I had lunch with Ken Lay last week.
Yes, that Ken Lay.
Kenny Boy was taking a break from his time in the “afterlife” in France and the British Honduras (he splits his time) to get a dose of Hades humidity here in D.C., and to work out some deals with Bush insiders.
Ken and I go way back. I believe we first met sometime in the Reagan years. Ken was in the Oval Office every few weeks as a secret adviser to Ronnie on how to milk the oil companies for kickbacks that he could use to fund his Contra war. Meanwhile, I was teaching the Gipper to call his hired terrorists “freedom fighters” to win public support. It was natural for Ken and I to cross paths.
Back then, Ken was an altogether likable guy. He even seemed to give a shit that he was robbing Joe Average American with energy “policy”. Or at least, teaching the Reagan administration how to do it. He was a jokester, a lot less ego-maniacal than his “eulogies” would say he was. I remember one particular time when we were all out at some upscale burger establishment in Arlington, and practically everyone was there except for Ron and George the First. Ken ordered 1,000 of the top-flight burgers and 1,000 beers. The staff managed to cook up 300 or so, and Ken ordered them all to stop cooking and stop serving, paid for everything, and then handed out all the food to everyone there, for free. Told the staff to sit down and eat. Sure, they ended up carrying him out drunk about three hours later. But no one in that restaurant complained about Ken that night, least of all, me.
So speaking of restaurants. Early last week I get a cryptic message from one of his old staffers that says what time and place to meet the dearly departed. No names used, of course. I was to be at this seafood palace that Ken favored when he was in D.C. Now, I knew he wasn’t dead before he even “died”. Sources still inside the shadow government told me about the plan to “kill” Ken weeks or months before he had his “heart attack”. Do you want to know what’s so ingenious about the fake death? No one in the general public will ever believe that someone could or would do it. It’s too “Hollywood”. Which is exactly why you can get away with it. Ken Lay faked his own death? Pshaw, come on. That only happens in movies. Believe you me, if you ever hear of my untimely death, don’t believe it for a second. I just want them to arrange for the afterlife to be in Nice or Capri. I’m not taking the bum deal they gave that chump Vince Foster. Winnipeg, my ass.
So I show up to the restaurant, and there he is, tan and rested. We sit down, the waitress comes. Ken orders the Fish Sampler. Gives our buxom young waitress a difficult time, too, I may add. The girl might be a bimbo, but she was trying. So what if she doesn’t know how to pronounce carpaccio di pesce bianco? I, by the way, managed to get her phone number, and I’ll be ploughing that field a little later this week. Kind of ironic for a guy whose surname is Lay, don’t you think?
I didn’t get a lot of news out of Sir Lay. He wanted to “touch base” with someone other than the staff in Nice who wait on him night and day, someone whom he’s known for longer than two years, someone who’s been alive longer than 25. He shot the shit like we were old yachting buddies, which, now that you mention it, I suppose we are. We spent more than a few hours on this yacht or that back in the go-go ’80s. I have to admit I had a good time. I tried to pump old Ken for some dirt, and he went on about how the Cheney administration is losing its mind, how he’s getting such a kick watching it happen from afar. “Old Dick’s still stirring the shit,” he told me, “and I’m on a lawn chair with the best tequila in the world watching the action.”
This is as close to the scoop as I got, and I think it’s as close to real poop as Ken has. Dick is getting unsettled. He had thought it would be enough to pull the strings, but now he’s having second thoughts. Starting three wars, two of which he’d been scheming for 20 years? That all sounded good in the planning stages. Hell, it’s what got him through the Clinton years without attempting an assassination himself. But it’s never enough. So now he wants some overt glory, and he wants it to happen before the 2008 election. Of course they’re going into Tehran, and of course that will restart the draft and the whole shitstorm that will follow. But Dick is thinking big now. He doesn’t just want multi-theater war. He wants Armageddon.
No, Armageddon. He isn’t being figurative. He’s not a believer, not for a moment, but he does believe that mankind can create what the prophets have predicted. Dick wants to realize the events of the book of Revelation.
Somehow Kenny Boy figured into all of this. He wouldn’t have been the Antichrist proper, risen after three days just like Christ. It’s too late for that. I got confused at this point, and I think Ken didn’t really understand the whole plot in the first place. The best I understood is that Dick is going to be the great leader who dies and rises three days later, and he’ll go on to start a real Third Big One. For some reason they needed Ken to help advise them on this matter.
All I can do is roll my eyes to myself and listen, and thank God I have enough connections to ride this bullshit out in hiding with a few hussies at my beck and call. Dick didn’t used to be this guy. For that matter, neither did Ken. He’s so nonchalant about the whole goddamned affair.
Well, now, that about did it for lunch. A few eye-games with our pretty little waitress (most of the girls in D.C. like a man with power, no matter what years he might’ve amassed), have Ken pay the bill with his Diner’s Club (“James Paul McKay”), and we were done.
I hope I never have to see that bastard again. Assholes like that are the reason I got out of that business to begin with.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, Kenny Boy knows I write for this internet rag, and that I’m writing a post about our lunch. He doesn’t read the internet. Even if he did, he knows no one will ever believe this. Which is for the best, believe me.