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The Matrwich

The Bush administration’s decisions and policies have often confounded even its closest allies—are they living in a different world than the rest of us? MATTHEW BALDWIN suspects a trip down a certain rabbit hole may turn up some answers.

President George W. Bush, who leaves this week for a state visit to Britain where he is deeply unpopular, says he is not concerned by the expected anti-war protesters who will pour into London’s streets to vent anger at his policies…[He] will be whisked to Buckingham Palace and largely kept in what Bush himself describes as a security-enclosed bubble—cut off from activity in the rest of the city.
Reuters, Nov. 17, 2003

Q: How do you get your news?

A: I glance at the headlines just to [sic] kind of a flavor for what’s moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves…The best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what’s happening in the world.
Fox News interview with President George W. Bush, Sept. 22, 2003


U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH and SECRET SERVICE AGENT LANE SMITH stand chatting in an enormous guest bedroom. A clock on the wall indicates that it is 8:45 p.m. Behind the two men is a LARGE WINDOW with the curtains drawn.

Bush removes BOMBER JACKET and flings it onto an armchair. He unzips his duffle bag and begins pulling out GARMENTS and HUMMEL FIGURINES.

SMITH: Well, Mr. President, I believe everything is in order. Again, my name is Lane Smith—

BUSH: The Laniac!

SMITH: Right. Feel free to contact me if you need anything further.

BUSH pulls PLAYSTATION 2 from duffle bag.

BUSH: Yeah, Dick says the electricity here is in Euros? Or something?

SMITH: Ah, yes. I’ll bring you a 220/110 voltage adapter.

BUSH proffers a BLANK LOOK.

SMITH: So you can use your Playstation.

BUSH: Excellent.


SMITH: One more thing.

SMITH crosses room to window and opens the curtains with a DRAMATIC FLOURISH.

SMITH: Let me know if the throng of war enthusiasts outside keeps you awake with their incessant pro-America chants.

CUT TO: EXT—ACROSS STREET FROM BUCKINGHAM PALACE. Seventeen people stand forlornly in THE RAIN. They hold professionally-printed SIGNS reading ‘Everyone In Europe Supports The War!’

CUT TO: INT—GUEST BEDROOM. BUSH joins SMITH at the window.

BUSH: Nah, I’ll be fine. I love that they don’t have any protesters here. Freedom from expression is a wonderful thing.

A shadow of concern passes over SMITH’s face.

SMITH: Why, do you see many protesters at home?

Me? Nah. Things are swell back home—nothing but supporters as far as the eye can see. But we used to have some protests, back in the Clinton days. Obviously.

There is a PAUSE.

BUSH: I did get heckled when I was in Australia, if you can believe it. Someone against the Iraq war or something. I guess there’s one in every country, eh?

SMITH looks away and ROLLS his EYES.

BUSH: They don’t really have rapping kangaroos down there, you know.

SMITH: I’ll go get that adapter.

SMITH crosses to door and EXITS.

BUSH carefully places the HUMMELS on the SHELVES and TABLES around the room. He then sits on edge of bed, picks up REMOTE CONTROL, turns on the TV, and rapidly flips through the channels. After a few moments, there is a KNOCK at the DOOR.

BUSH: Booyah—Playstation time!

Bush crosses to DOOR and opens it to find TRINITY and MORPHEUS in the hallway.

BUSH: Whoa.

TRINITY: Hello George.

BUSH: How did you know that name?

TRINITY looks confused.

TRINITY: You’re the president of the United States. Everyone knows your name.

BUSH: Riiight.

TRINITY: I know a lot about you, Geo. I’ve been wanting to meet you for some time.

BUSH: Who are you?

TRINITY: My name is Trinity.

BUSH: I’m terrible with names, so don’t be surprised if I ask you again. Y’all wanna come in?

TRINITY and MORPHEUS enter the room. BUSH gestures at the Playstation.

BUSH: I’m gonna be playing some Tony Hawk Underground here in a minute if you guys wanna–

TRINITY: We haven’t the time. You are in danger. We came here to warn you.

BUSH: Of what?

TRINITY: Please. Just listen. I know why you’re here, Geo. I know why you left your family and your friends, why you left your home to come to this city.

There is a HYPNOTIC quality to her voice. BUSH’s eyelids begin to droop as she speaks.

TRINITY: You’re looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Geo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question just as I did.

BUSH: What—is—the thingie.

TRINITY: The Matrix.

BUSH snaps awake.

BUSH: Oh. I was thinking of the other thingie. The sandwich.

MORPHEUS steps forward.

MORPHEUS: As you have no doubt guessed, I am Morpheus.

BUSH: You were great in Snow Dogs.

MORPHEUS: I imagine you must be feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole. I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Let me tell you why you are here.

BUSH: Shoot.

