From Uzbekistan to Narita
Well, it turns out I needn't have worried about that caravan approaching up the valley. They were not a JDerion-led death squad, but a contingent of CIA and US State Department operatives desperately hoping I'd help them out with a little problem.
Good thing too, because I never did find my kalashnikov in that whore house.
It's a long story, but they came to ask me to join President Bush's diplomatic mission to Asia, which will be capped by extremely important high level discussions in Beijing.
The bottom line is President Bush has a notorious reputation in diplomacy. He routinely forgets the names of his counterparts from other countries.
For example, at last years Chilean APEC conference, the President persistently addressed China's President Hu Jintao as, 'Cowboy', as in the following off the cuff statement he made to the assembled press: "Good ol' President, er, Cowboy, and myself just discussed my opinion that he should allow more US exports to China, especially guns and tanks."
For reasons not entirely clear to me, career diplomats find this kind of talk embarrassing.
So I agreed to help them and caught a CIA transport out of Uzbekistan, landing at Andrew's AFB just in time to board Air Force One. There I was given a Stewards' uniform and instructions to frequently service the presidential cabin.
For his part, President Bush was instructed to address me as 'Hu Jintao' each time he saw me. Other 'stewards' had joined the flight to play surrogates for other heads of state in Japan and Korea. The hope was this would burn the names of these important people on President Bush's, lips so that by the time we arrived in Asia, the names would be second nature.
But by 3 hours into the flight President Bush was hopelessly confused, and had reverted to addressing us all as, "cowboy" each time he saw us.
So we simply chilled out in the press cabin, becoming involved in a vicious high stakes scrabble game with an AP pool reporter and some hack from the Washington Post.
When we landed in Japan, the State Department functionary responsible for the plan learned of our failure and became livid.
She called a taxi, and gave us each a $1000 voucher for return travel.
So I'm in the Narita terminal, pondering my next move.