America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
So You Want to Be the President
by Mark Spitzer
22 February 2017
“To beat a reality TV star,” producer Harvey Schleishenstein murmured to himself, “it takes a reality TV star…”
The idea didn’t belong to anyone in particular, but since it had come to him, he was considering it. Like the majority of voters in the last election, Harvey had no love for President Ronald Stump, that belligerent bad-hair-day billionaire casino-monger who had Brexited his way to the most powerful office on the planet. For the first time in the history of real life being more ridiculous than fiction, the United States now had a locker-room-talking alt-right demagogue in the White House, who had pledged to build a toxic alligator moat along the Canadian border to keep out “all those snowy Mexicans.” Stump had also vowed to deport sixteen million “snooty patootie teachers and academics” who just happened to have elevated levels of melanin, and since he’d labeled the entire Zindu culture as “terrorist, rapist, child-molesting masturbators coming to take our guns away,” there was now a ban on anyone from that demographic entering the country.
Admittedly, the concept of using reality TV to unseat the president was totally absurd. In fact, it was so absurd that Harvey had to run with it. So he pitched the concept to his network—which, ironically or not, was the same media conglomerate that had made Stump famous for firing flunkies on his own show Yokel Mogul. That, of course, had been years before Stump had become the most painful populist president that the popular vote had refused to elect by a margin of 2.5 million votes. Things, however, had worked out the other way with the Electoral College, such that Stump had become the reason for a reaction.
Still, Harvey knew that to sell the show he’d have to prove it would be lucrative. Meaning ratings, ratings, ratings! So with a little help from social media, he reached out to those who had stumped against Stump and came to the bargaining table with five million “likes” requesting that the proposed reality show actually become reality. Not only were millions of eager viewers already in place, but numerous Kickstarter campaigns had made the funds available for the competitors to give up their jobs and devote themselves full time to bunking together in a Survivor-type situation in order to pursue what the network called “THE MOST SENSATIONAL PATRIOTIC HIT REALITY TV SHOW TO EVER SAVE AN EMPIRE FROM ITS OWN MONSTER-TRUCK MONSTER-SELF!!!”
Just as expected, So You Want to Be the President shot to the number one spot before it even aired. It brought in beaucoup bling and immediately established itself as the ultimate extreme in competing to become the greatest of American idols.
Being a popularity contest, let’s start with the most famous competitors: the foremost personality being superstar movie heart-throb Brat Hitt, who’d abandoned his own Make-America-Adequate-Again program for revitalizing inner-city suburbs to lend a shockwave of star-power to the effort no matter if he made it to the final round or not. With his good looks and dreamy eyes, Hitt had rocketed into the coveted slot of “Favorite Son” from the very first show, the name of that episode being “Do I Look Presidential?” In a pair of red, white and blue Speedos, the former underwear model’s lean physique and six-pack abs instantly prompted three million teenage girls, six million of their mothers and aunts, two million gay men, and a million straight guys (who now count themselves as “bi-curious”) to cream their jeans and vote for him. Needless to say, the ratings for that first show went straight through the motherfucking roof.
The literal rock star of the whole experience, though, could only be Lady Ya Ya, who’d had number one hits on the pop, rock and country charts. Even celebrity judges Sharon Osbourne, Usher, and the predictable Simon Cowell chose her unanimously as “The Most Fabuloso Contender” during the second episode, entitled “Yo Bitches, I Got Something to Say.” That week the competitors had to make improv infomercial-style pitches to sell impractical products like headbands for holding cutlery and designer sporks. Lady Ya Ya was charged with marketing a tube of butter in which you turn a knob and it comes out like deodorant. She started by tearing up a picture of the Pope with a Ronald Stump hairdo, went on to pound out an impressive list of hyphenated expletives, then wrapped it all up with a wardrobe malfunction that slapped America across the face with the question of “Are you really gonna eat this fecal fajita?”
The next most celebrated family member in this Big Brotherly process-of-elimination was Rory Cooker, the beloved lefty minority mayor of a major metro disaster area who once ran into a burning building to rescue a 100-year-old crack whore. Due to popular demand, he had quit his day job and committed himself to the “Dump Stump Challenge.” Cooker made waves on the episode known as “It’s Payback Time,” in which contestants were dropped off in a ghetto with two bags of meth as capital then told to expand their businesses by the next episode. Cooker invested and traded wisely enough to come up with a multinational nonprofit in which all his workers were treated fairly and received equal pay for equal work, universal healthcare, and shares in company stock. For this unprecedented macroeconomic feat, Cooker received “The Spatula of Immunity,” a gaudy Gothic battle axe which guaranteed that he could not be voted off the show by any alliance of players.
