The Beginning of It
Once upon a time, not just any time, but a special time, on Christmas Eve, George W. Bush was busy at his desk. Not really, he was busy on his couch watching football. His wife Laura was sitting with him. Laura was drinking a chocolate martini, and the combination of the increasing effects of the alcohol and the diminishing effects of the prescription drugs she took each night before she went to bed, emboldened her to speak without first being spoken to.
"George, it's Christmas Eve," Laura stated quietly.
Bush was quick to reply, "Fucking, yeah. Nothing like football and Jesus, reminds me of a Sunday."
Encouraged, Laura continued, "Isn't the tree beautiful?"
"Yeah, the servants did a great job."
"George, on Christmas, I sometimes think of those poor unfortunate Americans that are hungry or can't afford to buy presents for their children."
"Are there no prisons?" growled Bush.
Laura, startled, replied, "Yes, George."
And the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines -- aren't they having trouble meeting their enlistment goals?"
"They are, George. I wish I could say that they weren't," replied a teary eyed Laura.
Bush thought he might have to hug her in a comforting manner, but luckily he came up with some consoling words instead, "Its okay, momma. Dick and Rummy will figure out a way to trick those fools into joining up."
"Oh, George, that's not what I meant," admitted Laura. "I just wish that this horrible war was over."
"Laura," Bush calmly asked while checking his watch, "Isn't it time for your happy pills? Go to bed before I Patriot Act your ass." Laura got up and headed for the bedroom, crying quietly.
Bush sat there and started thinking about the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe Christmas wasn't about how much money his friends could make off of the war or revamping social security so that the last penny could be squeezed out of those smelly, old people.
Bush looked at his dog, Miss Beasley, and said these words out loud, as if practicing, "Maybe this Christmas we should do something to help those less fortunate than ourselves."
The nature of this outburst caused Miss Beasley to run and hide under the sofa. The words, having been said out loud, continued on their journey up through the chimney and out into the beyond, where they were heard by greater powers than a little black Scottish Terrier named after the doll once owned by a little blonde girl that eventually died of a heroin overdose after her lame television show tanked.
The Ghost of Bill O'Reilly
President Bush had looked at the knocker on the door to his bedroom countless times for it was exactly at eye level. It had a big, cool looking eagle that held the knocker part in its scary talons. As Bush went to open the door, what he saw was not the knocker but the face of Bill O'Reilly, conservative pundit and the host of The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News.
O'Reilly's face did not speak or move but just stared directly into the president's eyes. If there was one thing that upset George W. Bush, it was when someone stared him directly in the eyes. He immediately looked down at his feet -- a response he had developed at an early age. When he looked up, the face was gone and the knocker had reappeared.
"Humbug," muttered Bush. "I'm acting like a giddy, democratic school girl."
Bush locked the heavy door behind him and looked around the room. Everything was normal yet something felt wrong. Laura was asleep on her side of the big bed. Her meds lined up neatly on her night table. His pajamas were laid out on his side of the bed in putting on order. Bush quickly undressed, dressed and slipped under the covers.
He was only in bed a second when the ghostly apparition of Bill O'Reilly passed through the door. O'Reilly was draped in heavy chains that caused his face to contort during the minor exertion of breathing.
"Laura!" yelled George.
"The Xanax Queen will not help you, Mr. President," the ghost said quietly.
"Who are you and what do you want with me?" asked Bush.
"Better to ask who I was," quipped O'Reilly.
"Are you not my dear friend and conservative pundit, Bill O'Reilly?" said Bush.
"I was Bill O'Reilly. I was murdered today by the husband of the assistant I've been diddling," replied O’Reilly.
"I hate when that happens," joked the president.
O'Reilly responded with the required chuckle, "That's a good one, Sir."
"So, O'Reilly, how come you're not up in heaven? Why are you down here scaring the beegesus out of me?" asked Bush.
O'Reilly answered, "I am doomed to wander the earth in this horrible state. No rest, no in, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse -- and that's a lot worse than anything Lyndie England could ever dish out. Woe is me! And woe to you!"
Bush defended himself, "Hey, Billy Graham says I'm going to heaven!"
Agitated, O'Reilly lifted up his arms rattling the heavy chains. "I have it on pretty good authority that Reverend Billy is wrong about that. Trust me, I'm dead. I know these things. You better make a few changes, Mr. President."
