I was in a meeting room connected with a large shopping mall, with my friends Jared (an elderly alcoholic with academic leanings) and Ghost (a Washington insider, who once told me that he hated "arguing with people who did not make policy"). Both, for the record, are Republicans. To my surprise, the speaker was to be President Clinton, and I was seated between Ghost and Hillary.

For the first two thirds or so of the Q&A period, Clinton took questions from several people, including Jared, but when I asked a question, the former president gave me his full attention, and we spent the remainder of the period trading remarks. It was a good, hard, debate, as they go, something like a great game of tennis where both players are so evenly matched that the volleys go on forever. (People seemed quite impressed.) Then I sat down.

Ghost was furious, and said I'd wasted everyone's time. Hillary said I did just fine, but you could see she was lying. I replied that it was his choice as much as mine to speak, and anyway, Jared had done almost as much talking. Ghost said that I had no idea what I was talking about. I tried talking to Jared, but he refused to speak to me.

I went to talk to my friend Bill about it, and he said "The highest rank in any army is civilian."and went back to mopping the floor in a 50's style office. I looked at the clock, and woke up.