Gae Achings was popular as well. He, or she (it’s hard to really know) was an anorexic-looking surprise who had arisen from the human slush pile of potential candidates, an LGBATPOC (lesbian gay bi androgynous trans person of color) breakout phenomenon who stole the show in the second season. S/he was predicted to be the biggest loser, but those predictions came from the same pollsters who also gave Stump a 22% chance of winning the day before election night. Point being: Gae was a charismatic underdog whose zeal for dancing and prancing and hitting high notes during mock debates landed him/her the Mick Jaggerificest pizzazability factor for blowing the minds of the status quo.
Defamed anchorman Ryan Billiams also made a lot of headway, mostly due to his comedic yet controlled avuncular sense of humor combined with the fact that he knew the facts from reporting on so many world events over the last twenty years, and he looked unshakable doing it. Ryan was favored as a finalist, but his revisionist past kept indicting him as a fake newsman who was fond of reframing the story to make himself a participant in whatever really went down. Nevertheless, the public was forgiving of this quality, since it’s only human to want to be part of the news, even when you are.
The Reverend Jacky Jesson made it quite a ways with his fire and brimstone ministry. He appealed to the god-fearing masses later in the first season and garnered multitudes of followers that ran with his gospel and spread his good word. Jesson demonstrated leadership qualities, or at least Baptist-style performance techniques, that gave him an edge on the “And God Bless America Too” episode in which contenders testified to the Lord above regarding the quality of their faith and the transparency of their tax returns.
Two former reality stars made it to the second season, but not too far into it, because the audience wanted a president who could actually do some governing. These stars were Snooki from Jersey Shore and that clock-wearing, cloud-pleasing rap-sensation known as “Flavor Flav!!” They were both eliminated during the episode dubbed “You Ain’t Got No Dirt On Me,” Snooki for being drunk and pregnant in high heels and falling down while projectile vomiting blasphemies (which blew all her support from the Evangelistos), and Flavor Flav for pimping out his sixteen children to a prominent member of the Tea Bagger Party.
Baseball star Derek Cheater scored a few homeruns early on, but after the fifth inning and more revelations of steroid doping he couldn’t make it to second base. Same thing for motivational speaker Timmy Bobbins and Joe the Septic Tank Pumper, who both showed early support from independents. All three were eliminated on the finalé of the second season, known as the “LOL Keeping It Real” episode, in which contestants had to keep their cool while under fire by restraining themselves from Twittering.
Meanwhile, America’s Sweetheart turned out to be a character named just that. She had been barely old enough to run for the office, but Harvey had made some calculations and discovered that she’d be old enough to accept the presidency by inauguration. America’s Sweetheart rose to prominence on the episode called “Oh That Winning Smile.” With her girl-next-door dimples and innocently blinking lashes, her vision for the nation’s future really didn’t matter at all. What mattered was that she was up there with her pigtails and yellow dress looking as cute as cute could be. She captured the country’s heart and went on to the bonus round, where she astonished the brunt of the undecideds by delivering a bombshell ten-point PowerPoint presentation on her strategy to defeat the Islamic State that elicited support from the NRA, the VFW, and the entire KISS Army.
As for the other thirty candidates for candidate, they vanished by the third season—which was the season things got tough. Since it was now time for the real campaigns to get underway, the finalists began to steel themselves to throw down among themselves and JWoww the USA with some serious badass presidential politics.
The Revolution had begun.
# # #
The third season began with the “Can’t We Just All Get Along?” episode (Rodney King having been sent back to Celebrity Rehab during the first season), in which the contestants were locked in a one-room log cabin together with smelly socks, too much booze, no TV, and loads of sexual tension boiling over, because that’s what presidents have to deal with in one way or another. The stress involved was incredibly palpable, because, as all of them knew, they each had one vote to cast, and at the end of that show they’d have to boot somebody off.
“As the Almighty as my witness,” the Reverend Jesson thundered, “I must insist that we vote Gae Achings straight to the depths of hell! For he or she is a sinner, and ain’t no sinner fit for leading this great nation under God!”
“And ain’t no nation under God,” Gae reacted sassily, cocking his or her hip, “in need of a hater with an icky sweaty finger on the button! I mean, c’mon y’all, let’s get together on this.”
