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Published November 12, 2008

"Yo, Barackulator -- you want a brew?"

President-Elect Barack Obama looked up at George W. Bush, the lame-duck 43rd President of the United States, who'd just ushered him into a private meeting in the Oval Office while their wives continued a tour of the White House. On this, his first visit since the election, Obama wasn't expecting quite this level of familiarity, and wasn't sure how best to respond. "Be one of the guys, but be your own man," he thought to himself. "Don't be an elitist."

"Thank you...ah, Mr. President, but I have, ah...just totally pounded...a...pretty badass double tall organic soy chai latte sweetened with agave nectar."

"Have it your way, Hussein-in-the-membrane, but shee-it, I just might have a little hair of the dog," Bush mumbled, fishing out a cold Shiner Bock from a mini-fridge under his desk that had a "Don't Mess with Texas" sticker on it.

"Man-oh-man-alive," Bush said, wiping his lips after taking a huge slug that emptied half the bottle. "I couldn't believe my ears when I heard you were gonna make that Axl Rose fella your senior advisor. I mean, don't get me wrong, B-man. 'Appetite for Destruction' and 'Use Your Illusion' are words I live by--even got 'em tattooed on my backside in Tijuana--but that dang Rose boy thinks they have democracy in China!"

"Ah, I believe you're confusing Axl Rose with Axel-ROD, sir," Obama rejoined politely, tapping his knuckles impatiently on the arm of a chair with striped upholstery. "David Axel-ROD; he's been my chief strategist since I ran for the Senate. As you are apparently aware, Axl Rose is the singer of Guns N' Roses. Ah...a rockin' band nevertheless, Mr. President."

"Gotcha, gotcha" interrupted Bush fuzzily, stuffing the remains of a frozen burrito in his mouth. "Now, A-Rod--that there's a good call, Bam-a-lam. The country respects a ball player. They know strategery, and this A-Rod fella's a damn good third baseman."

"With all due respect, Mr. President," Obama continued, trying to stay loose, "if I was going to hire a third baseman for my administration, I'd have to go with Joe Crede of the Chicago White Sox." A quick flash of his trademark smile, and Obama was quickly back to business. "But look...my senior advisor is David Axelrod; not Axl Rose and not A-Rod."

"OK, don't get yer cows runnin.' It's all good, Bamster," said Bush teasingly. "No need to get yer Harvard-insignia boxers in a bunch. Just having a little jaw here and tryin' to, y'know, break the iceberg with ya. You wanna pinch o' tobacco between yer cheek and gums?"

"Mr...President," intoned Obama slowly, still remarkably cool and collected, "With respect, I do not care for chewing tobacco or a beer; I'm here to talk about the economic crisis and the situation in Iraq and making a smooth, peaceful transition to the next Presidency; my Presidency. It's time we got beyond the partisan politics of the past."

W. shifted in his chair, sighed heavily, and suddenly looked resigned. "O-man, I'm damn near snake-bit with ya. But you've been blasting me out there on the campaign trail for two long years, and here I am, on my way out, offering you a little Texas hospitrality and you ain't bitin'. Well, since you're a smart guy, and since we're both gettin' the same intelligence briefs now, I'm gonna let you in on a little more top, top secret information," said Bush, leaning forward, and clearing his throat deliberately.

"In actual fact," said Bush, almost in a whisper, his voice suddenly, naturally that of a smarmy, East Coast effete intellectual, "this good ol' boy routine was all a clever ruse cooked up by Rove and Cheney to get me elected. Truth be told, I can barely stomach Texas, and my ranch in Crawford is simply a front. Without exception, my favorite political thinkers are Noam Chomsky and Marx, and I read Jean Baudrillard before bed. I hate baseball--in fact, I follow the English soccer league; I'm an Arsenal fan. And to be preternaturally sincere, I prefer a well-aired bottle of Chateauneuf-de-Pape and a nice Saumon-au-Beurre over beer and barbecue any day. Oh, and my Mercedes runs on bio-diesel."

Obama stared at W. in disbelief, and, for the first time in his adult life, stammered.

"So... all the pratfalls and, and...'misunderestimated' and 'decider' and 'yo, Blair' and 'smoke 'em out of their holes'.... and even the backrub for Angela Merkel...all an act?"

"Precisely, my good man," said Bush, arching his eyebrow pretentiously while lighting a Dunhill with a diamond Caran D'Ache, and deftly producing two glasses of 1947 Petrus from a hidden panel in his desk. Handing one to Obama, Bush raised his glass in a playful toast to the new President-Elect: "Welcome to the jungle, baby."

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