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When the pumpkin spilled its guts

So I was out doing a little last-minute pumpkin shopping. I passed a pile of orange blobs on Pennsylvania Avenue that were selling for a song. The White House, it seems, had requisitioned too many of the gourds and was hawking the extras to raise money for the president's legal-defense fund.

I bought one, already carved in a Jiang Zemin smile. As I hauled it home, the smile seemed to grow even more maniacal. When I lifted the top, I found a tape inside! Holy Alger Hiss!

On the cassette was scrawled a mysterious inscription: "BC/DC, 10/30/97."

Feeling like a serendipitous cross between Seymour Hersh and Nancy Drew, I popped BC/DC into the machine. Over the din of Judy Collins music, one voice was unmistakable. This was really big. Like Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, Bill Clinton had not been able to resist recording for posterity.

He was shooting the Oval Office breeze with Mack McLarty and Harold Ickes, back in the fold after his bravura appearance on Capitol Hill. If Erskine Bowles was in the room, there was no way to tell.

C: What's with that new social secretary? I told her I wanted Ally McBeal! (Unintelligible.) No, to the Chinese dinner, stupid! She's cute as a speckled pup in those tiny skirts. And what about Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

M: I'll make a note of it. There'll be another dictator here soon, sir.

C: So ol' Fred Thompson is shuttin' down the hearings. He's dead for 2000. I knew those creeps would never pin anything on me. I love that Mark Shields line: I drive a convertible through a car wash with the top down and Al Gore and Bruce Babbitt get wet.

Ol' Brucie didn't come across as very honest about that Indian casino. Lucky I never put him on the Supreme Court. Oh well, another Boy Scout bites the dust. He actually thought they were gonna believe him, Harold, when he said how you hadn't ordered him to dance with wolves in exchange for all that soft wampum.

I couldn't believe Babbitt's own pal testified against him! Friends don't let friends get impeached. They should be willing to perjure themselves or go to jail or run up legal bills or hide documents or lose their jobs. Right Harold?

I: (Expletive deleted.)

C: Mack, remember Broken Arrow, that great multicultural show we watched when we were little? Whatever happened to that guy who played Cochise? We might need somebody for Interior.

M: I'll check with Freeh, sir.

C: Now that the hearings are done, we can stop jawing about campaign finance reform. Al's so tainted over soft money, he's going to need a whole lot more of it. (Laughs.)

I: Uh-huh.

C: It looks as if George Jr. will get in. I wish I could run again. Those Bushes are easy to beat.

What? There's a gag order on Paula Jones and me? Good. I gag every time I look at her. I don't even think she has nice hair anymore.

M: She has terrible hair, sir.

C: I can't believe this thing is going to trial. I feel so exposed. What is this country coming to?

M: Heaven knows, sir.

C: I am so glad Jiang is finally gone. Man, I sure whupped him at that press conference! I'm not soft on China. But it sure was a waste of time, me rehearsing Love Me Tender and then he didn't want to do any bilateral singing! Hey, Mack, have you got the ketchup?

Is there any symbol of democracy that little communist didn't fondle? I was afraid to turn on CNN _ I thought I might see him scamperin' up the Statue of Liberty's leg or snugglin' in Abe Lincoln's lap. Good thing we got Yo-Yo Ma and Amy Tan to show up at the dinner. I was afraid they'd be really uptight about Tiananmen Square. And how about Madeleine bringing that bald Trekkie as her date! Beam me up, Captain Picard. Haw, haw.

M: Hee, hee.

I: Uh-huh.

C: Hey, did you see this layout in Architectural Digest on George's New York bachelor pad? The guy's a Ralph Lauren ad! The decorator lined Stephanopoulos' walls with cork so he could pin up memos. Then covered the cork with gray flannel. Why we no have? (Laughs.) They wanted "a simple, masculine palette." I can get with that. (Laughs.)

I: Uh-huh.

Thus spake the pumpkin.

New York Times News Service