'Where Are They Now' with Gina Timberland

The brash talk does nothing to hide the pain in his eyes.

John Bolton, One Time Topic of Conversation

When one walks into the office of John R Bolton, one is immediately struck by the stature of the man. He seems to command the room. Perhaps this is due to the miniaturized furniture and the 5' 9" ceiling that causes him to walk like a terrifying hunchback, or perhaps it is the solemn gravity of his position as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. At any rate, he looked big to me.

Some of you may remember John Bolton's brief brush with fame earlier in 2005 when he loomed as a possible candidate for the US ambassador to the UN. Others of you may remember... no, I guess that's about it.

We started our interview by asking the man whom the president calls Mister Gruff about his many successes in his current position.

"What the hell do you mean?" he queried.

We were a bit taken back, as the question seemed so clear. Still, we extrapolated. "Your job. You were sworn in back in May of 2001. You know, international security. Keeping the world safe. How's that been working out for you?"

Bolton thoughtfully tugged on his mustache before telling us to get the fuck out of his office. We demurely declined, asking him if he intended to hit a girl. He told us yes.

"I've always been a man of action rather than a man of words, and if I need to take some action on your ass, you best believe that I'm going to do it, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. That's what we need at the UN, someone who isn't intimidated by all the foreigners. And foreigners is what we're talking about, scads of them. It's a regular tower of Babel over there."

We reminded Mister Gruff that he had not in fact been confirmed as ambassador, and dodged the stapler which he threw our way. We noted that it was a state of the art Swingline 690E electronic cartridge stapler, another sign of the august majesty of his office.

"You think that I'm worried about the sniveling snots in Congress and what they think about me? I don't need those little men. The president is going to give me a temporary appointment as soon as those grit eating pencil neck geeks go on recess. And if Bush thinks of hesitating, he better be prepared to deal with a big heaping helping of molten Bolton."

In retrospect, it may have been unkind to have laughed at these words, but something about the phrase 'molten Bolton' tickled our funny bone. When we were able to get control of ourselves, with the aid of a minor dousing of coffee, we conceded that their was indeed the possibility of a recess appointment. Yet we wondered aloud how the likelihood of his involvement in the Valerie Plame scandal might weaken the president's resolve to take such a course. Bolton responded by leaping from his chair and putting a bloody new skidmark on the ceiling of his otherwise immaculate office.

And so our interview ended, as we were roughly escorted out the door by a man larger than the room. It is indeed a long crawl through the corridors of power, a place where many a knee has become hard and callused.  We had caught a small glimpse of yesterday's man of tomorrow, a man waiting in vain for the call that may never come.


2005, Mark Hoback