Arnold, the first hundred days. Was it a dream, or a nightmare? I’ll let you be the judge.
Oct. 8, 2003. Midnight. Crickets. The rustle of wind. Before all the votes are even counted, before the winner has been officially declared- bam! -a skylight shatters in Sacramento, as Arnold and a half-dozen nameless and faceless mercenaries in black camo-gear abseil on ropes down into the state capitol amidst a shower of glass. Crouching in the darkness-armed with little more than a veto and 2,000 rocket-propelled-grenade launchers-Arnold rises to his feet and declares: “This is my future. This is my birthright. This is my destiny. Let’s govern!”
Oct. 12, 2003. Cell-phone service fails in Southern California-accompanied by a crippling shortage of wicker-as 11 million agents, managers, lawyers and entertainment moguls simultaneously send fruit baskets, congratulating the new Governor on his victory. After conducting extensive interviews, Variety reports that all 11 million insist they voted for Arnold-representing an astounding 279 percent of his final vote count.
Oct. 22, 2003. Maria Shriver returns to work at NBC. She interviews herself.
Oct. 24, 2003. Inexplicably, whenever the Governor-elect leaves the statehouse, his motorcade immediately morphs into a giant high-speed car-chase action sequence involving gas tankers, fire engines and mobile cranes, resulting in an unprecedented display of flying windshields and sheet metal, carnage and civic destruction. On the bright side, crime, gas prices, traffic jams and the freeway-maintenance budget are all reduced, as Californians stay home to watch live broadcasts of the daily mayhem.
Oct. 30, 2003. It’s official: According to Vogue , Kevlar is the new cashmere.
Nov. 3, 2003. California Democrats start Recall, the Sequel. Taking a page from Hollywood, they title it Recall II and give it the tagline, “This time, it’s personal.”
Nov. 6, 2003. Arnold issues Executive Order No. 1: Calisthenics. The beach. Everybody. Dawn. “Trust me,” he says, quoting his own appearance on Oprah . “It’s better than coming.”
Nov. 15, 2003. Retaliating for their negative portrayal by the Schwarzenegger campaign, Native Americans convene a high-level powwow at the 522-room Pechanga Indian Resort and Casino Complex in Temecula. After asking “When did we become the enemy again?”, tribal chiefs Black Jack, Little Pot, Big Pot, Double-Down and Texas Five-Card Hold ‘Em declare war on California. Told of this development, the Governor responds: “Pull the Humvees in a circle, boys. I’m attacking our women!”
Nov. 21, 2003. Mouthing fatuous mid-90’s buzzwords, Tina Brown arrives in Sacramento to court the Governor for an interview. “I drank the Kool-Aid,” coos the New York resident. “I voted for you. Tell me, is power the ultimate aphrodisiac?”
Dec. 1, 2003. The Empire State Strikes Back: Feeling left out of all the brouhaha, New Yorkers want somebody tougher, somebody grittier, somebody who can “kick Arnold’s steroid-filled butt.” By universal acclamation, a new Governor is installed: Harvey Keitel. When asked by The Times when he’s going to hold his first press conference, Mr. Keitel’s newly appointed press secretary, Christopher Walken, replies, “How about never?”
Dec. 10, 2003. Arianna Huffington auditions for Terminator IV .
Dec. 15, 2003. Groping to find a way to get the Governor’s office to return its reporters’ phone calls, the Los Angeles Times apologizes and retracts the front-page article it ran five days before the election depicting Arnold as a serial sexual molester. When this doesn’t work, the editors offer to have Oliver North re-review all of Arnold’s movies.
Dec. 19, 2003. Faced with profligate spending and a spiraling deficit, Arnold appoints banished Sony Pictures chairmen Jon Peters and Peter Guber as state comptrollers. Their first act is to cut the landing fees for private jets at Van Nuys airport.
Dec. 26, 2003. In an attempt to curry favor with their former client, International Creative Management officially adopts the new preferred five-syllable pronunciation of “Cal-lee-forn-i-a.”
Jan. 2, 2004. Simultaneously, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Showtime, HBO and the History Channel announce plans for a sitcom based in the Governor’s mansion. Overnight, Dolph Lundgren becomes the hottest actor in America.
Jan. 4, 2004. The Los Angeles City Council nixes a proposed “Great California Statesman” monument to be carved into the Hollywood Hills-featuring the likenesses of Reagan, Schwarzenegger and Sonny Bono-when it’s revealed that the primary source of funding was Kurt Waldheim.
Jan. 6, 2004. G.E./NBC/Universal’s 24-hour “All Arnold” movie network begins broadcasting; the Federal Election Commission rules that the actor’s ensuing residual payments are not, in fact, a back-door political payoff.
Jan. 7, 2004. Ignoring the advice of his advisers, Arnold weighs in on the single most important issue facing Southern California: Oscar screeners-free DVD’s and videotapes for Academy Award voters. Siding with the big studios against independent distributors, Arnold declares: “I don’t watch pantywaist art films,” and signs a bill outlawing subtitles, English directors and “weepy chick flicks.” His approval ratings soar.
Jan. 9, 2004. Appearing on Larry King , Arnold finally reveals what he meant by “a woman’s right to choose”: thongs or garters. His approval ratings soar.
Jan. 11, 2004. Retaliating for the negative portrayal of undocumented aliens by the Schwarzenegger campaign, Mexico declares war on California. The Governor responds with a “lightning-like” annexation of Nevada, Arizona and the six northernmost Mexican states. “It is our destiny,” he says. His approval ratings soar.
Jan. 15, 2004. The Economist : For years, everyone in Hollywood-from studio executives to journalists-knew about the girls, the groping, the love child and Hitler. Everyone gossiped about it. So how could Arnold not have known it would all eventually come out? Simple. In Hollywood, no one ever tells a star the truth-from how bad the last movie was, to the personal habits getting out of control. It’s called living in a bubble. So, in a nutshell, because no one dared to mention any of this stuff to Arnold, he thought it had all gone away.
Jan. 16, 2004. On his 100th day in office, the single most popular and successful Governor in the history of California addresses his people. His topic: The Meaning Of Life. At noon, the state falls silent; the hot-tub waters still. Even the background noise-the gentle clicking of plastic-surgery suturing-quells. Standing beside a stack of Vanity Fair magazines featuring his picture on the cover, Arnold delivers his message.
“There is no God,” he begins. “There is no Allah, no Buddha. There is no Jesus, Jehovah or Tao. At the center of the universe … there is only Barry Diller.”