Sunday, April 22, 2007


Little Alberto awoke in the predawn hours Friday, on his back, sweaty and flailing all three of his pairs of legs. He was jolted out of his sleep to see six tiny legs waving wildly in the air. He shook his head in disbelief and blinked a couple of times to clear his eyes.

ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR-FIVE-SIX. Little Alberto had knocked back a couple of martinis and took two Ambien Thursday night, but they never had this effect before!

It had been a difficult time before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He had prepared for the session for weeks. But it did not go well. He tried to tell the senators that he had, after all, been involved in the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys, but that he didn't know why he had fired them. And it sounded so smooth and believable when he practiced in the mirror on Wednesday night. But the Republicans on the committee seemed skeptical, and the Democrats were downright contemptuous.

There was nothing to do now but try to round up some support.

But Alberto felt really funny this morning. First the business with the legs, and then he looked down at his chest and stomach – or at least where they used to be – and saw maybe a twelve pack of abdominal segments, hard and shiny. Alberto emits a scream, but it comes out really, like, metallic sounding! Now is he really panicked. Alberto decides to take a shower and try to clear his head. But when he tries to get out of bed, he rolls onto his side but rolls right back again. He tries to get up for several minutes, and lies back, panting with the exertion. Alberto cranes his neck around, trying to look at his back, and he notices two tentacle-like things protruding from his forehead. To his amazement he is able to taste the sour smell of his sweat in the air with these things.

It is beginning to dawn on Alberto why he cannot get out of bed. He bridges on his neck and turns his head to look at his back. It has been transformed into a hard, brown, convex shell. No wonder he can't roll over! Alberto resolves never to drink martinis and take Ambien together again. In one last Herculean effort, Alberto bridges again on his neck and flips himself off the bed on to the floor with a crash. Winded, he lies still for a moment. Then, concentrating hard to get all of his legs to work in a coordinated fashion, he goes into the bathroom. The lid of the toilet is about eye level, and the sink looms over him.

Alberto takes his front set of legs and places them, one at a time, on the toilet lid. He hoists himself up and then reaches over to the sink, searching for a purchase to pull himself upright on his hindmost legs. He is afraid that he will fall over backwards, but he finds that his feet, if that's what you might call them, ooze a sticky substance that Alberto uses to hang on to the sink. When he is upright, he lifts his eyes and looks in the mirror and is horrified at what he sees.

Staring back at Alberto is an insect, a really big beetle. Its antennae are quivering, and its black head has a saw-like jaw jutting from the bottom of it. His twelve pack joins his brown shell back all around to form an exoskeleton, and his legs protrude from the seam between them. Bracing himself with his middle set of legs, Alberto uses the front set of legs to explore his head and then his front, and finally his back. He lets out a metallic sob.

Alberto senses that his only way out is to get some support for his embattled position. Dropping to the floor, Alberto returns to the bedroom. He looks at his clock – gratified that he can still read it – and notices that hours have passed; it is mid-morning. He decides to call Arlen Specter. Alberto no longer has any thumbs, but the sticky stuff on his feet permit him to pick up the receiver. Using one of his antennae, he dials the senator's number.

"Alberto, you sound really funny," says Specter when he gets on the line. "You been drinkin'? Not that I would blame you."


"I said everything I am going to say in the hearing yesterday, Alberto, and take care of that cold, if that's what it is. Goodbye."

Undaunted, well somewhat daunted, Alberto calls John Cornyn, the senator from Texas; Cornyn gives him an even colder shoulder. Albeetle, and he now thinks of himself, decides to call the man for whom he has been a loyal retainer all life: George W. Bush.

Albeetle dials the White House number, but can only get through to Dana Perino. After struggling to make himself understood by her, she just says, "You continue to have the President's full support."


"No need for that; you have his full support," replies Perino. "Goodbye."

Albeetle places the receiver back in the cradle and is quiet for a moment. Then he bellows, "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHIT!" Then Albeetle lies down to contemplate the rest of his life as an insect.

With apologies to Gregor Samsa and Franz Kafka.

Tags: ,

No comments: