Tears on My Pillow
By MAUREEN DOWD
“I miss Albania!” W. wails. “They know how to treat a president there. Women were kissing me and men rubbed my hair. The crowd kept yelling, ‘Bushie!,’ and they almost grabbed the watch right off my wrist trying to get at me.”
The concerned group huddling outside the president’s closed-bedroom door in Kennebunkport can barely hear him. His voice is muffled because he has his face buried in his feather pillow, which the Secret Service has carefully transported from Washington to Maine for the weekend, knowing that it would be needed. They guard it so conscientiously that they have even given it a code name. Since the president’s Secret Service name is Tumbler, his agents christened his beloved pillow Slumber.
“Son, I know how you feel,” Poppy calls in to him, trying to sound positive. “Riding high in 2002, shot down in 2007. That’s life, as Sinatra says. You were a puppet and a pawn to King Dick and it screwed up your presidency and our party and the Middle East and the Atlantic alliance and the family legacy and Jeb’s future, not to mention the fate of the planet. But you can’t just roll yourself up in a big ball and die, George. Your friend Vlad the Impaler is here, and I think you should come out and talk to him. You invited him and he came all the way from Russia, and you don’t want to be rude.
“I’ve already taken him to Mabel’s Lobster Claw and out on the boat. He scared all the fish away. I don’t know what else to do with him, George. He brained the Filipino manservant, the little brown one, with a horseshoe.”
Putin steps forward. “Let me try,” he tells Poppy.
“George, hey, it’s me, Ostrich Legs, Pooty Poot. Remember when you gave me those nicknames? Come out, and I show you my real soul. Dark, dark, dark. I put the Putin back in Rasputin. Listen, Albania stinks. Maine much nicer. I saw Moose and Squirrel in the woods. Let’s throw horseshoes at them! I love this American sport.”
Tumbler burrows into Slumber. “Why doesn’t anybody like me anymore, Daddy?” he keens. “Man, I miss Tony. My Iraq poodle left me with a porcupine. And I can’t believe my own Republicans crossed me on the immigration bill. Now my Mexican buddies from Midland are saying, ‘Adiós, Jorge.’ Vice doesn’t even want to be in the same branch of government as me. Where is Dick, by the way?”
His mother steps briskly up to the door. “Now listen, Georgie,” Barbara says. “We didn’t invite Dick. He’s not our kind. He has utterly ruined your presidency. There’s a Washington Post series I want you to read. I’ve put it in the kitchen by your bowl of Cookie Crisps. It explains all about how Dick played you for a fool on everything from Iraq to capital gains. He set up the West Wing paper flow in a way that undermined your goals and advanced his. He let you act like you were the Decider, dear, when you were really just the Dupe.”
W. howls, “Dick promised me I would never be a wimp and now I’m a wimp!”
Putin intervenes. “No, George, don’t blame Dick,” he says. “Dick good man. Shoots friend in face. But Dick too soft. Friend lived. He needs put more people in your Gitmo gulag, shut down newspapers, kill more critics. I’ll send you some of my special polonium-210 pellets. They just like Altoids, curiously strong.”
Clarence Thomas rushes up to the door, black robes flapping. “I got here as fast as I could,” he assures Poppy, before yelling in to W.: “I’m sorry about the Guantánamo decision. I don’t know what my brethren were thinking, applying the Constitution to Cuba. What’s law got to do with it? I should have fought harder. I was a little distracted by our decision to stop race from being a factor in making schools racially diverse. I needed to make sure that black children all over America would have none of the advantages I had.”
Henry Kissinger oils his way across the floor. “Mr. President,” he rumbles through the door, “it’s not so bad bungling a war. I got to date Jill St. John.”
Condi joins the group, and wrinkles her nose at Putin. He puts his arm around her and gives her head a noogie. “When I said U.S. aggression is like Third Reich,” he tells her, with his most charming K.G.B. smile, “I meant it in a good way.”
Condi ignores him and coos to W.: “There’s bad news and good news, sir. Or maybe it’s Vice versa. Cheney’s going to pardon Scooter. And the Albanians have agreed to put your presidential library in Tirana.”