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Secret Transcript

By Larry Keith
  A boysenberry pie chart, please!

Larry Keith is happily retired after a long career as a writer and editor at Sports Illustrated. He is a former adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is currently a member of the Board of Visitors of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Take heart, good people, the acid reign of George the 43rd will be ending soon. That's the best environmental news one could imagine. And, then, we'll have no more of this:

The phone rings on the private line of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

R: This is Secretary Rice.

W: Condi?

R: Yes, Mr. President.

W: I hope I'm not interrupting your piano lesson. Heh, heh.

R: No, not at all, Mr. President. We're just sitting here task-forcing on Iraq.

W: Sounds good. Just don't decide anything. I'm the Decider, remember. Heh, heh. You won't tell Dick I said that, will you?

R: Don't worry, Mr. President. What can I do for you?

W: I need you to set up an important meeting. My regular secretary's in the little girl's room, and you're the only cabinet secretary I have on speed dial. Can you get on this?

R: Uh, well, uh…Yes, certainly, Mr. President. I'd be happy to. What kind of meeting? Who do you want to see? (Away from the phone: This may take a few minutes, ladies and gentlemen.)

W: I want to talk to our numero uno man on the environment, whoever he is. Not Rush Limbaugh, he's busy. More of a sciency guy. Just not too sciency, if you know what I mean?

R: Yes, Mr. President.

W: Gotta start thinking about my legacy. Maybe he could work up a position against cow belching or something. Not looking to save the planet here. Rove left strict orders before he left.

R: Of course not, Mr. President.

W: And make sure it's our top man. Don't send me some Rodeo Pro Bowl nut job.

R: I believe you mean “Kyoto Protocol,” Mr. President. But don't worry. I think I know the kind of sciency, I mean scientist you want.

W: Good. Get him over here right away. I don't want to miss tonight's rerun of The Alamo, 'cause this time I think the good guys are going to win. I can feel it.

R: Right, Mr. President. But is there some emergency I should know about? Global warming? Climate change? Melting ice caps?

W: Damn, Condi, you sound like the weather girl on Channel 4. Those aren't problems. Those are what we call economic Empowerment Zones.

R: Excuse me, sir. I mean I try to hide it, but sometimes my intellect gets the best of me… Hey, how 'bout those Dallas Cowboys!

W: No problemo, girl friend. Nah, there's no emergency-no matter what Alibi Gore and the whole damn UN seem to think. We just need to figure out what to do about this Incontinent Truth B.S.

R: Inconvenient Truth, sir.

W: Sure is.

R: I'm a little confused, sir.

W: People are starting to talk, homegirl. Heck, if people think it's getting too hot, let'em eat ice cream cake or turn up their air conditioner. I'm not going too fast for you, am I?

R: No, not at all, Mr. President. Read you loud and clear.

W: I mean, how the hell could Gore win the Nobel Peace Prize for a slide show? Crazy Swedes. There's a war going on. It's an insult to our brave young men and women at Halliburton. We may have to Swift boat the S-O-B.

R: Well, I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, Mr. President, but whatever you say.

W: Sorry, Condi. Just warming up for Iran. “WMD!… Bring'em on!… Mission Accomplished!”-but I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Still waiting for a sign from my Father. Just hope it isn't a Burning Bush, if you know what I mean. Heh, heh.

R: I understand, Mr. President. We'll get an environmental expert over to you immediately.

W: Just tell him not to go Petraeus on me. Too many diagrams and graphs really would be inconvenient. And that's the truth. Heh, heh.

R: Very good, Mr. President.

W: But make sure he brings a pie chart.

R: Oh, you're the clever one today, Mr. President. The usual options, sir?

W: You got it, Condi, but I tell you right now, I'm thinking boysenberry.


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