It's a balmy late July afternoon at the presidential getaway, Camp David, as I am enjoying a frosty cold beer while aboard my mini yacht, The Wop- Bop- A- Loo- Bop -A- Bam- Bam- Boom (that's the way she sounds when you turn the engine and start the propeller). After the first 2 months of my shaky presidency, I was beginning to realize I bit off a bit more than I could chew. I had not yet chosen a Vice President, even though I had received several notions of interest. With the recent success of my previous book, Aboard My Train of Thought, and my quick rise to the most significant public office in the world, my name became synonymous with conquering the improbability of chance; but no one knew of the lack of confidence that caged my boldness while trying to be an effective leader. To add even more exacerbation to my woes concerning the loss of one of my best friends, my cat (Miss Matilda Waudlebaum), my only other companion, Maggie McMutt, my beloved canine, had just been offered an extravagant movie career and left for Hollywood.
A good year since my rise to world fame, I had become totally overwhelmed with the burden the requirements of my destiny into the White House had handed me; so I took a little time off to work on the manuscript of this second trilogy. And as surely as it's poor grammar to begin a sentence with and, this second one will most likely confound your already jelling gray matter as effectively as the previous collection of stories presumably already accomplished. These next stories are the annals of my short-lived eminence and its outcome and are perfect for reading to your Aunt Minerva, as she lunches on tuna and watercress, while sitting in her beautiful rock garden beneath her darling chirping feathered friends hovering in the towering birch overhead...
Aboard My Train of Thought
PROFESSOR ENDICOTSLEY'S DISTANT COUSIN
© 1996, 2016 By Scott Endsley
Continuation From Story Three
"Bah! Rubbish!" The old man growled, tossing the recently purchased book aside. "Train of Thought, indeed! Why, what ever happened to the classics? Whatever happened to say.... The Grapes of Wrath?"
"Pardon me, Professor Endicotsley, but you partook of the grapes last night; and the wrath got us both up quite early this morning," Edith, his live-in nurse quipped.
Giles Endicotsley, a wealthy widower just a shade past 82 years of age, was quite a bright sort. Though retired from teaching literature and history at several universities around the country, he still kept abreast of the new schools of writing. "Edith, what's the literary world coming to with trash like this?"
"What on earth did you buy it for, Giles?" Edith asked.
"Well, aside from the fact he's the so-called leader of this nation, I had to see what a Hipwing had to say. See, me mother's maiden name was Hipwing, her Grandparents immigrated from Ireland into Scotland in the middle of the 19th century, although in our ancestral lineage we kept the Catholic faith... despite the dominance of the Presbyterian church in that country and space of time. Being Mr Hipwing has the same surname as she, I gathered the scoundrel is a distant relative," he huffed, puffing on his imported $200 genuine meerschaum pipe.
"Very fascinating, Professor Endicotsley, but it's time for your morning bath...Outta your jammies!"
It was a typical southern California mid-morning. The heaven-like, mythical looking fog rolled out of the sea, as the breeze played with the peach colored curtain lace next to the professor's bathtub. "Ah," Giles sighed, "honeysuckle... I love the scent of honeysuckle."
"Professor Endicotsley!! Get your nose out of the john!!" Edith shouted, "or I won't buy anymore toilet bowl freshener!"
Edith was a young 35 years of age, never been married, and never wanted to be. She took up nursing after failing at everything else, in hopes of finally doing some good in the world. She grew quite fond of the old professor while attending several of his courses at UCSB in Santa Barbara, where he was teaching. The two became very close over their few semesters together, and when he retired, Giles asked her to become his part time secretary to manage his finances. Over time he became sick with age, so for a small wage, Edith volunteered to take care of him in his later years.
"Oh Edie, I've been cursed with another day of life," he groaned.
Edith, knowing how to get him going in the mornings, prodded, "So, Giles, tell me about your childhood, you never make much mention of it...."
"Well Edith, I was born a poor Scotch-Irish lad in the North of the Highlands. Me mother, rest her soul, worked hard to keep the family fed--- Mum Hipwing would travel for miles in the mornin' come wind, rain, snow, or heat, over the mountains, braving every sort of wild beast, just to go to the nearest village and buy groceries for the family." He puffed again on his large bowl.
"And your father?......" She asked while tying the laces of his shoes.
"Well, me father was a no-good. While me mum would be doing that, he would be loafing around reading... usually books on, say... brawny women who would brave every sort of wild animal in search of groceries for her family......You know, the stuff that made great books."
Edith stood to her feet. "Very fascinating, Professor Endicotsley, but it's time for your medicine. Which is it this morning......the red ones, or the blue ones?"
"Drab!!!!! For Heaven's sake, not those blue ones again!!!!........ JOKERS!... FETCH MY CONCUBINES!!!!!.......TELL THEM TO BRING THE GRAPES!!! I'M GONNA BE BLOODY CONSTIPATED AGAIN!!!!!" He yelled.
Edith, humoring him, laughed and handed him his meds and a large glass of orange juice, then wheeled him up to the morning paper as he began browsing for fair game, armed with his cunning commentary tongue. "Well, let's see what that blasted cousin President of mine is doing to this poor old country today... Drab, I can't see for beans anymore! I used to be quite a bookworm; before long I'm going to have to resort to books-on-tape..."
"I always knew you were an old tapeworm, Professor," Edith cleverly retorted.
Giles came back with, "It's a bleedin' shame when you get old how everything falls apart. Just last Friday when you took me to get that colonoscopy done, when I had that little bout with colitis, I warned the doctor that he makes sure he knew which canal to shove that 'colitis-scope' in, cause when I don't have me dentures on, I look the same on both ends!" he chortled. "Now, what is my wonderful president up to?... Wanting to put us back on the gold standard heh? Says it'll put trillions back into the national debt. Hmm...Well, in my day people knew not to borrow what they couldn't pay back! It's a bloody shame it is!!!!!" Giles complained as he pounded on the table.
"Your blood pressure, Giles!" Edith warned. "Have you taken your pills yet?"
"Oh, ah.... yes, yes!" He answered while slipping them in his pocket. "When is that son of mine gonna bring that car home?!!"
"What?!!!" Edith gasped, puzzled.
"Let me see this phone, I've had enough of this. I'm gonna call the police.... Well blast, the damn thing won't dial! Well... Yes, Operator, this bloody telephone system of yours is giving me all sorts of hell!!!"
"What, you didn't get any ring?" The operator yawned.
"...Well, we did get a couple of inches’ yesterday..." Giles informed her while holding a finger in his other ear as if it would magically amplify his listening one.
"What on Earth are you doing, Giles?" Edith interrupted.
"Shhhh!!!!!Yes Operator, get me the police! Yes, I'm in Santa Barbara....... Hello, Police!? I want to report my son. He stole my car again!!"
"Ok, Ok... Did he have a weapon?" The officer quizzed.
Professor Endicotsley squinted his aged eyes as if it was going to help him listen better. "Did he have a whopping'? Well no, but he's gonna get one hell of a big one when he gets home!"
Edith snatched the phone from his grip and quickly hung it up. "Giles, your son is grown up, married, and has children now. He lives in L.A., remember?"
The Professor was swiftly taken aback and went back to the paper, "Well, yes ...uh, what's this? President Hipwing's going to be on Barry King Live, tonight? I’ve got to see this! Edie, don't let me forget! Eight o'clock tonight, channel 3!"
With only a fraction of a minute to go until air time, I, the newly crowned president, was seated in the television studio after a lengthy security check. Barry King had just come out of the men's room, next to the studio entrance, and was immediately sprawled out against the wall, and frisked.
"What the...what's going on here!?"
"Sorry, Mr. King, just a routine security clearance. You can go ahead and have a seat now, sir," the secret service agent matter-of-factly gestured.
"15 seconds 'til show time, Barry!" the producer shouted.
"Yeah, yeah, okay... So, how does it feel to be president? I suppose you really enjoy all this special treatment, huh?" Mr. King smirked at me.
"Well, I, uh..."
"10 seconds, Barry!"
"What the...?!" Barry snapped. "Miss Fillmore, you forgot to powder my nose! You know I don't like the spot reflecting off my nose!"
"Too late, Barry, " the producer announced as the music began."
"Okay," Barry whispered to me in his lethal garlic breath, "When all the pretty happy music stuff is over, look real excited about bein' here, and I'll do the same.......Okay, here we go!... Good evening, everyone! It's been said he may be the most significant president since Abraham Lincoln, after liberating this country from the clutches of tyranny and back into the arms of liberty, and he's here with us tonight in his first televised interview since taking office! Mr. President, it's a VERY big pleasure and privilege having you here tonight."
