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September 18, 2023

Peace in Our Time

By Dan Mulhollen

One day it just appeared in the sky. A good twenty miles long, looking like a giant oval chafing dish but without the base or heating element (check Wikipedia if you're too young to remember chafing dishes). Silvery blue or green -- like one of those colors car makers use so they can copyright the color's name and confuse valets. It circled the Earth a few times before sending out a multi-language message of peace.

An emergency meeting was called in the White House.

"We gotta blow these bastards from the sky," President Darryl Jay Rumpelstiltskin blurted out.

Vice President Mick Farthing pulled out his cell phone and called his wife. "Yes, I agree. We need to be cautious. Yes, Mother, I'll be home on time. Pick up milk on my way home? Of course, dear."

"Caution?" the President asked in a mocking tone of voice. "Were we cautious with the Japanese when Ike nuked them? Did caution help Dick Nixon crush the Vietnamese? And fuck, if Reagan was cautious after 9-11, we'd all be speaking Arabian today!"

"0 for 3," Secretary of State Ric Tillerman mumbled.

Darya Rumpelstiltskin, First Daughter and Chief Adviser nodded, "But he is on a roll."

"I wouldn't anger him," First Son-in-Law, Jerry Krushchev said, nervously fiddling on his laptop, exploring a website selling condoms and lubricants.

His wife snickered, looking at the screen. "Planning for an extended vacation?"

"Why do I have to be the sacrificial lamb?" he whined.

"Being Daddy's little girl does have its benefits."

"That hasn't been my experience," Second Daughter and Family Black Sheep, Faberge Rumpelstiltskin, said with her sour Scarlet O'Hara accent.

"My mother was born in a national capital," Darya said, imperious pride in her voice. "Where was yours born? Shithole, Georgia?"

"Conceived while father was on a publicity tour for his book, harping on the importance of fidelity," she said, smiling, the two women having reached some sort of detente.

"I would like to hear what my Secretary of Defense has to say," the President said, pointing to retired general MD Mattress. "MD, your 20-20 insights might be helpful."

"Mister President," the Secretary said in his calm, thoughtful voice the President found annoying, "we have to realize that any civilization capable of interstellar flight has to have better weapons than us."

"A defeatist attitude will get us nowhere," the President insisted. "Bo?" he said, turning to Attorney General Beauregard Jeffries.

"A craft that size?" Jeffries asked. "It's a, I say, it's a fair guess they're smuggling mar-ij-u-wanna. Seducing our good people with their alien devil weed."

The First Daughter grinned, opened her purse letting her half-sister see inside. "Potty break!" Faberge said, and the two women excused themselves, giggling as they left.

Education Secretary, Betty Devious, noticed the President's crestfallen expression at his daughter's departure. "This is man's work anyway," she offered, "I have to agree with Mister Rumpelstiltskin. Blast them to holy hell ... or as they're probably atheist, being aliens and all, blast them to heck fire and tarnation."

"Dean?" the President asked.

"You fired him," the Secretary of State growled.

"No, I talk to him every day. Dean?"

An image quickly shifted from transparency to fully opaque. "Mister President?" former strategist Dean Bannion asked.

"Dean, what do you make of this whole alien deal?"

"Other than the fact that you haven't figured out I'm one of them?"

For the first time in all his seven decades, the President was left speechless, only able to finally mutter, "What?"

"I was an advanced scout," Bannion said, sitting in a lotus position, levitating to table level. "I was assigned to infiltrate organizations sympathetic to you."

"I wouldn't have won without you."

"I was sent to help you lose," Bannion said, a sinister sneer on his face. "Every half-assed tweet. Every sexist or racist boast that should have cost you the Presidency -- that was all my doing."

"But I won."

"Damnedest thing," Bannion said. "We analyzed every Presidential election since 1800. No candidate we looked at was less qualified to be Chief Executive -- and that includes George McClellan, Warren Harding, and Harold Stassen."

"You underestimated my base," the President said smiling. "I knew what those damned fools wanted to hear and I damn well said it. Everyone feels persecuted. Blue collar workers feel persecuted by immigrants taking their jobs. Executives feel persecuted by environmental regulations. Evangelicals by having to share their restrooms with gays. Men feeling persecuted by women who liken the slightest inappropriate comment to rape. And add to that a qualified, but incurably self-righteous woman who felt she's entitled to win by beating an even more qualified candidate in the Primary ..." He stretched out his arms, resting them behind his head. "Angry people vote by emotion, not logic, and believe me, I know how to pander to that."

"So what can we do?" Secretary of State Tillerman asked.

"Do what your President wants," Bannion said, chuckling. "And my ships can blow them out of the air." He stopped and grew more serious. "But that is not our way. We can selectively target each missile and send them spiraling into the ocean -- but that would be unfair to the fish. We can selectively target his base, making them unable to even figure out an election form. But that is also not our way."

"Then what is?" the President asked.

"My ship will continue orbiting your planet," Bannion said. "A clear reminder of your impotence for all to see. In a few years, the American people will speak and you'll be free to build your new tower in Moscow. Mind you, my First Officer is speaking to your friend Vlad -- so his days may be even more numbered than yours, those people really know how to play rough."

"The Tower Moscow is still a go?" the President said, smiling. Then he picked up his cell phone. "Today," he started to text, "is a good day. A great day! MAGA!"

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2018-03-26
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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