PARIS, November 13, 2006 - Poppy called between bottles of Roderer Cristal, a most delicate moment, especially as I was still in an upright position at the bar of the Plaza Athénée. From his tone, I knew it was urgent. Paris had recently become so dismal, mostly as a result of yet another gentleman friend’s hasty departure for Italy, that I agreed to Poppy’s request - I would come to Washington for an emergency council meeting. Naturally, I assumed the E-ticket I was given would entitle me to a sumptuous Business Class seat with reclining back and lumbar support. What I got was a center cushion on a jumbo jet where I was hemmed in on one side by Mr. Billy Bob Farley, an administrative assistant to Senator Cornpone of Mississippi, and Mr. Elroy McCrumpet on the other. The latter, a man attired in muddy bib overalls, had just been investigating the source of anthrax in Eastern Europe for the DOA. Two squalling babies, one seriously in need of a change of diapers, rounded out our entourage. As we headed out over the Irish sea, the situation got dramatically worse when Air France closed the bar.

Once in Washington, I was met not by a stretch limo, but by a Smart Car, barely large enough to handle my matching Louis Vuitton sacks. I was taken not to the Mayflower, but to the Iraqi Embassy, a building that resembles the Munster House, and rents servants rooms on the third floor (walk up) at reduced rates. You might imagine the state I was in by the time I arrived at the White House. Now if I’m going to be body searched by a young marine that’s one thing, but being manhandled by a goon that’s a dead ringer for Uncle Fester is quite another. I really had had enough when I reached the second floor Oval Room, where the conclave was to take place.

Only Poppy and a few of his colleagues were there to meet me. Noticeably absent were the Vice, who had taken ill, and Mr. Rove, who had taken to the bottle. I gave the bag of salted goobers, which I had bought at the duty-free boutique as a gift for the current occupant of the Executive Mansion, to a steward.

Poppy got right down to business without waiting for an apéritif. “We’ve got a situation here,” he said. “The boy’s poll numbers are lower than whale doody at the bottom of the sea. I don’t understand it. Of course he never was the brightest light bulb, but I think Bar must have dropped him on his head when he was a baby.”

Mr. Baker nodded his head in approval, and the French ambassador flashed his false teeth.

“As it is,” Poppy was saying. “This war game has gone all bad. He’s lost the House, and the Senate. That woman with the hair (here he gesticulated upward from his head) that insulted my silver spoon may be gone, but the new one with the Armani suits is whipping the boy. Enough is enough. What would Daddy think, rest his soul? I will not have our legacy further impugned - it’s a matter of honor.”

Mr. Baker cleared his throat as if to speak, while the Ambassador adjusted his toupée.

“But this is the fault of bad advisors,” Poppy said, cutting Mr. Baker off. “I’ve been telling the boy for years not listen to KR. The first time I ever laid eyes on that hair brain I knew nothing good would come of him. You know his kind, the most unpopular boy at High School, the one that always wants revenge. But instead of opening fire on the cafeteria, this one decided to blow up the world - any my good name with it!”

“I’d like to say,” said Mr. Baker.

“And as for Dick,” Poppy continued unchecked. “Hello! If you can’t shoot straight, how in the name of Jezebel can you run a war? That one wants to turn the clock back to Ford - I guess he’d have to go to a tent maker to get a polyester leisure suit in his size. And the way that man eats, maybe a good wilted salad would do him good. He’d just better watch out, otherwise he’ll be following Rummy out the door.”

“I...” said Mr. Baker.

“My dander is up!” interrupted Poppy. “And by damn, things are going to change.”

Just then my phone buzzed with an incoming IM. I had forgotten to take off the transfer from AIM, and my away message mentioned I was at the White House. Well, wouldn’t you know, the IM was important. So I turned to Poppy and asked him if it would be convenient for Hillary to come by and do some measuring for drapery, as she put it, for future reference.

“I don’t care what she does,” replied Poppy. “But she’s still not coming to Kennebunkport for tea with slick Willie.”

“This is not current policy,” said Mr. Baker.

Paying him no never mind, Poppy continued. “We need the Gipper - somebody who could declare victory even while losing. You know, sail off into the sunset and leave tinkle-down economics in meltdown and a budget deficit bigger than Hastert’s behind.”

Wouldn’t you know, that phone sounded again. Yet another urgent message was to be conveyed. I asked if Stepmoney’s decorators might drop in later to visit the East Wing, in the event she could duct tape her husband’s mouth shut long enough to do all the talking in 2008. Poppy said that in theory he had no objection, but that she would first have to return all that Republican ketchup money to the party.

“Now what was I saying,” Poppy continued. He looked me right in the eye. “We need you to come up with a plan. Orchestrate a media campaign that will salvage the day. Make it look like the boy is leaving here on top of the world, and not crawling back to his ranch like an armadillo run over by a Hummer.”

That phone went off a third time, and it was a good thing, since not only was I feeling drier than Kansas, but also because I was at a loss as how to help Poppy. Fortunately, the message provided the answer.

First of all, I had the steward bring in a bottle of champagne, which I eventually had to pry away from the Ambassador. After we had toasted to better days ahead, I turned my attention to the immediate situation.

I said to these three august men that I had the solution. The message I had lately received came from Obama, asking about advice for what to wear on Oprah, and how much chest to reveal in his upcoming Vogue spread. Poppy said he didn’t see how any of that much helped. So I explained that the answer was Laura, who first of all needed a fashion makeover. If she could be turned urban chic, maybe outfitted in Louis Vuitton’s spring collection, and then put on the ticket with Obama, it would insure that at least one Bush would remain in government. She could have the residence at the Naval Observatory, come to lunch at the White House, then support the next President as he cleans up all the family mess.

I don’t think my advice was particularly well received, especially since I was dispatched immediately to the airport, and put back into steerage for the first flight to Paris. Well, at least the trip was not an entire disaster, I did manage to get the better part of a case of Moët (California variety) from the White House steward - the other third having gone to the Ambassador’s sticky fingers. I also got the steward’s AIM SN, and he says he would like to visit one day soon.

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