"Who says those Republicans are not straight shooters?" Uncle Spud said with a grin. "Old Dick Cheney got the man dead center."
"Bummer," I said. "It was an accident. Everybody knows that."
"I suppose it was," Uncle Spud mused, "but I might understand it better if Cheney had been hunting fowls in the forest with one of those congressional high fliers like ex vice-president Dan Quayle, or West Virginia senator Robert Bird. That Texas lawyer looks pretty tall and humanoid to be mistaken for upland game."
"The vice-president is quick on the draw," I said. "Those red state politicians shoot from the hip."
"Good thing it was bird shot from a small caliber, 28-gauge shotgun," Uncle Spud said. "My old long-tom 12-gauge would have packed a lot more pellets and a lot more punch."
"Yeah, it could have been much worse," I agreed.
"I hear the vice-president's staff is pretty flighty about the whole thing," he smiled, "but Cheney himself is unflappable."
"The press corps calls him Darth Vader," I grinned, "the man behind the mask."
"I'm sure he'll get a new nickname now," Uncle Spud said. "They'll call him Buckshot, Scattergun, or Deadeye Dick."
"Do you think Chuck Schumer and Sarah Brady will call for the banning of all birdshot, shotguns, and Republican vice-presidents in the interests of keeping us all safe?" I asked.
"Do daddy pigs bring home the bacon?" the Spudster smiled. "This could get to be the biggest thing since Watergate. It has all the components of a serial soap opera: a powerful man with a gun, an itchy trigger finger, mistaken identity, a shot heard 'round the world, temporary staff amnesia, an innocent bird that got away, and a big moneyed lawyer with an itsy-bitsy shotgun pellet in his alleged heart. Steven Spielberg could make a prize winning movie with a plot like this."
"Shoot," I groaned. "I guess it is that bad, isn't it?"
"Yep, it's that bad," Uncle Spud said.
"So how does the White House do damage control on something like this?" I asked innocently.
"Blame the gun," Uncle Spud answered quickly. "Everyone knows that guns cause crime. Why can't they be blamed for accidents too? For years the anti-gun people have been blaming guns and not criminals. What's the difference here?
"Or," he said, "blame the birds. It's the same path of logic. No birds, no hunting, no hunting accidents. It's all so simple."
"Or, blame the victim," he said. "People who own guns, or are friends with people who own guns, are sure to be shot. We've been told that for a long time. If that Texas lawyer didn't know that, he hasn't been reading the anti-gun literature and is culpable by ignorance or design."
"Or, blame society," Uncle Spud said again. "We've been told for years that criminals are victims of society and not responsible for their actions. Perhaps it's true for the vice-president too. Maybe he couldn't see past the silver spoon in his mouth?"
"Or, blame President Bush. Everything else is his fault. Why not this? The president should have known that his vice-president was a weapon of mass destruction hiding in the office just down the hall."
"Gosh, you're so smart," I said to Uncle Spud. "How did you get to know so much about giving other people the blame for something like this?"
"I used to date Janet Reno," Uncle Spud explained with some embarrassment. "You remember, the wicked witch of Waco."
"Lets not even go there," I pleaded.
"Suits me," Uncle Spud said.
Then he smiled.
"Speaking of my old girlfriend, Janet Reno. Did you ever hear my bagpipe rendition of that old Hank Williams classic, Love Sick Blues?"
"I think I'm going to be sick," I said.