Like anyone else, I hate getting calls at three in the morning. Much to my wife’s annoyance, we can’t turn the ringer off at night because of my job with the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (VRWC). Karl doesn’t call often, but like the time he had to steal the Declaration of Independence I sometimes have to help him on a moment’s notice. When it rang last night sometime between midnight and sunrise, I fully expected to hear the mastermind’s voice on the other end, but didn’t expect to hear,
“Hi, I’m calling you with some important information about Lynn Woolsey, Democratic incumbent for Congress in California’s 6th Congressional District.”
My wife grabbed the phone and hung it up. The phone rang again. She grabbed it again and hung it up. It rang again. This time, I beat her to the phone and this time before he finished saying “Woolsey,” I recognized Karl’s voice.
CL: Karl, why are you calling me on behalf of a Democrat? Did you switch teams like Ted Haggard?
KR: Did you know that Lynn Woolsey wants a timetable for the US to disengage from Iraq? Are you aware that she has one of the most liberal voting records in Congress and is rated even more likely to agree with the Sierra Club and the ACLU than John Kerry? Did you know she believes in limiting American corporations based on speculation about global warming?
CL: Karl, why are you telling me all this positive stuff about my congresswoman?
KR: Lynn Woolsey once attended a gay wedding and has even had campaign workers who were openly homosexual. Did you know she actually once accepted welfare?
CL: You know, Karl. I’m glad to hear this stuff but it’s sort of late and you’ve been telling me about Lynn Woolsey for the last ten minutes and it’s 3:30 in the morning out here. My wife’s not too happy about this.
Karl’s voice kept going and in my early morning stupor, it occurred to me that this wasn’t actually him but a robo-call so I hung up somewhere between Karl’s talk of “Despite her support for the Dry Creek Indians and her writing a letter on behalf of a rapist, Woolsey has consistently opposed the war and even gave Cindy Sheehan a guest pass to the President’s State of the Union Speech this year.”
This time the phone didn’t ring.
Mrs. CL: Okay, enough. Can we turn the ringer off. I have to get up for work in the morning.
CL: Dear, this is my work or it might be.
Mrs. CL: I thought you were working on that show for the gourmet network,”Cooking with Karl”.
CL: I am. I was supposed to be helping him with his recipe for October surprise.
Mrs. CL: So….what do calls for Lynn Woolsey at three in the morning have to do with that?
CL: I know this is crazy, but I’m pretty sure that was Karl. It was his voice. Just the other day, he was having me spread butter on these three hundred quail that Dick Cheney had shot one morning and Karl said, “You don’t spread butter in my kitchen, you smear.”
When he said “smear” it sounded just like “year” in the robo-call.
Mrs. CL: But Karl Rove wouldn’t call on behalf of Lynn Woolsey. Anyway, what happened with this October surprise thing? John Kerry maybe said the right thing the wrong way, Saddam got the death penalty even though they hadn’t finished writing the decision yet, and Ted Haggard….some mastermind!
CL: Never underestimate Karl Rove. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.
Mrs. CL: Well they were talking about a second 9/11, bombing Iran, or capturing Osama?
CL: Trust me dear. No one in the White House even mentions Osama.
My wife went back to sleep. Five minutes later the phone rang again.
Mrs. CL: If you don’t turn that ringer off, I’ll personally vandalize Lynn Woolsey’s campaign headquarters.
I picked up the receiver.
KR: So CL what do you think of the new me?
Mrs. CL then grabbed the phone and ripped the line cord out of the wall. I got up, pulled on my robe.
CL: Sorry dear, but we have a mortgage to cover.
I went out to the kitchen and called Karl back on our wireless phone.
CL: Karl, what the heck are you doing?
KR: It’s the new me. It’s Robo-Karl.
CL: You mean like the Peter Weller movie Robocop?
CL: It’s almost four in the morning Karl. This is inhuman.
KR: That’s exactly the point. Robo-Karl doesn’t need to sleep. I’m beyond human. Go ahead, try to waterboard me.
CL: Karl, honestly I don’t understand.
KR: The media and public opinion are just the software. Robo-Karl controls the hardware now. Your phone line, the voting machine, your finances. People in America don’t vote, it’s the machines that count and I’m controlling the machines.
CL: As your friend, I have to tell you this sounds crazy.
KR: I don’t have to spin anything anymore. It’s mine, it’s all mine. I mean it’s all ours.
CL: Karl, I really need to get back to sleep. We have your cooking show rehearsals. We’re doing October-Surprise, remember?
KR: I am beyond October-Surprise now. We have control of the vertical, the horizontal. Welcome to the Outer Limits of Republican power. We don’t even need people to work in our campaigns, just money.
CL: You’ve lost the war, you’ve destroyed the economy, a good half of your leaders have been exposed as either hypocrites or simply corrupt….It’s gotten hard for me to make you seem friendly, funny, and likeable.
KR: It doesn’t matter anymore. In a couple weeks, we won’t even need writers. We’re going to replace all you humans with…..
He was pounding on something that sounded hollow and metallic.
CL: Karl, can I call you back after it’s morning?
KR: No problem CL. I just need to make another 186,000 calls myself in the next hour or so—–Set hands for speed dial!
CL: Karl, can I ask one more question?
CL: Why is it that you're so good at fighting and planning an election war and so bad at carrying out and justifying a real war?
KR: The party has its priorities CL. I stilll have 186,000 calls to make in the next few minutes. Great talking to you.
My wife was sound asleep when I got back to bed. My mind was spinning, but I was so tired that I fell asleep myself anyway. She woke up first,
Mrs. CL: Dear, it was horrible. I had the worst nightmare. It felt like it went on for six years. People took over our country, but they weren’t really people. They were robots programmed to kill humans and destroy their world, but they kept saying “We will keep you safe, we will keep you safe.”
KR: You mean the phone ringing?
Mrs. CL: What phone?
KR: You know, Robo-Karl?
Mrs. CL: Dear, it’s time to wake up. It’s election day. We’ve got to vote today while we still can.
As we leave the house to go to the community church that serves as our polling place, I’m sure it was just a nightmare, but somehow I keep hearing the hollow thunk of metal as Robo-Karl was showing me the place where his heart was supposed to be.
CL: Right dear, it’s time for all of us to wake up