Chapter 2: “Eh Joey”
In the Oval Office, President b. Hussein leans back in his chair, characteristically propping his feet on the great English Resolute desk used by all but three presidents dating back to 1880, his eyes leveled at the pages of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, the book, a present from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in his left hand. A Marlboro dangles from his lips, despite White House rules against indoor smoking. He plucks the butt from his mouth with his other hand and flicks the ashes, sprinkling a few on the heirloom desktop as they tumble toward a chrome ashtray. The president frowns, brushing the ashes to the carpet with indifference, as if they were a petition from Republicans to reach across the aisle to keep the American taxpayer from having to fork over more of their earnings for social programs.
A knock sounds at the door.
“Yeah. Comin,” the president barks.
The door opens, and the vice president, one Joe Biden, walks into the room. He ambles in like an orangutan, slovenly and haphazard, incongruous to his station and his surroundings. He stops in front of the desk and waits. The president does not look up.
After nearly 10 seconds, Biden breaks the silence. “You sent for me, chief?”
“I did.” The president turns a page in his book. He does not look up.
“So…what…um…ya gonna spank me or somethin’? You’re actin’ all medieval.”
b. Hussein closes the book and takes his feet down and sets the book on the edge of the desk, swiveling his chair to face the vice president. He looks up and glares.
“Joey. You’ve become a distraction. Whahmigonnadowitchu?”
Biden raises his eye brows and grins. “Whatsamatter now, chief. You’re still not sore about that swine flu business from a couple weeks ago, areya?”
The president tilts his head to the left and rolls his eyes and squeezes them shut and sighs. “No, Joey. Itsa little more recent den dat. Memba your speech da other day, when ya spoke for me at da Gridiron Club dinner, so I could be da first president since Grover Cleveland not ta show up? Memba whatchu said?”
Biden stares blankly at the president and then, as if a little caretaker inside his brain has turned on a processor, seems to come online and snaps his head back and says: “Oh, yeah! That was a hoot.”
“A ‘hoot?’” the president says, mockingly, looking at Biden as if he were a stumblebum who just came in from Lafayette Park for a free nip and a five-spot. “Let me quote you.”
A young naval officer giving me a tour of the Naval Observatory showed me the secret underground bunker where Cheney hid during 9/11. It’s behind this massive steel door. It’s got an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment.“Sound remotely familiar, Joey?”
The officer told me that when Cheney was in lock down, this was where his most trusted aides were stationed.
“Um. Yeah. I’m beginning to remember saying something like that.” The vice president looks down at his shoes for a moment, then back at the president and holds up his hands. “But…hey…ya gotta remember. It was, like, the heat of the moment. I was just warming the crowd up. They had this guy speak before me, I think his name was Bob Schieffer, who was all boring and stuff, kept talking about how CBS News sets the industry standard for journalistic fairness.” Biden slaps his thigh and opens his mouth and lets out a booming laugh. “We all know they’re so far up your cornhole they’ll have an exclusive if you ever grow polyps.”
“ENOUGH,” the president screams, standing up behind his desk. “I picked you to be vice president for your experience, but you keep acting like a two year old. I have enough problems with Nancy Pelosi and her expanding and ever-changing tale of when she knew about waterboarding. I have Dick Cheney gaining popularity on me in the polls. Dick…FRIGGIN’…Cheney! I’ve gotta get the Waxman-Markey bill and backdoor national health care through Congress these next few months. I can’t have a vice president running around, dropping mouth bombs like Don Imus every 5 seconds.”
The president turns away and shakes his head and stares out at the South Lawn. “Don’t make me do something I’ll regret, Joey.”
Biden lowers his eyes as if ashamed but…then…can’t help himself…and tries to break the ice:
“Well, look at it this way, chief. If Nancy’s next in line after me for your job, you’d better plan on sticking around for a while.”
The president sits down hard in his chair and leans forward and puts his head in his hands.
“Joey. I sweartagod…oh…crap…I keep forgetting we don’t say that here anymore.” He looks up at Biden, his eyes as hot as Bill Clinton’s libido if he were forced to stay in the same room overnight with a drunken college co-ed. “Don’t push me, Joey.…I’ll don't wanna have to make you an offer you can’t refuse. You don’t wanna know that side of me.”
Biden, thinking the president is joking, throws his head back and laughs and laughs and laughs. "That's a good one, sir. Who says you're not funny." And he laughs and laughs and laughs.
The lights go out.
And Biden screams.
Cross-posted at Feed Your ADHD.