Editor’s note: Today we bring you a Stonekettle Station exclusive – a sneak peak into the new George W. Bush Presidential Library, set to open next year in Undisclosed Location, Texas.
I know what you’re thinking.
But you’re wrong.
See, there really is a town called Undisclosed Location – as it turns out that’s where Vice President Dick Cheney has been for much of the last eight years. It’s a small Texas town, a couple hours’ drive vaguely south of Houston. It’s a hot and dusty place, a dried out border town where the labor is basically free as long as you can say “No me hacen llamar al INS!” and cheap watery Lone Star beer flows like bailout money to the Auto Industry. At the moment it’s a little hard to find, some might even say it’s damned near impossible. Library organizers have declared the location a matter of national security and therefore secret until the official opening. I, your not so humble Gonzo Blogger, was able to obtain the location and given exclusive access from a highly placed confidential source whom I am not at liberty to reveal – I will simply call him by his prison nickname “Scooter” - for the sum of five dollars and a couple of packs of unfiltered Lucky Strikes.
“Tell the rat, Abramoff sent you,” my source told me. Real cloak and dagger stuff – and rats. And the rats were the deciding factor. The rats were what set me upon this road and on my quest to see this mythical monument to NeoCon folly, well, rats and the fact that I ran out of Whiskey and had to go out anyway. See up until that point I wasn’t really sure the library existed. Oh yes, there were rumors, but I mean seriously here folks, “George W. Bush” and “library” are two words you don’t often see in the same sentence - well not without the phrase “book burning” anyway. But it was when vermin were mentioned, well, it was then that I knew I was actually on to something real.
My journey south was eventful, I think. I don’t remember much of it actually, there was this week-long party thrown by a bunch of crazy bastards from some company called AIG – they’d just got handed some big multi-billion dollar windfall and it was like free money. Drinks, as they say, were on the house, and there were a lot of drinks. I don’t know what AIG stands for or what products they make, but they must be damned good at it – like Haliburton good – because they are rolling in cash and expensive hookers, let me tell you.
Eventually though, I arrived in Undisclosed Location, Texas.
I drove around a bit, but for all it’s secrecy the library wasn’t hard to find, wedged as it is in between “Cow Patty’s Cowboy Saloon and Pole Dancin’ Palace” and a Supercuts in a modest strip mall on the edge of town. I thought I’d have to climb over a fence or maybe do some Ninja magic or something, and frankly with my hangover I wasn’t looking forward to it. Security was tight, Blackwater Security types from the looks of it. I managed to snap a quick shot of the guard with my instamatic held at waist level before anybody noticed. I thought I’d better have some kind of record, just in case he lit me up like the Vice President on a quail hunting trip.
“Jack sent me,” I whispered the pass phrase.
“Jack. He sent me”
“For crap’s sake, talk like you got a pair! I can’t hear anything inside this friggin’ getup!”
“He said to speak to the rat,” I told him, louder.
“I’m not a snitch, tell Jack to kiss my ass!”
“I don’t, actually, know Jack. And you sorta do look like a rat” Or a republican.
“You can kiss my ass too, you damned hippy peckerwood. And this was the only gig my work furlough program had.”
“Karl? Karl Rove? Is that you in there?”
“What’s it to yah?”
“Well, Rat, Rove, basically same same.”
“You gonna let me in or what?” I prompted him.
“Whatever. Watch where you step, we had a birthday party in here last night and some 6-year old junior Undecided ate too much vegetarian pizza and barfed all over the carpet. Damn kids. Abortion is underrated if you ask me. Seriously.”
“Can I quote you?”
“Up yours. The janitor, Rumsfeld was supposed to clean it up, he planned it all out but then didn’t have enough mops or the right kind of sponges or some damned thing. Said he was going out for a smoke. Haven’t seen him since. He just left the the mess for the new kid to clean up. Bastard. But you know how it is, you go into the kiddie theme restaurant business with the felons you have, not the ones you want or could have at a later time…”
I left the rat bitching to himself about campaign finance reform and two-faced lobbyists and slipped inside. The place was dark and smoky, close and stuffy. The smell of cigarette smoke, defeat, and stale vomit permeated the place. It reminded me of the last days of the McCain campaign. I started to sweat like a conservative senator caught in an FBI sting. Whoa there, officer, I was just tyin’ mah shoe! And may I say you are lookin’ particularly fine today, suh.
“May I help you?”
I jumped like a liberal US District attorney getting his walking papers. I knew that voice.
“Yeah, who are you?”
Think quick, Boy, said I to myself said I. I needed a plausible cover. I’ve used a number of aliases in this business, but this called for something special. Condi was no fool, rumor had it that she'd pulled the handle on Saddam herself and had his balls in a jar on her desk. I needed something believable. Jesus? No, I left my robes in the car. UN Weapons Inspector? Naw, she’d never believe that. I needed something plausible. Something she would buy without question. Wait, I had it,
“Jim,” I said flashing my library card, “from the UCF.”
