Agent Zimmerman

By JAMES PARKER  |  November 20, 2007

“All of those things, yes, yes,” he sighed, swilling his cocktail in its glass. “We succeeded so spectacularly it almost frightened us. But I kept my eye on the details. I planted men in press conferences to ask him particularly dunderheaded questions. I said to him, ‘Write something about the president taking his clothes off — the kids will eat that up.’ If he’d told them to knock over the White House, they would have done it. But he didn’t, did he?”

“I suppose not.”

“No, he led them into the river of poetry, where politics dissolve. . . . Oh, Bobby, Bobby . . .” His eyes were half-closed and his head was sinking over the bar. It was time for me to go. As I opened the door and felt the paws of the winter upon me, I could hear him begin to mutter, like one enchanted, from “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” — those looping, sinister, voodoo phrases.

I didn’t look back.

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