So the redacted report on Congressman Denny Rehberg’s late-night boat crash at the hands of former state Representative Greg Barkus has been released this week. Nothing too shocking has been revealed, but I was immediately moved to dig up this report I filed at the time of the crash 3 years ago. We may never learn the truth of what transpired that night, but until we do this is a hell of a lot more entertaining:
September 8, 2009, Missoula, Montana – As the wagons are circled and information is slowly pried out of the Barkus/Rehberg camps like so much pork between your molars after a BLT, Montanans are left in the dark about one thing: what really happened on that boat that night?
For those of you who’ve just returned from a tour of the subcontinent, Rep. Denny Rehberg and four others were injured last Thursday night when the boat in which they were swashbuckling crashed head-on into a rocky bank on the east side of Flathead Lake. State Senate Majority Whip Greg Barkus was at the wheel of the boat, which is registered to his wife. Also on board, and injured in high-speed docking were Barkus’ wife and two Rehberg staffers.
Since a complete picture of the accident has yet to coalesce, I’ve decided to paint a scenario of what might have gone down that dark, calm night on Flathead Lake. All we know at this point is that Rep. Rehberg had a BAC of .05 three hours after the wreck, one of his staffers is in a coma, and Barkus has lawyered up.
For the sake of argument (and entertainment), let’s imagine what might have been learned if boats, like airliners, were required to be fitted with a black box.
[Sound of a high speed motor, hull of a boat bumping against swells in the water]
Rehberg: [yelling] Hey, Barkie! Why don’t you slow this thing down to the speed of light, huh? It’s pretty dark out here. You know where you’re going?
Barkus: [yelling] Ah, come on, Denny, grow a pair. I got the need! For SPEED! [sound of ice tinkling in a glass, engine revs even higher.] Ah, this is just like driving my Vette down Highway 93, man! Whoooo hooooo!
Rehberg: [screaming] I’m SERIOUS, man! [reaches across Barkus and pulls back on throttle]. There. That’s better. Damn, it feels like we’ve been through a wind tunnel.
Barkus: Aw, quit whining, Eddie Munster. You said you wanted to get back to the condo in time to catch CSI:NY. I like that show too. That Greek chick is hot. Hey, babe, why don’t you freshen my drink for me? [sound of ice tinkling in a glass]
Rehberg: Hey, your wife doesn’t look too good, Barkie. And I told you about that Eddie Munster crap. Can it.
Barkus: Hey, shweet pants, you okay? You’re lookin’ kinda green. You had the swordfish tonight, didn’t you? How many times have I told you not to order seafood in a landlocked state? Jesus. Hey, Denny, take the wheel for a minute. I’m gonna help my wife chum the waters. Haw haw!
Rehberg: All right, but I’m not sure which way to steer. I guess I’ll keep to the right. [soft chuckle]
Barkus: [yelling to be heard over the sound of Mrs. Barkus vomiting over side of boat] Don’t worry about it, skipper! It’s a big lake. We won’t hit nothin’.
Rehberg: [sound of ice tinkling in a glass] Hey, Barkie, you’re from Kalispell. What’s the deal with that stream access bill? You must’ve had to twist some arms on that one, huh?
Barkus: [sound of comforting wife, pouring another drink] Yeah, we had to sneak some stuff in there, like the part where it says wood rail fences are a fair place for access? Well, we didn’t say your couldn’t wrap the rails in barbed wire! Buh-bye new waders! Haw haw! [sound of two glasses clinking together]
Rehberg: Here, take the wheel back. I gotta check the ropes.
Barkus: Benny, I still can’t believe you’re having your staffers ski all the way across the lake. They must be freezing their asses off. [sound of ice tinkling in a glass. A burp. A high-pitched fart.]
Rehberg: [voice coming from stern of boat] Aw, they’re okay. Look, they’re giving me the thumbs up. I think that’s their thumbs. I hope Kristin doesn’t drop her briefcase. [voice moving closer to cockpit] Hey, listen, I need your help on this health bill.
Barkus: [laughing] What you need MY help for, Renny? For once Max is coming down on our side of the fence. He’s so deep in the insurance lobby’s pockets, he’s got lint in his hair. Haw! I just made that up!
Rehberg: Yeah, that helps, for sure. But it’s gonna hit the fan if the press ever finds out about…whoa! That rock is coming right at us!
Barkus: Don’t worry, man. That’s not a rock, I think it’s just…
[Here there is the sound of a huge crash, motor suddenly revving way too high, fiberglass crunching, glass breaking, water skiers screaming.]
[End of recording.]