Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Our (two-hour) long national nightmare is finally over

I have no idea how this story seems to have largely slipped under the radar, but on Sunday, July 22, 2007, for 2 hours and 5 minutes between 7:16 am and 9:21 am EDT, Dick Cheney was the President of the United States of America, leader of the free world.

When I first heard about this on the drive to work this morning, a scene unfolded in my mind's eye.

A dimly-lit office, shadows flickering and twisting ominously on the wall as the candles that light the room dance uneasily in an unseen breeze. A desk of rich mahogany, its surface sparse...a typewriter, a phone, a quill and ink vial, a few sheets of paper, almost parchment-like in texture. On the adjacent wall, bookcases are filled with leather-bound tomes, interspersed with shrunken heads and polished skulls. The U.S. Code. The Congressional Record. A.E. Waite's The Book of Black Magic. A smell fills the air. Incense? No. Something else, something undefinable. A man sits at the desk, his back hunched ever so slightly, his hands resting over the typewriter, which radiates with the warmth of recent activity. The candles reflect off of his eyeglasses, obscuring his eyes, giving them the unsettling appearance of tumultuous lakes of orange flame. Smoke rises from a smoldering cigar that lies chewed up and discarded in an ashtray near his elbow, distorting his features even further in the dim haze. A bead of sweat forms on his bald head as he pulls the completed document from the typewriter, dripping down and soaking into his otherwise immaculate collar as he carefully sets the paper before him and pushes the typewriter aside. He snorts ever so slightly as he reaches across the desk to retrieve the quill and ink vial. Slowly but deliberately, he dips the quill into the vial and puts it to paper. In the deepest crimson, the words trace their way across the page: "Dick Cheney." He reaches for the phone, ready for the paper to be retrieved, ready to put his dark machinations into motion at last. No. For now, he may take a moment to celebrate. He opens the top desk drawer and retrieves a small glass and a bottle, its musky label reading simply "Duoro - 1873." He pours the port into the glass and restores the bottle to its place in the drawer. As he brings the glass to his nose and inhales deeply, the corner of his lip begins to twitch. Is he simply irritated by the powerful aroma of his fortified wine? Or is this...could it be...the beginnings of a smile?

But thankfully, it's already over, so we can all collectively exhale. Maybe we'd better take a peek at North Korea and Iran just to see if the regimes are still there. They are? Alright. Anyone shot in the face? Not even the guy under anesthesia? Nice. Okay, we're good.

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