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Notes from Prague Six, #12

4:57 a. m. Terror. Drenched in sweat. I'm running toward a giant Nokia to call The Prague Post.

 

The world must know the Bush Administration is a squad of seventh-generation androids sent from the future to destroy humanity.

I reach out for the phone. It's out of credits and won't even let me SMS. Slowly I realize where I am: a futon, pre-dawn purple framing the trees outside.

Among the total stillness settles a colder fear. The situation is worse than the dream. If the Bush team were androids, people could rise up against them. National Guardsmen would be sent to famous D. C. addresses with orders to exterminate with extreme prejudice.

Navy Seals would stream silently across the White House lawn. Entire swaths of GOP policy would instantly be disgraced as alien. Un-American. 5:45 a. m. Coffee. Yes, the situation is worse than the dream. The Bush House enjoys the full support of the Pentagon, half of the American people and the Polish government. It isn't going anywhere.

Give me an android over a Texas oilman anyday. I'll take an army of evil robots over a crew of repressed child molesters and born-again Christians without a second of thought. At least androids can be shut off or bribed with promises of electric sheep.

6'ish a. m. The BBC, on cue, is ready with the latest news. The US is in the corner again proudly wearing the dunce cap at the Bonn climate talks. The whistling guillotine that is a 2 to 5 degree temperature change over the next century is inaudible to the American delegation.

Even as the whistling grows louder, it can't compete with the background noise on planet USA, with all the raucous steakhouses and NFL previews and AM radio fascists and wide-screen television sets going ten hours a day. In the late sixties Norman Mailer wrote a novel called Why Are We In Vietnam? about a brutish, wealthy Texas family that enjoyed bear hunting in Alaska. The mentions of LBJ or Indochina were few.

7'ish a. m. More news, a cup of juice. At Genoa, Bush and Putin smilingly agree to disagree about missile defense, and reiterate a tired old fact: that arms control and further cuts depend on the US limiting its dream of a multilayered space based Star Wars system. But the Axis - Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice - and the Pentagon won't do that, and so there will be no cuts. Only a return to multiple warheads and extreme nervousness.

9:30 a. m. Listening to Radio Jedna, eating a plum. It's easy to forget that the Bush House is full of fundamentalist Christians who believe in the Book of Revelation, which foretells the apocalypse in some detail. There is even a line about the "melting of elements" which some interpret as the fusion process at the core of thermonuclear detonations. That's why they hate arms control. It might complicate New Testament prophecy. Androids don't read the Bible.

11 a. m. Mala strana, walking to work. I notice at a news rack that the USA Today has stupidly emblazoned on the front page "Bush, Putin Agree to Reduce Nuclear Arms. " Whether the editors honestly don't understand the news or are just spinning it backwards with a happy face for their innocent readers doesn't seem to matter anymore. Ho Chi Minh, Elvis Agree to Reduce Poverty.

7 p. m. Back at home, making noodles. I wonder if the new US ambassador is in Prague yet, the Bush family golf partner and fundraiser. What if we end up at the same function and are introduced? Unlikely, but possible. Do I grasp the claw? Do I shake it limply and then excuse myself?

No; pink sweaty Bush family friend hands should not be touched. I pull out an old notebook and add the hand to a long list of things to avoid. There is a small space between rusty nails and dry tongues, so I write it there.

On the other side of the world, the androids are lunching.

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