President George W. Bush is sitting up in bed in the presidential bedroom. On his lap is a pillow; he is staring at the pillow.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (To himself.) That’s Iraq. That pillow is Iraq. I need a plan, a strat-gy for my report to the nation. Now let’s see… (Using the index and middle fingers on each hand he makes little finger men who run at each other and repeatedly collide.) Boom! Boom! Boom!
Laura Bush is also in the room. She’s standing in front of a mirror practicing her smile.
LAURA: Whatcha you doin’ hon? Oooh! Lipstick on my toof.
PRES. BUSH: President stuff. Doin’ president stuff. Plannin’ strat-gy. Boom! Boom! Boom!
LAURA: (Laura uses a tissue and removes the lipstick staining her teeth.) Better tell La-La what you’re doin’…
PRES. BUSH: I said. President stuff. George is doin’ president stuff. Plannin’ strat-gy.
LAURA: Better tell La-La what you’re doin’ or you know what…
PRES. BUSH: What? Boom! Boom! No, what? (Fingers running and crashing.) Boom! Boom! Boom! What? What?
LAURA: You know.
PRES. BUSH: No La-La I don’t know. What? You’re bothering me. I’m plannin’. What?
LAURA: (She turns to Bush and walks a few steps toward the bed.) No dress-up.
PRES. BUSH: (He looks up from his pillow work.) What? What did you say?
LAURA: You heard me. La-La was plannin’ something special for tonight, but if you don’t tell me what you’re doin’…
George looks back at the pillow and makes a few finger runs. Then he stops, looks at the ceiling. More finger runs but now without energy and no “Booms!” He looks at Laura.
PRES. BUSH: Tell me. What special, La-La? What?
LAURA: No, no. La-La isn’t telling unless you tell me first.
PRES. BUSH: No, La-La, can’t tell you, classified. Plannin’ strat-gy.
LAURA: Okay, then. It was goin’ to be fun. Yes it was. Oh, yes. Remember when I did Ann Coulter for you with that long blonde wig and the skirt with the slit?
PRES. BUSH: Yes, La-La, I remember that. Oh. That was fun. George remembers that. That was real fun. (He claps his hands.)
LAURA: Okay, then. What I was plannin’ for tonight was even better, but if you don’t tell me… (Laura goes to a dresser in her walk-in closet and pulls out a blonde wig. She puts it on and comes into the room, affecting the Coulter slink. George is staring at her.) Remember, Georgie? Remember? Even better; even better. Tonight was goin’ to be even better.
PRES. BUSH: Oooooh. Oh, La-La, don’t do that to Georgie. I’m doin’ presidential stuff on my pillow. I’m plannin’ strat-gy; and if you do all that with that wig and if you tell Georgie that…Ooooh. Ooooh. I can’t think now. Georgie can’t think and this Iraq stuff is important people say. That new person, whatchacallit …
LAURA: Secretary of Defense?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah. That guy. New guy…
LAURA: Robert Gates?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, that guy. That guy tells me that we got to figure somethin’ out or my leg…, my leg…
LAURA: Your leg? Something wrong with your leg?
PRES. BUSH: No, another word. Leg…
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, that. Legacy. My legacy will be all pooh-pooh. And I don’t want that. La-La. George doesn’t want that. What about my daddy and his big library and all and his leg…?
LAURA: Legacy. Well, that’s right, George.
PRES. BUSH: So, I’ve got to figure somethin’ out. Plan somethin’. This Iraq thing.
LAURA: But you should tell La-La so that she can help you. (Laura moves closer to the bed and purses her lips, shakes her hips.) You like my long blonde hair? Want me to get my black skirt? Want me to talk about nasty liberals…?
PRES. BUSH: Ooooh. Oooooh. I can’t think. I’m not lookin’. (He sits for a minute and then turns to the telephone on his bedside table and picks it up.) Hello?
VOICE: Good evening, Mr. President. How can I help you?
