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When you live three years in one of the ritziest suburbs of Washington D.C., you expect to rub elbows with V.I.Ps every now and again. I know this may be hard for my readers to believe, but I actually worked in our nation’s capitol. I took the subway into the city, to an office building not that far from the White House.

It takes awhile to realize that powerful people are invisible to ordinary residents. They don’t do subways (no matter how clean and shiny they are); they don’t eat in inexpensive restaurants (no matter how good the food) and they don’t walk the dog. Period.

When we moved to Gainesville, Florida I knew that our chances for political celebrity spotting were over. Even with the President’s brother running the state, we were in a university town, heavily Democratic. I was stunned to discover that there were, in fact, closet Republicans. A lot of them. Even though it was public knowledge that George W. had lied about every single reason for invading Iraq, no Republican seemed to care. It was an eye opening experience.

So, imagine my surprise the other night when I picked up the phone and a male caller said my name in a very breathy, belligerently distinctive voice. “Who is this?” I said. “It’s Potus,” he said. “Who?” said I, disbelieving. The voice got louder. “Listen up, it’s me, the President.”

I racked my mind to figure out who could be pulling a fast one. There wasn’t a person on the planet who didn’t know that the Prez was in Australia, and everyone who knew me was well aware that the Shrub wasn’t exactly my favorite person. But it sounded exactly like him.

“My sources tell me you got this thing down,” he said. I sighed, exasperated. He seemed to expect me to know what he was talking about. It was the sort of thing I do, and it drives my wife crazy.

“What thing, George? What are you talking about?” “Now, see,” said he, “we’re gettin’ along here. I like that you call me by my first name. Not many of my people do that anymore…. The thing is, I’m getting ready to kick back a bit and Texas is starting to seem a little small. Too many people know where I live, if you follow my drift.”

“My people tell me you got this ‘down under’ retirement thing all figured out. How about we grab some brews, hop on our bikes and go look at some real estate. Go ranch huntin’. This is big country out here. I could get away from everybody. Whadaya say?”

“On bikes? The outback? You want to go into the outback?”

“Yeah, the back of beyond,” said the Pres. “I hear you clock a few miles on that funny bent bike you got.”

“No guns–” said I, thinking back on on accidental shootings. “Not too many,” said Bush, “just one for crocs and one for everything else. The SS will take care of security. We’ll make a good goddamn team. You an’ me, pardner. I’ll see ya in the morning. Adios.”

He hung up the phone. Was it real or had I just imagined it? Pardner?

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October 2017
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16171819202122
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