Myers cleared his throat. "Actually, I think they're talking about the quarter-ounce sampler."

"Quarter-ounce?" Rumsfeld said. "You mean like the little packages of cologne they insert in magazines? I hate that."

"Yes, it makes the whole magazine smell," Myers agreed. "And it gets on your hands, too."

"You want to talk about a smell getting on your hands," Bonds chimed. "You should play on the same team as Moises Alou. Still, I'd shake his hands any day over Jeff Kent's."

Myers nodded. "I know what you mean. I would never trust a man with a mustache like that."

"Agreed," Rumsfeld said. "Kent is a real SOB."

Rumsfeld looked down and punched some numbers into his computer. "Well, anyway. Based on what I'm hearing from you, we should probably ask Halliburton for a bit of a discount. Cheney can probably make some phone calls -- say we go only with the Cream and convince Halliburton to cut its price in half. Let's see, that could bring the total budget allotment under $50 billion."

Myers leaned over to Rumsfeld. "We'd better factor in some higher equipment costs, as well."

"Higher equipment costs?" Rumsfeld asked.

Myers gestured toward Barry. "We'll have to get everyone bigger helmets that fit."

Jim Caple is a senior writer at His first book, "The Devil Wears Pinstripes," is on sale at bookstores nationwide. It also can be ordered through his Web site,


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