PRES. BUSH: Who is this?
VOICE: Secret Service, Mr. President.
PRES. BUSH: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Secret Service.
VOICE: Station One.
PRES. BUSH: Station One.
VOICE: Yes, Secret Service, Mr. President. Station One.
PRES. BUSH: What do you want?
VOICE: Oh, sir. Sorry, but you called me.
PRES. BUSH: Oh. Just a minute.
VOICE: Yes, sir.
PRES. BUSH. Oh, yeah. I called you. (Bush looks at his pillow.) Yeah, I called you. Look, I want you…Just a minute.
VOICE: Yes, sir.
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, I want you…I want you to meet me in the gym with five of your agents and…just a minute.
VOICE: Yes, sir.
PRES. BUSH: Yeah. Five of your agents. And…and they should all be white.
VOICE: Sorry, sir. Did you say white? All white?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, white, white. The white race. And…just a minute.
VOICE: Yes, sir.
PRES. BUSH. And then…and then I want you to go to the kitchen and tell the chef that I want five of his kitchen help and I want them to be brown. Busboys. You know.
VOICE: Yes, sir. Five white agents and five brown busboys.
PRES. BUSH: That’s it. And meet me in the gym.
VOICE: Yes, sir. You know, sir, that it’s 0-100 hours, uh, one A.M. so it might take a few minutes…
PRES. BUSH: Sure, sure. Fifteen minutes in the gym. Oh, and tell the chef that I want a bunch of pots. Wait a minute.
VOICE: Pots. Yes, sir.
PRES. BUSH: I want fifteen stainless steel pots, like ten inches dime…dime…
VOICE: Diameter, Mr. President?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, that’s it. At least ten inches, could be a little bit bigger. And about ten feet of rope and a knife. Fifteen minutes. Oh. And you come too. What’s your name?
VOICE: McKenzie, sir.
PRES. BUSH: Okay, McNally, you come too.
VOICE: It’s McKenzie, sir.
PRES. BUSH: Okay. (George hangs up and gets out of bed.)
LAURA: (She has a small black whip in her hand.) George. Oh, George. Look at me, George. Liberals are…
PRES. BUSH: No, no. I’m not lookin’ at you, La-La.. I’m going to find my pants. Where are my pants? And my shirt. Yeah, my shirt. And some shoes, tennis shoes are fine. And I’m not looking at you, and I’m going on a mission and I will be back…I will be back when I’m back and I’m not lookin’. I’m not lookin’. (George stumbles out the door while putting on a shoe.)
Fifteen minutes later. In the White House gym. President Bush is pacing back and forth in front of eleven men: Five white Secret Service agents, five brown busboys from the kitchen and Agent McKenzie, who is black.
PRES. BUSH: All right, now men. Men…(To McKenzie.) Say, who are you?
McKENZIE: I’m Agent McKenzie, sir. I spoke to you on the phone.
PRES. BUSH: McKenzie, yeah. You’re black.
McKENZIE: Yes, Mr. President.
PRES. BUSH: But you have a security clearance.
McKENZIE: Yes, Mr. President. I’m in the Secret Service. So, yes, I would have…
PRES. BUSH: Sure, sure. And all these busboys, brown busboys, they have security clearances?
McKENZIE: Yes, sir. Everybody who works in the White House…
PRES. BUSH: Sure, sure. Okay, Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m trying to work something out here. A plan. For my leg…thing. And you men are going to help me. You men are going to help me. Okay?
THE MEN: Yes, Mr. President. Yes sir. Yes. Mr. President. Right.
PRES. BUSH: Okay, now. You brown guys from the kitchen are going to be the enemy. Don’t be mad at me. Just for tonight. Because you’re all brown, but I’ll make it up to you. Give you Cinco de Mayo off or something. Don’t be mad. And you white guys are going to be our troops in Iraq. Okay. I want to see something. My plan. Okay. First brown guy…
A MAN FROM THE KITCHEN: Me sir? Mr. President?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah. Take a pot and put it in the middle of the floor. Gym floor. Way out there in the middle That’s right. Okay. Step back, careful it’s an explosive. One of those whatchacallit, oh, whatchacallit?
