On March 1, 2002, the Washington Post announced that President Bush, acting under the authority of the classified "Continuity of Operations Plan," has designated about 100 civilians who will step forward to replace injured or dead high-ranking officials and Cabinet members during a national emergency. Reasoning that the best way to preserve democracy would be to immediately dissolve it, the civilian team will maintain critical governmental functions and preserve the chain of command in the event of catastrophic disruption by terrorism, accidental train derailment, or even suspiciously heavy traffic on the Interstate.

Concerned that this plan sounded uncomfortably close to the quaint, power-grabbing political "coups" of the previous century, the Mercury immediately dispatched one of our most experienced and sexually ambiguous writers to Washington.

After innumerable rounds of free drinks, semi-consensual backrubs, and dozens of small cash loans, our writer was finally able to win the confidence of a blindly drunk Presidential aide as he vomited into a trash bin outside the Pennsylvania Avenue Applebee's. As our writer used one hand to keep the aide's hair free of bile, he/she enlisted the help of a gawping tourist and snapped ultra-classified pics!

Folks, we're relieved to report that the Continuity of Operations Plan is an absolute winner! Combining the nation's finest low- to mid-level managerial talent with a glittering constellation of minor celebrities, the plan will allow a lot of really great people to try their hand at running the world's oldest constitutional government while the "real" Cabinet members run like pussies under the guise of following emergency protocols.

Presented here in yet another Mercury exclusive, we proudly bring you