The email from caught me by surprise.

DEar Carnaki,

We read you blog post Operation Skahira. We got a job opening for war zar and want you to apply for it. Can you come in Friday for an intervew? I like to meet people fase to fase to get an idea of what they ar like, to look into there sole. This issss all secret. My address is 160 Pencilvanya Ave, Washington. Come around to the back door cause it’ss secret

I leaned back in my chair and considered my best options.
Security was as tight as I expected when I showed up at the gate.

I set my water bottle to the side as the Secret Service agents frisked me for weapons.

“He’s clean,” one agent said.

“I don’t know about that,” said another, looking at my rumpled suit and two-day’s growth on my unshaven face with disdain.

“Well, he’s unarmed at least,” the agent said. “Come this way. The equipment you sent is already set up in the Oval Office.”

I nodded and followed, making careful note of my escape options and security arrangements.

We came to the Oval Office and he opened the door for me.

PResident Bush and Karl Rove were standing in front of the television and DVD player exchanging harsh words as Rove tried to explain the remote control’s functions to Bush. There were two Secret Service agents standing against a wall and two uniformed Marines on the opposite wall.

The two men looked up. From his glare, I could tell my Operation Shakira diary was not the only one Rove had read. Bush walked over to me, his right hand extended to shake hands. In a slow, deliberate fashion, I raised my water bottle to my lips for a sip and ignored his proffered hand. His lower lip pouted and he had the look of a petulant monkey about to throw a feces-hurling tantrum when Rove said in a stage whispery voice, “Remember ees-hay the ape-scay oat-gay.”

Bush turned at him with a confused look. “Whart are you saying, Karl?”

“He said I’m supposed to the scape-goat,” I said.

“Oh, thanks for translating,” Bush said. “I hate when he speaks French.”

“The War Czar position is not going to be a scape-goat,” Rove said. “We’re willing to pay you good money to take the job and to try your Operation Shakira. We just need you to explain it to us.”

“It’s simple,” I said. “You take battery-operated television/DVD sets and blanket Iraq with them with Shakira videos on an endless loop. While all of the insurgents and militia members are hypnotised by the gyrations of Shakira’s hips, the military sends in specially trained units composed of gay men and non-lesbian women soldiers — chosen so that they too do not fall under the spell of Shakira’s hips, to disarm the insurgents and militia members. They replace rifles and RPGs with brooms. Then, when the batteries finally run dead and the videos stop, the men will come out of their stupor and see they have brooms in their hands and see the mess around them and figure they must have been outside to sweep up.”

Rove shook his head. “But I don’t understand how they’re hypnotized. Does she wave money?”

I looked at him dumbfounded a moment. I took the remote from his hand.

“Since my original plan, there has been a development that makes my plan even more potent. Beyonce and Shakira.”

I hit play.

By sheer force of will I averted my eyes. The SS agents and the Marines had drawn closer, their eyes glazed over.

Rove turned from the screen with a perturbed expression. “I don’t get it,” he said. “How is this supposed to distract anyone? I asked my friend Jeff and he thinks your plan is stupid too.”

I hit the stop button. The security detail resumed their posts against the wall. “So why did you invite me here then? Or do you not care if any plan works as long as you can delay until the next administration has to deal with Iraq?”

Another door opened and I felt the air grow chill. “You’re here because I told the Decider to send for you,” Dick Cheney growled as he entered “I’m willing to try anything so that I can free up the troops for my invasions of Iran and Antarctica.”

I turned slowly. I’d been in the presence of diabolical evil before, but the Entity before was 200 proof evil in a non-recyclable bottle and I felt a shiver run up my spine.

But I braced myself for what I knew I had to do.

“So you’re willing to give Operation Shakira a try?” I asked, trying to hide my thoughts behind a poker-face.

“I too don’t understand your plan,” Cheney hissed. “At what part does Halliburton make money off it?”

“Come again?” I said taken aback — though I should have not been.

“Where is the payout for Halliburton?” he asked, drawing closer.

I knew the moment I had hoped for had arrived.

“Take that you foul fiend of Hell! Holy water!” I shouted as I shook the water from my bottle at him.

From past experience with such things I braced myself mentally for the explosive pyrotechnics of his flesh as the holy water splashed upon him.

The water ran down his bald head and face and onto his dark blue suit.

“Oh, nuts,” I said.

Cheney curled his lip. He took a kerchief and wiped dry his glasses, a fiery red glow shining from his eyes.

“All that is holy is made unholy in my presence,” Cheney snarled.

“Get him,” Rove shouted.

I thought quickly. The security detail was approaching quickly. I hit the play button. The men stopped in their tracks.

Bush dove behind his desk, followed a moment later by Rove.

Cheney glared at me. “You’ve ruined my tie and it was newly made from the skin of baby pandas. You’ll pay for this.”

“I guess you know this means I won’t be taking the job of War Czar,” I said.

“General Sheehan turned us down the same way,” Cheney said.

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