MCKENZIE: IEDs? IED, Mr. President?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, IED. What’s that mean? What’s that stand for?
MCKENZIE: Uh, Improvised Explosive Device, sir.
PRES. BUSH: Right. Improvised Explosive Device. Okay, all you white guys, walk toward that pot. That…IED. Go ahead. Walk toward it.
The white guys (the Secret Service Agents) look at each other but walk toward the pot. And as they get close to it, Bush screams:
PRES. BUSH: Watch it!
The agents stop and look at the president.
PRES. BUSH: It’s a IUD. Watch it! A IUD.
MCKENZIE (Whispers): That’s “IED,” Mr. President.
PRES. BUSH: Right, IED. Okay, good. Watch it. Step back. Good. You avoided it. Avoided it. That’s good. That wasn’t hard at all. That part worked, part of my plan. Okay, now, then. You. There.
A DIFFERENT MAN FROM THE KITCHEN: Yes, sir. Me?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, you. You. You, go over there to the pots and I want you to tie three, no, four pots together, two and two, with two lengths of rope ’bout five feet each, and I want you to…that’s right, that’s right, and I want you to sling them over your shoulders, each shoulder, two on the right and two on the left, over the left and right shoulders. Four pots. That’s it. Now stand there. Just for a minute. You’re my suicide bomber. Okay, all the rest of you men all of you white and brown, you too McNamara…
MCKENZIE: McKenzie, sir.
PRES. BUSH: Damn, man. McKenzie, McNamara. Okay, McKenzie. Names aren’t important. This is war.
MCKENZIE: Right, sir. Sorry, sir.
PRES. BUSH: Okay, all of you other men go over there to where that DUI is. But it’s okay now because now it’s just a pot. Not explosive. BOOM! Okay, that was a joke. That was a joke. Okay, you men are in a market thing. Just stand there. That’s right. No. What’s better is that you sort of walk around, pretend you’re buying things. Lettuce. Grapes. Fish. That’s it. Okay, good. Now, you, my suicide bomber. You walk over toward that group of men in the market. That’s it. Walk.
The brown kitchen man begins to walk toward the group of men and as he does so the pots clang together and make a loud noise. And as he gets close to the men in the “marketplace” Bush screams:
PRES. BUSH: Hear that! Don’t you hear that? Listen. Hear that noise? It’s a suicide bomber. Run!
The men run. The “suicide bomber” stands in the middle of the gym looking at the president. The other men have gathered around the walls and they too are looking at the president.
PRES. BUSH: Good! Okay, that was good. Okay, you can take off the pots. That was good, all of you. Okay, the final thing. I want all of you brown guys to stand over here. (Bush moves to a spot on one side of the gym.) And I want all of you white guys to stand over here. (Bush moves to a spot on the far side of the gym.) That’s it, Right here. Okay, now give me a minute. (Bush kneels on the gym floor and again using his index and middle fingers on each hand makes finger men, which he moves at each other frenetically while talking to himself. “Boom! Boom! Boom!” The men stand watching.) Okay. Okay. All right, you white guys over here. I want you to run at those brown guys over there and I want you to knock them down. But not too hard. No, wait. You guys, brown guys, just fall down when the white guys get close. So white guys, don’t knock them down. They’ll fall down. Okay. Everybody ready?
ALL THE MEN (WHITE GUYS, BROWN GUYS, MCKENZIE): Yes, Mr. President. Yes, sir. Yes. Sure. Why not? Fine.
PRES. BUSH: Okay, run! White guys, run! Run at the brown guys. Brown guys fall down! (The brown guys fall down.) Good! Good! Yes! yes! Good! (Bush is so excited that he begins to jump up and down. But in doing so he slips on the gym floor and falls, hard on one knee.) God almighty! Jesus that hurt. Oh, boy. Jesus. Christ almighty Jesus!
