Dick Cheney's Soul Pays a Visit:
Early Saturday evening, Dick Cheney's soul was given a brief furlough from Hell to visit the shell of a human being it used to inhabit. The occasion for the visit was that Dick Cheney, the man, was frozen in the well-managed wilds of the Armstrong ranch in southeast Texas, staring at the torn-up, bleeding face of Harry Whittington, having just been sprayed with birdshot from Dick Cheney's shotgun.

No one knows exactly when Dick Cheney sold his soul to Satan: some say the Devil visited him in his hospital room during one or other of his heart attacks and offered Cheney the chance for that bum ticker to keep pumping; others believe Cheney himself conjured Ol' Scratch, perhaps to rescue his ass in 1992, when Bush I lost and left Cheney unemployed, but eminently connected, for, indeed, Halliburton is Satan's own multinational; maybe in exchange for wrecking John Tower back in 1988 so Cheney could become Secretary of Defense; maybe for his first election back in 1978, since the Devil's political agenda was Cheney's own. The most logical point in time is 1969, one of Lucifer's favorite years, when Cheney joined the Nixon administration; maybe further back, while waiting for draft deferment numbers 4 or 5. However, the answer is probably much more mundane, yet somehow touching: in the late 1950s, Cheney sold his soul for the love and ass of Lynne Vincent, the Mustang Queen of Casper, Wyoming. Cheney said Satan could take his soul then and there, for he would not ever need it again. Time has proven Cheney correct.

And ever since, for nearly half a century, Dick Cheney's soul has been watching from Hell as Cheney's life has cast a pall on the lovely skies of America, sadly shaking its head at what it might have prevented had it not been damned to this eternity of flame and endless torture. Until this past Saturday, when Dick Cheney was staring into the shaking, spitting face of the bleeding Whittington as Cheney's personal medical handlers held the old lawyer's face and chest so that he wouldn't bleed out. Birdshot isn't a killer, but "[a]t close range, birdshot can destroy a great deal of tissue, producing a gruesome wound. The depth of the injury, however, will likely be six inches or less." In other words, it was not a pretty picture that Cheney gazed upon in the Texas dusk.

Dick Cheney sensed his soul behind him, even though the soul had made no sound in the brush. Cheney said, "So this is what it's like, to shoot a man." His soul nodded. "This is what others went in my place to do in Vietnam." His soul nodded. "This is what I have sent others to do time and again. What they're doing right now." His soul nodded. "And this is what it looks like in close-up, even without ripped up guts and arms missing and other shit, right." His soul nodded, for Cheney's soul could not speak, he could only be present, to remind Dick Cheney that even he, indeed, once had a soul.

To those around him, Cheney was a mute, suffering figure. One of the medical assistants checked his "heart" to make sure it wasn't ready to explode, but, strangely, Cheney's pulse was peaceful. The Secret Service waited to hear orders, but, with none forthcoming, they made suggestions: they could finish Whittington off, lose him in the brush here, make it look like a murder, blame it on illegals. They could put some birdshot into Cheney's non-gouty foot, make it look like an accident, perhaps even blame Whittington, make it look like an ol' Wyoming shoot-out. Cheney would not answer.

Cheney's soul reached out to touch Cheney, to say that it couldn't stay much longer, that it had appointments in Hell to be sodomized by dragon-faced demons and flayed by crazed devil surgeons. Cheney told himself to hold out, to hold out a little longer, to not let this moment take him off his path, to knock him out of his trajectory. An hour, two passed, until finally Dick Cheney's soul sighed, turned, and headed away. Cheney exhaled loudly to the anxious others.

"Fuck it," he said. "Call in the 'copter. Tell Harry to keep it quiet or we'll kill his grandchildren. Sit on the story. Fuckin' media doesn't need to know a goddamn thing. Now, someone open that bottle of Scotch and pour me a stiff one. And, hey, did I get the quail that was behind him, heh-heh? Let's fricassee that fucker."

Correction: An earlier version of this post mentioned "birdshot from Dick Cheney's rifle." However, as rude reader and poin of the day J points out, a rifle shoots bullets; a shotgun shoots shells of buck- and birdshot. Had Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington in the face with a rifle, he'd've had a helluva trophy to mount.