You are President Jones, and thanks to your innate problem solving skills your buddies at Nielsen tell you your popularity is just north of Number One. Number One of course is the code word you issued for George Washington just to annoy the Creeps, which is the code word for the NSA. Yep you’ve tackled world peace, solved the border problem, boosted taxes (well briefly anyway) and gone a long way toward cleaning up the oil spill in the gulf.
Now I know you Republicans out there are wondering, how exactly does letting the Mexicans come on in count as solving that problem. Now that’s easy, three days after you opened the gate, Santa Anna (code word for President Calderon) sent the Federales (whose real name is so cool they don’t really need a code word) to the border and shut it. And by shut it I mean they built a second fence… er well… lets just say the code word is The Great Wall Of Mexico. And it didn’t cost the Plebs (code word for you, dear reader) a dime.
In light of the massive hard work that you’ve done (and if you don’t think it’s hard work, see how you feel when your hangover begins at the sound of shaped charge taking your jail cell door out…) you’ve decided to take a light day. And so, you are presently sitting quietly, pleasantly taking tea with The Wicked Witch of the West. We’ll get to that code word shortly.
And by tea I mean the Long Island variety. The Witch can really pound them down it seems. Like a sailor. Since, even though it’s a pleasant meeting, it’s still business, you’re going easy and sticking to straight Jack Daniels. It is Sunday after all and you feel sorry for having to send Duckie (your decoy) to church. It’s not his fault he’s a dead ringer for you.
But, I am getting ahead of myself, so we’ll go back a couple weeks to the moment where you were visited by a most unusual and unpleasant fellow. He seemed very annoyed at the code word you assigned him, Beetlejuice. The person I’m talking about, of course, is the Director of National Intelligence. He showed up at your office and insisted that you change his code word to Mr. Frost.
Amused, and wondering how he got past Brick House (the new code word for Milli, your secretary, upgraded due to her amazing ability to keep people from bugging you) you asked two seemingly innocent questions: Who the Hell is Mr. Frost and why are you in my office? To which he replied, while getting uncomfortably close to your face: Watch the movie and I’m the guy who really runs this place.
Since it scares the Stooges, you tried the usual tactic to scare this joker. “So, let me ask you this question, where’s your fallout bunker and do you think it would survive a direct hit?” Unfortunately, this had no effect on this guy.
“In order to launch that strike you’d need to be sure your launch codes didn’t… somehow… get scrambled.”
You think for a moment, “Well there are the Agents Smith, I could just start a brawl here and let them finish it. And by ‘it’ I mean you. You really don’t look as tough as the entire police force of some small town.”
“But,” he says, “if that were to happen, my colleagues at Signals Intelligence wouldn’t get my normal stay order and, as such, these would get released.” He tosses a bunch of pictures of you down on the desk, top of which is you as a college student, taking a pretty big toke off of a very big bong.
“So what? You’re that one guy who’s in every college that didn’t take a hit off the bong?”
“Yeah… er… nevermind my college days. Perhaps you should look at what’s behind picture number one.”
“Yeah, the hooker, I remember her.”
“And, behind picture number two we have,” he slides the picture over, “her mom?”
“Oh yeah… almost forgot about her… so what though, I was an exceptional college student.”
“And her grandmother?”
“Oh crap, yeah, okay that I would probably like to forget. Still though all that was consensual. Or alcoholic. I mean it’s not like we did it in the Jungle Room.” Of course that is the code word for the Oval Office. Thanks again President Bill.
“Well then… would you like to reminisce about the camel?”
To this you sit up a little straighter in the chair. “Who told you about the camel? Er… I mean… what camel?”
“Come on, Mr. President, do you really want that picture getting out?”
You realize three things right away. One, this guy is actually a problem. Two, your day off is over early. And three, you really need to watch Mr. Frost. So you make a bid to buy time, “I tell you what, why don’t you let me think about it till tomorrow morning?”
“Sure, Mr. President,” he says menacingly, “of course it won’t change anything. But I guess you need some time to watch a movie.” He chuckles like a B movie madman as he sees himself out.
You sit back and begin to contemplate the worst crisis of your presidency. There’s no way that weenie is getting a code name as cool as Mr. Frost. So you think for while. Realizing you’re going to have to spend some time on this, you go to the secret panel in the Jungle Room wall and open it.
