So I was sittin' around, like I usually do, pondering the future of the universe and man's place in it. Woman's place, too, for that matter. There was a woman's place, I recall, up in Ishpeming, that we used to visit ... but I grow prolix.
Then this young woman came in, and she said "Senator, you have a phone call." I said, "Why, thanks. I will. Have one, yourself." She went back out, and by coincidence, my phone rang. It does that now and then. So I picked it up, like I usually do, and set it back down. It kept ringing, though, so I picked up the other part of it – the part that comes off, you know – and somebody said "Hello, Senator."
"Where?", I said. But that didn't stop him, and he started in on the dire state of things, both at home and abroad. So I got up and put the phone in the sink, like I usually do, and I went back to pondering. Got to get my pondering done, you know. But it got me thinking, thinking how that word abroad is inherently funny. There are words like that, you know. Words that get a smile, at least. Monkey, for example. And spelt. I knew a guy up in Michigan, he couldn't hear about spelt but what he'd start to go on about somebody who was Miss Spelt of 1989 or something. Claimed his mother was Miss Construed. I used to know some folks named Construed, but they didn't have any daughters, so it couldn't have been one of them.
Anyway, that same person came back into the office and said Mister Johnson wanted to know why I hung up on him. I said I wasn't hung up on him, didn't even know him, but she fished the phone out of the water and handed it to me. It wasn't any Johnson at all, just some feller named Boris. I tried to tell him he wanted the State Department, not me. Funny accent, too, for a Russian. But it turned out, he was looking for a job. Had a long rigmarole about why he was at liberty. I didn't get it, frankly. I was still pondering. But he was going on about breakfast or something. Hash breakfast, I thought he said. Exit was mixed up in it, too. He sounded like a Brit, and that reminded me that they don't have normal "EXIT" signs over there. They all say "Way Out". That would never go, here in the US. Too Carnaby Street for us children of the Sixties.
Now, those of you who are payin' attention will remember that I used the word "prolix" back about four paragraphs ago. One of the things we do down here at the headwaters is to grow prolix. Got a whole planter of it out back. There's a few who grind it up and have it with their granoley in the morning – Paul Ryan, for example – but most of us just smoke it. Keeps you awake through the filibusters and committee meetings. I tried to explain to Ivan or Yuri or whoever it was on the phone that I had to go water the prolix, and that if he wanted a job over here, he ought to quit fooling around and go see the Bush family. See if they needed any spare sons-in-law. They're running out of gubernatorial fodder over there, I hear. Goobers as we call 'em in the Senate lounge. Or with that accent, the CIA could probably use him as deep cover, spying on the British or the English or whatever they're calling themselves these days. He said no, he'd rather not show his face in London, right now. I said grow a mustache, but that didn't seem to suit.
I finally got him to hang up by giving him Michael Moore's phone number. Told him to play up his acting experience, see if he could get a part in one of those comedies Moore's always producing. I hear he's got one in the works, a remake of that Brando thing, Hypotenuse Now or whatever it was, where a guy goes up a creek. Told Vladimir he could play the Governor if he didn't mind drinking funny-looking water. So we parted on a positive note, B flat, I think it was. I told the woman who hangs around my office that I was going to an agriculture department meeting. Went out the back door, picked a couple of ounces of prolix, and left for the day.
J. F. McLuggage