“But that’s the thing,” Rory Cooker put in, holding up the Spatula of Immunity. “One of us has to go. The weakest link, therefore, should take it upon his or herself to call his or herself out and save us the hassle. Otherwise, we’re going to look like a bunch of fools!”
“Well, we do look like a bunch of fools,” Brat Hitt replied. “That’s our job. And there’s already an icky sweaty finger on the button, which is why Jacky’s right. We need to work together to identify whoever can’t take us forward, or else it’ll be another four years of Stumponomics.”
America’s Sweetheart giggled at that as Lady Ya Ya paced back and forth.
“That’s whack, man!” she retorted. “The middle class shouldn’t have to be dealing with this bullshit! What we need are more infrastructure projects and decent-paying jobs! We need to be investing in cleaner energy and education!”
“I don’t see how that response is appropriate,” the unflappable Ryan Billiams chimed in, slicking back his perfect hair. “Let’s just play the game and see where the chips fall.”
“It’s not a game!” Rory shot back. “It’s the most important thing in the universe! Everything depends on this!”
That’s when Gae started wailing.
“What?” America’s Sweetheart asked, throwing a consoling arm around her. Or him. “What is it?”
“It’s me,” s/he said, choking back a spasm of sniffles. “We all know it’s me. Jacky’s right… I’m just not presidential enough. I mean really… who would vote for a flaming, transsexual, androgynous, lesbian, bisexual boy-toy like me? Stump will trounce me like a red-headed stepchild. You should all just vote me out.”
And so they did. And that was that. Gae went home with her tail between his legs, and Jesson was blamed for getting all up in his or her grille—mostly by those who used to be college students, since all the universities had been shut down. Except, that is, for Stump University. Go Ronalds!
By the next episode, Reverend Jesson was feeling the heat. Fifty million viewers were calling for his head. The other competitors then ganged up in something akin to a celebrity roast with a side of no mercy at all, and even the judges jumped on the anti-Jacky bandwagon, until Jesson was bullied off the show like a Jew out of Poland circa 1937.
The next to go was Ryan Billiams, who just wasn’t getting the support he needed from those out there in TV Land. Maybe he looked too Romneyish. Whatever the case, it was up to the viewers that week, who could vote as many times as they liked, and the result was a referendum on the type of candidate they wanted: someone less stiff, someone with fire, someone who could rally support and storm the fortress of Stump Tower.
Following that, America’s Sweetheart couldn’t deliver. She was just too nicey nice. In fact, in the episode entitled “It’s Nice to Be Nice” she had proved herself to be just that. In a nuclear non-proliferation summit with special guest star Vladamir Putin, she brought homemade oatmeal cookies to the meeting—to which the shirtless prime minister scowled, “I no like oatmeal. Where is toll house? I like only toll house.” Lady Ya Ya, on the other hand, brought a stern middle finger, whereas Rory Cooker brought a list of ultimatums, and Brat Hitt, for the sake of pure intimidation, peeled off his shirt and flexed his oiled-up pecs—which is what the public actually wanted. So America’s Sweetheart, she got shitcanned.
It came down then to a show of force between Brat Hitt, Lady Ya Ya, and Rory Cooker, wherein they all had to write and recite an original poem, since spoken-word performance is a major part of being the Leader of the Free World.
Being showbiz people, Brat Hitt and Lady Ya Ya naturally held the upper-hand, each with a menagerie of highly choreographed dancers. Lady Ya Ya’s performance included a laser show with Steven Tyler and Phil Collins chanting backup, and Brat Hitt’s incorporated fireworks along with the cast from Hamilton moonwalking behind him. In the end, Rory Cooker did himself in by just being a Rhymin’ Simon. His no-frills slam-type approach might’ve elicited a “Word!” or two from some green-haired anarchists in Seattle, but for the entire world, now glued to the TV screen or streaming online every week, not so much.
In the end, it came down to “The Sexy Off.” That’s what the season finalé was called, because let’s face it: If you want to beat a doofy-looking business-goon with stupid oversized hair, then you need to pump up the sexy. So that’s what happened, both contestants slowly stroking their half-naked bodies and licking strawberries in diffused light while the theme song from Shaft filled the airwaves and the votes came rolling in: 33,000,053 for Brat Hitt and 33,000,053.5 for Lady Ya Ya (that last half-vote, btw, was cast by Gae Achings, who, after his humiliation from getting kicked off the show, only counted herself as half an individual).
