The Patriarchy Caps the Gusher: A Play in One Ruthless Act.
(THE SCENE: A bland corporate building - it could be anywhere in any large city in America. We see, downstage right, a plain wooden door in a frame, adorned with a golden "P". Beyond it is a conference room, featureless, yet rather on the opulent side, with one golden "P" on the back wall. Five figures in shapeless hooded robes, disguised with black and white masks and voice-altering devices, are seated in the sumptuous leather chairs, holding hands and murmuring something we can't quite hear. As the lights come up, their voices become clear.)
ALL PATRIARCHS: ...and give us eternal power and glory, and the ability to escape prosecution, forever and ever. Ay-men.
(A moment of silence.)
PATRIARCH #1 (looking at his watch): Well, well, well. Our friend is late, as usual.
PATRIARCH #4: Quelle surprise!
PATRIARCH #3: Relax - I think I hear him now.
(PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA enters downstage right and stops at the DOOR.)
OBAMA (impatiently): Come on, DOOR, come on.
DOOR (in sultry female voice): Hello, unknown guest. Please place your eye against the scanner.
OBAMA (relieved): Oh, thank God. This is so much better than those stupid passwords they used to use! He who has the oil gets the spoils. Lame! (He complies, and his eye is scanned by the DOOR.)
DOOR: Thank you, President Obama. You may enter.
(The DOOR opens to let him in, and then closes again automatically.)
OBAMA: I'm here, everyone. (strides confidently to the table and sits) Sorry I'm late. As you know, we're going through a bit of a bad spell, what with this whole Gulf nonsense. And then something's going on in the Koreas - kind of a he said, she said situation. Whatever - Hillary's taking care of it, I think.
(ALL PATRIARCHS look away from OBAMA, waiting for him to stop babbling)
OBAMA (a tad less confidently): Annnnnnnyway, uh....what did you want to see me about, folks?
PATRIARCH #1 (coldly): What do you think, you fool? The Gulf.
OBAMA (defensively): What about it? Uh, none of you have relatives in that area, do you?
PATRIARCH #1: Of course not - OUR relatives don't live near offshore oil rigs! We know how dangerous those things are! No, we're concerned about the way it LOOKS to the ants we enslave. It's a PR nightmare, Barack.
PATRIARCH #2: It's a fucking catastrophe.
PATRIARCH #3: Even worse than Bush and the way he massively screwed up the federal response to Katrina. And I didn't think that was even possible!
PATRIARCH #5: Hey! I'm right here!
ALL PATRIARCHS BUT #5: Shut up, #5.
PATRIARCH #1: Right. The thing is, we've got eleven ants - uh, people - dead. We've got cute birds dripping with goo. Suddenly seafood is super-expensive, and it's only now - more than a month later - that BP has finally figured out this "top kill" that we think MIGHT be working. To your voters, it seems like no one's in charge and BP is stumbling around like Cheney before he shot that guy in the face.
(Murmurs of agreement.)
PATRIARCH #1 (continuing): What I want to know, Barack, is - how the hell did you let this happen? What's wrong with you? Damn, at least we had eight great years with Bush, although we have to thank the Lord that those twin hurricanes didn't happen BEFORE November 2004.
(ALL PATRIARCHS cheer.)
OBAMA (standing, defensive): Now wait a minute. (the famous index finger starts to point) You guys told me last time that my job performance was spectacular. Now you're blaming me because BP didn't do its due diligence? What the hell does that have to do with me? Hell, it's not like I made them cut corners or use faulty materials. And what am I, an engineer? How am I supposed to know what ideas will work?
(His appeals are met with stony silence.)
OBAMA (starting to sweat): I've done everything that you asked of me. I took health reform and turned it into an insurance industry giveaway. I even used an Executive Order to impose a severe ovarian penalty on funding for abortions as an extra bonus. You guys love that shit, don't you? I'm so slick that most people didn't even notice that my education reform bill opened the door for the privatization of our school system. I took financial reform in hand and voila! No punishment whatsoever for any of these CEOs that defrauded millions of Americans and helped cause the big crash in the first place. And of course, I voted "present" on DADT and punted the decision to the Pentagon. How great was that? Huh? Come on, guys, where's my A+?
PATRIARCH #3 (wonderingly): Wow. He really doesn't get it!
PATRIARCH #2: Here, #1, let me try. Perhaps I can explain it to him. Sit down, Barack.
(Obama sits down, annoyed and a bit frightened.)
PATRIARCH #2: Look, Barack, you know that you're our kind of guy. I'll be blunt about it, we were seriously considering you for entry into our fun little group here.
OBAMA: You, uh, WERE considering me?
