Marcus Bubble finally had his opportunity to publicly denounce Friedman.
And by hellfire, would he make the most of it!
Affecting a professorial dignity and gravitas, Bubble stood one-legged, shifting from side to side and fiddling with his bulging pockets.
Even good old fronty-pouchy LBJ himself, peace to his bones, had never such a tailor as those great American patriots the ‘jackal of Georgia’ could command.
(We leave to the reader’s discretion the vexed question of whether he could command similar sums of booty).
Otis Spengler squirmed in agony.
With a hangover like this, interviewing this loathsome glob of rancid neoconservative bile and bitterness was the last thing in hell he wanted to do.
Was the current performance not proof positive that Bubble was incapable even of assuming the faux sophistication (not to say elegance!) of just such velvet-liveried knuckledraggers as Irving Kristol, Leopold II, and the immaculately swishy-cloaked Ayatollah Khomeini?
Or Captain Chickenbone, as Saul Friedman and a few peaceable dissidents among his opposite numbers were wont to call him…
Although not all, by any means!
He had to try.
Spengler had been shilling for a good ten years by now, and he was always searching for a little moment of opportunity, the merest crack in the imposing edifice of establishment media complicity with the carnivorous mass murderers infesting the hallowed heights above the low Potomac sewer of his perennial fear and loathing.
‘President… Bubble…’ groaned Spengler.
(Was it indeed a groan?)
The audience erupted into laughter.
Even Bubble, curiously enough, was amused by this bizarre gaffe from a journalist normally renowned for his steadiness, solemnity and (every now and then) a shadow of verbal cunning and trickery that could so often wrong-foot even the most fleet-of-foot career politico and Beltway supremacist.
After permitting himself a modest guffaw (albeit perhaps not fully so modest as Bubble himself judged it), Bubble sneered:
‘Well hey! Many a truer word was spoken in jest, hey?’
At these flippant words, the elderly grandmother of a waitress killed in the Amber Hornet atrocity burst into tears.
But who cares about her anyway?
‘Hey! Would you quieten down there already?’ shushed a notable foreign policy think tank intellectual.
Petty Marshall was never in the mood for sentimentality; particularly when there were greater things at stake than the mere subjective sentiments and emotions of the benighted, patriotism-skeptic masses who swarmed before the enlightened eyes of this gracious God-among-maggots.
‘Look, everyone. People are talking about Presidents. What kind of a President does America need?
‘Well, as I see it, and I’m sure not a few of you are going to agree with me, the best way to answer a positive, constructive question, is always to answer it via its opposite.
‘Or at least, that’s a pretty good point of departure, as I’m pretty sure can all see. Sooo…
‘What kind of President does America not need? Any ideas?’
‘Fuckin’ anti-white Zionists!’ roared a voice from the audience.
A rather green little aide stared in horror. So far, he was every bit as unschooled in how Bubble managed his crowds as he was unfamiliar in how Bubble managed his other property and assets.
‘Heh heh,’ sniggered Bubble.
‘I don’t think we can say that now, can we? Uh-uh! Try again, buddy!’
‘The fuckin’ Jews are destroying my country!’ roared the heckler.
‘Right! You know what?’ said Bubble, perceptibly affecting a certain sternness and solemnity of tone.
‘Our country is in danger, we are in big trouble right now, people are angry. I got it!
‘But let’s make sure we are blaming the very best people we can possibly blame.
‘So, let me ask each one of you in your hearts, and you can all use your God-given consciences to answer in your hearts; and better still, out loud.
‘Roar it, shout it, let 10 000 American freedom-loving patriots, and 10 000 times 10 000 more, make our day of rage and glory against the enemies of our country, of your country and mine: America, the greatest goddamn nation on earth!’
The mob immediately began roaring incoherently.
‘America!’ roared Senator Bubble, pounding the prissy little Florida podium so hard, the wood started coming off in bleeding splinters.
‘America!’ roared the assorted horde of respectable bigots and hooligans from the dregs of society. The ungovernable mob of subterranean, resentment-mongering anarchy howled in joyous fury like seventh devils in heat.
Bubble stopped pounding.
His piggy eyes scanned the bodies, if not the very hearts and souls of his gaudy carnival of flimsy, soulless marionnettes.
‘Have any one of you ever heard of this guy Saul Terence Magilligan Friedman?’
Immediately the whole valley of torments blazed into light, with a glory not of this world, and far less of any blessed sphere above it.
‘Hang the bastard!’ was the chant.
Bubble waved his hand in mock disappointment.
Pausing for the right moment to intervene with the highly conspicuous ‘good form’ which was something of a good trademark of his (and a pirate’s merchandise he guarded as jealously today as he had attempted to guard Sandy’s ‘dignity’ and ‘honour,’) Bubble raised his hand and said:
‘There will be no hangings in America today! We don’t kill unpatriotic traitors who disagree with us…
‘But boy do we make it hot for ‘em!’
Curiously enough, this did not appease the crowd, but only appeared to rile them further.
Now, what an utterly curious and inexplicable unintended consequence! Could it be that, like so many neocons and liberal interventionists, Senator Bubble had just made yet another ‘honest mistake’ in long, long line of ‘honest mistakes?’
