WASHINGTON, DC–The Bush Administration suffered another giant-girl-related setback Tuesday, when 60-foot-tall Alice Drury, 7, "married" Vice-President Dick Cheney to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before a crowd of cowering White House staffers in the Rose Garden.
Grasping Cheney and Rumsfeld tightly in her enormous hands, Alice forced the helpless leaders-turned-playthings to exchange vows of matrimony.
"Dick, do you take Donald to be your lawfully wedded wife?" Alice asked Cheney. "'Yes, yes I do!' And Donald, do you take Dick to be your lawfully wedded husband? 'Yes! Yes! Oh, yes!'"
After pronouncing Cheney and Rumsfeld husband and wife, Alice ordered the trembling vice-president to kiss his equally frightened "bride," then bumped the two men's torsos against one another repeatedly in a crude simulation of kissing.
"Kissy kiss kiss," Alice said. "Dick and Donald love each other."
While not considered legally binding, the wedding is only the latest episode of giant-child's play to rock the Beltway. Since acquiring the White House as a birthday present from her colossal parents last week, Alice has repeatedly disrupted affairs of state, forcing key government officials to serve as dolls for her playtime flights of fancy.
During a Bush Cabinet meeting on the morning of June 9, Commerce Secretary Don Evans was unexpectedly hoisted from his chair and pulled through an open West Wing window by Alice's right hand. Eyewitnesses described how the young giantess, crawling on her hands and knees, "walked" Evans down Pennsylvania Avenue.
"She held him by the waist with her thumb and forefinger and sort of bounced him down the street," eyewitness Phil Urban said. "He never left her grip, but it must have been terrifying for him. His feet touched the ground only every 20 to 30 feet or so. It was sickening to watch."
After disappearing for nearly two hours, Evans was dropped unceremoniously on the White House lawn, minus his shoes, coat, and shirt. He also sported several bald patches on his head, the result of an apparent giant-girl-administered haircut.
Later that afternoon, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson nearly drowned after being "bathed" by Alice in the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. Stripped naked and dunked several times, the stunned Thompson was abandoned face down in the pool when Alice's mother called her to dinner. Thompson was eventually rescued and revived by Capitol police.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has endured her share of punishment, as well. Three times in the past week, Alice has seized Rice and brushed her hair with strokes described by witnesses as "rough."
"She uses this huge plastic brush and practically rips Condi's hair out at the roots," Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said. "And that dress [Alice] made out of gigantic Kleenexes and secured with rubber bands? Horrible. God knows where Condoleezza's original dress went. Probably lost forever, along with the Marine One helicopter and [Secretary of Veterans' Affairs] Anthony Principi."
While federal officials have remained calm thus far, many fear that Alice's play will become more violent if left unchecked. Beltway insiders point to Monday's switching of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham's head with that of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.
Asked if they had any plans to intervene, Alice's parents seemed unfazed.
"I agree that Alice should try to keep her things nice," 95-foot-tall mother Elizabeth Drury said. "But I'm more worried she might trip and bump her head on that nasty Washington Monument. There it is, jutting out in the middle of nowhere, just waiting for someone to get hurt on it."
"I'm not at all concerned," 110-foot-tall father Lawrence Drury said. "I say, let giant children be giant children. I remember all the fun I had with my Kremlin playset years ago, with the army men and the little nuclear missiles. I would take my little roly-poly Khrushchev doll to bed with me every night. But my mother made me stop playing with it because she didn't like war toys. Pity."