PATRIARCH #2 (wryly): Yes, we were. Unfortunately, you are, quite possibly, the most tone-deaf politician we've ever had to work with. I mean, why haven't you been down to the Gulf more than once or twice? Why haven't you arrested the CEO of BP? Why didn't you take this over right away and put the whole government behind it? Don't you see how fantastic that would have made you look - as though you had actually learned from Dubya's mistakes?
OBAMA (sullenly): I was busy. I, uh, had other priorities.
PATRIARCH #5: Heh! That's what Cheney said about the draft!
ALL PATRIARCHS EXCEPT #5: Shut up, #5.
PATRIARCH #2 (almost gently): Look, Barack, don't get us wrong. We couldn't care less about the Gulf. It can become one giant pool of oil as far as we're concerned. Hey, it's easier for us to get to it that way! As for the wildlife? Oh please. You've seen one tree, you've seen 'em all. And all those worker ants that died in the platform explosion - they're completely replaceable. But do you see how if you had done any of the things I just mentioned, your approval ratings would have skyrocketed? (unable to keep his anger in check) Yesterday you idiotically, and I mean IDIOTICALLY, said that the government had been in charge of this disaster all along. Are you kidding me? You just took ownership of a Katrina-style failure, and one that is royally pissing off even your most dedicated supporters. How are we supposed to respond to that? With a pat on the head and new dresses for your daughters?
PATRIARCH #1 (taking over again): I have no idea what you think you're doing, Barack. But at least George was smart enough not to turn all of his followers against him. I thought you were better than this. I'm extremely upset with you. WE'RE extremely upset with you. So much so that...we've decided to cap this gusher, to coin a phrase.
PATRIARCH #4 (taking his turn): Yes, it's true. If we don't get you out of the Oval Office, the consequences for our organization could be fatal. A real oppositional force is growing out there, from all sides of the spectrum. A left-wing populist could actually win the next Presidential election. Anything is possible, and we don't gamble unless we've stacked the deck. What we need to do is make, ahem, a change we can believe in.
OBAMA (flabbergasted): You're not serious. You're DUMPING me? After all I've done for you? You've gotta be kidding.
PATRIARCH #3: (zinger) Now you know how Howard Dean felt.
OBAMA: (swoosh) Huh? Anyway, back to me here. Let me be clear: The notion that somehow I am responsible for this mess is simply ridiculous. I am fully engaged. FULLY!
PATRIARCH #1 (standing up): Look, PRESIDENT Obama, it's very simple. We can't have you screwing things up for us now. We've gotten used to....a certain standard of living, shall we say, and we can see that you won't be able to make that happen for much longer. We bought you the Presidency, and we thought you'd have it for eight to ten years. But sadly, it wasn't meant to be. As you know in politics, one day you're in, and the next day, you're out.
OBAMA (in disbelief): Did you...just...AUF ME?! Cause NOBODY Aufs Barack Obama. NOBODY! I'm getting the hell out of here - and you know what? Don't call me, I'll call you.
(OBAMA goes to the door, but of course, it won't open. He struggles with it for a second, then his shoulders slump and he slinks back to the table in total humiliation.)
OBAMA: Fine. What's the plan, then?
PATRIARCH #1: Well, you're going to have to say you won't run for re-election in 2012.
OBAMA: That's okay, as long as I still get my book contracts and my job at Goldman Sachs. Being President is too much work!
PATRIARCH #5: It IS hard work! See, guys. I toldja!
ALL PATRIARCHS BUT #5: Shut UP, #5!
PATRIARCH #4: You'll make the announcement in the summer of 2011. You'll say you've got health problems. (nastily) Looking at you, I could believe it quite easily. You obviously don't handle your nicotine well.
PATRIARCH #2 (interrupting the flow of insults): Ahem! Yes, that's the plan, #4. Then, you've got to endorse Joe Biden for President. For some reason, people like him and he's the VP, so it will sem like a logical move. Of course, Joe won't win. We're planning on President Romney in 2012 - his numbers already look better than yours, and unlike you, he's a savvy businessman. He knows exactly how to make things happen for us.
OBAMA: So, let me understand this. You want me to bow out in about a year, and pretend I want Joe to win, when really I'm paving the way for Mitt?
PATRIARCH #3 (menacingly): Do you have a problem with that, Barack?
OBAMA (smoothly): Not at all. Fuck Joe - he's a total moron. I only picked him cause you all thought it was a good idea. Nope - I was just repeating the plan so I wouldn't forget it.
PATRIARCH #1: (clearing his throat) Right! It's settled then. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. President.
(OBAMA bows deeply to the PATRIARCHS, then exits the room silently - the DOOR, of course, opens and closes accordingly.)
PATRIARCH #5: Whew! I'm glad that's over. That guy gives me the creeps. Hey, anyone know any good fart jokes?
ALL PATRIARCHS EXCEPT #5: Shut UP, George!