April 1, 2005
What if you woke up this morning in your bed back at the ranch, stumbled down the hall, the smell of eggs drifting in from the kitchen, while the sound of Laura singing something softly under her breath--"Walkin' After Midnight" maybe or "Blue Moon of Kentucky"--causes the early-morning fog to lift from your brain. And as you're standing their in your pajamas brushing your teeth, you realize that you're not at the White House and that you don't remember how you got to Texas or even how you ended up in these pajamas, which you haven't even seen in years. And a little bit confused you wander into the kitchen just as Laura's sliding a big stack of bacon onto a plate for you; she smiles and says "Good mornin' darlin'" and you sidle up to the breakfast bar, reminding yourself that those wagon-wheel bar stools are probably ready for replacing, and you realize that the kitchen hasn't been remodeled--you specifically remember remodeling it in late 2001--and you get a strange feeling that something's out of sorts. The eggs and bacon Laura cooked for you are still hot, but you walk away from them and go down the hall to the coat closet, and on opening it you can't find a single one of your presidential bomber jackets, or that "43" baseball hat your dad made for you. And you look outside and the news crews that normally clog your driveway are nowhere to be seen, nor are the ever-present secret service agents.
And what if you scratched your head and began to realize that perhaps the last few years had just been an elaborate dream caused by some bad barbecue last night, that Al Gore had won the election, that the September 11 attacks had never happened. That you've spent the last five years riding horses and mending fences at the ranch, finally retired from public life after a resounding loss at the polls.
And what if you began to relax, your shoulders softening from a stressful dream, your jaw unclenching from a night of grinding.
And what if you walked back into the kitchen, sliding your hands around Laura's waste, joining in as she sings "shine on the one that's gone and left me blue," and swing her around the kitchen counter, giddy and happy and feeling like you hadn't felt in years.
And what if just then, Dick Cheney walks though a door you hadn't noticed before, claps your back with his massive, beefy hand and hollers "April Fools!" into your ear.
Would you laugh hardily at the elaborate planning, the attention to detail, the surprise? Or would you feign a smile as the reality of everything comes rushing back.