"Changes? Don't forget who you are talking to O'Reilly," Bush said. "Hey, what's with the chains?"
"I wear the chains I forged in life," replied O'Reilly.
Bush looked confused, so O'Reilly tried to help, "Sorry Mr. President, 'forged' just means to make something, especially if it's out of metal. These chains are composed of the hypocritical bullshit I spouted in life. They are heavy, Sir, but your chains, Mr. President, they are going to be really, really heavy."
Bush was visibly shocked, "Is there no hope? Speak comfort to me, O'Reilly!"
O'Reilly screamed like a banshee from the old country, "No comfort for you but a glimmer of hope. My time here is short. I have a lot of wandering to do down in Texas. You will be visited by three spirits. Think about what they say and what they show you."
"I'd rather not. I really need my twelve hours of sleep or I'm a grouchy Gus," said Bush.
O'Reilly screamed again, this time like a poor, black woman getting a backroom abortion, "This is your glimmer of hope, Mr. President!" The transparent spectre then turned and floated away. Before leaving, O'Reilly leaned over to fondle Bush's unconscious wife.
"Sorry Sir, some habits are hard to break," were his last words before he left the room, not by the door, but by passing through the wall.
Bush pulled the covers over his head, "Humbug, that's what comes from too many scotches and not enough pretzels." He was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
The First of the Three Spirits
When the digital clock on the nightstand turned to 1:00 AM, the hand of the unearthly visitor grabbed the comforter hiding the president and ripped it from his grasp. Bush awoke to a strange vision -- a face childlike in its softness yet lined like an old man. It was his Chief of Staff, Karl Rove.
Bush was perturbed, "Rove, how many times have I told you? Unless it’s the Second Coming of Christ Himself, it can wait until morning! Oh, are you the first of my three spirits? Are you dead too?"
Rove smiled kindly, "Mr. President, I am your first spectral visitor but I am not dead. When I sold my soul back in the early seventies, I was forced to wander as a spirit from midnight to dawn when called by my master. Tonight, I am the Ghost of Christmas Past."
"I'm starting to wish I hadn't fallen asleep every year during the Mr. Magoo Christmas Special," complained Bush.
"Let's go Mr. President, we have a full agenda. Rise and walk with me," Rove took Bush by the hand and after a couple of steps, they were in a scene of winter beauty.
"I was born here!" exclaimed Bush. "This is New Haven."
"Walk this way," Rove said, "and no talcum powder jokes, please, Mr. President."
"Huh?" said Bush.
They walked through an old ivy covered building into a large room where a very drunk, cardigan-wearing, twenty-something Bush was receiving head from a comely high school girl. As she attended to his needs, Bush was puffing on a cigar and drinking Remy-Martin straight from the bottle.
"Damn, that's Angelina DeCarlo, she could suck your kidneys right out your peehole. I really loved her but Mother didn't approve. She was Italian, you know," reminisced Bush.
"Do you know why you are all alone this night?" asked the spirit.
"Everyone else was studying or writing papers. They never understood. Going to Yale isn't about learning stuff, it's about networking and making life long connections you can exploit in the future," Bush responded.
Rove nodded and said, "Come, we have other destinations."
Two steps later they are in rice patty waist deep in muddy water. It looked like a mine had just gone off and several American G.I.'s are scattered about, bleeding and moaning.
"God damn, Charlie!" yelled Bush. "I wish I could have been killing gooks. I know I would have been real good at it, but Mother wouldn't let me. She said I had more important work to do."
The pair took two more steps and were in a beautiful ballroom decorated for Christmas. A younger Bush was getting head from a dolled up debutante. The table in front of the future president was scattered with empty champagne bottles, ashtrays and half-filled glasses.
The younger Bush stood up and in a too loud voice said, "Let's get rid of these dead soldiers! I've got a hankering to drop a full payload on old Hanoi!" His sweeping arm cleared the table sending bottles and glasses flying to the floor. The woman got up on the table and with a glassy eyed stare lifted up her skirt.
"Ala-fucking-bama!" the older Bush's face lit up. "Can't say I remember that snatch's name. Probably never knew it, eh, Karl?" Bush gave the ghost a chummy elbow to the ribs.
Rove responded with the required chuckle, "That's a good one, Sir. We have one more stop."
"Can't I watch me hose that bitch?" asked Bush.
