When the President Visited the Ex-President:
It took some convincing, but Gerald Ford was able to pry President Bush away from the Secret Service detail for some private time. Betty entertained the agents with mai tais and a wobbly rendition of her famous fan dance, something she used to do for the swine flu suffering soldiers at Fort Dix. Of course, back then, in the mid-1970s, the whole thing would end with a nude, drunk Betty Ford with her face down in the lap of a corporal or a Soviet diplomat, with someone having to pry her clenched jaw off the erect cock of the poor, screaming, horrified man. Thank god that the press was suffering from the beginning of its post-Watergate malaise, or someone might have written about the time that Betty Ford almost de-dicked the Yugoslav ambassador.
The President visited the ex-President at Ford's modest home in Rancho Mirage, California, on the edge of a golf course this past weekend. Gerald Ford is not long for this world, so it was, indeed, a possible last chance to gain some wisdom from the elder Oval Office dweller. It was a fairly super-secret part of Bush's schedule, like an unannounced trip to Iraq, but the two spoke at length. After shooing away the Secret Service, Ford gestured for Bush to follow him. Bush smirked. He knew what was coming - he'd spent enough time with old men on golf courses to know that Ford was gonna show him some old trophies or a special club, maybe even a ball autographed by Sam Snead.
Ford locked the wooden door and rifled around in the bottom of his largest desk drawer. "Here it is," he said. "Help me with this." Bush reached in and grabbed a box made of gun metal. "Goddamn hands," Ford spat at his shaking fingers. "Open it." Slowly, cautiously, a little paranoid, but still thinking this was all a senile fucker's simple game, Bush opened the creaky-hinged, half-rusted box. Bush recoiled. The stink hit him first, the musty, old leather-like smell. Then he realized what he was looking at - body parts - scalps, fingers, balls. Some in baggies, some just sitting there.
"What the fuck--" Bush muttered as he tried to back away. The old center for Michigan grabbed the President's hand in one of those senior death grips and pulled him forward.
"Not so fast, Georgie. You walk away now, and I'll put in my last memoirs about all the times your Dad had to have the CIA disappear hookers and coke dealers you wouldn't pay." Bush relaxed, straightened his tie, and glared at the old man, remembering his father's fond talk about being able to easily manipulate Ford. "Half the bastards in your administration committed their first evil in my name-Cheney, Rumsfeld. You think they learned their shit in a vacuum? We faced the fuckin' Khmer Rouge, motherfuckers who make Saddam Hussein look like the dime-a-goddamn-dozen tinpot dictator he was. We faced the Soviet fuckin' Union, with its thousands of nukes pointing right at us, so organized and filled with hate for America that it makes al-Qaeda look like back stall of the shithouse group it actually is. And you think you have bad ass motherfuckers around? I had Kissinger. Cocksucker used to eat East Timorese babies for breakfast and Chilean mothers for midnight snacks. So a little goddamn respect, you little shit."
Bush tried to suppress his anger and his desire to shove the 92-year old out of his way, which made him twitch his jaw and sneer before smirking again. "What's that shit in the box?" he asked, relaxing, realizing the best thing he could do was just pause and wait for Ford to be done.
"The past, the present, and the future," Ford said. He shakily reached into the box and pulled out a scalp, shriveled with hair clinging to it. "Taken from a Japanese POW in the Philippines. I was there, in the thick of it, taking on fire. Got half a dozen of these babies. Wore them on my belt. Used to scare the shit out of the Japs. The past. Every goddamn thing you are not." He put it back in the box and pulled out fingers. "From a Marine trying to help other Americans get the fuck out of Saigon at the tail end of Operation Frequent Wind. He lost these on a 'copter blade just airlifting contractors and civilians back to the Midway. He gave them to me as a gift, said it was a way to remember to never again do this to our troops. It's what you face now, Georgie. Your present. Whether you like it or not. History's like that big goddamned hurricane - you can't do a thing to stop it. Wanna touch them?" Bush didn't answer. "Didn't thinks so." Ford put the fingers back. He pulled out a plastic baggy. "And these? Nixon's balls. I told him I wanted them after he died in exchange for his pardon. A real man would've faced the music and gone to jail. Not Dick, though. Craven and selfish to the end." He waved the baggy at Bush. "Your future. Someone's gonna own your balls someday, son." He laughed as he put the baggy back in the box. "Put it away," Ford ordered the younger President, gesturing at the box.
As he did so, Bush mumbled, "And you're showin' me this why?"
Ford sighed, "'Cause I'm Jacob Fucking Marley, you idiot. Here's my chains. Stupid loyalty to lost causes is a weakness. As is loyalty to lost people. It's too late for me. It's why I backed Rumsfeld the other day. Force of habit. But there's still time--" The Secret Service knocked on the door. Time to go.
Bush smirked. "Been nice, Jerry. A real trip down memory lane. I'll tell Dad you send your love. Now, be a good guy, and let's go say hello to the reporters."
Outside, Bush and Ford stood next to each other. The older man said, "We solved all the problems, didn't we?"
Bush flinched and hastily added, "That's right, you sure did."
After the motorcade left, Ford headed back into the house, the maid cleaning up the feathers that fell off Betty's much-used fans. He took out his speech on foreign policy, where he talked about the end of a useless war, about the growing dependence of the United States on foreign oil, on the need to allow intelligence services to work unencumbered by too much oversight. In his shaking hands, in his dwindling eyesight, all Gerald Ford could think was "Damned to repeat."
(Fucked Blogger: Blogger's been down. Now it's up. Enjoy the merriment.)