Dubya & ’Erb

“Dubya! Come on son, we have to leave.”
The man looked around in the billowing black smoke. There was no reply.
“Dubya! Where are you? We have to go now!”
“I’m here, paw!” The man thought his son’s voice came from somewhere to the right. So he turned in that direction. “But I cain’t see y’all in this smoke. Where are you?”
As the smoke briefly thinned, the father saw the outline of his son’s body, his back towards him. “Turn round, Dubya. I’m behind you.”
“Ah, there you are, paw!”
“Please, Dubya, I’ve told you before not to call me that name.”
“What name, paw?”
“That name.”
“Yeah,” the father said. “You know all those guys at the agency helped me stash millions of taxpayer money in bank accounts even the IRS can’t find when I was head of the CIA. So we’re not poor.”
“No, paw.”
“No! Dubya. If you want to call me anything, call me ‘dad’ or ‘pa’.”
“But that’s what I’m callin’ you – paw!”
“Dubya! Then call me Herb.”
“Yes, pa – ’Erb.”
“What if I went round calling you the name you got called at school?”
“What name’s that, paw?”
“Dubya… Little Winkie.”
“No, you know I don’t like you callin’ me that – or ‘Big Wankie’.” Dubya held his head in his hands. “The boys at school only called me that ‘cos I wasn’t like them and didn’t do what they did in the way they did it…”
“Then I won’t call you a name you don’t like if you don’t call me something I done like.”
“OK pa – I mean ’Erb,” the son said.
The smoke billowed between them. “It’s so difficult to see what’s goin’ on here with that black smoke,” Dubya said, “and it hurts ma arse!”
“What, Dubya? What’s wrong with your butt?”
“No, paw, the smoke’s makin’ my arse sting.”
“Well, I don’t whether we can do anything about that, Dubya,” the father said. “Try not to sit down until we get back into the Hummer.”
“Ain’t ya got anythin’ that’ll soothe ma arse, paw?” Dubya almost whined.
“I’ve only got this tube of Vaseline, son. Try that.”
Dubya grabbed the tube screwed the cap off and dropped it to the ground. He squeezed a dollop of Vaseline on to his fingers and rubbed his eyes with it.
“Ow! That’s not makin’ it any better, paw!” he shouted.
The father unhitched a bottle from his leather belt, opened it and sniffed at the neck. Bourbon. He took a deep swig as his son ranted and raved beside him. No, not that bottle.
Taking the other bottle from the belt and giving it to his son, Herb said, “Here, Dubya, soak your handkerchief in this and wash the Vaseline from your eyes.”
Dubya followed his father’s suggestion, spreading the Vaseline around his face, which was already grimy from the smoke. He soon resembled a coal miner just returned to the surface from a hard shift underground.
“Oh, how I regret allowing your mother to convince me to send you to that school down south, where she came from,” Herb said. “She said it would make you more folksy and more popular with the people, whatever she meant by that. All I can say is it didn’t do your speech any good, and I can’t understand why you’re not able to adopt the King’s English, like your mother did.”
“Why d’we call it that, paw? We ain’t got no king. We ordda call it the President’s English or summin.”
“What are you saying, Dubya? ‘Summin’?”
“Why don’ we say the President’s English instead of the King’s English as we don’av’a king?”
“Because it’s a standard saying,” Herb said. “Anyway, we can’t call it the President’s English now that they’re thinking of changing the constitution so that Austrian can be president. He speaks English almost as badly as Kissinger, and look what a mess he made of the world situation and lasting peace. Each side interpreted what he growled to their own advantage, and that prolonged the belligerent status quo for 25 years. Anyway, the only lasting piece he had was a series of one night stands.”
“Huh?” was all Dubya could say.
Herb took another swig from his bottle of bourbon, then Dubya snatched it out of his hand. “Ah’m thursty,” he said, then swallowed a mouthful. “Hey, that’s the worst tastin’ water I’ve ever drunk!”
“Water? That was Kentucky bourbon, Dubya.”
Dubya spat a stream of liquid over everything in front of him, primarily his father. “Why’d ya give that to me, paw? You know I don’ like it ’n’ mussen drink it.”
“You took it yourself, Dubya.”
“Ah thought it was water,” Dubya said. “Where’s that water bottle? There! Look, now you’ve made me stand on it and flatten the bottle,” he added tremulously.
Herb rolled his eyes up into his head, wishing he had never agreed to undertake this mission.
They walked over towards the Hummer, two men of very similar appearance – tanned oval faces with thin lips, blue-grey eyes, greying brown hair, and a straight nose. But the son, who was only three-quarters the size of his father, had pinched face and a mouth that pouted slightly as though his tongue was edging out of it, yet could turn into the most charming smile that easily disarmed doubting Thomases. Unlike his father, Dubya walked like a cowboy permanently prepared to make a quick draw and shoot an opponent with his two six-shooters – hands hovering inches from his hips. And he walked in a straight line, totally oblivious of where he put his feet.
Dubya’s distinguishing feature, however, was his eyes. As his devoted wife Lorie said one day as he poured her fourth Tequila Sunrise of the morning, to be drunk while she lazed in the heated outdoor swimming pool of their Texan ranch, “The only reason y’all like that limey Blather prime minister guy is ’cos you ’n’ he can look deep into each others’ eyes withou’ goin’ exophoric!”
