"Would you or would you not choose the same, under duress, and slalom on water skis with the President’s daughters through the gas shortage? You would, after all, still want what you wanted. You would still make shapely your earthly pleasures, which would complicate things, you admitted, as the hidden oil barrels were rolled out onto the docks. The First Lady visioned the white wake of the speedboat, wax green of the city gardens, gold bricks inscribed with love-letters to her dearly beloved. Never mind the drought or the barricades, the debris clouding the access roads, the near-famine and the journalists’ bodies dumped out in the street. Here was one priority: she sent teams out to spray-paint all dead vegetation a verdant green. Still, the city went greyer as the buildings she commissioned went up in record time. Red and blue plastics snagged in the cheval-de-frise."