Stand Up Guy

“A lot of people said a Black man could get elected President of the United States when pigs fly,” the President of the United States said into a sleek, matte metal hand-held microphone. He waited for the reaction to die down and deadpanned, “And check it out. I’m in office less than a hundred days and booyah, swine flew.”

“Already heard that one,” Wiestler said around a mouthful of beer nuts.

“Don’t cry to me,” Monsoon grumbled. “I heard it all, while he was perpetrating it.’

“You know, once you get past the shock of the President doing a talk show,” Wiestler mused, “It starts to get kind of same,same. You stop rating him against Clinton or Jefferson or whatever and start comparing him to Letterman or Conan or Leno.”

“Oh, I didn’t tell him that about a thousand times,” Monsoon roared, his florid chops shaking in justifiable anger. “Barry, you’re just going to cheapen your coin, I’m telling him. And we’re going to need it if you want a sequel to your act in four years. But does he listen to me? Does he listen to fucking anybody?”

On the screen above the dim twilight of the bar where watching the “POTUS Show” had become a weekly ritual for the two flacksters, Obama continued his opening monologue. “Naturally I’m not going to negotiate with terrorists.” He paused and looked around as if counting the house. “I’m an attorney. I represent them and bill them by the hour.”

Wiestler almost spit up some of his Wild Turkey over that and turned to Monsoon, who held up a stifling hand and pointed to the screen.

“Just ask Bill Ayers. He thinks I’m the bomb.”

Wiestler’s laughter turned into an incredulous stare. “Holy shit! I figured you’re just being you usual grump about this show, but that’s just nuts.”

“So glad you’re finally wising up to what I’ve been trying to tell you. How much political capital is going down the drain with this thing?”

Wiestler regarded the screen, where Obama was mugging it up with his music director, Stevie Wonder, and pondered. “Well, I haven’t paid much attention to that end of things, you know. But maybe the Chief has something. You notice none of the other talk shows have been sounding him lately. Starts looking like knocking the competition. So he kind of bought off any nasty cracks from Letterman, et. al.”

“Until A-Rod knocks up his daughter.”

“And there’s something in being a household world. How’d you like to run a campaign for Leno?”

Monsoon’s habitual scowl softened as he thought that one over. His full lips even flirted with a little smile at his inner picture of coaching Leno into the presidency. Then he grunted, back to reality. “Make it Chuck Norris and we’ll talk.”

“How about Will Smith and a draft choice to be named later?” Wiestler shot back. But vooja de, he’d spoken too soon.

“I’m denying rumors that Will Smith has signed on to play me in a biopic,” Obama offhanded into the mike, then straightfaced the expectant pause. “Hey, if Bobby Darin got one…”

There was a smatter of applause and Wiestler gestured at the screen. “That wasn’t even funny.”

“Wait for it,” Monsoon groaned. “It gets unfunnier.”

“Oliver Stone did his little ‘I’m more subtle than Michael Moore’ number on Nixon and Bush. Apparently you have to be a Republican or get shot by half the population of the country.”

Monsoon snorted in disgust. “Go ahead, toss more crap on Camelot, Buckwheat.”

“Nothing on Jimmy Carter. Even with all the drama of the rabbit attack. And how about Bill? He deserves a film about his presidency. I mean other than the ones on Triple X Pay For View.”

“I’d pay,” Wiestler chuckled.

“If they got somebody less skanky than Monica, maybe. But check this out.”

“People have already compared my presidency to Bill’s. I don’t see any similarity between him and me,” again he strung out the wait to perfection. “I never even wanted to be Black.”

He waited out the applause and laugher, then winked. “If you saw any of that bioporn, maybe you can see why Bill does.”

Wiestler laughed out loud. “Hey, now that’s entertainment.”

“Do I look entertained?”

On screen, Obama continued, “Myself, I spent my life working to not be Black. Not as hard as Michael Jackson, maybe…”

Wiestler rolled his eyes and spun his stool to face Monsoon instead of the screen. “Speaking of white boys who can’t keep it in their own pants, how’s Hardley’s kid working out down in Cancun?”

“Not hearing much from our beamish boy,” Monsoon groused. “But I gotta admit, he’s got fuck-all to go on so far. He’s gumshoeing the A.O. but until she uses those cards it’s mostly a waiting game.”

“My guess is, they cancelled them about five minutes after I quit and came over here to the Good Guys.”

“And we’re still thrilled to have you, Jerry. But getting back to Townsend’s adventures in Mexico, I don’t think it’s much of a problem if it’s a long-term thing. He’s not costing us anything, there are those who might feel better with him far, far away, and anything he comes up with will be gravy. It’s a small percentage shot, but we’ve got to play those like we mean them. And since we’re lucky enough to be working for the most powerful entity in the world, we can afford it.”

“You think he got anything he could use from his old man?”

“Does anybody? I mean, not body count or whatever, but a straight answer? He was never a team player. The kid seems a little closer to what we need.”

“Well, if he can get next to her and turn something out, we win. But…”

“Hey, get a load of this,” Monsoon cut in. He waved his rocky scotch at the TV screen in mock horror.

“…everywhere I go,” Obama was saying in a close up from the show’s desk. He held up a Blackberry PDA by his face as he spoke. “They’ll have to tear it from my cold, dead hands, is what I’m saying. But for anybody who isn’t a security risk, it’s the way things are done. It takes one Black Barry to know one.”

“Jesus, he’s doing spots?” Wiestler burst out so loud the bartender actually paid attention to them for a minute before turning back to staring down the pettish waitress’ décolletage. “That’s… Is that legal?”

“Don’t play naïve with me, of all people. Prexies solicit funds for speech all the time…”

“But prime time? A straight out ad buy? This isn’t Dole pitching Dickhardia after he lost, this is… shit it’s like saying the President of the United States can be bought up on the spot market.”

“Been there, done that. So have you.”

“Not this naked. This is…”

Joe Biden’s face, created by nature as the perfect second banana, replaced his boss on the screen, holding a white version of the product beside his beaming grin. “Hey, I got one, too.”

Obama was back on camera. “Yep, Joe’s holding the new “Whiteberry” model. It’s just like mine but much smaller and instead of the internet it connects to the Old Boy network, holds just five minutes of mp3 muzak that repeats over and over, and comes complete with virtual shredder and authentic gold-filled parachute.”

Wiestler turned slowly back to Monsoon, highly sobered. “Next time you talk to young Townsend, tell him to price apartments in Mexico for us.”

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