“Hey, um, sorry about the wait. Looks like I gotta do some presidenty work. Can we reschedule for next week?”
Hot Pocket steps out of the little side room and smiles, “Sure no problem Cheesy.” As she passes by your desk she sees one of the pictures, “Wow! I can’t believe I was ever that young.” She turns toward the little room, “Hey Ma! Come look at this picture of us from the eighties!”
Sausage Wrap steps out of the little room and takes a look. “Wow, look how big my hair was back then. Hey, Cheesy, can we take these with us?”
“Sure, all of ’em ‘cept the camel.” You are also an exceptional president…
As the ladies slink out of the secret passage, you find Brick House. You notice for the first time ever that her mood isn’t the usual hint of foreboding… she seems actually scared. “Brick? Why did you let that weasel in?”
It takes some time for her to make eye contact. “You weren’t the only one who went to college, Mr. President.”
Oddly, you now find yourself attracted to Brick, “So…”
She cuts you off, “Hell no, you do NOT need to know.”
You suddenly realize you have a bigger hole in your video library than you thought. “Ok then… get me the Drinking Buddies ASAP.” That, of course, is the Joint Chiefs. It’s time for war planning. “Oh and get me a copy of Mr. Frost on screen in my office.”
As you go back into the Jungle Room and sit down to watch the movie you realize you’re actually angry that this guy scared the Brick House. That bit of altruism causes a pain in your temple, which you fix with a bottle of Jack.
Two boxes of popcorn later you stand up and stretch. You know that you do need a Mr. Frost in your organization and that the weenie ain’t it. Right on cue Brick House calls on the intercom, “Sir, General Kicker is here to see you.”
“Damnit! Fine, Sir, Patton Two is here to see you.”
“Send him in!”
Patton Two walks in with his usual military swagger and says, in that ever present yell, “Cheese! What can I do ya for?”
“Have a seat there General, Brick, can you get the General a Scotch?”
He sits and Milli brings him the Scotch and exits the room nervously. “She seems odd today, not as cheery as usual. Is it that time of the month sir?”
“No… I don’t think so anyway. Hard to tell with her. But, I think the real problem is Beetlejuice. He came by ranting and raving at me about his code name.” You note that the General goes very pale for a moment before downing the rest of his drink and jumping up to get the bottle.
“I’m not sure I can help you there sir.” He says.
“He’s got something on you?”
“Sir, he’s got something on everyone. He’s untouchable.”
“What could he possibly have on you that’s worse than that dance you did on Pay Per View in Italy?”
“Well sir…” He stammers and scratches the back of his head, “Let me put it this way, you can’t ask and I won’t tell…”
“Hmm… never would have guessed. And no, please don’t tell.” You sit back and take a moment to process all this new information. “Hey, if you’d have given me a little heads up… mmm,.. bad choice of words there, anyway I coulda hooked you up. Ever met Just Jack?”
“Um… Yeah, actually, Milton’s been my, er, house guest for several years now.”
You slump down in your seat. You’re really feeling the information gap here. “His name’s not Jack?” You belt down a fresh glass of Jack Daniels, “How about Admiral Bligh?”
“What’s he got on Bligh?”
“There’s a little matter of a wet teeshirt contest amongst some of the midshipmen in the academy.”
“A wet teeshirt contest?? How can that be so bad?”
“It was kinda unplanned sir. He flooded a training sub with an all woman crew aboard. Cost his daddy a fortune to cover that one up.”
“How about Buckaroo Banzai then?” That, of course, is the Chief of the Air Force.
Patton Two chuckles, “No, but it’s a great story. Seems during his fighter pilot days he waxed a couple of rich kids while doing a stint as a trainer at Top Gun.”
“Ok, I’m getting the feeling there’s an unplanned wet sub in this story…”
“Yeah, well, the little brats’ daddies made a big stink. Someone agreed to let them try it again. Buck nailed ’em again. Only thing was… You ever seen the movie Iron Eagle? Well he had Gimme Some Lovin playing on the comm the whole flight.”
“I don’t see the flooded sub yet…”
“Well… after he got on the ground, he blew a .23 on the breathalyzer. Yep, he was hammered. Still smoked those brats though. So they got to go back to their ship and he got to stay in the air force. Quid pro quo…”
“Damn. Never gonna get in a drinking contest with him then.”