Happy to receive a compliment, Dubya gave his wife a peck on the cheek. “We also un’erstan’ each other. We gotta a good an’ close relationship, an’ we see eyeball to eyeball on many things. Anyways, you also like him and we both like his wife, Sherry.”
Lorie refused a change of drink.
Dubya, his eyes still smarting because of the smoke, and his father clambered aboard the Hummer.
“These ve-hickles are just great,” Dubya said. “Sturdily built, good grip on the road and off the road as well, plenty of space, and good to be if ya’ do have accident.”
The son smiled. “And every mile people drive in one o’ these adds another couple of cents to the Chain-gang’s earnin’s,” he said. “An’ ours’, o’ course!”
Herb waited a few seconds for the GPS-based navigation system to activate, locate their position and plot their route to the airport and then got the Hummer started.
Outside, the smoke billowed around them; inside, Herb turned on the air conditioning and recirculation system.
“All that smoke,” Dubya said. “Where’s it comin’ from?”
“From some of the oil wells,” Herb said. “Don’t you remember ordering the Corps of Engineers to torch some of the wells as they withdrew from Iraq after you lost political control there once people discovered all those lies about what we were doing there?”
“Whaddya mean, paw?” Dubya shouted. “I ain’t tol’ no lies ’bout Eye-rack. Saddam Hussein was a threat to us and we got rid o’ him. Simple as that. Anyways, that’s what Wolf-face, Rumpty-Dumpty and the Chain-gain keep sayin’.”
“I know you tried to finish off the job that they advised me not to complete, because they thought world opinion wouldn’t be able to cope, but it’s the way you’ve handled it that’s gone wrong,” Herb said.
“No, paw, that ain’t right!” Dubya said. “Rumpty-Dumpty said we shouldn’ve too many soldiers in Eye-rack when Ah’m cuttin’ taxes, so we got some of our allies to step in. Yeah I know they all got American munitions, but they was reachin’ their sell-by date then, anyways, so we w’d’ve had to destroy ’em an’ make new ones.”
“Your fiscal and budget advisers were right, Dubya,” Herb said. “But did it not occur to you that the cost of war with Saddam Hussein would be so tremendous that you could not have tax cuts? Did you not read all those top secret internal accounts from my Gulf War that showed just how expensive that was? The Mint printed greenbacks for years to pay that bill.”
“Wolf-face was most emphatic that Eye-rack should appear to turn into a proper democracy an’ he made plans for that,” the son said. “Like he said, we named friendly clan heads and princes to run the country from the start an’ then made sure the voters supported ’em.”
“But that’s just the point, Dubya,” Herb said as the navigation system guided the Hummer towards the airport. “It was too obvious. A cynical people or press can see through things like that – too many Iraqis said they did not want American appointed leaders for the results to be credible.
“An’ the Chain-gang insisted on the US getting’ control of the oil,” Dubya said. “And he had good arguments for that – he wanted to control the supply and demand picture. Just think that production of oil and gas will top in 20 years – just when demand, especially from developin’ coun’ries that’re startin’ to build autos in a large way, will rise. We gotta secure oil for our American consumers an’ pay for developin’ other sources of energy. We cain’t let our livin’ standards fall just ’cos there ain’t enough oil. We cain’t afford to let other people own th’ oil.”
“I understand your energy concerns, Dubya. But just handing reconstruction and oil contracts to US firms, or to firms from our allies, is so open and obvious. If the Chain-gang wants control of the oil for those reasons – well, he’ll have to buy his way in, not rely on you.”
“But the energy situation’s a strategic concern for the coun’ry,” Dubya said.
“It may be a strategic concern for the Chain-gang and you and other people in the oil industry. But that and being the leader of the only super-power does not give you the right to set their oil fields on fire simply because you can’t get your own way. That actually means you’re no better than Saddam Hussein was when he torched the Kuwaiti oil fields in my Gulf War.”
“But I’m used to getting’ my own way,” Dubya almost wailed. “Wolf-face, Rumpty-Dumpty and the Chain-gang said if I attacked Saddam Hussein ’cos he was a threat to us, gave tax breaks to the wealthy, who’re the only voters worth talki’ ’bout, and reformed electoral districts as Charlie Rowe said, then I’d get re-elected. It didn’t happen!”
“You have to learn that while you may be ultimately responsible for not getting re-elected, failing to get re-elected wasn’t your fault, nor the fault of your chiefs of staff and aides but the fault of the media,” Herb said. “The Chronicle’s always ridiculed you, the Times’ cartoonist draws you as an overindulged baby and the Post writes what you say publicly verbatim. You forgot to get them on your side, you fought them as well as the Democrats.”
“What sh’d I’ve done, huh?”
“What you should have done – when you first got elected – was to choose your top staff from people with broader interests – not just the oil industry and big manufacturing, nor people just thinking of themselves.”
“But Charlie Rowe wouldn’t lemme do that! Wolf-face had to come on board ’cos he had to ensure revenge for your non-victory in your Gulf War and to engineer Saddam’s downfall,” Dubya said. “The Chain-gang financed my campaigns, so he had to have a role, and Rumpty-Dumpty’s the only person I know who can convince the military they can rule the world with only half an army.”

