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THE CRANKY FOREIGNER: A scene from the West Wing

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SCENE: THE WEST WING;  A MEETING ROOM, SEVERAL PEOPLE SEATED, SEVERAL ENTERING, ARMED WITH FOLDERS AND CUPS OF COFFEE. CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS, AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE HUDDLES WITH STEPHEN MILLER. MARK LOOKS UP:

MARK: Where’s Ben Carson?  This meeting is all his department.

INTERN 1:  Taking a nap.

MARK: How long will that last?

INTERN 1: About another 4 months.

MARK (shrugs): We’ll just mark him present.

THE DOOR OPENS. IVANKA ENTERS. EVERYONE RISES AND BEGINS CHANTING IN UNISON.

ALL: All hail, Ivanka, sprung with benevolence and majesty from the loins of the Almighty One.

THEY WAIT UNTIL SHE HAS KICKED SOMEONE OUT OF HER FAVORITE SEAT, THEN SITS. THEY FOLLOW.

MARK: Alright. Crisis mode. About two weeks ago, the president said on Fox News that he was signing a new, fabulous health care bill this week. Some idiot at Fox believed him and they announced that they would do the unveiling.  Tomorrow on Tucker. So we’ve got to get something together.

INTERN: In eight hours??  A complete healthcare bill in eight hours?

IVANKA: It can’t be that hard. Jared and I once planned a dinner for four in eight hours.

MARK: Truly amazing. So, first of all, the name of the plan is key here. Everyone, think. What’s the exact opposite of Obamacare.

IVANKA: Well people say I’m the opposite of Obama, so let’s name it after me. But I don’t understand the “care” part.  Aren’t we just talking about going to the doctor?

MARK: Basically.

IVANKA: Then it’s settled. We’ll call it the Ivanka Going-to-the-Doctor Plan. All in favor?

ALL HANDS SHOOT SKYWARD.

MARK: Good. Now, our Christian voters want a big input. Ideas?

STEPHEN: Why don’t I go all in. Here’s the concept. Those bozos will love it. “Healthcare: If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for you.”

MARK: Brilliant. Even Susan Collins can’t publicly wring her hands about that one. What’s it gonna look like?

STEPHEN: Well, leeches, poultices, bleedings, casting out of demons. Hey, didn’t all of you interns go to Liberty U. What am I missing?

INTERN 2: In 2nd Kings, the prophet Isaiah treats King Hezekiah’s life-threatening illness by pressing figs on his sores.

MARK: Good. Figs are in. Any mention in the Bible of Hydroxychloroquine?  It would make the President real happy.

INTERN 2 (shakes his head): But it says we’re not supposed to touch lepers.

MARK: Nah. Sounds a bit too science-based.

IVANKA: I remember Daddy getting a letter from Alabama about how, in the day, they put sick old people on icebergs so they would get all numb and sleepy and the polar bears would eat them.

SOME MUFFLED SNICKERS:

STEPHEN: Hey! Don’t be too quick to judge. Remember, we have to claim there’s something for everyone. That checks two liberal boxes. Death with dignity and addressing vanishing food sources for endangered species.

MARK: You say that was a letter from Alabama? Icebergs? Polar bears?

IVANKA: Maybe from Arkansas. Are there any other states that start with the letter “A”?

MARK: Not worth mentioning. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, a lot of doctors are going to have to be recertified pretty quick.

IVANKA: I know! It’s going to have to be online ‘cause of this silly what’s-it-called plague, so, let’s bring back Trump University! Except that this time it’s a med school, not just how to structure bankruptcy for your own financial benefit. And for a course of study, we can get that woman who Daddy re-tweets who says all disease comes from sex with demons. It even sounds biblical, doesn’t it? Where is it in the Bible?

STEPHEN (muttering): Morons, Chapter 3, Verses 4 – 7.

MARK: Alright! Good work. Great energy in this room! Now, we all know that CNN is going to be all over pre-existing conditions. Any ideas?

INTERN 2: Well, Mark Chapter 5, Verse 25 talks about a woman who had been suffering from bleeding for 12 years and had spent all her money on physicians and was no better. Mark said that only God can forgive and heal.

STEPHEN: Oh, be still my beating heart. Pre-existing conditions can only be dealt with by God. It’s not our fault? I smell money left over for tax cuts for billionaires.

MARK: So who runs this whole show? Health and Human Services, right? Ben Carson’s department. How long did you say he was napping.

INTERN 1: About 4 months?

MARK: Perfect. Round out the details. Sweeten it up for Big Pharma and the AMA. Find a way to make opioids respectable again. Sign Ben’s name to the bottom. Make sure we have a couple signing copies in case the president forgets how to spell his own name. See you tomorrow for the Tucker taping. I’m bringin’ the biggest Sharpie.

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