"Thank you, Barry, it's a pleas..."
"So, you got a book out," Barry interrupted.
"Yeah, well, I..."
"Let's talk about it... Aboard My Plane of Thought... any reason why it's YOUR thought?... I mean, why not somebody else's?" Barry asked.
"Well, Barry, I really didn't want to focus on the book tonight. You see..."
"Why not, it's a great book? Don't be so modest, boy...Yuck Yuck," he snickered.
"The book is called, Aboard My Plane of Thought and will be...."
"Train, Barry.” I corrected.
"Oh, and I almost missed it. Yuck! Yuck! Little joke there...We'll be back with the interview and your calls and questions after these messages. Don't go away...."
"Mr. King, uh," I whispered.
"Shhh, smile, the music's still playing.... Oh, we're off?" Barry asked. "All right Miss Fillmore, what's your excuse for not powdering my nose!?"
"Mr. King, I can explain! You see...."
"Young lady, you're fired! And I'll see to it that you'll never get another nose job in this city again! And if you want your severance pay, you better do your job properly before you leave!"
"Yes sir, yes sir...right away, sir." Little did Barry know, that when she was supposed to be administering makeup to his nose, she applied grease paint instead, in revenge. Nobody said a word.
"Mr King, I..."
"Shhhh... don't bother me son, I'm reading the funnies..." Mr. King scolded me while flipping through The New York Times as he finished guzzling something down out of a tall frosty beer mug, then gleamed, "more Ovaltine please!!!"
"Sorry Barry, 4 seconds!"
Growling a bit, he tossed the mug behind himself out of sight, and regained his constraint as the stupid happy-crappy music once again began. "He's got a best seller out there, Ladies and Gentlemen. I'm speaking, of course, of the President, Clyde P. Hipwing, himself. and the book is called Aboard the Train I Bought. ... Ah, the hell with the interview, let’s take a phone call... Hello, Stockholm, Sweden, you're on the air."
"Yah... Hallo... I'd like der ask der president about der....."
"WHAT'S THE QUESTION!!!??" Barry hollered.
"Hallo... yah, der question..." (BAM!!!) Before he could finish, King un-hesitantly slammed his finger on the disconnect so as to deface the touch pad then inquired, "So, Mr. President, you think you'll do a follow-up?!"
"Follow-up?" I asked, puzzled.
"Oh, the book.... Well, I wish...."
"Did you really meet Lorraine Bobbitt?"
"Well, in your book, you said you spent the night with her at the Lorraine Bobbitt Correctional Center!" Barry nudged.
"No, Barry! That was just a dream I mentioned in the last..."
"And a very interesting dream at that...." Barry added with the emphasis in his eyebrows. "So, I hope you're taking your meds these days, like a good boy. We wouldn't want our president flipping out on us...yuck, yuck!"
"Barry, I've been patient all evening here, and I'd like to ask YOU just one question," I smiled.
"Shoot....I'm game," he shrugged.
"Why do you wear those suspenders?"
"Well, I don't know," Barry blushed... "guess to hold my trousers up. Why?"
"Well, Barry....Why don't you, from now on, wear a pair around your head, fixed to your jaws, to hold your mouth shut long enough to let someone else speak?"
My sarcastic curve ball failed in its attempt to toss him out of his likable yet asinine television host facade. "What a wit!... Our guest tonight has been the one and only Clyde P. Hipwing, and his bestselling book...."
"’Of Course Insane I'm Not’... little joke there... Mr. President, good luck and thanks for being on the show!" Barry grinned, shaking my arm from its socket and spraining my shoulder while he was at it. "It's our Author's Night, Ladies and Gentlemen, stay tuned as our next guest, Dr. Rudolf Bogler tells us about his self-help bestselling paperback called, 'Don't Bother Buying This Book You Big Stupid Baby, Just Grow up And Get Over It!!!' Don't go away!"
Once aboard Air Force 1 on the way back to Washington, I fell into a deep dismal depression. Since taking office, and lifting the country out of the horrors of totalitarianism, there emerged an even wider division in the House and Senate. The Republicans were moving farther to the right and the Democrats (what were left of them), to the extreme left. I couldn't seem to get anything passed legislatively, as no one seemed to have confidence in my policies; much less my administration. Even conservative radio talk show host Flush Limbo was having a heyday. There was a growing discontent among the nation's vast population, as anarchy was beginning to brew in some states. Doing exactly opposite of what I set out to do in the beginning, I found himself expanding an already big government just to keep the country together. After some tossing and turning later that night, I finally fell into the sea of forgetfulness, drowning in a sleep I had rarely enjoyed since taking office, though I had a rather bizarre dream:
I found myself embodied as the son of Ivan the Terrible, in ancient Russia. My father Ivan and I got into an enormous argument. Suddenly he pulled from out of the floor a huge two-by-four, and with full force threw it in my direction, piercing my stomach and out of my back. He was so enraged that he stormed out and went into town to shoot some pool, not knowing what he had done. As I lay there dying, everyone in the castle tried everything to humor me till my father came home. They brought in folk dancers, singing quartets and jesters, but nothing distracted me from the monstrous board sticking through me. Finally, Father Ivan returned home and saw what he had done, felt remorse, and immediately loaded me aboard the Royal Ambulance. During the mad excursion through the streets of Moscow, the back door flew open and the stretcher I was laying on slipped out, though it had a rope attached to the back of the ambulance. Dreaming I was being flipped and dragged in agony, I woke up in dire pain. "What is it?!?!"
"Mr. President.... it's 8:05 AM, Sir...... You have an official visitor.... Time to get up, Sir."
"But, it's Saturday.... I don't have any meetings on Saturdays.... It's my writing day!" I whined like a child looking forward to not going to school.
I got out of my favorite Tweety-Bird pajamas and dressed hurriedly in anticipation of who it was I was to meet. I crept down the hall and waved at the saluting guard standing in front of the oval office door, then entered. At first glance I didn't recognize the individual sitting in my oval office chair until I was quickly reminded by his cool countenance.
"Say man, what's up?" Ralph smiled.
Later that same morning in Santa Barbara: "Edie, have I ever told you that I love you?" Professor Endicotsley winked at the lady who without knowing earned his infatuation.
"Why no, dear Giles....Why?" She blushed and leaned closer.
"Just wanted to make sure, that's all. Hee Hee," he teased. Edith presented him with a foul expression, as she pretended to swat a fly with the morning paper over his head.
"Well, well, well. Let's see what's happening in the worldly realm of politics on this very day," the Professor smirked, thumbing through the pages of the Saturday Morning addition of the Santa Barbara Bugle.
"I'm ready to take notes, Professor. Will there be any visual aids this morning?" Edith winked at the old buzzard.
"Yes, as a matter of fact it just so happens I have my spectacles, my dear lady," he answered, glancing over his bifocals at her and then back down. "Oh! I'll say! The president's approval rating went up 5 percentage points overnight since his appearance last night on Barry King Live. Now, how do you suppose they know that? I mean, did they actually call everyone up in the middle of the night and ask what they think about our bloody president?! They seem to never get around to asking ME!... Oh No!" Giles gasped and rolled his eyes.
"What, Giles....Tell me!"
"His blasted book has now sold three million copies," he sighed.
"Well, it's your fault, Mr. Endicotsley!" Edie smirked.
"And how do you come to that ridiculous conclusion, I ask you?" He lashed out at her unmercifully.
"Well, had it not been for you buying one, he would have only sold two million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand and...."
"Bah!!!!" Giles interrupted, "Wheel me to my radio room!!!!"
Professor Endicotsley was a man of many hobbies and interests. One of them was his love for amateur radio. Since he had been licensed as a ham operator in 1937, he had acquired many friendships over the airwaves. Saturday morning was his usual day for schedules with a certain lifelong friend he'd met with in his native Scotland. He tuned up his transceiver on the usual frequency, 14.185 MHz, then rotated his huge six-element quad antenna on a 80 foot tower, to the northeast and called his good friend Dave: "GX9OTT....GX9OTT....This is KE5SM, Kilo Echo 5 Sugar Mexico, calling on schedule......Are you there, Dave? Over..."
"Aye, Giles! You old bloody goat. What be up with ya this morning? George Xray 9 Oscar Tango Tango, back to you old boy," Dave acknowledged.
