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EAGLE had saved CUCKOO’S life in the Forties so they had a relationship (of sorts).
It wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy because EAGLE always thought he was bigger and better and stronger and smarter – and tried to over-awe CUCKOO, but they talked, and sometimes they ate together.
In CUCKOO’S opinion, that debt had been repaid; and, anyway, EAGLE had been acting in his own interests. But, he was still grateful.
In EAGLE-LAND, they ate hamburgers and drank iced tea.
In CUCKOO-LAND they ate all kinds of exotic food such as Moules Mariniere and drank fine wines. EAGLE always professed that he preferred to eat at home, but in truth he thought CUCKOO-LAND’S food was superb. And he loved garlic. This time they were eating in CUCKOO’S patch. That had increasingly become the pattern.
CUCKOO thought EAGLE and his fellows, when at home, were eating themselves to death, but he was too polite to say so. He felt somewhat guilty about this, because he felt some affection for EAGLE. He was bombastic and never listened, but perhaps his heart was in the right place; even if not in the right condition.
“Humf,” said CUCKOO in a sympathetic tone. “What are you scared of?”
“Terrorists,” said EAGLE.
CUCKOO laughed rather more derisively than he meant to. This wasn’t funny after all. And yet, EAGLE’S reaction was ridiculous. “You lost 3,000 people on 9/11, and you lose over 100,000 a year through medical errors. That adds up a million unnecessary medial deaths over the last ten years. Could it be you are over-reacting; not to mention focusing on the wrong issues?”
“We have the finest heath-care system in the world,” said EAGLE.”But even if that isn’t true – and I know it isn’t - I don’t dare believe otherwise.”
“Why not?” said CUCKOO.
“I’d give you a hug if we were in New York,” said CUCKOO. “It might be misinterpreted around here.”
They touched claws, and both drank from their glasses of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1982, at $700 a bottle.
Both did, after all, work for their respective governments. By the end of the evening they had put away another bottle or two, and were flying; though not very well.