Sunday, November 14, 2004


Here to See the Boss

"Hi, guys," Hermes says brightly to the Marines at the White House security check point. "Wanna frisk me?"

"Empty your pockets, please, sir," one of the Marines says, and Hermes obeys. But of course while he is emptying his own pockets he is also emptying the Marine's into his own, so that the Marine starts noticing the bin filling with his stuff: "Hey, those are my keys!" and "I've got a gun just like--hey!"

The Marine is about to sound the alarm when Hermes produces a badge very like the Marine's own.

"Just messing with you, son," Hermes says. "I'm from the Secure Hermetic Interdepartmental Task Force on Unclassified and Classified Knowledge, here to see the boss on matters of national security."

"Oh," the Marine says, abashed, "sorry, sir. Please, pass right through. But, uh--Vice President Cheney isn't in town today, sir."

"No, no," Hermes smiles, winks, and leans in conspiratorially. "I'm here to see the president."

"I see, sir," the Marine says. "But I thought you said--"

"Nice talking to you, sergeant," Hermes says, and steps through the metal-detector. It goes berserk, of course. Alarms sound, lights flash: Hermes still has the Marine's pistol, keys, and decoder ring. The Marine hastily turns off the alarms. Hermes walks off jauntily down the hall.

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