Thursday, January 20, 2005

an important visitor

When George W. Bush visited the nuclear missile facility, those who worked there were at their best. The entire place was spotless, all were in their military uniforms, and every missile was in perfect working order. This wasn't a shabby crew - things were always well taken care of, but today, there wasn't a thing left to improve on.

Colonel Klemens had mixed feelings about the President, but Klemens was a soldier, and President Bush was the highest person on the totem pole. Soldiers like Klemens were well-trained to respect their superiors, and the President was his superiors' superior. After many years of dedicated service to his country, he wasn't going to let his personal feelings interfere with one of the greatest days in his life. He pushed his judgments from his mind and saluted as the President entered the room.

President Bush sauntered in with noticeable dignity. He had an appreciation for the respect that the soldiers showed to him, but George didn't think of himself as their leader. He was simply another true American, and all Americans were in this together. He shook the colonel's hand, signaling for the tour to commence.

Klemens began, "This is the command room, Mr. President. In an emergency that called for a nuclear response, this is where you would be."

The President casually looked over the many panels and screens, and nodded to the colonel in approval. "Very good." Instinctually, the President stood where he would in a crisis and took a deep breath. "How much firepower we got here, Soldier?"

Klemens smiled without letting it show on his face. Bush had a commanding way about him that made him a natural leader. Any doubts of Bush's worth were lost to the moment, as he looked at his leader with admiration. He answered proudly, "Enough to take out an entire continent, Sir."

"Good." The President was a man of few words, but had a reputation for action; an abrupt utterance from George Bush provided a certain comfort to all who beheld it. "I assume this is the button?"

"Yes, Sir! That is the fabled button that triggers the launch of... Sir, please don't press that."

President Bush continued to press the button, constantly looking over at the monitors, hoping for a response. "Why aint this thing workin'?!"

Klemens responded, "In order to prevent unauthorized or accidental firing of the missiles, two keys have to be inserted into those slots. One of the necessary keys is worn on a chain around your neck, and the other... Sir, I'm going to have to ask that you don't insert that key into the... Sir, please stop pressing the button."

President Bush began to show his agitation. "My key's in the slot, Soldier... why aint I hearin' nothin'?!"

Klemens maintained his composure and answered, "A second key must be put into the slot. Only the Secretary of Defense has the abili..."

The President pulled out his cellphone, dialed a pre-programmed number, and put his finger to his lips while looking at Colonel Klemens. Klemens fell silent so that the President could make his phone call. "Yeah, it's me. I need a secmatary of.... " President Bush looked at Klemens for guidance.

"The Secretary of Defense?"

Bush continued into the phone, "You hear what'd he say? Get me one of dem." Bush paused while the person on the other end of the line spoke. "Well, I need one dem here now! Get me a new one den!" Bush nodded in response to what he was hearing. "That's fine, you get me Tommy." President Bush put his phone away, looked around in a confused and distracted manner for a moment, then returned to pushing the button.

"Sir, normally, it's customary to delay a nuclear launch until a crisis demands that..."

A soldier escorted a boy in his teens into the room and said, "This is the command room, Mr. Secretary." The soldier then saluted the President and the new Secretary of Defense before leaving the room.

Colonel Klemens, becoming a little nervous, inquired, "But we already have a Secretary of Defense."

President Bush stopped pushing the button to congratulate Tommy with a firm handshake. "Yeah, dat one was too far away. Tommy was in the parkin' lot, in the church van." The President straightened Tommy's collar and pulled the key out from under the boy's shirt. "Right there in dat slot, Secmatary."

Klemens was starting to lose his cool. "Sir, if you have both keys in the slots, and you happen to accidentally press the button... Sir!!... Please don't press that!!!" Klemens stared at the main monitor in disbelief.

Finally seeing that things were operational, the President took his finger off the button. "So who we aimed at anyways?"

Klemens, who was in shock, failed to answer. Another soldier in the room, not wanting to speak for his superior, but also not wanting the President's important question to go unanswered, said, "I believe that the missiles were still pointing at Russia, from years ago."

For the first time since he had arrived, the President smiled. "You hear dat Tommy? We just brought freedom to them Russians."