Ich Bin Ein Bullshitter

“Grandpa!”

“Eh? Who’s this?”

“Happy birthday!”

“Shriver?”

“No, grandpa. It’s me, Kenny. I wanted to wish you a happy birthday!”

“Leave me alone.”

“Ninety-six years young! How are they treating you at the retirement community?”

“It’s a nursing home, you cockeyed son of a bitch. Your rotten bastard father put me in a home.”

“Man. Watch the language, huh, grandpa?”

“He was a bastard. I’m serious. I had dozens of them. Your grandmother was a Copa girl.”

“Have you been hitting that bourbon again, grandpa? Because it’s a commemorative bottle. I know how much you like history. You’re not supposed to drink out of it.”

“I was drinking before you were swimming around in your bastard father’s guts, Kenny, you four-eyed stoolie. Don’t tell me what to do.”

“So you have been drinking. You know what Dr. Zwickoff says about your liver.”

“Dr. Zwickoff can blow me. Those back pills didn’t kill me. That sack of crap Oswald’s bullet didn’t kill me. A little Kentucky bourbon isn’t going to kill me.”

“You’re drunk.”

“You’re damn right I’m drunk. That’s the only reason I’m telling you this. God help you if you ever let it slip. Men have died to protect this secret. Do you know who you’re talking to?”

“Oh, man. Is this going to be the story about how you’re really John F. Kennedy?”

“Have I told you this before? I forget. You’ll forget things too, when you get to be my age. I don’t know how I told you this much and you’re still alive.”

“Because I don’t believe you, grandpa. No one believes you. Not even Aunt Mildred believes you and she believes in those cross-shaped magnets she got from the back of Parade Magazine.”

“Kids today don’t believe anything. We were the best and the brightest. You’re all just a bunch of nitwits. I’ve got proof.”

“Your ‘proof’ is that you sign your name ‘Jack’ instead of ‘Mike’ and you own a robe you claim is from Air Force One. That doesn’t convince anybody. Even the people at the home don’t believe you.”

“They’re a bunch of goddamn Republican dupes. When I think I faked my own death to secure a safe future for them and their asshole grandchildren.”

“Kennedy’s death wasn’t fake. It was on national TV.”

“So was the moon landing. You believe we really landed a guy on the moon? When we couldn’t even make pocket calculators? Grow up, you sorry fuck.”

“Grandpa. Your blood pressure.”

“I wouldn’t even have done it if that cocksucker Hoover wasn’t always breathing down my neck. What was I supposed to do, piss away my legacy?”

“What legacy? The Cuban Missile Crisis? The Vietnam War? Huge budget deficits and tax hikes?”

“How about civil rights and the goddamn Peace Corps, you miserable little turd?”

“That was mostly LBJ. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because you’re not John F. Kennedy.”

“What makes you so goddamn sure? I have the same birthday.”

“I remember you from when I was a kid, in the early ’70s. I have pictures. You don’t look anything like Kennedy.”

“You think those doctors who switched the coffins were just screwing around, boy? They were trained professionals. You think it’s been easy, living in another man’s face while I get played in the movies by a bunch of hacks and Jackie marries some fat Greek asshole? You think it’s easy having an airport named after you and not being able to get free drinks in it? And I can’t even remember the last time I saw a half-dollar in circulation.”

“You’re not even Irish. Our family name is Wolfram. We’re Protestants.”

“Sure. Assumed. I’m not going to stick my neck out and risk the mob or Castro coming after me.”

“After fifty years?”

“They have long memories.”

“I wish you did. You’ve told me that story about how the guy in the motorcade was a furloughed sex criminal like a hundred times.”

“It’s a good story.”

“It was a good story the first eight times I heard it. Look, I gotta go, grandpa. Happy birthday. I’ll, uh, I’ll call you again soon.”

“Hey, don’t do me any favors, you stuck-up little prick. I’ve got plenty of things to do.”

“What can you possibly have to do?”

“I have to put my presidential papers in order. I have some executive orders I’m going to have covertly enacted. And my memoirs aren’t just gonna write themselves.”

“Sure, grandpa.”

“And there’s a nurse who comes in on night shift who’s been asking for it ever since I went on the heart pills.”

“Well, now I don’t know what to think.”

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