Somewhere in the Cayman Islands.
[The Interviewer and his Subject sit in high-back, cane chairs in an open, plantation-style terrace. Bright, hot studio lighting causes the Subject to sweat great drops from underneath the wide swath of hair covering his forehead. A camera crew makes preparations for the videotaped interview.]
Bill Friday: Governor, we’re on in one minute. Is there anything need before we begin?
Blagojevich: I’m a little parched. A Mojito would be nice.
[Bill Friday turns to his Personal Assistant...]
Friday: Evie, could you bring the Governor a Mojito... with lots and lots of ice?
Evie: Anything for you. You know that.
[The Assistant leaves, in search of a Mojito... with lots and lots of ice...]
Blagojevich: Do I have time to comb my hair?
Friday: Governor, John Edwards didn’t comb his hair for me...
[The Personal Assistant returns with the Governor’s Mojito. He tosses the straw away and drinks deeply...]
Blagojevich: [Gestures with his hair toward the Personal Assistant...] So are the two of you…?
Friday: Oh, Evie? Long story. Love your shirt, by the way.
Blagojevich: Tommy Bahama. My wife loves palm trees.
Friday: Would you like to run through my questions again? We still have time if...
Blagojevich: Nah!!! I’m fine!
Friday: Really? Okay.
[The Interviewer looks past the camera, toward his Line Producer...]
Friday (cont’d): Sharlene, we’re ready!
Sharlene: Sounds good. Alright people! Let’s roll! IN FIVE... IN FOUR... THREE...
[The Producer counts down the last two seconds with the fingers on her right hand. She points to the Interviewer, indicating ACTION!]
Friday: Governor Rod Blagojevich, thank you for sitting down with me today...
Blagojevich: Not a problem, Bill. Not a problem. Hey, is this really gonna to be your first segment on the Webshow?
Friday: That’s the idea.
[The Subject takes another long drink from his Mojito. The ice rattles in the bottom of the glass.]
Friday: So Governor, why the Cayman Islands?
Blagojevich: Again, I have to credit my wife. You know she’s had a lot of free time lately, so she suggested we hop on a plane and check out the withdrawal capacity of the ATMs in the beautiful Cayman Islands. Also, with the outcome of that Kangaroo Court back in Springfield still up in the air, we both thought it was a good time to redeem our remaining frequent flyer miles, ya know… just in case. We’re even meeting Diane Sawyer later for cocktails. If you’d like to stay, she mentioned that she needs a plus-one for dinner.
[The Subject leans close to Friday]
Blagojevich: (cont’d) If you ask me, I think Greenspan is about to kick. The two of you would make quite a power couple in D.C.
Friday: Isn’t Greenspan married to Andrea Mitchell? [Toward off camera.] Evie, could you get the Governor another Mojito? Speaking of Diane Sawyer Governor, in the week leading up to your hearing, you appeared on no fewer than 10 television interviews over the course of 3 days – in each of them, you maintained your seemed to skirt the issue of your guilt…
Blagojevich: [Interrupting] Alleged guilt.
Friday: Fair enough – alleged guilt.
[The Assistant returns with the next Mojito.]
Evie: Your Mojito Governor.
Blagojevich: That’s not necessa...
Friday: Oh, I insist.
Blagojevich: Wellp... [Shrugs] okaaay.
[Again the Subject tosses the straw, and downs his Mojito in one, long series of gulps.]
Friday: So Governor, before the cameras started rolling, you told me...
Blagojevich: [Startled] Cameras? Where are the cameras?
Friday: They’re everywhere, Governor.
[The Subject takes a handkerchief from the pocket of his Tommy Bahama shirt and carefully wipes the sweat underneath the hair on his forehead.]
Friday (cont’d): So... how long have you enjoyed poetry?
[The Subject’s eyes light up at the word.]
Blagojevich: You know I consider myself a lifelong student of poetry?
Blagojevich: In particular, I enjoy the political romance poetry of a man named Dean Walker.
Friday: [Toward off camera.] Evie! I think I could use one too.
[The Assistant smiles a slow, knowing smile at the Interviewer as she leaves the set.]
Friday (cont'd): Sir, just last week, the Illinois State Legislature voted unanimously to impeach you. Yet during the proceedings, you chose not to testify on your own behalf. Why was that?
Blagojevich: [Rattling the ice in the bottom of the glass] Didn’t need to. I prefer to share my testimony here with you.
Friday: This isn’t a court of law.