The Secret Service men run to him and help him stand.
MCKENZIE: You okay, Mr. President? Want me to get the doctor?
PRES. BUSH: (Stands, works his knee; swings his leg. He pulls up his pants leg to reveal a slight abrasion.) No, no. I’m fine. Jesus, got too excited there. Damn, men, you did good. You men did good. I’m proud of you. I got too excited there. But you helped me. You helped me a lot. I needed to see something, my plan. Okay. You’re dismissed. Or whatever. Good. Good. You’ve helped me. Given me some ideas. Made me see some things. Good McNair. You’re dismissed too. All of you. I’m going back. Good. (Bush leaves the gym. The men also leave.)
A few minutes later, Bush walks through the door to his bedroom. Laura is back at the mirror, still practicing her smiles. George is limping slightly.
LAURA: Oh, puddin’! What happened? What happened? You’re limpin’.
PRES. BUSH: I got hurt. For my country. I was workin’ some things out, gettin’ some ideas for something classified, a strat-gy, and I fell down. Went boom. Went boom. Ooooh, La-La. You still mad at Georgie cuz I couldn’t tell you about my classifieds?
LAURA: Oh, Georgie, no, sweetie. La-La could never be mad for long and La-La is so sorry. So sorry about your boo-boo. Here. Sit down and let me look at your leg. (Bush sits and pulls up his pants leg.) Ooooh. Just look at that boo-boo. You wait right there. I’ll just be a minute. I’m so proud of my Georgie for getting’ hurt for his country. I’ll be right back. Don’t you go away! I’ll take care of that leg and then I have a special surprise for my Georgie.
PRES. BUSH: Surprise?
LAURA: Yes, a surprise. Like I was tellin’ you before. A surprise.
PRES. BUSH: Oh! A surprise! Should I close my eyes?
LAURA: Yes. But I’ll tell you; I’ll tell you when. (Laura leaves the room. Bush sits in the chair, waiting, his pants leg still rolled up. Five minutes pass.)
PRES. BUSH: Where are you La-La?
LAURA’S VOICE: Don’t be an impatient little boy. Don’t be impatient. Okay, now close your eyes. Here I come.
Laura Bush enters. She is now wearing a blue suit, white blouse, diamond brooch in the shape of the American flag, and a white wig. She looks something like the president’s mother, Barbara Bush. She carries a bottle of rubbing alcohol and some cotton. Laura walks to where George is sitting. Laura, as Barbara, as Mommy, kneels in front of George.
LAURA/BARBARA: (A deeper, more authoritative voice now.) (Touching his knee.) Open those eyes now. (Bush opens his eyes.)
PRES. BUSH: Oh, La-La, you look just like my mommy.
LAURA/BARBARA: What did my George do to himself? Did George disobey his mommy again? Do something stupid? Mommy has to help George now. And this will sting. (Laura/Barbara takes a piece of cotton and drenches it with alcohol.) It will sting real bad. Mommy has to punish George for being a stupid little boy. (She cleans the abrasion—roughly.)
PRES. BUSH: Oh, Mommy, Mommy! That hurts! That hurts so much, Mommy. But George has been so bad. Hasn’t he? And stupid. Right, Mommy?
LAURA/BARBARA: (Now gently touching his knee just below the abrasion. Then around behind the knee. Then she kisses his leg.) Mommy is going to help. Mommy will help. If George is good. If George promises to be real good, Mommy's goin' to be real good too. Here, Georgie, let Mommy help you up. That’s it. That’s right. Let’s go over to the bed now. That's right, Georgie.
PRES. BUSH: Oh, Mommy. ###
15 December 2006
The uncredited Iraq photo in the composite at the top of the page is from: www.photosfromiraq.revolutionweb.org.