"Let’s say a friend of mine had cut a huge deal with a company that gave him a lot of money, and then later turned out to be – oh, I don’t know – say, defrauding the entire American public. ..."

political notes from a refrigerator carton
filed by jon weatherford


Davenport, Iowa – When last I wrote I was pleasantly engaged in ignoring the Bush administration under the healing influence of a truly biblical amount of alcohol. Unfortunately, no one ever told me about this "tolerance" thing you run into. Or that former counter terrorist advisor Richard Clarke was going to release such stunning allegations of Bushian obtuseness and mendacity that one couldn’t have ignored them passed out drunk in a maintenance shed (which, sad to say, I was at the time).

One way or another, around about the middle of last week, my "cure" stopped working: the booze wore off, and the outrage crept back in. After about 72 fun-filled hours of the DT’s, I shaved my face, combed my hair, got my car out of impound, and headed East to throw my hat back in the political ring. No, I’m not going to run for office (my friends tell me that something about a "restraining order" and "any recognized polling site" apparently makes that pretty much out of the question at this point), and actually I have something pretty different in mind.

I figure this administration has had such effective spin control, obscured the truth so easily, and generally gotten away with so many outright lies, that the usual methods of political fact-finding clearly just aren’t working. I figure it’s time for a more direct method: good old-fashioned breaking and entering.

***

Washington, DC – It’s horrible. It’s so much worse than I could have imagined. Hordes of bright-eyed zealots roam the streets armed with faith-based initiatives. Strip-mining lobbyists light their cigars from the smoldering corpses of environmental lawyers. Ann Coulter rides leather clad through the city in a chariot drawn by captured ACLU members, spurring them on with an horse-whip she’s named "Decency". Every afternoon, Charlton Heston is wheeled out onto the steps of the Capitol, where he sits under his blanket, mumbling about the constitution and firing automatic weapons at anything that looks unfamiliar.

After recovering from my initial revulsion, the first order of business was to find a safe base of operations. Luckily, I brought all my savings when I came from Oregon, and I was able to find a place with two elementary school teachers and a Washington Post reporter. We live in a nice refrigerator box on a subway grate off of G street, and are considered comfortably middle class. Morale is still high though, except during the mandatory thoughtcrime sweeps. They talk with childlike innocence about when the trickle-down will finally come, like eager cultists waiting for the Bhagwan to return.

As intimidating as Washington had become, I couldn’t lose sight of my goal. One of the few nice things about the Bush administration is that it’s not hard to find a time when they’re on vacation, so I didn’t have to wait to attempt my first target. After scaling a fire escape behind a posh Georgetown townhouse, I used my credit card for about the only thing it’s good for anymore and entered into the putrid world of Karl Rove’s bedroom. There, in his sock drawer, carefully concealed behind a well-worn copy of Chicks with Dicks magazine, I found the following document:

White House Directive

In the interest of ensuring fair and balanced representation in the upcoming 2004 election we are immediately implementing the following Voter Registration Form.

(Please fill out all sections completely. Failure to properly answer any question may result in voter disqualification.)

1. Income. Which of the following best describes your salary?
a. $100,000-$299,999
b. $300,000-$499,999
c. $500,000-$699,999
d. Please, my pets have personal chauffeurs.

2. Religious Affiliation.
a. Lutheran
b. Presbyterian
c. Episcopalian
d. Baptist (please explain)

3. I am considering purchasing which of the following in the next month?
a. a luxury automobile
b. a second yacht
c. professional sports team
d. Ecuador.

4. I have donated monies to the following charities recently…
a. National Rifle Association
b. Christian Coalition
c. Presidential Re-election fund (2001-present only)
d. Donations are for Pinko-Commie liberals.

5. Our failure to find Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq is primarily due to:
a. Bill Clinton
b. Al Quaeda
c. Liberal Media
d. The Dixie Chicks
e. All of the above, but certainly no one else.

Essay

Using terse, aggressive sentences, describe whether Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh is the better source of news and analysis which all patriotic Americans should embrace.

***

Arlington, VA -- My mind was still reeling with the horrors I had witnessed at the Rove apartment as I contemplated my next job. I had been on surveillance for three long days and Justice Antonin Scalia’s suburban Virginia home was proving a much tougher nut to crack. Never shy on the topics of security or public censorship, Scalia has turned his home into a veritable fortress of solitude.

Finally, on day four I caught a break. The regular security guard was out with the flu, and after strapping myself to the bottom of the family Hummer at a local shopping mall, I penetrated the compound. Knowing his Honor’s stance on gun control, I had few illusions about the arsenal facing me inside. I spent the next 17 hours hiding in the garage, waiting for everyone to leave, and developing a plan to drug their twin rotweilers, Rommel and Goering.