"Sorry Sir," apologized Rove. "We have to go."
Two more steps and they were in a small office in downtown Austin. "Bush for Congressman" signs adorned the walls. A younger Bush was sitting at a desk getting head from a pretty, campaign worker. Several lines of coke were laid out on a small area of the desk that had been cleared of papers. There was a loud knock then a young Karl Rove escorted Laura Bush into the office.
An excited Bush exclaimed, "Hey, that’s you, Rove!"
"And that's your future wife, Mr. President," replied the ghostly Rove.
The young Bush looked at the young Rove with an unimpressed expression, "Is that the best you can do, Rove? I'm gonna stick with Suzie here. You can have that butterface. Grab a line and a chair."
The young Rove introduced his companion, "Mr. Bush, I would like to introduce you to the future Mrs. Bush. This is Laura Welch."
A shit-eating grin appeared on the young Bush's face, "Well ain't this awkward!" Suzie lifted her head to get a look at the fiancé, but the young Bush pushed her head back down. "No need to stop that Suzie. I'm almost done. It's very nice to meet you, Miss Welch."
Laura reached out to the extended hand and gave it a shake. "It's very nice to meet you. Mr. Bush. I've heard all kinds of good things about you. I think I'm going to have a drink, if you don't mind, and maybe a line or two."
The spectral Rove grabbed Bush and they stepped out of the scene back into the White House bedroom.
"I should have married that Suzie," Bush complained. "She knew how to party and she was skinny as a filly. You and Mother made me marry Laura." He looked at his snoring wife with disgust.
"Have you learned nothing from my visit!" wailed Rove, "If you had married Suzie or Angelina or any of the dozens of whores you fucked over the years you would not be president today!"
The shear force of the ghost's voice sent Bush back to his bed and under his covers.
"I know you hate thinking," Rove said in a controlled voice as he floated through the wall, "But please Mr. President, please try to think a little about what you have just seen and what you will see with your next visitors."
Bush, still trembling, closed his eyes and fell asleep.
The Second of the Three Visitors
Bush awoke to a prodigiously loud snore from Laura. He looked around nervously. He was determined to be ready for his next visitor. No surprises this time.
"Georgie, Georgie, Georgie!" Bush turned his head and there before him, slightly transparent, was the Great Communicator himself, President Ronald Wilson Reagan.
"Mr. President, I'm so happy to see you!" exclaimed Bush. "You look great!"
"Well... no thanks to you!" replied Reagan. "What's with this stem cell research ain't in the bible so I'm not going to fund it crap, Georgie?"
Bush fell to his knees cowering before his hero, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. It was bad advice from disreputable sources. I'll get that funding started immediately and I'll fire a couple dozen of those 'holier than thou' neo-cons first thing in the morning."
"Georgie," said Reagan. "Calm down I was only kidding. Well... you got to do what you got to do to keep this great republic of ours republican. Don't listen to my wife and son. I never did. Well... get on your feet. There's no reason to be afraid of me. I'm the Ghost of Christmas Present. I'm the jolly, happy guy that's supposed to remind you of a half-drunk Santa or maybe the Roman god of wine. Take my hand we have places to see."
Reagan and Bush took two steps and were in a homeless shelter in New Orleans. Reagan turned to Bush. "Well... hmmm, I don't remember why we're here. Do you know why, Georgie?"
"No, Sir,” said Bush.
"Well..." Reagan said, "Let's try the next place." He took Bush's hand and stepped into the beautiful living room of a Bel Air mansion. The huge room was all decked out in Christmas decorations. A large oil painting of Ron and Nancy Reagan was displayed over the fireplace.
"Gosh darn it. Why are we at your house?" said Bush. He was starting to lose his patience.
"Well..." said Reagan, "There's no call for that kind of language young man. Look how nice our tree is this year. Well... I think we're done."
The pair stepped out of the mansion back to the presidential residence. "Well..."a confused Reagan continued, "You know the story, ahhh, rich people and poor people all like Christmas. Well..."
Bush interrupted by shaking Reagan's hand, "Thanks a lot, Sir. I've certainly learned my lesson. Thanks for coming. Get home safe." Bush climbed back into his bed and closed his eyes.
"Well... I'll be going then..." and with those words, the ghost of President Reagan disappeared.
