Pic provided by Pitchaya, editor of the Konundrum Engine Literary Review - click the plastic solidier to see the KELR

I have Bill Clinton tagged as Hair Bear and George Bush Jr as Fleegle – one of the Banana Splits. There are two holes cut out of my Washington Post and I'm in a shopping mall spying on Condoleezza Rice having her cuticles pared back in the Withnail & Eye beauty salon. The mini digital cameras in my winklepickers are malfunctioning, so I'm relying on the 8mm I have secreted in my rather fogeyish bowler hat. What am I after? What's the scam? Well, Condoleezza's about as modern a woman as you can get but it's rumoured she's going seventies. Yes, you heard me – seventies. ‘What?’ I hear you scream, above the disco music and the harsh chafing of short-short athletes' shorts like a million grasshoppers at a funfair. 

Yesterday, up a ladder, on tiptoe, leaning across the oleander, between the curtains, through the window, I saw her in the bath, covered in baked beans, just like Ann-Margret in Tommy. Now, you're thinking, 'Hey, what's wrong with that, guy?' A woman as powerful as Condo can do what she damn well pleases.' And you’re right. And if today I’d found her in a tub filled with sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar then, cool. But I didn’t. Apparently, she attended the opening night of Norma at Washington National Opera wearing roller-skates, accompanied by a Black Forest gateau and it’s hush-hush rumoured she wants to change the name of her dog to Quiche Lorraine. Enough said.

The ineluctable march of the seventies goes unchecked. So far, it’s claimed some famous scalps. Tony Blair strides the Westminster corridors in a Starsky cardigan, a gold Kojak medallion swinging rhythmically among his salt-and-pepper chest hairs. Across the globe, the 125th Emperor of Japan, His Imperial Majesty Akihito, bounds across the Imperial Palace’s Meganebashi Bridge on a space-hopper singing Night Fever while Theodore Kaczynski sits in his super-max cell wearing gaucho pants and platform shoes muttering ‘Goddamn sonofabitch Rubix Cube.’ 

Condoleezza pays for her manicure – cash of course. Her nails are whack, man. They’re all different colours and some have pearls embedded in them and, on her right hand, a chain connects her middle and index fingers. She’s blowing on them like they’re on fire or she’s just pocketed a tricky eight ball. I walk into a large ficus because I forgot I was looking through the two paper peepholes. I prang my shins on the plant display. I bend down to rub the pain away and Condoleezza’s out of the mall quicker than a dog in orbit. I junk the Post and follow.

She goes into a sweet shop and I wait outside contemplating the Naval Yard. She comes out, reaches into the red, white and blue striped paper bag, and pulls out a handful of traffic-light coloured gobstoppers. She crams them into her mouth. Shit, I bet she can hardly breathe – she looks like a hamster swallowing a hand grenade. It’s no disguise, though, it ain’t gonna fool a professional like me. I can tell the difference between a pineapple and the National Security Advisor – it’s a gift I have.

Over a door in an alley on the next block on from the mall is a neon sign – it reads Club 43 – and has moving lights shaped like a guy in a suit with his hand to his heart one minute and pointing into the air Travolta-stylee the next. She goes in and I follow hot on her heels. There’s no gorilla on the door to stop me but it’s dark and I lose her in the corridors leading onto what turns out to be a dance floor and bar. There’s a disco bulb spinning slow as Venus and the music’s bump’n’grind. The joint’s empty. A door opens behind me and Condoleezza emerges from what must have been the ladies’ toilets. Jeez, is she stacked. She’s wearing knee-high silver platform boots, red hotpants, and a boob tube that’s as spangly as the starry-starry night. On her head deely boppers and she’s grooving, dude, in time to the music. 

On stage, at the front of the dance floor, I can see two men. One of them looks like Donald Rumsfeld dressed as Dick Dastardly. I can’t make out the other, he is deep in shadow and fussing with a microphone. Condoleezza bestrides the dance floor. Dick/Donald starts doing the hustle. His dancing is infectious. I touch my right foot against my left foot and I’m borne up into the air as if by some disco god. I look around and two guys who dress and look like Frank Poncherello from ChiPs are carrying me out the door. I struggle but it’s no good. And, bam! The dance floor fills with teenagers in dirndl skirts and petticoats. And I can see Condoleezza in a tight white polo neck sweater, a scarf knotted cowboy fashion around her neck, her pedal pushers a blur as she jives alone. And beyond her beehive do I can see the shadowy man now caught in the spotlight, he’s dressed in a sharp Italian suit, and as he steps forward and fondles the mic in his right hand, I can see that it’s Colin Powell and he tilts his head and he croons…

Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Condoleezza
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?
And I realise it’s the fifties and it’s Rosa Parks not Gloria Gaynor, Burma Shave not Brut.

[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/finbowspangles.html

Please realize this special 4th of July installment was provided by a non-American*

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