They first began by conducting a Rorschach Test, which is a psychological test in which a subject's perception of an inkblot indicates his or her inner truth. The inkblots were supplied by the Hill's resident psychologist available to all members of Congress free of charge, and whom no member of Congress has ever used. It's a sweet gig, and it pays well. All courtesy of the American taxpayer.
Former senator Larry Craig, known hither and yon for just how impressively wide his stance is, showed Patraeus the first inkblot.
"What does this look like to you, General?" Craig asked.
The former General took his time considering the black splotch of ink. He knew his reputation was on the line.
Finally, he said, "That looks to me like the Invasion of Normandy, where so many of our brave soldiers died fighting for love of God and country. God bless the USA."
Senator Craig looked at the inkblot, and laughed.
"Clearly," he said,"clearly this is a picture of a man performing homosexual sex with another man in an airport bathroom stall. How you see the Invasion of Normandy in this is beyond me."
Barney Frank, the former Democratic U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, showed Patraeus the next inkblot.
"And what does this one look like, General?" Barney asked, tripping over his enunciation of the simplest of words in the English language.
Patraeus looked intently at the splatter, again taking his time. He knew he had to be careful, but, gosh darn it, he saw what he saw. The Rorschach Test was supposed to be a test where there was no wrong answer. Apparently, that wasn't true. At least not in front of these bozos.
"That looks to me the taking of San Juan Hill, with the great Teddy Roosevelt leading the charge."
He leaned back, pleased with himself and his answer.
Barney made a kind of farting sound with his mouth, spit and spittle flying everywhere.
"Clearly, General," he said sarcastically, "clearly this is a picture of someone's homosexual lover being arrested by the DC police for running a homosexual prostitution ring out of that someone's home." Barney eyed Patraeus sceptically. "You disgust me, sir. You leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I don't mean in the way I enjoy."
Patraeus didn't know what he meant by that, and didn't want to know. Sometimes, when you didn't know what to say, it was better to say nothing at all, so he kept his mouth shut. Which is more than he could say for Barney Frank. Or so he heard.
Former President Bill Clinton stumbled into the room right at that moment, whistling the song Buffalo Gals. His eyes brightened when he saw everybody, as if he just wandered into a party just for him. His face betrayed him, however. This party was strictly stag.
"Hiya, guys," he said, quickly regaining his composure. Every since the election was over, Clinton found himself with little to do. "What'cha doing?"
"Well... er... ah," was the general consensus.
Clinton walked over to the table, and picked up one of the inkblots. His eyes grew wide.
"Hey," he said to no one in particular, "where'd you get these pictures?"
"Well... er... ah..." was the general explanation.
The psychologist couldn't help but be curious.
"Which picture are you talking about, sir?" he asked the first black president.
"Well... the one with the intern... and the cigar... and..."
Clinton was interrupted in his description by the poor timing of a secret service agent who just then stuck his head into the room.
"Excuse me, gentlemen," the agent said as he scanned the room. "Have you seen..." He stopped. "There you are, sir," he exhaled in relief when his eyes fixed on the former president. He walked over and took Clinton by the arm. "This way, sir. Put down that picture of James Bond and come with me."
Clinton did as he was told. Reluctantly.
"See ya," he said, disappointedly, as he ambled slowly out of the room, not really wanting to leave. His head kept craning backward to get one last look at the inkblots on the table. The Secret Service agent had to keep encouraging him to move forward, toward the door.
It took longer than it should have, but the president finally exited the room, and everyone was able to get back to business.
It was now U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner's turn to question Patraeus, but when he looked at the inkblot in front of him, he made a scrunched-up kind of face. He looked at the inkblot from top to bottom, from side to side, and even turned it upside down for a better view. Finally...
"Can I have another one," he asked the psychologist. "This one seems to be broken."
The psychologist was curious, to say the least, but he took it away without a word and handed Weiner another one.
"Nope," Weiner said, after a quick glance. He tossed the new inkblot to the side, "This one's broken, too."
The psychologist handed Weiner ten different inkblots. Weiner looked at them all.
"These are broken, too," he said. "Don't you have any that work?"
The psychologist took them from the Congressman, and shuffled them in his hands, looking at them himself.
"Just how are these broken?" he asked Weiner.
"Well, just look at them," Weiner asked. "They're all pictures of a guy with a big nose sending pictures of his hoo-hah to a young girl. Can't you get me any that aren't?"
"That's right," Barney Frank interjected, "you seem to have an awful lot of pictures of men performing homosexual acts."
"Yeah," Larry Craig confirmed. "Handsome, rugged men, I might add. And what your fascination is with airport bathroom stalls is beyond me, but there it is."
The psychologist was indignant.
"Let me assure you," the psychologist assured him, "that I do not have a fascination with airport bathroom stalls. Or homosexual acts, for that matter. These tests are an indication of what a person's state of mind is at the time he takes the test. The General, being a military man, of course saw military battles. And you gentlemen..." He paused, unsure of whether to go on. "And you gentlemen..."
"And 'you gentlemen' what?" Barney Frank said. "What's your point?"
"My point is that the pictures you see in these inkblots are a mirror of your true selves, your inner selves, if you will. The part of you that you keep hidden away in the depths of your souls. The part of you that you keep hidden from the public."
"I resent that," Larry Craig said, resenting that. "I am definitely NOT a homosexual, just ask my wife, so why would I see homosexual acts in those inkblots?"
The psychologist began to answer, but Larry Craig cut him off.
"Don't bother giving me any of your psychological mumbo-jumbo, I get enough of that from my pastor. I am NOT a homosexual. NOT, I tell you. I just have a wide stance. A wide stance doesn't make me a homosexual, does it? DOES IT?"
The psychologist again tried to answer, but was once more cut off.
"Of course it doesn't. I'll prove to you I'm straight. Bring me a girl--any girl--and I'll have sex with her right here in front of you. I will, I tell you."
"Please, Congressman Craig," the psychologist tried to calm him down. "I wasn't saying..."
"Darn tooting, you weren't saying," Barney Frank spat, angry as all get out. "You and your ilk leave a bad taste in my mouth, and not in the way I prefer."
"You'd better leave, sir," Weiner told him. The psychologist tried to offer some kind of defense, but the congressman held up a hand. "I said you'd better leave."
Patraeus looked at the psychologist. He didn't know how this had gone so quickly from being about him to being about everybody but him, but he wasn't complaining.
The psychologist looked at the six condemning eyes burning into him from across the table. He knew there was no talking reason to any of them. With a sigh he stood up, and began collecting his materials.
"Uh, sir?" Weiner said.
The psychologist stopped what he was doing, and looked up. The three men exchanged glances at each other, and then they all said as one:
"Leave the inkblots!"