"Ah me friend from afar, just been burdened with more years than I've ever asked for, that's all. Edie sends her love. The WX here in Santa Barbara this morning is a bit breezy and cold, had some rain the day before yesterday, but I think we've seen the last of it for a while.... What’s it like in Edinburgh this afternoon?"
"Yeah, ok.... KE5SM, this is GM9OTT.... Ok Giles, well, nice and sunny here. Nelda says hello, got Edie's letter yesterday and loved the recipe... Oh, I've gotta big surprise for ya old goat! It's coming up to the top of the hour and you'll never guess who I bumped into last week and have a schedule with this morning .... the President of your country, Mr. Hipwing himself! You knew he's a ham operator, didn't you? Over..."
Giles hesitated and growled a bit, "GX9OTT, this is KE5SM. Yeah, ok Dave....Well, I guess I'll, uh......stand by while you two carry on...uh...over..."
"Ok Giles, don't go away. It's a bit early, but he might be there anyway.... KA5HVO.... KA5HVO, King Alpha 5 Hotel Victor Ocean... Clyde, old boy, are you there? Over."
"Yes, good afternoon Dave, and good morning to you, Giles....Been listening to you two for a while. Is my signal ok in Edinburgh this afternoon, Dave? This is KA5HVO" I answered in return.
"Ok Clyde. A good strong 5 and 8 here this afternoon! Say, you really told old Barry King off early this morning on his show... Did you watch that last night, Giles? KE5SM and the group, this is GX9OTT."
Giles nearly knocked over his microphone just to get to it. "Er Um...Yes, um.... ok gentlemen, yes, I saw the... uh... interview. Hello, Mr. President....Yeah, you really socked it to him.... Sir.... You and myself have something in common, Sir.... See, my mum's last name was Hipwing, and well.... You being a Hipwing, well... um... I thought maybe I might be related to you and all, Sir... uh... over," Giles stuttered as red as a beet, and acted as if he had swallowed the biggest pill ever prescribed.
"Why, that's great, Giles!" I replied. "Hope we can become great friends over the years... Say, I've got a buddy of mine here in the radio shack, Ralph, you know, the guy in my first book... he's been listening to us for a while, patiently, I might add. I believe I'm gonna bow out of here for now, but, Giles, hope to hear from you next weekend. so with that, I'll turn it back over to you.... KE5SM, this is KA5HVO going QRT after your final transmission."
Giles was overwhelmed. He'd actually been befriended by The President of the United States! Edie was going to flip!!! "Yes, all right, Mr. President, Sir, good talking to you and I'll definitely be here next weekend! Oh! By the way, Sir, really thought the book was smashing, er um, great, Sir!!! Until next week my very good friend...OH, and, see YOU next weekend too, Dave. I believe I'm going to back out of here too, so Dave, you wrap it up, old man. Give my love to Nelda, bye for now! KA5HVO signed, this is KE5SM, over to GX9OTT for your final. Good day, gentlemen!" Giles didn't even wait to hear Dave's final transmission. He turned off his radio, and because of his excitement, had no trouble wheeling himself to the kitchen, where Edith was preparing lunch.
"Did you have a nice chat with Dave....Did Nelda get my letter?" She smiled while preparing the King's feast.
"Edie! You're not going to believe this, but I actually talked with The President of the United States!"
"That's nice," she sighed in disbelief, "and what did he have to say?"
"No, no, no, Edie, on the radio! He's a ham! Er ah ooh... he knows Dave," Giles stuttered.
"Are you sure, Giles?"
"I'm telling the bloody truth, Edie, and NO, I'm not having a senility attack!!! If you don't believe me, I have a schedule with the old boy next weekend!" Giles sat up in his wheelchair.
"Ok, I believe you, but.... I thought you didn't much care for him."
"Well, I was a bit cautious at first. You can't be too gullible about your leaders, ya know, you've got to be objectionable about these things, but after a query into the man's character, I see no reason as to why I shouldn't accept him into the fold of my many friends...... Oh," Giles inquisitively salivated, "by the way, what's for lunch?"
"Crow! My dear Giles, Crow!!!"
Back at the White House as Ralph sipped his lemonade while laxly perched on top of the presidential desk, I was nervously pacing back and forth, spilling my woes like a busted water pipe. "I just don't know, Ralph. It's more than I ever bargained for. People fighting and killing each other over petty politics..."
"Yeah, it's bad, man. seems like it wasn't so bad before you took up writing," Ralph nodded.
"I just wish I could bring this country together, Ralph," I sighed. 'If only I could bring the Right and the Left to the center.... Good Godfrey! I never believed I'd see the day when I'd become a centrist!"
Ralph took a big gulp and then studied the design of the glass up to the light. "Yeah man, you blew your chances of getting everyone's support last night on TV. If it had been me, man, I'd a told it like it is, see.... wouldn’t have been no compromise. See what I'm sayin?"
"No, Ralph, maybe that's just what we need ---a little compromise. Maybe I need to choose a Vice President with liberal views... that would show the people I'm inclusive and not partisan. I need to display the spirit of togetherness to the American people!!!" I hinted, landing my hand on Ralph's shoulder.
"Hey, wait a minute, man!!!"
"No Ralph, listen!" I pushed him back down to where he was sitting. "A white conservative and a black liberal bringing the country back together again!!"
"Yeah, now wouldn't that just be purdy?" Ralph rolled his eyes, "I ain't gonna be your token gesture of good will, you right wing pompous, tightwad opportunist!"
"Oh yeah?! Well, yer, yer, yer just a no good pinko bleeding heart compassion fashion fascist, that's what YOU are!"
With that, Ralph didn't say anything else, but pried lose President Nixon's one time pet (now stuffed) dog Checkers, previously bolted to the floor, and hurled him violently over my head. I retaliated swiftly by grabbing a bottle of Planter's Peanuts, left over from the Carter administration, and returned fire, putting a hole in the wall. Thereupon Ralph went to the coat closet and picked up a thirty-pound box of Depends, that remained in storage since the Reagan Revolution, and held it over my head with a gloating smile of triumph. "Hey Ralph, stop a minute!" I demanded. "Where did you get that Reagan/Bush campaign button you're wearing on your lapel?"
".................................?!?!?!" Ralph alarmingly asked with his eyes.
"Made You Look!!!!" I rejoiced, and with that, I pulled out from behind my back the famous coconut that John F. Kennedy had used to carve an S.O.S message on, when he and his mates were shipwrecked in World War Two, and busted it over Ralph's fat belligerent head. (BONK!!!)
"Oh Shhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!" Ralph, reeking of fermented coconut milk, cursed and moaned while getting up real slow... Then glanced over in my direction in delight as I was moaning in frustration and he gloated, "teach you to mess with me, man!"
"Don't you see how we're acting, Ralph? We're no different than anyone else!! If you don't wanna help, then I don't want your help!"
"Say, man," Ralph hesitantly began to apologize, "I.... now don't get all worked outta shape, brotha'...I.."
"Don't brotha' me, man!!!" I snapped back, slapping his hand off of my shoulder.
"I didn't know I meant that much to ya, Clyde. I thought you's just want'n to use me cause I'm black.... I don't have no experience runnin' a country!" Ralph offered as an apology.
"And you think I do? I just wrote a book... That's SOME credentials! And frankly, I wouldn't care if you were polk-a-dotted, bucktoothed, and had a begonia plant growing outta your ears..." I muttered, after blowing my nose on a rough draft of my upcoming State of the Union Address.
"...Well heck, why not? If Ronald Reagan could make all those cheesy movies to later become President..."
"So, you'll do it?!?!"
"Yeah, I guess so. What the hell!" Ralph shrugged.
"You don't have any illegal immigrants working for you, do you?" I asked, as there came an urgent knock at the door. "What are you laughing at, Ralph? I'm serious.... Yes, come in!"
"Mr. President, sorry to disturb you, sir, but the ambassador from Russia is here with an important communique!" the White House staffer alerted.
"Ok, thanks, send him in... Stick around, Ralph, this could be very important, and could require a second opinion....... Ah yes, Mr. Tizyakov, what brings you here today, sir?"
"Yes, Mr. President, I bring greetings from the President of the Commonwealth of Independent States of the Russian Republic. He wishes for me to read the following communique to you personally, sir," he nervously announced with urgency
"Yes, yes, go ahead, please," I nervously anticipated.
"Mr. President: For many weeks now, I have been troubled. I have lost many precious hours of rest, lamenting over the circumstances regarding this communique. First let me say, Mr. President, our two countries have enjoyed several years of good relations with one another since the expulsion of the cold war and the mistrust it bred, and failure on my part in not bringing this matter to you sooner is inexcusable. Therefore, please accept my apologies for the incompetence on my part of being so tardy in sending you my condolences concerning the passing of your precious little kitty, Miss Matilda Waudlebaum.
Serge Nicholavich Andropov
Monday, 12:04 PM
Conservative radio talk show host Flush Limbo had been engrossed early one particular morning reading his dozen or so newspapers, and flipping through several publications in preparation for his daily nationwide syndicated program. He no longer downed coffee and donuts. Instead, due to the insistence of his wife, Flush was munching on a granola bar and gulping orange juice.
"One minute, Flush!" His studio engineer gave him a thumbs up through the window.
Flush took a big swig and slipped the headphones on. "Hello, test.... Turn it up a hair."
Following an audio check that only a perfectionist could appreciate, his ever familiar theme song began. Limbo, nodding his head to the beat, entered in to his introductory exhortation with, "Hello Fiends, Consternationalists, and Homophobes all across the fruity plain, I, the Doctor of Demagoguery, Flush Limbo, with half my rear tied around my brain, am here with you on the second month of this cataclysmic ride aboard his presidential train of fraud! Ah, but there's hope, ladies and gentlemen, because you have me. And once the truth about this administration is revealed, once I uncover his dastardliness, we can stop his train right here. Thus, freeing its passengers, that being the American people, and America as a whole.
"Well, well, well, our President, Conductor Hipwing, is going to hold a press conference this evening, and he's going to tell us that we need a more centrist morale among our people--- to bring cohesion to this nation in dire need of his succor. You see, we need to know all over again how to think, ladies and gentlemen. You're not mature citizens, and Conductor Hipwing is all too happy to change your unworthy diaper for you......you see, you probably deserve a good spanking while he's at it, because you've misbehaved, America.... When he liberated us from the (so called) Honorable Homer, he said he would lessen the clutches of government off our backs by ushering in a Libertarian agenda. One that would be in accord with some of the greatest Jeffersonian thinkers of our time. We believed him. He then asked us to board his train of thought, and we bought our tickets with our trust in him. But, just like in his Big Doggie-Doo-Kitty-Krap book, he's driving us over the edge!!!! Can't he now realize, once again, he's on the wrong track?!!! GOOD GODFREY!!!! STOP THIS TRAIN!!!.... We'll be right back after this:"
Where are you taking your kids out for dinner tonight?
Well, I don't know...
Hey, how about Big Buford's Buffalo Barf Bucket Burger Bistro Bagel Breakfast Bar and Bookstore?!
You think our name is a tongue-twister, just wait'll you try our food! You can order from 21 items off our Big Buford's Bargain Bowel Blaster menu. This week's special is President Hipwing's favorite, Libertarian Liver and Onions!!!
Hi, this is President Hipwing. When things aren't moving as smooth as they normally do, I slip on over to Big Buford's Buffalo Barf Bucket Burger Bistro Bagel Breakfast Bar And Bookstore, and choose one of the many selections from Big Buford's Bargain Bowel Blasters. They have, Hard Luck Ham & Cheese, Trust Me Tuna, and of course my favorite, Libertarian Liver and Onions!!!... When things don't come out the way you hoped they would-- just remember-- This too shall pass. Hey, they don't just call it fast food out of mere coincidence!!! ...They also have a nice selection of cold drinks, such as, Centrist Citrus, and for those orders you forgot to pick up the day before, remember: Yesterday's Milk Is Tomorrow's Curds!
Big Buford's Buffalo Barf Bucket Burger Bistro Bagel Breakfast Bar and Bookstore--- Just follow your nose until you see the Buffalo!!!
"Yes well, how did you like that one? Yes, that's new, ladies and gentlemen, fresh from our production staff......Well, it's time for our 'Aboard His Train of Fraud' update." Flush announced.
Music: ("Locomotion" by Grand Funk Railroad)
"This just in from Moscow: Russian President, Serge Andropov, has declared Wednesday a day of mourning in Russia, in memory of Miss Matilda Waudlebaum. Radio Moscow will begin playing requiem selections at 12 midnight GMT on that date. Now, this... hee, hee!... is absurd.... Ah, but what can you expect from a bunch of retired Bolsheviks?...
"But, let's look at Miss Waudlebaum's life. What did she contribute to world peace? She played Ping Pong. Perhaps she would have been instrumental in ushering in the growth of Capitalism in Communist China. Maybe, maybe not.... Ok, she spoke good English.... Ah, maybe we could have used her interpreter skills on behalf of the millions of Cats impoverished in third world countries... Maybe she and Simba could have traveled aboard her Train of Thought and prevented the slave trade in Africa from finding its way to America! Matilda, our thoughts and prayers are with those you've left behind.... And in memory of a beloved feline the world will surely miss, we dedicate this to you, Miss Waudlebaum."
Music: ("Waltzing Matilda" by The Down-Under All Boys Choir)
"Ok, let’s take our first call of the day... Tim, in Virginia Beach. Hi, you're on the Flush Limbo Show."
"Diddly from the left, believe it or not, Flush!" Tim answered.
"Oh Ho! Well, we don't always disagree, do we? Go ahead, what do you agree with me about?" Flush delighted with his usual inquisitive but confident demeanor.
"Well, Flush, I'm one of those Yellow Dog Democrats that YOU'D just as soon put to sleep. But, I agree with you! We're really in trouble. Why in the world does Mr. Hipwing want to go back on the Gold standard? The Gross National Product has kept things stable for years. Reviving the Gold Standard will only hurt the economy, Flush!"
"No, no," Limbo disagreed, "No, I think he wants to...Well, I don't have the figgers, but presumably, it will put money back into the national debt, but I...."
"Yeah, but Flush, it looks good on paper now, but what if it doesn't work in the real process of executing it? I'm surprised by you, Flush. For years you put down the Plimpton administration because they had all their theories, but...."
"No," Flush interrupted, "If you had remembered correctly, my problem with Plimpton is the same one with this President: No real convictions on anything! Take the abortion issue... and I'm sure you and I are on opposite sides of that fence. Our Conductor President has said from the beginning that he's overtly Pro-Life....Wemsley Higglethorp, his Supreme Court nominee, could care less about the issue.... Where are our President's convictions on this issue, HMMMMM? .... He’s simply Pseudo Conservative!!" Flush reiterated his point.
"Flush, the abortion thing is one issue that's tearing this country apart! If people like yourself are so Pro-Life, why don't you start adopting babies?!!!"
"Some do, Tim! But let's change the subject. Let's say, hypothetically, in twenty years the government decides for us that after a certain age, say 65 (that's a good number), that we would no longer be useful, in fact we'd be a burden to society as a whole, and for the common good, euthanasia becomes the order of the day. Ask yourself, Tim, wouldn't you be incensed? Wouldn't you do everything in your power to stop it?"
"Well, if it were mandatory, of course... But, what's that got to do with abortion?"
"Well, Tim," Flush interjected, "how many grandmas are you going to take in and hide in your basement. If you're so against it, why don't YOU adopt a grandma or two? You see, it's a matter of conviction.... Legalized abortion was unthinkable only 50 years ago. The numerous atrocities in the name of convenience committed on the unborn in this country pale the Auschwitz’s. Not that they weren't just as evil... But, Hitler would have loved the subtlety of the term ‘Pro-Choice!’
"I have time for one more call before the break.... Giles in Santa Barbara, Hi, you're on the Flush Limbo Show."
"Flush, old boy, I have a bone to pick with you!"
"I can sense an Irish temperament a mile away," Flush laughed.
"Scotch-Irish, mind ya, and I don't like the way you're being disrespectful toward the leader of the free world, Flush!"
"Don't interrupt," Giles griped, "what's with this Big Bufords Buffalo Bowel Blaster Bunk?!?! We have no business hearin' about the president's throne dispositions! What about yours? That's right, everyone phone in your bowel reports and may the best chap triumph!!!"
"Giles!... Ha Ha... you.... Hee Hee....You just.... gave an example of what I try to illustrate on this show. Here we demonstrate absurdity by being absurd.!" Flush lightly lectured.
"All well and good, Flush, but I'M going to demonstrate not talking anymore, by hanging up! Good day, Sir!" (CLICK!!!)
Shortly before my press conference, Ralph paced back and forth as I was going over my notes. Silence spoke on behalf of the both of us while waiting the moments beforehand which to Ralph seemed everlasting as he looked down at his counterfeit Rolex, and noticed it had stopped. A staffer opened the door and informed us it was time. I slapped Ralph on the back, and gave a smile of confidence as we then headed down the hall, noticing some of the faces moving from side to side to get a better look at the man accompanying me. I gazed with displeasure at the back row as someone in the press remarked, "Oh my God! He's black!"
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press," I greeted, "I've called this press conference this evening to introduce the man I feel is best qualified to hold the office of Vice President of the United States of America. Let me introduce to you a man whose character and abilities outweigh the possible reproach that is sure to face him in the coming days. Let me say on social and economic policy, we are bound to differ in some ways. But I have chosen this man because of the love and commitment he has displayed for this nation. I hope this act of cooperative spirit in the upper echelons of the American government, will inspire the people to join us in our effort to reunite this nation in its destiny, once again, towards greatness. To the American people, it is my good pleasure to introduce my good friend, Mr. Raphael J. McCovey!"
"MR. PRESIDENT?!?!" The press stood up in unison, each one eager to be first with a question quite like vagrants begging for handouts.
"I have time for just a few... yes, go ahead, Sam." I nodded toward the third row.
"Mr. President, can you tell us what you feel is the most contributing factor in the recent rush to buy your book, since it has now sold over three million copies?... And I have a follow-up, Sir. Thank you." The reporter sat back down.
"Well, I didn't want to talk about my book, you see...."
"Isn't it true, Mr. President," the reporter started to insist, "with all respect Sir, that...."
"Respect, my big black hairy butt!" Ralph butted in, grabbing the mike. "Who do you think you're talkin' to? Y'all are just a bunch of overrated, overpaid talk show hosts!!!"
"Ralph, you can't say that!" I whispered, and unsuccessfully tried to step in front of the microphone.
"Y'all don't know a thing about respect," Ralph continued. "Where's your respect for the man who holds the highest office in the country? He says he don't wanna talk about his book, so let it be. We're here today 'cause people ain't gettin' along. We're here today 'cause people are forgettin' what America is about. It ain't about doin' whatever the hell you wanna, no matter who's gonna get hurt. We're a nation that's forgotten the blessings of our Father God, and traded him off for the gods of our bellies!!!" The room full of reporters were stone quiet as Ralph pranced back and forth like a Sunday preacher. "Oh, this country has had its share of blemishes. Slavery of old is something my forefathers endured and would have given their very lives for the freedoms I now cherish. But slavery of old is no longer a reality; the slavery we all endure now, black or white, is the slavery of the fear we live in. The man here... I mean, the President and myself want to bring the people back together, but we need your help. WE can't fix all the problems up here in Washington all by ourselves. We don't have all our problems due to the lack of bureaucracy! But, you say you ain't gonna join the band wagon with no left winger. You say you ain't gonna get on board with a right winger, huh? Last I looked, the symbol for this great country of ours is that almost extinct, Bald Eagle. And casually glancing at that emblem we hold so sacred, I noticed it had two different wings. A right and a left. Now wouldn't that bird look real silly tryin' to fly with just one wing?"
A loud silence dominated the press room as Ralph backed off from the microphone, though a low rumble of whispers echoed as reporters didn't know whether to applaud or just keep their mouths shut.
"I'll answer a few more questions," I stepped forward.
"RALPH.... OVER HERE, RALPH!!!" the press room resounded.
"Okay," I laughed, "the future Vice President will answer a few questions!"
Ralph, as cocky as ever, directed his first question: "Yes, the man in the back row with the gray flannel suit and the funny looking nose, please."
Launching from the living room sofa and nudging the television on/off button after the press conference, Edie decreed, "Okay Giles, that's all the television for tonight. Here's your favorite book, you may read until bedtime," she asserted, while handing him his copy of Aboard My Train of Thought, from the coffee table.
"A splendid young man! Says what he thinks," the professor expounded on Ralph's performance. "Why, we need more like him in Washington, I say! You know, the man of color has come a long way, Edie. A little under a century ago he would have been thought of less than a person. Can you believe how ignorant the popular consent of that day was? You think the country is divided now..."
"Very fascinating, Professor Endicotsley! But, I believe I shall treat myself to an evening shower. Would you like for me to get you something before I leave the room?"
"Hmm, huh? Ah yes," Giles glanced up from his book, then placed it haphazardly in his robe pocket. "Would you be so kind as to wheel me to my radio room?... I think I'll dabble a bit with the computer before bed."
"Oh Giles, you'll be up all night playing with that silly thing."
"I just want to finish me chess game, Edie, it shouldn't take too long," he begged.
"Oh, all right." She wheeled him up to the keyboard, then kissed him on the top of his head. "If you need anything, just holler."
The professor anticipated the finish of the match all evening. He was of course losing, being his Packard Bell Spectria 100 was the toughest opponent he'd ever faced. While he waited for his PC to load up, he decided to see how the atmospheric propagation was on his six-meter ham radio transceiver. Tuning around the band, he didn't come across anything interesting so he went back to his computer, leaving the radio on.
"Ah, let's see.... Nope, can't move there, he'll get my last Bishop," he mumbled, pulling on his mustache in deep thought. "Hmm, what if I.... Huh? What's that?" He quickly reached for the tuning knob on his radio after hearing what sounded like a strong signal just a tad bit off frequency. After a brief search he decided it was just his imagination and refocused on his match. "No, I.... wait a minute, he can't get me there if I just.... What?... There's that signal again!" Redirecting his attention to his radio and pushing his spectacles up higher on his nose, he tuned around till he finally found the strong station causing him to lose concentration on his game. He fine-tuned the VFO until the voice became clearer. His startled ears perked up to what sounded like a very strange foreign language. Could it be Russian? Wait! There was another station now talking, its signal wasn't quite as strong as the other one though. After a few minutes the stations quit transmitting and Giles went back to his chess game.
"Hmm... Let's see.... WHAT IN THE......???!!!" All at once without warning, his computer screen's background changed color as some sort of strange message formed on the screen. In a cold sweat, Giles took note of, but couldn't believe, what he was reading:
“Giles Endicotsley... The peoples of the planet Apathonia send their universal greetings. You have been chosen among your kind to represent them in the great Council of Councils, in the company of The Greatest of Greats, on our lovely planet. Please, be not afraid....”
He slumped back in his wheelchair, wiping his brow, and was relieved at the possibility that it was all a joke. No, wait a minute... Edie didn't know the first thing about computers, so it couldn't have been her. And no one else had been near his computer save for his grandson, three weeks ago. Who could've done it? Wait! There was more:
“Giles.... this is not a joke, wheel your chair to the window and look out in your backyard.”
He hurriedly rolled up to the window and got himself tangled up in the venetian blinds, but managed to give a look outside. Not seeing much at first, because of the dimly setting sun, he started to pull them shut. But wait! What was that dull orange illuminating glow by the tool shed!? Giles wiped the window of its condensation to get a better look. As he pressed his nose to it, he spied two short individuals walking toward him. A splash of adrenaline ran down his spine as he backed his wheelchair away from the glass pane just as the two beings penetrated through without shattering it.
"Giles Endicotsley... Be not afraid! My name is Derf Enotstnilf. I'm from the planet Apathonia. The Greatest of Greats in the Council of Councils wishes to speak with you... Rise out of your wheelchair and come with us!" The hideous looking visitor from abroad beseeched.
"EDIE!!...." Giles yelled as the trunk of his body seemed to split in two, and a younger Giles quickly immerged from out of his now lifeless aged body. He looked back in astonishment at his prior flesh, slumped in his wheelchair. He noticed his feet touching the floor for the first time in almost three years, and turned to look in the mirror. "Why, I'm a young man again! How did you do that?!"
"Come with us, Giles, we must go now," Derf demanded, taking him by the arm as they exited unhindered through the wall to board the unearthly vessel.
Edie, wondering what all the commotion was about, hurried with barely a towel wrapped around her, and rounded the corner to the radio room only to find the professor's old expired frame he'd left behind, laying lifeless. "Giles.... Oh God, No!"
The following sunup after my evening press conference with Ralph, the morning talk shows and news programs were hurriedly competing to bring the results of opinion polls and local reactions to their viewers and listeners. The overall consensus was exhilarating and encouraging. The editorials were mostly favorable, commenting on Ralph's sharp candor. William F. Bucktooth wrote: "Ralph, as we'll affectionately call him, most assuredly is bound to be the whip that restrains the elephants and donkeys from getting out of line in the Senate. At no time has anyone in Washington ever displayed such insurgency to shoddy partisanship. Time alone will unveil the triumph or the undoing of Mr. McCovey's much needed bullheadedness."
Flush Limbo, who certainly wasn't a fan of my administration in the least, was very impressed with Ralph's performance and egged him on to join the Republican ranks. Although he wasn't registered with any party, he seemed to demonstrate to Flush a heartfelt conviction for the good of the country, which he believed was in line with the Republican agenda.
Prospects looked good concerning Ralph's upcoming confirmation, as he had virtually no opposition. My own popularity increased overnight too, though I'm sure I was just riding Ralph's coat tails as I now exercise my hindsight. But how long was this to last? With the national debt well over five trillion dollars, and a budget calling for 1.5 trillion dollars in increased spending (which I had promised to cut), I clearly demonstrated I was no economics scholar. There was also another major problem: Getting my Supreme Court nominee, Wemsley Higglethorp, approved by the Senate, due to the Republican's nit-picking with concerns about his mother-in-law's sister being a heavy drinker. "Preposterous!" he'd protest. "She only weighs about 135 lbs.!!" Though the immediate polls looked good, I worried myself sick that after the nation's honeymoon with the new Vice President was over, things would get worse since we really didn't have any clear cut agenda. The nation might have fared better by picking random names from a telephone book for potential leaders of the free world! But, there was still my first State of the Union Address coming up soon. I still had time to contemplate something that would rally the American nation behind us.
"Ralph, after you've been confirmed, we're gonna have to work extra hard keeping the confidence of the voters if we plan to run for re-election in the fall. We've got to stimulate the economy. I think in my State of the Union Address I should propose an across-the-board tax cut. Whatdya think?" I suggested, confident that he'd eagerly join the band wagon.
"Oh... Gonna play up to the rich fat cats, huh?"
"No Ralph. It doesn't work that way! When are you liberals gonna learn that a tax break helps everyone. True, the rich man gets the biggest share, but that allows him to reinvest more back into the economy to bring down unemployment... When was the last time you got a job working for a street bum, huh?" I emphasized.
"Yeah, yeah, I know, it's called 'tinkle-down-economics...' the big guy gets richer, and all the little guy gets is pissed on from above. There you go with that Flush Limbo crap! I thought you couldn't bear to listen to him anymore since he's been on your case," Ralph jabbed.
"It's called 'trickle-down-economics' and it worked in the 80s! It revived the economy, put people back to work, and even ended the cold war!!!" I maintained.
"All it's doin' for me is puttin' me asleep! Hey, yo the President, man. Do what you wanna," he pouted, "I guess I'm just the yessa masta boy!"
"That's not the way I want it to be, Ralph. I need your support! Look, if we don't agree on the details, then let's compromise. We can come to an agreement."
"Yeah well, I'm uh... s...sorry for blowin' my top... I need some fresh air. I'll be back." As Ralph excused himself, it became apparent to me that his instant celebrity status was starting to wear thin his nerves. Neither one of us could have foreseen the pressure. As he walked out toward the rose garden, he planted a cigarette in his mouth, lit up, and was about to take in a deep drag when notorious news reporter, Sam McDonald, immediately shoved a microphone into his face. "So, Mr. McCovey, er uh... Ralph....Uh, tell me, sir, as soon as you're sworn into office, what are you going to try to persuade the President to do for the betterment of the immediate sagging economy? What would you suggest to the President to lessen the likelihood of a defeat in the 96 election? "
Ralph took a long and thoughtful puff on his cigarette before he responded. "Well, the economy IS sagging. People outta work. Mothers not able to feed their kids... I just don't know but what lengths I'm going to have to go to get him to propose to both houses of congress... a big, across-the-board, tax cut!... It's called 'trickle-down-economics," he answered, giving a devilish wide ivory white smile.
Meanwhile, almost 50 light years from Earth in their second day of interstellar travel, Professor Endicotsley and Derf Enotstnilf were just getting to know one another. Derf was a likable host and tried everything to make the professor less nervous, sometimes telling him an Apathonian joke or two. Giles was polite, and laughed, though he didn't understand any of them. Nevertheless, he amused himself by lecturing the poor alien about world history and literature. After about two grueling hours of how and why Mary Queen of Scots lost her head, Derf finally spoke up. "Yes, I know a lot about your planet.... We’ve been watching it awhile. Mind if I smoke?"
"Smoke?! oh uh..." Giles reached into the pocket of his bathrobe, feeling around for a pack of cigarettes he'd hidden from Edie.
"No thanks, Giles... I've got my own." Derf took out what appeared to be a beige bottle of glycerin suppositories and slowly slid one of them up his left nostril, then inhaled as a bluish colored thick haze emitted from the bald crown of his head. "Wow! That first smoke of the day always gives a pleasant head rush!... So tell me about Edie, Giles... Do you love her? I think she's sweet on you!"
The professor was at a loss. "Well, I....um. When do we land?"
Derf snickered, then in his native tongue interpreted to the other two crew members Giles' answer they had been waiting to hear. "That language," Giles spoke up, "that's what I was hearing on my six-meter radio transceiver right before you contacted me!"
"Six meters, huh? Oh, of course, that's 50 harmonics down from the frequency of 114 gigglehertz we use to stay in communication with the mothership," Derf explained as there was a sudden jolt, similar to when an elevator reaches its destined floor. "Well, we've landed, professor. Step outside and breathe the sweet air of Apathonia!" The thought never occurred to Giles that he was the first humankind to ever set foot on another planet. All he noticed was the thick oxygen that filled his lungs that seemed to have, like Derf said, a sweet scent.
"You like it?" Derf proudly asked, "It's potpourri! Our forefathers all agreed on it, and added it to our artificial atmosphere.... Come, come, the Greatest of Greats in the Council of Councils is waiting to speak with you!"
"Why won't you just tell me what he wants? You haven't given me a hint as of yet!"
Derf didn't respond, he just smiled. "Come, come!"
Apathonia appeared to be quite a strange place, indeed. There appeared to be two Suns, one about twice the size of our own, and another only half. Giles noticed there was also a pinkish blue hue in the sky which hovered low, as he and Derf approached some sort of palace. "Ah, what a lovely doorway. This must be the Council of Councils!" Giles remarked, trying to impress his host.
Derf laughed, "No, my friend, this is the Door of Doors, which is the main entrance of the Building of Buildings, which houses the Council of Councils! Come, come... the Greatest Of Greats is waiting!"
"So, tell me Derf, why are there two Suns in your sky?"
"Well, Giles, to make a long story short," Derf answered, "about three centuries ago some careless camper started a moon fire, and it's been burning ever since."
Giles wasn't sure if it was a mere joke, but laughed aloud with Derf. Just at the instant the two approached the Door of Doors, without warning, a hideously clamorous siren blared as flood lights flashed in their general direction. "What the devil is that all about?!" Giles quivered.
"Oh uh, my fly was down, that's all, Giles..." Derf blushed.
Giles bent to his waist in laughter at the first Apathonian joke he understood in the course of two days, then looked up in time to see a perturbed Derf Enotstnilf... "That wasn't a joke, Giles....Come, come, the Greatest of Greats is waiting."
Giles and Derf slowly climbed up a multitude of steps then down a corridor, until they reached a huge doorway adorned with giant stained glass windows. Right above the archway hung a decorative gold and silver plaque that read: The Greatest of Greats. Derf unexpectedly took off his right shoe and sock, then placed his foot over some sort of detection device. The door opened swiftly as a middle aged Apathonian woman, decked in royal garb, announced, "Ah Derfbag, I've told you time and time again not to bother with that silly thing... I can recognize your foot odor anywhere! ... Oh Hun, you're going to have to call on the Cyber-Plumber one more time, the Toilet of Toilets has crashed again.... Oh dear, who's this?"
"This is the Earth dweller, your Greatest of Greats!" Derf saluted.
"Oh my, this is wonderful! Oh please do excuse me for the mess, I didn't expect you this soon. So tell me," she leaned closer, "how was your flight, hmmm?"
"Well, your Greatness..."
"Oh, stop it! Just call me Irol. That's my name, Hun!" she winked.
"Well uh.... Irol, Ma'am.... Why am I here?"
"What?!" She immediately stomped her foot and began bitching at Derf in her native tongue. "I'm sorry old Derfbag here didn't fill you in, Hun. Seems we've got a problem. You see, Apathonia is almost 50 lightyears away from your darling little planet, and for the last 6 months, we've been receiving 50 something year old television signals on our Channel of Channels from a certain station KBCQ, in Roswell, New Mexico, who began about that time airing a program called, "Exercise with Ethel..."
"...And you want me to tell them they're interfering and to stop their transmission, correct?" Giles scoffed.
"Well Hun, not exactly. We recently experienced a tremendous radiation disturbance from our outer dwarf star due to the gravitational pull of our flaming moon when it was in the 7th house... this caused great propagation difficulty one particular morning, and I missed program number 155... 'Strengthening Your Abs....' Since you're the President's distant cousin, I figured you could pull some strings into getting a copy."
"You brought me 50 lightyears from home for this?!" Giles rose to his feet, "Madam, I have better things to do!!!"
"Well, there is one itty-bitty matter you need to tell your presidential cousin about..." Irol went on to explain to the professor that the Apathonians were willing and ready to abduct 144,000 American citizens, if the United States government wasn't willing to release some 100 Apathonians kept in a secret place called Area 51 and a half (so secret that even the aliens locked up at Area 51, across the alley, don't even know about it). One particular resident there was abducted by Neil Armstrong, who was Moon-walking at the time. The foolishly trusting Apathonian approached him and asked the astronaut for a jump, because his spaceship's ignition wouldn't start. Armstrong lured him on to the Eagle with a bottle of Tang. After being subjected to the astronaut's entire family photos from his wallet, and about 50 different war stories for 6 long days, the poor alien begged, "Take me to your leader, PLEASE," upon splashing down in the Pacific.
"All you need to do for us is secure a release of the Apathonian hostages. Now surely, sugar," Irol winked, "you wouldn't want to return to Earth not being able to walk, and instead, being wheeled around like an invalid again. Now dear, wouldn't you like to go back a much younger man, able to take care of himself, hmmm?"
"Come on, Giles," Derf added, "you'll be doing yourself as well as us a favor!"
"I guess you leave me with no choice. Okay, I'll go," Giles accepted with hesitance.
"Oh wonderful, dear! Now, you be sure to tell those little old Earthlings how nice our planet is.... Bye bye, sugar pie," her Greatness winked while blowing a kiss. Once Irol shut the door behind them, she quickly removed her friendly masquerade. "Dumb Anthropoid! .... Hmm, what's this? I guess he left his book... ‘Aboard My Train of Thought?’ Hmmm... oh well, he probably won't miss this garbage."
On second thought, she threw open the window and hurled it outside, thinking the primate might find it. Instead, it clobbered a street beggar right in the middle of the forehead, who collapsed in pain, crying "My eyes... Oh! My eyes!"
"Why didn't you tell me what this was all about in the beginning?!" Giles scolded Derf as they boarded the mothership.
"Sorry, I had my orders. Besides, you wouldn't have come with us if I did.... Oh, watch your head getting in."
"Can you make the trip a little speedier? I'm sure Edie's worried sick," Giles complained.
"Well Giles, going 50 lightyears in just two days, we can't go much faster than that," Derf explained. "Here, take the window seat. It will help pass the time away."
Giles was stunned from the moment he buckled in at how quickly they went from lifting off the ground, through the pink planet's outer atmosphere, and out of their solar system in just minutes. Stars and other planets seemed to zoom in and out like passing signs along a highway. "If only Mankind could get hold of technology like this, we'd be out of the dark ages," he mused aloud.
"That won't happen for at least another century I'm afraid, Giles," said Derf, putting his hand on the professor's shoulder. "Too many tycoons making money on petroleum. Our crafts are controlled by perpetual motion, which doesn't cost anything but the time to invent the original source of power."
"Why, people on Earth have tried to invent that for years! What is the secret? I must know!" Giles' eyes lit up.
Derf laughed, throwing his head back. "You all had the secret right under your noses. Before we were able to break the light barrier, it took approximately 50 years to reach your planet. But our technology greatly advanced after we visited an earthly salvage yard, and brought back an engine from an old abandoned Yugo!"
The two didn't talk much more over the course of two days, until they reached their destiny, Roswell. As they slowed to an approach over the southwestern army town, Giles looked out the window and noticed all the outdated automobiles driving around in a monstrous thunderstorm. "Wait a minute! Something is strange here! What's the date out there?"
Derf looked at his solar/nuclear wrist calendar/watch his wife bought him for their 23rd anniversary, and did some calculating. "Hmm, well, it looks like somewhere around July 4, 1947. Why, Giles?"
"You didn't tell me we were traveling back in time!! If I remember right, seems I read something about a crashed flying saucer being found in Roswell around that date!!! OH MY GOD, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!! TURN THIS SHIP AROUND!!!!" The professor made a dive at the commander of the ship and pushed him aside. Immediately, Giles took control of the flight panel, pushing all the buttons, twisting all the knobs and wheels he could. The craft began tossing and turning in the electrified sky.
"Giles! What are you doing? You're going to have us killed!!!" Derf yelled, trying to pry his hands loose from the controls.
"Can't you see? I'm trying to save us all!!!" Giles fought back.
"Look out Giles!" Derf panicked, "We're going to crash into that silly looking army weather balloon up ahead with the hideous wooden dummies dangling from it!"
"Hmmm, let's see what's on television...(Click)(Click)(Click)... (Click)...Oh good," I laid back, "Looks like a movie's coming on. This ought to be good..."
...On a misty fall morning, on November 13th, in New York City, the inevitable occurred! They had decided they had had enough! Tired of being sat upon, the toilets around the city united! They unilaterally tore themselves loose from their plumbing and staged a 'scoot-out,' leaving everyone stirring through the streets, looking desperately for somewhere to go. As they converged on the steps of city hall, Mayor Luigie was eating his lunch in his office when he heard the commode... er um, commotion. He put down his sandwich and went over to the window to see what the stink was all about.
"Frank, the apparent leader is on line one, and demands to speak with you," his secretary announced.
"Take his name and number, I'll call him after lunch," the mayor said scowling while stuffing his sandwich in his mouth.
"His name is John, and he says he's able to hold a lot longer than you can!"
The mayor threw his sandwich down, sighed and whipped the phone to his ear. "Ok, Johnny boy, what's going down?"
"All right, Mr. Mayor, see... we ain't gonna take anymore of anybody's crap, ok? It’s like this... we just don't get any respect, see. The only homage paid to us is an occasional family pet, lapping from our labors. We want the same equal rights and rewards decorative furniture enjoy, see.... So what is it, Mr. Mayor? Whatcha gonna do, hmm? Come on... Speak now or forever hold your piss!!!"
The mayor slammmed the phone down, then rang for his secretary.
"Send this memo over to Jones at the D.A.'s office. Tell him to get things moving, then put a lid on it!"
Stay tuned for the 1952 Oscar- Nominated, My Kingdom for A Throne! Starring Hugh Beaumont....(Click)
"Surely there's something better on..." I remarked while flipping through the channels again...(Click!)(Click!)(Click!) "Hmmmm... the news, huh?"
"...We're looking at terrorism from a broad," the FBI spokesman informed NBS news.
"Uh, don't you mean abroad, sir?" the news anchorman questioned.
"No, we're looking at terrorism in its worst-case scenario, from a very viciously dangerous revolutionary broad, who coined the so-called burn-the-bra-movement in the 60's, named Ima Loosschest."
"At this time they think they know the whereabouts of the suspect in question. But the large wholesale brassiere company's president, Max Sizemore, isn't taking any chances; he's ordered all employees at his various women's garment factories around the country to stay at home until she's been apprehended. The FBI have announced they'll be keeping us abreast should anything exciting develop, pardon the pun.... back to you, Peter."
"Thanks, Roger... We end tonight's broadcast with the recent upsurge of meteorological activity that has become evident all over the evening skies this month; and the public fear surrounding the issue... There has only been one occasion recorded, in all of the history of mankind, of a person ever receiving a direct hit from a meteorite! And statistics tell us that the chance of it ever happening to you is (BANG!!!!!)....... ARGHHH!!!!!"
"Good Godfrey, there's gotta be something good on TV!" I complained, while one more time flipping channels.
(Click!)(Click!)(Click)...God is... (Click)(Click)... our grand-prize winner today!!! ...(Click!)(Click-Click)... and She's quoted as saying... (Click-Click-Click!)"...that's not logical, Jim!" (CLICK!!!)
I decided I'd had enough television for the afternoon. I laid back on the couch, and contemplated my State of the Union Address, scheduled for that evening. My eyes began to feel heavy as I stared at the ceiling fan directly above. Slowly drifting, drifting away from all that plagued my aching mind, I found himself, once again, in ancient Russia. Day after day and night after night, I'd dream that I was the son of Ivan the Terrible, and the dream would always end the same way. "Mr. President!"
"What!!!?? What is it?"
"Mr. President, you have only a few minutes before your speech, Sir. Here, get into this suit coat."
"Oh, it was a dream again." Relieved, I wiped the sweat from my forehead. "OH! The speech. Yes, well, uh, where's my notes? Oh, in my coat pocket, whew...Ok, I think I'm ready now."
I was quickly escorted to the Presidential limousine and whisked away to Capitol Hill, where members of both houses of Congress were waiting, yet representatives were starting to get restless during the lengthy delay as one of the more outspoken members of the Black Caucus stood up in his chair and began shouting:
"WE WANT RALPH, WE WANT RALPH, WE WANT RALPH!!"
Other members began joining in, clapping and stomping, until the full house was out of order. One of them suggested they try to do the wave. They started from the right, then the left followed when they saw it was popular.... just like in regular politics! A few began tossing Frisbees, until someone finally spoke up, "Shhh! Ok guys, time to knock it off and put on our dignified faces, the networks are about to go on!!"
"This is an NBS special news presentation. The President's State of the Union Address. Now, sitting in for the recently injured Peter Waylon Jennings, here's NBS news correspondent Dan Rathernot, with colleague Roger Mudpie on the House floor...... Dan?"
"Thanks Joe. Well, this is to be the first State of the Union Address for the new President, Clyde P. Hipwing... and the question of course is: will what Mr Hipwing has to say fall on deaf ears because of the immediate racial turmoil in the nation, his lack of direction, and his waning trade policies... ever since taking office? We're joined this evening with news correspondent Roger Mudpie on the House floor with reflection on tonight's upcoming speech... Roger?"
Roger wasn't paying attention, instead, he was telling a joke to Congressman Darymaple, "...So I ended the report with, 'the FBI will be keeping us abreast should something exciting develop, pardon the pun.' Ha ha ha!..."
"Oh hello Dan, I'm joined here with the Foreign Trade Committee leader, Cedric Darymaple. Now, Mr Darymaple, as head of the committee, what goals should the president address this evening, concerning your proposal of opening up more trade with the African continent?"
The congressman scratched his confused head and quizzed, "now, say that again... I don't quite understand what you meant. Whose developing breast was the FBI referring to?"
MR. SPEAKER, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!
"Oh Dan," Roger quickly alerted, "they've just announced the arrival of the president, so I'll send it back up to you... Now Cedric, listen again; the FBI announced that they will..."
"Um, uh, thanks, Roger. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the president is making his way to the House floor. The crowd, as you can hear, is going mad with applause, but it looks like the crowd is starting to die down now that he's ready to speak. Let's listen in."
"Thank you.... Thank you very much, you're so kind. Thanks. People, members of both houses of congress, thank you for this opportunity to speak with you this evening.... The American people have waited a long time for their liberation from a bureaucratic intrusive......"
"What About the Book Deal, Mr. President?!" Someone on the back row suddenly interrupted with a shout.
I cleared my throat and began again... "the American people have..."
"What about the book deal?!"
"Huh? Who said that?" I frowned
"I wanna know about the book deal! How much did they pay you in advance under the table?!"
"Newt?! Newt Greenwich, what you are doing? Sit down!" I demanded.
Other members of congress stood to their feet in agreement with the protest. "Yeah! Here here.... We wanna hear about the book deal!"
I'm sure the folks at home were trying to fine-tune the contrast on their televisions, as I must have turned blue trying to hold my tongue. "You know what I've got to say about the book? I wish I never wrote the thing! The hell with the book! The hell with all of you too! I quit!!!!" Each and every celestial body in God's great universe were sucked to the earth in that instant moment as all the people across America gasped at once. I ran from the podium and out a back door as members of congress sat in silence while Vice-President McCovey followed me in pursuit. "Hey Man! Where you think you're goin'?!"
"Go back and take care of your country, Ralph. You're the President now!" I said, waving him off.
"Man, you can't just get mad, and take off like that. What will the people think of you?" Ralph clutched me by the arm.
"I don't care!" I replied, "when YOU get all fired up live on TV, YOU get rave reviews. What difference should it make? I can't do anything right.... Goodbye Ralph."
"You lousy quitter! You no good loser! Man, I thought you had the right stuff, but I was wrong!" he growled with disdain as I turned around to offer a farewell handshake. Ralph, still with disillusionment in his eyes, tried to make up his mind whether to just spit on it, or not. "The hell with a handshake, Clyde." Then in a soft touch that Ralph seldom let anyone see, he reached out and hugged my neck. "Take care of yourself, man..."
The next morning's papers were all front to back with stories concerning my resignation. Some heralding the fact that Ralph would be the first Black President in the nation's history. Others were rejoicing my downfall. "PRESIDENT HIPWING 'NEWTERED' BEFORE RESIGNING!" heralded one headline. I privately and officially resigned at one o'clock the next afternoon to return to a quiet life, free from any notoriety. Ralph was sworn in soon after, and promised to carry out most of my legislative goals.
In Santa Barbara that same afternoon the church on Walnut Street was bulging beyond full capacity for Professor Endicotsley's funeral. Half of those attending was some of his ex-college students who wanted to wish him God-speed on his afterlife sojourn. Several people gave tearful, as well as humorous, testimonials about the Giles they all knew in different ways, but loved just the same. Edie was most brokenhearted. She tried to buck-up (as the professor often advised her), but couldn't hold back every time she'd recall finding Giles' lifeless body slumped in his wheelchair in his radio room that fateful evening. The Priest had just finished his eulogy and was about to begin the mass, when all the people gasped in sudden shock as the coffin slowly gaped open and a hand crept out the opening! Father Rice calmly looked down at the casket, fell backward with his eyes rolled up toward his brain, and landed on the piano keyboard with the back of his head, producing a reverberating perfect F#minor. Those in attendance scattered out into the aisles and collided with one another while heading toward the exit in hysteria, as the professor's body rose up, and as if a snake, shedding its aged skin. Edie, the only one still remaining, besides the professor's son, watched as Giles emerged in younger flesh.
"Blast!" Giles complained, "I must have left the bloody book on the spaceship!"
"Giles, you're alive!!!! Charles! Come to! It's your father. He's alive!" The professor's son came to long enough to see that it was his dad, and then passed out again. Edie hurdled over the pews toward Giles, throwing her arms around his neck. "Giles! Is this just a dream? Please tell me it's not! You look at least 40 years younger! You're... You're so good looking!!!"
"Oh, I'll bet you just say that to all the good looking lads! I'm almost 50 years younger. No, it's not a dream. I was abducted by a group of extraterrestrials, and we crashed into a blasted weather balloon in Roswell, where the commander sent me back to this duration of time with a cheap transporter he picked up at Radio Shack! Now, anymore questions before you help me out of this forsaken, oversized, college dorm room?" He smirked, complaining about the cramped coffin.
"Oh Giles, I've missed you so much.... But, I... I don't understand how you..."
"Didn't you hear what I just told you? I was abducted by...."
"Never mind, dear, I'm just so glad you're back.... I love you!" she sobbed, as she buried her face on his chest. "Since I thought you left me, my life seemed so barren, Giles. You have no idea what you mean to me."
"I know, I know, lovely lady.... Those were the longest four days without you."
The two escorted his bewildered yet gladdened son back to his car... he had an afternoon meeting to make. As he drove away, Edith impulsively offered her hand to the man she always adored. Giles surprised himself with his vulnerable response in receiving it, then looked deep into her magnetic brown eyes. "Ah, my love, you could erect a skyscraper!"
She laughed nervously and blushed. "Ooh, very fascinating, Professor Endicotsley!"
He awkwardly but daringly placed his arms around her petite frame, then leaned forward and pressed his anxious kisser upon her moist lips. "Why Giles, how did you come to be such a great lover?" she asked in her arousal.
He coolly answered, "it takes a mighty good stroke, dear lady, to light a match." Then doing something that didn't come natural to the man, he got down on his knees without any hesitation. "I'd rather die an old man now, than to spend the next 50 years without you... Marry me, beautiful lass... "
Proceed to Story Five…