There I was, sitting in Reagan National Monday morning, sipping a Starbucks by the United counter before going through security. ... That's when I saw Bill Ayers, an instant blight. Scruffy, thinning beard, dippy earring, and the wirerims, heading to order. I gathered my things, got my camera ready, and snapped a shot right when he got his coffee.Clearly, the part about "and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties" is a joke on Ayers' part. How much of the rest of it is Ayers' pulling the leg of a conservative who accosts him, I don't know.
I asked—what are you doing in D.C. Mr. Ayers?
... He said oh you mean GW, he said no...was trying to decide if I was a fan, then said he was giving a lecture in Arlington to a Renaissance group on education—that's what I do, education—you shouldn't believe everything you hear about me, you know nothing about me. I said, I know plenty—I'm from Chicago, a conservative blogger, and I'll post this. ...
Then, unprompted he said—I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said—Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He's about my height, short. He went on to say—and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again—I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said—I wrote it. I said—why would I believe you, you're a liar.
He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.
Ayers might just be idly amusing himself here.
Or, our recent discussions of the legally fuzzy nature of blackmail might be relevant here. It's a crime to try to extort money by threatening to reveal secrets unless one is paid off. But it's probably not a crime to make apparent jokes about royalties that could send a message to the potential blackmailee that he, e.g., POTUS, might want to make the first move toward reaching a quiet, mutually beneficial and quite legal financial settlement.