8:44 p.m., December 14, 1995

The world is in danger, and David Gergen must dance to save us.

He is given the news by the Secretary of Defense. He runs home, for that is where he prefers to dance. Once inside, he takes off his shoes, for that is how he prefers to dance.

He turns on his stereo, and inserts a disc. The music is by Kamala, a 59-year-old hotelier and amateur singer living in Bangkok. She sings the classics.

The first song is “When You Tell Me that You Love Me.” David Gergen dances slowly, alone, with his eyes are closed. His cat is watching from the window. David Gergen is almost falling down as he dances. He is dancing like he is being blown by winds coming from every wall. He staggers from one corner to another.

David Gergen loosens his tie and pulls his shirttails from his pants. He takes off his belt. He drops to his knees, and dances there, swaying. He gets up, dances on his tip-toes. The song is now “C’est Si Bon.”

He is too happy to smile. He dances in his socks, in his sitting room, to “Hurt,” to “La Vie En Rose,” to “Amor.” With his eyes closed he sees gardens carved from raw jungles, sees water coursing through pipes, across flat cracked deserts to drench zebras and giraffes.

The clouds outside are grey, moving quickly under a dark, dark sky. Under his window, everyone in the world stands, shifting their weight from one foot to the other, praying that David Gergen will dance well enough to save the world.