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Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Special Advisor to the President

I'm in an airport just outside Las Vegas with Sylvia, Sean, and Mom. Luggage in tow, we're making our way through the bustling terminal, luggage in tow, to the arrivals pickup area, where a small convoy of black SUVs awaits us. Secret Service agents hustle us into one of those vehicles; the First Lady is there to greet us. 

"Earl, you have a meeting with Joe and the Joint Chiefs immediately; we'll escort you to the temporary situation room, and your family will be taken to the hotel of their choice, on us." 

I nodded, feeling a little numb, not understanding at all why this is happening. To my surprise, I'm wearing a dark suit, and I'm quite fit. Something isn't right about this, but everyone else seems to be taking the situation pretty seriously. 

Moments later, having said my goodbyes to my wife, mother, and brother, I adjust my tie and join the President and his advisors in a small, brightly-lit conference room. I stand in a corner, listening quietly as one advisor after the next briefs the President on the factors that could possibly affect the peace talks in Riyadh. 

When the briefing concludes, the President nods at me. I muster enough courage to whisper a question: 

"Mr. President . . . why am I here? Your advisors clearly know their business. I might know more about what's happening in the region than the average layman, but that's not a high bar to clear. I'm not even an American; I'm from Manitoba." 

Joe pats me reassuringly on the shoulder. "You're my secret weapon, kid," he says. "When the time comes, I'll call on you, and you'll know exactly what to do. I'll see you on Air Force One in six hours. Enjoy a meal with your family, but don't be late." 

All I can do is nod sheepishly. I leave the building to hail a cab, but the sidewalk starts moving beneath me. I realize I'm standing on the middle deck of a high-speed conveyance that extends underground and aboveground, and before I can jump off the platform the expressway is hauling me east at hundreds of kilometers per hour. A few minutes later it slows to a halt; I'm in a mid-sized town. I ask a passerby where I am; she says "Mubbock." 

Making it back to Las Vegas is a long shot, but I start running anyway; miraculously, I find myself running up the stairs to board Air Force One just in time. Out of breath, I take a seat in the plush forward lounge; sleep takes me as we're taxiing toward the runway. Riyadh awaits. 

1 comment:

Jeff Shyluk said...

Funny, but not ha-ha funny: I was just in an airport outside of Ottawa, carrying an electronic device with the badge of a green owl. Something's not right: I'm wearing a dark suit and a muted paisley necktie. Where's my white suit? And my bowtie, the one that spins? And PAISLEY?! Never in life!

Prime Minister Trudeau (PMT) is boarding his airplane, and he beckons me aboard. "I have your book, but it's in French," I tell him. He nods, knowing. "C'est le livre de ma mere," he tells me. "Asseyez-vous, je doit vous informer quel que chose tres important."

"Ah, oui," I reply, taking seat in a lumpy airplane chair. "Il n'y a rien des seat-belts", I observe.

"Si nous crasherons, nous mourons.", PMT tells me with his wan, Sophie-less smile.

A message from the cockpit, relayed through a tin-can-on-a-string wall speaker: "This is the Captain speaking. I regret to inform you that this flight cannot take off. The airplane is broken."

"Dommage," PMT me dit, "C'est un Boeing" He shrugs.

"CANADA IS BROKEN!!1!" shrieks PP Poilievre from outside my cabin window. He needs a trampoline to reach this height.