MORPHEUS: You know something. You’ve felt it your whole administration, felt that something is wrong with your world. You don’t know what, but it’s there like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

BUSH: The Matrwich?

MORPHEUS: The Matrix. Do you want to know what it is?

BUSH: Can you guys even see in those glasses? How many fingers am I holding up?


MORPHEUS: I know this is difficult for you to hear.

BUSH: Wait a minute: does your thumb count as a finger?

SMITH walks through the open door to the room.

SMITH: Pardon me, Mr. President, but I forgot to ask if your Playstation requires a two-prong or a three-prong—hello!

SMITH notices TRINITY and MORPHEUS. He gives them the HAIRY EYEBALL.

BUSH: Laniac, this is Trintrin and Jimmy.

SMITH: What are you doing here? How did you get past security?


TRINITY: We’re Mormons.

BUSH: They’re telling me about the Matrwich.

SMITH: The Matr—Oh. I see.

SMITH begins SLOWLY backing out the DOOR. He glances at the PLAYSTATION.

SMITH: It appears you need a two-pronged adapter. I’ll be sure to send several dozen goons right up.

BUSH: Do what?

SMITH: –send your adapter right up, I mean.

BUSH: Booyah!

Without taking his eyes from TRINITY and MORPHEUS, SMITH backs out into the HALL, then SPINS on his HEELS and walks briskly out of SIGHT. TRINITY turns to BUSH and begins SPEAKING in EARNEST.

TRINITY: Look around you, Geo. The world you live in is a construct—a facsimile of reality. Your staff works tirelessly to ensure that you only hear want they want you to hear, see what they want you to see.

MORPHEUS: Easy, Trinity.

MORPHEUS lays a restraining hand on TRINITY’s shoulder, which she violently SHRUGS OFF.

TRINITY: Morpheus, we don’t have time for your sprechen zie Yoda. Geo, the vast majority of Europeans oppose the war in Iraq.

BUSH chuckles.

BUSH: Oh man are you gonna feel dumb when you look out the window.

TRINITY: And Saddam didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction.

BUSH: Sure he did. Rummy promised.

TRINITY: And your staff was behind that ‘Mission Impossible’ banner.

BUSH: That was put up by the members of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. My staff’s not that ingenious, by the way.

MORPHEUS: Trinity–

TRINITY: Geo, Alan Greenspan lets you win at Monopoly.

BUSH reels.

BUSH: Lets me? No, no way. I win because I’m always the wheelbarrow.

TRINITY: He sneaks 500s back into the bank when you aren’t looking.

BUSH: That’s not—what?

MORPHEUS: You’re reaching him! Geo, don’t you see? Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz—they have you trapped. They are using you as a battery to fuel a far-right, neoconservative agenda.


MORPHEUS: You’re almost there, Geo! Open your mind.

BUSH: I, I can’t, it hurts! Why does my mind hurt?

MORPHEUS: Because you’ve never used it before.

BUSH stumbles, then closes his eyes. A look of U.N.NATURAL CALM washes over him. He takes a DEEP BREATH, FLEXES his MUSCLES, and the WALLS BULGE.

Suddenly, 30 GOONS burst into the room and begin SHOOTING. TRINITY and MORPHEUS dive for cover, but BUSH effortlessly DODGES THE BULLETS. He then battles all 30 assailants SIMULTANOUSLY in a fight scene that is REALLY AMAZING for about 15 SECONDS but then DEGENERATES into an EXERCISE in TEDIUM. Afterwards, BUSH hovers serenely in midair.

MORPHEUS: It is as it was foretold. You are now in control. Your mastery of The Matrix allows you to shape reality itself.

BUSH: Nah, I’ve always been able to do that stuff. Karl likes to keep it on the low-down, though. He says it creeps out the elect-or-ate. The Laniac!

TRINITY and MORPHEUS turn to again find SMITH framed in the doorway. SMITH surveys the carnage and looks PROFOUNDLY WORRIED.

SMITH: Mr. President, listen to me! I—we don’t–

A look of INSPIRATION crosses SMITH’S face. He hastily pulls an OBJECT from his pocket.

SMITH: I have your adapter.

BUSH settles to the floor and snatches the adapter from SMITH.

BUSH: Booyah—Playstation time!

BUSH crosses to the TV and begins setting up his PLAYSTATION. SMITH looks relieved. He sidles over to TRINITY and MORPHEUS and whispers:

SMITH: And you two can come with me.

SMITH roughly escorts TRINITY and MORPHEUS from the room.

Cut to: INT—HALLWAY. SMITH gently closes the GUEST BEDROOM door and leads TRINITY and MORPHEUS down the hall.

TRINITY: I guess he wasn’t The One.

There is a PAUSE.

TRINITY: Do you think there’ll be a sequel?

MORPHEUS: Christ, I hope not.