Short stories and essays by Shaun Costello, as well as excerpts from manuscripts in progress.


Associated Press December 12, 2011 In an exclusive interview granted to Heywood Sargent of the Associated Press today, former Vice President Dick Cheney is pressed to respond to tough questions about his new book, his relationships with Former Secretaries of State Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice, the American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his alleged suggestion to then President George Bush in 2006, that America should not rule out a full scale invasion of France.

Sargent…Mr. Vice President, in your new book, ‘In My Time’, you suggest great attitudinal differences that existed between the Bush White House and the State Department, under both Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice. Could you elaborate?

Cheney…Attitudinal, huh? That’s a good one. You don’t mind if I tuck that away somewhere and use it later, do you? First of all, you’ve got to get this ‘Chain of Command’ thing straightened out. The President hires the Secretary of State. The President is the boss, and the Secretary is, well, not the boss. You follow me so far? First of all, the President would come to me, as his father instructed him to do, and he would say, “Vice?”, he always called me that, a term of endearment and respect, and also my title back then. “Vice”, he would say, “We’ve got to get this blame thing about Iraq worked out. I mean, if we’re going to incinerate their country, we’ve got to make it seem like it’s their fault, you see what I’m saying?” I told him we had Saddam dead to rights. He had the nukes, and he had the gas, and the rockets too, and we could prove it. And he said, “Look Vice, I talked with Colin this morning. He wants to go to the United Nations with this thing. Have them investigate. Get the goods on the towel heads. Then we’re in the clear – good to go – bombs away”. I explained to the President that we had a schedule to keep. We had to coordinate the vacation plans of several of our key Generals, and then, there’s The Masters. You can’t have a war going on when they’re playing The Masters. I mean, I’m a member down at Augusta National. I’ve got a locker with my name on it, and everything. If we were going to blow Iraq to smithereens, we had to adhere to a reasonable timetable, and the UN would take their dear sweet time with this thing. Look, you hire a Secretary of State, and of course you ask his advice. But you don’t want him getting creative on you. You want him to tell you one thing, and one thing only – what he thinks, you think, you want to hear. Not what he actually thinks. You get what I’m saying here? I mean, you look back at the Nixon White House. Boy, those were the days. Haldeman had scripts written for the Cabinet meetings, and he rehearsed them. Every Secretary of every Department in the Government had to know his lines. That’s my kind of White House. My kind of government.

Sargent…You criticized Condoleezza Rice for being President Bush’s lap-poodle. You also alluded to some connection between Secretary Rice and Muammar Gaddafi. You mentioned inappropriate gifts being exchanged. Given the recent discovery of Gaddafi’s Condi Shrine and suggestive photo album, could you expand on these statements?

Cheney…First of all, let’s set the record straight on this Condi Rice business. Secretary Rice is an outstanding and loyal American, and one of President Bush’s most important and historic appointments, being the first African American to ever hold that office.

Sargent…Mr. Vice President, Ms. Rice followed in the footsteps of Colin Powell, as Secretary of State, and of course, Colin Powell is also an African America.

Cheney…You’re kidding. Colin is colored? I always thought he was Armenian or something. You live and learn. About Condi, look, I don’t want the hired help getting creative, but Condi took condescension to a whole new level. I mean, the President would ask her, “Condi, I want your input on this ‘weapons of mass destruction’ business. Does this hummus-eater have ‘em, or what.” And her robotic response was, “Mr. President, on January 21st, you made a statement condemning Saddam Hussein for having huge stockpiles of fissionable material, with the intention to use it against America and her allies. I whole heartedly agree with that statement, Mr. President, and all other statements made by you on all matters foreign and domestic, during both your Presidency, and your tenure in Austin as governor of Texas. And also your statement to the New Haven police after your DUI arrest when you were a student at Yale, that your father covered up.” Look, I don’t want them getting creative, but Jesus.

Sargent…And Gaddafi?

