Wednesday, October 20, 2004



Karl Rove isn't entirely surprised to see Pat Robertson elbowing his way through the swarm to approach his pot on wheels. His heart sinks, though, when he sees the stranger trailing along behind Pat. They've got a plan. They're going to take some sort of action. And Karl is the target of this action. There was a time when he was always the instigator, ten steps ahead of everybody else. Now he just rides along passively, trusting others to water his soil and catch him eating bugs.

It's over, Rove thinks.

"Hey, Karl," Pat says. "How's it going? Getting enough water?"

"Cut the crap, Pat," Rove says. "Let's have it. I ate those bugs. What's my punishment?"

"No, no," Robertson says soothingly, "nothing like that. I mean, sure, we've got a little grumbling in the ranks, a lot of the mantids aren't really happy to have a bug-eater on the March, but we can handle that, it's a speed bump, nothing more."

"So what is it, then?" Rove says.

"Well, the fact is, Karl," Robertson says, "you're looking considerably, well, leafier."

"Say what?"

"More like a plant. We think the metamorphosis is progressing."

"Oh shit," Rove says.

"Exactly," Robertson says. "So I've taken the liberty of rounding up a horticulturalist, good conservative credentials, strict creationist, from the Department of Creationist Horticulture at Bob Jones University. Sam, come on up here. Karl, this is Dr. Samuel Waters. He's going to tell us what you're turning into here."

"Hi Karl. Sorry about your predicament."

"Stop fucking around," Rove snaps. "Get on with it."

"Uh, right," Dr. Waters gulps. "Well, to be perfectly frank, I think what we're seeing here is a transformation into a bladderwort."

"A what, now?"

"Bladderwort, Latin name utricularia. A carnivorous plant that traps insects with a bladder trap, usually under the soil."

"My bladder isn't under the soil," Rove says testily.

"No, no, of course not," Dr. Waters says. "The trap is shaped like a bladder. Most likely your traps have a partial vacuum, which sucks prey in, and a one-way lid, tripped by trigger hairs, which prevent them from getting out."

"That's all gobbledy-gook to me, Doc," Rove says, trying to keep the note of desperation and wheedling out of his voice. "What I want to know is, how long?"

"How long before you've been entirely transformed into a plant?" Dr. Waters says.

"How long before I'm put down," Rove says.

"Well, I--" Dr. Waters begins, but Pat Robertson holds up a hand.

"The fact is, Karl," he says, "the mantids have begun buying little miniature bottles of Roundup."

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