“It’s an exploratory committee, super secret, paid for out of black project money, put together by, uh, the old man. You know, George Bush Sr, yeah, that’s right. We’re getting plans together for Jeb’s Library down in Florida. You know, after he and Palin defeat Obama in a landslide in the 2012 election and become like super popular when they send all the democrats to exile in Canada. Also, we’re going to grind up poor people to make oil. It’s like a really cunning plan. I just dropped by to see how things are shaping up.”
“I can dig it. How about I show you around?” Cunning indeed.
“That would be sort of like Virgil showing Dante about Hell, wouldn’t it?”
“Who you calling a virgin?”
“Lead on, and have I mentioned that you are looking particularly fine today?” Suh.
We moved out of the entrance and into the main area.
“This sort of reminds me of a …” I began, looking around.
“Don’t say it. Look, we got a good deal on the property. Package deal, we got the whole sheebang in a foreclosure. Plus Dubya likes to ride on the little horsey carousel. Anyway, We wanted something different, Presidential Libraries are boring. Dubya was a different kind of president, we wanted a different kind of library. Something fun, like George himself, a guy who likes to mix it up a little, whether it’s the Middle East or pizza dough. The idea is to have fun. Break a few eggs. Employ a few illegals.”
“Kill a few hundred thousand.”
“Now you’re getting it!”
“Where are all the books?” I asked.
“Well, it’s a library, right?” I said, looking around. No books.
She gave me a look. “Books? Are you at all familiar with the Bush Presidency? I mean like at all?”
“Well, isn’t a presidential library supposed to store records from the President’s administration?”
“Oh sure, we’ve got all the records of the Bush presidency here.”
“I don’t suppose I could see them?” I asked hopefully. Good Gravy! Imagine it! Oh for a chance to examine that archive! Maybe even ‘borrow’ a few documents.
“Sure. Follow me.”
I could hardly contain myself as we headed towards the back. We walked through an exhibit hall showing the president’s military service. It was a really short hall, nearly inconsequential, almost like it didn’t exist at all. We passed a refreshment stand. The menu gave me heartburn just looking at it, but for the sake of my craft I tried to appear enthusiastic about the drinks which came in three sizes from small to large, The Decider, The Patriot, and jumbo-sized National Debt in a special commemorative cup designed to last for decades- It’s a Family Heirloom your children will be proud to own! – frankly, I doubt many people could afford that monster though, the prices were exorbitant. You could also get a Gitmo Burger and a plate of Freedom Fries (perfect for those on a stem-cell restricted diet!).
I was eager to get to the records room though and we hurried on.
My joy was short lived. Condi unlocked the “secure records room,” which looked suspiciously like an old walk-in refrigerator, and stepped back to allow me a gander.
“What the hell?”
Bags and bags of shredded paper greeted my disbelieving stare.
“We got the idea from St. Reagan. What? How else do you expect us to store Bush’s important administration records?” She looked at me suspiciously. “Why would a representative of The Old Man be interested in Dubya’s records? Maybe I should check.” She whipped out a cell phone and I could see her thumb hovering over a speed dial button labeled “Barb.”
“I just thought it would be more high tech.” I said thinking quickly.
“High tech, you mean like computer disks?”
“Sure, you could fit all this shredded paper on like one erased hard drive.”
“Say, what else is there to do around this place?”
“Oh, we’ve got lot’s of stuff. Come on!” And she led off again, cell phone forgotten. I’d dodged a bullet, but greater risks were to come.
In the Global War on Terrorism Wing, we toured a mockup of a CIA secret prison. It was interactive and lovingly reproduced full size. Visitors could strap themselves onto a waterboard and have half a gallon of bottled designer water poured up their nose.
“We import that,” Condi told me. “It’s spring water from special wells in ANWR, you can almost taste the polar bears. It’s a little warm though, we have to refrigerate it first."
I turned down her offer of a test ride on “the ‘board” which she called “Old Rendition.” Then she licked her lips made an odd cat-in-heat growling noise.
“What’s that? Over there?” I said pointing and desperately looking for a exit. The Global War on Terrorism Wing didn’t seem to have any emergency exits though, bad planning if you ask me. Nothing for it then, I was trapped, my only choice to stay the course. I could only return on success. If I wasn’t liquored up, I might have panicked then.
