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The Last Straw, Part Two

by The Cranky Media Guy

George W. Bush was restless. He hadn't slept for days. The campaign, five weeks of waiting for the outcome of the election, forming a transition team, had taken their toll on him. Publicly he kept up the illusion of a man in control; internally he was in turmoil. His world was spinning out of control. His entire life had lead up to this, what should be his moment of triumph. He was bred for leadership, he had been pushed his entire life toward success, or at least his father's notion of success. He was, after all, his Dad's namesake.

He could never let his guard down in public, he could never let anyone see past the carefully constructed facade he had erected. If he appeared uncertain at times, it was because he was, in simple English, just not all that bright. His father had called in every favor he had to make Dubya move forward in life. In literal terms, he could not fail. It wouldn't have been allowed.

Trying to look in control every moment of every day was incredibly stressful. No one understood that what George W. really wanted was to have his carefree college days back. No one. It was even harder to have a man like Dick Cheney play second fiddle to you. Cheney had legitimately earned the kind of resume that Dubya's father tried to assemble for his son. Dubya knew that Cheney was the better man and it ate at him.

No one understood the real George W. Bush. Prep school, getting ahead in business through the largess of his dad's friends, going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard--nothing normal about any of it and all of it leading inexorably to his moment in the sun as the president of the United States. It would happen, it must happen. It would happen. His father would stand for nothing less.

George W. Bush sat on the edge of his bed. A glass of Budweiser was on the nearby table, half-empty. Only an hour ago, President Bush had made a formal statement about the ongoing situation in Congress, something about it being time to put politics aside and the will of the people, blah blah blah. He felt somewhat frazzled while delivering it, as always. He was not a man comfortable with words. No one could tell what he was feeling, though. The goofy, slightly smug smile was in place, as always.

Leaving the podium, Bush had gone straight to his private quarters, closing the door behind him. Laura was elsewhere, planning some upcoming soiree for the wife of the president of some damn country George couldn't quite remember. Just as well that she wasn't there, on the top floor of the White House, at the moment. If she was, she'd want him to "share". He'd faked it countless times, of course, as any husband has to, but that took more concentration than he was mentally capable of.

Lifting the glass, George W. Bush tossed back half of the contents. "How?" he asked out loud. "How did I win the election? Me, George W. Bush!" Electoral votes, whatever the fuck they were, swirled in his mind, taunting him. Electoral votes!

There was a soft knock at the door. "Mr. President?" came a voice. It was Henley, the Secret Service agent assigned to the private quarters. George W. Bush had a sudden flash. Everything crystallized in his mind in a moment of perfect clarity. He had never felt exactly "clear" before in his life.

"Come in," he said in a strong voice. Henley entered.

"Is everything all right, sir?" he asked, concern lining his face.

George W. Bush appeared confident, as he had practiced doing all his "adult" life. Just like his Dad had taught him to.

"Sure, everything's fine. Hey, would you do me a favor, Agent?"

"Of course, sir. What can I do for you?"

"Would you mind getting me a glass of milk from the kitchen? I think I have a little bit of a stomach ache," George W. Bush said, his face displaying the usual dimwitted half-grin.

"Of course, sir," said Henley. Technically, agents weren't supposed to be gophers, but it was hardly unusual for one to be asked to run a small errand. He headed off toward the stairs. George W. Bush smiled to himself.

As he expected, the agent had left his suit jacket hanging on the chair he had been sitting on. He had to move fast, the agent would be his usual efficient self, returning soon. Quickly, George W. Bush felt inside the jacket. As he suspected, Henley's holster was underneath it.

George W. Bush removed the pistol and quickly headed toward the back stairs of the executive mansion. Undetected, he went down and out the back door. With catlike motions, he went from tree to shrub, taking care not to be seen by the agents on the roof of the house. In short order, he was next to the big fence that ran the length of the property along E Street NW.

George W. Bush squatted down so that his head barely stuck up over the concrete base of the fence. He could see the traffic passing by on the busy avenue. He chuckled softly to himself. "I'll show him. I'll show him!" George W. Bush said in an oddly calm voice.

Raising the gun so that the barrel rested on the top of the concrete base, he squinted through the site. A yellow Volkswagen Beetle passed by, a secretary from the Department of Energy at the wheel. She was humming along to a Duran Duran song on the radio. George W. Bush pulled the trigger.

The VW careened out of control, crashing into a light pole. The hood crumpled and steam shot out of the radiator. A Mercedes heading the other way stopped. The driver got out to help the secretary out of the Volkswagen.

George W. Bush drew a bead and pulled the trigger again. The Mercedes driver fell to the ground, a neat hole in his forehead. Clutching the pistol, George W. Bush fell to the ground, cackling uncontrollably.

"Push me to succeed, will you, Dad?!" he yelled at the sky.

He felt calmer than he could ever remember feeling before; he closed his eyes and clamped the pistol to his chest. On E Street, chaos reigned. Only yards away, behind the fence of the White House property, George W. Bush slipped away into a quiet place, a perfect place. He felt he was truly his own man, the real George W. Bush, not his father's surrogate, for the first time in his entire life.



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