“Ok, then what about Gunny Highway?” That would, of course, be the code name for the Marine Corps Commandant.
“Don’t tell me he’s gay?”
“Oh no, sir, he’s all man. But there was a little incident back during Desert Storm. Remember how they didn’t ever find the weapons of mass destruction?”
“Well, believe it or not Saddam actually had quite a stockpile. But he was dumb enough to hide them all in one place. There was this little town just northwest of Baghdad, can’t remember the name of it, doesn’t matter, it ain’t there anymore.
Well, we got the intel that’s where the WMD was. Highway’s company was given orders to, quote, ‘take the town.’ Well, what he heard on the radio was ‘take them down.’ So he did. With all the firepower they dumped into that stockpile of WMD it looked like a small nuke went off.”
“You’d think that would have derailed his entire career.”
“Well, you know how the Marines like their crazies. Still though it was a tough snafu to cover up. And you know who has the only surviving tape of that.”
“There’s gotta be somebody,” you’re grasping for straws now, “how about Captain Tailhook? He’s a pretty straight arrow.”
A burst of Scotch comes out of the general’s nose, “Sorry. You gotta be kidding me. You mean you picked that code name out of the blue? I just assumed you knew about him and Tailhook…”
“Damn. Well, I guess it’s pretty clear I didn’t invent having fun. There’s got to be somebody. What I really need is intel. Unfortunately, all of the guys who do that for a living work for Beetlejuice. I need an outsider.”
“Well in that case, if you can’t use your friends, it’s time to turn to your enemies. And we both know who every President’s natural enemy is…”
You bolt upright in the chair. “You’re right! Thanks, I gotta make a call general. If this works, I’ll solve this little problem for all of us. I’ll let you know.”
“Keep one thing in mind Cheese, the walls have ears. And eyes. Hell, they can probably smell you too.”
“I got that covered thanks.”
After he leaves you rummage through your desk. It amazes you how much paper is in there, since you never really bother to look in there. You wonder just how it gets there. A couple of minutes of this and you hit pay dirt.
In your hands you hold a memo regarding Russian relations with the European Union discussing a wide range of issues dealing with… Nevermind all that, it’s not really important. You just need a reason to call your good buddy, the Russian Ambassador.
You press the intercom button, “Brick, get me Stoli on the phone.”
Just after the foreboding, “Yes sir.” and after the click you swear she said, “oh dear God.”
A few minutes later, “Sir the Russian Ambass… Stoli is on the phone for you.”
“Thanks,” you say as you pick up. “Stoli! It’s been too long my friend.”
“Yes it has, Mr. President. What can I do for you today?”
“Well first of all, call me Cheesy, we’re all friends here.”
“Well, sir, I’m not sure you’re supposed to let me in on American code words.”
“Hey, what’s a president do if he can’t change a few rules? Anyway, you recall that favor you owe me?” The favor has to do with the Ambassador’s little fetish regarding women who look a lot like Queen Latifa, obviously a rare thing in Russia, like good caviar in America.
He sounds suddenly a little nervous, “Cheesy, I’d rather talk about that where there’s less than fifty or so people listening in.”
“Oh, yeah, anyway I’m a little stir crazy here lately and I’d kinda like to get out of the office for a while. Thought maybe we could have a little chat about that memo… er…” you look down to find the name of it, “about Russian EU relations and trade.” It sounds even duller when you say it out loud. “I was thinking we could meet in your embassy’s conference room if it’s open.”
“You want to use our conference room? Hmm… Yes I suppose, just let me know when.”
“Great, I’ll call you back.” After he hangs up you buzz the Brick, “Get me Candy Cain on the line.”
A little while later, Candy Cain, your favorite political reporter from Certainly Not News, AKA the president’s natural enemy is on the line. “Candy sweetie!”
“Cheesy. You planning the next press conference? If you are, do me a favor and go easy on Bridesmaid. I just need for him to survive one more of them…”
You chuckle, Bridesmaid is of course the code name for Senator McCain, and Candy Cain has number four in the pool for how many of your press conferences it will take to cause him to stroke. “Well, I wasn’t planning a press conference, but I’ll throw the next one just for you if you can do me a little favor.”
