Cheney sat down on a sofa, still holding his pen, still thinking. Broken borders. Broken Iraq. Genocidal Iran. The Saudis -- how could Bush hold hands with them? Yuck. But what could he, Cheney, do about it, and quick? "Something that goes unnoticed," his aide offered helpfully, getting into the presidential swing of things.
"Unnoticed," Cheney said. "Too bad asking Condi for her resignation would be noticed. So would an executive order to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or my idea for defunding those treasonous so-called sanctuary cities. What can we do about Iraq, irrevocable or unnoticed, in the next hour?"
"Well, sir, remember that Diana West column you liked so much that pointed out that whatever we do in Iraq, we won't be addressing the real national security threats posed by jihadist Iran, Syria -- not to mention Saudi Arabia. The real question is, what can you as president do in the next hour about Iran?"
Cheney's jaw set. "Right. I need a general, a good general. Who are those generals I like on Fox News? Call somebody like that."
He drummed his fingers on the table while his aide dialed and passed him the phone.
"Hello, general? Yes, Dick Cheney here. Listen, I'm president this morning -- right, George is having that procedure again -- no, nothing serious. I just wanted to fix a few problems while he's, you know, recuperating...yes. I want to hit Iran and I want to hit it now -- really knock out its offensive capability so it can't make nuclear bombs, kill our troops in Iraq, support Hezbollah, the Taliban, Hamas -- you know, everything. It's always stuck in my craw that we never responded to any of their assaults on us. I mean, think about the embassy seizure in 1979. Think about Khobar Towers in 1996. Think about Hezbollah, Iran's proxy army, and those 243 Marines killed in their barracks in 1983, and what they did to CIA station chief William Buckley, and on and on. You got anything in mind?"
He paused. "Uh-huh, uh-huh...uh-huh. Really? OK. Great, general. I'll call the Joint Chiefs and give them your recommendations."
"President" Cheney hung up and smiled. "One more call, and we make the world safe for democracies."
Suddenly, as abruptly as the music had begun, it stopped. All that was audible was the sound of hushed, televised commentary of the British Open.
The phone rang. Cheney answered.
"Mr. President! How are you, sir? Good. No, nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I must have fallen asleep." He checked his watch. Precisely two hours and five minutes had passed since he sat down in front of the TV set.
"Yes, I'll be happy to tell the press. Just a routine Saturday morning."