"Nice to be here. Is this where Dan Rather sits?"
"Same exact chair. So, how's everything going at your new offices up in Harlem?"
"Wonderful. And the best part is, people have already forgotten that my first choice was some chi-chi suite in Rockefeller Center. Like I always say, you only have to catch me once."
"Well put. So, Mr. President, you made news again this week by signing a big book deal."
"Call Me Bill. "
"Thanks. And you feel free to call me Larry."
"That's the name of it. 'Call Me Bill.' It's a takeoff on 'Call me Ishmael' - from Moby-Dick? You know, I was a Rhodes scholar."
"Oh, gotcha. Well, speaking of whales, that $10 million advance broke the record for a work of nonfiction."
"Nonfiction? Are you sure? Ha ha. Just kidding. But seriously, the old record was $8.5 million for Pope John Paul II - who's a heckuva nice guy, by the way, and still quite active. I might also mention that my wife only got $8 million."
"But is there anything the public doesn't already know about you? I mean, you lived under a microscope for eight years - the last few under oath. What can you possibly tell people that they don't know?
"It's going to be my own account of a remarkable rise and fall from power. One day I was saying, 'I'll do for America the same things I did for Arkansas - '"
"Even though the rest of the country already had electricity at that point."
"Right. And then the next day I was up on perjury. By the way, when I said, 'I did not have sex with that woman,' Congress apparently thought I meant the Monica girl. Actually, I was talking about Hillary."
"Understood. So, what's your biggest regret?"
"Not voting for Al Gore this last time around. Truth is, I'd run into Ralph Nader in an airport bar - we were both having a fresh orange juice between flights - and he just sounded like a winner. I even wound up writing him a check. Hey, live and learn."
"So, anything special about the book?"
"You bet. First, it'll be environmentally friendly. We're printing it with soy ink on recycled back issues of the Atlantic Monthly. Then, for the audio version, 12,000 schoolchildren will read each paragraph in a different Indo-European language while Warren Beatty translates. Finally, all the footnotes will be chanted by a Hopi Indian."
"Sounds great. Got any of it written yet?"
"Almost finished. Want to hear some?"
"Chapter One. 'A long long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance. And maybe they'd be happy for a while.'"
"Excuse me, Mr. President, but - "
"'But February made me shiver, with every paper I'd deliver. Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn't take one more step. I can't remember if I cried, when I read about his widowed bride. But something touched me deep inside, the day the music - '"
"Mr. President, I'm almost sure I heard this somewhere before."
"That's the thing with classics. They always sound familiar."
"In any case, I'm afraid we're out of time."
"Could I come back? There's a way-cool part where I go, 'I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck, with a pink carnation and a pickup truck.'"
"We'll see. But first, this message from Garlique."
Copyright 2001 Newrite, Inc. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN Radio AM 720 and (http://www.wgnradio.com). Coming soon: (http://www.newsjunkie.net).