“We’re going in!” The Envoy’s voice had the sting of a cold wind cutting across the taiga. Ratta. Tatta Tat. The plane out of Ramstein was pelted with a bararage of fire as it descended into Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia. Ratta Tatta Tat. One piece of shrapnel pierced the window next to the Envoy’s seat. She was calm. “We can’t make it ma’am. There’s even heavier fire below.” “That was an order, Major Fenton.” She was even cooler than her voice in the midst of the panic around her. “I’m going up front.” Bursting into the cockpit she took the controls and put the plane into a steep dive, getting it below the barrage of bullets. The plane hit the ground with a fearful bounce, avoiding a crash only because she had become one with the monster jet. On the tarmac, the plane took gunfire again. She cried, “We came here on a mission. We’re going in! Put down the chutes!” The slides deployed. Grabbing a rifle from her bodyguard she was the first one down. Running now, head down, holding rifle aloft with one arm to let the others know the path and with her daughter sheltered under the other, she outpaced them. And then she and the rest were safe in the hanger.
“I felt the snipers’ bullets whizzing overhead,” she declared to the assembled crowd, now safe. The hanger burst into applause. And then she was startled, as from a dream. The applause erupted in the press conference, as she finished her account. The worshipping press was mesmerized by her story. Among those who applauded loudest were those who were with her in Tuzla. They knew it was all a lie. Their careers were flourishing, their salaries soaring. She thanked them all. Before she knew it, she was whisked off the stage.
“Hill, what were you talking about?” Her bewildered husband looked at her in the holding room. You were never fired on, and you don’t even know how to fly a kite let alone a jet. “Oh, shut up, Bill. You underestimate me every time. Your memory fails you. I was there. You forget those long hours of learning to do stunt flying when I was president of the Winged Wellesley Women. For God’s sake don’t quibble about details. I had to push you to expand NATO when your buddies kept harping on Versailles.” Bill looked like a puppy that had just been whacked with a rolled up newspaper. He knew that there had not been so much as a paper plane flown at Wellesley. He bit his lower lip and fell silent.
The limousine picked them up and whisked them away to her all-important speech, her first State of the Union. Bill watched her take the podium before the joint session of Congress.