Cheney…Oh, that. Well, let’s just say that the boys over at the NSA hear it all. Secretary Rice had made a diplomatic visit to Tripoli, which had to be extended for a few days, because Gaddafi evidently had the hots for her. There were some, well let’s call them inappropriate gifts exchanged. My favorite was the life sized, anatomically correct Colonel Gaddafi inflatable doll. What she did with it is anybody’s guess, but it was the subsequent phone calls that aroused interest at the NSA. I remember one call in particular. They played it back for me. I can remember it almost verbatim:

Gaddafi…Oh, my LeezaLeeza, My African Queen of the night, you must call me MooMoo, and in our love-tent we will make harmonious music together. Yes, MooMoo and his LeezaLeeza, in the harmony of the love motions. We make the music of the romance.

Rice…Listen Colonel, I like your outfits, but I draw the line at baby talk. Let’s just put on some Barry White, and get funky.

Well, you can imagine the NSA boys getting a kick out of this. I’ve got the tape around here somewhere.

Sargent…In your book, you mentioned the hunting accident, back on 2006, and you said you missed. What did you mean by that?

Cheney…That was on a quail hunt down in South Texas with Happy Harry Wittington. Hap was a contributor to my campaign. Always smiling and joking around. Real fun guy. Ever been around somebody who’s always smiling? It can get on you nerves, believe me. So I got to thinking – what if I put a couple of pellets in Hap’s behind? I bet that would wipe that smile off his face. So Hap’s about twenty feet ahead of me, and I yell, ”Over there, Hap. Over the trees” And when old Hap turned to shoot, I accidentally/on purpose unloaded in his direction. I meant to aim just to the left of him, so he’d just catch just a few pellets. Hell, everybody catches a few pellets in the behind, once in a while. But I stumbled, and the gun went off pointing right at the smiling son of a bitch. Wound up in intensive care. Jesus. I’ll tell you something though. I went to see him in the hospital. They had him all wired, on life support – lots of tubes. And there was old Hap, doing his Cheshire Cat thing. Quite a guy. He still contributes.

Sargent…I was wondering if you saw Oliver Stone’s film “Dubya”, and if you thought it was an accurate depiction of the Bush White House?

Cheney…I did see parts of it. It won some awards, didn’t it? Like Best Documentary, or something?

Sargent…Not exactly. It was a dramatization. The characters were played by actors. Your own roll was played by Richard Dreyfuss.

Cheney…Actors? Richard Dreyfuss? I don’t know what you’re talking about. The scenes I saw were all real. It was in the Oval Office. All of us were there: The President, Colin, Condi, Tenet, Rummy, and Carl Rove too.

Sargent…Mr. Vice President, that wasn’t Carl Rove. It was an actor named Toby Jones. You yourself were portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss.

Cheney…Actors? Now, wait just a minute here. I saw what I saw. It was us. I lived it. I saw it played back. That’s what happened. This some kind of  journalistic trick? I wasn’t born yesterday, Mister. Besides, I’m better looking than Richard Dreyfuss.

Sargent…With the 2012 election just around the bend, could you size up the GOP’s candidates, and their chances. How about Michele Bachmann?

Cheney…Certainly. First off, let me say that the entire GOP field is made up of outstanding Americans, who understand the meaning of Capital Gain, and all that that entails. You won’t find a wuss in the bunch. Ms. Bachmann has an outstanding record in the House, and comes from a dairy state, which never hurts. But I’ll tell you, this homophobic thing she’s got happening is going to come back and bite her in the ass. So what if a guy’s light in the loafers. My daughter is an openly gay woman. Nothing wrong with that. Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to play the back nine at the Congressional with any homos, but they should have the same rights as the rest of us., or at least it should seem like it. And I’ll tell you one thing about your average homo that escapes Ms. Bachmann – he votes.

Sargent…Mit Romney?

