“My Uncle wants to know if you are American,” Omir said.
“No. But I have lived there.”
“And how does this display of disrespect tickle your fancy?”
“Are you asking my opinion?”
“Yes indeed, but I am trying to be as delicate as possible,” Omir said.
“Well, like most of the world, I know Bush is a clown. An evil clown. Obviously dangerous. I guess if I had thought of doing something like that, I would have used a cream pie. Clowns should be pied.”
Omir translated to his Uncle, who exploded into laughter, which became a coughing fit that he quelled with a sip of tea.
Omir blew more smoke my way and held my eyes, “I am happy. Indeed, we are happy that this Iraqi journalist used a shoe. The sole of the foot is the worst insult in our culture. Indeed it makes me happy that the Iraqi journalistic gentleman threw a shoe because it was our….”
“Model ZRY-469,” we said in unison. Giggles overtook the three of us. I picked up the shoe, tossed it in the air and caught it. When silence replaced the hilarity, we were all staring at the shoes on the glass table.
Omir proclaimed, as if cutting the ribbon to a new hospital building, “We hereby rename Model ZXR-469, The Bush Shoe.” Omir scanned my reaction, his Uncle burst into a Groucho Marx routine, stamping and dancing around the lobby, “Da Bushy Chew. Dabushychew.”
“Let me show you our new promotional spot, hot off the presses,” Omir said. He played the same video on the laptop. His Uncle continued dancing around like a drunken six-year-old. At the end of the clip, before the ruckus, the screen went to black and some big block letters in chalk-duster font filled the screen: GOOD-BYE BUSH. HELLO DEMO-SHOE!
I had to laugh.
Mr. Buycaz had flipped over the sofa coughing; he grabbed a shoe off the table and put it to his ear like a telephone. “Hello, Bushy? Good bye Bushy… hello democrat-chew.”
“What do you think?” Omir said.
“I think you have a great new marketing campaign. I think you have given me an incredibly refreshing story. I think you will sell many shoes. Coverage will sky-rocket sales. News content beats advertising any day. Ride the wave.”
“That is why we came, indeed, and to apologize. What is the next step?”
“Well, I guess I’ll go to my room, write it up, get on the phone and start pitching it, starting with Reuters and The New York Times. Then, in the morning, I’ll come by and rattle off some photos, check some facts and bingo, your company should be getting some major International Press within the next few days.”
“Indeed, we are happy. Incidentally, for your article, we have promised the journalist, Mr. Muntazer al Zaidi, once he is released from his five to fifteen years of torture, and the complete Zaidi family, a life time supply of the Bush shoe. What do you think?