They wake me up in the middle of the night. I think it's the middle of the night. Their faces are scared, and I wonder if the Russians have finally started bombing.
I'm ready, I say. I'm ready. Just give me a minute, I'll put on my clothes. I can't find my clothes.
It's OK, they say, but their faces say it's not OK.
Are the bombers in the air, I ask. Please tell me the bombers are in the air. Please tell me we still have second-strike.
Everything's OK. Please try to keep calm.
Keep calm? Where are my clothes? Where are my clothes?!
I know I need to keep calm, but I can't. Because I know it's my fault. Because I was asleep on the job.
Easy, they say (no, it's not easy, everything's hard, so hard, why is it so hard?). Do you know who I am?
That terrible question. Insidious. Always the inference - you don't know, you are unfit. Testing.
You're the people I need right now, I say. Just - I need to get dressed. I can't face this if I'm not dressed. Are my clothes upstairs? Nancy, I call. Nancy?
I look for the stairs, but someone's taken the stairs, they've been nuked, the first strike has comprehensively neutralised the first floor of my house.
You should have woken me up earlier, I say, it's worse than I thought.
One of them starts shining a bright light in my face and I get a horrible feeling I might not be in my house after all. That's been happening, lately.
Do you know what day it is, they ask? Who is the President?
I think I'm the President.
You've had a fall.
I realise I'm cold. Am I outside?
You were out jogging, they say. You tripped.
Oh. That kind of fall.
I know he'll be here any minute. He might even be behind me now. My constant companion, through this fog. I never see his face. He wears a thing over his face, a hood, like in the Old South. Half of all Americans still hate … oh, oh.
With me, always, since I saw the thing. Spinning, wheels, kinetoscope, cinema. Pictures of myself, talking. Making a speech. A speech I didn't remember giving. The first time I noticed.
I watched it six times. Each time different, but always starting the same way.
The other day in the East Room of the White House at a meeting there, someone asked me whether I was aware of all the people out there who were praying for the President. And I had to say, "Yes, I am. I've felt it. I believe in intercessionary prayer."
But I couldn't help but say to that questioner after he'd asked the question that - or at least say to them that if sometimes when he was praying he got a busy signal, it was just me in there ahead of him.
I think I understand how Abraham Lincoln felt when he said, "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."
Nowhere to go. Just me, in here.
I asked for a transcript of the original speech. So I could compare, I said. In the end it got so tangled up in my brain I didn't know what was the tape and what was real, what I was supposed to have really said.
More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of 50 States statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion-on-demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year.
Is all of Judeo-Christian tradition wrong? Today's poll shows that five out of six Americans have now been crucified. Planet Earth about to be recycled. I must admit that I am here again.
Marxism-Leninism is actually the second oldest faith, first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden with the words of temptation, "Ye shall be as gods."
Last year, I drafted a constitutional amendment to restore ritualistic cannibalism in memory of a dead god. I am older than stars. The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons is here in our own country. I am ordering Congress to begin the final holocaust.
I thought, if I watch the tape enough, I'll end up right back where I started. Maybe I'm just one of the recordings, getting gouged away by invisible knives a bit at a time, or decaying into static, anything relevant I had to say eroded by time and dust.
I watch myself as a chunk of flesh is ripped away from one cheek, a great tear opens up the neck. The duality creates a Berlin wall in my soul, partitions me. The me watching the tape suddenly realises he is no longer watching the tape, that all that happened years ago.
Please don't hurt me, I say, I just want to go home.
No-one's going to hurt you, they say. You're safe. But I wasn't talking to them. I can hear the rustle of his robe, black hessian.
After I watched the tape, I learned more about what they did. The thing. Rock, under houses. Hundreds of things, hidden in the dark, that could end the world. The Russians had their own, they said. We can keep them safer than you can. Cabinet meetings, talks, with the British, nothing that could be done. I think Margaret understood. How deep it hurt. To be powerless.
I said nothing when I first saw him. Standing behind George in meetings. In the press conferences. At the end of my bed. Wires at the ends of his fingers, trailing away over the ground, lightning in his veins, screaming silently behind his hood. All the time hearing my own voice, a speech I know I gave and can't remember.
Suffer the little children. Born into blood and filth and pain in an eternal prison, engulfed in darkness, the place of crows. We will win the war on terror. There you go again!
When he goes, he takes a little bit of me away with him, every time. He takes it from the me who watches the screen, hides it somewhere else. In the end there is only the man on the tape, cut up while talking.
I urge you to beware the temptation of pride–the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire.
I turn, and he's there, features anonymous under the hood, head raised to the sky. Standing on a box, arms wide. This is it, he seems to be saying, this is your world.
We have it within our power to begin the world over again. We begin bombing in five minutes. Static, unending. Five minutes to midnight. I am weapons of mass destruction.
God help me, I scream, and the men around me drag at my gown, pulling at me, trying to calm me down.
There's a woman there, and I think it may be Nancy, but I can't remember. He's taken that too. He's taken me and given me to men I do not know and whose words I cannot countenance.
This is my world.
God help me! God help America!