Part One: SHOWDOWN IN THE DIRTY SOUTH
Our eyes were locked on the plasma-screen TV in the White Room... me, Tiger-Man and the Fresh Prince.
Baraka wasn’t with us. Baraka was up there on screen, debating Hillary Clinton and John Edwards in South Carolina.
Damn... it was like watching a car wreck in slow motion. The Fresh Prince and I were sipping on Courvoisier to settle our nerves. Tiger-Man was squeezing a golf ball, rolling it between his fingertips. And we watched...
“This campaign,” said Hillary, calm and confident, “is about who will be ready on Day One to lead the most powerful nation on Earth.”
“What I wanna know,” Baraka interrupted, “is what happens on Day One of your menstrual cycle? What if you’re feeling shitty, you got cramps, and you decide to invade Iran? Is that a chance we’re willing to take?”
There were audible gasps from the audience. I put my face in my hands.
“His focus is gone,” said Tiger-Man.
The Fresh Prince made a noise with his lips and said, “Tell me something I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, Hillary didn’t break stride. “That kind of divisive rhetoric has no place in our politics. Barack, you should be ashamed of yourself.”
“Bitch, please,” Baraka said. “Divisive? Your husband has been going at me like an attack dog for the past two weeks! You wanna act like you’re above it all?”
“The American people do not want to hear this sort of bickering,” Hillary said. “The American people want to know what we’re going to do to fix this economy...”
“All right then,” said Baraka, grabbing his crotch, “let’s talk about my ‘stimulus package.’ I can talk about that all night long, baby doll! But it won’t change the fact that you can’t even run a marriage. How you gonna run a country?
“Blowjobs in the Oval Office... Jesus, Hillary, if you woulda ‘slicked his Willie’ every once in a while, nobody would know who Monica Lewinsky is!”
John Edwards piped up: “Can we please get back to talking about homeless vets who live under bridges?”
Baraka wheeled around and said, “Motherfucker, are you still here?”
I couldn’t take any more of it. I grabbed the remote and hit the mute button. After a few seconds of painful silence, I spoke softly: “Bill Clinton is all up inside his head. The man must be neutralized. Or else this whole operation is dead in the water.”
“You got a plan, light-skin?” said the Fresh Prince, pouring himself another cognac.
Indeed I did have a plan. “Do you know what a ‘honey trap’ is?”
“The fuck has this got to do with Yogi Bear?” said the Fresh Prince. I snatched the Courvoisier bottle from his hand. When I turned to Tiger-Man, his eyes met mine. I knew we were on the same page.
In unison, we said: “Hollyberry.”
Within hours, Tiger-Man, the Fresh Prince and I were in Beverly Hills, ringing a doorbell.
Hollyberry answered. She was beautifully pregnant, but a sad mood was all over her face. She was cradling her Academy Award.
“We need you,” said Tiger-Man. “Did you watch the debate tonight?”
“What debate?” Hollyberry drifted into the living room, not interested in any reply.
“Baraka’s in trouble,” I said. “You’re the only one who can save him.”
“I can’t work right now,” she said. “Maybe in a couple of weeks.”
“Couple of weeks could be too late,” I said. “What’s wrong?”
“I didn’t get nominated,” she said, gazing at her Oscar’s golden face.
The Fresh Prince asked, in all seriousness, “Were you in a movie this year?”
Hollyberry shot him a cold look. “ ‘Things We Lost in the Fire.’ I know it doesn’t have any zombies in it, so you probably didn’t notice.”
“You should’ve been nominated, definitely,” Tiger-Man lied. “But there are bigger things at stake.”
The Fresh Prince sidled up to Hollyberry and whispered, “Can I hold your Oscar? Please?” She stomped away from him; I blocked her path.
“We need you to seduce Bill Clinton,” I said.
“Don’t act like you forgot how,” said the Fresh Prince.
“I’m saying, look at me. I’m seven months pregnant.” Hollyberry waved a hand over her rounded belly.
“That won’t slow Bill Clinton down,” I said. “He calls that ‘getting two for one.’ ”
“Hollyberry,” said Tiger-Man, “the fate of the free world hangs in the balance.”
For the first time since our arrival, Hollyberry seemed interested. By the next morning, we were in South Carolina.
Me and Hollyberry walked into a Cracker Barrel restaurant in a town called Simpsonville. Bill Clinton was addressing a crowd of about 75 white citizens.
Hollyberry came dressed for the job... her milk-laden breasts on display like a couple of Christmas hams. But my eyes were scoping the crowd. Ol’ Bill had them hooked on his every word.
“The most unfair thing being said about me is that I’ve been disrespecting Senator Obama. So let me say this plainly.” Pointing his finger for emphasis, Clinton said: “Barack Hussein Obama is an exceptional African-American. He is articulate, he smells good, and his accomplishments at Harvard Law School speak for themselves. Barack is truly a shining example of the value of affirmative action. ...”
As Hollyberry made her way to the front, the former president kept talking, pausing every so often to bite his lower lip:
“And yes, he does bring a unique perspective to politics. His father came from Kenya, in Africa, and married a white woman. Young Barack was educated by Muslims in Indonesia, and I think that’s great. Barack Hussein Obama is someone to be looked up to and admired by all the young black people in all of our inner-city ghettos... especially those caught up in drugs. Because Barack is living proof that that need not be a dead-end street for anyone.
“Let me say this, too. I have a personal fondness for Barack Obama. I hope that when this hard-fought contest is overwith, he and I can get together and jam... me with my saxophone, and Barack with his bongo drums.”
I couldn’t tell what Hollyberry was doing up front, but by now Bill had definitely taken notice of her. This plan was coming together like clockwork.
“So I have come here,” Clinton proclaimed, “to Simpsonville, South Carolina, to let you good people know that race has nothing to do with this election. Don’t let anybody tell you different.”
After the speech, the folks lined up to shake Bill Clinton’s hand. I was amongst them... only I intended to slip a tiny listening device into his jacket when I got close. Hollyberry stayed near Clinton, exchanging quick glances with him. I silently thanked the ancestors that she was on our side.
“Mr. President, sir,” I said, shaking Clinton’s hand. “Keep on doing what you do.”
“Thank you,” Bill said with a smile. But then...
“Hey, white boy,” came a voice from behind him. “Remember us?”
Clinton turned around. It was Sister Souljah. And beside her stood Lani Guinier. They looked pissed.
Before I knew what was what, Sister Souljah kicked Bill Clinton in the groin, and Prof. Guinier followed through with a fierce uppercut to the face. Secret Service agents joined the fracas, and I quickly back-pedaled to Hollyberry. She was as stunned as I was.
“Did you put the mic on him?” she asked.
“No. You get his phone number?”
Hollyberry flashed me a tiny slip of paper. I never had a doubt.
“Let’s book,” I said. “We’ll figure this shit out later.”