JACQUES CHIRAC arrives to consult the ORACLE
Throughout the interview, the Vehicle pantomimes the things she misses most about being male, i.e., the smell of urinal cakes, the inexpensive clothing, the ability to still be considered attractive by People magazine even after the age of 34.
Chirac: Bonjour, vagin artificiel.
Oracle: Bonjour, Jacques Chirac. The screenwriters of the first Batman movie were named "Sam Hamm" and "Warren Skaaren". Whenever I hear your name, I am reminded of them.
Chirac: I worked on a draft of that screenplay. I contributed reams of material, but all that remains is the joylessness. Do I call you Edmund?
Oracle: The Vehicle was named Edmund, but has no name at present. I may be addressed as your whim dictates.
Chirac: Edmund seems not so bad a name for a girl when you consider my youngest daughter is named Claude. You would like Paris, I think. Have you ever been abroad? You see the pun I am going for.
Oracle: Yes, your pun is a ping pong ball with male velcro on it and I am wearing a mitt made of female velcro, so to speak.
Chirac: My whim has dictated that I ask my question now and here it is: It is the official policy of France to speak lovingly of America while disdaining its leader. This is very French, so I support it, but is it actually possible?
Oracle: "Love the sin, hate the sinner"?
Chirac: Chacun a son gout.
Oracle: Keats came up with negative capability while practicing his French, so I suppose you may claim it as your birthright. Similar justification may be used for, say, espousing environmentalism while testing nuclear weapons in Polynesia, or simultaneously opposing and embracing the adoption of the euro. Or, indeed, having extramarital affairs.
Chirac: Indeed, I kissed Laura Bush last October right in front of her husband. She tasted like mid-price caramels. She smelled of hand lotion and Fritos.
Oracle. As a side note, by the time Keats was your age, he had been dead for 46 years. I just did that math in my head.
Chirac: Your use of "head" perplexes me. A follow-up question, if I may.
Oracle: Indeed, indeed.
Chirac: The headscarf nonsense. This was blown way out of proportion. I am not against the wearing of headscarves for religious reasons; I am against the wearing of headscarves not designed by Louis Vuitton. Will the world ever understand this?
Oracle: You are being silly, but in fact the last time a Frenchman wore religious clothing under false pretenses, the Ark of the Covenant made his head explode, so you could be forgiven for backing this law. But you won't be. But it won't matter. The left will split the vote again, leaving the second round choice between you and the COO of Starbucks France. You will win in another meaningless landslide. Rassemblement pour la Republique in 2007!
Chirac: Onward, to the Prix Nobel!
Oracle: Which you will win posthumously, never having realized that France is not that different from the U.S. I mean, they got the same shit over here that they got there, but it's just here it's a little different.
Chirac. (wearily, for he sees where this is going) Example?
Oracle. You know what they call a Royale with Cheese in New York?
Chirac. (automatically) They do not call it a Royale with Cheese?
Oracle. Nah, man, they got rid of monarchy years ago. They wouldn't know what the fuck "Royale" means.
Chirac. (distracted) What do they call it?
Oracle. They call it a "Quarter Pounder With Cheese."
Chirac. (rote) What do they call a Le Big Mac?
Oracle. Le Big Mac's a Le Big Mac, but they call it "Big Mac."
Chirac. (sotto voce) Je l'ai vu venir gros comme une maison.
Oracle. OK, I'm done with that. Thank you for indulging me.
Chirac. Quickly, then, my time in this country is short, but is it possible that I could visit Fantana Island? I am not sure where it is, but I would very much like to meet the Fantana that likes grape. She wears colorful mod beachwear, and her hair is a tsunami.
Oracle: Fantana Island is not a literal place. It is a gradual process of understanding the nature of the world. But since the Fantanas appear wherever their cool fruitiness and fantastical flavors are needed, perhaps you will get there someday.
Chirac. I see. I was hoping there would be a Fantana who liked quince.
Oracle. It is yours to hope. Do you have anything else?
Chirac. No. I'm just waiting for my ride.
(Outside, Gerhard Schroder honks the horn of his VW Passat. The horn plays "Die Wacht am Rhein".)
Chirac. There we are. Thank you for your time.
EXEUNT, nervously humming "La Marseillaise".
(witnessed by Samantha Moss)
(Story continues at FUNDAMENTALIST HYMN.)