Back home, the two ex-presidents Büshe rested in the afternoon sun following the morning’s difficult decision-making. Herb had problems trying to decide between projected short-term gains of 20% for a multi-billion dollar investment in a new weapons factory or long-term gains of 5% a year over a decade for an investment of the same size in a new, nationwide fundamental Christian television station network. In the end he decided on both.
Dubya was less decisive. Lorie, who, on the impending arrival of the two men at Dubya’s ranch, had fled to her mother’s cat house in the desert, and from there, by phone, once again demanded to know the truth, whether Dubya loved her more than his religious guru.
The younger ex-president was experiencing communication problems. Lorie, he thought, was still either inebriated or slurred her words more than normal in her way-out accent. He simply couldn’t understand half of what she said, and Lorie was clearly not listening to what Dubya was saying.
“Deprived? What d’ya mean’ ‘deprived’?” Dubya said. “Y’all know that when paw dies I’ll get billions. So I ain’t deprived. The only thing deprived is that I cain’t get them or use ’em now.”
Dubya listed to what he thought Lorie replied, his eyes rolling upwards behind the lids.
“Whaddya mean, ya said ’depraved’?” he shouted. “I coit’nly ain’t depraved.”
“Yes, I know I’m the only president in recent times to have two dicks… Yes, I know one’s long and thin an’ the other one’s short and fat… Whaddya mean, they always come together? The Chain-gang and transportation secretary Dickson have nothin’ to do with each other… Oh, ya mean those two dicks – well, y’know, maw never did go in for circumcision, so having one dick removed was outa the question. Anyways, she never knew. She fainted after I was born and paw looked after me. He was a far-sighted guy and could the fun I could have later on, so he let things be… No, Ah don’t control’ em like that, they’re allowed to go where they want to, like Clinton’s… Nöö, I’m not depraved – just born that way… Whaddya mean, Lorie, fin’ a normal man? Ah am normal!… Lorie! Lorie?”
Dubya slammed down the phone and went looking for a drink. The strongest water he could find, since he knew from years of experience that alcohol would just release his inhibitions.

To be continued after the next general and presidential elections…

Copyright 2007 Michael de Laine

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