"I would like to see President Reagan," I told the man in the frock coat and striped pants behind the desk.

"I'm sorry," the man replied. "The president is on his honeymoon."

"Who is he on his honeymoon with?" I demanded.

"The American people, Congress and the press. Every president is entitled to a honeymoon after he is sworn into office."

"That's ridiculous," I said. "The president of the United States doesn't have time for a honeymoon. There is too much work to be done."

"He's working in the honeymoon suite, but he is not to be disturbed."

"For how long?"

"It depends. Some presidents have had a honeymoon period for as long as six months. Others have had one for as little as a month."

"I can't wait around for the president to have a honeymoon with the American people for six months. I've got a job to do."

The man behind the desk said, "We're sorry, sir. But our orders are the president is not to be disturbed until his honeymoon is over."

"Can't I speak to him on the phone?"

"What do you want to speak to him about?"

"The economy, inflation, the state of the world, and the price of heating oil which people can't afford."

"We couldn't let you speak to him about those things or you'd spoil his honeymoon. We have instructions to only let him speak to friendly members of the press, congressional leaders and influential friends who think he's a wonderful person. Every president is entitled to that. Even President Carter had a honeymoon with the American people when he was first sworn it."

"And so I'm supposed to cool my heels in the lobby while President Reagan is drinking champagne and cuddling up to the American people?"

"You can sit over there on the couch if you want to. He might come down, but I doubt it."

"I think there is more going on upstairs than meets the eye. I believe you're keeping something from me that the American people should know about."

"I told you. The president is on his honeymoon with the American people. You should know, sir, that on a honeymoon you can't believe anything bad of the person you're with. That's why it's called a honeymoon. You've got four years ahead of you. What's the big rush in writing about him now?"

"He's the only president I've got. I owe it to my readers to point out what he's doing wrong."

"But he's only been president for two days. What could he possibly do wrong in two days?"

"That's what I'm trying to find out. Couldn't I just peek in the honeymoon suite and see what they're doing?"

"It's out of the question. The American people would never stand for it. If you busted in on the president's honeymoon, they would have your hide."

"I'll bet you anything that if columnist George Will came in right now, you would let him go up to the suite."

"Yes, we would. But that's because he's part of the honeymoon party."

"I thought this was a free country!"

"It is, sir. That's why presidents are permitted honeymoons."

"I don't suppose if I slipped you 20 bucks you could overlook the rules."

"I'm afraid not, sir. The presidential honeymoon suite is off limits to people like yourself, and there is nothing you can do to persuade me to let you go upstairs."

Political cartoonists Herb Block, Oliphant, Conrad, and columnist Jack Anderson all came into the lobby at the same time.

"Is the honeymoon over yet?" Block asked me.

"Heck no," I said. "As far as I can tell, it's only just begun."

"Oh boy," said Anderson, "are we in trouble."

"I gave Nixon a week," said Oliphant. "I'm afraid this one could be a lot longer."

"Well," I said, "might as well sit in the lobby and relax. Did anyone bring a deck of cards?"