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THE JAUNDICED EYE : Even Bigger Secret Doings Than the JFK Jr. Wedding

September 29, 1996|Bruce McCall | Bruce McCall is a regular contributor to the New Yorker

NEW YORK — Here for the first time, the legendary but nameless "fixer" who arranged John F. Kennedy Jr.'s secret wedding reveals how he bamboozled the media and the public for other famous clients:

"The Kissinger caper was probably the most ticklish of all. The Big H is crazy over the nags, you know, and crazier to be a jockey--but hey, you can't have Mr. World Statesmen seen hanging around the tack room at Pimlico. Bad for the image. So we rig him up in a false nose and mustache, I dream up an identity, "the Dresden Deaf-Mute," East Germany's hottest jockey now freed to race in the West. All so he doesn't have to talk and give it away with the accent.

"It works like a dream. The big H rides in the Preakness, in stakes races, and nobody ever connects that chubby little guy in the stirrups with the former secretary of state. The funny thing is: the horses he rode--Metternich, Bismarck, Moltke, Frederick the Great. A dead giveaway, see, if you ever put two and two together.

"Now Martha Stewart, my God, she has--what, billions? And all dependent on maintaining that chichi upscale-chatelaine thing. But what a gal! Unbounded curiosity and energy. Has to master everything. So when her people get in touch and say Martha wants to take a course in diesel-truck mechanics but nobody should know, wow! First National Enquirer photo with Martha in coveralls, grease-stained, and pffft for the rep--curtains for her empire.

"So we build a garage up at her spread in Connecticut with a grease pit and hoists, soundproofed, disguised as a guest cottage: white clapboard, ivy everywhere. Every night after midnight, here come the big rigs rolling in, the instructors dressed up like decorators, the place stuffed with flowers to kill the smell of diesel oil. Six months later, Martha can do a valve job on a Peterbilt blindfolded. And all the guys have learned how to make these delicious little cucumber sandwiches, ideal for tea parties.

"I had to get Oprah over to Brussels incognito last year. She has even more money than Martha, but doesn't want anybody to know. Thinks it would ruin audience empathy. But the World Bank was running out of loan capital and they needed to tap into Oprah's stash--enough to offer her interest rates way above prime. A sweet deal for her!

"I cook up the idea that she's going over there to interview the Belgian royal family. Giant yawn. We don't even hide the trip--because nobody bothers to cover it. The old hiding-in-plain-sight ploy. Brilliant, if I do say so myself. One tiny problem: Oprah gets over there, discovers that Belgian thing for French fries covered in mayonnaise, and--boom!--balloons up in no time. Had to hire five more personal trainers, I hear!

"The current project, I'm pleased to report, is moving like clockwork. The Dole presidential campaign. Imagine: A guy running for president in front of 240 million Americans, and he's invisible! Nobody knows who he is or what he stands for, and every time he opens his mouth it gets more so. I'd like to take full credit, of course, but in all honesty, I can't. This guy Bob, he's a natural."

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