SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
Mr. President, this is Dick Cheney.
Your Vice President.
“Oh, V.P.! Sorry, the missus and I were preoccupied with a wild game of Monopoly. I’ve got all the railroads!”
I’m afraid I have to report that I’ve shot a lawyer.
“Good! Load back up and give ‘em another volley!”
Well, it was a hunting accident.
“Oh – well, is the fella okay? Those Secret Service guys know some first aid, you know. They fixed me right up after Hilary left that mouse trap in the Oval Office desk.”
He’s in the hospital, and holding his own. The Secret Service notified the Sheriff’s Department.
“Well, I appreciate you giving me the heads up, before the press boys pounce on me.”
Press? Uh oh. I knew I was forgetting something.
“You mean the press doesn’t know? That’s quite a trick, V.P. – I can’t clear my throat without some nosey pen jockey trying to subpoena my medical records. Look, I’ve got an idea. This is going to get out anyway, so notify a local newspaper down there, first.”
“Cause it’ll drive those national reporters nuts. I was gonna throw ‘em in jail like Lincoln did during the Civil War, but dad said it would be a bad idea.”
“Carl Rowe. Gotta go, V.P., I think the wife’s trying to peak at my cards.”
Cards? But –
“My White House, my rules. Watch out, Missus! Thing One just landed on Boardwalk. She needs to pay her sister.”
Hello, Dick Cheney here.
“Mr. Vice President, this is Kent Clark of the New York Nose. Why weren’t we notified right away about the shooting?”
Well, we were concerned with taking care of the injury, getting him to medical treatment –
“Oh, come on, it was some shotgun pellets. You couldn’t have let him bleed for a few more minutes? This stinks of a cover-up, Mr. Cheney.”
Now, wait a minute. I let the property owner tell the newspaper.
“A small town Texas newspaper, probably right there in your pocket along with a handful of oil wells and a Haliburton Men’s Club membership card. The important news outlets had to find out from a Texas newspaper! How can we not be suspicious?”
Excuse me, my other phone is ringing. If I accidentally cut you off – good. Cheney, here.
“Dick, this is John Kerry.”
John! I figured you’d be on Capital Hill, busy not making a decision on something.
“Very funny. Look, you were decent enough not to tell the press when I had my wife removed from the country until after the election --“
What, tell them we overheard it on your cell phone? I don’t think so.
“-- So I’m going to give you some free advice on handling this shooting thing. Did any of those shotgun pellets bounce back and hit you?”
Of course not.
“Okay, take your razor and nick yourself on the cheek. Then tell people you got hit during the shooting, and get G.W. to give you some kind of medal.”
A medal? What kind of medal?
“I don’t know – don’t they give medals in Texas for shooting lawyers? Then take your medal to some law office somewhere, throw it through the door, and say you’re now against hunting lawyers. You won’t believe the amount of good press you’ll get, going from a hunting hero to an anti-hunting activist.”
Go accomplish something, John.
“Why start now?”
“Mr. Vice President, Ted Kennedy is here to see you.”
“No, sir. Also, Dan Quayle called: He wants you to clarify the spelling of what you were hunting, so nobody gets any ideas.”
Send Teddy in.
“Dick! How are you?”
You’re looking good, Teddy.
“Well, I just got back from happy hour.”
But it’s 9 a.m.
“Okay, so it went late. Look, this shooting thing is getting out of control. The way I hear it,
you didn’t have the proper license, you were shooting at one of your own, you notified police, and you weren’t using a big enough gun to make sure there were no witnesses. What would this nation do if you shot all the attorneys?”
Throw a party?
“My gosh, Dick, how long have you been in this business?”
It was an accident, Teddy.
“What’s your point? You think I drove off that bridge on purpose? Heck no, I was just lost, but will Rush Limbaugh let me forget it? Nooooo… Like he can talk, the way he plays golf. Say, you weren’t drunk, were you?”
It’s Texas, Teddy, I had a beer and beans for lunch. I’m surprised your party hasn’t accused me of gassing someone.
“Not that I was drunk. Could I have swum that far drunk? Heck, no. I gotta go, I’m meeting Cindy Sheehan for cocktails and strategizing. Happy fundraising!”
Fine – darn phone! Hello, Dick Cheney here.
“This is Kent Clark of the New York Nose again, we seem to have gotten cut off.”
Gee, that’s too bad.
“I still don’t understand why you didn’t contact the press right away. Surely you realize the public’s right to know in such a serious –“
Serious? Serious? Do you really think I was worrying about a press release when my friend was bleeding from a shot I fired? Wouldn’t your first concern be to make sure he received medical treatment, and notify his family? Isn’t that more important than issuing a freaking press release on an accidental shooting on private property? The Sheriff’s Department closed the case, and oh – by the way – there was a law enforcement agency on the scene when the shooting happened. It’s called the Secret Service. They and others witnessed the accident, reported what they saw, got my friend to the hospital, and notified the people who needed to be notified. Is it possible you’re searching for a conspiracy when there is none?
“So … Mr. Vice President, have you been asked to tender your resignation? What are you doing to make your office more responsive to the press?”
For starters, I’d like to give you a personal interview.
Sure, next Saturday. I’d like you to go hunting with me.
Make sure you wear your hunter’s orange … so I know where you are.