# # #
As the vetting process got underway, there was no way of keeping Lady Ya Ya’s name out of the running for the presidential primaries. She was picked along with six party loyalists who had dedicated their lives to glad-handing and back-room deals, not to mention occasionally authoring some school lunch bills. Lady Ya Ya’s competition included Senator Vernie Zander, the old Socialist who the youngsters loved, and Senator Joe Bob Billy Bob from rural Arkabama. Congresswoman Nance Armstrong, the first woman to walk on the moon, was also part of the picture, and so was Congresswoman Humana Shields. Governor Marlo Rulio was also in the house, and Governor Mahi Mahi from Hawaii added a swatch of color to the otherwise homogenous establishment roster.
The debates came fast and furious as the career politicians found themselves facing a fierce and sophisticated speaker in Lady Ya Ya. And the press, of course, focused on the real-life rock star of the party just as much as they had on the novelty of Stump four years before, which gave her an advantage in airtime over the others. Still, it was an advantage she didn’t need, because, as stated before, this was a popularity contest, so she’d pretty much sewn up the nomination from the get go.
Nevertheless, there was a process to go through. The candidates addressed all sorts of issues ranging from national security to immigration to what color to wear after Labor Day if white is so prohibitive. In all these debates, Lady Ya Ya rose above the rest. Her answers were articulate, well-studied, self-reflective, and always began with the word “Man.” As in “Man, I’m glad you asked that question” or “Man, that’s what I’m talking about,” even when the question came from a woman. It was a sort of folksy personality quirk that helped her relate with both men and women as well as the LGBATPOC populace that had thrown itself behind her cause. In fact, all her previous TV opponents, from Reverend Jacky Jesson to Ryan Billiams, were hitting the streets and canvassing for her. Or, as the lawn signs put it, “YA YA FOR YOU YOU!”
Senator Joe Bob Billy Bob was the first to “suspend” his campaign, followed by Governor Marlo Rulio, who made a fuss about the democratic process being rigged by the Green Party media. Humana Shields followed suit, as did her colleague, Nance Armstrong. Governor Mahi Mahi held on as long as he could, and ultimately, it was Vernie Zander vs. the reality of reality TV.
The Senator tried to bring up her Gmails, but nobody really gave a damn. Besides, that was a talking point from the Stump stump, devised by beady little fart-sniffing Gollums who’d waterboard their own mothers for a corner office. What those Gmails amounted to wasn’t much more than a Reagan-era scare tactic being preached to the Stump choir, and all the question really did was reinstall itself in unquestioning heads which figured that it must mean something, because it wouldn’t be there if it didn’t. So in their last debate, the white-haired Senator took another tack.
“My opponent has a very lovely rock and roll voice,” he insisted, “but this is reality! And in reality, we can’t trust bubble-gum popstars to get us through these rough times. What we need now is the voice of experience. We have a real fight with a real enemy, so it’s time for the children to stay home and their elders to step up—with free college tuition for everyone as soon as we bring college back!”
The crowd went wild, feeling the Vern. But then it was Lady Ya Ya’s turn.
“Listen man,” she began, “this isn’t Kansas anymore. We left that shit a long time ago. This is a new unreal world in which we have to get with the new unreal times, which is why I’ve been called to duty.”
“DUTY! DUTY!” the chant arose. “DUTY!...”
And that was it. The primary was over and Lady Ya Ya locked it up with overwhelming support from both super- and inferior delegates. She accepted the party’s nomination at the national convention in July with no protests from nobody, except those green-haired anarchists in Seattle who always protest anyway (secretly, however, they had caucused at a local church and had backed the Lady Ya Ya camp, because what could be better than anyone kicking Stump’s butt?).
# # #
During the first presidential debate it wasn’t hard for Lady Ya Ya to directly address Stump’s three and a half years of catastrophic travesties. All she had to do was repeat what everybody knew from watching the nightly news in which the resurrected Ryan Billiams recounted the president’s daily disasters.
“Hey man,” Lady Ya Ya, dressed in the world’s hottest hot-pants suit, told Stump, “you took a dump on civil rights and set our country a century back. The global economy has gone to crap, you’ve isolated us from the rest of the world by pissing everyone off, and you’ve been capitalizing on your own greedy business interests by manipulating mofos with your office. In cozying up to the Russians and totally provoking the Chinese, you’ve made this planet a completely dangerous place. You’ve destroyed trade deals, shot the Paris Climate Agreement to shit, and because of that there are now way more hurricanes and tornadoes and droughts and floods and forest fires and oil spills than there’s ever been in the history of history! That’s one hell of a fecal fajita you forced down our throats! Thanks a lot, dude!”
