Acceptance

by Tom Swift

Gust Avrakotos: “Listen, not for nothing, but do you know the story about the Zen master and the little boy?”

Charlie Wilson: “Oh, is this something from Nitsa the Greek witch of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania?”

Gust: “Yeah as a matter of fact it is.

“There’s a little boy. Now on his 14th birthday he gets a horse, and everybody in the village says, ‘How wonderful the boy got a horse,’ and the Zen master says, ‘We’ll see.’

“Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everybody in the village says, ‘How terrible,’ and the Zen master says, ‘We’ll see.’

“Then a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight, except the boy can’t cause his leg’s all messed up, and everybody in the village says, ‘How wonderful’ …”

Charlie: “Now the Zen master says ‘We’ll see.'”

Gust: “So you get it.”

Charlie: “No. No, cause I’m stupid …”

Gust: “You’re not stupid, you’re just in Congress.

“Send them money.

“You can start with the roads.

“Move on to the schools, factories.”

Charlie: “Gus [sic], now, it’s a party.”

Gust: “Restock the sheep herds.”

Charlie: “Hey.”

Gust: “Give them jobs, give them hope.”

Charlie: “I’m trying. I’m trying.”

Gust: “Yeah, well, try harder.”

Charlie: “I’m fighting for every dollar.”

Gust: “Yeah, yeah.”

Charlie: “I took you from 5 million to a billion.

“I broke the ice on the Stinger and the MILAN.

“I got a Democratic Congress in lockstep behind a Republican President.”

Charlie: “Well, that’s not good enough … ’cause I’m gonna hand you a code word classified NIE right now, and it’s gonna tell you that the crazies have started rolling into Kandahar like it’s a fucking bathtub drain.”

Charlie: “Jesus, Gus, you could depress a bride on her wedding day.”

Gust: “Hey.” Throws the contents of Charlie’s mixed drink into a flower pot.

“Listen to what I’m telling you.”

Charlie: Gives Gust a hug. “You did a hell of a job for the son of a soda pop maker.”

Gust: “‘We’ll see,’ said the Zen master.”

Charlie Wilson’s War (2011)