I am one of President George W. Bush's gardeners. Mr. George likes to talk to me.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Chatting with Al Gore

The back of the White House has beautiful gardens — if I don't say so myself — with benches where tourists used to be able sit and look at the mansion that the damned British tried to burn down. This was before security was tightened. Nowadays, only those of us with security permits can go back there. I was wiping the dead cicadas off one of the benches when I noticed Al Gore lying underneath it. It was early in the morning, and his jump suit was covered with dirt and morning dew. I nudged him in the shoulder with my boot.

"Good morning, Al."

"Good morning, Lenny." Al looked uncomfortable again, embarrassed. A whiskey bottle and three empty cans of spray paint were scattered around the bench.

"Looks like you had another rough night."

"I don't like to complain," said Al. "The past is the past, and it's time to forgive and forget. Just move on. Just keeping moving forward."

"There are tarps in the maintenance shed. You can use them. They'll keep the dew off."

"It's just that I spent eight years watching Bill turn the sacred White House into a frat house. I think some of his college buddies saw more of the inside rooms than I did. And I was Vice-President! For eight years!"

"Like I told you before, you can roll up the burlap bags to use as pillows when you get like this."

"And then, when it was my turn to replace Bill and restore dignity to the American Presidency, I blew it in the debates. I treated George like he was some kind of idiot, so anything he said that wasn't stupid made people say, 'Hey, he's not an idiot. He's like me. And he says he'll bring America back together.' I blew it!"

"You can also give me a call when you get in one of these moods," I said. "I'll bring you some blankets and tea and a real pillow. You can set up camp out here, and no one needs to know."

"And even with all my mistakes during the 2000 campaign, I still had it won. I won more votes than George. It was Florida… Florida."

Al lay back down under the bench and kept mumbling to himself about being locked out of his own home. You have to feel bad for the guy.


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