- "Dick, Welcome to Hell!" The devil rose to
greet the former Vice President. "Actually we're in the antechamber
of hell, where I keep the temperature at a surprisingly cool 72 degrees."
- "You can't be serious? I'm still in a coma; I believe
that my surgeons are working to resuscitate me," said the former Vice
President, perspiring nervously. "This must be a dream--or a mistake."
- The devil smiled warmly. "That's what everyone always
says--'Must be some kind of mistake.' As if humans were immortal or immune
to the consequences of their actions. Not one person in power ever expects
to arrive here. Why, I just saw General Westmoreland not long ago. And
you, Dick, especially, with all your heart problems, you should have known
better. I have only a few questions to ask you before we make our way below."
- "Wait! This is all a mistake! I'll wake up in a
moment. I was expected shortly in a conference with Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld....Maybe
I had a heart attack."
- "Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz! Ah, my two favorite Americans-in-waiting!
How is Rumsfeld? He looks rather drawn? Not sure whether he's long for
the world. God only knows when I'll see him. Might be any day now."
- Cheney looked surprised. Certainly this polite fellow
couldn't be the devil. He tried to explain his way out. It always worked
with the American media. "Obviously you've got the wrong man. I have
a bad heart; I'm not well."
- "Dick, Dick, Dick---you know as well as I that your
heart died long ago. How could it not? A human heart functions perfectly
from birth, capable of love, generosity, and honorable acts. Certainly
you knew that? Once it fails, in your case when you were very young and
selfish, the first tiny bit of heart disease enters. Then, when you became
a young man, and plotted your course heedless to what my counterpart, God,
would call a moral law, you became my rapt pupil."
- "I neither know you nor who you work for,"
said the former VP. Cheney looked nervous. He had to get out of here; where
were his Secret Service bodyguards?
- The devil read his mind instantly. "Never mind them--they
can't protect you now."
- "Who do you work for?" Cheney demanded. "How
did you get in here? What is this place? Where are my clothes? I demand
- "Excellent questions, all of them. You might be
surprised to know I work for the ultimate Secret Service, and you work
for me. Without you and people like you, I wouldn't exist, at least not
in the capacity I enjoy."
- "Riddles! Damn riddles and double talk!"
- The devil laughed. "Dick, double talk was always
your stock in trade, wasn't it? You and your cronies, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz,
Ashcroft, Rice, Rove and the entire Bush family, all of you perfected the
art of double talk. A wink, a smirk, a thinly veiled threat, a secret handshake
or pat on the back between all of you and plots became part and parcel
of foreign and domestic policy. I applaud you! But now that you're here,
fallen at last into my circle, why do you suddenly demand straight answers?
Did you ever give anyone straight answers? Did you ever offer honesty to
any of those pathetic sheep you allegedly presided over? I think not."
- "I was only the Vice President. I had no power."
- The devil roared with laughter; clearly enjoying himself.
Whenever a newcomer arrived in Hell, especially a person previously powerful
in the other world--and Dick Cheney was once the Most Powerful Man in The
World--they never failed to entertain him. Fallen from earthly graces,
powerful people whimpered and cringed.
- The shock of sudden impotence never ceased to amaze them--and
amuse the devil.
- "You were once the Most Powerful Man in The World,
Dick. According to this dossier, you masterminded 9-11, pulled the levers
against your own country, created an amazing ruse and blamed others and
created wars where no wars existed before. All my handiwork usually. I
congratulate you for your deception."
- "That's a damn dirty lie!"
- "If it was a lie, Dick, then why didn't you sue
Mike Ruppert? He
accused you of high crimes and misdeamors, but mostly high crimes--treason,
murder, arson, sabotage, and lying of course. You could have sued him--he
was that LA cop who wrote that book about you, remember, who accused you
of masterminding the 9-11 attack. You, the Most Powerful Man in the World.
If it was a damn dirty lie--as you say--wouldn't you want to face your
accuser in a court of law? God-only-knows I would."
- The devil rarely took the Lord's name in vain. Instead
he often used the expression, God-only-knows, strictly for emphatic purposes.
Humans, he had discovered, uttered the word God carelessly, ceaselessly
and tirelessly until the word itself had almost lost all effect for them.
- "That goddamn insolent asshole, Ruppert! All those
damned traitors on the Internet!"
- "Tut tut, Dick. Your critics on the Internet are
not called here to testify. Instead it is you who must give an accounting.
I should remind you, at times I must become God's advocate, as many men
have become mine, at no bidding from me. So I ask you, Dick, did you ever
stop to consider what was the best and wisest path, for the greater good?"
- Cheney's eyes darted around the room, looking for escape.
"I'm a great American patriot. If people knew the true facts behind
9-11 and Iraq they would thank me."
- "Thank you? For what? Urban renewal via aviation,
with 3,000 incinerated deaths? Invasion and occupation of two foreign countries,
sugar-coated as liberation, at the cost of $500 billion and 100,000 more
deaths? Add a couple thousand US soldiers dead and 15,000 wounded. Masterful
propaganda but hardly patriotism. Not that I minded, Dick; you were doing
my work. Tell you what I'm going to do for you: I'll get three advocates
for your defense. Should I call three saints or three sinners?"
- Cheney pondered the question, certain of a trick. "If
I choose three saints they'll condemn me for minor details. So, I choose
three sinners, preferrably my peers."
- The devil smiled. Instantly three former Vice Presidents
appeared, Truman, Lyndon Johson and Nixon, looking a bit charred and still
smoldering. Each had ascended to the presidency and immediately helped
foster a police state and nurture a foreign war. Sizing up the situation
immediately, they spoke in unison.
- "Welcome, Dick, to Hell--or at least to the antechamber.
Lots more of us down here. Funny thing, in Hell, we're forced to tell the
truth when we testify as witnesses. That never happened on Earth. Anyway,
while the American media couldn't seem to find a single fault with you,
unfortunately we've found you foolhardy, venal, duplicitous, cowardly,
mean-spirited, and a bully. In short, one of us."
- Then Harry Truman spoke, shaking his head. "At least
in 1941, we never invented fake terrorists at Pearl Harbor. Nor did I ever
threaten to nuke a small country we hadn't declared war against. Really,
Dick, if you couldn't stand the heat than you shouldn't have played with
fire. Welcome to Hell."
- Essayist Douglas Herman write regularly for the Internet
and is the author of Guns