OK, so I did it. I rose on my knees and placed my hands behind me. God, I felt fat. But they said I did not have to worry. That there was Photoshop and it would make me look trim and tan and fit, even though I was fat, and white and about as unfit and un-exercised as I have ever been.

The big banks of lights flashed and flashed and flashed, and all I could think about was that cigarette waiting for me in my dressing room and the donuts. I loved those donuts.

"Can someone get me a Starbucks cappuccino. Have it for me in my dressing room," I asked.

"Yes. Of course," said some girl to the right, someone I could not see, someone I had never met, no doubt.

"You look beautiful, sweetheart. You look beautiful," said the bearded photographer.

Everyone lies. Everyone. And for what. Because they think they can make money off of me. It's all about money. Which I have not made much of in the last few years except off the investments, so my manager tells me. I'm not worried. After the kid comes, and I spend a year raising him, I will get a trainer and go into major rehab and come out the other end looking great with a great new bunch of songs. It will all fix itself overnight.

"You look beautiful, sweetheart. Keep smiling," said the bearded photographer.

So I kept smiling. But it wasn't easy.