THE SHINING: The Rep. Steve King Version
At first, that's what Washington DC's Republicans saw in their funhouse mirror and they just assumed it was the name of an Italian who had yet to make good and become an American citizen as was his God-mandated obligation. No one knew who this Slagelli was or what he did but for some reason they'd scrawl it on the funhouse mirror they all used to view the world and the very name would terrify them.
Other times, they'd scrawl "Amabo" on the mirror and croak "Amabo! Amabo! Amabo!" over and over as if it was the name of the Devil incarnate. Moderates, Independents and especially liberal Democrats would watch their reactions and sadly shake their heads.
Then the snow piled up in Washington, DC and everything was silent. Nary a Senator, Congressman or even a lobbyist braved the elements and hardly a soul was inside the nation's Capitol.
Save for Richard Shelby and Barack Obama. Obama had made the mistake one day of sneaking down to the den and wondering what Shelby and the other Republicans were furiously working on until all hours of the night. Then he saw it. There, on the writing desk, was a fat piece of legislation, perhaps even the very piece of health care legislation that the President had challenged Republicans to write in an effort to break the legislative deadlock.
He approached the wooden box in which the manuscript had patiently sat and looked at the title page. "Republican Health Care bull" is said in plain Times New Roman font. OK, a bit unimaginative but an auspicious start. Then the President turned to page one. On it was a simple sentence: "All reform and no tax cuts makes Jack a dull boy."
OK, perhaps it was merely a bizarre epigraph, the chief executive thought and he turned to page two.
"All reform and no tax cuts makes Jack a dull boy. All reform and no tax cuts makes Jack a dull boy. All reform and no tax cuts makes Jack a dull boy."
It filled up the entire page and the President's blood froze. It wasn't just the repetition but the varied way in which the same sentence was repeated. Blocks of prose, indented in the form of poetry, ALL REFORM AND NO TAX CUTS MAKE JACK A DULL BOY in all caps.
The fonts and font sizes changed but page after page throughout the entire 500 page bill, the sentence was endlessly repeated with a maniacal obsession. "All reform and no tax cuts makes Jack a dull boy. All reform and no tax cuts makes Jack a dull boy."
It was at this point that the President decided that the GOP was hopelessly, irretrievably...
"How do you like it?"
President Obama uttered a gasp and whirled around to find Alabama Senator Richard Shelby staring at him with an eerie rictus, a horrid simulacrum of mirth.
"Uh, Senator Shelby, are you OK?"
"It's our masterpiece," the Senator uttered with a drawl, as the President produced a Louisville Slugger 32 ounce bat from behind his back. "And you've interrupted us. Do you have any idea how long it takes us to regain our train of thought after you barge into our Baltimore retreats or form bipartisan committees on health care? A long fucking time!"
The senator began advancing toward the President, backing him toward the central staircase.
"You... you need help," the President said as he slowly walked backwards up the long staircase, tentatively swinging the bat. "Stay away from me." Swish, swish.
"I won't hurt you..."
"S-stay away!" Swish, swish.
"Mr. President? Dear? Love of my life," Shelby said, "You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said I was not going to hurt you. I'm just going to block your every fucking nomination!"
"G-get away from me!"
President Obama turned and ran up the staircase and into a bathroom. The snow drift beneath the window reached up to one foot beneath the sill.
Congressman Alan Grayson, alarmed at hearing nothing from the White House or the Capitol building, rushed back to his place of work. He'd reluctantly left warm and sunny Orlando in the 8th congressional district but he realized his President, his government, his very democracy, was in peril. A plane ride later, Rep. Grayson was rumbling toward the White House in a rented snow cat.
"You disappoint us, Mr. Shelby," said the ghost of Lee Atwater. Ronald Reagan stood behind him, sadly shaking his head.
"I said I'll take care of him. No way is he even running for a second term, let alone gettin' reelected."
"I trust our faith has not been misplaced," said Atwater's ghost.
"Just give me another fuckin' chance," Shelby said in a menacing drawl as he hefted an axe.
Congressman Grayson entered the front lobby of the White House and was alarmed not so much by what he saw but by what he didn't see: No aides, no tours or tour guides, no Secret Service. The nor'easter had chased away all but the bravest or most foolhardy.
He unzipped his parka and took a few more steps. "Mr. President?"
All he saw was a blur of motion in his peripheral vision. The congressman quickly turned but saw nothing. He advanced toward the elevator and suddenly, from beneath the double doors, came a cascade of red liquid that he immediately registered as cherry Koolaid.
He screamed and turned back from where he'd just come and saw the ghost of Gerald Ford, his head bleeding from an old ski injury suffered at Vail, Colorado in 1976. He held up a Koolaid spritzer and asked, "Great party, huh?"
Rep. Grayson recoiled in horror and ran down another hallway where he was confronted by the sight, a horrid sight, at the other end of the hall: The daughters of new Senator Scott Brown, sitting on tricycles.
"Forget about health care reform now," they said in unison.
Grayson screamed again and ran down another hallway before being confronted by Richard Shelby. He swung the axe at the Congressman's head but missed as Grayson ducked. The axe flew out of his hands, bounced off a wall and buried itself in the Alabama senator's forehead.
"Do us all a favor, Dick" said Congressman Grayson over the corpulent, twitching form, "Die quick."
President Obama was pounding on the window to move it up but there was barely enough room to admit even his svelte, athletic figure. Almost, just another inch or so... The top of the snow drift beneath the Oval Office's bathroom window was almost close enough to touch. Just another...
Suddenly the bathroom door splintered. Then again, then again until the president could see a sliver of Senator John McCain's blocky head. What? There were two of them?
"Heeeeere's Johnny! Incoming!!!" screamed the Arizona Senator as he hammered the door again and again with the axe.
In a last burst of panic, the president finally raised the window that crucial final inch and crawled out, safely sliding down the snow drift to the ground. Just as his feet cleared the window sill, McCain slashed at it with his axe, just missing the president's feet. He contented himself with sliding down the small mountain of snow.
The President sought refuge in the maze of Washington DC's streets. C Street, K Street. Only when he got to Q Street did he realize his footprints were making it easy for McCain to track him so he cleverly walked backwards, leaving a trail of footprints leading to nowhere.
"I'm right behind'ja, Barry!" the Arizona Senator hoarsely screamed as he clutched at his blazer. "I'm right behind'ja!"
But the President had doubled back and trotted back to the White House, leaving the senator to stumble around the nation's Capitol aimlessly. Just before he dropped dead of hypothermia on K Street, he appealed to Jack Abramoff for help.
The Washington, DC police were called to the scene a day later. They'd never seen anything like it before. Why was the senior senator from Arizona sitting upright, frozen as if dipped in liquid nitrogen, an axe sitting crosswise on his lap, his blue face a scowl of betrayal?
No one knew and the death was ruled as unsolved.