Exit Blue, by Ivan G. Goldman (Black Heron Press; 2010)
Imagine a vice president who conducts business as he paces in front of a Citizen Kane-sized fireplace clutching a shotgun and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Now imagine a White House that plants a friendly male hooker in presidential press conferences. Which idea is more absurd? More factual?
Yes, those of us who were paying attention know that the White House-connected male hooker story is genuine. His name was Jeff Gannon, and he had no prior journalism experience, but he was mysteriously granted press credentials and allowed to range freely through W’s news conferences for years until he was finally, if you’ll excuse the expression, exposed. The president used to call on him by name and then field the absurdly friendly questions that always followed.
With stuff like that going on, it pretty much takes the wind out of satire’s sails. Because it’s next to impossible to invent fiction that’s any goofier than the reality. But I persevered, refusing to give up writing crazy stuff just because the world is crazy.
The image of the vice president pacing in front of the fireplace may or may not be based on reality, but it figures in my novel EXIT BLUE, a roman à clef that comes out from Black Heron Press at the end of this month.
The book is based on the premise that the Bush family retakes the White House and this time declares war on Denmark, which it fingers as the central front in the war on terror. The title is derived from the next shoe to drop – secession by the Blue states. That’s when the story really gets started. It’s all told by a handsome Air Force veteran now working as a ghost writer who gets very close to the president and her twin sister. I can’t tell you any more without ruining it for you. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.
Bush Handlers are working on a restoration even as we speak, and I meant EXIT BLUE as a cautionary tale akin to Friday the Thirteenth Part III: Jason Returns. Thanks to a zany electorate and the alarming chasm that continues growing between Red and Blue America, anything is possible. If the most recent Bush Administration taught us anything, it’s that talent and ambition aren’t necessarily meted out to individuals in proportionate quantities.
I took this humorous look at our possible future because after you’ve been hit by a bus, if you’re still breathing, probably the best thing to do is laugh. And when the Supreme Court gave the nod to the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2000, a bus ran us over and dragged us down a ragged road for eight long years. Election results, like lightning and wayward buses, are independent events. Just because you’ve been struck once doesn’t mean they can’t strike you again.
But I don’t let Democrats off the hook either. And as we watch the Obama Administration step gingerly through the wreckage of the previous two terms, many of us are learning once again that candidates can be a lot like those meal photos we see in fast-food ads. When they take office, that’s when we’re handed the real food.
EXIT BLUE is for everyone who watched the Bush-Cheney Administration as though it were a horror movie they couldn’t turn off. But I also hope to reach tea-baggers, Limbaugh fiends, and all the Fox News groupies, male and female. They need vehicles like this in order to keep hopping around purple angry. Besides, I empathize with them. Much of my research involved shouting back at TV news.
Exit Blue is available for pre-ordering at most bookseller sites. Amazon has a special pre-order rate of $16.29. Shipments begin at the end of March.
--- Ivan G. Goldman, Rancho Palos Verdes, California