Cheney…Governor Romney did some fine things up there in Massachusetts. Good looking guy too, which never hurts with the female voters. He’d run America like a fine tuned corporation, and that’s the way it should be. But I just don’t know about this Mormon thing. I mean, this is America, where every man can realize his dream, but a Mormon in the White House? These people have polygamy on the brain. Did you ever read the Book of Mormon? If it were a movie, it would be a cross between The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Starman.

Sargent…Rick Perry?

Cheney…Governor Perry’s got that Texan cow puncher spirit, I’ll tell you that. Americans respond to a man in boots and a Stetson. Evokes that pioneer spirit. A sense of toughness and independence. Conjures up images of John Wayne, even Ronald Reagan. Hell, Reagan took on the Soviet Union – face to face – mano a mano – And Mr. Gorbachev blinked and that wall came down. Yessir, never go one on one with a man in a fine set of boots. Of course, Governor Perry wears Tony Lama’s. They’re OK, I guess, but it’s a mass produced boot, the kind of thing you can pick up at Sears. A real Texan only wears a Lucchese boot. Made in San Antonio. Old world craftsmanship in every stitch. I’ve sent the Governor memo’s about this, but he’s still strutting around in those Tony Lama’s. Reagan wore only Lucchese, and look where it got him. And the American voter knows the difference, believe me.

Sargent…Mr. Vice President, are you saying that the outcome of the election can come down to the brand of boots a candidate wears?

Cheney…If the shoe fits.

Sargent…Newt Gingrich?

Cheney…A fine American in every way. As Speaker of the House he took out a contract on America. Remember that? My kind of guy. That’s the way to run the country. Take no prisoners. But if a few stragglers do wind up in your camp, interrogate the hell out of them. That’s the way you find things out.

Sargent…Sarah Palin?

Cheney…Ms. Palin is a fine conservative, and an attractive woman. Sure, she had some minor glitches, like that bridge to nowhere, when she was Governor, up there in Alaska. And keeping an eye on the Russians, across the Bering Straight, from her office window. But she’s got this soccer mom thing happening, and that could bode well for her, come election time. But those names she gave her kids. Track? Bristol? Willow? Piper? Trig? What’s up with that? I mean, would it have killed her to name one of them Robert, or Delores, or Mary Sue – you know, names people can relate to. She might as well of named one of them Dump Truck for all the good it will do her at the polls. Sounds like a bunch of God damned hippies. Excuse my French.

Sargent…And speaking of France, you mentioned in the book that, back in 2006, you advised President Bush to not rule out a full scale invasion of France. Could you elaborate on that?

Cheney…Certainly. You know, 2006 was not a good year for us. Iraq was not working out the way we planned. The Taliban were making a comeback in Afghanistan. Secretary Rice was preoccupied, having a lurid affair with that towel-head fruitcake in Tripoli. Wall Street was in the throes of collapse. The American electorate was looking for someone to blame, and that’s never good when you’re in power. America needed a diversion, and I was all for giving it to them. It’s like, the television networks know how to do this. The scheduled programs show their last episode in the Spring. So now, the people have nothing to watch. What do the networks do? They present the Summer shows – something completely different, like a sitcom where a homo couple complete their odd family picture by adopting a chimpanzee. They could call it “Chumps”. I like that. And the viewers forget that their favorite shows won’t be back on until the Fall. That’s what I wanted to give the American voters – a Summer show. And I thought, why not invade France. Hell, they’re an arrogant bunch. Don’t agree with us on anything. We saved them from Hitler, and what thanks do we get? The French adoration of Jerry Lewis. France is a socialist country anyway, so why not invade them. And that means we could take prisoners and interrogate the bejesus out of them. And here’s the best part, we’ve done it before. We’d just do the Narmandie invasion all over again. I figured the plans for D-Day must be in the basement of the Pentagon somewhere. It would be a piece of cake.

Sargent…So, what happened?

Cheney…Well, we were ready to go. The President was on board one hundred percent. Carl Rove and Rummy thought up a whole bunch of crimes that France had committed against the world. You know, to justify obliterating a third of their population.

