If you ask me to stay, I’ll leave

Am I the only person who thinks this whole situation with Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank revives memories of the opening scene from the film, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid“? Robert Redford, as the Sundance Kid, has been accused of cheating by another gunfighter.

You’re a helluva card player fella. I know, cause I’m a helluva card player. And I can’t even spot how you’re cheating.

Butch, who would rather rely on his brains than gunplay, interrupts an impending shoot-out:

Butch: We seem to be a little short on brotherly love around here.
Gunman: If you’re with him, you’d better get yourselves out of here.
Butch: We’re on our way. Come on.
Sundance: I wasn’t cheating.
Butch: Come on!
Sundance: (louder) I wasn’t cheating.
Gunman: You can die. For that matter, you can both die.
Butch: You hear that?
Sundance: If he invites us to stay, then we’ll go…He’s got to invite us to stick around.
Butch: He’ll draw on ya. He’s ready. You don’t know how fast he is. I’m over the hill, but it can happen to you.
Sundance: That’s just what I want to hear.
Butch: Every day you get older. Now that’s a law! (The gunman cocks his pistol) (To the gunman) What would you think about maybe asking us to stick around?
Gunman: What?
Butch: You don’t have to mean it or anything. Just ask us to stick around. I promise you…(The gunman refuses to listen and pushes Butch away) I can’t help you, Sundance.

When the gunman realizes that he is up against quick-draw “Sundance,” a horrified, dismayed look crosses his face and he apologizes to the fearsome killer with a reputation:

Gunman: I didn’t know you were the Sundance Kid when I said you were cheating. If I draw on you, you’ll kill me.
Sundance: There’s that possibility.
Butch: No, you’d be killing yourself. So why don’t you just invite us to stick around? You can do it, and easy. Come on. (coaxing) Come on.
Gunman: (apologizing) Why don’t you stick around?
Butch: Thanks, but hah, we gotta get goin’. (He scoops up the Kid’s winnings into his hat)
Gunman: (as Sundance strides out) Hey Kid! Hey Kid! How good are ya? (Sundance wheels around and fires, demonstrating his lightning-fast draw by detaching the gunman’s gunbelt from his waist and sending his gun skittering across the room)
Butch: (as they leave) Like I’ve been tellin’ ya, over the hill.

Wasn’t Wolfowitz in effect asking the World Bank the same thing? If they asked him to stay, he’d leave quietly. And that’s more or less what happened. It seems the whole situation was settled with a Nixonian type of passive voice statement noting that “mistakes were made on both sides.” Oh well.

Script excerpt from the film was borrowed from here.

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