“Deal. By the way, Santa Anna was pretty pissed when he survived the last one. You should have heard him. I now know every epithet there is in Spanish…”
Santa Anna, AKA the president of Mexico had number two in the pool. “I think we underestimated his toughness. The fact that he can sit in a room with Palin while she talks should have been a clue. Anyway, what I need is a fact checker.”
“You mean like a Wikipedia fact or a serious fact?”
“The serious kind.”
“Why not use your guys, they got lots more toys than mine do?”
“Let’s just say it would be a conflict of interest.” On the phone you hear a sound that is becoming familiar to you, the sound of Scotch spraying from a nose.
After a little coughing, “Sorry Cheesy. I didn’t think you even knew that term. I’m sending the Weasel, and we didn’t have this conversation. I hope you’ve got somewhere secure to work.” She hangs up leaving you wondering who the Weasel is.
You get another drink and you gaze out at the Rose Garden and reflect how annoying waiting is. The intercom buzzes and the Brick says, in a somewhat bewildered tone, “Sir your 2:30 is here.”
“My 2:30? I don’t remember having a 2:30.”
“Um… me either sir, but it’s listed in the book.”
“Ok… send him in I guess.” You expect that it must be Beetlejuice. A second later the door opens and a thin young man in a cheap suit enters. He’s so geeky looking he makes Clark Kent look like Charlie Sheen.
“Mr. President, I came to help you satisfy your sweet tooth,” he says as he hands you a pad of post it notes that reads: Candy sent me. We can’t talk here, do you know a place we can talk?
“Well, I have a real hankering for some candied walnuts, think you can get me a can of those?” You scribble an address and time on the next note and hand the pad back.
“Certainly sir, we can get you some of the best in the country right away…” he stops suddenly after reading the address, “Sir that’s the… er yeah we can get you some of that. Definitely.”
He hands you back another note: Fine, wait there for me I’ll be there behind you. He leaves as quickly as he came.
A couple hours later you’re sitting comfortably in the main conference room of the Russian Embassy having some Vodka and caviar with your buddy Stoli. After some small talk he gets a serious look on his face, “So, Cheesy, why here? This seems an unusual place for the American President to want to meet.”
“I needed a place where I could be sure our bugs ain’t.”
“Ah… internal troubles?”
“Beetlejuice is becoming a pain.”
A look of knowing comes across the ambassador’s face. “I hate that guy. You know with the economy the way it is, it costs a fortune to get rid of the bugs. And they are constantly trying to put them in.”
“Well, it is kinda his job.”
The receptionist peeks in and says something in Russian to the ambassador. He turns to you and says, “Someone out there says he’s here to bring you your candied walnuts?”
“Oh, yeah, send him in.”
A minute later the Weasel comes in with a can of candied walnuts. You note that Stoli sits up straight in the chair, “The Weasel?” he says, shocked.
Before you can ask, the Weasel speaks up, “Cheesy,” he says to you, “your walnuts.” He turns to the ambassador, “Stoli, I brought you some caviar, didn’t want you to think I would forget you.”
Stoli turns to you, still looking shocked, “Dear me, Mr. President. I didn’t realize your problem was this serious.”
“I take it you two’ve met?”
“Yes. The Weasel is one of those people you need to keep on your good side. So would you two like for me to let you talk?”
“No need for you to go, like you wouldn’t be listening in anyway.”
The ambassador chuckles, “Some people like it better that way, but I would like to stay. Whatever you have going on is bound to be… entertaining.”
“Sure, hang around.”
The Weasel sits down, “I understand you have a problem with Beetlejuice. What is it you would like done. Keep in mind violence probably will not solve your problems.”
“Yeah, I tried that already. What I need is some method of control.”
“Well, a method would mean information. I’ll have to do some research. I may need a plane.”
“I’ll have Captain Tailhook keep the um… we need a new code word for it… the Flying Squirrel ready for you. What else?”
“You sure you weren’t followed here?”
“Oh I was followed but it was the wrong me they followed.”
“Ah, yes, Duckie’s resemblance is uncanny. I think I have all I need. I’ll get back to you shortly.” He gets up and leaves.