“That’s Mr. President Dude to you,” Stump smirked in his star-spangled suit and bizarrely Baroque hair. “You are a nasty, nasty little filly, and I’m going to appoint a special prosecutor to lock you up for your nasty, nasty Gmails!”
“LOCK HER ASS UP!” someone shouted from the crowd, followed by a hailstorm of Heil-Hitler gestures in the air. “LOCK HER ASS UP! LOCK HER ASS UP!...”
“I’ll remind the audience,” moderator Panderson Cooper interjected, “that everyone in this auditorium has agreed to keep their jeers to themselves. Please dial it back, people.”
“She doesn’t have the stamina,” Stump went on, “nor the temperament. Also, she doesn’t have a plan, but if she did, it would destroy us, and especially the children. I can assure you of that. Believe me!”
Again the audience cheered, live from Stump University. Go figure.
And that’s the way the first debate went: Lady Ya Ya reminding the world of the stone cold facts, and President Stump calling her names. To the point that Lady Ya Ya was declared the winner—but a fat lot of good that did Stump’s former rival who’d also beaten him like a dog.
Anyhoo, two weeks later the VP candidates took the stage. In one corner, we had Vice President Mick Pinch, who didn’t just look like he had a stick up his butt, he actually had a stick up his butt (which was his way of assuring that the marauding gangs of anti-abortion sodomites roaming DC couldn’t enter through the back door and lobby against his ultra-white ultra-right agenda). And in the other corner, we had Lady Ya Ya’s running mate: Bon Jovi. Immediately, the fur started flying.
Pinch: “Imagine a world in which the immoral character of gays and liberals and rock ‘n roll gangbangers are provided the opportunity to step into the highest position in politics. Imagine a world in which a self-professed cowboy on a steel horse rides, a world in which criminals and perverts confess to being wanted dead or alive. America, we are better than this.”
Bon Jovi: “That is by far the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my rockin’ life. But why go low when we can go high? Here’s what we’re going to do to fix the mess Stump has made of our country. Bob Geldof is planning it right now: A Save the Rockin’ World Concert to include high-powered stars like Bono, Beyoncé, Jay Z, JLo, Sweet’N Low, Sweet Tea, Mr. T, Ice Tea, Ice Cube, Justin Beav, Kanye East, the Dixie Chicks, what’s left of Cher, and a Spice Girls Reunion! I’m talking a major all-out pop-rock hip-hop no-schlock extravaganza! All the stars will be there, and we’ll raise enough money to fund a rockin’ advertising blitz so that annoying fundraisers won’t have to call us in our cars in order to defeat the Neo-Nazi Fascist Front! So everybody, go online right now to savetherockinworld.com and get your tickets and merch!”
Pinch: “You’ve got to be kidding.”
Bon Jovi: “Hell no! And it’s all going to be hosted by Robin Williams.”
Pinch: “You mean Ork from Mork? I thought he was dead.”
Bon Jovi: “There’s a doctor down in Boca who’s figured out how to attach cryogenically frozen heads to live bodies and he’s working on this right now. So like I said, folks, go to savetherockinworld.com and get your t-shirts and coffee mugs too! This is gonna be the rockingest show ever! We’ve even got Harvey Schleishenstein tapped to produce it. He’s the mastermind behind everyone’s favorite game-changing reality show, So You Want to Be the President!”
Weeks later, the next presidential debate was broadcast live from Stump Stadium in Stumplevania USA. It was a townhall-type affair, and the inflammatory Stump started it off.
“Okay America,” he cackled, rubbing his palms, “I have appointed a special prosecutor to investigate crooked Lady Ya Ya’s crooked Gmails, and let me tell you what horrible, crooked, nasty things we have found. Those Gmails are so crooked and horrible and nasty that I can’t even tell you how nasty and horribly crooked they are, but believe you me, they are as crooked as crooked can be, and you should thank me for not even going there, girlfriend.”
“Man,” Lady Ya Ya responded, “my empty opponent has nothing on me except for empty accusations again. Trusting his empty promises is what got us into this clusterfuck in the first place, so until he’s got real proof of anything, he ain’t got jack. I mean, c’mon people, are we really gonna snarf down this fecal fajita again?”
Pursing his lips and snickering, Stump then reached into his preposterous hair and pulled out an envelope. Then opening that envelope, he produced a clearly Photoshopped picture of Lady Ya Ya burning an American flag. Even worse, she was wearing white after Labor Day.