The blessed ingenu segued his dainty palms, like an Alexandrian altar-boy on Ezekiel’s ice.
‘But let me tell you something, my fellow Americans:
‘There can be no place for treason, pacifism, and any disproportionate and unreasonable criticism of our people!’
The hooligans roared with carnivorous delight, white and yellow teeth alike gleaming with anticipation as they licked their chops in excitement.
‘If you believe isolationists have a part to play in our America, shout it out!’ came the roar.
A ripple of amusement.
And little by little, a swelling tide of hilarity that, if anything, threatened to surpass and even swamp beyond measure the violent tsunami of bitterness and loathing Bubble had earlier summoned.
‘OK! If you believe America should play our God-anointed role in this world, standing up for the beleaguered and oppressed, and letting not one tyrant on this earth ever have a decent night’s peaceful sleep in his bed, shout out our FUCK YEAHHHHHHHH!’
By now, the situation was deafening.
Otis gaped in horror.
By now, he had completely forgotten about the barracking he would get from his bosses about losing his opportunity to engage with Bubble; he was now so horrified by the barbaric army of sabre-wielding skeletons before his eyes, he dared not even breathe.
He saw the vast troops of sober, sneering, jackbooted Teutons marching lockstep to a music he could not discern or imagine.
He saw an eagle tearing shreds out of the faces of Jewish children too terrified as to so much as shed a tear.
He heard the terrified screams of weeping Iraqi children, who had been desolately clutched and carried away in the swooping talons of the callous, stony-hearted bird of prey.
He saw the half-corpse, half-infant-devil Khmer Rouge barbarians sullenly dragging the kidneys and livers of their own infants to Tricky Dickie to carve up and munch; he was smacking his lips at the raw, organic vitality that, one day, would pass down his august bloodline to even more shameless and depraved inheritors of his cannibalistic death cult of child-sacrificing lunacy.
A tattered scroll descended from the sky; God knows what it said, but it had something of the savour of:
FROM YOUR CHILDREN’S ASHES,
A TRUE HUMANITY NOW EVER FORTH SHALL SPRING
He perceived the weeping parents offering all they had, as little as it was; they carried it all in their trembling hands, begging, pleading, imploring the eagle to have mercy upon their one lost sheep, their one innocent, lamb, their child, their child, their own child, the only child they had left.
The eagle, motionless, shrewdly surveyed the trembling, bleeding, creatures of tender flesh and blood before them.
One naïve child walked over to pat the eagle, not realizing with what kind of wild beast they were dealing.
The child loving caressed the feathers of the eagle.
The innocent child pointed to the funny cat and gentle hound who were now affectionately sidling up to the eagle.
The cat purred with heartfelt love towards her new friend, and rubbed herself affectionately against the husky legs of her new friend.
The gentle puppy barked with innocent delight, and joyfully wagged his tail, tenderly licking the feathers of his newfound friend.
And just at the very moment the child leaned to kiss the eagle, just as he would kiss his two funny friends, the eagle let out a blood-curdling scream.
Deafened, horrified, the child released his grasp and fell backward in dismay.
The eagle picked up the kitten and puppy and immediately swooped into the air with its newfound prey.
The child somehow found the strength to stagger to the ground.
‘They’re… my friends…?!’ stuttered the child, his staring in the wide-eyed incomprehension of a thwarted innocence already ruined, laid to waste; this hour and forevermore.
The eagle jerked to a dizzying halt, shaking the trembling puppy and kitten, who were so terrified, they could only gaze down despairingly upon the tearful eyes of their friend.
They had thought he would take care of them forever!
All their lives, they had known only love and affection.
Every time the bad and nasty cats had scratched her, she had always been able to come home and be loved, and fall asleep in the loving arms of the one who loved her beyond measure.
The little puppy, his lip quivering in tears that (as we shall see presently) would never have a chance to stream out from his gentle, trusting eyes, remembered the day he had first been taken to a house of love.
He was loved, he knew love, but that was soon to be over forever.
The boy lamented.
The little girl cried.
The eagle eyed the child with a shrewdness and coldness devastating to the soul.
By now, the child was screaming at the top of his voice, ‘They are my friends! I love them! They’re my friends! Please don’t hurt my friends!
‘Please, oh please, please, please, mister eagle, please don’t hurt my friends!
‘I love them!
‘I love them!
‘They are my friiieeenndddsss!’
With an utterly barbaric squawk of triumph, the eagle opened wide the bottomless cavern behind its beak, and with a callous flick of its head, it dashed the child’s two playmates and beloved ones upon the ground.
A long distance to fall.
The child stood, frozen stiff in horror.
A chill, sousing breeze filled the air, fit to prick and tremble the very marrow of the sternest of souls.
Presently, he stumbled towards his two friends, to try as he might to give them what little, meagre, comfort he could.
Crawling over in desperation, innocent as any infant, he started to caress their gentle heads. But all of a sudden, he screamed in horror.
This tender child, young and free as the spring air, had never ever known, never so much as even suspected what a broken neck was supposed to be.
He knew now.