The Last of the Spirits
The final phantom, shrouded in a dark cloak, approached the bed. The hood of the cloak left the face, if there was a face, in shadowy darkness. The only visible part of the ghost was its skeletal hand.
Bush fell to the floor -- again. He thought he heard the phantom mutter, "fucking idiot," but that was probably his imagination.
"Are you the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?" said Bush.
The phantom lowered its skeletal hand, pulled out a Blackberry and checked it for text messages.
The phantom slowly put away its Blackberry and bopped Bush on the head.
"Hey, that looks just like one of those video game things that Dick Cheney is always playing with," said Bush.
The phantom bopped Bush on the head again and gestured that it was time to leave.
"Ghost of the Future!" Bush exclaimed. "I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But I know you mean to do me some good, and as I hope to live to be a better man from what I was, I am prepared to go with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me?"
The phantom said nothing, although Bush thought for sure that he once again heard most faintly the words, "fucking idiot." The phantom grabbed Bush's shoulder and walked him into the first scene.
It was the comfortable, downstairs living room in the old ranch in Crawford. A blonde woman was crying hysterically while an older Karl Rove tried to console her. Rove seemed to give up and retired to the big, red chair by the fire favored by Bush's mother.
The hysterical woman's crying turned to yelling, "How did I lose! You said I would win. I was supposed to win. It was my turn!”
Bush called out in recognition, "That's my Jenna! Jenna come here. Let Daddy give you a hug." Bush stepped forward and tried to hug his daughter but his arms went right through her body as if she was an image from a slide projector.
The old Rove spat, "It was your father, Jenna. You know that. He ruined it for everyone. All is lost. Everything I've done these last 50 years is for nothing. President Al Franken! I think I'm going to be sick."
"I hate him! I hate him! I hate him! I have no father! It was supposed to be my turn!" screamed Jenna.
"Come here little one," Rove said, "Come to Uncle Karl."
Jenna ran to Rove and gave him a hug but her sobbing would not stop. The phantom guided Bush a few more steps to the left and they found themselves in a poorly kept cemetery.
"This is not my family's cemetery!" declared Bush. "This is an unworthy place, it's so small, all overgrown and so close to busy streets. I can not be buried here."
The phantom raised its arm and pointed to a large, simple stone in the back corner.
"No! That is not my monument," said Bush, "It is too plain for a Bush. It is in the wrong cemetery. It will not contain my name. You are wrong, Spirit."
Bush ran to the site of the untidy grave. Using the light from the flashing traffic light at the nearby intersection, he read the words engraved on the stone.
George W. Bush
Born: July 6, 1946
"No, Spirit! Oh no, no!" Bush fell prostate on the grave and cried like a Mexican mother burying her first born after a failed border crossing.
The End of It
He ran to the window, opened it and stuck out his head. It was a clear, crisp winter morning. The sun was shining and the air smelled glorious.
“What day is today?” cried Bush, calling downward to young woman that was loitering by the gate protesting something.
“Huh?” said the woman, lowering her sign.
“What is today, you East Coast, left-wing, pinko, terrorist-loving, baby-killer?” said Bush.
“Today?” replied the young woman. “It’s Christmas Day, you dumb, rightwing, facist, war-mongering, baby-killer!”
“It’s Christmas Day!” said Bush to his unconscious wife. “I haven’t missed it! The spirits have done it all in one night.” He stuck his head out the window and yelled down to the helpful woman, “Get a job you dumb cunt!”
Bush looked at the digital clock, 8:00 AM. It was way too early to get up. So, he went back to sleep for a few hours.
In the Vice President’s office in the west wing of the White House, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Karl Rove were relaxing after a hard night’s work. Each had a cigar and a glass of single malt scotch.
Glasses were emptied and refilled by Karl Rove. He pointed to the slide projector, “I think we’re going to have to update that power point presentation. It’s getting harder every year to scare him straight.”
“No fucking way. We’re just getting older, Rove, “ said Cheney.
”When you started checking your Blackberry right in the middle, Dick, I almost wet myself” said Don Rumsfeld. There was a Ron Reagan mask resting on his knee.
“What a fucking idiot he is, “ responded Cheney, “Your Reagan gets better every year, Rummy. Maybe next Halloween we should fly out to LA and scare the crap out of Nancy and that fag son of theirs. Maybe they’d both have strokes and we can be done with them”
“How about another toast?” suggested Rove.
“God Bless Us, Every One!”