Back to today, it’s been only a few hours since you found the mysterious post it note stuck to the back of your bottle of Jack Daniels that told you to expect a visit from two people today. At the bottom the last words were: Problem solved.
A little while later a woman comes in who you are told has the code name, Wicked Witch of the West. And for the past couple of hours you’ve had the most pleasant conversation over tea, Long Island tea and Jack Daniels and watching some very funny home movies of the Witch’s son. She is so proud of him, if not somewhat annoyed that he never calls anymore.
Some of these home movies are hilarious and she was all too happy to let you have some copies of them. And the one you are currently watching is certainly the best of them all as she narrates.
“This one is a little embarrassing, he gets so mad whenever we even mention it. But it’s sooo funny.” she says as she turns up the glass. “We had the idea on his thirteenth birthday to surprise him and wake him. So there we are with the video camera and we bust into his room first thing in the morning and we get this.”
On the film a naked boy screams and turns away quickly from the camera leaving in the view a watermelon with a face painted on it with a look of surprise, helped by the round hole where the mouth was. “That fruit looks pretty surprised.”
She has a frightening cackle, “Not as surprised as we were.”
And, as if the God of Comic Timing was shining down on you, the intercom buzzes. “Sir, um… the Director of National Intelligence is here.”
You smile broadly, “Well, show him in, show him in!”
As the door opens you greet him in just the wrong way, “Beetlejuice!” This causes a glare that could melt steel. But it was brief and changed to shock as he sees the Witch.
“Mom?… How did you get here?”
“The Flying Monkey, your friend sent it for me. He’s such a nice man.”
“He said they have to give it a new code name if the President isn’t on it.”
He blinks in bewilderment and slowly his gaze focuses on to the big screen TV where a home movie which is paused. A home movie that is certain to cure any home sickness he might have. As the scene registers on him, you can almost hear a flushing sound as the blood drains from his head.
You rush to him, “Don’t hyperventilate, breathe,” as you help him sit on the couch.
The Witch says, “You should hyperventilate, you never call me.” She takes another big swig of her tea.
“Mom?…” he stammers, clearly having trouble breathing or thinking. “How could you?” He gives up on communication.
You get up and take his Mom’s arm, “Mrs…” You realize you have no idea what her name is, “Beetlejuice, I have some presidenty business to discuss with your boy. I’ll get Major Tom to take you in the Ground Rocket over to your hotel, you stay here in New Jersey as long as you like.” You turn and grin at Beetlejuice, wondering if he can even understand English anymore, “You can have dinner with your boy anytime you want this week. It’s on me.”
“Oooh is that my code name? I like it,” she says as you escort her out.
As you turn back to Beetlejuice you can see he is still paralyzed. “Don’t get up, I’ll do the talking for us both. First, yes, there are copies. Yes they’re already everywhere.” You see his head bob slightly to make a weak nod.
“What I want is all of your intel. Should I get the slightest sense that I didn’t get all of it or that you’re holding onto a copy, CNN will be doing a special on fruit abuse. Capice?” There is more weak nodding.
“Oh and by the way, you get a new code name, Dorothy.”
The next morning started early. A truck load of video mysteriously arrived for you and you have been watching movies all day. Very entertaining movies. You wonder how to thank the Weasel for his help and as you’re considering calling Candy to do just that it occurs to you to try something else. You pick up a post it note and write: Thank you very much, Mr. Frost. You stick it to the back of the Jack Daniels bottle on the liquor cabinet.
You get one of the tapes and step out into the reception area, “Brick? You should have this.” You hand her the tape. She looks at it and actually starts to tear up a little.
“Thank you,” she says as she reaches up and pecks you on the cheek. Then she gets a sudden stern look, “Wait a minute. You… You watched it didn’t you.”
“Well yeah otherwise I wouldn’t know which tape to give you. Very nice though, it was a great performance I’d say.” After the stapler misses your head you decide to mosey on back into the Jungle Room since you figure you may have used up all your luck for today. Besides you got a lot of intelligence to sort through.
Before you sit down to watch some more movies, you pick up your bottle of Jack and on the back is a new post it note that says: My pleasure. Signed – Mr. Frost.
Remember kids, things you do now can come back to haunt you later. And if you’re like me it’s already way too fucking late for this advice…