Two operatives seize the road: The alternate universe of Cheney and Bush
· found photograph by Shari Hatt
“Where you left it,” came the faint answer.
“Let me go talk to her,” Bush said.
After ten minutes he reappeared, looking sheepish.
“She told me where it is, but I had to say she can go with us.”
“That’s not possible. You have to say goodbye to her.” Cheney put a hand on Bush’s shoulder. “For good.”
“What do you mean?”
“This is the last you’re ever going to see of her.”
“Wait, can we get on US-84? ” Bush said from the passenger seat. “I know an ice cream place on the way to Crawford. Little side trip, heh-heh.”
“We need to go north to Oklahoma.”
“Come on, Opera Guy, can’t we just take a look at the ranch? Gonna buy it back some day. Red and I cruise it sometimes. It would be cool to see it with you.”
“We can do that another time. We will do that. We’ll do it a lot.”
“Right now we need to get to Los Angeles.”
Bush looked all of ten years old as he sneered at Cheney.
“Well, if you want to get to Angeltown, you might do better goin’ south,” Bush said. “Pesky little place called Austin. Gets you to I-10.”
“Except I want I-40. You can do Texas on your own time.”
Cheney awoke in the passenger seat, somewhere west of Oklahoma City. Bush was at the wheel, fussing with the radio instead of watching the road. Not that there was much to see, just yellow land and fences in the afternoon haze.
“This is ridiculous!” Bush said. “I just listened to the whole darn Top Ten Country Countdown and they didn’t play Small & Poor. They’re number one in Waco. This sucks.”
“What is the song?”
“I don’t know, some title it’s called by. It’s about Jesus and the oil well. Great tune — Red loves it, too. What the heck happened to Clear Channel?”
Cheney sighed heavily. “George, every region is different now. They broke up the ownership. Reversed all the progress we’d made since ‘94. They really bunged things up, just threw consistency out the window.”
“What, the Bore did that?”
“Congress did it. The Democrats. The Media Diversity Act of 2007. Gore was only too happy to sign it. That was just last year — you don’t follow this stuff?”
“Hey, Chene, I’m not really into all this policy wank stuff. I just listen to my tunes.”
“Well, let’s find some talk radio. This fellow can’t sing.”
“Uh, helloooo? This is Tim and effing Faith!”
Cheney started punching the scan button and found the new guy with the high voice.
“So the man who invented the Internet now knows all about skyscrapers. We’ll be asking a real architect just how well Mr. Gore’s theory stands up.” The sound of drums, a patriotic power-chord riff, and a jingle that went “Rolf Robinger shoots from the hip.”
“Rolf Robinger misses,” Bush said.
“Shut up, George. Listen to what he’s saying.”
“Professor Steer, you are a master’s in graphic design at Raiment College. What do you say about a Trade Center being brought down by a jet plane? Is that as crazy as it sounds?”
“Rolf, it is worse than crazy. It is simply not factual. I have run the numbers, and you can make a hole in the side of a building, but that won’t even begin to touch its structure.”
“This is what I mean, Doctor. This is what these liberals like to do. Scare tactics — isn’t that what it is?”
“You know, Rolf, it’s irresponsible. Gore has America convinced that he somehow stopped some kind of holocaust or something. You have to look at the research, which the liberals don’t like to do. The Twin Towers were specifically designed to withstand the impact of a jet plane.”
“It’s another Gore Whopper. This guy should own Burger King!”
“Gore never said that, did he?” Bush said. “That the tower would come down. I watched that stuff.”
“He implied it,” Cheney said.
“I miss Rush,” Bush said. “You can tell this guy is making it up. With Rush you couldn’t tell. Man, I wish he hadn’t OD’d. Can we please go back to music?”
“This guy is making sense if you would pay attention.”
Cheney turned it up.