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Off the Trail

America, Brace Yourself for a Two-Family White House


Jan. 20, 2001: A wicked cold front is bearing down on Washington, D.C. Temperatures are below zero, and the prediction is for a huge blizzard. The rest of the country feels a bit chilly, too, since the presidential election is still tied up in the courts. The White House feels ghostly; Bill Clinton is running the country from New York, because Hillary has already taken their furniture with her (Bill is fond of his La-Z-Boy recliner and goes wherever it goes).

So, Frank the guard, stationed at the kiosk outside the White House, is understandably excited when a minivan, followed by a moving truck, pulls up. Finally, some action around here, he thinks. The window rolls down and George W. Bush sticks his head out.

George W.: "Hey, Frank. Good to see you again. Haven't seen you since Poppy was here."

Guard: "Yes, sir. Are you moving in?"

George W.: "You betcha. Can't let a little court battle get in the way of what the country wants. America spoke, and I heard her call."

George W. pulls a twenty out of his pocket and hands it to Frank.

George W.: "Here you go. That's for steppin' aside and letting us in. The front door's not locked, is it?"

Guard: "No, sir. I don't think so."

George W., his wife, Laura, their daughters, two dogs and three cats get out of the minivan; the girls and the animals race giddily into their new home, while George W. and Laura oversee the removal of their possessions. Meanwhile, the movers unload George W.'s wagon wheel coffee table, his stuffed moose head, a lava lamp, and a Coors sign.

Laura: "George, I put my foot down about that Coors sign before. You're president now, and besides, you quit drinking. Remember?"

George W.: "But this has neurological value."

Sam, the mover: "Doesn't he mean nostalgic?"

Rod, the other mover: "Got me. I never know what he means."

Before Laura can discard the beer sign, a Range Rover followed by another moving van pulls into the driveway. Al Gore, his wife, Tipper, the kids, and a golden retriever get out.

George W.: "What in blazes are you doin' here?"

Tipper: "You don't have to get so snippy."

Al: "I'll handle this, Tipper."

Tipper: "Oh, right. That's what you said about the election, and now look what's happened. And what in the world are those movers unloading? It looks like antlers."

George W.: "It's a hatrack."

Laura: "It was a wedding present from Poppy and Barbara."

Al: "I'll have you know, George, this is my house, and you're not welcome."

George W.: "Well, now who's getting snippy?"

Several Secret Service agents, who aren't exactly sure whom they're protecting, warily approach the two men just as sheets of hail and freezing rain start pelting everyone foolish enough to be outside in such conditions.

Agent: "This storm's supposed to shut down the city. I'm afraid you're all going to have to stay here tonight."

George W. stomps into the White House, picks up his moose head, and heads for the elevator. Al strides in after him, pointing an angry finger.

Al: "You are not taking Lincoln's bedroom!"

George W.: "Why? Did you promise it to some Buddhists?"

Since it's a small elevator, George W. and his moose head ride up alone; the others take the stairs. When they reach the second floor, the Gores' retriever is chasing a cat, and a butler is cleaning up around a potted plant where a dog (no one is saying whose) has relieved himself. Another butler graciously offers to take the moose head from George W.

Butler: "What should I do with this, sir?"

George W.: "Got a hammer? I'd like to hang it in the dining room. Reminds me of my roots."

Tipper: "You can't hang an animal head in the White House dining room. Besides, it's not your dining room!"

Al: "I'll handle this, Tipper. George, I am more popular than you, so go home. And take your ugly furniture and your cow head with you."

George W.: "Moose head, you moron. Hunted it when I was just a boy. Got a deer, too. Had it stuffed. Not too well, though--molted, fell off the wall, dog ate it. Country knows who's the most rugged one here."

Tipper: "Do you have something against pronouns?"

George W.: "Now, little lady, I am pro-life, pro-Social Security, pro-military. Pro-nouns? Have to look into that. Transition team'll do that. We are preparing for a possible administration."

Laura: "Where are the kids?"

Butler: "They said they were going skinny-dipping in the pool. I made the mistake of telling them it's heated all year round."

Al: "Isn't that nice? The kids are all getting along."

George W.: "No! It's not nice! I've had it with you, Mr. Cover-of-the-Rolling-Stone! Now get out of my house!"

Al: "Maybe we should settle this outside. Unless you're afraid of a little weather, George!"

George W.: "Not afraid of anything. Let's go!"

The two men descend in the elevator, march angrily toward the door, but find it blocked by all the furniture that the movers unloaded. Since no one told them where to put it, they just left it there.

Al: "Fine. We'll go out another way."

George W.: "Fine. Just down this hallway here."

Al: "Are you sure?"

George W.: "Visited here often, brought the kids, know the way of the land."

Al: "Don't you mean lay of the land?"

George W.: "Whatever. Dadgummit, we're right back where we started. I know there's some other doors here."

Al: "You took us around in a circle, you idiot!"

By now, it's almost morning, and the pair find themselves camped just outside the kitchen.

Al: "OK, so I couldn't find the exit, but at least we won't starve."

George W.: "You think the chef will be up soon? I could sure use some oatmeal."


Patti Davis is a freelance writer whose parents lived in the White House for eight years.

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