Whamo! The shithammer came smashing down! The gnashing masses frothed and spat, clawing at the sky. They were shouting drill-baby-drill platitudes and “USA! USA!” A thousand rabid Stumplevanians then rushed the stage in pure roiling rage. But luckily for Lady Ya Ya, Ronald Stump saved the day by pulling a handheld mirror out of his hair, which he thrust toward the murderous mob—who, when they saw what they’d become, dropped to the ground, writhing in wormery.
“You’re welcome,” he snickered to the wide-eyed Lady Ya Ya, whose stymied body language said it all: She was on the ropes! She was up a creek! Stump’s months of repeating the same old nasty crooked blather about Gmails Gmails Gmails had finally erupted in her face. Her poll numbers plummeted like an Air Malaysia jetliner, and half the nation unfriended her.
She recovered, though, when the Save the Rockin’ World Concert exploded like a North Korean nuclear device. Robin Williams’ head hosted it, and funds were raised that surpassed the total GDP of Abu Dhabi. Nate Sliver predicted a 99 percent chance of Lady Ya Ya scoring the presidency with Bon Jovi riding shotgun, and a malicious ad war ensued with the Ya-Ya-for-You-You movement trumping the Stump-Alone-Can-Fix-the-Whole-Enchilada campaign. Nate Sliver’s predictions went up to 99.99 percent for Lady Ya Ya, and for 6.6 minutes in the world everything was chill.
But then Stump revealed his highly anticipated October surprise by coming out with his own #1 video hit. Sporting his latest purchase, the firm hot bod of Brat Hitt gyrating wildly, Stump’s newly attached head made its debut on MTV (a subsidiary of the Stump Broadcasting Corp.) strutting smoking hot across the stage while a well-paid doctor down in Boca watched his new boss singing into a microphone. The title of the song was “Baby, I’m Gonna Grab Your Pussy,” and it immediately went viral as eighty million Baby Boom Gen-Xers creamed their Millennial jeans. The result being: Lady Ya Ya just couldn’t compete, so suddenly became obsolete.
Still, it didn’t matter if she had anything to add to the conversation, because Stump canceled the last debate through executive order and placed the entire country on lockdown under martial law. The polling places were closed until further notice, and up in the penthouse of Stump Tower, the president barricaded himself in. That’s where he made his widely telecasted “Exes of Evil” speech, declaring Lady Ya Ya an evil ex-candidate for president and the evil Bon Jovi excommunicated from the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Calling out the National Guard to surround his bastion with armed troupes and tanks, Stump then declared himself “America’s New & Improved Sexy Forever President!”
This called for drastic action. Harvey Schleishenstein went straight to Lady Ya Ya and war plans were hatched. America’s Sweetheart led the rebel forces unto the tower, and Gae Achings backed them up with the disenfranchised Rainbow Surge, an infuriated ambi-ethnic horde of the gender-alienated gone wild. They stormed the bastille, and as usual, the United States of America fired on its own citizens. But there were just too many to hold back. They came on like a tidal wave, crushing the ramparts to dust as Lady Ya Ya swung in on a wrecking ball wearing nothing but raw chicken wings. Harvey’s crack production crew captured it all: the Spatula of Immunity flying high, then swooping down, decapitating Stump old school style.
Assuming the presidency, Lady Ya Ya picked her cabinet on the spot. Jacky Jesson was appointed Secretary of State, Rory Cooker was made Attorney General, America’s Sweetheart became Secretary of Defense, Vernie Zander was Secretary of Education, Dr. Drew as Surgeon General, and Ryan Billiams was picked for Chief of Staff.
And guess who didn’t even get a cabinet position? And guess who really really wanted that Chief of Staff gig and felt entitled to it because of all that he had done for President Ya Ya, and because of all he could’ve done for the insufferable world if he’d had the chance to produce the future for the entire ungrateful USA? But he didn’t get it! He didn’t get squat! All Harvey got was a chip on his shoulder, his old job back producing shitty shows for shitty TV, and a bitter vendetta to reverse the damage he’d done. To himself! Alone. In his room. With piss stains on his underwear and an attitude to match.
But then his sneer lifted into a shrewd grin. In this new unreal world in these new unreal times, an audience was still in place. The sequel had begun.
Mark Spitzer (So You Want to Be the President) is the author of 25 books, mostly about fish, but he also writes short stories as a way to deal with the nightmare of reality TV taking over reality. He is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas. More info at www.sptzr.net.