Several Republican neocons have gathered for a covert fundraising dinner to re-elect President Barack Obama at an exclusive Washington restaurant called Fin de Siecle, whose menu offers lovingly prepared dishes made from endangered species bordering on extinction at exorbitant prices. Selling particularly well tonight is the blue whale steak, along with tiger casserole, cajun-style frogs’ legs, and, for those who are either especially brave or already close enough to the grave to warrant taking the risk, chimpanzee stew.
Noted right-wing luminaries present include George W. Bush, who’s busy swinging from the chandeliers in an autographed cowboy hat he received–or rather purloined–from Ronald Reagan on his deathbed, fellow Iraq War masterminds Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, who has been enjoying the sauteed zebra testicles served as hors d’oeuvres on toothpicks by a snooty waiter whose erect posture and way of glaring down his nose at the guests suggest his post is far beneath him, and Karl Rove, busily gnawing on a barbecued rhino’s penis.
Donald Rumsfeld leans over the seated figure of George Bush, Sr. and asks: “What did you think of Obama’s speech, sir?”
Bush, ruminating on his answer as well as a morsel of dolphin brain marinated in Great White shark blood and merlot, replies, “I thought it was surprisingly sound, especially coming from a socialist.”
Rummy chuckles and pats him affectionately on the shoulder. “Yes, and I liked the line about why he prefers Reapers to Predator drones.”
Bush nods, trying to remember the president’s exact wording. “What was it again? ‘When you’re a terrorist, you reap what you sow?'”
“You’re still as sharp as a tack, my friend.” Rummy chuckles, doing his best Richard Widmark impression.
“Thank you, Donald. It must be all that chess I’ve been playing with Jeb; although I must say he does keep me on my toes.”
“That’s why people call him ‘the smart one’.”
“Shhh, not too loud. You know how good Junior’s hearing is.”
Rummy snickers. “Yes, I do. Too bad it’s wasted on him since he’s such a poor listener. I told him Iraq would have been a cakewalk if we’d just gone ahead and used nukes on Baghdad from the get-go.”
“Not enough ‘shock and awe’ for you, huh?”
“Again, you’ve hit the nail on the head, sir.”
Dubya, who was in earshot while the two men were talking, comes up to Rummy and says, “Hey, Rumstud. That wasn’t very nice. I have feelings too, you know. Just ask Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”
They high-five each other and then do a fist-bump just to show they’re hip.
Bill O’Reilly lurches past the two eminent has-beens. He’s had so many glasses of straight Irish whiskey he can hardly goose Barbara Bush, who’s been avoiding President Obama, scurrying away from him whenever he’s in sight faster than you can say, “There goes the neighborhood.”
“Now, William, don’t be fresh,” she says through a nest of powdered jowls, looking for all the world like the love child of George Washington and Peter Lorre.
“Hey, Babs,” Bill says boldly. “Have you seen Cheney around anywhere? I have something to ask him.”
“No, I haven’t, honey. Oh, wait a minute–there he is. See him talking to Dan Quayle?”
O’Reilly stoops down from his dizzying and dizzy height and squints over the heads of dining dignitaries seated at tables or standing around hobnobbing, then spots Quayle in the sea of tuxedos and sequined dresses. The former vice-president still resembles Burt Ward, the actor who portrayed Robin in the old Batman TV show from the nineteen-sixties.
“Okay, I see him. Good thing Cheney didn’t bring his hunting rifle, eh?”
“What do you mean, Billy?” Mrs. Bush asks.
“Well, this isn’t exactly the place for quail-hunting, is it?”
She gasps. “Oh, perish the thought! We’re all on the same side here, aren’t we?”
O’Reilly nods with smug understanding and a patronizing twinkle in his bloodshot eye. He reels and staggers half way across the room towards where Quayle and Cheney are standing holding their drinks.
On the way he runs into Colin Powell.
“Hey, Obama, what’s new?”
“Very funny,” says Powell. “I hope your limo driver’s not as shit-faced as you are.”
O’Reilly bends his face toward him with a conspiratorial look. “Listen, Colin,” he says, lowering his voice as Powell recoils from the miasma of his toxic breath. “If you’d like, after the party, a few friends and I are getting together for a little party of our own. One of them has a little vial of white powder on him, if you get my drift.”
“Go to hell, Bill.”
O’Reilly digs him in between the ribs with his long, bony fingers and lunges off to talk to the dark Lord of Halliburton.
“Ricardo!” he says when he sees Cheney. “Como esta usted, hombre?”
“Oh hi, Bill. It’s so nice to see you.” They shake hands like blood-brothers.
“And who’s this little boy you’re talking to?” O’Reilly laughs at his own bullying wit.
“Perhaps you haven’t met J. Danforth Quayle, my predecessor in the Republican vice-presidential post.”
Quayle shakes O’Reilly’s hand grudgingly after the stinging remark, either too shy or too slow for a snappy comeback. He decides for a dig at Cheney instead.
“Yes, I taught Dick everything he knows. I guess it’s nice to meet you. Thanks for reminding me it’s time to leave.”
O’Reilly beams, his face lighting up with alcohol poisoning. “That’s delightful to hear, as I have to say something to Mr. Cheney in confidence.”
Quayle, seeing his opportunity for a zinger, delivers the coup de grace: “Well, con men ought to stick together. Especially neocons.”
“Thanks, Danny,” O’Reilly says with a snort. “Careful not to drive your golf cart into a frog pond.”
As Quayle retreats, looking pissed off but used to such abusive heckling, Cheney turns to O’Reilly and says, “So Bill, what did you want to talk to me about?”
Looking suddenly and unexpectedly vulnerable and even more drunkenly awkward than before, O’Reilly escorts the aging sage over to a place by the burgundy curtained window where they can converse in private.
“Yeah, Dick, I don’t know how to ask you this. By the way, you look great. You’ve lost a lot of weight.”
Cheney does his best Burgess Meredith as the Penguin impersonation with a practiced sinister laugh he employs to make him sound less unsympathetic.
“Thanks, Bill. When you’re on the heart attack diet plan, you either shed the pounds or give up the ghost. Now spit it out, will you? Don’t be so coy. I haven’t got all night. Lynn’s in the mood for love tonight, and believe me, that only happens once in a blue moon.”
“I noticed she was hitting the champagne pretty hard earlier on.”
“You’re one to talk, Bill.”
O’Reilly sighs and says finally, “Oh, what the hell, here goes nothing. As an elder statesman, I thought maybe you could commiserate with me about a certain condition I have,” he says slowly, slurring his way through the preface to his confession.
“Depends on what the condition is.”
“As you know, I do a lot of sitting in my job, and I don’t get much time to exercise.”
“You also drink like a swimming pool.” Cheney’s not smiling anymore.
“Fair enough. Just trying to live up to the Irish stereotype. Anyway, Dick, how can I put this? I’ve got a terrible case of piles, and I thought you might know how to treat them. I’ve tried using all kinds of over- the-counter medicine. I don’t trust doctors and don’t want to be prescribed anything. You’re a guy with heart troubles, so I’m sure you know all about the nasty side effects some of these things have. Anyway, could you tell me–and please don’t take this the wrong way–what’s the best way to wash your asshole?”
With his trademarked calm and in a lived-in, avuncular monotone, Dick Cheney just shrugs and says, “I don’t know–I usually just water-board mine.”