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Dear Judy:

I read with interest newspaper accounts of your recent meetings at the Special Prosecutor's office, and the several days of follow up testimony before the Grand Jury. My reaction was one of surprise to say the least.

You will recall my earlier letter to you prior to your release from prison. I call your attention to the closing paragraph which I will now cite:

"You went to jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover -- Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work -- and life."

Upon reflection it appears you may have failed to catch the gist of my original intent.

There seems, in fact, if the accounts of your recent testimony are to be accepted as accurate, to have been some slight misunderstanding. In fact some might characterize the scope of this misunderstanding as more than slight. I trust it may have by now occurred to you that in mentioning such things as your vacation home and the local flora, I was invoking a form of poetic license, and was not intending necessarily to have been construed in strictly literal terms.

Of deepest concern to me are reports suggesting that you have discussed with the special prosecutor's office details of our meeting in June of 2003. While your release from jail delighted me, and your limited testimony of last week filled me with a transcendent feeling of appreciation you and your important work, your subsequent acceptance of another opportunity to testify does present certain logistical problems for me, which I would like to address with you now in the spirit of comity and candor.

You seem to have missed certain essential metaphors in my first missive to you, so I thought I would take the opportunity now to walk you through them, in hopes that they might sink in better. To whit: The aspens will be turning. As in "the aspens." Get it? Turning. T-U-R-N-I-N-G. I could have a picture drawn for you (one of my staffers does excellent charcoal studies in her spare time, which she guards very closely, her spare time that is, not the charcoal studies) but I would prefer the imagery work on your imagination that you may better read between the lines. Furthermore, "turning in clusters." CLUSTERS. Is this ringing any bells for you? You really need to work with me here a little. "Their roots connect them." It seems that on this one as well you seem not to have grasped my full intent. They have roots, you see. As in roots into the ground. Think of trees. Like an aspen, for instance. The roots referred to above connect, as it were. They're "connected." Is any of this getting through to you now on second reading? I'm quite prepared to accept that my references to elections, suicide bombings, biohazards, and nukes could have thrown you off the scent, but I really thought that the tree metaphors would have turned the lights on for you.

Now that you have gone ahead and amplified your earlier testimony to the prosecutor, who apparently was unaware of our June meetings until your rather inconvenient "discovery" of additional "notes," it is no longer the time to obsess over what is past. As Shakespeare's Richard II says (I know how much our old mutual friend Lee Atwater used to love to hear you recite the English Histories to him, over morning coffee and cigarettes): "After sentence, 'plaining comes too late." Therefore, in the interest of moving forward in the most productive way possible, let me conclude with these final thoughts.

Autumn is upon us. The plaintive cries of "trick or treat" will soon fill the air. Some children will rejoice, others will find their apples laced with razor blades. Witches and goblins are figments of the imagination, but the contents of the plastic pumpkin bucket are corporeally real. Your days of detention are over, you've resumed life, love, and work, but I hope you'll still take time to bob for the occasional apple, picking wisely the Winesap from the Cortland, the ripe from the worm-holed, as you struggle submerged face down in the water, hands gingerly tied behind you to make the game fair. Then after the parties have ended and the costumes are hung up, you'll drop by for movie night, and we'll feast on Coppola, just like back in the 70s, when Bolton used to get us in to Studio. We'll revisit our old arguments as to whether Part II exceeds Part I in brilliance (of course forgoing all mention of Part III, what was he thinking?), and I'll refer you to the scene at the end when Michael arranges for Fredo to fish for bass out on that glorious Nevada lake, where he then shuffles off this mortal coil with a shotgun blast to the head.

I trust this time I have made my intentions plain to you, without resorting to stating overtly what I would prefer to remain implicit. Hopefully, it will all be crystal clear to you now. Or as the caretaker of my villa near Taormina used to say, "capisce?"

Originally posted to mrblifil on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 10:20 AM PDT.

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