Whore City— Dick and Rummy are in the lemon- and-raspberry-striped wing chairs in the Oval Office.
They like to kick back at the end of the day, down a Johnny Walker Red
and kick around how they will
organize the country and the world to their liking.
Junior is out on the South Lawn, practicing placing the ball on the
batting tee for the opening day of White
House T-ball on Sunday.
The president is very, very excited because the San Diego Chicken is coming.
He is also puffed up because he has learned a new word: "counter-pro- lif-er-A-tion."
At one point, W. runs up to the French doors to pester the two older men: "Is it up yet? Can I see it?"
"No, son," Dick says in that slow, deliberate voice. "We're still working on it."
W. grins and races back to the diamond.
"He thinks the missile shield really exists?" Rummy smirks, sipping
his Scotch. "So did Reagan. Probably better
that way. Keeps the Commies guessing when the president sounds so sincere."
"We can stick it to the Russians, the Chinese and the North Koreans
— to say nothing of Daschle, Biden and
Kerry. And think of all our buddies at Boeing! Think of the billions that will go to Lockheed, TRW, General
Dynamics! Can you believe those pointy heads on the ethics board want us to divest our portfolios?
"Missile defense may be pie in the sky, but our defense budget pie is,
as the Kid likes to say, growing taller.
Here's to the private sector — we'll be back there some day. O'Neill wants us to make sure a lot of aluminum
goes into the Emperor's New Shield."
"It's just a matter of months before we have the arms race seething
again, no matter what that flower child at the
State Department thinks. Nothing like a race with only one runner. No fun being a sole superpower if you can't
blow up the other guys' arsenals with imaginary airborne lasers.
"Dick, did you listen to that speech Junior gave at Fort McNair today?
We've got to teach him how to
pronounce `nuclear.' Tell him it rhymes with `avuncular.' On second thought, maybe not. And keep the details
on the shield out of his speeches. It will only confuse him and enrage Chirac, Blair and Koizumi. The boy is still
lost in space on who's a `strategic competitor,' who's a `strategic partner' and who's a `strategic adversary.' "
"How's Project Blackened Skies going?" Rummy asks. "Baby, the acid rain
must fall. The canary in the coal
mine must croak. It's payback time for West Virginia and our brothers in oil, gas, nuclear power, mining and
chemicals. By the time we're through ramming coal down the public's throats, that grimy Welsh town in `How
Green Was My Valley' will look like Aspen. We'll probably have to add gas masks to the prescription drug
benefit. Soot, smog, tobacco smoke, arsenic, carbon dioxide, toxic garbage from nuclear power plants, vertical
drilling, horizontal drilling and loop-de-loop drilling. It's a good start, Dick, a very good start. Is that muzzle tight
"I can't believe all that whining about arsenic hasn't died down. Those
babies who think we're uncaring and we
base too many of our policies on cost-benefit analysis. Let's just hope the public doesn't realize the true beauty
of this formula. They bear the cost; we and our cronies get the benefit."
John Ashcroft pops his head in. "Is this a prayer meeting? Over at Justice,
we have ours in the morning. You
guys aren't drinking, are you?"
Dick's mouth curls down on one side and the attorney general scurries
away. He almost bumps into W., who is
scampering back, out of breath.
"Hey, Uncle Dick, is it launched yet? Does it really look like a bunch
of little colored paper umbrellas in the
"Bedtime, bigtime, son."
"I talked to Ostrich Legs Putin on the hot line today," W. proudly tells
Rummy as he leaves. "I told him we
shouldn't counter-pro-lif-er-ATE each other!"
There is silence for many minutes. Finally, Rummy barks: "Dick, speak up! What are you thinking about?"