Blagojevich: It’s better! This is the court of public opinion! If my own State Legislature won’t let me tell the facts of this case as I want them to be told, then f*** em! [Content edited for transcript.]. F*** em all! I’ll just call witnesses here!
[Friday looks around... leans forward.]
Friday: What witnesses?
Blagojevich: [Leans forward... winks.] They’re everywhere Bill.
[The Assistant returns with the Interviewer’s Mojito.]
Blagojevich (cont’d): Hey, can I get another one of those?
Friday: Uhh... here. Take mine.
[The Subject runs the glass along his hair-obscured brow. He then cradles the drink in both hands as he fumbles with the straw. Finally, he sucks the drink through the straw, finishing his latest Mojito in a long, ice-rattling finish.]
Blagojevich: Ahhh! They just don’t make these like this where I come from. Should it be getting warmer? Are you warm? I’m warm. It’s getting warm. Bill, are you warm?
Friday: On a lighter note, last week the sale of the Chicago Cubs, to lifelong Cubs fan Tom Ricketts, was approved by Major League Baseball. Most Cubs fans seemed to have wanted the team to go to multi-billionaire Mark Cuban instead. What happened?
Blagojevich: I guess Cuban didn’t realize what it takes to play ball in the State of Illinois. A guy with that kind of money should understand what it takes.
Friday: Are you saying...?
Blagojevich: What I’m saying is, for a lousy couple of mil, his chances to buy the Cubs would have been f***ing golden. If Cuban didn’t understand that, then f*** him!
[The Subject leans forward in his chair, resting his head in his hands.]
Friday: Governor, are you alright? Do we need to stop?
Blagojevich: Hmmm? Oh, I’m good. I’m good... [Drifting.] I’m very good...
Blagojevich (cont'd): Bill, can I read you a poem? I found it on-line. I believe it sums up the political climate in this great country of ours. I believe... believe... Bill, what is it I believe?
Friday: You believe in poetry Governor.
Blagojevich: In poetry. In a poem that is more timely today, than it was on the day it was written...
[The Subject pulls a folded cocktail napkin from the same shirt pocket.]
Blagojevich (cont’d): May I, Bill?
Friday: By all means, go ahead.
[He tips the near-empty drink up, and lets a cube of ice tumble into his mouth. He crunches the ice cube as he gazes into the sweating glass.]
Blagojevich: [Slurring his words.] What kind of Ho-me-toe... Toe-me-toe... Ho-me-moe... This shuuure is grrrreat ice! What kind of ice is this?
Friday: The special kind, Governor. The special kind. Governor…?
Friday: Would you like to read that poem now?
Blagojevich: I would, but I can’t feel face... or my legs…
[The Subject falls from his chair, onto the plush carpeting of the terrace.]
Friday: Looks like he’s all yours boys!
[From off-camera four large men, dressed in camouflage fatigues and wearing red berets, approach the Subject. The bind his hands and feet with large, plastic cable ties, and raise him to his feet. As they do this, another man – wearing a black suit and tie and black aviator sunglasses – approaches the Interviewer.]
Man in Black: Mr. Friday...
Friday: Good to see you again, J.
Man in Black: I see you were able to acquire the Package?
Friday: I almost feel guilty for collecting my usual fee. This was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
Man in Black: The Agency will be happy to pay it nonetheless. We've been trying to bag this one for the last couple of weeks. Kept himself in the public eye the whole time, until now. The extradition is done. Gitmo is waiting. And you sir are a great American.
Friday: As you keep reminding me. And I thought Gitmo was closing. [The Interviewer pauses.] I don’t suppose I’ll be allowed to use this for the Webshow?
Man in Black: [Scoffs.] As for Gitmo, you just keep reporting that. As for the interview, don't worry about that either. We'll be taking everything... again. [Laughs.] Just like your interview with Art Bell.
Friday: Funny. It’s always funny with you people. You’re a million laughs.
[Evie walks onto the set, and stands next to a great American.]
Man in Black: We let you keep her, didn’t we?
Friday: That was The Vatican.
Man in Black: Tomato - tomahto. [To the Berets] Let’s get this one back to the States.
Blagojevich: But what about my poem!!!?
[The Berets drag the Subject away.]
Blagojevich (cont’d): My poem!!! My... Ahhhghhh!!!
Friday: What about his wife?
Man in Black: Witness protection.
Friday: And me?
Man in Black: It might be best if you and Evie stayed here for a while.
[The assistant looks at the Interviewer and smiles.]
Friday: The things I do for my country.
Copyright © 2009 Bill Friday