So what happens? Some jerk-off bureaucrat at the Pentagon misplaced the D-Day invasion plans. We’d have to start again from scratch. The boys at Central Command said ‘No can do’. Well, that was that. America never got the Summer show it so needed and deserved.

Sargent…Five dinner guests?

Cheney…That’s easy. Let’s see – there’s George Patton, old blood and guts. There’s a lot you can learn from a guy like that. And Julius Caesar, of course. And the Romanian, Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Impaler. I sure would like to pick his brain on his interrogation techniques. He made water boarding look like scrabble. And someone funny. I know, how about Ayn Rand, with that pungent sense of humor of hers. She’d keep the conversation moving. Oh, and for the fifth, Mickey Rooney.

Sargent…Why Mickey Rooney?

Cheney…Balance. With a crowd as distinguished as that, I’d like to know that there’s at least one guy at that table who’s shorter than me.

Sargent…Thank you Mr. Vice President.

Cheney…My pleasure.


© 2011 Shaun Costello

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13 responses

  1. this is ingenious!!!

    August 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    • shauncostello

      Thanks Steven. Most people who have read this think it’s an actual interview, which is pretty hilarious.

      August 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm

  2. Jeff Eagle

    Took me a while to get to it but it was worth the wait. The characterization was spot on. Totally hilarious!

    September 1, 2011 at 9:26 am

    • shauncostello

      Thanks Jeff.

      September 1, 2011 at 9:28 am

  3. Phyllis Childers

    The scarey part is how be-leav-able it is. I think most of us liberals think this is how these people think. I really didn’t start saying it might not be real until the invasion plans item. That’s scarey. If we knew the truths.

    October 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    • shauncostello

      You’re not alone, Phyllis. Hundreds were fooled by this. I thought that puting the invasion of France in the first paragraph would assuage doubts about intent. I try to write accurately, in terms of tone. I met Cheney once, years ago. I tried to capture his voice. I guess I overdid it.

      October 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  4. Thomas James

    My Oh My, I thought this was a real interview. Dick is a dick and you seemed to have captured the essence of his personality.

    October 11, 2011 at 3:30 am

    • shauncostello

      I know Thomas. Most people believe it most of the way through, even though I DO mention invading France in the first paragraph. I had to learn to like Cheney, in order to write this. Parody without affection, is simply sarcasm. Now I can hate him again.

      October 11, 2011 at 7:47 am

  5. Joan Johnson-Porter

    Well…non-fiction is the realm of facts…fiction is the realm of truths! Truth-on, my friend!

    October 11, 2011 at 8:38 am

  6. Would be funny if it wasn’t probably just about true. Reporter must’ve been a fly on the Oval Office wall,

    October 11, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  7. Andrew Bowman

    I liked the bit where “Cheney” forgets that Colin Powell actually had been Secretary of State _before_ Condoleezza Rice, so that the first African-American Secretary of State was actually Dick Cheney’s bete noire (if you’ll pardon the pun) Colin Powell. And “Cheney” attempting to brush off his forgetting about Powell by saying “…You’re kidding. Colin is colored? I always thought he was Armenian or something. You live and learn.” That was especially hilarious, because it was so plausible as a declaration by the actual Dick Cheney. Especially since it is absolutely true that Colin Powell has always been a huge Saudi-lover, and Arab-lover generally; and Armenians hate the Turks so much (for committing genocide against them during WWI) that they often love the Turks’ traditional opponents, the Iranians and the Arabs. I _almost_ believed this was an actual interview of that wicked “Vice.”

    October 12, 2011 at 8:03 am

    • shauncostello

      Most people think it’s real most of the way through, even though I do mention the invasion of France in the first paragraph. I had to learn to like Cheney in order to write this. Parody without affection is only sarcasm. Now I can hate him again

      October 12, 2011 at 8:18 am

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