Pepe Warezabar here, just returned to Baghdad, and speaking into my laptop after rendezvous in Mosul with Hillary and the leader of ISIS.
On the way there, yes, it was the orange Honda with plenty of dust, thank the bejeezus, me with pedal to the metal and Hillary in black burqa and wraparounds. Was she nervous?
Who wasn't. Look, those claw marks on my right forearm could have come from anywhere as we leaned around the IED's and bombs out of what could have been B-52's and a scene from Rommel and his worst pipe dream.
In Mosul, the Ali Baba and his Forty Daughters saloon, part of a regional chain, was crowded and dark with shadowy corners. This was good because I could use my black beard and pajamas with head scarf to get around to what was going on.
Even my man Fahad, the bartender who arranged everything, didn't recognize me until I slipped him some riyals, his favorite currency these days in line with his plan to hop it south very soon.
Most important I was able to get close to Hillary and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to see what was going on there.
Some couple, I tell you, both wearing black, faces covered, only the eyes visible.
His eyes were these squinting, shifting, dark little balls, and I got the feeling he was trying to see through Hillary's burqa.
Her eyes were blue, innocent, darting to the ceiling then the floor, a kind of "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" about them, as though she was talking to a CNN reporter.
But she could be tough. I mean she cracked out a laugh that made other patrons duck and run. Some even got under the tables. Fahad reached behind him for a weapon.
She and al-Baghdadi got into a long harangue about Israel bombing the bejeezus out of Palestine, which he said was provoked to get on with the plan to turn the Gaza strip into a parking lot, similar to what Maliki and the Shia have done to the Sunnis.
Then she gave him one of her favorite expressions. When she becomes president, she said, Netanyahu will roll over like a dog on the sidewalk with tongue hanging out its mouth.
But, she added, all that makes no difference to US policy--which is divide and rule, same as ever, and if he Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi knew what was good for him he would get with the program.
This was pretty amazing because she seemed to be proffering a regime change deal of some sort, as with down the line Baghdadi for Maliki (or Chalabi or whoever turns up), and right then she nearly fell off her bar stool.
She said her right high heel gave way, and the visible portion of his face turned radical white.
He clutched toward her somehow, as though to get at this offending shoe heel, but she drew her foot back inside the burqa and he was stymied.
Then it was all she could do to keep his mind on their negotiating because he said he needed the comfort room to wash his hands due to a flush of evil thoughts.
At that point I don't know what happened. I was under a table somehow from all the Iraqi whiskey I'd been swigging, and they were going mano a mano on the bartop.
Later Fahad told me Baghdadi let her win, being something like a wily old coyote from the Iraqi desert, but Hillary's confidence was up. I'll say that.
All the way back to Baghdad she was humming,
my love has come along
it's zero seventeen
and life is like a song . . .