I'm feeling vaguely unsettled this morning. And for once, it has nothing to do with the massive heaps of chicken alfredo I shoveled down yesterday evening.
I had a psychic flash. I saw the future.
(Don't scoff. This happens to me from time to time. For instance, as a lad of 17 back in 1972 I sat with my parents watching the final evening of the Democratic National Convention. As George McGovern took the podium, my father chuckled. "These Democrats, what a bunch of idiots. They've nominated the one person out of their entire slate of candidates who has no chance whatsoever of winning." I'm told that my eyes went blank (literally... the pupils disappeared!) and I began to murmur two words over and over again. "SssssWIFT boat. SssssWIFT boat." I remained in that state for three hours and woke up very hungry, with a taste for croissants.)
There have been other such episodes and I would gladly recount them for you but you would scoff, even though I have asked you very politely to refrain from doing so.
It was about 10:45 last night. My wife and I always allow the two dogs into the bedroom with us. Raven, our four-year old border collie is the smartest person in our family, except for her foolish belief that every person walking down the street in front of our house is Osama bin Laden and deserves to be barked at as such. Shiloh is our two-year old German Shepherd, blond, carefree, beautiful, and without a thought in her pretty head.
That's why I was shocked when Shiloh turned to me at 10:45 and said, "Behold! The FUTURE!" Raven just looked grim and nodded her agreement. She never was much for outward expression, verbal or otherwise -- except for barking at Osama, that is.
The room began to shimmer and colors began to swirl and I was glad, for the moment, that Gail was still in the bathroom because she would not care at ALL for what was happening to her bedroom.
Except -- it wasn't the bedroom any more. It was the Press Room at the White House.
And I wasn't "me." I was NBC White House Correspondent David Gregory. I looked around the room: It was packed with reporters. Most wore dour expressions. Some were openly weeping. (Not Helen Thomas, who sat in her honored position -- grinning like Cheshire Cat. She was knitting.)
One or another of the talking hair-dos (obviously a TV correspondent) turned to me and said, "It's President Bush's last press conference, dickwad. Go easy on him for once, wouldja?"
"Last press conference?" I thought, forgetting for a moment that I had been cosmically thrust into another man's body and expensive Italian suit. I glanced at my watch. The date flashed "01/19/2009".
Frantically, I searched my mind. (Well, I searched "David Gregory's" mind, if you wish me to be purely accurate.) Finding nothing there, I decided instead to flip through my reporter's notebook. I was alarmed at what I found.
In headline form, I saw what Bush had been up to in the last several months of his final term.
I recalled that the House Judiciary Committee had finally decided they might consider Congressman Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution. The notes told me how THAT turned out.
AUGUST 4, 2008 -- HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES FOR IMPEACHMENT
AUGUST 6, 2008 -- BUSH IMPEACHED BY HOUSE
AUGUST 8, 2008 -- CONVICTION IN SENATE ALL BUT CERTAIN
And then, the headlines took on a different tone...
AUGUST 10, 2008 -- GLORIOUS LEADER SUSPENDS CONSTITUTION, DISSOLVES CONGRESS, RESTORES ORDER, ENSURES DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY
AUGUST 11, 2008 -- "PROTECTIVE CUSTODY, NOT MARTIAL LAW" CHANCELLOR ROVE SAYS
DECEMBER 25, 2008 -- FORMER JEWS, MUSLIMS AND OTHER EX-PAGANS CELEBRATE FIRST CHRISTMAS AS FEDERALLY-MANDATED CHRISTIANS
I could bear to read no further. I heard an excited murmur. "He's coming," one of the suit-wearing hair-do's whispered.
The curtains parted. A solitary figure approached the microphone. George W. Bush. Instead of his usual suit, he wore robes ala Moses... or Jesus.
"My children, my beloved children," he said -- although it must have been a telepathic communication since his lips didn't move, his expression a cross between a beatific smile and his trademark smirk. "The time has come to leave you, to return to my Father."
This sentiment occasioned a moan from the assembled media.
"No, my children," the Bush-thing said. "Do not weep. Even though I am no longer bound by the wordly document once known as 'The Constitution', I grow weary of this Earthly life and seek to merge with the Forces of the Universe. But lo, worry not nor fret! For I leave you in the capable care of My Chosen One."
There was a flash and a quick whiff of brimstone. Suddenly, next to Bush, stood Arizona Senator John McCain. He was dressed in a cartoon "devil" costume -- red long johns, pointy devil horns and a tail with a point at the end of it. He sported a red, three-tined pitchfork.
"Senator McCain has come a long way from his days as a brash outsider... a maverick," Bush transmitted. "Over the past couple years, he has learned. He has prepared. He has readied himself. And he is prepared."
"STAY THE COURSE!" McCain shouted, dropping the pitchfork and raising his hands over his head, crossing them at the wrist, forming an "X" above his bald pate.
"STAY THE COURSE!" the assembled journalists replied, copying the raised arm, crossed wrist motion.
"NO!" I shouted!
All in the room turned to look at me, except for Bush.
"Be quiet, Gregory," Bush thought at me, and I felt a force push me against the wall.
"I will NOT be quiet," I shouted. "I will NOT be still. How many are DEAD now, Bush? How MANY?"
His smile/smirk quivered. Otherwise his expression was unchanged.
"How much MORE of our national honor have you squandered? How much MORE is America now despised in the world community?"
At that, the robe fell from Bush's shoulders. He was naked, except for the linen gathered around his nether region that one sees in paintings of the crucifixion.
I turned my anger on the journos in the room.
"And YOU! You fawning, bleating SHEEP! You LET him do this."
The reporters shifted nervously in their seats. A couple actually began to "baa" plaintively.
Bush silenced them by clapping his hands. The room shook. He spread out his arms, crucifixion style. On the palms of his hands, red circles that began to run with blood -- although clearly not his own.
A light shone down from above, whiter than the outermost suburbs of any major midwestern city. A familiar voice boomed from the heavens.
"THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, WITH WHOM I HAVE ISSUES..." the disembodied voice of Bush 41 intoned.
His arms outstretched, his palms dripping blood, Bush began to levitate towards the ceiling. Reporters -- both print and electronic media -- wept and moaned and tore at their garments. All eyes were on the hovering ex-president as he began to shimmer and dissolve, his disincorporated molecules scattering about the room like snowflakes in a blizzard.
Our attention was drawn back to the podium by the sound of a shotgun shell being chambered.
Dick Cheney stood at the podium, his finger on the trigger of a well-oiled shotgun with the legend "FACEBLASTER" engraved in white cursive on the barrel.
"Press conference's over, assholes," he said.
And that's when I woke up.
Causes Bill Schmalfeldt Supports
Parkinson's Disease Research
National Parkinson's Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation