Friday, September 28, 2012

Potus OpenMic, Part I

March 19

Meanwhile in the Oval Office that had been converted to a studio for the Open Microphone sessions, Potus sat in his chair behind his big desk.  An assistant dusted his face with a powder and he sneezed violently.  He waved her off in frustration.
Potus peered at the bright lights shining in his eyes and tried to call for help.  “Anybody there?  When do we start with this infernal thing?”
Chief of Staff standing to the side, called out in support, “We’re doing great Sir, we’re scheduled to go live at 8 pm Eastern.  Three minutes, Sir.”
“How will I know when that is?” Potus asked.
“We’ll tell you, Sir.  Look for the green light in front of the camera.”
“I see a green light now.  We’re not fucking live now are we?”
“Oh no, sir, this is the World Wide Web, nothing is live yet,” answered CoS.  “Actually,” he said and trailed off.
“Actually, what?” asked Potus.
CoS turned around and spoke to someone behind him who was working on a lot of computer equipment and staring at monitors.
“Actually, what, numb nuts?” said Potus, escalating his tone.
“Sir, we’re live,” said CoS.
Potus suddenly froze and smiled.  The director on the other side of the camera waved in a circular motion.
“Dear My Fellow Americans,” Potus started and stopped when he heard a snicker from somewhere behind the lights.  He couldn’t find the source of the snicker so he continued, “Tonight I’m addressing you in an informal town-hall style Open Microphone dialog.  We’ve setup computer centres in Los Angeles, Oregon, Miami, New York, Jackson Hole, Chicago, and about 20 other locations.  The FBI have been providing security and background checks for any citizens who want to show up and speak with me.  We published the locations last week in local papers and all that is required is a passport and a wristband for entry.  This is a truly extraordinary once in a lifetime event.
“Now, I’m sure the technology is very fancy and the testing has been thorough.  However, I’m sure we’ll have some technical glitches.  This broadcast is also being sent live through the ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates.  CNN can go fuck themselves, pardon the expression.  No offense, I mean.  Truly, this worldwide phenomenon has not been matched in the history of governance.  I am the one who has brought it to you.
“Here are the rules of the event.  First, we’ll bring in someone randomly for 30 seconds.  They can speak, ask a question, or what have you.  Then I’ll respond for 30 seconds.  At my discretion, we can go another round of 30 seconds if warranted.  I can also cut anyone off for any reason; for example, if you have memorised some propaganda or if you start advertising some product you are trying to sell, I’ll eighty-six you immediately.  As soon as the 60 seconds or less is over, the computer systems will pull a random person who is waiting next at a location and they will have a try.  As long as everyone is ready to speak when his or her light turns green, we can make this happen smoothly.  It might take a few tries to see how everything works out, but if you’ll bear with us, we’ll see if we can make this work.”
Potus paused, waited for the director to nod, and then continued.  “So here we go, we’re bringing in our first customer.  Who do we have here?”
A woman’s face appeared, staring straight out into the world from within the screen.
Potus said, “Go ahead.”
The woman looked to the left and said, “I can’t see anything.”
Potus said, “I’m here, ma’am, go ahead.”
The woman retreated and disappeared from view, complaining in the distance.
Potus said, “Next.  Who’s next?”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Potus, press conference, part III

[earlier at the press conference]
"The Office is more important than the man," Potus answered.
"Without the man, the Office is empty," said the reporter.
"Without the Office, the man is empty," Potus snapped back.
There was a long pause.  "It's very complicated," Potus said.
[after the shoe incident]
"Varsity volleyball, Sir," said Johnson.
"You believe that guy?" said Potus calming down as they hurried down a long hallway.  "You can't throw a shoe at an office."
"I think he threw it at a man," said Johnson.
"Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down," Potus sang under just breath.
"I'm sorry, Sir?" asked Johnson.
"Never mind, you'll just be Rick-rolled," said Potus.  "I sing songs when I'm nervous.  Where are we going, anyway?"
"Sir, we're on an evacuation plan enroute to the infirmary to check on you," answered Johnson, holding open a door for Potus.  Two more agents stood on the other side.
"I'm fine," said Potus.  "Can we visit the Secretary of State while we're there?"
"Yes, Sir, she's fine and you'll be able to talk to her," Johnson said as the entered the infirmary.
Potus saw an exam table and hopped up to sit on the edge of it, legs dangling.   The door opened and two agents led the First Lady in.  She was visibly upset and rushed to Potus.
"Oh my God," she exclaimed.  "Are you ok, let me check your head."
Potus tilted his head away.  "I'm fine," he said.  "You should see the other guy.  I nailed him, mano-a-mano with his own shoe."
"I saw it on the TV.   I don't think you hit him," she said doubtfully.
"Tell her, Johnson," said Potus proudly.
Johnson shook his head.
The First Lady shoved Potus' shoulder.  "You and your stories.  Always trying to be a bigger man.  Speaking of which, you need more potassium and fibre.  I'm going to tell the doctor and the chef to get you more vitamins and minerals."
"Aw," complained Potus.
"After this we can go upstairs," said the First Lady.  "I want to show you the drapes."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Potus, press conference part II

"We'll just bring them in randomly, just let whoever's next say what they have to say."
"Sir, yes, Sir, I am waiting to speak," said a press reporter from the middle row with an accent.
Potus pointed at the young man.  "You, raccoon guy with the accent."
Raccoon guy tried to speak above the clamour.  "Yes thanks to you.  I am Chathuranga Wallaheller Srinivasiani from the Sri Lankan Daily Dinamina and I am pleased to ask you a question."
"Yes, go ahead.  Quiet down!" Potus yelled at the other reporters. "Wally Something wants to speak."
"Chathuranga Wallaheller..." Wally began.
"Yes, yes," waved Potus.  "Charlie So-and-So."
"You may call me by Frank," Charlie said.
"There's a great American name, Frank.  Wonderful, go ahead, Frank."
"Thank you for the wonderful honour, Mr. President of the United States.  I am pleased to ask about a topic of concern to the Sri Lankan peoples from my country.  We also have a problem since more than 20 years regarding terrorism and the Tamil Tigers have caused..."
Potus rudely interrupted.  "Tigers on television, huh?  Is that a football team?  I mean, not your foreigner soccer ball game.  I'm talking about the American version on TV."
Frank seemed flustered.  "No sir, surely you are mistaken..."
Potus raised his hand in a victorious fist pump.  "Go Tigers, eh?  I prefer the Chiefs obviously.  You being Indian and all..."
Frank was furious.  In one swift motion, Frank removed his shoe and flung it at the President.  Potus, stunned, raised his hands to shield hiss face and caught the shoe.  Johnson, trying to protect Potus too late, flew past him and knocked down the front row of reporters.
In the resulting confusion, Potus flung the shoe back at Frank.  Frank ducked deftly and hopped on one foot to take off his other shoe for another shot.  He was tackled by the Secret Service agents behind him.  Two agents in the front grabbed Potus about the middle and carried or pushed him out of the press conference room.
Outside in the hallway, Potus resisted.  "Let me at him, let me go!"
The agents restrained Potus.  Johnson came into the hallway disheveled.  He spoke rapidly as he approached.  "Sir, there's been an incident and we need to take you to a safe location."
Potus agreed and walked ahead of the agents down the hallway.  He turned to talk to Johnson as they walked.
"That was some dive you took," Potus said.  "Where did you learn that one?"
"Varsity volleyball, Sir," said Johnson.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Potus press conference, part I

Meanwhile underground in the press assembly room, the Press Relations secretary was trying to calm down the reporters.
"I understand your concerns," he said, "but the bathrooms have not been repaired yet and the schedule to do so has been pushed back.  Were lucky it's the middle of winter because the air conditioner is broken too."
Potus arrived by the flags next to the Presidential seal.  The press erupted again and cameras swivels while flashes flickered like fireworks.  Potus, surprised and blinded, turned on his heel and exited.
The Press Relations secretary turned, saw no one and shouted above the din, "Calm down, calm down.  This is not a disaster, just drink one energy drink in the morning instead of six."
The hubbub died down a little.  He continued, "There, much better.  Now I'm told that the President will be delayed, so while we wait, I'd suggest you go outside and visit the bushes."
Potus reappeared, looking lost.  The shouting and camera flashes climaxed again.
"Hold it down, hold it down," yelled the Press secretary.  "It's a joke.  A joke."  He looked over and the Chief of Staff had replaced the spot where Potus had been, having followed him in and took his spot when he left again.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I'd like to introduce the Chief of Staff.  He'll give us a few words while wait.  Mr. Staff Chief?"
There was some light applause.  Secretary of State stepped in front of the podium.  "Thank you.  Um, ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States."
Potus appeared, a beatific smile on his face.  He stepped to the podium and shook the Chief of Staff's hand heartily.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press," Potus began.  "I use the terms lightly of course:  few of you are ladies and even fewer of you are gentlemen."  Some polite laughter flitted among the reporters.  "This is our first press meeting and I'd like to keep it brief.  As you know I'm the busiest leader of the free world.  You there, you have a question?"
A reporter stood and read from his iPad.  "Sir, you've mentioned before how the President is an office and not a man.  How do you plan to inhabit the office and fulfill the duties of office if you distance yourself from your job like that?"
Potus answered, "That was the world's most boring question.  How long did you take to write that stupid question?  An hour?  That's lame.  This country needs leadership.  The kind of leadership that comes from a book, not the kind that comes from an iPad."  Potus pointed to someone in the back.  "You, what's your question?  And don't read it, you have to look me in the eye and ask me a question."
A younger woman stood up and asked in a wavering voice, "Some of the statements in your inaugural speech about labour relations were, um, controversial.  What are your plans for the economy and unions in America, given the economic challenges brought on by industrialised nations in Asia?"
Potus answered, "Good question.  I made it clear what I intended to do.  In terms of the economy, everyone knows the executive branch can do very little.  We're actually second only to the useless judicial branch in that we have little direct impact on the economy.  We can only enforce the laws that already exist.  That's why I intend to send Congress home early every year after I sign their budget.  The laws in existence today are good enough for now, and they'll be good enough tomorrow.  And if we want to get rid of some laws, consolidate a little; that's fine, I'll trade them two for one, or three for one, what have you.  For every law they want to past, we have to remove two others.  Whatever they like.  Otherwise they can pound sand and I'll veto everything they try to pass."
The young woman pressed on, "Yes, what about the remarks by the Speaker of the House that they operate on a super majority basis, or a veto proof basis anyway?"
Potus batted at the air with his hand.  "Fuck him," he said.  "The head of the House is the Vice President, and I own that guy.  He reports to me."  Potus grinned broadly.
There was a conspicuous silence.  Potus wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.  "Anyway, the people are my primary concern.  The regular people.  The average man.  Those are the people I'm working for.  I'd rather talk to them than to you dimwits.  I feel like the common man needs to speak to me, and I need to speak with him."
A reported in front stood up and interrupted, "Sir, what about the common woman?"
Potus nodded.  "Yes, her too.  I want to speak directly to the common everyperson. I think in today's technical age we could accomplish a virtual get together, a live webcast of a town hall.  We'll setup some conference centres all over our great country and we'll allow every U.S. citizen who wants to 30 seconds, maybe, to ask a question.  And no reading questions, either.  No statements or rants.  Just good old citizens meeting face to face as in the days of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.  I'll make a 30 second reply and we can do sixty an hour.  We'll just bring them in randomly, just let whoever's next say what they have to say."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Potus, Introductions Part VII

Potus slammed the phone down so hard a bell rang somewhere inside.
CoS looked shocked and SoS was scribbling in her notebook.
Potus winked again, giggling. The phone rang.
Everyone, including Potus this time, stared in shock.  The phone rang again.
Potus asked, "Why is it ringing?"
Secretary of Defense had changed toa colour very nearly Michael Jackson like.  Johnson somehow made no visible facial moves while whispering into his cuff, his other hand was pressed to his ear.
The phone rang again.  CoS finally mustered up the courage to say, "Well, answer it."
Potus picked up the phone and cleared his throat.
"Office of the president, how may I help you?"
Potus listened carefully.  Secretary of State looked older than her many years and reached with one hand for a seat.  Finding none, she collapsed.  One junior Secret Service agent rushed to help her.
"This is he," said Potus after listening.  He put one hand over the mouthpiece and with the other made a motion telling them to get the Madam Secretary off the floor.
"Yes," said Potus into the telephone, "I see.  I don't wish to talk to the press.  They are nothing but an annoyance at this point.  I'm busy seeing everything there is to see."
Madam Secretary made a loud groaning noise from the ground.  A gurney rattled in pushed by two attendants.
Potus, annoyed, waved in a "hurry it up" motion.  Into the phone he said, "I see, they're already here, waiting for me. Sure, where is it?"  Potus waved for a pen.  CoS picked up the notepad and pen that Madam Secretary had been sribbling in earlier and, stepping around her and the agent and two orderlies, handed it to Potus.
"Yes, yes," said Potus, writing.  The Secretary of State made a noise like a nutria dying and started thumping around on the floor while the three men tried to holds her still.  He waved at the commotion and noise generated around the Secretary of State, making a "get out of here" motion.
The Madam Secretary was lifted onto the gurney which clattered out with the two attendants.
"Sheesh," said Potus.  "What a mess."
"I think she'll be fine," said CoS.
"No, I mean the press.  We should arrest them all."
Secretary of Defense seemed to have regained his colour and composure.  He joked, "I don't think there's enough room to hold them all."
"Sure there is," snapped Potus.  "Just turn the whole state of Texas into a penitentiary.  We'd have plenty of room for them and all the potheads and kinky freaks who want to have marital relations with a gas tank."
Everyone frowned.
"What?" Potus asked.  "It's just a saying."
CoS, thinking ahead, said, "Sir, what are you going to say?  We won't have any time to write up some talking points."
Potus thought about it.  He answered, "We'll use an old trick from the movies.  I'll just curse a lot and they'll have to bleep me out."
"Genius, Sir," exclaimed CoS.
"Have you ever heard of a sycophant?" asked Potus.  He strode out, motioning Johnson to follow.
CoS looked hurt as everyone left the Oval Office.  He struggled to gather up all his belongings and follow.

Weekly writing output

Wordcount graph
Powered by