“Too bad Teddy’s not still around to advise you,” I began. “Have you had a frank talk with Barney, Weiner?” I asked him. “After all, we don’t want to rob Peter to pay Paul.”
“Can’t get him on the blower.”
“Have you tried him at Fanny’s?”
“No joy there.”
I whistled softly: This was the Big Enchilada Chuck Schumer’s mini-me, a man of parts not to be trifled with. I tackled this at my own peril. “This is a hard one,” I said.
In response to my whistle, Ginger pranced in, dripping wet, not even a G-string to protect her from the fierce L.A. elements. “Nice birthday suit,” I said, waving her off. That’s the kind of life we lead here in the City of the Angels, so eat your heart out, red-state Amerikkka.
“Look, Dave,” said the Big Tone at the other end of the line, “I’m getting the shaft here. You’ve got to use the old noodle and get me out of this pickle.”
“What about the modified limited hang-out? After all, it worked for Tricky Dick.”
“For a while. Then they ram-rodded him right out of town.”
“Good point.” I was shooting blanks now. “Listen, Tony,” I said, “there’s no more of these things floating around the Internet, are there? No loose cannons? No banana peels? No girls you’ve been sexting? No Facebook affairs? No pictures of you with your shirt off, like that clown in upstate New York — holy moly look how fast they yanked him. You gotta be straight with me. This is no time to pull another boner.”
All of a sudden he got real furtive-like. “Sorry, Dave,” he said, “Call coming in. Ding-dong you right back.” He rang off. He’d be back: The Weiner always rings twice.
I put some Wang Chung on the MP3 player, slipped into something comfortable, and joined Ginger in the hot tub. For the nonce, I was Mr. Happy, luxuriating in the back yard of the manse, the whiff of the hot dogs from nearby Dodger Stadium redolent on the night air. Life was good. I could almost forget that, like everybody else in Hollywood, I was out of work.
Every little swallow, every chickadee, Every little bird in the tall oak tree . . .
“Rockin’ Robin,” I answered, using our secret code phrase.
“Listen, Dave,” he said, “Hillary just showed up at my front door with an ashtray in one hand and a lamp in the other. She’s got a resignation letter and divorce papers and says she’ll use them if I don’t do the right thing. I rang Bill, but his message said he’s away on official business on Johnston Atoll.”
“No worries, bro,” I consoled. “You could just do what every other Democrat does — hunker down, deny everything, and wait for it all to blow over while MSNBC and the Times cover for you. But that’s the coward’s way. You’re made of sterner stuff. You want to go out tall and proud, grabbing fate with both hands.”
“Yeah!” I could hear him growing excited.
“So a whole new career is coming at ya.” Yes, my mind works that fast, even in a hot tub.
“Where’s the beef?” he asked breathlessly.
“Repeat after me: ‘I am a star. I’m a star. I’m a star. I’m a star. I’m a star. I’m a bright, shining star.’ Got that?”
I could hear him talking to himself as I hung up the phone and turned to my protégé. “That ring tone’s for the birds,” she said.
“Au contraire, my little chickadee,” I replied. “‘The wise old owl, the big black crow, Flappin’ their wings singin’ go bird, go.’ Can you spell Dirk Diggler?”