“That” turned out to be an exhibit on how foreign terrorists were hunted down – for a quarter, visitors could don a headset and monitor the phone number of their choice, and if they heard something good they could tip off a real live Department of Homeland Security Officer and have the “terrorist” taken away to Bulgaria and “questioned.” I fished around in my pocket and came up with two bits. I thought about it for a minute and then punched Paul Wolfowitz’s home number into the genuine “NSA Patriot Monitor 6000.” I was disappointed, for 25 cents all I got was ten minutes of heavy breathing. Fuck it, I tipped him as a terrorist to HomeSec anyway. Another quarter got me a peep into Sarah Palin’s official government Yahoo email account. Condi snorted behind me.
“What?” I asked.
“You could have got that for free.”
For five bucks you could take the joystick of a genuine Predator UAV and fire missiles into a random wedding or funeral in a foreign country. I really wanted to try that, but I was out of change.
There were exhibits for the kids. We examined a ballpit shaped like Iraq.
“See,” Condi explained, “the kids try to find hidden prizes!” Including the special yellow ball, which the finder could turn in for a piece of cake. At Condi’s urging I pawed through the colored balls, but never did find the prize, no yellow cake for me. Frankly I don’t think the damn thing exists. So far as I could tell, all the balls were red, no yellow ones and certainly no blue ones. When I asked her about it she said Republicans had gotten enough blue-balls during the last election, thank you very much. Supposedly there was also a ball shaped like Osama Bin Ladin, but I couldn’t find that one either. Nor the one supposedly labeled “WMDs.” That ballpit was slippery though, and I was worried that kids might get stuck in there and not be able to get out. Condi made a poo poo noise, and said, “What are you some kind of sissy liberal?”
The Domestic Affairs exhibit wasn’t finished yet. There was water everywhere. “Sorry, about that,” Condi explained. “We had a sewage pipe break and it flooded the New Orleans diorama. We hadn’t planned on that, and we just don’t have the manpower to get it fixed. Some volunteers from the local FEMA office came by to help, they went next door to Cow Pattie’s Saloon to work up an estimate and make sure the strippers are OK. They keep telling me they’ll have it fixed any day now.” She shrugged, it didn’t seen all that important.
Condi was obviously losing interest in me and started herding me towards the front door. I dodged into the Men’s Room to bleed the thunder lizard though - it was a long drive back to Alaska, and I only stop when I’m out of Wild Turkey or gas. I bellied up to the pisser and was marveling at the stalls – helpfully labeled “Regular,” “
RetardHandicapped,” and “Widestance” and supplied with rolls of toilet paper with the US Constitution printed on them in old fashioned handwriting – when the door opened and somebody pulled into port next to me.
Right next to me. The bastard had taken the middle pisser. Despite the fact that there were three urinals and I was using the far left one, as is my tendency – I’m a far left pisser if given the choice.
You know, there’s a certain etiquette to the Men’s Room.
This etiquette is unspoken, that’s the first rule of Men’s Room Etiquette – we don’t talk about it. Second Rule, if there’s three pissers open, you take the one on the end, left or right it doesn’t matter, but you never take the middle unless it’s your only option. Taking the middle, if one of the ends is open, is the same as wearing a hat with “Lucky Pierre” printed on it. The next guy takes the other end. Under no circumstances do you select the pisser next to another guy if there is any other option. Same with the stalls. Look straight ahead while you unzip (the single exception to this rule is that you may look down in order to spit into the urinal, your urinal not your neighbor’s - that is strictly forbidden, unless the guy actually is Lucky Pierre). Don’t speak, ever. Don’t act weird. Really, don’t act weird. That’s the rules. That’s America.
So, what the hell was this?
He started mumbling. Not only did he beak rule #1 but it looked like he was going for the whole nine-yards. Damn it, did this idiot have no respect for the law? For tradition? For America?
I finished up with a manly flourish and zipped up in righteous indignation. I stepped back and and suddenly realized who this sorry bastard was! By the Great Bird of the Universe, it was HIM! The Decider himself.
I glanced around, but his security detail was nowhere in sight.
Sometimes, fate hands you an opportunity – the trick is to know how to use it.
A lesser journalist might have asked a few questions then, not I.
No not I.
I shook Condi's hand on the way out - she has a grip that could crush walnuts, or any other kind of nuts for that matter - and stepped briskly over the rat outside on the sidewalk, now passed out and reeking of cheap bourbon. Water dripping from my wet shoes and pant cuffs roused him briefly - I'm afraid I slopped a little on myself in those last few frantic minutes in the bathroom.
I was just climbing into the car when the shouting began.
The trip back to Alaska was even more eventful than the trip down. Those Secret Service guys are persistent, I didn’t lose them until I hit the Yukon. But that, well that is another story altogether.
Editor’s note: The editors disavow any foreknowledge of this event or the veracity of the contents of this story, nor can they confirm or deny involvement of Mr. Wright in the so called “Swirly Incident.” Mr. Wright is unavailable for comment and his present whereabouts are unknown.