Friday, November 10, 2006

I don’t want to be president anymore

[in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, the day after the election]

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

Jesus, Bar. Who could that be at this hour? Somebody better be dead.

[reaching over for the phone] Probably just some crank. It's disgusting how they get through! [answering now] Who is this dammit? Oh, it's you. [turning to George, holding her hand over the mouthpiece and rolling her eyes] It's Junior. He wants to talk to you.

[sighs and rubs his eyes] Kinda late for that, isn't it? [picking up the phone now] Hello Mr. President.

Oh Daddy! Don't call me that! I don't want to be president anymore! Please call me Son or Junior! Call Uncle Jimmy to get me outta here!

Come on Mr. President, I mean Son, this is no time to panic. And you know, Uncle Jimmy is already on the case.

Daddy, please help me. What should I do? Most people hate me. The new Congress is going to pick on me. Iraq is going to shit – Mom didn't hear that, did she? – and I can no longer depend on unlimited money to let it slide until I'm out of office.

It wasn't that long ago that you didn't want my help. Remember? And didn't you learn at Andover to ignore the enmity of lesser mortals? Snap out of it, Junior. You're in luck though, kiddo, although through no effort on your part. Uncle Jimmy and I hatched a plan a few days ago.

Oh please, Daddy, tell me what it is!

Well, we start by firing that clueless Donald Rumsfeld.

What? I can't do that. I told everybody just last week that he was gonna be with me all the way! I'll look like I've cut and run!

Just think of it as cutting and walking briskly, Junior.

But Don's so funny, Daddy! He dances around at press conferences so well. Ties those pesky journalists up in knots.

Yes, Son, that's true. But do you want him as the Defense Department spokesman on Capitol Hill when all those hearings start next year? There are people in Congress, especially some Democrats – some of 'em former prosecutors – who don't think Don's so damn funny. I don't either, by the way. And Don has so many knives in his back already he probably won't make it to the press conference when you announce his replacement.

I see your point. Well, okay. Maybe I should get together with you and Uncle Jimmy to discuss Don's replacement.

Way ahead of you, Junior. Don's replacement is Bob Gates.

Who's Bob Gates? Is he related to Bill Gates?

Jesus, Junior. Bob Gates is an old CIA guy; he was my Director for a while. You must remember Bob. Up to his eyeballs in Iran-Contra, but never ratted me out. Real solid. He'll be in your office first thing this morning.

I'm gonna fire Donny today? But I have to at least tell him this is coming. Wait . . . did you take care of that, too?


How did Don take it?

I don't know. I didn't do it. It was "handled." Badly, I suppose. Anyway, there's a press conference scheduled for later today to make the switch.

Can I praise Don when I fire him?

Sure, Son, but don't say anything you'll regret saying in a week or so. Remember, he's just a burnt offering now.

What happens after that?

We declare victory and come home, of course. Good night, Junior. [click]

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