I was home watching THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA when the doorbell rang. I padded down the hall in my robe and slippers and opened the door. There, through the screen, was a face in the misty light.
"Hello, Neil," the face said. "Long time no see.
I showed her into the Gerald Ford Room at La Casa Shakespeare.
"Ah! The Gerald Ford Room," she said. "Still trying to scare away visitors?
"C'mon, Laura," I said, "what's with the idle chit-chat? Do you have information for me or not?
She gave me the evil eye. "Don't I always? You know, Neil, I must tell you, there was rejoicing at the White House when they got reports that you were dead.
"Sorry to disappoint. Now, what's the scoop?
"May I smoke?
I fetched her one of my Star Wars ashtrays and she lit up. I waited for my 'scoop'.
"It's the 'boost'," she exhaled. "When September rolls around George is going to 'explain' to the Congress and The American People that the 'surge' needs a 'boost'.
"A 'boost'? You mean as in further 'escalation'?
"Shhhh! We don't use that word. Echoes of Vietnam and all that. We successfully managed to bully the press into using the word 'surge' and now we're going to talk them into using the word 'boost'.
"So he's sending in more troops?
"Yes. A 'surge', followed by a 'boost'. I told George that I thought the boost should come before the surge but we haven't had sex in so long he hardly remembers.
I didn't. This was strictly business.
"Yes," she continued, "we need the 'boost' to protect the 'surge'. After that we plan a 'swell' to protect the boost. I told Karl that the 'swell' should be followed by the 'boost' and then the 'surge', but he's never had sex, so...
"Stop it, Laura!" I cried. "Enough with the sex talk! So tell me, how is George going to try to pass this one off on The American People?
"The usual. 'Freedom', 'al Qaeda', total balls-to-the-wall bullshit.
"And the real reason?
"Why, the hydrocarbon law, of course. Fuck all the other 'benchmarks'. We can't leave. You know that, don't you, Neil? We can't leave till we get that oil out of there. I mean, that's the whole reason we're there in the first place. We managed to bilk the American People into paying for everything, but now those ungrateful Iraqis are balking. They won't sign the hydrocarbon law. At least not the one we drew up for them. Dick is having a shitfit. He already moved Halliburton over there, you know. Did you know that Halliburton trades on the NYSE as 'HAL'? You know, like that computer in '2001'? Ironic, isn't it? 'Open the petroleum bay doors, Hal!'" She laughed.
"Yes, I know. Get on with it!
"So we need to expand our presence there to the point where we can never leave. That's why we built that billion dollar embassy and the permanent bases, brought another carrier to the Gulf, and now we're expanding the Air Force so we can bomb them back to the Stone Age if need be if they don't pass that oil law.
"What happens when Hillary's elected?
"Oh, she'll never leave. She's already said she favors a 'limited presence' there forever. Besides, she won't be able to. The American People have too much invested over there now, we made sure of that. Too much blood and money, so whoever succeeds George will have to buy into the myth we've built up. You know, it's all about 'freedom', right, Neil?" She winked. "Absolutely nothing to do with the 'oil'...and shame on anyone who even suggests that!." She giggled.
So that was it. That was the info I was getting from my 'Inside Woman'. Come September the 'surge' was going to be followed by the 'boost' and then, probably on the fifth anniversary of 'Mission Accomplished', the 'swell'.
"May I offer you a drink?" I queried.
"Oh, no no," she replied quickly, snubbing out her cigarette in my Star Wars ashtray there in the Gerald Ford Room. "I just thought I'd stop by for a quick visit after Lady Bird's funeral.
She rose and I escorted her down the hall to the entrance. She stopped, turned.
"Say," she said innocently, "you don't have any of that medical marijuana around, do you?
"Too bad. The boys in my Secret Service detail are looking for some.
"The Secret Service boys? Come now, Laura...
"OK, OK! It's for George. He qualifies, you know! He has this...um...serious mental disorder.
"You'll have to see Schwarzenegger for that. Goodbye, Laura!" I pushed her gently back into that misty goodnight.