Being inside the house was like a bad flashback of Republican national convention. Photographs everywhere leering from the walls – Scalia glad handing and back slapping with Reagan, Cheney, Gingrich, Thurmond, Helms, Bush, and Bush. Scalia at their homes, Scalia with their families, Scalia arm in arm with Nancy, Barbara, and Laura. Two full decades of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches oiled up and happily in bed together.

I searched room after room until I found what looked like solid evidence. In the Scalia family video collection, one tape stuck out. It was sandwiched between World’s Funniest Police Beatings volumes 3 and 4 and was labeled " Duck Hunting with Dick & ‘Nino". I have transcribed it below:

Bayou St. George, Louisiana.

Dawn. We see a quiet marsh with ducks bobbing placidly on sunlit water. The camera pans up to reveal a duck blind, then moves in until we see that it is occupied by Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Suddenly the silence is ripped apart by a long burst of machine gun fire. Bullets tear through the water. Feathers and pieces of duck fly everywhere. Through the muzzle flashes we glimpse Justice Scalia’s grimacing face as he blazes away at the hapless flock.

Cheney: "Whoa, whoa, whoa, what the heck is that thing"

Scalia: "AR-15 full automatic assault rifle, 7.62mm hollow point rounds. Ideal for hunting, or home protection."

"I guess so! Boy, you shredded those ducks like I shred Enron documents"

"That’s why we gotta keep these babies on the street" (lovingly pats the stock of his AR-15).

"Mind if I touch it?"

"Please do." Cheney reaches out, tentatively at first, then more confidently grasps the weapon.

"It’s incredible"

"I know."

Several minutes later. Scalia has exchanged his assault rifle for one of Cheney’s collector shotguns. The two men sit together and gaze out at the water as they wait for the ducks to return.

C: "Man, you scattered those ducks like Haitians after an INS raid."

S: "Don’t worry, they’ll be back like Mexicans at a job fair."

Both men gaze at the sky longingly. After a few moments, Cheney speaks

"Say, Nino, I’ve been wondering about something."

"What’s that, Dick?"

"Well, let’s say I got accused of something, you know, as a practical joke, or by the press, or maybe even by a special prosecutor of a Congressional investigation committee – just hypothetically."

"Okay…"

"Well, with us spendin’ so much time out here huntin’, and just being pals and all… well what if you had to hear my case? You know, you being the judge and all."

"Oh, no problem. That’d be fine."

"You mean, you wouldn’t feel any bias at all?"

(knowing wink)"Well, I wouldn’t tell anyone I was biased"

After a slight pause both men break out laughing, and much backslapping ensues.

Several minutes later. The ducks have returned.

(whispering)S: "There he is, shoot"

C: "Don’t worry, I got him."

S: "You’re gonna lose him. Make like a white cop in Brooklyn and shoot him before he gets away."

(gunshot rings out)

S: (respectfully) "Man, you cut him down like a Muslim’s civil rights."

The two men are sitting down in the blind, sharing the afterglow of a good kill. Scalia idly stroked the barrel of his fowling piece as they talk.

C: "So then – and again, I’m really just making stuff up here – let’s say a friend of mine had cut a huge deal with a company that gave him a lot of money, and then later turned out to be – oh, I don’t know – say, defrauding the entire American public. Then pretend that my friend covered up the deal, hid it from Congress, and used his position to conceal it from the public. Maybe my friend was even imaginative enough to use ‘national security’ as an excuse, even though it really wasn’t involved. Nino, what would you do if you had to hear a case like that?"

Scalia reaches out and puts his hand on Cheney’s shoulder. "Dick, my friend, I think this ‘friend of yours’ is going to be just fine."

A knowing look passes between them. Cheney visibly relaxes, and the two men share a moment of mutual admiration. Presently, Cheney speaks:

"You know, old pal, a little bird told me that if someone were to buy as much Halliburton stock as possible before the fourth of next month, then someone might soon be in the market for a new Hummer."

"God I love hunting."

The camera moves back to show the two of them, still arm in arm in the blind, then pans down to where dozens of dead ducks bob gently on the current.

***

Altoona, PA – I’ve had to skip town, and am currently on the run. While I was infiltrating the Scalia compound, they captured one of my elementary school teacher roommates, and brought her to the interrogator. There, in the nameless tunnels under the Executive Office Building, Rumsfeld broke her spirit – by what means I shudder to imagine. Our little refrigerator box was napalmed, and I narrowly escaped the neocon cordon. I will try to survive as long as I can, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again. Condi "the huntress" Rice is fast on my trail; her hounds are swift, and her crossbow lethal.

(illustration: john richen)


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©2004 Jon Weatherford • Smokebox
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